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Monday, 30 April 2012

Reflection and blue moon.

Getting brave with my camera now taking my photos in complete manual mode. 


Click on photos to enlarge.




Blue moon. Apart from adding a little contrast to make the craters stand out more, no editing was done to this photo. That was the colour of the sky and the moon when I took the photo at about 5:10pm. When I saw it the title and tune from a Country & Western song came into my head, "Blue moon of Kentucky." Can't remember the words but the tune was there in my head. (That really shows my age).




Reflection of a cell phone tower in a pond. This tower is almost a kilometre from the pond. Did a little retouching here to get a bit more shimmer effect, the ripple was there already.



St Mathews Anglican Church, Estcourt.

Drove into town early this morning to draw money from the ATM, get there too late and the line stretch around the block. On my way home I had to pass the Anglican church and the early morning sun was just starting to fall on it.


Click on photos to enlarge.




St Mathews Anglican church, "Church of the Province of South Africa, Dioceses of Natal", to give it, it's full title celebrated it's 140th anniversary last month.




The church was consecrated in 1872, though the establishment of the congregation itself goes back to the 1850's.




Side view of the church.




The tower was only added, so I've been told, 80 years later.




Close up of the tower.




Western view of the church. The whole church is built of dressed sandstone blocks. A perfect little English church in Africa.


This church has a vibrant and growing, mostly black congregation. 



Sunday, 29 April 2012

Trees; a different view.

Took a different look at trees this afternoon, I lay on my back, with my head against the tree and took these photos. Played around with, shutter speed, f stops and ISO settings. Afterwards I edited them on the GIMP photo editing program. GIMP is an open source free program that can be downloaded from their web site. (Google GIMP). Said to be able to do most of what the expensive commercial programmes can do.


Click on photos to enlarge.




Photo of an old pecan nut tree. Here I just added more contrast.




Same tree, but here I did more colour saturation and hues with contrast, interesting effect. 




Acacia thorn tree, with colour manipulation. 




Again lying on my back under the acacia tree. Added some contrast here.






Same acacia tree, lots more contrast and some colour manipulation.
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Autumn Ivy.

The brilliant colouring of the ivy on on this church wall shows how fast winter is approaching.


Click on photo to enlarge.




I took these photos this morning, the ivy is growing on the walls of our old church building, now our church hall.




Still a bit of green left at the far end, by next Sunday the green will mostly gone. 

Saturday, 28 April 2012

The Italian leprechaun and I took one of our rare trips to the big city of Pietermaritzburg, more to prevent cabin fever than any real need. Stopped over at our favourite coffee shop, had breakfast and of course coffee. Afterwards we went to Exclusive Books, just to look, but ended up buying two books each.


On the way back we stopped on the road bridge that carries the four lane N3 highway over the Bushmans river so that I could photograph the Wagendrif dam wall. I have previously posted a photo of this dam which was taken with my Blackberry phone camera. This photo was taken with my Canon Powershot SX40HS camera. 


Click on photo to enlarge.




This dam was built just above the spot where the old wagon road to the north crossed the river, wagen, is old Afrikaans/Dutch for wagon, and a drif means a ford in the river. Later a low level road bridge was built in the same spot and it stood, for almost a hundred years, until the floods of 1987 which washed most of it away.


Tonight the Italian leprechaun and I will have one of our regular "braais" (BBQ's), where the entree will be meat, the main course will be meat, and the desert will be meat, (rump steak and spare ribs), washed down with a few beers. None of these nonsens ideas that women have about salads at a braai.


To tell the truth, about the only time I ever eat meat is at a braai.

Friday, 27 April 2012

Sunrise, weaver birds, sparrows, Cape robin chat & Fork-tailed drongo.

All that in the title and I didn't even have to leave the house. 


Started using the new Blogger and getting used to it. 


Click on photos to enlarge.




While standing at my front door drinking my early morning coffee I noticed the light from the rising sun, shining through the autumn leaves of this tree about a hundred metres from the cottage.




After scattering bird seed as I usually do I photographed these weaver birds and sparrows having breakfast.




A group of sparrows enjoying their share.




While sitting at the window in my lounge reading I spotted this Cape Robin Chat, sitting on the edge of my braai (BBQ) stand, an old plough shear on three re-bar legs. The plough shear was filled with water and the chat felt like a bath.




