The countryside through our readers’ eyes and lenses. Here are this month’s four winning entries in our photographic competition.
If you missed our June winners, you can find them 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.
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A R1 000 cash prize
This has got to be the cutest meerkat moment in the history of all those cute meerkat moments. It’s the stuff that posters are made of. What an adorable sight, and I can just imagine the story behind the image. There on his perch he stands alone, on the lookout across Rietvlei Nature Reserve outside Pretoria, when up sidles his young lady love, who quite obviously finds him impossible to resist. It’s a golden photograph taken in the golden hour of sundown, in stupendous light. The use of a long lens blurs the background, and all the focus is on the love-pair. It would’ve been perfect if the meerkats weren’t dead-centre of the image, but it’s a worthy winner.
Photographer Alta Pretorius
Camera Nikon D5300, 200-500mm at 390mm
Settings f/7.1 at 1/640 sec, ISO 400
A R750 cash prize
A perfect, sunny, windless day resulted in an image that Annemarie aptly titled ‘Perfect Double’. It’s a perfect photograph of a Green-backed Heron, taken from the hide at the lagoon in Zimanga Private Game Reserve, KwaZulu-Natal. The bird is pin-sharp and gleams in the light, the lagoon is a mirror, the bird is dead-still, with nothing disturbing the reflection. It’s also an excellent crop, and using a long lens has blurred the background so that the heron ‘pops’ and is king of the image.
Photographer Annemarie du Plessis
Camera Canon EOS MkII, 70-200mm lens at 200mm
Settings f/5 at 1/2000 sec, ISO 800
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A R500 cash prize
Well, here’s one for the books. And talk about the photographer being in the right place at the right time. Allan called this photograph ‘Even the Drongo is Confused’, which certainly sums up the situation. That poor little bird looks gobsmacked at the sight of the entanglement of giraffes, particularly the chap giving him the once-over, inches from his face. I can hear the drongo gasping, ‘Oh but wait, there’s more!’ And the giraffes aren’t doing too well in the muddle-up either. Will they ever unravel themselves? It’s a great image, and a very good crop, with slightly more space on the left.
Photographer Allan Bower
Camera ILCA-77M2, 70-400mm lens at 70mm
Settings f/4 at 1/6400 sec, ISO 400
A R250 cash prize
Oh, you absolute beauty. What a stunning portrait of a cheetah, taken at Kragga Kamma Game Park in the Eastern Cape. And, unusually, using a standard lens, so the cheetah must have been pretty close to Michael. With his aperture at f/2, Michael had to be spot on with his focus, which he was. It’s pin-sharp on the face, but at a wide aperture everything else is blurred. It adds a sense of the power and speed of these animals. If only the image was cropped a bit, and with less space on the left.
Photographer Michael Cunningham
Camera Nikon D7000, 50mm lens
Settings f/2 at 1/500 sec, ISO 110
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.
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.