Stapleton resident Mike Holtby was recognized by National Geographic magazine in May for this photo of a giraffe at sunset.
Holtby took the photo at Meru National Park in Kenya in 2014. “We had been on a game drive for several hours and we were on our way back at sunset, on a dirt road,” said Holtby. “We scared up this giraffe and I shot the photo while the vehicle was in motion. I liked it right away; I love that the giraffe is running and its tail is moving. I also like the layers of color at sunset. I took it at a fast shutter speed, probably 1/2000th of a second, to capture the motion.”
National Geographic picked the photo as Best of the Week in its travel photography contest. Holtby’s photo will be among the entries from which the magazine’s Travel Photographer of the Year will be chosen in August. “This is really an honor—I mean it’s National Geographic,” Holtby said.
Holtby has photographed in 40 countries, including four safaris in Africa. “Besides Kenya, the safaris have taken me to Tanzania, Botswana, Namibia, Ethiopia and South Africa,” he said. “I take about 8,000 photos on a typical trip, many in ‘bursts’—lots of shots at once to capture motion. I end up with 100 I like and 20 that I actually use.”
He said he is fascinated by animals and feels compelled to photograph them while they are still here. “Many animals might not be around in another generation, particularly in Africa where most are threatened,” Holtby said. “I do it because my grandson might not have the opportunity to see what I’m seeing right now. I took video of a lion coming straight at me. It was breathtaking.”