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  1. 9 points
    I haven't posted in a while but thought I share a few of my latest images of African wild life. This is the part that covers lions at night ... I'll post more later. All these images have been taken from within an overnight hide where we entered at 2:00 in the afternoon and were picked up the other morning at 9:00 ... It was an exercise in patience and quietness but it was amazing experience. Cheers Chris #1 ISO6400, 1/125s, f/2.8, 160mm #2 ISO3200, 1/200s, f/2.8, 70mm #3 ISO3200, 1/200s, f/2.8, 58mm #4 ISO3200, 1/250s, f/2.8, 135mm #5 ISO6400, 1/500s, f/2.8, 70mm #6 ISO3200, 1/250s, f/2.8, 38mm
  2. 8 points
  3. 7 points
    A few shots from the Fort Worth Alliance airshow held a couple of weeks ago - A very unusual bird. Take two Yak 55 airframes + One J85 jet engine and mash them together. to get a Yak 110 (N110JY) Randy Ball in his MIG 17 taking it easy on some very high performance cars. Messed up here having my shutter speed set for a jet aircraft which makes the cars look like they were standing still, which they certainly were not. Randy Ball making a photo pass in his MIG 17
  4. 7 points
    While having a sun downer after a game drive this Jackal came up to a few meters from us. Taken in the Welgevonden Reserve ZA.
  5. 6 points
    Not remarkable photography by any means (X-T2 + 100-400/4.5-5.6 @ 400mm + 1.4x TC, around 1/125-250 sec @ 800 ISO, OIS, hand-held - kinda pushing the envelope for the little beast here), but when I spotted this group in a dead tree in the paddock behind my back gate I had to grab what I could and photograph them. To put things further into the context of "why?" - the Wedge-Tailed Eagle is Australia's largest raptor; the Tasmanian sub-species is listed as "Threatened" and is therefore the rarest with fewer than 1,000 adult birds surviving in the wild. It's rare enough to see a single bird up close, but to actually see a whole family probably on their separation "leaving-the-nest flight" (male at top, female middle, and this season's offspring lower - and going by size junior is a female) is literally a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence. To see them "literally" from my own back yard made it even more remarkable. This is the group as I first saw them: For scale, in the following photo the bird on the lower right branch is an adult starling: After showing remarkable patience with my presence in full view out in the open paddock, they eventually flew off for their night-time roost (it is illegal here to disturb parents with their chick/s for many good reasons, so I was careful to move slowly and quietly, keeping the lowest profile in the least threatening manner possible). Thankfully with the AOV of an 840mm lens on a 135 camera I did not have to approach too closely, but the image quality was really challenged by both the 1.4x TC and the low angle light of the setting sun often trying to shine straight into the lens barrel. So bright was the backlight that even +3 stops exp comp was inadequate at times to get the exposure on the birds correct, so guesswork was employed.
  6. 6 points
    Thank you for looking. 1 2 3 4 5
  7. 6 points
    I haven't posted in a while but thought I share a few of my latest images of African wild life. This is the part that covers animals other than lions that showed up during the day while we were in hides or on drives ... I'll post more later. Cheers Chris #1 Pure elegance ... this one was taken from a vehicle ISO1600, 1/640s, f/5, 200mm #2 This was one of the most exciting moments. I lied flat on the ground ~10m away from this guy ... a very friendly cat this was... ISO800, 1/400s, f/5.6, 600mm #3 This one was also taken while standing on the ground i.e. not from the vehicle ... I love the light and the soft background ISO400, 1/4000s, f/4, 400mm #4 Watching a Giraffe drink is always spectactular ... taken from the hide ISO1600, 1/200s, f/5.6, 32mm #5 Another one from the hide ... sometimes a little luck is all it needs ISO1600, 1/400s, f/5.6, 50mm #6 Action ISO800, 1/1000s, f/6.3, 28mm #7 Fighting warthogs ... haven't seen this before and these boys were serious about it ISO400, 1/1000s, f/5, 600mm #8 Beauty again ... ISO800, 1/640s, f/3.2, 200mm
  8. 6 points
    Plying with this heavy glass today in the woods. Thank you for looking. 1 2 3 4 5 6
  9. 5 points
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 These are photos from the phone. I decided to test the shooting capabilities in RAW 9 10 Despite the quarantine measures on nature, you can even go out! For immunity, there is nothing ray of sunshine, fresh air and distributed physical exertion.
  10. 5 points
    Sometimes a long lens is good for portraits. Thank you for looking.
