Winners of the annual ‘Eye in the Wild’ photography competition by Mabati Rolling Mills were announced last Saturday with 47-year-old Salma Shah emerging the Overall Gold Winner of Kshs. 350,000 for her piece that showed how a common papaya tree can influence environmental beauty and support wildlife.

Salome Tarus emerged the Silver Winner received Kshs 250,000 prize money while Abdulrahman Mutuma took the Bronze Award with a prize money of Kshs 150,000. Richard Kariuki, an outdoor photographer, won The People’s Choice Award with his photo that depicted a new shoot growing over a felled tree garnering 3,820 unique votes from the public, while James Wando scooped the Best Under-18 Award. Both received a new Nikon D3500 camera.

There were 538 entries from established and amateur photographers and out of this, only 23 entries made it to the final.

Speaking at the gala, Andrew John Heycott, Mabati Rolling Mills CEO  noted the immense beauty of Kenya, and the devastating impact of climate change and deforestation, urging people to conserve forest cover for posterity.

The judging process this year focused on four main criteria – an expression of theme, creativity, composition and photographic quality – and was overseen by a panel of three judges with vast photographic knowledge.

Commenting on the judging process, Gurchorpran Roopra, wildlife photographer and judge said, “We were looking for photographers who best highlighted the beauty in nature and the impact of climate change and we are happy with the talent we saw from all entries”.

The campaign supports sustainable solutions that contribute to forest conservation with a view to protect our natural environment. It focused on four elements – wildlife, water, community and lifestyle and provided a platform for photographers to highlight the beauty in Kenya’s landscape whilst celebrating the best talent.

Now in its second edition and themed ‘Stop the Chop’, the annual photography competition aims to create awareness on the dwindling forest cover in Kenya and the importance of conservation. During the awards gala, guests and winners planted over 200 indigenous trees at the Karura Forest.

The top 20 finalists will all attend a photography masterclass with a Nikon expert to learn more about nature photography. Winning photos available at http://mrmeyeinthewild.mabati.com/