Close up of the chat. The bird never had it's bath as it did not like the big, black Cyclops eye staring at it through the window.




Fork-tailed drongo, also taken while sitting in my chair at the lounge window.



Thursday, 26 April 2012

Black Headed Heron & Groundscraper thrush.

My dogs and I took our usual walk and the first bird I saw was the black headed heron hunting for his supper. A while later I photographed a groundscraper thrush.


Click on photos to enlarge.




Black headed heron waiting for a careless frog to make a mistake.




Grobundscraper thrush. 


Further along my walk I heard a bird singing it's evening song. Searching the branches I eventually spotted this groundscraper thrush near the top of the tree. I so wished I could record the birds song, it's only when I got home I realised that if I had put the camera on video it would have recorded the bird singing.




Side view above. This bird loves open woodlands and gardens with lots of shrubs and trees.




This photo clearly shows the birds distinctive markings.


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Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Sunrise.

No, I haven't stopped blogging just been busy with all sorts of other things. Among others tying some flies to use on the last few days of river and stream trout fishing in our part of the world. Trout streams close on the 1st of May and stay close until the 1st of September to allow trout to spawn undisturbed. Fortunately this coming weekend is  a long weekend so there is enough time to get some stream fishing done. For the next four months it will be still water fishing and I'm looking forward to bobbing around on a large still water in my float tube.


In the meantime I thought I would post these photos of sunrise I took on my last trip to Lotheni.


Click on photos to enlarge.




Sunrise across the Kamberg valley.




Drakensberg foothills touched by the first rays of the sun.




Shadows and light.




Rock overhang gets a soft, warm glow from the early morning light.




Stern of the "Titanic" lit by the first rays.




Early morning light through an avenue of trees.
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Saturday, 21 April 2012

Autumn sunset and cosmos.

Woke up this morning to the new "improved" version of blogger, YUCK!! Why do they have to scratch where it don't itch? 


While the dogs and I were out walking late yesterday I was intrigued by the golden glow and quality of the light. I tried to capture it in these photographs.


Click on photos to enlarge.




Golden light and long shadows.




Soft light on autumn leaves.




Almost looks as if these trees are burning.




Silhouette against a golden sky.




A lone cosmos flower.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Photography experimenting.

To keep myself busy I've been experimenting with my camera, different, F stops, shutter speeds, and ISO settings. Also been using light from different angles, trying to learn which combination of the above will give the best results. I had my camera on macro mode for all these photos. For those who might be interested, here are the results.


Don't let all the technical jargon fool you into thinking that I actually know what I'm doing.


Click on photos to enlarge.




Natural light from behind and to the right.
      Aperture speed 0.6s, quiet slow.
      F stop              F8.0 very small lens opening.
      ISO setting        200 sensor sensitivity, low. 
      Focal length     4.7mm.




Light and position for this photo, same as above.
    Shutter speed 1/60s. Still very slow.
    F stop             F7.1 Very small lens opening.
    ISO                  200 Sensor sensitivity low.
    Focal length     4.7mm.
Also used flash for this photo.




Light directly from the right.
     Shutter speed  1/60s
     F stop              F8.0
     ISO                  1600 Sensor sensitivity very high. 
     Focal length     10.3mm 




Light directly from the right.
    Shutter speed.   1/60s
    F stop.               F8.0
    ISO.                    320
    Focal length.      10.3mm 


Each photo came out differently and taught my something about the creative use of light in photography.

Bruno update 2.

Came out of the bathroom this morning and found Sissy and Bruno playing king of the castle.




Happy that the big guy is staying home.




They followed me to the bedroom where they proceed to scramble the bedding on the bed.

Monday, 16 April 2012

Experimenting.

Been at home all day, due to a bad virus and sinus infection. Came down with it on Saturday and spent the whole weekend in bed, much to the disgust of the dogs who missed out on their walks. Saw the doctor this morning who booked me off work for a week, gave me a shot and a packet of pills.


Eventually got tired of the bed, had spent two days and two nights there already, so I stated experimenting with some of my photos on the Picassa photo editing programme.


Click on pictures to enlarge.




Pencil sketch of a lightning blasted blue gum trees.




The same tree before editing.




Pencil sketch of an old silage silo.




Zoom. 




Colour boost.




Museum matte. Same photo as above but with a frame added.


So who say's photos don't lie.

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Update on Bruno.

A picture is worth a thousand words, (even if it is slightly out of focus).