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, Julia Lloyd was tasked with the judging duties. Here are the top four prize winners with Julia’s thoughts.
First prize (R1 000 cash prize)
It’s an image of immense joy, of three young boys swept up in the excitement, oblivious of everything but racing their tyres. And what a setting, on this farm near Leipoldtville in the Western Cape – gorgeous, blurred wide-open space lets all the attention go straight to the heros. Nothing interferes with their action. It’s a beautifully composed photograph with the boys running left to right and all that space behind them going on forever. Clever also to hand-hold at such a slow speed and pan the camera. Even the boys are blurred, but there’s just enough of their grins and busy hands and loping feet and spinning tyres for us to feel as if we’re there with them, with the wind in our face, running our hearts out on that farm.
- Photographer: Kobus Smit
- Camera: Canon D5 MK II, Canon lens at 75mm
- Settings: f20 at 1/5 seconds, ISO 50
Second prize (R750 cash prize)
Here the composition is what makes this image excellent. The two dogs at the bottom of the left third of the image, the third dog coming in from above in the right third – it creates a diagonal line from bottom left to top right that is particularly easy on the eye. And then there are the soft colours of this misty morning shot at Maitland River Mouth in Port Elizabeth. The perfectly positioned, white dogs blend in beautifully, utterly intent, even anxious, watching every step of the way as that magical little dark head approaches. I imagine they didn’t move a muscle until he was safely back with them on land.
- Photographer: Erica Baldwin
- Camera: Samsung Galaxy SM-G920F
- Settings: f1.9 at 1/1600, ISO 40
Third prize (R500 cash prize)
Not an easy task to capture such an image, the little bee whizzing towards the camera at speed, which makes focus difficult. It’s a great portrait, with a background that is so blurred by using a long lens and a low aperture. It makes the little fella really pop out. Even at a speed of 2000 his wings are really going for it, but that just sets off his adorable little face even more. He almost looks suspended, even illustrated, the good-guy cartoon character in a movie. What adds to the image is that the photographer didn’t crop it afterwards to enlarge the bee in the frame. He left the chap tiny, in all that green, as he should be. Just one thing – a pity the bee is so centred.
- Photographer: R Dean Herrick
- Camera: Canon 600D, 55-250mm lens at 214mm
- Settings: f5.6 at 1/2000, ISO 500
Fourth prize (R250 cash prize)
Of this dramatic shot taken at Nossob in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, William is the first to say, “The fact that it struck just behind the only tree on the horizon was an extra bit of luck!” Extra? Sure there was some luck in that strike of good luck behind the tree but that’s the only bit of luck I can find. For the rest there’s strong composition, the forbidding light is perfectly captured, and the photographer has shown initiative. Great job.
- Photographer: William Konick
- Camera: Canon EOS20D, 25mm lens at 22mm
- Settings: f/7.1 at 5 secs, ISO 200
About this month’s judge: Julia Lloyd was a freelance photojournalist for COUNTRY LIFE before she joined the magazine as sub-editor. For Julia, photography is all about great light. Yes, sort out the composition, focus, emotion, action, you name it, but it’s superb light that will make an excellent photograph unforgettable. And if great light isn’t there for the taking (or making), then let’s have a picture that tells a story.
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.