  11. 5 points
    Cape Town is different. While it sits at the toe of the African continent, visitors to this city might be forgiven for thinking that they have arrived somewhere else entirely. It doesn’t look very African and despite many attempts to make it seem more like an African city, you might easily mistake it for a lesser known part of Europe on arrival because wherever you go you will hear foreign languages being spoken. There's also these looming mountains everywhere making it look like it could be the Alps. Even the climate is different to the rest of Africa’s. They actually have discernible seasons in Cape Town, unlike my province where there is only Summer and Summer Light. In Cape Town the winters are cold, wet, windy and miserable and the summers are hot and dry. Very dry. I was amused to learn that they don’t have electrical thunderstorms in Cape Town, so when those folks come to other parts of Africa and they hear thunderclaps they think that Armageddon has begun and they need to seek out the nearest bomb shelter. But as quirky as it is, Cape Town is certainly high on the wish list for many because it really does have a lot to offer its visitors. My wife, like many South Africans, had never been to Cape Town. You may ask why? Well, for starters, it’s not around the corner from the most populated regions of South Africa. For us it’s a 3400km round trip by road. This puts it out of the “weekend getaway” zone if you want to drive because it’ll take you at least 2 days driving each way. Flying is an option, but it’s not cheap as it presents other logistical expenses, such as car hire and transfers to our local airport. In many cases once you have factored in all the expenses it becomes more attractive for the average South African to take a 10 day packaged holiday to places like Thailand or Mauritius than to visit Cape Town. This is not an exaggeration and it’s precisely what many people end up doing. When we first met in 1989 my wife Nikki and I weren’t allowed to travel overseas because of the travel ban on South Africans under the apartheid state. We were born into a generation that does not qualify for ancestral citizenships as our families have been here since before WW1, so destinations like the UK and most of Europe were not possible. We were allowed into some countries, like the USA and Canada, but the costs of getting there were largely prohibitive for the average young person, so we tended to not travel at all. We decided to start a family which after the fall of apartheid in 1994 and the removal of travel restrictions meant that we had no money for such luxuries as world travel anyway. We spent the next 3 decades rearing 2 boys and chasing our tails financially. When we did go away on holidays they were always to nearby places and often these trips had to be co-ordinated with school holidays and available leave days for Nikki. Not that easy. Now that the boys are grown up and mostly independent, I was determined to get her to Cape Town, so I started planning early in 2019 for just how I was going to do this. My original plan had been to do the coastal drive, stopping overnight along the way and making the most of it by poking our heads into the many towns that make up the “Garden Route” (one of the very few areas of the country that I have yet to see). That idea wasn’t met with much enthusiasm, especially after our mechanic, her cousin, started relaying to us the dangers of driving through the Eastern Cape town of Umtata. I’ll be honest, even I was put off after he described what it was like. These tales of horror matched with similar ones I read on a local 4x4 community forum. The general consensus is to avoid Umtata and the N2 road between it and East London at all costs. The problems there range from poor road conditions, to drunken pedestrians, cattle in the road and of course the inept and inexcusably shocking driving by long range taxi bus drivers. I definitely didn’t want to spend 4 days of holiday time being stressed out behind the wheel (or stressing out Nikki), so I started looking at the costs of flights to Cape Town and car rental. South African Airways has a budget airline called Mango. If you’ve ever travelled here you’ll see their bright orange aircraft at all the major airports. The prices of tickets weren’t too bad when compared to the cost of fuel for my aged Hyundai Tucson and road tolls, so it definitely made more sense to fly and then rent a cheap car instead of driving. Ultimately I did just that and booked us tickets for the last week of November, which is kind of the end of spring here, beginning of summer. Accommodation was taken care of by Airbnb. We were going to spend 2 nights in Gordon’s Bay, which is a small town on the eastern side of False Bay about 50km from Cape Town where we would visit my aunt and cousins, and then another 5 nights in the Cape Town City Bowl, practically at the foot of Table Mountain. About 2 weeks before we were scheduled to travel news reports began to emerge on the impending collapse of South African Airways. Like all the other state-owned enterprises in this country, SAA has been ruined by kleptocracy of the worst order. Total corruption within the upper echelons of the company has meant that they are unable to pay their workforce on time, nor offer them any kind of inflation combatting increases in wages. The workers had had enough and the week before we were supposed to travel a crippling strike by ground staff began, causing the prompt cancellation of all SAA flights internationally and domestically. Needless to say I was properly panicked and began thinking of alternatives. There are a number of independent airlines in the country, but given the demand for flights, it seemed impossible that they would be able to pick up the slack left by the national carrier in the wake of the strike. For some reason that I am still not entirely certain of, but can only ascribe to divine providence, Mango, despite being a subsidiary of SAA, wasn’t affected by the strike at all and all their flights remained on track. We left Durban on a Saturday morning as planned and arrived in Cape Town 2 hours later. Sure beats a 2 day drive! When you leave the Cape Town International airport by road you can either head West towards the city or East towards Somerset West. Sounds kooky, doesn’t it? But that’s just Cape Town for you. Up until the advent of satellite navigation I have had terrible trouble orienting myself in the city. I had always just assumed that Table Mountain faced south, but this is totally wrong. It faces North-West, which