Winter skeletons

Trees in Wynberg Park on the weekend.

Maybe it’s always been a Cape Town/South African thing, but I’ve suddenly noticed that the daytime light this winter is horrible for taking photos in. Low, vivid (but not in a good way); harsh and devoid of warmth. It could just be that we’re having a very Joburg-esque winter this year: bright and cold. Or maybe it’s just that I’m taking more photos – and from a different perspective.

Either way, I’m struggling. Bring on summer.

Summer is coming

Not for us, of course. Winter is on its way for us, as indicated by the cooler evenings and later sunrises (which are already sitting at 0645, meaning that we get up very much in the dark). No, I’m obviously referring to the Northern hemisphere, which has been struggling with snow, ice, cold days and colder nights for the past few months.

A time for happiness, then?

Well, not for everyone, no. Because, as we’ve covered before, summer brings leaves to the trees and leaves on the trees block those views which you want(ed) to photograph.

But never has the displeasure at the approaching onset of foliage been expressed quite like this:

I think I see some leaves, even in this photo, evergreen leaves, attached to the tree on the right as we look. But there was, today, nothing like the visual ruination that will engulf everything in a few months time, turning intricately pleasing urban-rural counterpoint into a big old smudge of rural tedium.

There will be photographers of the pastoral persuasion who will have precisely the opposite opinion to this. But they can keep on taking photos of trees with leaves, without anything beyond being masked, obscured or hidden. No-one is stopping them. But in just a few weeks, Brian and his fellow (Northern) city-based ‘toggers will, once again, have to seek out new tree-free spots in order to fill their quota of images of entirely visible skyscrapers.

A call to action

Last night, in Cecilia Forest, in Cape Town, 7 trees, died, from the, cold. The soil that they are planted in drops to -60 at night. There are 130 trees left.

Today, this website, 6000 miles…,  will make sure that every single tree in the forest has a blanket. Once we have enough money for that forest, we will move on to the next one and not stop until we have exhausted our resources.

This is not a goal or a wish or a hope. This will happen. Possibly anyway: have you seen the size of some of those trees? Pretty tall order. Pretty tall trees.

You can help in one of two ways. But whatever you do, you mustn’t do both. You can make a donation based on the number, of commas, I used, in the first sentence of, this post. Donations should be made to my private bank account, and may well eventually be used for the purchase of tarpaulins to wrap up trees.

The second is simply by spreading the word.

Right now, the ‘Social Media World Forum Africa’ has finished in Cape Town, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t continue to annoy people by using the hashtag: #smwf. God knows they’ve annoyed the rest of us with it enough this week. The conference was full of people, from the corporate world, with money, and commas.

We’re going to get their attention for a while. If you can, please choose one (or several) of the following tweets and keep tweeting them. Flood them. As long as you include the #smwf hashtag, they’ll see it, and it won’t even be called spam. Probably. All you have to do is copy and paste one (or all) of the following into twitter.


Last night 7 trees died of the cold in Cecilia Forest. Can you help? #smwf

Is it warm where you are? Wood burning stove? Trees are dying, please help. #smwf

Trees can’t ask for help because they don’t have mouths, so I’m asking for them, please read: #smwf

Wouldn’t a good use of social media be to help the trees dying of the cold this winter? #smwf

You want people using social media to like you? Be nice. Help the trees dying of the cold this winter – #smwf

How much money did your company make last year? Not being nosy, just asking. #smwf

Dear Social Media World Conference, can you spare a moment and some money for a Douglas Fir that might die tonight? #smwf

Thank you,


PS. This message won’t disappear once we’re done.


With apologies to I wrote this for you.

On a more serious note, if you wish to donate to the Cape of Good Hope SPCA, their banking details are:

Bank: Standard
Branch: Constantia
Branch Code: 051001
Acc no: 063 002 167
Acc name: Cape of Good Hope SPCA

Please fax a copy of your deposit slip together with your name and address details to Frances Dorer on 021 705 2127 or email [email protected] so that they can send you your tax certificate.

Stay warm, peeps.