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Wednesday, 31 October 2012

New home.

Today I moved to my new home, a cottage on a farm about 9 km out of town. For several months now I've been looking for a place and at last I found it. It's quite a bit bigger than my previous place, the rent is a bit less but I guess  I'll be paying at bit more in fuel cost to get to work.

This is the view from the back, swimming pool just a few steps from the back door. There are four dwellings built around this central garden/lawn. Just behind me from where I took the photo is another cottage, the owners house can be seen just to the left of the cottage. Slightly to the left of the owners house is another small cottage, the owners son's house, (the original farm house) is just 20 meters off photo to the left. That huge black dog lying next to the pool belongs to the son. 

The family have been farming here since the 1850's.

I'll be posting more photos tomorrow.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Wagendrift da.

Took a round a bout trip home from church this morning so I could get some photos of the overflowing Wagendrift dam. "Wagen" is the old Dutch/Afrikaans word for wagon, a drift is a ford, and the dam was built just above where the old wagon road to the north crossed the Bushmans river.

Click to enlarge.

Photo from the northern side of the river.

This plume of water coming from the bottom sluice is known locally as the "roosters tail".

Zoomed in a bit.

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Rain, rain and more rain.

For about the last five weeks it's rained nearly every day, and more rain is predicted for the next five days. Yesterday at about 6 pm we had what can only be described as a cloudburst, the rain came down in a solid sheet with small hail for about 20 minutes.

The ground is sodden and saturated.

The pond just below the cottage has been overflowing for two weeks now.

Every water course is flowing strongly and the rivers are close to bursting their banks.

Best of all everything is a lush green.

Friday, 26 October 2012

More photo trickery

I really enjoy playing around with the photo editing programs and as I experiment I learn something new.

The photo above taken on an overcast morning while on holiday at Port Edward last month. This is the view looking south. Only about 20 km further is the Umtamvuna river, the border between Natal and the Eastern Cape province. From the river further south for more than 200 km to the town of Port Alfred, the area is known as the Wild Coast, and that is what it is wild and totally undeveloped.

The same photo after some editing magic.

Another dull and uninteresting beach photo.

The same photo after editing.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Photos cant lie, can they? 2

With modern editing programs one can change an uninteresting photo to one that has a bit more "oomph". 

Click to enlarge.

Original photo taken at sunset with the sun going down behind me.

The same photo after editing. Here I've put the sunset behind the hill. The possibilities are endless, limited only by your imagination.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

A rose.

Another rose from our school yard garden.

Taken this morning, before school. I was captivated by the subtle shading from yellow to pink.

Monday, 22 October 2012

Evening walk.

There are some evenings when I'm just not in the mood to go for a walk, then I look at the bright eyed, expectant faces of my four dogs and I know I can't let them down. They enjoy it so much and I'm never disappointed. 

The first thing I spotted was this amaryllis lily in the distance, made a long detour over some very wet and muddy terrain to get to it. It stood out like a bright beacon in the green grass.

Click to enlarge.

Amaryllis lily's, (not really a lily) are native to South Africa but have established them selves in many other countries where similar conditions occur.

Amaryllis grow very well indoors in pots.

A heron heading home after a busy day at the office.

An eagle (?) against the clouds.

Mother goose leads her brood of seven Egyptian goslings to safety. (count carefully, there are seven).

And last but not least, this little beauty hidden in the grass. A perfect little wild flower, not much bigger than my thumb nail.

Look up, look down, look all around, God's beauty surrounds you.

After the storm.

Rain, rain, and more rain. This year our spring rains started very early and has continued steadily, some places in the Eastern Cape province had a years rain in one week. Here in Estcourt this weekend was the cherry on the cake. On Friday morning we measured 47mm, (almost 2 inches) from Thursday. Saturday morning the rain gauge stood at 50mm. It rained for most of Saturday, Saturday night saw violent thunder and lightning storms with torrential rain. Sunday it seemed as if it would clear but by 12:30 the skies opened up and the rain came down in buckets.

This morning the sun is shining and everything is green bright and clean. As a result of the rain the roses in our school garden have been particularly beautiful. This morning I came very early to see if there were any roses worth photographing. The storms of the weekend have battered most of them but here and there there were still one or two. As a result of the good rains the rose bushes are full of buds. I will bring my camera to school every day this week and try and get some good photos.

Click to enlarge.

Sparkling with drops.

Bowed down but still good to look at.

Pure white.

Bright yellow among the green.

New buds, by tomorrow the one in front will be perfect.

Sunlight shining through a petal.

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Sweet peas

Towards the end of March I planted some sweet peas, which was weeks too late. Here and there a few plants came up, then as the winter neared it's end sweet peas popped up every where. Months after they should have flowered I now have beautiful flowers all along my fence.

Put my camera on the tripod and tried my hand at flower photography.

Click to enlarge.

I tried to focus on the flowers in front with those further back out of focus. 

Lush green and deep purple.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Rock, surf, estuary, and deep sea fishing.

The Natal south coast is justly famous for it sea fishing. Fishing from the beach, from rocky points, in estuaries and off shore, (deep sea) are all practiced. The species available are almost to numerous to mention, if you fish deep sea most of the well known game fish can be caught, sharks, barracuda, tunny, and many more. From the shore you can catch shad, (blue fish) grunter, etc. From rocky points that have deep water close in many of the game fish can be caught.