is why you can stand on the shores of Blouberg in the north and get the iconic image of Table Mountain with Lion’s Head and Devil’s Peak on either side of it. Locals will always tell you to use the mountains as landmarks to avoid getting lost, but it doesn’t help when they look different from different angles. Table Mountain doesn’t look very table-like until you are looking at it from the North, so approaching the city from the East can be a little disconcerting if your sense of direction is already bamboozled by Somerset West signs sending you east! The other big difference with Cape Town is that they are effectively 2 hours behind us as far as daylight goes, yet they’re in the same time zone as the rest of the country. This is great in summer because as the sun only sets around 9pm it gives you a lot more time in the evenings to do things if you work a normal 9 hour day. Get home at about 5pm, head out to the beach and you still have 4-5 hours of good light to do whatever catches your fancy. It does totally mess with our East Coast heads though. On the first evening we were visiting with my family in Gordon’s Bay I asked Nikki if she knew what the time was (she doesn’t wear a watch). She said it must be about 6pm. I told her it was 8.30pm and after the shock wore off she became immediately super hungry because we hadn’t eaten much that afternoon! So around an hour or so later after bidding family good night, we went in search of a take-away joint for something to eat. The usual chain outlets like KFC and Steers all seemed to be closed, but fortunately we found a place called Zebro’s open (barely!) and went in to place an order. It was here that we discovered the famous Cape Town “Gatsby” sandwich. Now I use the term “sandwich” loosely because it is essentially a very long baguette filled with strips of grilled chicken, various sauces and other fillings including “slap chips” (french fries if you have no idea what that is). And it’s cheap as chips too! They had two options on their menu board, regular and large. Nikki was initially going to order a chicken burger and have one of these on the side, but then we asked them how big the regular one is. A person working in the grilling area picked up this bread roll that looked about as long as a golf club and showed it to us. Ooohhhh…we said in unison! We ordered one regular and took it back to our little Airbnb apartment. It was delicious, but even between us we couldn’t finish it, or even get close. Early the next morning we went in search of breakfast and took a stroll along the Gordon’s Bay beach. A very pleasant scene! Right next to Gordon’s Bay you will find the Strand, which is the Germanic word for beach. It was here that I felt most like I was at home on the East Coast. The area is typically “beachy” with a long strip of high rise apartment buildings, hotels, restaurants and of course a promenade upon which you will find scores of people enjoying the sunset by eating ice cream and drinking wine. It is definitely more relaxing and enjoyable to watch the sun set over the sea than to have to get up before dawn and watch it rising. People also tend to look at you funny if you drink beer or wine at sunrise. The Strand really captured my heart and if we ever relocate to the Western Cape I think this is probably where I would like to set up. I can picture myself living in a beachfront apartment and enjoying the sunset from a sea facing window on a daily basis. Having grown up next to the Indian Ocean I am at my calmest when I can look at a body of water often. Living inland definitely isn’t for me. Neighbouring Gordon’s Bay is very quaint, but seems a little sleepy in comparison to The Strand. On the Sunday my aunt took us on an outing to Willem Van Der Stel’s Vergelegen Estate in Somerset West where we walked around the amazing gardens there. It is typically Cape Dutch in the architecture. On the estate are some enormous camphor trees that were planted there by the Governor in the very early 1700’s. These were proclaimed as national monuments in 1942. After our family visit was over we ventured West towards the city. Our Airbnb was a wonderful modern loft apartment in Upper Buitenkant Street and from the sofa we could watch the cableway making its way up Table Mountain. It was the perfect location for our unplanned daily outings. There are some “must see” things in Cape Town, even if they are very touristy and you find yourself wondering what on earth brought you there. The first place we headed for was the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront. Basically the city of Cape Town has commercialised parts of the quayside and turned them into a large shopping mall with an abundance of restaurants. There are masses and masses of them catering for every taste. The drawback to this development (which happened in the mid 1980’s) is that there are scores of tourists everywhere. We even saw Russian sailors in uniform roaming around the space, shopping bags in hand. The next day we did the peninsula, driving from Hout Bay, through the iconic Chapman's Peak Drive, to Cape Point and then on and around the False Bay side, taking in Simon's town, Fish Hoek and then on to Muizenberg Beach. This is a very pleasant drive, especially the Chapman's Peak section (which you now have to pay to drive through as it takes a lot of work to maintain it). Hout Bay is very scenic, definitely a place photographers should visit at either end of the day for great light and subject matter. You'll encounter seals swimming in the small harbour too. Going through the actual Chapman's Peak Drive we encountered a few groups of local kamikaze cyclists who tore through the bends like they were being chased by the beast of the Abyss. I couldn't help but think that if any of them were a tad late on the brakes or miscalculated a bend they would most certainly come to a sticky end. We also came across a couple of more sedate British touring cyclists at one of the many lookout points who offered to take our picture with the Hout Bay starting point in the background. Chapman's Peak Drive is a marvel of engineering and definitely a must do if you visit Cape town. Once we had wound our way through "Chappies" as it's affectionately known by the locals, we pressed on towards Cape Point, which is the southernmost point of the city (not the continent - that honour belongs to Cape Agulhas, which is about 170km away). The only other time I had been here was on our epic 2013 Namaqualand To Namibia Safari. On that day I didn't get to the top because a squall came through just as we were