Day 126 – John Kraus says no

I’ve been following John Kraus on Instagram for a while now – you may remember him from such posts such as Rocket Science. Not because I’m some sort of rocket nerd (I’m really not), but because… well… Look at this stuff:

and this stuff…


John seems to have a pretty cool life, whizzing all over the world to take images of various rocket tests and launches. And if you think his IG is good, go and have a look at his “real” reel here.

John is heading off to Alaska to cover another launch this week:

I’m heading to Kodiak, Alaska tomorrow for Astra’s (@astraspace) first orbital launch attempt, scheduled for August 2nd-7th. Here’s a look at (most of) the camera gear I’m bringing to capture this mission. Also: I’ll still be here in Florida to photograph the #Mars2020 launch — I’m flying out later in the day. 

and here is that image of (some) (some!!) of the kit he’s taking with him:


But it was this comment:

and the reply:

that caught my eye.

“My picks, not yours” !!!

Actual lol.

It was (possibly) worth a try.


Photos: John Kraus.
Seriously – go and have a look at his work.

Day 97 – Beams

Do I stop the “Day n” prefix to these posts at 100, much like I stopped my daily photos at 50?

I have about… [checks notes…] 2 or 3 days to decide. The first thought is that I should keep them going until the actual end of the lockdown, whenever that may be, but it could be that the software can’t count that high.

These are the sort of things that keep me awake at night.
You can see that I am a very light sleeper.

Today has been busy. Lots of little jobs which I have managed to stretch throughout the daylight hours. I’ve now lit the braai and I’m planning on burgers for dinner. Quite what the rest of the family is going to do, I don’t know.

And so, let’s chuck up this morning’s quota photo, taken as a light mist descended over the back garden a couple of hours after sunrise:

There’s another one which you may have seen on Instagram already.

Some readers have suggested that faeries should be added (or perhaps just spotted), and I gave that a go, but my photoshop skills aren’t up to those of Elsie and Frances.

I’ll be back tomorrow with more words and pictures – including notes on how difficult it is to ‘tog garden birds when your beagle insists on immediately chasing anything that moves.

Especially if it has wings.

It’s no wonder I couldn’t get a faerie today.

Insta game not strong

My overall photography stuff wasn’t too bad this year.

But if my Best Nine on Instagram was anything to go by, my Insta game was poor. So poor.

2 iffy sunsets, a beagle and a drone shot. Meh.

Nothing to be proud of here. Especially when compared to 2018’s amazing work. That said, it should be noted that these were the most liked photos on there. Personally, I don’t think that they were the best photos on there, but still…

Lots to work on in 2020. Follow me here and see how much better I can be.

Doing it for the ‘gram

Instagram is ever so popular. Even I have one.

But when it comes to travel, which are the most Instagrammable places in the world? I know it’s a question I have asked an awful lot when planning my holidays. And sometimes when I can’t sleep. And – let’s be honest – one I’ve also put to numerous bemused PicknPay cashiers.

They always say Tibet. Unwavering. Incredible.

They’re wrong, of course. Because:

Based on a scoring system that analysed the amount of hashtags per destination, survey results of Big Seven Media readers and votes cast by a panel of travel experts, these are officially the 50 most Instagrammable places in the world 2019.

And Tibet doesn’t even make the Top 192. A Nepalling ommission.

Obviously, I wouldn’t be telling you about this list unless SA had done ok. And it has: finishing in the Top 5, at er… number 5.

Beaten by Indonesia, Canada, Hong Kong and top dog Australia, SA managed to see off particularly strong competition from The Maldives, India, the USA and Dubai (the list did say ‘places’, but all the other ‘places’  aside from Antarctica (171) are countries). Singapore fills out the Top 10.

But how much can you trust a list that has Palestine at 88 and Mauritius at 103 for Instagrammability? Maybe they should start sending the influencers to the West Bank. Just a thought.

For the record, the UK comes in at 11 and eSwatini at 191. The least Instagrammable place on earth (aside from Tibet) is Tuvalu. Nobody has ever got an Instagram banger in Tuvalu. [full list]

There’s a sub-sub list of the The 7 Most Instagrammable Spots In The Western Cape, but when Table Mountain comes below the V&A Waterfront, you know that there’s something amiss. And that sub-sub list doesn’t even agree with its parent list – The 50 Most Instagrammable Spots In South Africa – in which Bloubergstrand…

…the image most people think of globally when they hear the word ‘South Africa’.

[*words. There are two of them. Plural.]

…finishes first, but doesn’t even make the Top 7 for the Western Cape.

But hang on a second… No Clarence Drive?
No Cape Agulhas? But that lighthouse! That cairn!
And Kirstenbosch doesn’t get a mention anywhere.
And nor does Camps Bay.

Ugh. All these lists are clearly rubbish. Please ignore this post.

Instagram breaks flower farm

Humans are weird things. We get carried away in the weirdest way about the weirdest things. Canadian sunflower farms, for example.

The Canadian sunflower farm in question belongs to Marlene Bogle and her family. They open up their farm to the public for a few days every now and again. This year, things went bad.

It started mildly enough. The Bogles opened up their farm to photographers on July 20, charging $7.50 an adult. They had done the same thing three years ago, with a few hundred visitors providing a modest boost to their main business of farming sunflower, corn, millet, oats and barley, as well as selling various kinds of birdseed from their big red barn, which remains open for business.

I’ve never been to the Bogle’s sunflower farm, but I’m finding it easy to imagine the scene: Peaceful, tranquil, sunlight filtering through the trees, the gentle sound of children’s laughter echoing across fields of beautiful sunflowers.

“Everyone was laughing and having fun,” says Barry Bogle, of that first week. “Then all of Toronto showed up.”


The apocalypse arrived on Saturday, the 28th. A few pictures of people posing among the roughly 1.4 million sunflowers had gone viral on Instagram. Cars began rolling up the driveway at 5:45 a.m. “We knew then something was up,” says Barry, who called Hamilton police for help.

I can’t do justice to the carnage that followed, save by copying and pasting the Globe and Mail’s description from the link above (oh, ok… or here, if you can’t be arsed to scroll back up) which I’m not going to do.

The sunflower is a notoriously fragile crop. If the lower leaves are damaged, the plant becomes far less resistant to drought and disease. The Bogles won’t know the extent of the damage until they harvest the plants in late September or early October.

“I used to love these flowers,” says Marlene, waving a Tesla away from the driveway. “Now I can’t stand ’em.”

Our (their?) obsession with Instagram has broken a sunflower farm. It’s ruined a good, healthy, educational family day out simply because we are narcissists and are desperate for instant gratification, more LIKES than the next person and some sort of transient security through affirmation of our petty content.

Humans are weird things. Really weird.