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​Armed with a new camera won in a photography competition at the Joburg Zoo, an aspirant wildlife photographer has plans to pursue the art.
HIS dream of becoming a wildlife photographer is a step closer for David Preston, who was judged the winner of a photography competition held at Johannesburg Zoo.

Proud winner DavidProud winner David PrestonHis prize – which was handed over yesterday – is a Nikon D3100 camera with a 55-200mm lens, as well as a Joburg Zoo annual pass. Preston’s picture of a meerkat impressed judges, topping the 150 entries.

Speaking at the prize hand over, Preston said there were no words to describe how he felt when he was told he was the winner.

An information technology professional, he said he had developed a love for wildlife photography just four months before the competition. “I saw the competition on Facebook and I thought to myself, let me try it out. I came to the zoo, took a couple of pictures, and I chose the best.”

He was drawn to photography as photographs lasted forever and there were no two same expressions. “You miss it, it’s gone forever. You will never get the same photograph again. That’s what makes it special,” he added.

And this is not the end: Preston wants to take his photography to the next level. He wanted to be a wildlife photographer, he said, adding that if the opportunity presented itself, he would grab it. Already a regular visitor to the zoo – he comes every weekend – he said he would now use his annual pass to its fullest and come at any time to take more pictures of animals. Preston lives in the south of Johannesburg.

David PrestonZoo CEO Stephen van der Spuy presents David Preston with his prizeAmong those at the prize giving was the zoo’s chief executive officer, Stephen van der Spuy, and Sam Maletsky, the marketing co-ordinator at Nikon. Van der Spuy congratulated Preston and assured him that his picture would be displayed at the zoo for a year. He also encouraged him to continue entering other competitions at the zoo.

According to Maletsky, the aim of the competition was to draw people to the zoo and to create a passion for photography at the zoo. “The competition was held in December. We asked people to come to the zoo and take a picture and submit it,” she said.

About Preston, she added: “We feel great to have a new member in our Nikon family, his photography is great and he is excited to be a part of brand.”

Kevin Halama, of the zoo’s public relations unit, said the idea for the photography competition was born after seeing so many visitors taking picture of the animals. “We invited Nikon to come on board and it became a perfect relationship because Nikon supports a lot of wildlife initiatives,” he added.

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