getting close and this forced us to beat a hasty retreat to the car. It's not a short walk from the car park to the lighthouse at the top and there are many steps to climb. Poor Nikki got about 50m from the top and her legs gave up. She should have ridden up in the funicular. However, having missed it the first time, I wasn't going to do the same again given the perfect weather this time, so I left her to recuperate in the shade of a bush while I went up to the top. I'm glad I did because the view from up there is spectacular, although not all that easy to photograph well. There are a couple of penguin colonies in the Cape Town area. We had heard about one of them near Simon's town, so as this was on the way back we decided to stop off and have a look. Apparently we were in the wrong place because we didn't see the boardwalks or fences that have been erected to stop this colony from invading the local residential properties. I also heard that you have to pay to see them and nobody asked us for any money, so we just snapped away. Our final stop on this long, but very interesting drive was at Muizenberg Beach, famous for its bright coloured beach huts seen in travel brochures the world over. To be honest, Muizenberg is stuck in the mid-20th century. The beachfront looks very jaded and while the huts are certainly an interesting feature, the rest of the place is desperately in need of an update. Unless you absolutely have to visit those huts I'd not bother with this stop. The really absolute must do on a trip to Cape Town is of course the ride up the cableway to the top of Table Mountain. I had been up here once before in 1983 with my Dad and my brother while my Mom waited at the bottom. There was no way she was going to get into those cable baskets. In those days they were pretty scary as they were mostly open cages. Thankfully the new ones are quite fancy and they rotate as you make the trip. For me the scariest part is just before you get into the dock at the top and you find yourself looking over the other side of the edge of Table Mountain, realising just how high above the ground you are! Fortunately Nikki's sister had talked her into going up via text messages because she doesn't like heights and having been stuck midway on a zipline at a company outing a few years ago, the thought of hanging out in mid air doesn't appeal to her much at all. She is glad she did though, because once you're up there the scene below is breath taking. We had many other adventures and outings over the week we were there, including walks in the CBD of the city, which is something we can't do in our home town anymore for fear of being mugged. On the whole we felt very safe, but there were some bad elements around. One morning as we walked from our loft to The Castle Of Good Hope (about 1.5km away) we were accosted by a young white youth looking for money. As we always do with beggars back home we just ignored him. On the way back we saw somebody passed out on the pavement with his backside hanging out of his pants. Walking past him I recognised it was the same guy from earlier. He must have obviously got somebody to give him some money so that he could get his fix. It's such a sad thing to bear witness to but this misery is found all over the world. One of the outings I had intended to do, but then decided against was the visit to Robben Island. Apparently it's a 4 hour tour of the island, plus of course the ferry ride on choppy waters. As a South African I don't really need to be reminded of the injustices of apartheid - we live with them every day. Maybe one day I will take the trip across the water, but on this occasion I was content to see the silhouette of Table Mountain, Devil's Peak and Lion's Head from up the coast at Bloubergstrand. Before we knew it our time in this beautiful city had come to an end. The trip has definitely left an impression on us and we are itching to go again, next time with the whole family. Photography gear notes: all images were made with an Olympus E-M1 (2013 model) and Olympus 12-100mm f/4.0 PRO lens. This is an excellent travel kit, giving you great versatility and outstanding image quality. View full article
  12. 5 points
    In general, I have long wanted to look at such a rarity in our region as a wooden temple. And then Sergey Medvedev suggested going somewhere, breathing air, and even so, would scatter. And why not in Drum? With dawn, no luck. The horizon was overcast. But early twilight is being taken out. 1. Not that the image seemed boring. But, a passing car painted the picture with other colors! 2. In general, we waited for the dawn. But he did not please us with the light. And they promised variable cloud cover. Well, then there is a reason to come back here. But we were allowed inside the church. Of course look like a wretched church. Yes, and it’s clear that it was built in a horrible way, which is called in haste, but soundly. Otherwise, it would not have stood for so long in the rains and winds with a perforated roof and without heating. The blockhouse is greatly spoiled by time and weather, the crowns rotted and began to sprawl, now stay on screeds. And to restore such an architectural structure is very expensive. After all, it’s necessary as a Lego designer to disassemble it, sign everything, replace the rotten parts with the same new ones, process the old ones and reassemble. A separate topic is the frescoes on the tree inside the temple. Restoration of such works is painstaking and not simple. In general, while the monument of wooden architecture and the religious structure is in a deplorable state and continues to slowly collapse. And it is such, if not one in the province, then certainly there are not many. Most likely the fingers of one hand are enough to count. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. Here the clergyman lives (Father) 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13.
  13. 5 points
    No matter how bright and beautiful the pictures that I post are. My city is not as prosperous as it may seem. This is due to increased volumes of construction and consumption of thermal energy. Compounded by all this illiterate leadership and endless corruption of government bodies. In total, 300 days a year we breathe smoke. 1. View from the bacon of my office. A smog hat came over the city. 2. 3. Vecherom shel so s"yemok v teatre i ne smog ne snyat' takuyu "zhivopis'" 66/5000 In the evening I went from filming in the theater and could not help but make such a "painting" 4. 5. Then I tried to process it not so joyfully, closer to reality 5.
