08 December 2013

Camel racing exercises

Dubai has never been on the top of my list of places to visit because of my perception of the glitz and commercialisation, but what I have rapidly discovered is that if you scratch under the veneer the country has so much more to offer.

On day three of our visit I reluctantly got up in the early hours of the morning, to see the camels being exercised at one of the race tracks at the outskirts of the city. A camel is a camel after all...... After a short drive through the traffic, which was beginning to build up for the early morning rush, we turned off the freeway and entered another world - the world of camel racing.

Not that there was any racing happening at that time. Instead the riders were taking out the animals for a slow walk around the perimeter of the track. As we watched, group after group came past us in the perfect morning light.

What struck me was that the camels were all well groomed and attired. The riders willingly allowed us to photograph them as they rode by in procession.

This has definitely been one of my highlights so far, but then I am not one who wants to hang out in the shopping malls.

06 December 2013

Dubai Sunset

Definitely not my usual stamping ground, but I take the opportunities wherever I find them. Drive by shooting of the sunset in Dubai, with the Burj Khalifa towering above the city.

Visit Skywatch for more great skies from around the world.

30 November 2013

Port Elizabeth Tramways Building

A blue heron lurking in the Baakens River under the M4 freeway. The reflection in the water is from the Port Elizabeth Tramways Building which is being restored after many years of neglect.

Restoration of the Tramways Building is well under way. When this project is complete this it is going to become one of the city's iconic landmarks. Credit must be given  to the Mandela Bay Development Agency (MBDA) for having the vision to turn this once derelict building into their head office.

26 November 2013

Baby elephant pile on

Living near to the Addo Elephant National Park has its advantages, because when I need my bush fix it is a mere 40 kms from my front door.

This year has been really special, with the arrival of a big crop of baby elephants and like all children they are playful,  mischievous and a joy to watch.

On this trip I spent a long time sitting in the middle of a small family group watching the antics of these two .

The game ultimately culminated in a pile on and you can see that they are really enjoying themselves.

25 November 2013

Wrecked car

This old car spotted alongside the road on the way to the Tankwa Karoo National Park, makes a nice photographic study, as it blends in with the vegetation and soil.

24 November 2013

Cape Recife - gannets

Cape gannets flying home near the beacon at Cape Recife

12 August 2013

World Elephant Day

The quote sums up the objectives of World Elephant Day very well:
"On August 12, 2012, the inaugural World Elephant Day was launched to bring attention to the urgent plight of Asian and African elephants. The elephant is loved, revered and respected by people and cultures around the world, yet we balance on the brink of seeing the last of this magnificent creature.
The escalation of poaching, habitat loss, human-elephant conflict and mistreatment in captivity are just some of the threats to both African and Asian elephants. Working towards better protection for wild elephants, improving enforcement policies to prevent the illegal poaching and trade of ivory, conserving elephant habitats, better treatment for captive elephants, and when appropriate reintroducing captive elephants into natural, protected sanctuaries are the goals that numerous elephant conservation organizations are focusing on around the world.
World Elephant Day asks you to experience elephants in non-exploitive and sustainable environments where elephants can thrive under care and protection. On World Elephant Day August 12, express your concern, share your knowledge and support solutions for the better care of captive and wild elephants alike.
Elephants are simply one more natural resource that is being caught up in human greed on the one hand and human need on the other. We somehow need people to become reacquainted with nature or they can have no clue as the interrelatedness of cause and effect.” - Dr. Stephen Blake, Mac Planck Institute for Ornithology

23 June 2013

Not quite Super Moon

Last night saw Suzie and I taking the opportunity to photograph the moon rise, because we are not sure what cloud cover we will have to contend with tonight, when it will not only be full moon, by a super moon.

Super Moon on the rise

A fisherman caught in the moonlight near the old slipway

06 June 2013

Skywatch Friday - Sunset at the Pier

The pier with many moods...............a clear winter sky at Shark Rock Pier this evening.

For many more sky pictures from around the world go to the Skywatch site.

26 May 2013

My favourite lighthouse

It was early start this morning to catch the sunrise at Shark Point, Cape St Francis, but I'll save those for another time. The morning light was just perfect and really brought the lighthouse to life.

23 May 2013

Skywatch Friday - Gone Fishin'

Getting up early to catch the sunrise over St Francis Bay is always a bonus whenever we get to stay at the Port. This day was no exception and the picture was enhanced by a boat heading out for some deep sea fishing,

More sky pictures from around the world can be seen at the Skywatch site.

22 May 2013

Time for some bling

I always enjoy a bit of bling in the bush, like the good old Cape Glossy Starling.

The streets of Richmond Hill - Old Teachers Training College

I love hitting the streets at night and looking for photo opportunities. More often than not I pump up the ISO and don't use a tripod...and yes not all the shots are succesful, but hey this is the digital era so it doesn't matter.  What I am looking for is atmosphere, like these low clouds catching the glare from the city lights. That combined with the low angle gives the picture an almost rural look, though this is in the inner city. 

This picture was shot at ISO 3200 at F3.5 and 1/2 second.

19 May 2013

Of fools and elephants.

While standing at Zuurkop yesterday, which is one of the places at the Addo Elephant National Park where you are allowed to alight from your vehicle, I was not surprised to see this car in the distance, with a fellow sitting on the roof. It happens all the time.

