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 sub-editor 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) What a moment of a seagull having a bath, one with such exquisite light I can hear the music to which this ballerina dances. Shot at a fast speed, all movement is frozen, every little drop of water crystal clear. Simply stunning, and made so also by converting to black and white. It just needs a bit more space on the left of the gull and less on its right. Crop it as such afterwards, and flip the image horizontally so that the gull faces to the right, and you have perfection.
- Photographer: Hanneke Fourie Beneke
- Camera: Nikon D7000, 70-300mm lens at 155mm
- Settings: f4.8 at 1/3200, ISO 640
Second prize (R750 cash prize) I must admit that when I first saw this image of a spat between a wild cat and a caracal in the Kgalagadi, I thought it was fake. I simply couldn’t believe that wild cat was suspended in such a cumbersome (and slightly ridiculous) position. So I contacted the photographer and expressed my disbelief and he obliged by emailing me the camera frames taken immediately before and after this moment. It’s a superb sequence! Brilliant, Tiaan, and my apologies for those doubts, but I have to say I still can’t help but look at that wild cat in astonishment…
- Photographer: Tiaan Steynberg
- Camera: Nikon D7000, 80-400mm lens at 145mm
- Settings: f9 at 1/1250, ISO 500
Third prize (R500 cash prize) Is this not just the sweetest image of the dearest little honey badger on Earth? It was taken at Cubitje Quap waterhole in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, where the thirsty chap drank for half an hour, taking the water to his mouth with his paw instead of lapping it up. Oh the adorable factor of that face watching a drop (perfectly frozen at such high speed) escape from his paw. I wish the image had been vertical instead of horizontal so we could’ve lost the dead space on the right and had the honey badger’s reflection instead.
- Photographer: Willem Kruger
- Camera: Nikon D3S, 600mm f4 lens
- Settings: f8 at 1/3200, ISO 2000
Fourth prize (R250 cash prize) An excellent example of the power of brilliant light. Capture it and you transform a drab landscape. Here the ubiquitous scene (this one outside Pretoria) of a set of buildings under some dreaded bluegums in a flat field is so beautiful in the morning mist. It’s proof of the need for passionate photographers to bother getting up with the dawn. And then to be back out there in the field for the golden hour before the sun goes to bed.
- Photographer: Luke Brouwers
- Camera: Canon 7D Mark1, 150-500mm lens at 500mm
- Settings: f6.7 at 1/3000, ISO 100
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.
To submit an entry of your own, fill in our entry form here.