See the countryside through our readers’eyes and lenses. Here are August’s four winning entries in our photographic competition.
‘This is surely the epitome of country life’, writes Haggis in his entry.
And that it surely is, capturing as it does the fantastic and unexpected sight of Dirk van Rensburg’s Junkyard Blues in Calvinia, Northern Cape.
The image certainly is enough to change the mind of anyone who thinks that nothing much happens in the platteland. Photographically, it’s dream light that you get when there’s soft cloud cover – no harsh shadows and difficult contrasts that are the clear-day problems under an African sun.
And can you imagine being there to relish that glistening aftermath of a Karoo rain? Of course, the finishing touch is the darling quizzical dog, standing guard at the gates to shoppers heaven, giving the once over as he decides whether Haggis may enter. I think his answer is yes.
PHOTOGRAPHER Haggis Black
Camera Nikon D800, 24-70mm lens at 24mm
Settings f8.5 at 1/160 sec ISO 200
What a surprise to discover that this image titled Silk Painting Sunset wasn’t taken while Florian was flying in low over the ocean somewhere in Indonesia.
Indeed, what we have here is a vision of the giant sun sinking behind the mountains outside Lüderitz in Namibia. Florian was about 100km away from the range when he took the shot with his long lens, which always creates a far softer effect than does a wide-angle lens.
It also plays tricks with distance, and appears to bring the mountains closer, while through a wide-angle lens they would appear much further away. The result is a beautiful image, a dreamscape, what could be a watercolour painting of serene brushstrokes beneath a burning sky.
Photographer Florian Breuer
Camera Canon EOS 40D, EF70-200mm lens at 200mm
Settings f4 at 1/100 sec, ISO 100
Good Morning! is Hilda’s title for this utterly charming portrait of a Pearl-spotted Owlet at the Dalkeith waterhole, taken on the way to Mata Mata in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park.
What an adorable, perky, morning face (and having what looks like an awful lot to say)and how clever to have found such brilliant camouflage. Yes, there’s masses of luck needed to capture moments such as this, but Hilda was at the ready with the perfect portrait lens, a 500mm, to keep the depth of field shallow and allow the little creature to ‘pop’ out of it’s similar-coloured background.
The composition is excellent, with the owlet in the right third of the picture. If the image had just had the creature on the left looking to the right – so much easier on the human eye to move from left to right – it would have been perfect.
Photographer Hilda le Roux
Camera Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF500mm
Settings f5.6 at 1/640 sec, ISO 1600
Oh you clever little chap, settled as you are into your perch for a relaxing snack (and a lazy look-out on the world beneath you). It’s a gorgeous image of a four-striped grass mouse, an excellent composition that sees all the corners and thirds of the frame filled with just the right amount of mouse, grass and background.
Ilna was on her way from Mata Mata to Nossob and stopped for some refreshment herself (in 49° heat) and was luckily armed with her zoom lens when she spied this creature. With her lens at 400mm she took a faultless Mouse on Lunchbreak image. The warm colour scheme only adds to this golden moment.
Photographer Ilna Booyens
Camera Canon EOS 7D Mark II, EF100-400mm lens at 400mm
Settings f6.6 at 1/2500 sec, ISO 400