Thursday, July 30, 2015

Kirstenbosch visit - 29 July 2015

Jacqui and I spent a few hours wandering around Kirstenbosch Gardens yesterday. Such a beautiful place with the added bonus of Tuesdays being free entry for senior citizens.

A new Kirstenbosch Photographic competition has been launched recently. Details can be found here:  Always worth a shot!

Here are some of the images from the trip yesterday. Clicking on the images brings up the large files.



Friday, July 24, 2015

Tygerberg Photographic Society - July 2015

Finally! After months of trying, July was the first month as a 3-star photographer where all four photos received Gold ratings! Plus a winner's spot in the Open Print category (the first time ever that one of my photos has won a category), and a runner-up spot in the Set Subject Print category. What a month!

I must say, however, that I put in much more effort this month than normal, plus I had some great help from some great people:

  • Starting off with Liza Feldtmann and the rest of the team at Taleni Africa, who made our very first Namibian holiday a reality - the winning image came from that trip. 
  • Marie Stinnes, Marketing Manager at the Royal Cape Yacht Club, who was incredibly helpful and organised a spot for me on the photographers' boat on Day 1 of the 2015 Lipton Cup (the runner-up image came from that trip). 
  • Brenton Geach, the pro photographer on the boat, whose help and tips were utilised for the photos taken at the start of this year's Berg River Canoe marathon. 
  • The owner/manager of Hortus Wrought Iron (on the corner of Vissershoek and Malanshoogte Roads), who allowed me access to the premises and staff at their Blacksmith's works. 
  • And last, but not least, to my wife Jacqui, for all the help and support with all of the different projects.

Right - now to the photos. The first is really one of my all-time favourites - a photo of the power lines in the Namib Desert, not that far from Walvis Bay. A simple shot, but very powerful. This was my entry for the Open Print category:

From there we move to the set subject for the month - Photojournalism. Normally newsworthy subjects don't make for the greatest prints, so I was looking for a subject that I would be happy to print out and frame. A search for things to do in Cape Town in July brought up, amongst other things, this year's Lipton Cup Yacht Race, which was hosted by the Royal Cape Yacht Club, and the Berg River Canoe Marathon. Both to me had scenic as well as newsworthy possibilities. 

So I emailed the RCYC, and received a fantastic response from them, and specifically from Marie Stinnes, their Marketing Manager. She said that if I got there early enough, she was sure she would be able to get me onto the photographers' boat. So I did, and she did! What an experience! The swells were around the three-metre mark, the wind was strong, and it was freezing! We set off at around 10h00 (even though the race was only scheduled to start an hour later), and once out of Cape Town harbour, were subjected to the swells. It was really hectic out there and seasickness-wise proved too much for one of the others who had joined us, so the captain returned to shore to drop him off! That trip back and then out again at speed was one I won't forget in a hurry! Anyway, spent the next few hours shooting away, amidst hanging on for dear life while the captain, Henk, tried to manoeuvre the boat into favourable positions for photos. gave me a whole new respect for smallish boats on the high seas! I took lots of shots, a great deal of which didn't come out well, and only learnt the secrets for this type of situation from Brenton while on our way back after finishing shooting. Am now really looking forward to trying again!

But I made use of those secrets for the Canoe Marathon! Jacqui and I went out to Paarl about a week before the event, just to suss out which lens(es) I would take, and also to find decent vantage points. We met a really nice gentleman who runs a guest house in the area, and he was most helpful with information about what happened at the start. So I was all set - or so I thought! On the morning of the start of the race, I decided to have a final look at the BRCM website - no real reason, just good fortune! Because I then found out that the start of the race had been moved from Paarl (not enough water in the river there) to Hermon! Just as well we had risen early! So after a quick breakfast and hurried shower we set off for Hermon. Passing through Malmesbury at 08h30, the temperature was reading 1º Centigrade!!! Luckily it was a little warmer (4-5º C) in Hermon, but still cold enough! We spent some time rushing around to try and find new decent vantage points, and I was quite pleased that the start of the race had been put back to 10h00, instead of 09h30 - gave me just that little extra time to move across the bridge to the opposite bank of the river.

Getting good shots proved to be quite a challenge. The starts (there were three different categories with 5-minute intervals between starts) were incredibly fast - one minute the canoeists were there, the next they were gone!), so I was really pleased that all my camera settings had been pre-planned and pre-set (thank you Brenton!)! 

And then finally to the Blacksmith's shop. I have seen the sign many times while driving along Vissershok Road, and finally decided to bite the bullet and go and see what went on there. I spoke to the owner/manager, and while he seemed a little dubious, he eventually decided it was ok for me to walk around and take some photos. I think I spent about 30 minutes there, and found the place fascinating. As with all metal shops, it's a truly hard and difficult working environment, but it produces some spectacular products. This is my pick of the various images:

And that's it for July! August now presents a really difficult challenge to equal or better those results!

2020 Holiday - Last days

Day 3 - Wednesday We woke to a very pleasant, though cold, morning. We again had breakfast outside on the patio, and were treated to the (we...