A RENOWNED Namibian wildlife photographer Hans Rack has just scooped one of the most prestigious southern African wildlife awards by winning the Wildlife Photographer of The Year Award for 2009.
The competition is run by Fujifilm and Getaway magazine and is rated one of the top wildlife photographic competitions in Africa.
Hans is the first individual in Namibia to win this award.
His winning entry depicts a sub-adult lion and his siblings relaxed in front of a wide-angle camera lens, mounted on a remote-controlled camera inside a rock at a waterhole in Etosha.
Rack’s technique of close-up wildlife photography has won him many accolades in the past, including the Agfa Wildlife and Environmental Award in 2001 and 2003.
In 2006 he took first place in the Fujifilm Wildlife Environmental Awards and this year his overall winner award is accompanied by a first place in the Animals General Category and first runner-up in Animals Behavioural Category.
Hans will be exhibiting his wining images as well as a wide variety of wildlife photography using his special techniques, at Studio 77 from December 1 2009 to early January 2010.
Hans has previously exhibited at Studio 77 with an outstanding photographic documentation of Namibia’s wild desert horses.
Hans’s photography has the viewer in awe with his ability to get close to wildlife.
His techniques are a combination of skills that transverse the fields of engineering and digital photography, so that the camera’s vantage point is from a wide-angle perspective from close range.
Mounted inside a rock-like structure on a remote-controlled ‘moon rover’ transmitting signals to a video screen, Hans is able to guide the movements of his camera all over waterholes, getting as close to wildlife as he pleases.
Often Hans has to quickly manoeuvre the ‘moon rover’ out of the way of a lion’s paw or the heavy foot of an elephant.
With these tools and the magic of digital photography, Hans has developed this unique method to such a level that he drew compliments from renowned wildlife and National Geographic photographer Frans Lanting when he recently visited Namibia.