  14. 5 points
    Z6 & Noct 58mm f/0.95 and D5 & 500mm f/5.6 Pf. Thank you for looking. 1 aZ6M_0742 by Aguinaldo Tinoco de Paula, no Flickr 2 aZ6M_0827 by Aguinaldo Tinoco de Paula, no Flickr 3 aZ6M_0771 by Aguinaldo Tinoco de Paula, no Flickr 4 aZ6M_0731 by Aguinaldo Tinoco de Paula, no Flickr 5 aZ6M_0790 by Aguinaldo Tinoco de Paula, no Flickr 6 aD5S_7809 by Aguinaldo Tinoco de Paula, no Flickr 7 aZ6M_0734 by Aguinaldo Tinoco de Paula, no Flickr 8 aZ6M_0775 by Aguinaldo Tinoco de Paula, no Flickr 9 aZ6M_0787 by Aguinaldo Tinoco de Paula, no Flickr 10 aZ6M_0749 by Aguinaldo Tinoco de Paula, no Flickr
  15. 5 points
    Taken today. All with a Z6 & 58mm Noct @ f/0.95. Thank you for looking. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
  16. 5 points
    That's the last post with images from my trip to SA a couple of months ago. This one is all about birds and all are taken from hides. I am not a birder so please let me know in case I ID'd them incorrectly ... Cheers Chris #1 African Jacana ... I was not at all aware of that most beautiful bird ISO800, 1/6500s, f/4, 600mm (sick settings in hindsight) #2 NIght heron ... patiently on the hunt. He drove me crazy while trying to catch the hunting moment ... Big fail on my side. ISO800, 1/6500s, f/4, 600mm #3 Tawny Eagle - relatively small but beautifully coloured eagle ISO400, 1/1600s, f/4.5, 200mm #4 Sacred Ibis - A successful hunter he was ... that poor frog did not make it long after that moment ISO400, 1/1600s, f/4.5, 165mm #5 Little Egret (Thanks Greg!) - I have no idea what kind of egret/heron this is. I don't think it is a great white but well ... maybe a birder (@Greg Drawbaugh?) can ID it. For me this image is all about the light anyway. ISO800, 1/4000s, f/5, 600mm #6 A bird - The artistic approach that sRGB simply can't do any justice ... Looks awesome in ProPhotoRGB and printed. ID somebody? (LIttle Egret that is, thanks to Greg for ID'ing it) ISO800, 1/3200s, f/8, 600mm
  17. 5 points
    The city is being intensively updated. Not everything flies at once, not everything goes smoothly. But locations with harmonious architectural solutions are already steadily appearing. And so, the renewed embankment of the Yenisei (Abakan duct) 1 2. It was very cold here. -18 degrees Celsius with a breeze and near open water. 3. 4 A swing in the form of a boat sways from the wind. So for a long shutter speed to remove it clearly was not possible. 5 Sunbeds for sunbathing! Yes, in the summer we can tan no worse than in the equatorial belt. 6 I hope these bazaars (ship's bell) are not real, otherwise local residents may not like the beaten-up “bottles” regularly and not exactly! 7. 8. 9. 10 11 12 13
  18. 5 points
    The sunset from the Sky Road, near the town of Clifden on Ireland's west coast.
  19. 5 points
    Taken today. All @ f/0,95. Thank you for looking. 1 2 3 4 5 6
  20. 5 points
    Photos were taken on the last day of the outgoing summer. There was rain and sun. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.
  21. 5 points
    it was brushed with flash 1/128 Grahame
  22. 5 points
    Three years ago in our city we completed the construction of a new (fourth) bridge across the Yenisei. You can talk a lot about the quality of the work, but recently the authorities have taken a great interest in facade lighting in the city. The bridge also did not bypass this fate. 1. 2. 3. 4. In general, of course, backlighting is good.
  23. 5 points
    Olympus E-M1X + 300/4.0 PRO
  24. 5 points
    Z6 & 14-30mm f/4 S. Thank you for looking.
  25. 5 points
    Note: this is a long, image heavy article In 2013 I wanted to offer a very different kind of safari to what we had been doing at Sabi Sabi. This time I set my sights on the big skies and seemingly endless desert landscapes of Namibia. A bit of wildlife would also be thrown in at the end. The Namaqualand To Namibia safari had been timed to coincide with the arrival of the Namaqualand spring flowers, occurring towards the end of August, beginning of September, but we also spent a few days at the start of the safari exploring around Cape Town. As an adult I had been to this unique city a few times on business, but it was usually only for a day or two max and we seldom got to see anything other than the inside of an office or a restaurant. I call Cape Town unique because it really isn’t anything like the rest of South Africa. In fact, we normal South Africans often speak about Cape Town being a different country (or planet) entirely from the rest of us. If you’re ever left alone in conversation with a Capetonian for long enough you’ll likely come to the same conclusion. There might be something in the water that causes them to have a different outlook, but I think it’s probably too much wine. And cheese. A typical winter's day in Cape Town This safari was going to be my first real taste of Cape Town in the winter time. I’ll be brief; if you want to go there, don’t go in winter! I never knew that Cape Town got that cold. It doesn’t quite get below freezing, but the swirling winds and erratic bursts of torrential rain around each mountain corner combine with cold frontal weather systems pushing up from Antartica to produce very unpleasant conditions for humans. Especially where outdoor activities like photography are concerned. Even when the sun shines it's chilly enough to bundle up! And then 5 minutes later the sun vanishes and the rain appears. So, as a result, much of our time in the city was spent at indoor venues, tasting the famous Cape Town wines and eating bread dipped in the lesser famous Cape Town olive oil. And paying through the nose for the privilege. I’m not much of a wine fan myself, especially the red variety, so most of the time I felt a bit like a cowboy being forced to endure endless performances of Swan Lake. The sensitivity of my tastebuds and nostrils were properly and permanently calibrated for simplicity after two years of being forced to eat army food. I don’t need to discover hints of chestnut, or mossy afterglows in the quest for intoxication. Just give me a lager in a bottle and I’m happy. Wino cat with the right position in life On one of the days we found ourselves in Hermanus, a town about midway between Cape Town and the most southern point of Africa, Cape Agulhas. This is a famous whale watching spot, however, it got so cold outside that I spent the bulk of