The countryside through our readers’ eyes and lenses. Here are this month’s four winning entries in our photographic competition.
R1 000 cash
A great, moody atmosphere created by clouds and mist which, with the muted colours, off-centre mountain peak and the framing and quality of the container ship, make this photograph an all-round winner. It’s so simple, with lots of space, and the rule of thirds has been adhered to. Well done, Stu, for making an attractive photograph out of what is, let’s face it here, an unattractive subject. An example of seizing the moment. Lion’s Head appeared through the cloud for just a second and the photographer, on Bloubergstrand, pressed the shutter.
Photographer Stu Bowie
Camera Canon 1D Mark IV, Canon 300mm lens
Settings f6.3 at 1/3200sec, ISO 500
Okay, we have seen the photo subject of an oryx against the dunes of Namibia a thousand times before, but it’s always captivating if taken correctly (which Elmar most certainly has done, in this image taken in Sossusvlei). The layered ruby tones of the desert provide an abstract canvas on which the oryx gives context. Its placement in the bottom left third of the image brings the whole photograph together. It’s a landscape shot and a wildlife shot, and a very nice shot to boot.
Photographer Elmar Venter
Camera Canon EOS, Canon 7D 70-200 lens at 105mm
Settings f11, 1/800sec, ISO 500
The photographer was at Mabula Game Lodge in the Limpopo bushveld, taking some low-angle shots at sunset, when this Natal Spurfowl stolled into his viewfinder. Other than the distracting, blurry grass stalks obscuring part of the bird’s chest, what a lovely and unusual shot he created. The golden colours make it instantly eye-catching, as does the ‘halo’ around the bird’s head. The low angle and shallow depth of field bring your eye squarely onto the bird, whose cocked head is so quirky and cute, and makes him quite the comedic character.
Photographer Wayne Marks
Camera Canon 10D, Sigma 70-200mm lens at 200mm
Settings f2.8 at 1/500 sec, ISO 200
What can I say? It’s a cute picture of a lion cub – taken at Kwang Waterhole in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park – and we all love cute pictures of lion cubs. The aspects that help this photo stand out somewhat from the millions of other photos of cute lion cubs that I have seen so far this year is the eye contact, the nice low angle (which makes that eye contact somehow personal) and the interesting use of a square crop. It would have been even nicer if the second cub wasn’t in the frame, but he was, and wildlife photographers have to work with what nature gives them.
Photographer Jacobus de Wet
Camera Nikon D810, Nikon 300mm lens
with 1.4x converter (420mm)
Settings f5.6 at 1/1600, ISO 600
Our judge this month is 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