Our photo competition judges share their secrets

The first ever Erindi Photographic Competition is well underway and as each entry comes in, it becomes just a little bit harder for our judges to pick their winning choice. Luckily we have gathered together a group of special photographers whose individual talents and experience make them more than equal to the task.

Let us introduce you to six of our photo competition judges 

Erindi Photo Competition Judge Number 1: Donal Boyd

BASED IN – Currently, I split my time between a homebase in Iceland, a base at Erindi in Namibia, and also a base in Cape Town, South Africa.

FAVOURITE LENS/CAMERA – My go-to is always mirrorless and with a prime lens. Favourite focal length is 135

SOMETHING NO ONE ELSE KNOWS – I really enjoy adding salt and vinegar potato chips in my peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. The crunchier the better.



First and foremost, I’m a wildlife conservationist, and a photographer second. Three years ago I was able to finally merge these two careers into the duality that I currently practice.

Ever since I was a young boy I’ve used photography as a means of expressing the emotional connection I have with nature. Way back then (and still today) it wasn’t always possible for me to explain what I saw or felt, but I found early on that I could show it much better.


I enjoy spending time with Elephants the most of any animal. So, really, anywhere there are Elephants is where I want to be. At Erindi I’ve spent hundreds of hours simply sitting with them, oftentimes not even picking up my camera, but observing. Each outing with a herd (many of which I know by name) yields new understandings of their behavior, insight into their strange quirks, and further support for their undeniable sentience.


Experiment. Really… push the boundaries. Playing it safe and publishing work that you think others will like only limits your potential to create something new and expand the bounds of photography. Rather than create something you know for sure people are going to respond well to, instead aim to create an image that will surprise them. What is crucial in taking this approach is to seek out trusted friends who can provide honest and constructive feedback. Without criticisms, there is no progress.    

Johan Lolos

BASED IN – Liège, Belgium

FAVOURITE LENS/CAMERA – Nikon D850 + Nikkor 24-70mm F/2.8

SOMETHING NO ONE ELSE KNOWS – My favourite subject to photograph isn’t landscape but people. I’m just not as good at it.

INSTAGRAM HANDLE – @lebackpacker


As far as I can remember, I’ve always carried a camera. As a kid, it was one of those disposable cameras. Fast forward 20 years later, I studied PR in Brussels, and as part of my training, I had a photo class. I bought my first DSLR 10 years ago, and became a full time travel photographer in 2015, while living in New Zealand.


My favourite wildlife region to photograph, I’m going to say Erindi in Namibia as this was my first and only African wildlife experience! My favourite landscape: the Icelandic Highlands, that really makes me feel being on another planet. My favourite region: the South Island of NZ. It’s like my second home.


Try to spend the most time with other photographers or people that share the same passion than you. Being out shooting is the best school.


That one time I had the chance to meet Steve McCurry and interview him for 10 minutes.

Erin Sullivan

BASED IN – Los Angeles

FAVOURITE LENS/CAMERA – I shoot on the Sony a7R III and tend to reach for my 24-70mm f2.8, 16-35mm f2.8, and 100-400mm f4.5-5.6 the most

SOMETHING NO ONE ELSE KNOWS – I guess people wouldn’t expect to hear that I’m not the biggest fan of heights. But I challenge it often.

INSTAGRAM HANDLE – @erindoutdoors


I initially decided not to pursue photography as my career because I was afraid of failing. Throughout my early 20’s, I worked as an adventure trip leader and tour guide all over the world, and didn’t pick up a camera again until I started my blog, where I talked about my experiences traveling and in the outdoors. I realized I truly still wanted to be a photographer professionally as soon as I started shooting again. It was like getting back in my lane.


Wildlife: lions, especially cubs!

Landscape: aerial when I get the chance! The shapes nature makes are mind-blowing and I love abstracting things by changing my perspective.

Region: I most enjoy photographing extremes or contrast in color, motion, and subject. Desert or glaciers, for example.


I’ll start with Anthony Bourdain, who has always inspired me to travel intentionally, to ask really good questions to the people I meet along the way, and to share powerful stories from around the world. Brené Brown and Cheryl Strayed’s work has helped to keep me grounded and connected to my why. The current political and social climate in the States influences my work quite a bit, because I am always thinking about how to use my privilege in a way that shares a deeper story or addresses a complicated subject.

