Choosing our monthly winners of the Image Club competition is as exciting as it is challenging. Fortunately we can delegate the task to one of our contributing photographers. Their deftness at analysing images is always educational and fun.
This month, Country Life freelance photojournalist, Julia Lloyd was tasked with the judging duties. Here are the top four prize winners with Julia’s thoughts.
First prize (R1 000 cash prize)
A perfect portrait of a reed frog. The composition is superb, with the little chap off-centre, and placed quite beautifully in the iris – the curves and swoops and falls of the petals are divine. Wessel used a wide aperture on macro, and with that you get a very narrow depth of field. Here the effect is to have the focus on the froglet with everything else blurred. It’s so soft and gentle.
- Photographer: Wessel du Plessis
- Camera: Canon EOS 50D, 100mm macro lens
- Settings: f4.8 at 1/3200 sec, ISO 640
Second prize (R750 cash prize)
Full marks, Luc, for bothering to get down to shell’s eye view and create such a great shot out of what could have been a very boring ‘head and shoulders’ of a paper nautilus shell (it’s actually the egg case of this little octopus) if shot from above. Great effort, and such thought, keeping the nautilus slightly to the left so that the eye can easily follow through to the lighthouse (in Cape Recife Nature Reserve outside Port Elizabeth). We have a lesson here on how to turn the ordinary into the special.
- Photographer: Luc Hosten
- Camera: Canon 5D3, 24-105mm Canon lens
- Settings: f18 at f1/50 sec, ISO 100
Third prize (R500 cash prize)
I am such a sucker for gorgeous light falling on gorgeous spreading landscapes, particularly if the surroundings are made all the more overpowering by little creatures in the foreground. It emphasises the hugeness of life, and the frailty of living creatures, particularly where the focus of the image is a small feature of the wondrous bigger picture. There are always stories behind such shots, like here in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park’s early morning. The tiny springbokkies are setting off from a place of darkness, and have this splendid avenue of light that leads them from the ominous bleak branches (who is hiding there?) and disconcerting gnarled trees. May they stay safe.
- Photographer: Clyde Botwinick
- Camera: Nikon D610, Nikkor 70-200 lens
- Settings: f10 at 1/640 sec, ISO 1100
Fourth prize (R250 cash prize)
Composition-wise this is not the greatest of shots (taken at Miller’s Point on the Cape Peninsula) as all the action is condensed into the right half of the image and the left half becomes a waste. More space on the right of the collie and less on the left would have improved it. But what a story lies behind the intense, alert, fixated dog. Could that little speck in the distance ahead of him be his fisherman master? And how long before he returns? I don’t think Collie will move until he does.
- Photographer: Mikhail Daniels
- Camera: Sony Xperia M2
- Settings: f/2.4 at 1/1000 sec, ISO 101
About this month’s judge Julia Lloyd was a freelance photojournalist for COUNTRY LIFE before she joined the magazine as sub-editor. 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.
How are your photography skills? Can you take pictures like these winning photographs for our Image Club competition? There is prize money to be won and exposure in the magazine. Who knows, your image may even make the cover of one of our upcoming magazine issues! To submit an entry of your own, fill in our entry form here.