Sunday, September 16, 2012

Brisbane Bound

Finally, every item on the long lists of Things to Do have been ticked off, the suitcases packed, passports and visas tucked into a handbag next to a Kindle freshly loaded with new novels and biographies. Most importantly the G12 camera batteries are charged and extra flash cards purchased.  Tomorrow we lock the door behind us and travel to Australia for five glorious weeks with the kids and grandkids in Brisbane. 

Never mind that the setting sun turned the sky and sea into a crimson glow, the birds were tucking into a last minute snack from the feeders and that the Buddleia was wafting its sweet fragrance into the warm evening sky, we're outta here. 

I'll be posting from Australia whenever I can get to an internet cafe so watch this space.


Seen on my country rambling ...

  ... an odd grouping of awkward and ill matching objects.  What sequence or chain of events lead to a broken school desk and chair sharing space with a rusted container of metals flowers? 

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Passionate Observer - Love the Light

The challenge for Week Three of A Passionate Observer was to document our worlds while exploring a variety of lighting situations and different and unexpected vantage points.
So here is my wildly differing collection of images which  hopefully reflect my everyday life and the intriguing rhythm of the everchanging light.

Fynbos flowers in the solitude and soft cool colors of early morning light

Radiant cobalt wall paint and the glaze on the inside of the large terracotta pots make this trickling water feature a thing of beauty.

When I first came to live in the Cape Province one of the strongest impressions made on me was the sight of white washed buildings, dappled by vine and oak tree shadows cast by the scintillating sunlight; and arcing over all, the china blue bowl of the sky. 

This farm stall sells  the best blue cheese and fruit preserves in the area, well worth the detour from the busy national road.  The light glowing through the diamond shaped windows and the intricate pattern of the woven baskets is also a pretty good reason to stop for a photo opportunity.

A walk along one of the beaches, accompanied by noisy swirls of sleek white seagulls, loudly complaining about the temerity of human encroachment on their territory.


Back home in my office, the only way to distract myself from the antics of birds, mongoose and the occasional amble past of tiny little deer, is to pull the blinds down over the windows.


In the late afternoon the west facing side of the house is flooded with honey colored warmth and light ...

... and odd sunshine shapes on the cooler color of the quarry tiles.

The red and black hands of the mosaic clock above my desk with its myriad reflections and warm shades finally lure me outside and down to the beach again.  


For a few fleeting minutes the setting sun wraps the small terracotta flower pots in dazzling light ...

... and casts sharp geometric shapes against the sitting room wall.


In a final burst of splendour the sun etches in gold the figures of my husband and daughter, the latter proving that texting messages is entirely possible even as the light fades.

Thank you Susan for helping me to look more closely at the changing light quality and inspiring me each week to try just that little bit harder.  I'm enjoying this photo challenge so much and the discipline of a deadline is definitely good for my usual lack of determination.


Monday, August 27, 2012

Passionate Observer - Variety and Light

With abject apologies to Susan Black here is my (extremely late) offering for the second photo challenge.  The task this week was to try and capture a variety of subjects in different lighting situations and from unexpected angles, even abstracting the images down to simple color, light and shadow.

A seemingly easy topic, I thought, but I actually found it quite difficult.  We've had ten days of extreme weather conditions which made it possible to get out into the garden only during the brief lulls between rain and 60 kilometre an hour winds;  so my pictures are of subjects very close to the house.

The sunny yellow flowers of Bitou reflect back the occasional glimpses of sunlight through fast moving clouds and showers.

Windblown Pincushion flower reaching for the skies

Tree reflections in rainwater puddles

On our way home from a rainy shopping trip a rainbow appeared in the suddenly blue and sunny sky.  There wasn't anywhere safe to drive off the road and park but I managed to grab a shot as we drove past. 

A little further on we passed an area where a fire had swept through and devoured everything in its path.

Someone (you know who you are) left a couple of oranges balanced on top of a CD box next to the sunny window in the sitting room

I call this my wind picture because the gusts made it impossible to get a sharp image of a sugarbird clinging to the swaying topmost flower of a leucodendron. 

Flowers of the False Buchu, make a drift of mauve blossoms and color.  I wanted to crawl under the shrub and take some pix with the lens pointing upwards but the increasing volume of the hundreds of buzzing bees made it seem wiser to beat a retreat and photograph from a safe distance; a wise decision as it turned out, because a short while later I noticed a nosy bird being chased away by several of the irate little critters.

My favourite pink Sunset Leucodendrons in swirling balletic mode ...

... abstracted down to soft vibrant color and shapes ...

... and finally just to color

Windswept beach sand making impressive boulders out of small rocks in the late afternoon sunlight.

Finally, because I'm never far from the beach I tried to reduce water, foam, light and sand to sweeps of color which I hope give a small idea of the delicate shades of a twilight beach.

Thank you once again, Susan, for the thought provoking assignment which forced me to think more carefully than usual about different lighting conditions and how to solve the problems caused by hostile weather conditions.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Passionate Observer - Snippets of my Life

I've joined Susan Black at The Passionate Observer in her on line, week by week photo challenge.  The first challenge - to take photos during the past week and post the results by Wednesday.  I've never taken part in any project like this and feeling a bit nervous, here are my snippets of life.

My weekday always includes walks along my favourite beaches in Betty's Bay and Kleinmond so my first picture is of a beach just outside Kleinmond.  The two rustic crosses commemorate the graves of people lost when the Norwegian ship, the Gustav Adolf,  sank off Palmiet Beach in 1902.

Palmiet Beach

 At Dawid's Kraal Beach one cold rainy evening the sun suddenly shone through the clouds and transformed the wet beach into subtle mother of pearl shades.

Dawid's Kraal Beach

A ribbon of pink reflection all the way to the horizon on Betty's Bay Main Beach.

Betty's Bay Main Beach

My garden, following the cycle of the fynbos year, is filled with dozens of these pale blue translucent flowers

I planted this Sunset Conebush about three weeks ago and when I looked out my bedroom window my eye was immediately caught by the gorgeous lipstick pinky-red color of the first bloom, lit by the early morning sunlight.

During this week we took a short trip to The Small Karoo.  Apart from the wild beauty of wide open plains and stark, snow-covered mountains, these are the smaller shots that attracted my camera

Saxe Coburg Guesthouse, Prince Albert Village

 Miss Helen's Owl House
Nieu Bethesda

Late afternoon sun transforms a river in the Swartberg Pass into golden glass

Back home again, water reeds line the bank of the Bot River Lagoon and cottonwool clouds are reflected in the tranquil blue water

Bot River Lagoon

Looking through the pictures I've posted I think that all of them make a story about light, reflections and shadows - through stained glass, on beaches, river and lagoons, enlivened here and there by bright, plastered walls and painted doors.

I'm looking forward to the next challenge.


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