A dynamic start to the year
A dynamic start to the year

A dynamic start to the year

The new year kicked of with a healthy number of entries. Interesting to observe is that our members are spreading their creative wings; experimenting in a wider spectrum of genres.
Anita Joubert who joined the Club end last year, has submitted her first images. We had a number of visitors and hopefully we will see their work in future.

The judge for the evening was Rachel Gemmel from Helderberg Photographic Society. She completed the 2021 Judging Accreditation Programme with David Wilson and Daniel Reddie. Her main love is ICM featuring slow shutter speed, crazy angles and weird lighting. She is also to be found taking conventional shots of birds, animals and nature in general. Rachel says she is privileged to have been given the opportunity to comment on the images and it was only her own club’s event that prevented a personal attendance.

The overall image of the evening was Charles Naudé’s Wet, Wet, Wet. “If you’ll pardon the pun, quality drips from this image,” Rachel said. Junior image of the month went to Rene Pretorius for his dynamic photo journalism image of the recent Trans Agulhas boat race. For a junior photographer his image Home Stretch is commendable. After a tie between BMX battle by Phil Sturgess and Fishy bike by Carina de Klerk, the members voted for Fishy Bike as the set subject winner for Bicyles.

Judge: Rachel Gemmel


Uphill struggle, 24, © David Wilson, 5*, Gold
Nice sharp image, good story telling with some irony in seeing a kitesurfer against dry land…crash landing or simply heading back to the car… the viewer is immediately engaged with the story of the picture. The focus, exposure and depth of field are all competently handled and there is some movement in the shaping of the body. Good to include the board too so we see the kitesurfer with all his equipment, just not in his usual habitat!
Wave rider, 25, © Phil Sturgess, MS, Gold
Absolutely spectacular shot of the wave, the whole frame is dominated by its power. Great feeling of speed and movement created by the wake behind the surfboard and an obvious look of focused concentration on the face of the surfer. The red of his top and the board are perfect for this shot. The surfer could be slightly sharper but this image really succeeds in showing the phenomenal power of the ocean and the vulnerability of the humans who venture in for recreation.
Afternoon tea at a Norfolk beach, 25, © Daniel Reddie, 5*, Gold
Wonderful gritty feel to this image and an inspired decision to present it in mono.The panoramic format really works, emphasizing the shape of the Airstreams and the Cirrus Fibratus cloud formation. The image is beautifully balanced and, although not pin sharp, the eye contact with the closest woman immediately involves the viewer in the scene. Possibly increasing the tonal range very slightly would give the image a little more punch without spoiling the moodiness that it exudes.
Underground after the rush, 22, © Mari Botes, 3*, Gold
This is an image that you could have seen in a newspaper in early 2020 when its impact would have been very powerful. As a post-pandemic shot, it was an exciting photo opportunity and has real potential, with difficult lighting handled well. There’s a striking graphic quality in addition to the story in the contrast between this stillness and the usual commuter bustle. As presented, a couple of tweaks to improve the symmetry would be great. Whilst the inclusion of the signage gives context, the visual strength of the image lies in the area beyond, which, with careful attention to cropping and symmetry to emphasize the abstract feel, could make a very strong photo.
Home stretch, 25, © Rene Pretorius, 1*, COM, JIM
A strong action image where the framing conveys the might and beauty of the ocean and the exhilaration of participation in the event is keenly felt. All the technical considerations are well met and the angle of the subject boat brings added excitement along with the engagement with the crew through the view of their faces. The second boat adds to the story and the potentially distracting effect of it behind the right helmet is lessened by the amount of spray helping with some separation at least. There is real dynamism and extra human interest in this shot making it score the highest of the power boat shots in this photo journalism category.
Flying high, 22, © Rene Pretorius, 1*, COM
The intensity of the light makes for striking, dynamic colours and the action is well frozen but with lots of movement in the sea. The feeling of speed and forward momentum is lessened a little by the position of the black boat forming a visual block, some separation between them would have allowed the viewer to enjoy the action more and the repetition of shape. The sloping horizon is a problem here as both boats point to it making it more noticeable.
The Punisher, 24, © Carina de Klerk, MB, Gold
Another vibrant power boat shot featuring striking colours. From a composition point of view, this image is a winner, great shape being made by the sailors, separation between the subject boat and the next breaker and really pleasing placement of the other boats. Another factor contributing to its success is the balance of colours, pinks in the subject boat, yellows and oranges of its crew repeated in the other boats heading away and bringing a cohesion to the image that, consciously or subconsciously, heightens the viewers’ enjoyment.
Berlin wall profiles, 20, © Kobus Botes, 4*, Silver
This is well seen and a clever idea catching the profile against the complementary shape in the graffiti. For maximum impact though, the photographer has 2 choices, to try to capture a sharp profile or to slow the shutter speed right down or use ICM to create much more of a blur. As presented, the image falls a little uncomfortably between the two.


