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Thursday, 31 May 2012

Going, going, gone.

While getting ready to go to a School Governing Body meeting this evening, I happened to glance out of the window and saw the sun setting like a giant red balloon. Atmospheric conditions were perfect, a thin layer of cloud, and at this time of the year smoke from farmers burning fire breaks - and due to the dry conditions - lots of dust particles, causing a spectacular sunset.

I managed to get 14 photographs of the sun setting.

Click to enlarge.

Going, a thin layer of cloud across the face of the moon.


Gone! Well almost, a few seconds later all that was left was the glow in the sky. Amazing how fast the sun is moving, (or rather the Earth is spinning), when you're trying to take a photo.

In one of our local news papers a week or two ago there was a cartoon strip of two characters watching the sun set, and one said;

    "What a beautiful sunset!" to which the other replied;

    "Actually the sun doesn't set the Earth turns."

    "Oh! said the other character, what a beautiful Earth turn then."

Not quite the same effect.


Monday, 28 May 2012

Cape glossy starling.

Nothing attracts birds to a garden like the availability of water. This sandstone water bowl, actually my dogs water bowl, always has feathered visitors. Apart from drinking here they love to bathe in it, the dogs don't seem to mind.

Click to enlarge.

Cape glossy starling.

The birds coluoring is the most beautiful irridescent blue you can imagine.

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Hooked on Books, or a picture worth a thousand words.

During the month of May every year, I organise a visit to our school by a group of young artists called "Hooked on Books". They come to the school and act out scenes from various books, in this way the learners are shown that reading can be exciting and fun. The show is two hours of action packed fun and the children just love it. The photo below shows just how enthralled they become while watching the show.

A picture worth a thousand words.

A bare minimum of props are used during the show.

The three young actors doing one of their routines, these three young people are so full of energy and enthusiasm, that I was exhausted from just watching them. The two boys sitting behind them are volunteers waiting to take part in a scene from a book.

One of the books presented.

Another enthralled learner.

Some of the other books presented.

Above the Junior Primary learners watching the show. 

The show was presented in two section, first half for the Junior Primary (Foundation phase), Gd's 1 - 3. And the second half for the Intermediate and Senior Phases, Gd's 4 - 7. 

Tomorrow I'll be swamped with requests for these books.

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Sunrise from my front door.

Sitting in my favourite chair, drinking coffee, watching the birds feeding,  I saw the sun peeping through the branches at me. Grabbed my camera to get the evidence before he could deny it. 

Caught in the act, 6.50am

Getting bolder, 6.53am. Evidence that would satisfy any court.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Tame cosmos.(?)

Bought a packet of cosmos seeds about 6 weeks ago and planted them all along the fence line in my garden. I thought that maybe I'd waited a bit too long before planting and didn't know weather they would flower or not, but they have and here is the first one and there are hundreds of buds just waiting to burst open. Click to enlarge.

So if it came out of a packet can one call it tame, or is it still a wild flower?

Sunday, 20 May 2012

I'm a convert!

No, not to a new religion, but to using a tripod when taking photos. 

Click to enlarge.

This heron is voicing it's irritation at being disturbed and chased from it's previous roost. Not the most melodious of voices.

Using my tripod I took this photo at a distance of about a hundred meters plus and I was amazed at the sharpness of the image compared to previous photos of herons I'd taken without a tripod. If you enlarge photo you will see how sharp, maybe crisp is a better word, the image is.  

Waiting for me to leave so it could fly back to it's original roost in a willow tree over the water, where this particular heron roosts every night.

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Forty four years.

Bought a tripod for my camera today. One of the photographic websites I came across, said one should take lots of self portraits, gives you an opportunity to brush up on photo composition, exposure, etc. Well that's what I did using my new tripod and setting the timer to 10 seconds.

On my laptop I have a photo of myself, taken 44 years ago. It's a photo I took off a group photo taken in my army days. After our national service back then, we had to do one month service every year for another five years and were part of what was called the active reserve. (Back then military service was compulsory for all white males who turned 18, women and other race groups could volunteer if they wished). The photo below was taken in 1968 after one of these one month training sessions, B company, Northern Natal Regiment. The Spring buck head badge on the cap and lapels is the badge for all South African Infantry Regiments.

Rifleman P H Marais, army no 64228414, after all these years I still remember that no. 

Looking at the photo above I see a young man, 20 years old, who thought he was going to show life a thing or two. Fit, strong, confident and a bit full of himself.(Cocky would be an apt description). Well did life ever have a few surprises in store for him, and every year shows in the photo below.

Self portrait taken this afternoon.

Different cap, much less hair and the cockiness gone. Do I want to be 20 again? No, I like where I am in my life now. 

