Day 304 – Wander with a camera

A quick trip to Kirstenbosch Gardens (we’re members now, don’t you know?) this morning with a camera (50mm prime lens only) in hand yielded some decent exercise and a few nice pics, not least this Common Garden Orbweb Spider (Agriope australis), which was much better camouflaged than you might imagine.

Not sure what the thicker woven threads top left and bottom left are, but it was quite an impressive construction for a relatively small spider.

And how about a bit of Erica densifolia to brighten your day?

Because of… well… you know what, a lot of outdoor spaces (basically those without controlled entrance) are out of bounds at the moment and even Kirstenbosch is only open 9-6, leading to huge, mostly socially-distanced queues outside the gates when we arrived. And then the frustrating stupidity of the official at the entrance with his mask under his nose, touching everyone’s hands while taking their temperature, but telling us all to behave safely.

Still, once you’re in, and past the muppets, you can lose yourself nicely for a while.
This was an hour or so well-spent.

Day 302 – Calm down, Henry!

I got an email from Flickr yesterday.

My Flickr is here, btw, and desperately needs some new additions. But that’s not important right now.

The email in question was the announcement of the winners of the Your Best Shot competition from last year – an opportunity for the photographers in the community to share… well… their Best Shot from 2020 in an effort to win prizes, fame and fortune.

But mainly prizes.

I didn’t enter this time around so as to give someone else a chance to win.
Same as every year.

I was actually a little disappointed with the overall standard of the winning entries, but it (quite literally) isn’t for me to judge, and so well done to those whose images were selected.

One thing I did like was “the photographer’s words” bit under each photograph, describing why or how they took it and what they were aiming for. It’s cool to have a bit of a story and some context while you’re looking at the image. For example:

“This bottle kept floating into my shots… and I decided to make it my subject matter. It’s very tough to see what you are capturing when the sun is shining hard, the waves are lapping, you are treading water, and you have a snorkel mask on. The phone has a plastic case on it (all giving off reflections making it hard to see properly), so I was pleased when I got back to the beach and reviewed the images that a couple of them were just what I had hoped for.”

That’s for this one, by the way.

Or, for Inside and Outside, this:

The photo was shot on my trip to Kathmandu, shortly before the Covid crisis made these kind of trips difficult or not possible at all. On a walk in the old city of Kathmandu… a man appeared and stopped some meters away, unfolding his newspaper and (possibly) reading what is going on in Nepal and the rest of the world.

Lovely.

But then I scrolled down to Morning Fog Over Copenhagen:

[screenshot]
and there was this:

As I impatiently listen to the coffee machines gurgle, a hazy somber morning observes me through the old windows of my apartment building. With my trusted bike on my shoulder, I head for the stairs. As I pull the door open, it’s clear that my windows made no illusions. My neighborhood’s Covid-infused streets are shrouded in a fog so thick it turns every light source around me into beautiful living organisms. I mount my bike, and a green light appears ahead. As it pulls me into the unknown known of my hometown, I reach for my camera.

[Puts away thesaurus; closes adjectives dot com webpage; hands in Year 6 English homework assignment]

Alright, Shakespeare. Take it easy. This is the literary equivalent of #RBOSS. No need!

Look, I’m not saying that I could do any better in Danish (and I’m not saying that for very obvious reasons), but Jesus, Henry: please just stick to the photos in future.

More ‘togging, less blogging?

Incidentally, I think his photostream has some wonderful pictures. But their descriptions are thankfully much less verbose.

Day 260 – Cederberg pics

Our trip to the Kagga Kamma Nature Reserve would have benefitted from being one day longer.
We didn’t have time to get everything in and relax. But we managed to have a great time anyway.

There was hiking, stargazing, rock art, wildlife, drinking, swimming, nature drives.
The food was excellent. The views were incredible. Miles and miles of complete desolation.

Peace and quiet. Very few humans. Blissful stuff.

Here are the other photos.

Day 199 – Theewaterskloof revisited

It’s was 980 days ago that we went out to Theewaterskloof Dam to see for ourselves just how bad the drought facing Cape Town actually was.

Here’s my post from the day. And here are the images I took.

Today, we went back to Theewaterskloof Dam. And wow. What a difference a day 980 days makes.

Compare this from February 2018…

…with this from this morning:

Quite chuffed how close I managed to get those two images, given that it has been 2½ years and given that the place (thankfully) looks completely different.

Cape Town will always be threatened with water shortages, given the twin issues of rapid population growth and global climate change, but this is about as good as things could be and it was a truly heartening sight.

And yes, everyone knows that the dams are back up to 100% – I didn’t need to personally go out there and take this image to prove it. But we need these little wins right now, and this comparison very much fits that agenda.

I couldn’t get the drone up – the wind was blowing like a overenthusiastic lady on Kenilworth Main Road – but there will be more photos to follow.

I’ll let you know.

UPDATE: Here you go: photos.

Day 150 – Flying things

A quick trip just up the road to Kirstenbosch this morning yielded some decent (by my standards) photos.

Mainly of flying things, it seems.

A pair of Cape Sugarbirds entertained us for a while, flitting between proteas and aloes and there were plenty of Southern and Greater Double-collared Sunbirds around.

And then this little guy, lime green and hidden amongst the lime greenery:

He’s a Forest Canary. He’s rightfully very proud of those eyebrows.

Who wouldn’t be?

And then, as a bit of fun, an exhibit from the Cycads and Dinosaurs exhibition. I’m not a huge fan – I don’t think the gardens need this sort of… “gimmick”(?) – but the little kids love it and I suppose it’s just a one-off thing and it’s educational so [shrug emoji].

The flying dinosaur is very unrealistic, mainly because dinosaurs died out tens of millions of years ago about half the metal used in the sculpture are quite clearly big fat scaffolding poles propping it up into a gliding position.
But take those out with photoshop and apply a bit of a dated filter, and…

… just a bit of fun, but I might try and get a better, more threatening angle next time – difficult because you obviously have to stick to the pathways. (Have a look at one slightly different effort here as well.)

A nice morning out before it got too busy and too non-social distancey. Yes, even in the wide-open spaces of the Botanical Gardens. Back home for a blog post, an afternoon nap and a Sunday evening braai, I think.

And we’re already a third of the way through that already.

[photos here]