Time to join the waddle, 24, © Rene Pretorius, 1*, COM
Appealing portrait of the penguin and the potential difficulties of exposure on wet feathers and reflections have been well handled. Good detail preserved in the highlights and most of the shadows. The photographer has successfully executed the creation of a simple background of complementary colours that allows the subject to pop but the rock in the top right hand corner interrupts this background calm and I would try a crop to remove it. The right flipper stroking the surface of the water, the bubble below the beak and the one in the water are all lovely details that add to the image’s charm.
The tackle, 26, © Carina de Klerk, MB, Gold
Fabulous capture of the interaction between these lionesses at play and wonderful timing to get the whole of the tackler and the tackled’s shoulders clearly off the ground as well as a clear view of the spectator’s eyes. Whilst not absolutely pin sharp, the depth of field is good and the action is beautifully frozen with separation between the protagonists’ faces and between the action and the background. The soft light has been sensitively handled in editing and the image remains realistic. There is a slight uphill feel to the image from left to right caused by the out of focus foreground not running truly parallel to the bottom edge but this is a minor snag in an otherwise very successful image.
Cape Dwarf Chameleon, 23, © David Wilson, 5*, Silver
Pleasing and well executed minimalistic image, focus, exposure and depth of field competently handled. Varying amounts of light are reaching the chameleon along its length from nose to tail which accentuates the textures of its skin but, unfortunately, whilst the eye is bright, the head area seems to enjoy the lowest intensity of light, dulling the colours and flattening the textures. The horizontal part of the twig at the level of the chameleon’s head is a slight distraction and interrupts the otherwise attractively simple vertical lines of the image.
Catch of the day, 18, © Judy Armstrong, 1*, Gold
Two horizontals and the oblique between them is always a good template for a photo. The colours here are muted and calm and the moment of capture is spot on but the image is let down by technical issues resulting in loss of detail and sharpness throughout. Still, great storytelling and a wonderful achievement to capture this split second of action – a great thrill for any photographer or bird watcher.
Red knobbed coots, 24, © David Wilson, 5*, Gold
There’s a lovely artistic shape to the subjects of this image and a perfect, quiet backdrop to present the duo against. The silvery tones are very attractive and, on the whole, the exposure is well managedso we can enjoy a full range of shades from darks to lights with only the bright patch above the standing coot’s knee striking a note of discord. The interaction is understated but charming. If possible, a small amount more space above and to the right of the birds would improve the balance but, all in all, a lovely moment well captured.
Glossy Trio, 26, © Charles Naudé, MB, Gold
Absolute proof of the visual impact of threes and carefully framed to present a perfectly balanced image, well suited to the panoramic format. Stunning colours with focus, exposure and depth of field expertly handled and some movement into the water is implied in the open beaks and water droplets, preventing the trio from being too static. The subtle, unobtrusive border finishes off a very well executed and presented image.
Watching over you
Watching over you, 21, © Anita Joubert, 1*, COM
Probably brothers, the relaxed and comfortable relationship is well illustrated here and the crop and panoramic format suits the recumbent lions. The focus on the lookout lion’s eyes is slightly soft and the image is a little over exposed resulting in small areas of burned out highlights on both animals and on the grasses behind them. Lovely movement in the mane and, although not technically perfect, this is a successful portrayal of the animals’ kinship.
Quelea sanctuary, 23, © Phil Sturgess, MS, Silver
Simple and effective, there is indeed a feeling of sanctuary for the birds under the protection of their tree within the square format of the clever framing. Just enough movement in the birds’ wings to give the silhouettes some life.
Landing legs out, 22, © Ingrid Grundlingh, 3*, Gold
Another image with the subject creating a pleasing oblique to add dynamism to the shot. The detail is well preserved in all but the very darkest areas of the Gypo’s feathers and the colours are nice and natural. The action is caught well but the photography gods were not kind in terms of the placement of the vegetation – the image would have much more impact if the bird was shot against open water so its beautiful shape could have been enjoyed unfettered by the grasses.
Pearl spotted Owlet, 21, © Sheron Pretorius, 3*, Gold
Lovely careful framing makes for good composition of this lucky sighting. Unfortunately, factors outside of the author’s control have created problems here. The hard light from the top left has made it impossible to show the owlet to best advantage but the markings are clear and the eye bright. All that being said, it was an opportunity that had to be taken
Like Mother like daughter, 21, © Ingrid Grundlingh, 3*, Gold
Well observed moment with all technical aspects handled competently. The composition is a little uncomfortable though. In this case, the subject of the image is the 2 trunks gripping their snacks, so the usual ‘space to move in to’ isn’t required here and the space in front of the elephants adds nothing to the image. The repetition of the trunks and vegetation is cluttered by the mother’s front leg and the viewer longs for the baby to take another stride into the “window” of green. The idea is lovely though and maybe the photographer has another frame with more separation?


