Image Club – January 2017

Choosing our monthly winners of the Image Club competition is as exciting as it is challenging. Fortunately we can delegate the task to one of our contributing photographers. Their deftness at analysing images is always educational and fun.

This month, Shaen Adey was tasked with the judging duties. Here are the top four prize winners with Shaen’s thoughts.

First prize (R1 000 cash prize)

I’m often drawn to pictures that say more than just the picture and, in this case, the rhino at an Etosha waterhole is literally caught in the spotlight. Isolated against the dark background, and frozen still, the rhino’s vulnerability seems to be highlighted. One could say the pile of dung in front of the rhino is part of the ‘big picture’ but I personally find it a bit of a distraction, so I’d tone it down a little in Photoshop or Lightroom. Great shot, well done Evelyn.

  • Photographer: Evelyn Gibson
  • Camera: Nikon D500, 80-400mm lens at 102mm
  • Settings: f7.1 at 1/160, ISO 1600
Second prize (R750 cash prize)

A wonderful combination of moody light and good composition makes this a magical picture, taken from a boat on the Chobe River in Botswana. This classic picture follows the most well-known ‘rule’ of photographic composition – the rule of thirds – where points of interest intersect with the strongest points of the frame and create well-balanced images. The low angle of view with unsharp foreground is also well thought out, and keeps the eye focused on the elephants. Pleasing to the eye is the space the elephants have to walk into, with the juvenile bringing up the rear, holding a stick in its trunk as many a kid might do. I’m left wanting to be there.

  • Photographer: David Owen
  • Camera: Nikon D4, 600mm lens
  • Settings: f4 at 1/1000, ISO 500
Third prize (R500 cash prize)

This close-up shot of a pack of wild dogs – taken at Thanda Private Game Reserve in KwaZulu-Natal, before Thanda relocated to Botswana – at a kill really captures what it’s like to watch such an amazing interaction in nature. The insane look in the main dog’s eyes enhances the impact of this feeding frenzy. The image is so powerful I can almost hear them tearing away at the carcass. But although ‘raw’, it’s not too gory, so won’t put viewers off.

  • Photographer: Kyle Lewin
  • Camera: Nikon D5100, 55-200mm lens at 165mm
  • Settings: f8 at 1/1600, ISO 2000
Fourth prize (R250 cash prize)

Capturing a bird in full flight is no easy undertaking, but getting the picture crispy sharp is quite an achievement. Most of today’s cameras have fast autofocus sensors as well as predictive focus tracking systems, but it still takes practise to keep a moving subject in the frame. If the sensor loses the subject for a fraction of a second it will track onto something else and the moment is lost, so well done Ryan. The head-on view enhances the power of this picture and there is still enough space for the Thick-billed Weaver to fly into.

  • Photographer: Ryan Ramsamy
  • Camera: Canon EOS 70D, 400mm lens
  • Settings: f5.6 at 1/2000, ISO 320 at 1/200, ISO 320

About this month’s judge: Shaen Adey, a regular contributor to COUNTRY LIFE. When she’s not roaming around with her camera and binoculars in the Namibian or Cape wildernesses, Shaen can be found hanging off mountains, scuba diving or cycling long stretches of open road. A professional photographer and photojournalist, Shaen has logged up countless hours capturing wildlife, extreme sports and lifestyle topics. And, lucky woman, she gets to call all the fun she has doing it, work.

How are your photography skills? Can you take pictures like these winning photographs for our Image Club competition? There is prize money to be won and exposure in the magazine. Who knows, your image may even make the cover of one of our upcoming magazine issues! To submit an entry of your own, fill in our entry form here.

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