Day 556 – A day by the pool

Not outside, because it’s 14 degrees with occasion rain showers. Eww.

There’s no fun in that.

So a morning spent spring cleaning, and then once that was over, some of this:

I started out with the simple niftus fiftus:

An affordable, high quality lens that’s perfect for creative portraits and low-light photos. Blur backgrounds to make your subject stand out, and enjoy smooth near-silent STM focusing when shooting movies.

…and the intention to produce something truly incredible, but then the light was all difficult (I need to try it at night, when things are much more controllable) and so I changed my mind and decided to hit some pool balls instead of togging them.

It looks a bit #RBOSS, but I promise that it’s really not. I just need to work out a better way of expressing the bright colours. I’m still popping this up onto Flickr as a marker of how much better I will be able to do once I decide to plan better and put a bit more effort in.

Day 551 – Intaka Visit

Out of bed (fairly) early, considering the kids are still on school holiday and off to Intaka Island – close, quiet, safe, cheap – for a slow, short, gentle wander. Loads to see and ‘tog, including (but not limited to) bitterns, herons, bishops, kingfishers, weavers, sunbirds, cormorants, ibises, warblers and canaries. And that was just the birds.

Best spots of the day were the Malachite Kingfisher – Alcedo cristata – because it’s cute and colourful:

…and this Purple Heron – Ardea purpurea – killing off the local invasive fish population (a Perca fluviatilis, I think):

This morning’s photos are on Flickr here.

There was an old guy sitting in one of the hides there with a camera setup which was at least 10x the price of mine. When he pressed the shutter, it was like one of those automatic rifles going off.

SO. FAST.

#goals

I’m still learning with this new lens, so mine might not be quite up to the quality (or quantity – damn!) of his, but I quite like them, and you don’t get to see his to compare, and I can certainly see myself popping back out there and spending some quality time stalking more photographic prey as I try to improve.

It’s really not like it was much of a hardship to spend a couple of hours out there this morning.

Bit knackered now, mind.

Day 536 – Frerg

After 25 minutes of standing in the drizzle yesterday morning, I was reminded of the 1989 hit Getting Away With It by supergroup Electronic:

“I’ve been walking in the rain just to get wet on purpose”

But actually, my primary aim was to find a frog, which I eventually did.

It wouldn’t have been hard to find him if he’d been sitting on the grass like this. But he wasn’t, of course.

The Cape Rain Frogs in our area are vocal little things keep us awake all night when it rains, but they are notoriously difficult to locate because they are small (5cm long), well camouflaged and hide in tiny little burrows under the vegetation. When they’re quiet, you literally wouldn’t know that they were there. So I used the occasional croaks to home in on this little guy bit by bit, before finding him and ever so gently easing him out of his hole to meet the kids and the camera.

When he was making a noise and I was actively searching, at least anyone watching me would have know that I was doing something. For the other 95% of the time, I was just standing silently and attentively in the rain. It must have looked odd.
Fortunately(?), the rest of the family was still in bed.

After a few photos and some education, we popped him back safely in his little hole, ready to continue chatting to his local friends and to warn us of the next nocturnal precipitation.

Day 512 – Rotterdam to Amsterdam

Not me, of course. I’m not allowed in other countries and this is very much in other countries.

No, this is a timelapse shot in 2013, but which (mysteriously) “couldn’t be published right away due to restrictions”. There’s no indication as to what those restrictions are or were, but at the end of last year they were either lifted or ignored and now we have a 10 minute trip through the flat lands of Holland The Netherlands (happy now, TA?).

In 2013 a special transport over water left from Rotterdam to Amsterdam. A timelapse camera was installed at 30 mtrs high. The resulting film gives a unique and stunning view of the old Dutch waterways, in 4K. And, you will pass a few dozen different bridges that all open before your eyes. Images were shot with a Canon 550d at an interval of 3 seconds, totalling around 30.000 pictures taken.

A couple of notes here: the camera appears to be attached to some sort of kite or balloon. And if the camera wasn’t attached to the boat in question, it would be able to get through a lot of those bridges a whole lot more quickly.
BUT SEE UPDATE BELOW

There are a lot of places along this route that, should you find yourself on the wrong side of the canal, you’re staying that side for a while. I was quite surprised about that in a country as small as Holl… The Netherlands.
Anyway, this video has made me want to go and do a European canal trip again:

But that would also mean traveling to another country, and as I mentioned above…

UPDATE: Thanks, Dave.

It’s a piece of equipment for (Royal Dutch) Shell, apparently.
That’s my balloon theory blown up out of the water then. (see what I did there?)

Day 511 – Animal pics

I promised a while back to get some more photos edited and uploaded and lawd bless ma soul, I have done it.

Here they are! Yes, mainly animal pics because we were very much there (which was here) to look at animals.
Some animal pics are better than others; some really good, some not so good, but these are the ones that I liked.

Inverdoorn is a private game reserve in the Karoo. It’s not deepest, darkest, wildest Africa. But it does offer the opportunity to see – and get close to – some really amazing animals that you might see in DDWA. They also do a lot of rehabilitation work, especially with their cheetahs, and with really good deals for locals (no, this isn’t a sponsored post) at the moment, it’s a whole lot cheaper (and a whole lot less hassle) than heading up north.

But of course, up north has its benefits too and personally, I think it’s unfair to compare this with a Kruger trip (and they probably shouldn’t try to on their website), but as a really easy standalone weekend away from Cape Town, with good food, good drink, great accommodation and the chance to see some big animals, I’d totally recommend it. Covid protocols were really well-observed, too.

But you weren’t here for my thoughts on the place. You just wanted to see the animal photos, right?

Right.