The countryside through our readers’ eyes and lenses. Here are this month’s four winning entries in our photographic competition.
If you missed our October Image Club winners, click here.
This Month’s Image Club Judge
Our judge this month is Dale Morris, a regular contributor to Country Life. Born in the United Kingdom, Dale purchased a one-way ticket out, at the age of 18, and thus became an exceptionally well-travelled refugee. He finally put down roots but that hasn’t ended his regular photographic adventures into Southern Africa and beyond. Dale’s award-winning writing, and wildlife and travel photography have been published worldwide. See his images on dalermorris.com.
A R1 000 cash prize
I love the layered depth that this shot conveys. Elephants clustered around a watering hole at Punda Maria in the Kruger National Park late in the afternoon, and protective of their young, this image reflects the family dynamics of the herd. I like the way Hilda has gone for a tight crop, using the larger animals as a framing element rather than as the primary focus. By cropping out almost all of the background, the trunks and tusks of the elders draw the eye down towards the two youngsters on the bottom half of the frame. The line of water at the bottom adds context to the scene.
Photographer Hilda le Roux
Camera Canon 1DX, 500mm lens
Settings f/4 at 1/2500 sec, ISO 640
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A R750 cash prize
It’s not easy to get a low-angle shot of a leopard. You typically need to be out of the vehicle and down on the ground, which is generally not advisable when photographing predators. Michael was able to shoot at eye level from his car, as the animal headed onto a higher level of the road after a drink at a dam in Thornybush game reserve. The shallow depth of field minimises what would otherwise have been a disastrously cluttered background. It’s such a shame the animal chose not to make direct eye contact with the camera at the time Michael snapped the photo.
Photographer Michael Raddall
Camera Olympus OMD EM1 Mark II, 40-150mm lens
Settings f/5.6 at 1/1600 sec, ISO 200
A R500 cash prize
It’s the subject matter that really makes this photograph stand out – the Pearl Spotted Owlet is just so cute and appealing. Taken at the Craig Lockhart watering hole in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, the central composition, uniform tones, piercing eye contact and contextual setting of the tree bark make for a lovely image based on symmetry and simplicity. There’s too much post-processing contrast and sharpness for my taste but, nonetheless, it’s a special photo.
Photographer Verieta Knott
Camera Canon EOS, 100-400mm lens
Settings f5/6 at 1/500 sec, ISO 1000
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A R250 cash prize
Wildlife photography almost always benefits from having been taken either at an eye-level or low-level angle. Kyle has photographed this giraffe in the Kruger National Park at a low angle from a distance. With the telephoto lens and shallow depth of field, the subject ‘pops’ out of the frame. The off-centre composition also helps set a scene that anyone who has been on a game drive is familiar with – gravel roads, thorny bush and the potential for a great sighting around every corner.
Photographer Kyle Lewin
Camera Nikon D500, 600mm lens
Settings f/4 at 1/2000 sec ISO 400
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.