Thursday, February 25, 2010

Home from the sea

Hout Bay, a small town, at one end of the spectacular cliff hugging Chapman's Peak Drive, is jokingly but affectionately referred to by its residents as The Republic of Hout Bay.  Part of its charm is due in no small part to the fishing harbour, where brightly coloured boats sway gently at anchor and screaming gulls wheel overhead.

 Vessels painted in soft turquoise contrast pleasingly with a yellow boat, trimmed in royal blue, the whole set off by a scarlet fishing tackle box.  Even the name of one of the boats, Oceana Amethyst, seems appropriate to the palette of colours.

As well as an excellent seafood restaurant, there's a takeaway kiosk called Snoekies which sells the most marvellous fried battered fish and calamari, straight from the ocean, as well as the best french fries you'll ever taste.  There's nothing better than sitting on the rocks, dipping into steaming hot fish and salty chips, fragrant with lemon and vinegar, occasionally tossing a chip to a beseeching seagull as you watch the passing parade of fishing boats and yachts.

 The harbour is also home to numerous yachts, from luxurious ocean going and serious racing vessels to the smallest one person crafts.

Beautiful as all these larger views are, I am irresistibly drawn to the smaller scenes like this.  I looked down on to the water and saw this piece of wood floating on the surface.  It had obviously been used for painting the boats and, together with the coiled rope, somehow reminded me of a Jackson Pollock painting.

I'm not sure what this part of a boat's anatomy would be called but I thought it made an interesting composition.

And there's that orange again ...

Another boat in the Oceana fleet.

And one final picture to make the senses sing with joy, the primary colours, tied together with beautiful plaited rope.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Colour Pink

Last evening, as I was passing the front door, closed on account of the howling south-easter which has now been blowing for a week, I did a double take and a quick pirouette as I saw this really, really pink glow through the glass window.  The trusty camera was at hand and I sprinted down the stairs, no shoes, out the gate and into the road.

Do you know just how painful tarmac can be for bare feet?  Any how, I made it to the steep road which leads up from the city and intersects our road, limped into the middle and took this picture. Cars drove past at ridiculous speeds, it must be said, and heads turned to see the wild-looking woman in old gardening clothes (including, I'm ashamed to say, the most disgraceful shorts).  Hopefully,  I wasn't recognisable with a large camera pressed to my face.

I always moan about the various overhead electricity and telephone cables and how they spoil pictures but then I noticed the interesting and intricate patterns they made against the glorious sky.

And then, within the space of about five minutes, the pink afterglow fled, the evening blue descended and I limped home.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

People watching

When the weather's hot and there's a comfortable bench in the shade, what better way to spend some time than resting and watching the passing parade in all its interest and variety.

Or you can sit down an enjoy an icecream and let different rock bands and singers entertain you.

With no tripod, my daughter found a convenient pole to steady herself while taking pictures.

Seagulls constantly wheeling in great arcs over the harbour, add to the general hum of music and conversation with their plaintive cries.  This one, perched on a pole just below a restaurant which jutted out over the water, kept a beady eye out for scraps, his cries becoming more and more raucous, it has to be said.

A veritable United Nations of colourful flags.

The Spirit of Victoria moving gently to and fro as she lies at anchor in the harbour.  Imagine anchoring off a beautiful beach and sunbathing, your lithe, bronzed and toned body in a tiny white bikini - sigh ...

"No guts, no glory" reads the sign on this pirate ship above these headsof these little children.  After being deliciously "terrified"  of the teenage boys dressed up in pirate gear and flourishing cardboard cutlasses, they could hardly wait to be off to sail the ocean deep.

Meanwhile, their parents were probably thinking more in terms of something like this.

The more adventurous spirits, life jackets on and strapping themselves in place, prepare to leave on a high speed chase across the water.

All the elements of a working harbour and a place where Capetonians and visitors from countries all over the world can mingle and enjoy themselves in complete safety.

And finally, an unusual view of Devil's Peak and part of Table Mountain, with veils of mist creeping down the flanks of the mountain.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Over the Top Award

My thanks to the lovely and generous Simone for passing on this Over the Top award to me. Her warmth and encouragement are much appreciated.

Delphin Enjolras - Young Woman Reading by a Window

The Award

In terms of the award rules, I have to provide one word answers to the following questions :

Your cell phone?  Pesky

Your hair?  Impossible

Your mother? Missed

Your father? Charmer

Your favorite food?  Chocolate

Your dream last night?  Bizarre

Your favorite drink?  Milkshake

Your dream/goal?  Photographer

What room are you in?  Study

Your hobby?  Photography

Your fear?  Noise

Where do you want to be in 6 years?  Seaside

Where were you last night?  Study

Something that you aren’t?  Placid

Muffins?  Gimme!

Wish list item?   Canon F/1.2 Lens

Where did you grow up?   Haven't

Last thing you did?  Blogging

What are you wearing?   PJs

Your TV?   History

Your Pets?   Hadedas (large birds)

Friends?   Sister

Your life?  Rollercoaster

Your mood?  Dazed

Missing someone?  Grandkids

Vehicle?  Vespa!  (Scooter)

Something you’re not wearing?  Shoes

Your favorite store?  Orms (Photography Store)

Your favorite color?  Red

When was the last time you laughed?  Now

Last time you cried?   Christmas

Your best friend?   Sister

One place that you go to over and over?   Bettys Bay

Facebook?  Yes

Favorite place to eat?  Tokyo Sushi

I also have to nominate five blogs to pass on the award, but this is going to require some thought and reflection, so I'll get back to this task in a few days.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Seeing Red

The ongoing dilemma - what to do with the shoe boxes full of pre-digital photographs that I never got round to arranging in albums.  My daughters are shining examples of this sort of efficiency and good organisation but they certainly didn't inherit these excellent traits from me.  I kept up with the albums until the the grandchildren arrived in the first daughter's case and in the case of the second daughter, I'm ashamed to admit, around the mid-twenties mark.