Canary Wharf skyline from the Thames, 25, © Daniel Reddie, 5*, Gold
Striking image with exposure beautifully handled and clever use of angles, curves, shapes and tones. Saturation is just right with only very subtle shades of blue, green and brown amongst the silvery grey feel of the image. Interest is created by the perspective, using the curved wall to lead us in and by the inclusion of the water flowing into the river, giving a feeling of movement within the static, urban environment. A slight deviation from the vertical is noticeable on the river wall bottom left corner and a couple of sensor spots could be cleaned up out of the sky but otherwise this is a strong image.
Lambournes butchery Cotswold, 23, © Daniel Reddie, 5*, Silver
The autumnal feel to this image is enhanced by the attractive squashes in the window display that you can imagine have caught the couple’s attention as they pass by. Beautiful soft tones in the Cotswold stone and the exposure and reflections are well handled, the depth of field is effective in taking us into the shop. The top and right hand edges of the frame are a little cluttered as is often inevitable with this type of image but there’s a nice balance created with the framing of the couple in the window.
Wet Wet Wet, 27, © Charles Naudé, MB, COM, SIM and Overall IOM
If you’ll pardon the pun, quality drips from this image. Technically excellent and well composed, the red billed firefinch is static but this is very far removed from a “bird-on-a-stick’ shot. Movement is implied in the multi-directional wet feathers, adding lots of additional interest and the low perspective involves us in his world. A sharp eye complete with catch light and repetition of the triangular beak shape in the wet feathers around the neck add to this image’s considerable appeal.
Sony Centre Roof, 24,© Kobus Botes, 4*, Gold
Graphic image enhanced by a successful conversion to black and white. Strong lines and repetition of shapes give movement and flow to a static structure. This image fully illustrates the rewards of looking up, well seen and well executed.
The end of a long day, 20, © Judy Armstrong, 1*, Gold
The dust at dusk must have made this a beautiful sight. Good grouping of 3 zebras, well balanced with even separation between the animals and the additional element of the bird. A pity that no part of the middle zebra’s head is visible. Nice graduating light from top right to bottom left, pooling at the zebras’ hooves and the rim light accents are pleasing. Overall though, the image is a little soft and lacks a bit of punch but it’s very much worth trying a few adjustments.


Storm brewing
Storm brewing 18, © Anita Joubert, 1*, Gold
Undeniably dramatic scene conveying a real sense of foreboding. As a representational style of scape, the image lacks a specific point of interest, the stunning gold grasses in front of the centre of the storm could have provided this had they been sharper and perhaps shot from a lower vantage point.
Golden Gate Sunset, 23, © Sheron Pretorius, 3*, Gold
Lovely colours in the soft light with the unusual lavender and peach shades grounded by the browns of the earth.The grasses in the foreground add interest and texture and are a good base for the image and also serve to balance the lighter area of sky.
Splendour at last light, 23, © Carina de Klerk, MB, Silver
Details are well preserved in highlight and shadow areas and the evening light has been used successfully to create depth in the image, the patch of light and the subject tree coincide beautifully to elevate the point of interest. As presented, the tree falls pretty much in to the middle third but the image can afford to lose a little of the darker foreground area without compromising the composition.
Charles bridge at blue hour, 19, © Mari Botes, 3*, Silver
Loads to look at in this scene and a hint at the beauty of Prague. The balance of the image may have been improved if the author had captured the sight seeing boat a little closer, in open water which would have allowed us to enjoy the shape of the bridge and given the scene a quieter, less linear feel. As presented, all the action is heaped into the middle third and a bit of an onslaught for the senses. The blue hour must have been spectacular to witness but the image feels a little overworked which has created some artefacts.
Hamburg waterway, 23, © Mari Botes, 3*, Gold
Striking canal scape showcasing the architecture of the waterside buildings, a fascinating mix of old and modern. The repetition of blues and oranges in the buildings is enhanced by the inclusion of a patch of blue sky . Given such strong shapes in the buildings, it’s important for the edges to be straight, a slight perspective adjustment to the top right would achieve this. Good composition with implied thirds and enjoyable flow as we sail through the scene. Possibly a little over worked in the edit, I would love to see this image straight out of camera.
Overberg light and shadow, 24,© Phil Sturgess, MS, Gold
It’s clear what made the author take this shot, unusual colours and the shadows accentuating the lines in the landscape. Perfect placement of the groups of trees on diagonally opposite thirds, then horizontal thirds as we travel from foreground to background. There is a great sense of movement created by the viewer imagining the shadows and light rolling across the scene and the glimpses of texture add intrigue to the mountain beyond.
Haarlem se kerkplein, 25, © Charles Naudé, MB, Gold
A fabulous example of the power of light…be it natural or artificial, both of which are striking in this image.Good composition with enough of the lower buildings flanking the church included to create balance. Technical elements are well handled in a tricky scenario. The only distraction in an otherwise carefully framed image is the bright reflection in the car window to the bottom left which touches the frame.
Rainy day at Arniston, 18, © Linda Kotzenberg, 5*, Bronze
The mood of the rainy day is well conveyed in the leaden sky and dark rocks but I wonder if a more abstract or impressionistic approach might have worked better for this scape? There’s a general softness to the image and detail lost in the highlights and shadows. Nice straight horizon though and also strong horizontal lines to strengthen the composition.
Rocks and road, 19 © Linda Kotzenberg, 5*, Bronze
Triangles and curves give this scape its appeal and the decision to omit any sky gives a feeling of unending wilderness and depth to the valley. The light is rather flat which keeps highlights and shadows in check but deprives the scene of some texture and form. There’s also a general lack of sharpness which is a pity as the author has succeeded in making the viewer want to explore that road.
Plain and simple, 21, © Linda Kotzenberg, 5*, Silver
What a lovely colour palette here and the photographer has done well to capture the feel of the shade under the roof overhang but preserve the details. The simplicity of the composition is compromised a little by the paving edge running off the horizontal, maybe a couple of steps to the left would have enabled the author to present the scene more comfortably for the viewer and with a little less foreground. Slightly soft but exposure well handled. Pity about the wheelie bin which, once spotted, is difficult to ignore!


