Winners Photo Contest: Animals, May 2020

The winner of the photo contest Animals has been chosen! All beautiful submissions have made it tough on the jury to pick the winner, but there was one picture that stood out. Photographer Chris van Riel took the picture! His little dachshund was the subject of his photo and juror Gustav Kiburg was impressed.

Animals Winner

Photographer Gustav Kiburg selected this months winner. And the winner is … Chris van Riel!

Show The Winning Photo

Animals photo contest winner

The story behind the winning photo

Chris van Riel - Winner photo contest - May 2020

The story of this photo is of course about our little Loet.

Loet was hit by a car at the age of 1, he broke his right hind leg and hip. The vet therefore amputated his leg.

What we never expected was how quickly Loet would recover. We saw him getting better day by day, and less than 3 weeks after the accident he was almost back to walking as if nothing had ever happened. Soon he also returned to his old habit during his walks, dragging tree trunks home.

It’s a funny sight of course, such a small 3-legged dog who is carrying a huge stick. This gets him a lot of attention and reactions from passers-by.

 One fine morning I decided to take my camera with me. The light was beautiful, and I immediately found a nice big branch on the path in front of our house. Lying in the grass I threw the stick, Loet ran after it like a madman so he could then return it to me with pride. It was quite easy to repeat this process a couple of times (if I managed to get the stick back before he ran off again). Once I retuned home, this photo immediately stood out. Everything was right, this is Loet, his true colors in a picture!

Loet is doing very well, he does not feel any pain from the accident and fortunately he’s not afraid of anything. Everyone loves him with his 3 little legs, so he’s definitely a spoiled little doggy. This dog lives like a king! With the look of a wild tiger he carries huge branches home. Moral of the story: nothing can stop you if you go for it!

Chris and Photography

Photography is a great relaxation tool for me because it allows me to channel my energy very well. I love being creative and it gives me a lot of satisfaction to be able to realize a picture that I’ve had pictured in my mind for a very long time. I also have a photography page with more special pet photos!

Every photographer knows; sometimes you have a set of photos you never forget, those are your absolute highlights. This photo of Loet is one of that for me! That is why I am really looking forward to giving this photo of Loet a spot on the wall. 

This photo was taken with a Sony a7Riii + 70-200 f2.8 GM.

settings: 200mm - f3.2 - Iso 100 - 1/640

Chris’ Photography Tips

I'll give a few tips on how to photograph your own pet.

1: Go low! Lie flat on the floor and keep your camera as low as possible. This way you photograph the animal from its own perspective, this brings you into their world.

2: Shoot wide open, and many millimeters! Beautiful bokeh is a crucial ingredient for creating a beautiful pet photo. Always keep your f / ... open, and zoom in as far as possible if you have a zoom lens. As an added advantage, the low f / .. gives you an extra fast shutter speed.

3: Focus on the eyes, photographing animals is the same as a human portrait in this respect.
It's all about the eyes!

4: Movement makes photos come alive, animals will show you more expression and fun when they do something they are good at.

5: This is the most important thing, never let the animal do anything against its will and don't take any risks. Pet welfare is more important than a fun photo!

Xpert photographer Gustav Kiburg about the winning photo:

I didn’t need much time to figure out the winning photo. It literally and figuratively jumps out.

Looking at this photo makes me smile. A little dog with a tree branch way bigger than he is, proudly running up to you.

Technically well executed, good lighting, beautiful depth experience, the path, the trees. The dog is in focus, his legs rising from the ground gives it that little extra something.

The picture was chosen without knowing any background info. The story about the lost leg makes the picture even more special!

Xpozer Team Picks:

The Xpozer Team has chosen two winners for creativity and technique. They will get The Xpozer Prize Package! These are the winners:

Animals Technique Winner:

​Anne Barneveld

Small is beautiful

Animals Creative Winner:

Armin Grucel

Top 25

Curious about the rest of the Top 25? See all the photos below! Want to learn from others? Gustav Kiburg gave feedback on all of the images in the Top 25! See the descriptions below.

Inspired to participate in one of our monthly photo contests? View our latest photo contest: Colorful Landscapes! We’d love to see your photos and stories so be sure enter for a chance to win!

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