Each month we enjoy seeing the countryside through our readers’ eyes and lenses. Our judge for July is our very own sub-editor Julia Lloyd. Before she joined Country Life, Julia was a freelance photojournalist for the magazine. 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.
You also might like: 7 Photography Tips for Great Light
A R1 000 voucher from Burblepix, which can be spent on photobooks, canvases and journals.
Why, hello there. What a captivating image of this dear little arum lily reed frog peeping out from his leafy perch. He looks so at ease, so lazily curious about the antics of the photographer before him. The focus is pin-sharp on the frog – where it needs to be – and the composition really is interesting. I love the splash of light on the frog and the one frond, while the rest of the leaves are in shade. And that black triangle is just what the background needs. Could it be Mr Frog’s secret hidey-hole, for when he’s finished lolling on his ‘stoep’? I think so. A little less of the right-hand side of the image and this would have been splendid.
Photographer Alex Boonzaaier
Camera Canon EOS 7D Mark II, 100mm macro lens
Settings f5.8 at 1/640 sec, ISO 100
A R750 voucher from Burblepix, which can be spent on photobooks, canvases and journals.
The bee is perfect and the iris is perfect, but it’s those out-of-focus diagonal lines in the background that take this image up a notch. Keith took this photograph in the wild-iris section of Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens in Cape Town and, instead of just capturing gorgeous pictures of gorgeous irises, he patiently waited for something of interest to move into frame. Then he went even further and froze the bee as it came in for the landing. In so doing Keith avoided ending up with a same-old same-old picture of nectar-drinking bee in trance on flower that is so much easier to capture anyway. Here I can feel the bee’s anticipation at the deliciousness that will be all his in the coming seconds. Only change for me would be to compose with the iris a bit more to the right.
Photographer Keith Young
Camera Sony SLT-A55V, 75-300mm lens at 300mm
Settings f11 at 1/800 sec, ISO 800
A R500 voucher from Burblepix, which can be spent onphotobooks, canvases and journals.
One of the finest photographs I’ve seen of autumn leaves. Leon says that Kenmo Lake in Himeville is ‘awash with magnificent colour’ in autumn, and you can imagine the view before him as he composed this image – a lake surrounded by a Maine-type scene of burnished colour in Fall. So clever, so thoughtful that Leon chose to give us this. But it’s all we need, to get a full idea of that ‘magnificence’ – a single branch of rich-red leaves, and a blurred background (which you get with a long lens) that conjures up mist and water and every colour of autumn’s rainbow. My only criticism – a little more space at the top.
Photographer Leon Heyes
Camera Canon 70D, 100-400 lens at 119mm
Settings f5.6 at 1/40 sec, ISO 200
A R250 voucher from Burblepix, which can be spent on photobooks, canvases and journals.
This shot really says everything there is to say about the need for good lighting. But to truly know just how much excellent light can lift an image, you have to imagine this vervet monkey on a flat grey day, sitting as he is under the trees, with no splashes of light. It would be just another vervet monkey shot (the composition here could be improved by having less forest on the right). Instead, Dirkie patiently waited for two hours, in the hope of finding through his lens a sublime moment when the monkey struck a pose and backlight splashed on him to perfection. And that’s exactly what happened.
Photographer Dirkie Heydenrych
Camera Nikon D800 lens 80.0-400.0 mm f/4.5-5.6 at 400mm
Settings f5.6 at 1/160 sec, ISO 400
Thank you to Burblepix for supplying us with prizes for our winners.