Fishy bike, 25, © Carina de Klerk, MB, Gold
Interesting image, well edited to enhance the feel of gritty realism lifted by the pops of colour. Exposure and focus well handled and a good element of storytelling. There are so many textures to enjoy here, the woven basket, fish scales, string, metal, plastic, stone and cement all have a tangibility making the image appeal to more than just our sense of sight.
Ethical electric cycles for hire, 21, © Daniel Reddie, 5*, Gold
Well seen and pleasing repetition in the row of identical bikes leading us to the figure suffering from the 21st century affliction and clearly oblivious to the presence of the photographer! Good storytelling with the protest posters and graffiti forming the backdrop. The focus on the bikes is a little soft and overall the image is a little flat and lacking in impact, some adjustments to levels and contrast may give it some additional punch.
Op Spoed, 18, © Charles Naudé, MB, Bronze
These were tricky lighting conditions which, combined with a slower than normal shutter speed, have led to quite a bright, distracting background and busy shadows on the tarmac. The rather dominant, dark, standing figure creates a visual block to the downhill flow of the action and, whilst the technique succeeds in conveying the sensation of speed, a little more sharpness on the cyclists would have resulted in a higher score.

Ready to go pick me, 22, © Mari Botes, 3*, Gold
What a satisfying ‘stack of cycles’ in striking primary colours, it’s clear what attracted the photographer to this scene. Saturation, focus and exposure are well handled but factors in the background, outside of the author’s control, detract from the graphic qualities of the stack of cycles. There could be a close up, abstract image within this shot that would still fit the set subject and could be interesting to experiment with.
BMX battle, 25, © Phil Sturgess, MS, Gold
Sharp front to back with the action well frozen but still with a real sense of movement thanks to some wheels off the ground and the poses of the riders. The appeal of the image is increased tremendously by the visibility of the 2 faces and by the clear, uncluttered shadow of the leading bike. Technically very good and colour well handled too, the repetition of the blues in the sky and the clothing is another plus factor.
My mountain bike, 24, © Sheron Pretorius, 3*, Gold
Great example of mono conversion and selective focus working really well to elevate the ordinary into the extraordinary. Lovely tonal range with the light creating accents and the shadows adding visual weight. Strong lines, interesting shapes and even some detail in the dust.
Loading Up, 22, © David Wilson, 5*, Silver
Good, sharp, photo journalism style image, well exposed with lots of detail. The eye contact with the central figure involves us in the scene and the helmets dotted around add to the story. There could be a stronger composition to suit the set subject if the image was cropped to the left of the trailer wheel and at the top of the Vibracrete on the left to focus the viewer on the boys and emphasize the strong primary colours whilst removing some peripheral distractions.
Ready for the taking, 20, © Kobus Botes, 4*, Silver
This image has some immediate appeal as the overall palette provides some harmony through the repetition of a limited number of colours in varying shades. A shallower depth of field may have helped to keep the viewers’ attention on the subjects and lessened the distractions of the background. Nice use of the diagonal but a pity that the front bike’s tyre touches the edge of the frame.