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, Anita de Villiers was tasked with the judging duties. Here are the top four prize winners with Anita’s thoughts.
First prize (R1 000 cash prize)
“Run Pumbaa Run!” the viewer wants to shout. A well-executed action photograph and many a wildlife photographer would give their front teeth to have been in Sarah’s position. For this kind of shot, the fast shutter speed is all-important, and Sarah got it spot-on, freezing the movement while still capturing some blur effect in the lion’s paws and the warthog’s hoofs. The depth of field also contributes to the drama, with the two main subjects pin-sharp, while the female in the soft background becomes a menacing second motif in the action we are witnessing. Great crop. A winner.
- Photographer: Sarah Moorcroft
- Camera: Nikon D600, Sigma 150-500mm lens at 250mm
- Settings: f6 at 1/320, ISO 200
Second prize (R750 cash prize)
The luminance range of this photograph delivers a high-dynamic-range (HDR) effect, taking the image beyond the scope of what the camera’s dynamic range normally can deliver. Long exposure time plus the technique of painting with light allows Kobus to capture the night scene in a dramatic, somewhat surreal mood. Whether the colour effect is done in-camera with gels or filters, or during post-processing, it is not an issue for me – it works well for this image. The texture of the building also adds to the overall impact. A point of critique is the distracting bright light on the left. A tighter crop that eliminate as much as possible of this light, will allow the viewer’s eye to travel through the scene rather than return to this blown-out area.
- Photographer: Kobus Smit
- Camera: Canon D5 Mark II
- Settings: f5.6 at 30 sec, ISO 320
Third prize (R500 cash prize)
This photograph is far more than just another bird on a stick. Stu’s use of negative space sets it apart as an artistic portrayal of a White-bellied Sunbird. Negative space is the ‘empty’ space that surrounds the main element in a composition and it contributes greatly to the overall mood of the image. In this photograph, the soft and almost overwhelming negative space accentuates the delicacy of this tiny bird, capturing the essence of its elegant fragility. The fact that it is only the bird and aloe leaf that are pin-sharp adds to the photographic ingenuity of Stu’s image.
- Photographer: Stu Bowie
- Camera: Canon EOS-ID Mark IV, Canon 300mm with 2x converter at 600mm
- Settings: f6.3 at 1/1250, ISO 800
Fourth prize (R250 cash prize)
Connie uses a slow shutter speed to create this image that interprets the movement of the ocean in a still photograph. By slowing down the camera’s shutter speed sufficiently, the sea’s motion is blurred and an impressionistic canvas is created that captures the viewer’s attention. The ocean plays its part in creating a triangular piece of sand in the foreground while Connie uses the rule of thirds to enhance the composition. A minor suggestion is to crop slightly on the left side to eliminate the small black rock towards the back. Try to keep corners and borders clean, especially in a beautifully simplified canvas like this. I can see this printed image on the wall of a seaside house.
- Photographer: Connie Seegers
- Camera: Nikon D300, Nikkor 18-70mm at 18mm
- Settings: f22 at 6sec, ISO 200
Other entries making our favourites list this month
About this month’s judge: Anita de Villiers is 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
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.