my time sitting in the minivan while the others (who all hailed from Europe and thought the weather was delightfully refreshing) were photographing the flapping whale fins and enormous waves crashing onto the rocky coastline. Or so they said. I never saw any evidence of these whales, but then my memory of the event is suspect since I was in a state of partial cryogenesis by then. I did see lots of penguins at some point. Smelly little creatures, best observed from a great distance. Whale watchers, or should we say fin watchers? Smelly bird, smel-ly bird, what are they feeding you? Anyway, after a few more days of wine tasting we met up with the rest of the group who were joining the safari and we all headed North in two vehicles. The West Coast of South Africa is very rugged and conversely very pretty in places. My first experience of it was when I went there on a family holiday to visit my grandfather in 1983. He had decided to retire himself to a small town about 30km west of Clanwilliam, going by the somewhat dire name of Graafwater, which translated from Afrikaans means to “dig for water”. That should give you some idea of what it is like in certain places in the Western Cape. When I went there as a kid we had arrived at about 10am and getting out of the car into the sun I thought my hair had literally caught fire it was so hot. Although only 30kms apart, Clanwilliam is a completely different place to Graafwater. It is beautifully set amongst the Cederberg mountains and a relatively new dam that was close to over flowing at the time of our visit. Looking back at my photos of this safari though, I only took 6 there, mainly of our group clambering over some rocks in order to photograph bushman paintings. I do recall though that our one night in the town was very windy. And cold. Apparently several of the “permanent” tents we were staying in had blown away in the wind a week earlier. When it picked up again ferociously at some point of the very early morning I decided it would be safer for me to wait for the guests (who were stationed in proper buildings) in the car. This lack of sleep would set the tone for the rest of our trip. Moving a little further north east the following day we finally came across some of the famed Namaqualand wild flowers. To be honest, I was left a little underwhelmed with the whole wildflower experience. It certainly was pretty to see in places, but not as spectacular as I had been led to believe. The bulk of the flowers were either yellow or orange, depending on the town we were in. Occasionally we might have seen a bunch or two other colours, but for the most part yellow and orange flowers was it. Daisies by the Seeberg Daisies by the valley Daisies by the plateau As we pressed on northwards towards Namibia my spirits were buoyed at the prospect of doing what I had wanted to do more than anything on this trip, photograph landscapes! When you cross the border into Namibia from South Africa the landscape changes almost immediately and I could feel myself getting giddy with excitement as we passed through customs and began the very long trek northwards through the desert. Ranked second, behind Mongolia, in terms of population density, there is a LOT of Namibia’s deserted landscape to get through and you can drive for ages without seeing another car on the road. A lot of the time you’ll see other cars on the side of the road where they have been abandoned for years, left to the merciless elements. It’s definitely not a place you want to break down unprepared. Our first stop in Namibia was at the Fish River Canyon, which is apparently the second biggest in the world, behind the Grand Canyon of North America. Staring into this void etched into the earth I couldn’t help but think that I was staring at death itself. Nothing grows here. At the time of our visit Namibia was in full drought and the Fish River that usually snakes its way through this canyon had long dried up, leaving the popular multi-day hiking trail closed due to lack of a water supply. Viewpoint at Fish River Canyon at sunset Northwards further still we went, eventually reaching the town of Sesriem, which is the gateway to the Sossussvlei desert reserve. I’ve written extensively in the past on this experience of the world’s highest sand dunes and of course the Deadvlei itself. If you’re going to take a road trip through Namibia it’s definitely worth visiting, even though it has become something of a major tourist trap. From a landscape photography perspective you will need to rely on your wiles to avoid getting other people in your frame, but there are certainly plenty of opportunities to get great shots of the area. Mountains before the dunes In the Deadvlei Sossussvlei One of the things about this road trip that sticks in my mind was the incredibly difficult drive from Sesriem to Swakopmund. According to the map it’s only 343km, but it took us close to 8 hours after leaving Sesriem before we reached this Germanic coastal town. The road conditions were awful. Deeply corrugated, filled with random rocks (that if driven on would shear your axle off instantly - something we actually saw happen to another vehicle on the way) and generally not the kind of road you’d ever want to travel for 8 hours on. Unless you’re a rally driver in search of a dry and dusty ending. We did stop a few times for photos, including the obligatory pose at the signpost for the Tropic Of Capricorn. As we got closer to the coast I was amazed to see the external ambient temperature drop from the low 40˚C’s to the low 30’s, then low 20’s and eventually settle at a somewhat chilly 12˚C by the time we reached our hotel. That’s the effect of the Benguela current that runs up from the south Atlantic ocean along the south west coast of Africa. As many mariners over the past few centuries have discovered, this is not a coastline to be trifled with! It’s known as the skeleton coast for good reason as it is littered with the hulking remains of many vessels that didn’t quite make it around the Cape Of Good Hope. Hopefully not human bones! We spent three days in Swakopmund which gave me a much needed break from the wheel. During this time we made use of some day tour companies to explore the dunes as well as neighbouring Walvis Bay and it’s colony of greater and lesser flamingoes. Walvis Bay is nothing like its charming neighbour Swakopmund. It’s