25 February 2012

I must go down to the sea again

I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is ............to be able to enjoy it from terra firma, because that way I do not have to endure getting sea sick or getting covered in spray.

Apologies to John Masefield, and I do enjoy the sea but when I go there it must be on my terms.

These pictures were taken on the wild side at Cape St Francis, on a day when the sea was not too rough and the sun was at the right position to bring out the different shades of blue and green.

 I stood on the shore, like the good land lubber I am, and just fired away as the waves came rolling in.

Exploding wave................it might not be rough but there was enough power in the waves for some spectacular effects.


I love the colours in the swirling foam and water.......

That's how I like the sea. Close enough to enjoy it but not close enough to get wet, with both feet on solid ground.

23 February 2012

Skywatch Friday - The grey is not in the sky

A bright blue sky at Addo Elephant National Park and a few ellies

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22 February 2012

Addo Trip #3 - Getting back to the lions

This is the young male who waited at the water hole the day before, for the hartebeest to arrive. This morning he was enjoying basking in the early morning sun.

After looking for the lions for four years, it was nice to get up close and personal - well not too close and personal.

21 February 2012

Addo Trip #2 - The big and the small

When I head out into the bush I enjoy all the animals, from the smallest to the largest, whether it is striped field mouse or an elephant. They all have their own beauty, strange behaviours and appeal and I can spend hours watching them.

This striped field mouse was hanging around us at Jack's picnic spot, hoping for a handout. Of course being near the bottom of the food chain he also makes a nice meal for a raptor. We had in fact observed one of his relatives being devoured with great gusto a few minutes earlier, but never told him.

We got to know these young bulls over the two days of driving around. They were like naughty young boys, who were the best of friends, yet were constantly sparring, to see who was the strongest. They were quite amusing to watch and I will post more pictures of their antics one of these days.

Here they were enjoying a mud bath to cool of from the heat of the day, at the same water hole where the lions were reigning supreme the day before.

Addo Trip - Time for the lions #1

I don’t enter many competitions and generally don’t win anything, but, last year I was delighted to win a weekend away for two at the Addo Elephant National Park.  All I had to do was post a picture of me that was taken at the Park, and the rest is history.

This weekend Suzi and I claimed our prize, which was a two night stay at the Matyholweni Camp. The camp is set on the side of a hill in a valley, where the only sounds to be heard were the songs of the birds and frogs and crickets around us. What a pleasant change from the sounds of the city.

This turned out to be one of our most memorable trips to the Park ever. It was almost as though a special show had been put on for us.

For the past four years we have been on the lookout for lions and were beginning to believe they were a myth, but on our last trip we did get to see two rather large males, which gave us hope. This time we had four sightings of six lions during our two day stay.
The highlight was coming across these three young lions. Well it did not seem like it at first.

After spending so much time looking for them I casually remarked to Sue, “Lions are such boring animals; all they do is lie around doing nothing.”
But Mother Nature must have heard me, for it was not a minute later that an unsuspecting hartebeest came strolling down the hill for a drink of water. When he was still a long way off the seemingly comatose large male suddenly came alive and all the sat up fully alert. The three seemed to have a quick confab.

The large male then he ran off into the bush to the left of the waterhole and the female ran off to the right. The third fellow just made himself comfortable and remained where he was. “Lazy bugger,” I thought.

It was only when the unsuspecting hartebeest arrived that I realised I was witnessing the lions hunting strategy first hand. By this stage the young male was crouching low ready to launch himself, at what he must have believed was his dinner.

The hartebeest quickly realised his blunder and only had one option open to him and that was to make good his escape through the field in front of him – not realising there were two more lions lying in wait, for that exact move.
When the lion launched himself, the hartebeest took off, as only a hartebeest with a lion in pursuit can take off. In a matter of seconds there was nothing to be seen as hey disappeared over the ridge and we were left wondering whether the poor creature had been caught or not.

A few minutes later we had the answer, as the three unsuccessful and disconsolate hunters returned to the waterhole quite breathless.

They were soon stretched outagain, as only cats can, as though nothing had ever happened. Anyone who arrived after the hunt could be excused for thinking that butter would not melt in this fellow’s mouth.

11 February 2012

Cape St Francis Lighthouse

A trip to Cape St Francis is never complete without a visit to the wild side, though on this occassion the sea was quite tame.

10 February 2012

Skywatch Friday - Great Karoo and Great Skies

The start of the Great Karoo, just after the village of Strydenburg in the Northern Cape. To get out into these wide open spaces, was one of the reasons why we embarked on this trip. I find this open country with its big skies amazing. When you close your eyes and stand still and listen, there is absolute silence and you know you are in the middle of "nowhere". It is a harsh, but beautiful part of the world

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05 February 2012

Taxi art #2 - Route 67

Last night I went on a photographic jaunt to look for some material for the Pentax World Day. My natural inclination was to head for Central and imagine my delight when I saw the "taxis" on Route 67 were lit up. For once there were no cars illegally parked, which meant that I could use the no parking area at the Opera House and and get some shots.

Then as I was leaving I saw an opportunity that was too good to miss and lady luck provided me with an open parking spot further down the hill. And then with a chatty car guard in tow, I captured the taxi "parked" on the Land Rover.

He added a new meaning to the term "chimping" as he wanted to see all the shots and then called over the security guard, from the Opera House, to have a look as well. They were intrigued that I had conceived of the idea to park the "taxi" on the roof of the Land Rover.

"Are you a designer," I was asked.

"No," I replied, "just an enthusiastic amateur photographer."

With that we said our farewells and I continued on my quest.

02 February 2012

Skywatch Friday - More Karoo skies

The Karoo between and  Laingsburg and Ladismith in the Western Cape is is a particularly rugged and beautiful part of the country. When we travelled that route the sky was filled with cotton wool clouds and the karoo bush was a blaze of yellow.

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