The countryside through our readers’ eyes and lenses. Here are this month’s four winning entries in our photographic competition.
If you missed our March winners, you can find them here.
This month’s Image Club judge
This month’s judge is 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.
A R1 000 cash prize
This moment has been frozen quite brilliantly. What a treasure to keep. The composition is superb, the colours are perfect, and a long lens at f8 has blurred the background so that our two heroes, the Great Warriors of the Waterhole, are all there is to focus on. The juvenile Bateleur was having a marvellous bit of quiet time at the Cubitje Quap waterhole in the Kgalagadi when the Secretarybird flew in and ruined everything. According to Peter, the Secretarybird marched up to the juvenile Bateleur and seemed to ask him, in no uncertain terms, what on earth he was doing at his waterhole. A staring bout ensued and after a short while the Secretarybird lept on the bateleur and summarily evicted him.
Photographer Peter McIntyre
Camera Nikon D500,200-400mm lens at 400mm
Settings f8 at 1/100 sec, ISO 400
A R750 cash prize
Oh, you beautiful bokkie. And what a story lies behind this striking and unusual image. Bokkie (the actual name of the little springbok) was rescued as an abandoned baby on the farm Kuboesberg outside Nieuwoudtville, where he has been cared for ever since, and is now almost a year old. “He loves visitors, likes walking all over the farm, and enjoys his head being scratched,” says Tracey. “He also occasionally is let out to join other springbok when they come to drink, but always returns to the farm”. Tracey darkened the background to remove some distraction which is just what this portrait needs. It would’ve been perfect if Bokkie had strong catchlight in his eyes.
Photographer Tracey Goldschagg
Camera Canon PowerShot SX70, lens at 52mm
Settings f5.6 at 1/160 sec, ISO 100
A R500 cash prize
Sure we receive many entries of wildlife drinking at a waterhole, in fact there’s rarely a month when there isn’t such an entry. But this here, taken in Kruger, is an example of getting it just right. It’s an excellent composition, the reflection is gorgeous and (hooray!) the photographer got down to the level of the monkey to take the shot. Take another look at this image and imagine the lack of impact if the photographer had captured this while standing and aiming down. And then there’s the cute factor. Not possible to resist. The monkey even seems aware of the photographer, and has stopped drinking. Look how still the reflection is.
Photographer Braeme Holland
Camera Canon 5DMK4, 500mm lens
Settings f6.3 at 1/3200 sec, ISO 640
A R250 cash prize
If it wasn’t for the crop of this image it might have come much higher up in this month’s competition. Willem enters Image Club quite often and is an excellent photographer, and this shot of a pair of Southern Masked Weavers fighting to establish domination just cements that fact. Using a long lens, his focus is on the button, plus it’s in low, late-afternoon light. Not easy when you’re shooting such rapidly moving subject matter. And the yellow is stunningly contrasted against the dark background. All that is needed to turn this into a number one image is some post cropping. Less black on the left and right, and let’s have a vertical frame.
Photographer Willem Kruger
Camera Nikon Z6, 600mm lens
Settings f14 at 1/6400 sec, ISO 1000
How to enter
Think you can do better? Have you got a couple travel pics of the countryside that you’d like to share with us? Then head over to our Image Club entry form and throw your hat in the ring. Who knows? You might just be our next winner.