In terms of photographers, I am influenced by the work of Sebastião Salgado, Imogen Cunningham, Steve McCurry, Cristina Mittermeier, Frans Lanting, Mario Gerth and many friends and peers in my community.

Marion Payr

BASED IN – Vienna, Austria

FAVOURITE LENS/CAMERA – My favourite set-up is a Canon 5D Mk III with a 24-70mm 2.8 lens

SOMETHING NO ONE ELSE KNOWS – I still don’t own an ND filter and don’t regret it so far



After a couple of years of strict #iphoneonly photography I finally tried a camera again. Jump ahead a few years: I quit my office job in 2016, became a full-time travel photographer and now travel with some heavy duty photo equipment (although I still firmly believe technology is the least important part of photography).


Stay true to your vision and don’t get influenced by trends too much. I’m working on my Lightroom presets all the time and am not where I want to be yet, but tend to go light on my edits and keep true to reality.

Also stop looking at Instagram trends! No, in all honesty – I love Instagram and how it helped me develop my interest in photography. But it’s also a curse sometimes as trends get replicated way too much and it feels like the hunt for likes makes it hard to escape those mechanisms. So the most important bit is to find your own unique voice and stay true to your aesthetic and point of view.


I only had a brief encounter with a leopard at Erindi, so this remains on my wishlist – and although I’m in Myanmar right now, there is no chance to really see a tiger here (there are some left, but elusive doesn’t begin to describe it). Landscape wise I’m thinking a combination of mountains and ocean like Hawaii or Flores should be my next destination.

Naude Heunis

BASED IN – Cape Town South Africa

FAVOURITE LENS/CAMERA – My go to camera is the Canon 1DX Mii paired with the Canon 24-70 f2.8

SOMETHING NO ONE ELSE KNOWS – This one time I had to fight off a great white shark in the cold Atlantic waters of Cape Town. I won! Just joking, I am left handed!

INSTAGRAM HANDLE – @naudewashere


My favourite place to visit for filming and photography is definitely Namibia. The way the landscape and animals change through the seasons is something very unique to witness and you can’t find that kind of drastic changes in any other landscape.

I still want to photograph the gorillas in the Congo and The black panthers in India.


Always shoot with post production in mind. When I take a photo or film something, I already have a good idea of how I want to manipulate the image before I press the button.

If you would like to do photography as a career, be prepared to work extremely hard. Set your goals and make sure you are always practicing, reading, learning to craft your style and develop an eye for moments.


My standout moment as a filmmaker and photographer was definitely the first time I worked with Nat Geo. It set me off on a path to create films and images about the beauty of this plant and the people doing good things for it.

Kyle Mijlof

BASED IN – Cape Town South Africa

FAVOURITE LENS/CAMERA – Canon 6D Mark2, A Tamron 15-30mm lives on my camera and is my go to, but my favorite lens for wildlife is the Canon 200-400mm F4



I think the moment I knew I was going to be a photographer, I was working in Mali, West Africa, documenting music festivals for 6 months. While there a rebellion broke out and I was told there were two military aircrafts leaving that we needed to get on, one to Dakar, Senegal and the other Nairobi, Kenya. So Kenya it was, as it was closer to home. On the flight the pilot banked the plane as we flew over mount Kilimanjaro and I managed to get a super rare image of the carter lake at the summit which later went on to be my first image published in Nat Geo.


Hands Down Namibia, Landscapes and wildlife is so raw and real, it’s like nowhere else on this planet.

There is an island chain in Micronesia called Palau, where a freshwater lake full of jellyfish are the dominant species, so they have lost their stings. I would love to document that and also a little closer to home, in Gabon, I would love to capture the elephants that swim in the ocean.


Shoot, shoot and shoot some more. Take the free jobs as everytime you push that shutter all you are doing is evolving your photographic eye, I have been shooting for 8 years and am still learning everyday.

Also use Lightroom.

It has helped me get my images out to clients so fast and also the ability to apply a grade to all images makes the workflow super fast and more time for you to be out in the field shooting.

Travel Namibia North to South