KUALA LUMPUR: Spending three hours on a shaky boat under the scorching hot sun to photograph birds paid off for New Straits Times photographer Mikail Ong, when his pictures bagged the top prize at the Penang Press Club’s 18th Tan Sri Lim Gait Tong Awards 2022, on Wednesday night.
The 42-year-old photographer bagged the first prize in the Feature Photography Award category and took home RM1,000 for his excellent photojournalism piece titled, ‘Migratory Shorebirds Return’.
Ong, based in the New Straits Times Press’ (NSTP) Penang bureau, also won another RM500 for a Commendation Award he received for a front cover photo titled, ‘One Tonne of Apathy Every Day’.
Speaking about the win, an overjoyed Ong attributed his win to NST photo department chief, Effendy Rashid, who assigned him to shoot the migratory birds at the shores of Penang island.
He also thanked the Penang Municipal Council (MPPP) for accommodating his request to photograph the birds.
“I got a call from my boss asking me to check out this phenomenon happening at the shores. This was actually the first time that I was going to photograph birds.
“I contacted the MPPP and asked them if I could follow their bird-shooting unit on their boat to take some photos. Thankfully they were willing and I got on the boat with them.
“We traveled a fair distance and waited until the flock of birds flew in. It was not easy to get a proper shot from the boat and we had to wait patiently for the right moment to shoot.
“It was quite an experience,” he said recalling the moment he took the photographs in April last year.
Ong said his hard work paid off with the award and recognition.
“I feel very proud and happy. This achievement is not only mine, it belongs to the company, my bosses at the NST, my family, MPPP and fellow photographers from here,” he said.
The experienced photographer, who hails from Penang, already has a string of accolades under his belt including the Anugerah Photo Bomba dan Penyelamat Putrajaya, Anugerah Pendukung Seni (Media) 2023, Anugerah Seni Budaya 2023 and many others over the last 13 years. – NST Online