In celebration of the beauty and importance of our oceans, Sustainable Seas Trust ran a photo contest from the 9th September 2019 to the 1st November 2019. The winner of the contest, local veterinary Matthijs Ravensberg received a cash prize of R10 000.
The top 12 winners of the photo contest, five of whom are Port Elizabeth residents, have their photos featured in the Sustainable Seas Trust 2020 calendar.
With the growing problem of ocean pollution, marine animals being entangled in fishing nets, coral bleaching and so on, the theme of the calendar is Celebrating Oceans and Ocean Life, bringing awareness to the joy as well as our need and dependence on the oceans.
Ravensberg’s winning photo is a beautiful shot of two swift terns. “I took this photo of swift terns on the beach at Cape Recife, performing a part of the mating ritual where the male offers the female a fish,” says Ravensberg. “Cape Recife is one of the best places in South Africa to see seven species of terns.”
The second-place winner of the photo contest is Cape Town resident and CEO of National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) Cleeve Robertson, who took an unusual and incredible photo of coral attached to a jetty.
“In 2018 I had the opportunity to visit the Marine Protected Area of Raja Ampat in Indonesia and this photograph was taken underneath one of the jetties on Kri Island,” says Robertson. “The lesson from Raja Ampat is that marine eco-conservation can restore the underwater environment and Raja Ampat is a good example with almost pristine coral ecosystems, the only remaining challenge being the return of larger fish and sharks!”
The third-place winner is Cape Town resident Albert Snyman, who took a unique photo of a seagull from underwater during his early morning snorkel.
“They say the early bird catches the worm and in this case there’s no difference,” says Snyman. “During an early morning snorkel at a spot I visit routinely, a usually skittish Kelp gull showed interest in me and allowed me to capture this unique image before flying off into the rising sun.’’
The top three winners received a Raggy Charters Sea Cruise gift prize, and each of the top 12 winners received a free 2020 calendar.
With beautiful photos and interesting facts on the oceans and ocean life, Sustainable Seas Trust hopes that these calendars will create awareness and inspiration, encouraging people to get involved in protecting the oceans, such as participating in clean-ups or volunteering at conservation organisations.
“We’re ecstatic with the winning photos featured in our calendar,” says Sustainable Seas Trust’s Online Content Coordinator Courtenay Webster. “They are all stunning, and we hope the public enjoys them as much as we do. We are looking forward to running the photo contest again next year, and we hope it will grow as it becomes an annual event.”
This calendar is also wonderful for showcasing the talent of local Port Elizabeth residents. 19-year-old Ethan Ahlfeldt, who took an incredible long exposure shot of Shark Rock Pier, said, “As an inspiring creative, I feel really blessed to have my photo of the Shark Rock Pier be placed in this calendar. At the age of 19, this inspires and motivates me to do more and improve in my skills and in who I am. Thank you for this opportunity!”
Local photographers Lauren Warner, Rob Duker and Lloyd Edwards helped with the judging of the photo entries. “It was a tough choice as we received many beautiful photos,” says Webster. “We appreciated our three judges who voluntarily helped in the selection process of the top winners.”
Our oceans are our lifeblood. Covering more than 70 percent of our planet, they produce oxygen, regulate the earth’s climate, provide food and provide a livelihood for millions. They are also home to most of the life on earth, from microscopic algae to the blue whale.
“It’s so important that we all understand how much we need a healthy ocean. We must all take responsibility for how we dispose of our waste to ensure it does not end up in our environment and ultimately our ocean. If you care about the ocean or if you care about the longevity of humans, I encourage you to do something. Start by following our social media pages and get involved,” said Sustainable Seas Trust’s communications manager, Sharné Woods.