Top Nature Photographer Shares Tips for 2022 MPA Photography Contest

The second Marine Protected Areas (MPA) Day is set to go global with its 2022 commemoration on Monday August 1.

And to celebrate this important event, the organizers have announced creative competitions that will take place before MPA Day.

“There has been a definite shift in recent years as communities around the world become more aware of the importance of ocean conservation to the survival of our planet, with environmental days such as World Oceans Day and MPA Day Playing a Role in Raising Awareness,” said Dr. Judy Mann, Strategic Projects Manager at the Two Oceans Aquarium Education Foundation.

She said they want to make an even bigger impact with the second annual celebration.

“That’s why we’ve launched big competitions to raise awareness of the need to protect our ‘sea game reserves’,” Dr Mann said.

Renowned South African conservationist, award-winning photographer and videographer Steve Benjamin is an example of how the depths of the ocean can come alive through the lens.

Through his passion for the ocean and marine life, he has connected with leading international filmmakers and photographers.

After learning his craft on the KZN South Coast MPA, Aliwal Shoal, Benjamin went on to shoot with international photographer Thomas Peschak for National Geographic magazine in the Seychelles, Mexico, Peru and the Galapagos. He also joined the team that would bring Sardine Run to life for a series of BBC films, Natures Great Events and the BBC series Blue Planet II.

“Photography is the face of any conservation initiative – without good imagery depicting what people are trying to save, no one will know. masses in the subject. It’s the first way to understand an issue, then you go deeper with texts, interviews and videos,” he said.

He explained that when it comes to showcasing the value of MPAs, the public needs images of places they don’t necessarily have access to themselves.

READ ALSO : South African MPA Day becomes a global celebration in 2022

“The majority of people will not have the chance to dive or experience these areas firsthand, which makes good photography essential. The photographer is able to reveal the soul and face of an MPA to a wider audience. wide,” he continued.

Steve Benjamin’s advice for aspiring nature photographers:

  • Get some basic equipment – even cell phones can be used to create amazing visuals.
  • Connect with experienced people and learn from them.
  • A good mentor is very valuable. Critically examine the movies and videos you like, ask yourself why you like them, and analyze how the story unfolds. It is the story that engages the viewer.
  • Be proficient on social media and post as much content as possible.
  • It is practice makes perfect!
  • Never give up – it’s a long game and you have to keep trying!

AMP Photo Contest

Professional and amateur photographers can put these tips into practice and enter the 2022 AMP Photo Contest to showcase South Africa’s 41 marine protected areas.

The aim of the competition is to showcase the beauty and appeal of MPAs as places of discovery, relaxation, livelihood and respect.

The photographs captured can depict anything above or below water in a South African MPA. This could include marine creatures and plants, captivating landscapes, sporting or recreational events, as well as tourism and research conducted in these safe spaces.

There are a number of great prizes, ranging from merchandise to nature-based experiences, worth thousands of rands.

How to enter?

  • Indicate whether you are a professional or novice photographer.
  • Photo size is limited to 3 MB and 1920 x 1080 pixels.
  • Entries are limited to five photos per photographer.
  • All images should be named with the photo entry number, your name and the name of the MPA (eg: 1johndoeDeHoopMPA).
  • If you want to be tagged on Instagram, include your Instagram ID.
  • Submit applications or get more information at [email protected]

MPA Day Youth Competition

This creative competition aims to raise awareness among young people in the country about the 41 MPAs in South Africa. It is open to anyone between the ages of 11 and 18 and is divided into art, creative writing and photo/video categories.

There is a junior division (11 to 14 years old) and a senior division (15 to 18 years old).

How to enter?

  • You can submit one work per category: art, literary creation or photo/video – therefore a maximum of three entries per person.
  • Indicate the category, your age and your name.
  • All entries must include contact information for a guardian, parent or teacher.
  • Submit applications or get more information at [email protected] or through the website

For more information on MPAs, visit

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