Five minutes with Wildlife Photographer of the Year finalist Wim van der Heever

2015-12-08 20:00 - Louzel Lombard
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Cape Town - The Wildlife Photographer of the Year (WPY) award for 2015 has been announced, and with it a collection of 100 photographs that will travel the world in the next couple of months. 

In this exhibition, 13 photographs from six South African photographers were included.

And, for the first time ever, a father and son have been chosen as finalists in the same year, for one WPY exhibition.

The father and son entrants are South Africans Wim and Juan van der Heever.

SEE: SA father and son duo make history in UK's 51st Wildlife Photographer of the Year Exhibition

Wim's finalist image titled 'The Final Leap' (seen below) and his son Juan's image titled 'Battle of the Bee-eaters' were commended in the WPY exhibition in the Mammals category, and Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year category for photographers 15 – 17 years old, respectively.

After attending the gala event at the Natural History Museum in London this year, Wim wrote on his blog saying, "Juan, you make me the proudest dad on the planet".

Traveller24 caught up with Wim (WvdH) at the opening night of the WPY 2015 exhibition at the V&A Waterfront and asked him to share a few photography secrets...

Traveller24: What’s the best gadget(s) a photographer can have?

WvdH: There are so many - I think one of the gadgets that has really given me more options in my photography is a hole bunch of PocketWizards. I use them to set off cameras and flashes remotely. Very cool gadgets! I have 6 of them and want 10 more!!!

The Final Leap
Wim van der Heever
WPY Finalist, Mammals

Where is your favourite place to shoot in SA? And also internationally?
WvdH: In SA I really like Elephant Plains Game Lodge which is situated in the Sabi Sands. This is the best leopard destination in the world… period! I have done some of my best photography here. Internationally its difficult, I enjoy Japan, Brazil, Scotland, Himalayas etc, for various reasons. I guess I just really enjoy wild places…globally!

What’s your opinion on Instagram photography?
WvdH: It’s great you spread the word of photography through social media. Embrace it or get left behind!


Describe the best photographic experience you’ve had. 

WvdH: Difficult… but my months of hard training to get into shape to go in search of WILD Snow Leopard in the Himalayas has to be the most incredible journey and experience for me. It was an epic trip with some of the best photography ever. Lots of hardship but in the end it was all worth it..!

Want to see all 100 Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2015 photos for yourself? Here are the exhibition details:

The exhibition will be in Cape Town until 15 April at the and from there it will move onto Johannesburg in May and Durban later in 2016.

Cape Town venue:
Chavonnes Battery Museum, Clocktower, V&A Waterfront

Every Wednesday evening from 18:00 - 20:00, on ‘Wildlife Wednesdays’, the exhibition will host a wildlife photographer presenting their work and inspiring an audience with their stories and photographs from the field.

R100 Adult
R50 Students (With valid student card)
R60 Seniors (60+ ID required)
R50 Children (6-16 yrs)
R240 Family (2 Adults + 2 Children)

Johannesburg and Durban venues:

Buy tickets here.