There seemed to be a strong case for doing something with as many images as I could and I decided to make a collage from the many pictures which featured red as the focal point.

The pictures in this collage were taken for an assignment on a photographic course I attended prior to owning even a compact digital camera.  One of students on the course, who worked in the media world, used a digital camera, something new to all of us, and would bring her laptop to classes to show her assignment.  I couldn't imagine then ever making the change from film to digital.  Thousands of images later, with several hard drives filled with pictures, I love the fact that I have an ongoing record of our family, especially in the case of the older daughter and the grandchildren who now live in Australia.  It's interesting too, to follow one's progress as a photographer and to realise how practice really does improve, if not perfect, technique.  Now, what's more,  I've discovered the joy of having my photographs professionally printed and bound into albums, so things have really come full circle.

Following the red theme,  this is a picture I took at the weekend of the Old Clock Tower at the entrance to the Waterfront Harbour, complete with circling seagulls.

This is one of the pointed windows at the base of the tower where it was so hot and bright that I had to take the picture, holding the camera with one hand and my rucksack up in the air with the other hand, to block out the sunlight, hence the somewhat wonky reflection.

I had to wait some time until the children's car rides were empty. This little boy decided to stay put even though his parents had decided that enough money had been spent on rides.

The National Sea Rescue Institute boat in its glass shed, poised for swift launching.

And lastly,  red umbrellas scintillate against the hot blue sky.  Tinkling, frost-beaded glasses, the sound of live music, laughter and chatter floating over the gleaming sea water.  Another perfect Cape Town afternoon.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Flying High

Twenty years ago today South Africa celebrated one of its most historic  moments as Nelson Mandela walked out of Victor Verster Prison, a free man.  It was an emotional moment for all South Africans and one that I will never forget.  My memory of that day is as clear as if it had happened yesterday.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Reflecting on Reflections

For some reason today I've had reflections on my mind.  I turned to the Oxford English Dictionary and found this definition of reflective : "1. Providing or capable of providing, produced by reflection. 2. thoughtful".  This seemed to neatly tie in with my thoughts about reflections and whether what we see when we look in a mirror is truly representative of what we believe we look like to other people.  I took a lot of self portraits, hoping as it were to almost catch myself unaware, if that makes sense, but the images I captured didn't seem to look anything like the image I see in the mirror.  More work to be done on Point No 2 of the definition above.

Reflections in nature, even with people in them, are much simpler and can be enjoyed for what they represent, something beautiful and tranquil. 

 Two photographers are better than one.

When I photographed this scene I was sitting in a green foliage cave, hidden away from passers by and it reminded me of my childhood, when my sisters and I enjoyed finding snug hollowed out spaces under shrubs in the garden, transporting rugs, pillows and books and emerging from time to time to cadge snacks from my mother.

I find it intriguing when an image captures the reflection of something that appears not to be there.

All my images in this post are about reflections in water and although this last one appears to be of sun glinting on glass, it is in fact the waters of Sydney Harbour reflecting off one of the glass surfaces of the Opera House.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

City Lights

Two nights ago I played tourist in my own city.  Although I have lived in the city centre for over fourteen years and travelled up to the top of Table Mountain in the cable car many times, I have never driven along the road below the cable station at twilight and stayed in situ for a few hours to take photographs.  This situation had to be remedied and, together with my daughter, her friend and the trusty chauffeur (my dear husband) we set off with cameras, tripods and all the paraphernalia required for a night time shoot.

The zig-zag road with its hairpin bends clings to the contours of the mountain and the first and only space to pull off provided a chance to take this picture of the city and harbour, with buildings just touched by the setting sun. 

Higher up the view spread out more with the sun now gilding part of the harbour area and the distant hills.

We had to wait some time for parking space but eventually as evening drew in people started to return to their cars and we found a good vantage point.  Below, Devil's Peak swoops down into the city and the distant mountain ranges are swathed in veils of  pink and amethyst.

A last flush of pink of pink light bathes the city in its warm radiance.

The peak on the left of this picture is called Lion's Head while that to the right is called Signal Hill.  As a whole they're supposed to resemble a resting lion.  Lion's Head is a popular but fairly strenuous climb,  the last part of it assisted by ladders and chains sunk into the rock. From what I've seen of my daughter's photographs the view is magnificent.  There is a moonlight climb once a month and from our home we have a clear view of the procession of twinkling lights progressing up the mountain.  The summit of Signal Hill can be reached by car and has an incredible view over Camps Bay, Sea Point and our new 2010 Soccer Stadium in Greenpoint.

As the evening gradually transforms from warm to cool hues, the lights of the city start to flicker on all over the city bowl.

The blue intensifies and now the illuminations on the docks and one of the freeways out of the city are clearly visible.

The remaining vestiges of blue disappear and the landscape sparkles, jewel-like in the velvet darkness.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Golden Morning

Rising with the sun this morning for a change, I walked out onto our front verandah to collect the morning newspaper and came upon this glorious sight.  We'd had a dense sea mist rolling in during the night, accompanied by the mournful sound of the foghorns down in the harbour and now the sun was making a spectacular appearance through the the gossamer clouds.  We live on the slopes on Table Mountain and that's Devil's Peak in the background.

A lone pigeon, one of a flock which wait every morning, for my neighbour to scatter breadcrumbs on the sidewalk.  Occasionally, a golden labrador strolls past on its morning walk, scatters the birds and hoovers up the remaining crumbs.

The sun, climbing higher now and lighting up the gardens with golden light.

And, finally bursting through the mist in full radiance, this whole sequence occurring in the space of three minutes.


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