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.
Let’s face it, Lady Luck certainly is a most welcome friend on wildlife photographic forays. And she sure was present when this image was captured. But patience doesn’t come that easily and this photograph must have required it by the spadeful. This combines with great composition, and a blurred background from using a long lens that makes the little bloke ‘pop’, for a brilliant result. And what a delicious catch, superbly frozen in time at that fast speed.
- Photographer: Evelyn Gibson
- Camera: Nikon D500, 80-400mm lens at 400mm
- Settings: f8 at 1/4000 sec, ISO 1000
Second prize (R750 cash prize)
Early one morning at Lake Navarone in the Southern Berg, Marlaine took her wand out of her camera bag and captured this magical, poetic scene. It’s an ode to exquisite light, so dreamy and mysterious, set in bluish mist flecked with gold. I half-expect to see fantastical creatures of the night disappearing over the dark, looming mountain, as the sunrise arrives on set. An superb picture, it has such depth, with the mountain emphasising the mist, and the brushstrokes of sun highlighting the distant trees along the water’s edge. And then comes the surreal reflection in front. Every centimetre of this image is filled with beauty and purpose.
- Photographer: Marlaine Lawrence
- Camera: Canon EOS 1200D, 75-300mm lens at 75mm
- Settings: f4 at 1/250 sec, ISO 100
Third prize (R500 cash prize)
What a dramatic shot. At the overnight hide in Zimanga Game Reserve, KwaZulu-Natal, Braeme spent many hours patiently waiting, and what a reward when these buffaloes arrived for a drink, just a few metres from where he sat. As he says, it’s a moment he will never forget. It’s a good composition – maybe just a tad less dark space on the left of the image – with great reflections. The submerged hide allowed Braeme to photograph the beasts from ground level, which just adds to the drama. And there’s such a sense of calm and stillness from these powerhouses of the bush. Perhaps they are carved in stone?
- Photographer: Braeme Holland
- Camera: Canon EOS 7D Mark II, 24-35mm at 28mm
- Settings: f2.8 at 1/30 sec, ISO 2000
Can you get cuter than this? And craftier? Are those aloes not just the perfect spot for any self-respecting speckled mousebird to recline in and get down to an afternoon of idle birdwatching? Just look at his teeny legs wedged into those flower heads. Perhaps he’s also doing some showing off, and knows full well that the golds and reds are offsetting his tum and feathers to perfection. It’s beautifully composed, pin-sharp and a long lens has created the perfect unfussy background to make our chap even more of a hero.
- Photographer: Peter van der Horst
- Camera: Canon EOS 40D, 100-400mm lens at 312mm
- Settings: f8 at 1/1000sec, ISO 400
Other entries making our favourites list this month
About this month’s judge: Julia Lloyd, 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.