Salma Shah has emerged as the winner of the top prize in the Eye in the Wild photography competition by Mabati Rolling Mills (MRM). Ms. Shah won Overall Gold prize for her piece that showed how a common papaya tree can influence environmental beauty and support wildlife.

She won Ksh. 350,000 beating 538 entries that had been submitted into the competition. Salome Tarus was the Silver Winner and received Ksh. 250,000 while Abdulrahman Mutuma took the Bronze Award with a prize money of Ksh. 150,000.

Richard Kariuki, an outdoor photographer, won The People’s Choice Award with his photo that depicted a new shoot growing over a felled tree garnering 3,820 unique votes from the public. James Wando also stood out and scooped the Best Under-18 Award. Both received a new Nikon D3500 camera.

During the awards gala, guests and winners planted over 200 indigenous trees at the Karura Forest.

Speaking at the gala, Andrew John Heycott, Mabati Rolling Mills CEO said, “All the photos submitted captured the stark contrast of Kenya’s immense beauty and the devastating impact of climate change and deforestation. As we celebrate today’s winners, may this be a reminder of the work needed to restore and conserve Kenya’s forest cover”.

The judging process this year focused on four main criteria – expression of theme, creativity, composition and photographic quality – and was overseen by a panel of three judges with vast photographic knowledge.

Commenting on the judging process, Gurchorpran Roopra, wildlife photographer and judge said, “We were looking for photographers who best highlighted the beauty in nature and the impact of climate change and we are happy with the talent we saw from all entries”.

The photography competition by MRM is in its second year and last year it was held under the theme Stop the Chop. Last year’s theme was aimed at creating awareness on the dwindling forest cover in Kenya and the importance of conservation.

The top 20 finalists will all attend a photography masterclass with a Nikon expert to learn more about nature photography.