By the Turkish Wiki Loves Earth team
Team of the first WLE in Turkey was expecting not more than 500 photos uploaded during the contest. At the end of the submission period, the jury had a task to select winners among over 3600 beautiful photos from all over Turkey!
“When the herd of horses runs, you feel the Earth shaking”, — Ömerali Şenakaylı. His photo of the Mount Erciyes and horses running through wetland won the third prize of the first WLE in Turkey.
Let’s find out the story behind this photo!
This photo was taken in the area between Mount Erciyes, the highest mountain of Central Anatolia, and the world-known historical Cappadocia region. It captures Mount Erciyes, a small Hörmetçi village on the foothills of the mountain and semi-wild horses running through a wetland. Ömerali went there with two other photographers in February 2019 and met Ali who raises semi-wild horses (they are used by farmers during summer and left to nature during winter). When the author took this photo, he felt like there was an earthquake: “When the herd of horses run, you feel the Earth shaking. We were all in mud up to our knees and mesmerized by the sunset”.
This photo is being used in some Wikipedia articles now. The photographer always reads Wikipedia and signed up during the pandemic period. Taking part in WLE became his first contribution, and now he is willing to share more of his photos to promote the beauty of Turkey. (In this sense, Ömerali’s story is common. Wiki Loves Earth is a powerful tool for attracting new users to Wikimedia projects; in some countries, up to 90-95% participants are newbies who registered after the competition start).
Şenakaylı emphasizes it was clear that WLE is not only about sharing good photos, but about increasing awareness on the protection of nature heritage sites, and this was very important to him. He believes that the Wikipedia community, which creates such a popular and big knowledge source, is also effective in promoting protected areas. But as a nature lover who does camping frequently, he has concerns about problems that might arise with raising popularity of these areas.
“This contest shows us how precious our planet is”, – Murat Özçelik, the first prize winner of WLE in Turkey. His photo captures a bird paradise Eber Lake located in the Central Anatolian region.
The photographer says it’s one of the most precious natural treasures of the place he lives in: “Eber Lake is a valuable wetland for our country with its reeds, fishermen and diversity of birds. We must do our best to keep our lake alive”. Murat founded a photography association in the region back in January 2014. Since then, he organized many photo trips to the lake with fellow members to capture its beauty at different seasons and make the lake known better. Thanks to such efforts, Eber Lake became a popular destination for photographers and nature-lovers in recent years. The winning photo was shot in 2017 with a drone. Murat says that technological innovations, which allow transition from analogue to digital photography, give him the opportunity to capture views he dreamed of and this photo is a good example. The drone allowed him to capture the lake, Mount Emir, the fisherman on his way home and the sky reflected in still water at the same frame.
Murat is a Wikipedia reader and sees it as one of the most valuable and reliable sources. He was not a contributor before the contest, but now many language editions of Wikipedia illustrate the Eber Lake with this lovely photo.
The photographer shared his thoughts and feelings about WLE: “Wiki Loves Earth doesn’t only make protected areas more visible, but also shows us how precious our planet is. After seeing photos uploaded during the contest people might recognize and appreciate the natural beauty nearby and say “how I was not aware of such beauty before”. I hope the interest in the contest will continue to grow over the years, and the number of such activities will increase to raise awareness and love to nature as well as promoting and protecting it”.
Find the full list of finalists of WLE in Turkey — https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Commons:Wiki_Loves_Earth_2020/Winners#Turkey.
Check out local winners of other countries — https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Commons:Wiki_Loves_Earth_2020/Winners.