Skip to main content
How I got the shotShowcase

2023 Showcase Winner: Wendy Kaveney

By May 16, 2023No Comments
Quiver Tree Photo Montage (Aloe dichotoma), Quiver Tree Forest, Keetmanshoop, Namibia, 2023 Showcase Judges' Choice, Altered Reality © Wendy Kaveney

Quiver Tree Photo Montage (Aloe dichotoma), Quiver Tree Forest, Keetmanshoop, Namibia, 2023 Showcase Judges’ Choice, Altered Reality © Wendy Kaveney

Judges’ Choice: Altered Reality

Why is this photo special?

I’m fascinated with the quiver tree (‘kokerboom’ in Afrikaans). It has the appearance of a tree but is actually a succulent aloe plant (Aloidendron dichotomum). Just outside of Keetmanshoop, Namibia, is a natural forest of quiver trees. Hiking the rocky landscape among the protected quiver trees is a surreal experience. I felt that blending the environmental image of the whole plant with close up images of its detailed parts would capture and convey the wonder of my personal experience.

When I photograph nature, I am drawn to the details of my subject, always looking for a fresh perspective to engage my viewers. In the case of the iconic quiver tree, the bluish-green succulent rosettes at the ends of each branch as well as the razor-sharp peeling bark on its trunk drew me in. Each detail photo of the quiver tree makes a distinctive shot full of richness and surprise on its own. I felt that by superimposing them onto an environmental shot of the entire tree, I could effectively convey the surreal feeling of my experience and observations. I accomplished this in Photoshop with the help of blending modes to enhance the story of my subject.

The technical stuff

In September of 2013 when these images were made, I was using a Canon 5D Mark III on my Gitzo tripod. Blending modes in Photoshop were used to create this photo montage.

Photo credit: Michael Kaveney

About me

I live in Carmel, Indiana. As a part-time professional photographer, my travel and nature images are represented in the Jaynes Gallery at I have been interested in photography ever since I can remember. I became serious about photography after my husband gifted me with an Olympus OM-1 in the late 1980s, leading me to enroll in photo classes and workshops where I honed my photography skills. I have been photographing professionally ever since. My favorite subjects are nature abstracts, macro, reflections, shadows, wildlife, and travel/cultures, as well as altered reality photographs utilizing post-processing techniques and my imagination. I co-lead photo tours to Namibia, where I share my love of photography and knowledge with others. Namibia is one of my favorite photo destinations because it challenges me to photograph the full range of my favorite subjects utilizing varied photographic skill sets.

That first photography class sparked my interest in nature photography. The class explored the elements of artistic design, setting the foundation for my close observation and composition skills and, in turn, relating the design concepts to the natural world. I joined a local nature camera club, which further inspired my vision by working with other talented nature photographers. Later in my photo journey, I had the opportunity to attend a photo workshop with Freeman Patterson, who is a master of composing images using the elements of design and taking the creative process of photography to a spiritual level. His photographic vision and wisdom make him the most influential mentor in my photographic journey.

I have been a member of NANPA since 2004 and have had been fortunate to have my images recognized in Showcase numerous times over the years. This is the second year in a row in which my altered reality images have been in the Top 26 entries.

Memorable moments

Located in northern Namibia, far from civilization, The Marienfluss Conservancy in Kaokoland is one of the wildest regions of Southern Africa. I was lucky to be able to tour the region with a native guide and two other people. After a lengthy trip into the bush, we set up camp at the base of a massive hill.

Dinner was then served as a full moon rose over the hill. The moonlight began to wane during dessert, and looking up, we saw the beginning of a lunar eclipse! We quickly finished our meal and set up our gear to capture the unexpected event. At the peak of the total eclipse, the darkness revealed a stunning sky studded with the brightest stars I have ever seen! Although I made a number of images that night, it is the experience that remains with me to this day.

Instagram: @wendykaveney
Facebook: throughwendyslens

See all of the Top 26 winning images from NANPA’s 2023 Showcase nature photography competition.

Top 26

See all of the Top 250 images from the 2023 Showcase competition in the 2023 edition of  NANPA’s Expressions journal.