Long day, great news…

A long day out at a horse ridery show, followed immediately by editing at least some of the 700+ photos I took.
That’s done now, and there were actually some really decent shots, but I’m more than a bit knackered.

However, when I opened my inbox to share the images I had processed, this was waiting:

Dear Prize Winner,

We’re excited to inform you that you’ve won $850,000.00 USD in our recent draw.

To start the process of claiming your prize, please provide us with your full name and phone number. Our team is here to help you through every step of securing your prize.

We look forward to hearing from you soon.

Best regards,
Power Ball Online Customer Service

Wow. What an end to the day. I wasn’t quite sure how much $850,000.00 USD was in our local currency, so I asked a financial expert. And he said that it was…

Tomorrow, I’m going to have a nice sit down and work out how to spend at least some of it.

In the meantime, Austria v France beckons.

Some tweets

Various subjects. As you’ll read.

First up: Covid (of course).

People go to a festival, think they’re safe because “it’s outdoors” (except the shared car journeys, the indoor bits, the bars and the densely crowded, close contact bits), and then they contract an extremely infectious virus.

It’s nothing new.

We’re told that it’s sociology, rather than epidemiology or microbiology that tells us when a pandemic is over. And looking at things sociologically, in many cases – like the festival(s) above – behaviour has returned to normal. Except, if the pandemic is over, why are so many people still getting infected with the causal agent? And this in summer, as well.
Wider society might think we’re done with Covid. The medical experts will tell you differently.

Crime: It’s a huge problem in South Africa. How do we solve it?

It’s not so difficult, apparently:

Actually, it’s been staring us in the face all the time. Rather than increasing policing, relying on better intelligence or working on active rehabilitation of offenders, people should just stop stealing. Then the crime numbers would come down.

You can’t fault his logic. And if we can make it work on theft, then surely robbery, assault and murder should be addressed in the same way.

Just do less of it.

Crime: Sorted.

Photography: The trouble with it being free.

There is indeed a lot of “vapid shit” in the photography sections of the internet. (And to be fair, in a lot of other sections as well.) But, aside from asking people to produce less of it (see above tactic), would having to pay for trendy, hipster, retro film – like we used to have to do – make people care more?


But, it would also price many people out of the photography game. And we would miss out on a lot of talent because of that. And so the best way is not to make a return to the “good old days” of film and cassette, but rather to champion and support and share the really good work out there.

And yes, maybe occasionally take the piss out of the really horrific stuff, just for balance.

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.



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 509 – Recent photos

OK. The first half of the photos from our recent (ok, not so recent now, but I have a decent excuse) trip away are now edited and up on Flickr. Truth be told, I’m a little disappointed with the overall quality. That said, it was a really hard job packing all the sheer scale of the landscape into a camera, and we were there for family time rather than photography time.

And there are one or two of them that I still quite like:

Moody stuff. Go full screen for more effect.

The second part of our trip was less landscape and more animal. But it also makes up about 80% of the photos I took. I’m on it, but with energy and concentration at a premium right now, it is going to take some time.

Please bear with me.

Day 421 – Send me a sign

No. Not one with your finger(s). Stop it.

I’m considering buying a new lens for my camera. I’m not a professional camera person, and while science never paid well, no science doesn’t pay at all, thus that R243,000 one is sadly just out of reach.

By about R230,000.

But there is one lens I’ve been looking at that’s just about doable, price-wise. But still a luxury item.
So I’ve been reading reviews, looking at blogs, examining ratings and comments on photography sites, and generally looking for anything to put me off spending what is still a sizeable chunk of change on a new lens that I could quite easily manage without, but which would also be a lot of fun and (hopefully) improve the standard of my hobby. But that isn’t working, because all the reviews, blogs, ratings and comments said that if I couldn’t afford something more expensive (and I’m very much in that boat), then this was the lens for me, because it even outperforms lenses which are much more pricey. There are five star ratings and positive words everywhere.

That doesn’t help.

And I’ve been seeing some amazing shots on Instagram and Flickr using this sort of lens and wishing that I could produce that sort of thing. Which I’m sure I could… if I bought this lens.

dinosaur on Twitter: "https://t.co/kJotqj94E6" / Twitter

Even then, though, I decided that it was too much. And so I went back onto my favourite photography retailer site this morning for final confirmation that there was actually no justification for spending that amount of money. I knew that simply seeing the total would be enough to put me off once and for all and… oh look they’ve knocked R900 off it.


Is that the sign I have been looking for? Well no, because I was looking for a sign that told me not to buy it. This was quite the opposite, and now I’m even more in limbo.

There’s no point in asking photography people because they will invariably say one of two things: “Get a better camera”, which is several times the cost of this lens and clearly an absolute non-starter, or “Yes, you can never have enough glass”, which is kind of true, but overlooks the fact that I’m not anywhere as near as much a photography person as they are.

I’m stuck.

Somebody, send me a sign. Please.