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, Dale Morris was tasked with the judging duties. Here are the top four prize winners with Dale’s thoughts.
First prize (R1 000 cash prize)
I like the way Werner has used the sun as a focal point for this image of quiver trees, taken at Bloedkoppie in the Namib-Naukluft National Park, and has created a starburst by using a very narrow depth of field. Converting to monochrome also makes this picture a winner, although I might have chosen a slightly lower angle to cut out some of the dead space of the sky and give a little more profile to the tree. All in all, this would look good on a wall.
- Photographer: Werner Reyneke
- Camera: Nikon D700, 24-70mm lens at 24mm
- Settings: f22 at 1/125 sec, ISO 200
Second prize (R750 cash prize)
Alta’s photograph of an elephant at sunset, taken at Okaukuejo in Etosha National Park, does a good job of capturing a moving subject during challenging lighting conditions. The flag-like composition of the background, with its horizontal strips, works very well. So does the placement of the elephant in the frame – it has ‘space’ to walk into rather than being slap-bang in the middle of the shot.
- Photographer: Alta Pretorius
- Camera: Nikon D3100, 55-200mm lens at 112mm
- Settings: f6.3 at 1/160sec, ISO 400
Third prize (R500 cash prize)
I love the yin-yang feel of this photograph. A Black Heron and a Little Egret, back to back, forming an image that is all about symmetry and opposites. It’s a very simple image and not at all technical regarding the photography side of things, but simple images can often be beautiful. I might have preferred the framing to be square, which could very well have added a more ‘even’ and balanced feel to the photo’s symmetrical properties.
- Photographer: Dawid Fourie
- Camera: Canon Powershot SX50IS
- Settings: f/5.6 at 1/640 sec, ISO 80
Fourth prize (R250 cash prize)
This image of veld fires in Zambia, taken from Mana Pools National Park in Zimbabwe, works rather well when displayed as a very big image, rather than a small photo in a magazine. Johan has done an admirable job of using a slow shutter speed (presumably by mounting his camera on a tripod). The river has movement in it, the central, partially submerged vegetation is pleasing to the eye and the rule of thirds regarding the layers of interest has been applied well. Of course, the fire in the mountains is what gives this picture a story to tell. Sadly, the animals, which are what really places this photo as a wilderness shot, are a bit too blurred and ill placed in the frame to make this image great. It’s still very good though.
- Photographer: Johan Hosten
- Camera: Canon EOS 6D, 24-70mm lens at 53mm
- Settings: f6.3 at 4 sec, ISO 1000
About this month’s judge: Dale Morris, a regular contributor to COUNTRY LIFE. Born in the United Kingdom, Dale purchased a one-way ticket at the age of 18, and thus became an exceptionally well-travelled refugee. He finally put down roots but that hasn’t ended his regular photographic adventures into Southern Africa and beyond. Dale’s award-winning writing and wildlife and travel photography have been published worldwide. See his images on www.geckoeye.com
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.