Estuary fishing can be very exciting especially with an incoming tide, which brings many of the surf fish in, Salt water fly fishers love fishing in estuaries and species such as grunter and springer are targeted. I'm told that a two pound springer will take you into your backing several times. I think springer is also called a lady fish.(?)

There are restrictions on the number and size on many fish species, and there is a closed season for certain species, eg, shad. 

This boat above was about a mile out to sea, it was a rainy overcast day
with quite a swell. The boats used here are called ski-boats, and they are launched from the shore, through the surf. To take a boat out to sea you need a skippers licence, your boat must be seaworthy and licenced, (boats are checked regularly for seaworthiness). In recent years strict laws have been passed as to what is considered seaworthy, boats must have enough floatation materials, (usually something like styrofoam) to float even if the boat capsizes or is swamped, a minimum of two outboard motors, etc.

Only after I edited this photo above I noticed that the guy on the left is playing a fish, his rod has a nice bend. The chap on the right is standing ready with the gaff to land the fish.   If you click on the photo to enlarge you will see the action clearly. There are many charter boats available, and for a reasonable fee the skipper will take you out to fish.

These three Indian anglers are preparing to fish in the deep water just off these rocks. On the horizon a cargo vessel can be seen heading south. South bound vessel sail far of the coast so as to catch the south flowing Mozambuiqe current. North bound vessels travel closer to the coat to make use of the northward flowing counter current.

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Photos don't lie, or do they?

Well it seems you can make them lie.

Click to enlarge.

Above; original photo, dull grey, lifeless.


Photo after editing.

Thursday, 11 October 2012

More beach scenes.

"Photography is a marvellous discovery, a science that has attracted the greatest intellects, an art that excites the most astute minds - and one that can be practised by an imbecile.
... What cannot be taught is the feeling."

French photographer Gaspard Felix Tournachon. ('Nadar').

Today we take photography for granted, most people in the so called "Developed World", and even the not so developed world, own a camera. Back then in photography's infancy it really caught the imagination of people. Gaspard Felix Tournachon, who signed his photographs with the name 'Nada", said that the basics of photography could be taught in an hour, the techniques in a day, to anyone, the art of photography was something that could not be taught. You either had it or you didn't.

While in Port Edward recently I tried to take photographs that were not just snapshots, mostly I failed, but a few almost made the grade.

Click to enlarge.

Taken directly into the sun, fortunately the sun was slightly obscured by a cloud. I also covered the front of the camera lens with the lens from a pair dismantled  polarised sunglasses lens. 

The rocks are still damp from the receding tide.

Rocky ledges and tidal pools. 

The rocky point on the right are know by the locals as splash rocks, at high tide the waves crash high up against them.

The early morning sun was just at the right angle from the left to bring out the rough texture of the sandstone.

Clear warm water, a nice place to wade out with a salt water fly fishing outfit and try ones luck

These tidal pools hold myriads of small fish, crabs, small lobsters and baby octopus under the ledges. It always amazes me how these small creatures survive the pounding of the surf over these rocks when the tides in. 

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Some other beach cottages.

While walking down to the beach at Port Edward I took some photos of other beach cottages. Most of these cottage are unoccupied for most of the year, the owners only come down for long weekends and holidays.

One of the largest "cottages" with a three car garage. 

A nice double storied cottage overlooking the beach. Between the houses and the beach is a wide space covered in coastal bush, the dunes then the beach. The open space and the dunes may not be developed.

Another very nice beach house.

A rather unimaginative name for one of the humbler cottages. 

The name reminded me of a famous South African race horse called "Sea Cottage" of the late 1960's or early 70's. This horse was virtually unbeatable, it was rated as the favourite  to win the Durban July handicap, one of the countries top races. A few days prior to the race someone shot the horse with a .22 caliber pistol in one of it's back legs, so it could not race. The national outrage had to be experienced to be believed, it would have been less of an outrage if the unkown shooter had shot the countries President.  Later a New Zealand race horse breeder bought the horse for what was back then an enormous amount.

Monday, 8 October 2012

Beach and ocean scenes.

The rocky shores of Port Edward, (a misnomer as there is no port) have the dubious honour of have the first recorded shipwreck of a cargo vessel on South African shores, since then there have been many hundreds or maybe thousands.

On the 8th of June 1552, the Soa Jao, a Portuguese trading vessel carrying 600 hundred passengers, a large cargo of pepper, Chinese porcelain, carnelian beads, and cowrie shells ran aground near the mouth of the Boboyi river. One hundred people perished while trying to get ashore. The rest started northwards to Mozambique and the Portuguese post there, several hundred kilometres away. Only six Portuguese and 17 slaves eventually made it, the rest all died in the attempt.

Click to enlarge.

Some sandstone formations, with the Indian ocean surf pounding the shore.

My friend Jane walking along the beach carrying her dog Paddy, (he has a much fancier Irish name but I call him Paddy). What better Irish name than that?

It was overcast but warm. 

In the middle distance you can see a small fresh water stream flowing into the sea.

In spite of it being peak holiday season we saw very few people on the beach. Miles and miles of beach all to ourselves, makes one feel like a billionaire with his own private beach. 

More unspoilt beach stretching south.