actually quite depressing as it's largely and industrial settlement. Aside from the flamingoes there isn’t much else to see unless a steady stream of lorries carting salt from the many salt pans to processing plants is something you'd enjoy. Dune tour bus Swakopmund coastline And then it was on the road again, this time to Damaraland, which is where the Namibian landscape gets really interesting. If I ever return to Namibia this is where I would like to spend more time. Huge orange boulders, mountains, dead trees and seemingly endless sunsets all come together to create what is for me the Zenith of landscape photography opportunities. Sadly we were only scheduled to spend a single day and night there, which left me somewhat disheartened as this was my main reason for going to Namibia in the first place. Absorbing the landscape (and the local beer) While we were in the Damaraland region we were taken to a Himba people’s village. It was here that I made some of my more memorable images, albeit not in a manner in which I was particularly comfortable. I wrote about that excursion here, so I won’t get into it again in this article. Suffice to say that it was here where the benefits of my little mirrorless Olympus E-M5 and a 75/1.8 lens really began to hit home. I got photos that I don’t think the giant DSLR’s were able to, simply because I was able to shoot from the hip, mostly unnoticed. One of these images was later exhibited at Photokina by Olympus during my 2 year stint as a local brand ambassador for them. Travelling further north-east we eventually arrived at the Etosha National Park where we would spend the next 4 nights in 3 different camps. I’m not going to sugar coat this in any way, but by this stage I'd seriously had enough of driving Namibia’s endless roads and I'd also had enough of the relentless dry heat. Every day the mercury would rise over 40˚C and like every other national game reserve where you are driving yourself around, you can only leave the camp at first light and you must return before sunset. This doesn’t make for great photography and it also isn’t particularly comfortable when you are sitting in a baking hot vehicle for hours on end looking out for whatever animal might decide to visit the watering holes (which is the only place you will typically see them in Etosha). Fort Namutoni is an old WW1 German Fort that is now one of the camps you can stay at in Etosha Zebra herd on the edge of the pan However, on the final day of our visit to Etosha we stayed at one of the newer, more exclusive camp sites in the north of the pan called Onkoshi. The great advantage of this camp is that you can’t drive yourself there, you leave your vehicles at Namutoni, they collect you in 4x4’s and you have daily game drives from rangers, just like you would at a private game reserve. It was on our last evening game drive that we saw one of the most incredible lion sightings I have ever witnessed. We had stopped to photograph a lilac-breasted roller when off in the distance I noticed a bit of a kerfuffle amongst a group of wildebeest about 100m from where we were. It was a full on lion attack in progress! Our ranger raced towards the scene and we witnessed the demise of a wildebeest at the claws of two juvenile lions, one male, one female. I don’t believe in the 10 years of hosting wildlife safaris that I have heard more shutters being actuated than what occurred in the hour we spent at the scene. It was like the Battle Of Britain. It took a long time for that wildebeest to die. At least 30 minutes passed from the initial terror I photographed in its eyes until the final glaze of its welcome death. This is the way nature works. Wildebeest succumbs to its attackers That night as we recounted the story of our sighting at the camp dining room, one other guest who wasn’t a part of our group remarked that he had been coming to Etosha for 10 years and had yet to even see a lion there, let alone a lion kill. I guess we were just lucky. The final stretch of this epic safari involved yet more Le Mans endurance type driving from Etosha southwards to Grootfontein before heading north-east again on the longest straight road I have ever driven on. The B8 between Grootfontein and Rundu on the border of Angola was constructed by the South African Defence Force before Namibia gained its independence from South Africa. It is about 230km of flat track with barely a kink along its entire length. From Rundu we drove eastwards into the Caprivi strip and then crossed the border into Botswana where we would spend some time on the Kavango River. Kavango River lies at the neck of the Botswana Delta When we got there I felt immediately relaxed. It was as if somebody was pouring soothing oils on my travel weary soul. For me there’s nothing quite like big rivers and spending time exploring them on boats and this was a little piece of heaven that arrived just in time before my mind went all Colonel Kurtz on everybody. We saw an abundance of birdlife, crocodiles and many other river dwellers for a few days before the final leg of our journey to Windhoek and the departure of the Safarians. Carmine bee eaters Windhoek was a pleasant surprise to me. It’s not as hot as the rest of Namibia and it’s quite cosmopolitan for a small city. There’s a lot of German influence in the buildings and of course the famous Joe’s Beerhouse serves up a mean traditional Eisbein with sauerkraut (way more food than any human should ever consume in a single sitting!). Panorama of Windhoek Eisbein and sauerkraut As we said our goodbyes to guests the following day I realised that it had been a whole month since I arrived in Cape Town for this safari, but there was still another two days of driving south from Windhoek before I would be able to fly from Cape Town to my home and family on my beloved east coast. I was, as they say in the UK, proper knackered. I ended up spending 5 days in hospital a week or two later with all the symptoms of malaria, but according to the tests I didn't have malaria. They still don't know what it was, but it was most unpleasant. Will I go back to Namibia? For sure, but if I do that trip again it will be very different and there won't be anywhere near as much driving. I'll be looking into charter flights between points of interest which will obviously make the adventure more expensive, but infinitely more enjoyable.
