The countryside through our readers’ eyes and lenses.
Here are this month’s four winning entries in our photographic competition.
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
If anything is proof that patience pays off, this is it. A long wait lay ahead for Annemarie in the Umgodi Overnight Hide at Zimanga Private Game Reserve in KwaZulu-Natal, a wait until the early hours of the morning when this Giant Eagle-Owl finally did what Annemarie had been praying for. Settle into a circle of light at the waterhole, and have a drink. What a reward, and what a magnificent portrait. Great, strong crop on the bird and his reflection, moody light to suit the moment, an eyeball from the hero of the image, and look at the water dripping from his beak.
Photographer Annemarie du Plessis
Camera Canon EOS, 70-200mm at 160mm
Settings f/2.8 at 1/250 sec, ISO 3200
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A R750 cash prize
If you’re in among the flowering aloes at Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden in Cape Town, as was Devin on a fine winter’s afternoon, snapping off shots of the sunbirds that flock there for nectar is a walk in the park. But can you, in a moment, get the light right, the focus pin-sharp, use a long lens to blur a beautifully chosen background, and then compose the image to perfection? I’ve seen enough pictures of sunbirds to have a first reaction of ‘please not another sunbird’, but when it comes to wow factor, this image is the berries. Brilliant.
Photographer Devin Wright
Camera Canon EOS, 150-600mm lens at 600mm
Settings f/6.3 at 1/500 sec, ISO 1600
A R500 cash prize
Goodness, what an image of an extremely cooperative Egyptian Goose, taken on a dam in Knysna. Look at the pin-sharp detail of that handsome bird in perfect pose and in that still reflection. It must have been a windless day. Nathaniel was also lucky enough to be there in overcast weather, with enough light on the hero but little on the water, and there’s also nothing wrong with playing with a bit of contrast post-production. It almost looks as though the goose had arrived at the studio for some poster photography, on a black infinity curve, and under lights.
Photographer Nathanael Olivier
Camera Nikon D7100, 70-300mm lens at 185mm
Settings f/5.6 at 1/1000 sec, ISO 500
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A R250 cash prize
There’s cute factor by the bucket-load in this photograph of a hyena cub in the Sabi Sands Game Reserve, and what a find for Sahara to come across a hyena den, where one of the cubs was prepared to play ball. There he lolls, eyeing Sahara as he cleans up without a care in the world. And what wonderful plump paws he has. It’s a delight, even if it’s not pin-sharp. But the lesson here is in the importance of crop, which can always be done post-production. This image would’ve been so much stronger if it was cropped tighter, with less space all round, particularly left and right, at the head, and at the cub’s left paw.
Photographer Sahara Wulfsohn
Camera Canon EOS, 100-400mm lens at 400mm
Settings f/5.6 at 1/640 sec, ISO 1600
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.