Spring 2023 Competition Winner

As the days became longer and new life emerged in the landscape, thousands of you celebrated Spring by sharing your favourite images. It was one of our busiest competitions, with some spectacular images. However, we have now chosen our favourite photographs and can reveal the winning photos.

The overall winning image is a fantastic, almost magical, image taken by Adrian Alim.

a squirrel smelling dandelions

© Adrian Alim | Sony α7R II + FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS | 1/125s @ f/2.8, ISO 250

“I took the image in our garden. I noticed that squirrels are always curious and cautious when they encounter something unfamiliar in a location they frequently visit. In this case, I noticed that the squirrels would sniff the dandelions and flowers, but only ever once.”

And so, an idea formed in Adrian's mind. He would wait for a squirrel to come along and sniff the new dandelions and explore them.

“Thankfully, this particular squirrel was young and new to our garden. It spent a few seconds longer than usual smelling the flowers.”

Adrian took the image with his Sony Alpha 7R II with a FE 70-200mm f/2.8 G Master lens. The focal length of the zoom lens allowed Adrian to maintain a good working distance away from the squirrel so he wouldn’t scare them off. “It is beneficial as squirrels are often skittish, and some may run away from the slightest of movements,” says Adrian.

After pressing the shutter, Adrian couldn't wait to see what he had captured. The young squirrel's playfulness gave Adrian a few seconds longer than he expected, and thanks to being able to see exactly what he was about to capture through his Sony Alpha's electronic viewfinder, he knew he had caught a great shot.

“I felt a rush of happiness and satisfaction. It's always rewarding to capture a moment perfectly and the way you imagined it.”

As the winner of the competition, Adrian will be receiving a Sony Alpha 7 IV, and there is, of course, one feature, in particular, he is looking forward to using…

My squirrel photography sessions will be taken to a whole new level! I'm looking forward to using the Animal Eye autofocus feature; this will undoubtedly give me an enhanced and smoother shooting experience.”
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Jonas Hafner and his Spring inspired portrait were awarded second place.

portrait of a lady surrounded by pink paper

© Jonas Hafner | Sony α7R III + FE 50mm f/1.2 GM | 1/1000s @ f/2.0, ISO 100

“The German surname of the model in my photo can be translated as ‘flower stem’ into English, so I chose to put spring flowers on her face.” Jonas says.

It is a playful, colourful, and bright image that came from a moment of creative inspiration.

“I wanted to do a portrait shoot with temporary tattoos. It was tricky to spread them evenly and aesthetically, but in the end, we all were happy with the results. I used scissors to cut a hole in coloured cardboard which later would frame her, and I shot it with my Sony Alpha 7R III and FE 50mm f/1.2 G Master lens, using available light. The most challenging part wasn't taking the pictures but to get the stickers off after shooting.

It's always a wonderful feeling when a creative idea comes to life. So, I was thrilled to see the images on my camera screen and even more overwhelmed when I saw them in full resolution back home.”

As runner-up, Jonas has won a Sony FE 135mm f/1.8 G Master lens, which he plans to use to shoot more portrait images.


Finally, in third place is Bas Oosterom's (@oosterombas) peaceful image of a Blue-headed Wagtail perched high up in a stunning field of yellow tulips.

a blue headed wagtail in a field of yellow tulips

© Bas Oosterom | Sony α7 III + FE 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 G OSS | 1/1250s @ f/6.3, ISO 500

“I was looking for some nice pictures of the Dutch tulip fields on the Dutch isle Goeree-Overflakkee, a nice view every Spring. I saw some blue-headed Wagtails flying around in one of the fields with yellow flowers. Often, they came back to the same spot, so I sat down and waited for a while, and luckily one of them landed on the high tulip between the others and started singing. With my Sony Alpha 7 III and FE 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 G OSS lens, I could capture this wonderful yellow scene I had dreamed of shooting for several years.”

Bas will receive a Sony FE 20-70mm f/4 G lens as a prize.

It is an incredible lens. I look forward to using it to capture amazing landscapes. The wider focal length of 20mm, compared to the 24-70mm lens, will be very useful for my landscape photography.”

We can't wait to see what our winners capture with their new prizes.

If you want to be in with a chance of winning a future Sony Alpha Universe competition, make sure you follow our Instagram account, @alphauniversebysony.eu

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