Members’ competition of the Society of German Nature Photographers (GDT)
Last weekend during their annual general meeting the Society of German Nature Photographers (Gesellschaft Deutscher Tierfotografen – GDT) selected the GDT Nature Photographer of the Year 2016. Overall winner is Andreas Geh from Volkertshausen with the image of a goosander family at Lake Maggiore.
“At the end of May when out photographing dippers at a mountain river that empties into Lake Maggiore, I had watched a goosander emerging from out of the rocks every morning and taking its young downriver towards the lake. They stayed around the mouth of the river during the day and retreated back up the river at night to rest. I was moved by the animal’s reliability and care and wanted to capture how the chicks followed their parent with tight bonds like a string of pearls. Thus I developed the idea to wait for them in the evening on the bridge that crosses the mouth of the river and photograph the whole family straight from above. The crystal-clear water enabled me to include the reflections of the rocks on the ground in the scene.
My friends at the GDT regional group saw this image as part of a lecture and insisted that I enter it in the competition, because they had never seen goosanders photographed like that and they were all enthralled. So I was surprised and delighted beyond anything when I actually won the title. It’s great to have such friends.”
Goosanders prefer clear and rapid waters with gravel on the ground or lakes and sea shores covered by trees. The female birds deposit their eggs in nest holes that can be quite high up. Already a day after they have hatched, the chicks leave the nest and jump from the hole. They use their wing stumps and their feet to slow down the fall. The female then leads them to the water as quickly as possible. The young are quite apt swimmers right from the beginning. However, the female often gives the weakest chicks a ride on her back – often more than just one. Although the population of goosanders in Germany has recovered, the Red List still lists them as an endangered species.
Andreas Geh lives in the Hegau region at Lake Constance and has been a photographer since his childhood. He has immersed himself completely in nature photography since 2003; he is a full member of the GDT since 2011 and is actively involved in the GDT regional group Baden. His images are marketed internationally through various agencies and can be seen regularly in lectures, workshops and books. With his images he aims to promote a sense of respect and protection for Nature. Main focus: his local area at Lake Constance, USA and Scandinavia.
In this competition he succeeded with his image “goosander family” in a field of 260 GDT members from seven countries. A total of nearly 4,100 images was submitted. After a pre-jury procedure by Claudia Müller, Sarah Böhm and Dieter Damschen, at the weekend the GDT members had to make their choices from ten images in each of the seven categories: Birds, Mammals, Other Animals, Plants & Fungi, Landscapes, Nature’s Studio, and this year’s special category Forces of Nature. The overall winner of the competition is chosen from the seven category winners.
The competition exhibition will be shown at the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation in Bonn from 13 May until the end of September. The exhibition opening will be held 12 May at 5 p.m..
Every year the competition GDT Nature Photographer of the Year is exclusively run for the Society’s members (unlike the competition GDT European Wildlife Photographer of the Year, which is open to all photographers resident in Europe).
A selection of the winning images will again be shown at the International Nature Photography Festival of the GDT from 28 to 30 October 2016. You can view all awarded images at www.gdtfoto.de.
The winners of the individual categories are as follows:
In the category Birds Andreas Geh won with his image of the goosander family. Gabi Marklein succeeded in the category Mammals with a portrait of a vixen and her cub. “Mud Bath” is the title of the winning image by Magdalena Schaaf in the category Other Animals, showing a yellow-bellied toad in the Black Forest. Florian Smit paints the world in a pink light and won the category Plants & Fungi with his image of cyclamen in Italy. The category Landscapes was won by Karsten Mosebach with the image of a night at Venner Moor; and in the category Nature’s Studio no less than two winners were selected: Alejandro Prieto won with the image “Shadow Show” and Thomas Brocher succeeded with his image of a blurred seagull at the Eider Barrier. An image of a wave has won Sandra Bartocha the category Forces of Nature.