The countryside through our readers’ eyes and lenses. Here are this month’s four winning entries in our photographic competition.
If you missed our August 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. Her photography has taken her to some splendid places, which are not only documented in pictures, but etched in her mind. “Life is what you make of it while carrying a bag of Canons,” Shaen says. She recently added a drone to her collection, which has been an exciting learning curve. Shaen’s advice to new photographers is, take your intuitive image, then, if time allows, stop for a second and think about how to improve on what you have just captured. Play with your angle of view, exposure, and depth of field. Top tip from Shaen, and something many photographers are shy of, is go in closer. Unless the surroundings enhance the image, crop tight.
A R1 000 cash prize
The comings and goings of the Cape Gannets on Bird Island in Lambert’s Bay are a bit like Heathrow on a busy day. It’s
never still or quiet. And once you overcome the initial assault on the nose, the hide is a top spot for photographing gannets and their shenanigans. This is exactly what Braeme did, and he was rewarded for his patience when this gannet waddled into his frame. I particularly love the low angle of view and the use of a long lens to fill the frame. Powerful stuff. The picture is also sharp and there are no distractions lurking in the background. Best of all is the emotion he has captured as this rather chuffed looking gannet carries its find.
Photographer Braeme Holland
Camera Canon 5D Mark IV, Canon 500mm f4 lens
Settings f8 at 1/3200, ISO 500
A R750 cash prize
Sometimes the unexpected happens. Stu was photographing sunbirds when he spotted this beautiful chameleon at an aloe nursery in Hartebeespoort Dam. I love that he thought out of the box and decided to stick with his 300mm and 2x converter, rather than automatically reach for a macro lens. Using the longer lens and a limited f-stop of f7.1 reduces the depth of field, leaving the head sharp and nothing else. Stu sums up his photographic views in his note to us. “If you don’t experiment, your work becomes predictable.” Yes, it’s easy to stagnate. My suggestion would be to crop on the left of the picture and go in slightly tighter on the subject. This is even something that can be done post production. Lastly, there is nothing more beautiful than the rich light of early morning or late afternoon, which in this case has truly complemented the yellow flowers.
Photographer Stu Bowie
Camera Canon 1D Mark IV, Canon 300mm f2.8mm lens, 2X converter
Settings f7.1 at 1/1000 sec, ISO 800
A R500 cash prize
Amanda has frozen a magical moment in the life of a small creature. It’s not just about being in the right place at the right time, it’s about actually seeing what most of us miss every day, the small things in life. Amanda happened to be watering her garden when she spotted this snail at her pond. Her choice to set her f-stop at f11 was a good one, as both the snail and its reflection are sharp and yet the bank is out of focus. I would have touched up a few of the spots in the image, but understand that not everyone has access to software like Photoshop or Lightroom. To be honest, these spots are a mystery to me. I zoomed in on them and noticed many are doubles, so some are not dust specs on the sensor but could possibly be lens flare (light reflected and scattered inside the lens). Not a technically perfect shot but interesting nonetheless.
Photographer Amanda van Blerk
Camera Nikon D7200, Sigma 18-250mm macro lens
Settings f11 at 1/60 sec, ISO 400
A R250 cash prize
Not bad for a beginner, in fact Melanie said she was still learning to use her camera when she captured this image, hence the auto-exposure setting. The timing is brilliant, though. She pressed the shutter just as Zoey, her young whippet, leapt over a dip in the path, capturing her fully airborne. I would have liked the man in the background to be towards one side and not directly in line with Zoey, but at least the depth of field is minimal so he is less of a distraction.
Photographer Melanie Nortje
Camera Canon EOS 1100D, Sigma 70-300mm lens
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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.