Photo competition finalists: The best of February 2020

Our 2020/2021 Photo Competition is still open with fantastic travel and equipment prizes up for grabs! We want to showcase the best photos out there, celebrating South African wildlife, landscapes and culture.

We’ll be sharing the finalists of each month’s entries until the winner is announced in July of this year. If you want to enter, take a look here. 

Here are the finalists of February 2020.

Water-wise Cape Canary

On a recent spring visit to Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden, I noticed the Cape Canaries, otherwise known as Serinus canicollis, having a field day in the daisy beds. This particular one was taking a break from the heat to seek liquid refreshment from a sprinkler, and seemed to know exactly where to look in the nozzle for water.  He must have been very water-wise, and was not about to waste one drop. The daisies behind the bird made for a great “wash” of colour with the distant lawn blending the green into the yellow. 

-By Brian Suter, Fish Hoek, Cape Town

Nikon D500, Nikkor 500mm f/5.6E PF ED VR ,  f/5.6, 1/2000s, ISO 1000



Photographed in the False Bay area, the Portuguese Man O’ War or Physalia utriculus, is normally a sailor of the pelagic waters. As with any sailing vessel, if caught in the wrong wind, they may end up in the wrong place. For this Portuguese Man O’ War that means the inshore waters. The brewing storm clouds paint a treacherous picture and perhaps a forewarning of what the future holds. Should the wind not switch direction and send it back to the deep pelagic waters, sooner or later it will find itself in the surf zone. Without any other means of propulsion, once the surf zone has been reached, it will be the end of the road for this blue bottle. 

 -By Geo Cloete, Wellington

Nikon D300 Lens model, Tokina 10-17mm, Aperture: f18, 1/200sec ,  ISO 158


Meeting the youngster

I always enjoy watching elephants at the Hapoor waterhole, in the Addo Elephant Park in the Eastern Cape. I am fascinated by the interaction between each of them. However it is always a tense moment when a big bull elephant approaches the waterhole to drink, and there are the tiniest of babies amongst the herd. It was amazing how calm this baby elephant was when the bull came and investigated the new addition to the herd.

-By Charmaine Joubert, Port Elizabeth  

Canon EOS 7D, Canon 70-200 f2.8 mkii, ISO 400, f/4 , 1/800 per sec  



Taking In the View

I was hiking through the highlands in Northern Ethiopia, a place where very few people live, and where the Galeda Baboons graze on the grass. I came across this Highland Baboon couple, perched on a ledge catching the afternoon sun, making for a perfect frame for a scenic shot. It was almost as if they were also tourists taking in the view seeming to pose for the camera

– By Lexi Novitske, Nigeria

Canon EOS 7D, Canon EF16-35mm f/2.8L II USM, ISO 320, f/ 10, 1/640 sec



A Malachite Sunbird rest for a split second on a dew-drenched pincushion flower on the foothills of Simonsberg close to Franschhoek. A misty cold cloud covered the mountain like a blanket and I knew the conditions would give me the perfect opportunity to try my camera flash to under-expose the background, if I could get close enough to one of the sunbirds. The idea was to photograph them with a dark background bringing out the beautiful colours of the bird and the pincushion flowers which they love so much.  These little birds are extremely difficult to photograph because they are always moving around but when this one came to rest on a flower close to me, I knew it was my lucky day. What I love about this photo is the dark background with a hint of green behind the bird and the crisp fresh colours of the pincushion with the dew drops on it. The flash also provided a nice “catchlight” in the eye and also bring out the metallic emerald green colours of the sunbird.

Canon EOS 7D Mark II

Lens model: Canon EF 400mm f/2.8L IS II USM Lens + 1.4x Converter ISO: 400

By Gideon Malherbe, Paarl 


Featured picture: Geo Cloete