The countryside through our readers’ eyes and lenses.
Here are this month’s four winning entries in our photographic competition.
Did you miss our December Image Club winners? Have a look at our gallery here.
This Month’s Image Club Judge
This month’s judge is freelance photojournalist Julia Lloyd. 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
My first reaction on seeing this image was one big wow. If there’s a lesson in camera angle making a great shot, here it is. Pure drama is achieved by shooting upwards and hat’s off to Magda for doing so. Imagine the difference if she’d photographed this African Fish Eagle straight on. In fact, she could’ve done exactly that, as the bird was posing for her on his perch at the Falcon Ridge Birds of Prey rehabilitation centre in the Drakensberg, But taken like this, it’s as if he’s coming in for the ‘kill’ and Magda better beware. All the out-of-focus feathers and wings (only his face is sharp) just add to the sense of movement as he ‘swoops’ in.
Photographer Magda Ehlers
Camera Canon 7DMK2, 24-70mm lens at 70mm
Settings f/6.3 at 1/1250, ISO 200
A R750 cash prize
Well there’s certainly not going to be any messing around with this bloke, that’s for sure. The stunnng crop and angle of this image of a Pale Chanting Goshawk sitting next to the road near Addo Main Camp, has me thinking that its title should be Judgement Day. With this face glaring down at me, I’m left shaking in the dock, hoping he goes easy on the sentence. It’s an excellent, unusual photograph, and the diagonal flow from top left to bottom right is easy on the eye. But oh for a little highlight in those eyes (you know, an evil glint from Judge Goshawk), and that bit of interference in the bottom left corner should have been removed. Nevertheless, a powerful take on an imposing bird.
Photographer Johan Faasen
Camera Nikon D7200, 150-500mm lens at 400mm
Settings f6.3 at 1/400, ISO 100
A R500 cash prize
A charming image of a young impala feeding from its mother in the Kruger National Park, and one that captures the intimacy and bond between the two. Such is what you can achieve by cropping tight, which photographers are often afraid to do. Don’t be. Look at your image – even in post-production – and try a close crop. All credit to Braeme for doing this, for knowing that the mother’s face was not essential to the image. This little face, ever alert as he suckles, is all we need to see.
Photographer Braeme Holland
Camera Canon 5DMK4, 500mm lens
Settings f/5.6 at 1/1000, ISO 400
A R250 cash prize
Simplicity rules in this crisp, clean image of a chameleon posing so beautifully for Werner near Paarl mountain. Nature’s studio is what we have here. A clean backdrop (narrow depth of field with a long lens blurs the background) perfectly matches the ‘perch’, and allows the little green creature (waiting to catch the first-morning sun) to stand out. It’s uncluttered, has a gentle colour scheme, and has a good diagonal line in the chameleon and flower. Less space at the top and it would’ve been a perfect, peaceful scene.
Photographer Werner Reyneke
Camera Nikon D700 150-600mm lens at 600mm
Settings f6.3 at 1/500, 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.