  26. 5 points
    And a trip by 4x4 to the National Park Pelister. 16. 17. 18. 19. North-Macedonia is definitely worth a visit! Thanks for watching and making it to the end of this post 😀
  27. 5 points
    I took a different approach this year for the safari trip and rather than relying on the staid & reliable Nikon or Sony 35mm DSLR systems with their plethora of long stabilized lenses I brought along my Fuji GFX medium format system instead. I used the GFX50s, GF 100-200/5.6, GF 250/4 and 1.4x teleconverter pretty much exclusively with a back up Sony RX100 VI just in case. I think that it worked out well as I got a bunch of images that I think match anything that I've achieved before. I just need to work through the hundreds of images to select the keepers. Here's a sample set - all taken with the GFX50s:
  28. 5 points
    This lens is an good example of the advantages the new Z-mount brings. The large diameter of the Z mount allows the lens designers to come up with new exciting and/or better performing lenses. The Z 24-70mm f4 is an example of the latter, it's optimised for the new mount and thus behaves in a way like the similarly optimised lenses for the Micro Four Thirds system, the outstanding Olympus 12-40mm f2.8 comes to mind. The Nikkor Z 24-70mm f4 has excellent MTF figures but what's more important in every day use, it's a no-nonsense tool for fantastic images. Finally a "standard range" zoom lens for a full frame system that to me has no flaws. Sharpness is outstanding, even in the far corners. Optical distortion is corrected in the RAW profile and Jpegs. Color, contrast and bokeh are good (although the Z 50mm f1.8 has more punch). Built, size and handling are also very nice. In a kit combined with the Z6 or Z7 this lens represents great value for money and should be a no-brainer when contemplating the purchase of a Z6 or Z7. Some images (all shot on a Nikon Z6) 1. f5 1/13sec iso320 2. f5 1/15sec iso560 3. f5.6 1/40sec iso100 4. f10 1/13sec iso100 5. f4 1/1600sec iso 100
  29. 4 points
    Veterans Day (originally known as Armistice Day) is a federal holiday in the United States observed annually on November 11, for honoring military veterans, that is, persons who have served in the United States Armed Forces (and were discharged under conditions other than dishonorable).[1][2] It coincides with other holidays including Armistice Day and Remembrance Day which are celebrated in other countries that mark the anniversary of the end of World War I. Major hostilities of World War I were formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, when the Armistice with Germany went into effect. At the urging of major U.S. veteran organizations, Armistice Day was renamed Veterans Day in 1954. Veterans Day is distinct from Memorial Day, a U.S. public holiday in May. Veterans Day celebrates the service of all U.S. military veterans, while Memorial Day honors those who have died while in military service.[3] There is another military holiday, Armed Forces Day, a U.S. remembrance that also occurs in May, which honors those currently serving in the U.S. military. (wikipedia) Taken today at Manhattan's 5th avenue. Thank you for looking. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
  30. 4 points
    Taken more than 30 years ago, with a Nikon F2s and Nikkor 24mm f/2.8. This beauty is 80km from my place. Thank you for looking.
  31. 4 points
    Angry birds or punk not dead 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
  32. 4 points
    Taken today. Z6 & 58mm f/0.95 Noct. Thank you for looking. 1 2 3 4 5
  33. 4 points
    Taken this weekend. D5 & 500mm f/5.6 Pf. Thank you for looking.
  34. 4 points
    Taken yesterday. Nikon D5 & 500mm f/5.6 Pf. Thank you for looking.
  35. 4 points
    En route to Portimao, Portugal.
  36. 4 points
  37. 4 points
    D5 & 500mm f/5.6 Pf. Thank you for looking. Happy New Year for you all!
  38. 4 points
    D5 & 500mm f/5.6 Pf. Thank you for looking. Happy New Year for you all!
  39. 4 points
    May the Light and Magic of Solstice bring lots of love, peace, appreciation, and creativity.
  40. 4 points
    Taken today. Thank you for looking.
  41. 4 points
    Thank you for looking.
  42. 4 points
    Thank you for looking.
  43. 4 points
    This picture is more than 30 years old. Ektachrome was used here. We never had Kodachrome in Brazil. Very early in the morning I saw the church lit by this beautiful warm light and got my camera the next day to take the image. One of the few times I did that. Thank you for looking.
  44. 4 points
  45. 4 points
  46. 4 points
    Bit of a crop but hey, its a Crested Barbet ! Never seen one before .. .. wait fot it .. Trachyphonus Vaillantii !
  47. 4 points
    A view from the Reichsberg Castle. Lumix G9 + PLeica 12-60mm @ 1/1000 f4 ISO200
  48. 4 points
    Taken recently. Thank you for looking. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
  49. 4 points
    The meeting of the Rhine & Mosel at Koblenz. From one of the Gondolas. Lumix G9 + PLeica 12-60mm @ 1/1000 f4 ISO200
  50. 4 points
    Dallas, Here's a gullwing Mercedes for you (Mercedes 300SL). Could be a nice restoration project for you!
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