Sunset silhouettes II

Went back to the spot where I took day before yesterdays sunset silhouettes, to take some more. There is a small man made hillock on top of which is the reservoir for the farms water supply. From this position one gets a clear view to the west and north west, perfect for sunset photos.

One of the things I've realised is that I need a tripod, it's impossible to keep a handheld camera steady while you try to compose a photo. So this morning the Italian Leprechaun and I are going to the big city and I'm going to buy one.

It's the Italian Leprechaun's, (aka Enrico Bucceri) 60th birthday next week so when we get back we will have an early birthday celebration.

I liked the curves of this one.

Fan against the sun, a bit like the Phoenix rising from the fire.

One of the tips I picked up from a photographic web site is to set your camera to the cloudy day setting when taking photos of sunsets, it warms the colours a bit more.

Last light,


Friday, 18 May 2012

Natal Spur Fowl.

Came across this little family of Natal Spur Fowl on my evening walk with the dogs. This little group live in the south west corner of the farm and very close to the main house and the 3 cottages. I've been living on the farm for almost 10 years now and there has always been Spur fowl in this area.  

Dad, Mom, and three siblings. 

I took these photos at quite a distance and with the wrong settings on the camera, so the quality is not good.  Note to self, check camera settings when leaving the house.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Sunset silhouettes.

Wanted a different take on sunsets, so I decided to look for silhouettes. This meant some *"bundu bashing" on my part.

Click to enlarge.

Silhouette of reeds and grass seed against the sunset,

Close-up of the grass seed heads.

Lone grass stem at last light.

*"Bundu bashing, a South Africa term for going into new and rough country - bundu = bush - bashing = exploring.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Shades of orange and red.

Some yellow to.

Click to enlarge.

Sunrise this morning on my way to work. In the sunrise photos I took last week the sun was coming up behind the flat topped acacia in the middle of the photo, as the winter progresses the sun will move further and further to the left of the photo, which is north.

These large poinsettia flowers grow just outside the school libraries door. The flower petals and the leaves are almost the same size. Two years ago (2010) we had a very harsh winter with black frost, I thought this plant would never recover, but it did.

This tree flowers virtually right through the year, but at the moment it is particularly lush and beautiful.


Sunday, 13 May 2012

Golden hay.

A wall of grass.

Underfoot, new mown hay, right the ripe grass glowing in the late afternoon light.

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Cape wagtail.

These little birds fascinate me, always busy and purposeful, they have very little fear of humans and can become quite tame. A friend of mine once had a pair nest in a fern he had on a stand in his lounge. While they were hatching their eggs, then feeding the nestling's, until they fledged he had to leave a window open. 

Cape Wag-tail. Took this photo late this afternoon.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Blogger problems update.

Hooray! Thought I would try one more time, and what do you know? Blogger let me into my dashboard. I could check out my reading list and see what every one is saying and doing.

Sunrise yesterday.

Blogger problems.

Help! As of yesterday I can't get into my blog dashboard, can't see who's posted what, etc. Every time I sign in I get a blank page. Any one out there with any ideas?

In the meantime here's a photo of this mornings sunrise at 6:40.

Click on photo.

In the photo above the sun was just peeping over the horizon.

Took the one below yesterday, about 5 minutes later at 6:45am.

Here I zoomed in a bit and there is some flare on the lens, not a good thing though it looks quite dramatic.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012


Took these photos late Sunday evening, the sun had already set and my dogs and I were roaming in the gloaming.

Click to enlarge.

Black-headed heron landing. The farmer was busy cutting hay and the herons were taking advantage of any insects or small animals displaced by the cutting. These birds are actually more of a grey colour but in the late evening light they looked blue.

This one is keeping a beady eye on me even though I was more than a hundred metres 

Willow tree reflection.

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Morning glory.

These morning glories grow next to my compost heap, turning it into a small flower bed.

Click to enlarge.

A pair of morning glory flowers, they almost seem to be hugging each other.

The white heart of the flower.

The one on the left seems almost translucent.

Come sunset they furl their petals and go to sleep. Come sunrise tomorrow, they unfurl and welcome the sun.

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Moon with Halo.

When I let the dogs out late last night I saw the moon shining through a thin layer of cloud. 

Click on photo to enlarge.

The cloud created this halo, almost a round rainbow.

Friday, 4 May 2012

Where was this photo taken?

Where exactly was this photo taken?

Click on the link below.

When you get to the map, click on hybrid to see the satellite image. Now you know almost exactly where I live, come visit anytime.

Sunset & refelections.

Click on photos to enlarge.

Sunset reflected in a pond.

Cattle egrets flying home against the sunset.

Last light. 

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Bruno acting tough.

You come any closer and I'll bash your face in!

Click on photo to enlarge.

The big Lab just seems amused, almost looks as if he's winking at me with a smile on his face.