The countryside through our readers’ eyes and lenses. Here are this month’s four winning entries in our photographic competition.
If you missed our May winners, you can find them here.
This month’s Image Club judge
This month’s judge is Shaen Adey, a professional photographer and freelance journalist based in Cape Town. Shaen recently added a drone to her collection, which has been an exciting learning curve. She says she will always have a soft spot for wildlife and landscape images but that her lifestyle has pushed her towards extreme sports and aerial photography. It is similar to wildlife photography in many ways, she says, where precise timing, composition and excellent light all come together with a click of the button.
A R1 000 cash prize
This is a classic example of being ready for the unexpected. Willem was on a boat cruising down the Chobe River looking for birds to photograph when he spotted this hawk moth flying towards some lilies. Fortuitously he happened to have the right lens on, a Nikkor 600mm f4. He also had a 1.4 converter that increased the magnification to a whopping 840mm, enough to fill the frame. He was lucky to spot the moth starting to feed on lily nectar. But being able to manoeuvre a long lens to find a tiny creature is a serious challenge. Framing, composing, focusing and correctly exposing the image before the moth is gone a few seconds later is a massive achievement. Balancing the exposure with a high shutter speed to freeze the action, with an f-stop of f8 to create enough depth of field so that the subject matter is sharp but the background soft, was an excellent choice. Well done Willem. Your winning picture ticks all the boxes. It’s interesting, well-composed, pin-sharp and perfectly exposed.
Photographer Willem Kruger
Camera Nikon D3S camera, Nikkor 600mm f4 lens, 1.4 converter
Settings f8 at 1/4000, ISO 800
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A R750 cash prize
Getting out early in the morning has its rewards, and that’s how Michelle spotted this dew-encrusted silver marsh spider on its web. I love her angle of view, right down level with the spider. The sloping web leads the eye back to the frozen invertebrate, which is a nice touch. The contrast between the muted grey background and the colourful spider is superb and really enhances the main subject. The only improvement I would make would be to crop in a fraction and eliminate the reeds on the left, but that really is a personal choice.
Photographer Michelle Stratford von Horsten
Camera C Nikon D7200, 85mm lens
Settings f11 at 1/640, ISO 3200
A R500 cash prize
The flamingos in Walvis Bay, Namibia, are stunning subject matter and this image has been brilliantly spotted and perfectly executed. I particularly love that Jason has singled out a bird to focus on. The composition is strong, with the bird resting on the third’s line and moving into the picture. Using a 1/1000 shutter speed he has frozen the action of the bird running while the low f-stop, in this case f5.6, reduced the depth of field leaving a subtle hint of the flock in the distance. I cannot harp on enough about the benefits of photographing in either early morning or late afternoon light, when the quality of light paints rich, soft images like this one.
Photographer Jason Kandume
Camera Canon EOS-1D X Mark II, 400mm lens
Settings f5.6 at 1/1000, ISO 1000
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A R250 cash prize
Placing a macro lens on the camera and focusing in on small creatures is always rewarding. The subtle yellow tips on the plant accentuate the yellow of the seed bug. The composition is excellent: the bug sits on the third’s line, as does the focal point of the plant. Using an f-stop of f7.1 has reduced the depth of field, which in this case draws more attention to the main subject. The bug is crispy sharp, with the background protea gradually fading out as your eye moves further away. The combination of elements comes together nicely, resulting in the brightly coloured bug jumping off the page.
Photographer Haig Fourie
Camera Canon EOS 7D, 180mm lens
Settings f7.1 at 1/2000 sec, ISO 250
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.