The countryside through our readers’ eyes and lenses. Here are this month’s four winning entries in our photographic competition.
When many of the elements of composition and design enter the playing field, it is the prime one – light – that creates mood and impact. Nature’s colours, strong lead-in lines, balance and an arresting centre of interest on the top third line all combine to compose a strikingly beautiful landscape of the canola fields near Napier in the Overberg.
But add that strange golden light that has photographers gasp for breath and you have a winner worthy of a COUNTRY LIFE cover.
The giant egret, photographed at Kleinemonde in the Eastern Cape, leaps into the air and becomes as elegant and graceful as a swan.
I can almost hear the strands of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake amplifying the joy of this beautiful photograph. Good choice of shutter speed to freeze the action, allowing just slight motion blur in the wing tips. By placing the bird to the left of the frame the photographer also makes good use of the negative space. This is the stuff that bird photographers dream about.
The magic of the long lens. Strong telephoto lenses allow wildlife photographers to get real close and personal and fill the frame with the subject., such as in this image taken at Okaukuejo waterhole in Etosha National Park, where a massive herd of elephants had come down to the waterhole for a drink. And two is always better than one – that is with elephants of course.
The translation into black and white enhances this photo, accentuates the textures and takes the image into the genre of fine art.
Patience and anticipating the decisive moment are two qualities of a good wildlife photographer and, in this instance, delivering an image with a surprising cute factor: a huge male lion humouring a cheeky cub, taken at Chudoba waterhole near Namutoni camp in Etosha National Park.
Even more than portraits, images of animal behaviour and communication have added spectator value. Good use of shallow depth of field ensures that the background does not detract from this unique moment.
This month’s judge is Anita de Villiers, a professional photographer and freelance photojournalist. Anita has a diploma in photography, teaches photography and runs wildlife and fine art photography workshops. Anita views technical excellence and the ‘rules’ of composition as the first steps in exploring this dynamic medium, and believes the uniqueness of a photographer’s image is what communicates visually. Bend the rules, play with light, capture the emotion of a decisive moment to venture into the world of expressive imaging. www.anitadevilliers.co.za