He obviously saw noting wrong with what he was doing and happily continued to ride on the roof even though someone we met at Zuurkop, had earlier warned him not to do so.

As if riding on the roof was not stretching the boundaries the group decided to leave their vehicle and I am not sure if they were aware of the elephants in the bush alongside the car or not. I did not notice them when I was taking the pics, but I did notice the lass in the maroon top make a quick dash back to the car.

In the next shot the fellow is quite aware of the elephant and decides to have an up close and personal photo shoot. Fortunately for him and his pals the incident did not turn ugly, but if it had it would have been everyone's fault but their own.

The result of an elephant attack would have probably seen the elephant being hunted down and culled; Addo would have been given a bad name internationally, as a tourist destination; and tighter rules would be imposed, which would spoil the park experience for the law abiding visitors.

If these characters ever saw the aftermath of a car recently destroyed by an elephant at the Kruger National Park, I wonder if they would have still been so cavalier about climbing out of their car, to photograph the elephant.

One of the basic rules at all the South African national parks is to remain in your car....and that means being completely inside your car. The reasons for this are obvious....there are many animals that can be aggressive and dangerous, when provoked or given the opportunity, but this truth does not seem to penetrate the minds of some visitors to the national parks, who quite openly flaunt the rules.

Aside from remaining in your car common sense dictates that you show the animals some respect, especially the elephants, because if they decide to turn on you there are no prizes for guessing who will win. Google "elephant attacks kruger national park" and see what I mean.

The Addo elephants are generally very placid and I do not know of any incidents where they have up-ended a car or attacked a person, but that does not mean that we must become complacent, because there can always be a first time. Sue and I have come across some very aggressive males in musth, where we decided discretion is the better part of valour and respected their space. We are after all on their turf and the Park should not be treated as a petting zoo.

There is no excuse for this type of thoughtless behaviour, or should I say stupidity.

We did report the incident, including the cars registration number to the staff of duty, but I do not know if there was any follow-up action or not.

18 May 2013

Rodents in the park

When traveling in the bush it is amazing what starts to emerge from the undergrowth when you stop, sit silently and watch.

The karoo rats were out in full force this morning and this one was a little more daring than the others, by straying into the open. There are many raptors that would be only too keen to turn it into a meal.

16 May 2013

Big cloudy skies

Big skies at the Mountain Zebra National Park during a respite in the rain, which fell on and off, mostly on, for three days.

More sky pictures from around the world can be seen at the Skywatch site.

10 May 2013

Soggy secretary bird

It was a cold and rainy day at Addo, but we went anyway. And as we soon discovered you are never disappointed when visiting the park, because there is always something to see. This secretary bird was very intent on foraging in the pouring rain and has made an interesting study with its wet feathers and the rain "streaking" in the background.

09 May 2013

Skywatch Friday - Milky Way

We just don't get skies like this in the city and it is always a joy to get out into the country where the sky is wide and clear.

This shot of the Milky Way taken at the Mountain Zebra National Park in the early hours of the morning.

More sky pictures from around the world can be seen at the Skywatch site.

07 May 2013

Koos the Terracan

After driving my trusted Ford Bantam bakkie (truck, ute, van) which featured in many of my posts for the past thirteen years, I traded him in for Koos, a Hyundai Terracan.

Being a 4x4, Koos has opened up many new routes for me and Suzie and we will be heading out to places that were inaccessible to us in the past. Well the travels have actually started already.

Watch this space for forthcoming "Adventures with Koos" as we head out onto the known and the unknown roads.

06 May 2013

Shameless little thieves

What a picture of innocence. Well don't believe it for one second.

These vervet monkeys were snuggling for warmth on a cool day, at the same time trying to look cute while begging for food. The temptation to give in to them was strong, but we did not give in.

They are shameless beggars and also inveterate thieves. As we did not feed them, they helped themselves to our hotcross buns, in a daring hit and run snatch, with four of us sitting around the table.

05 May 2013

My new favourite rodent

Many people who travel tyo game parks have one goal in mind and that is to see the big animals, preferably the big five. Suzie and I on the other hand take pleasure in all the animals, big and small. On a recent trip to the Mountain Zebra National Park we came across a few colonies of ground squirrels, which came out to forage in the late afternoon, which kept us occupied for ages.

They were very entertaining to watch, as they scuttled about looking for whatever it is they eat, stopping to look around and flapping their bushy tails up and down.

At the first sign of danger there would be a mad dash, as they beat a hasty retreat to their burrows, but they were soon on the go again.

04 May 2013

It was a dark and stormy night....

The view through my cars windscreen at 04h45 this morning, taken while on a neighbourhood watch patrol. I liked the way the street light caught the sheets of falling rain. The effect was enhanced with the water running off the windscreen, giving it a nice abstract effect.

28 April 2013

Seal Point Lighthouse

Saturday was a perfect day in the Eastern Cape and a trip to Cape St Francis always merits a visit to the lighthouse that was built in 1874.

This time round I took a different perspective with my pictures.


21 April 2013

Misty morning

Chose a very misty and rainy morning to cross the Zuurberg Pass. We did not see much of the view, but the atmosphere was great.

03 January 2013

Skywatch Friday - Giraffes

Sometimes bland skies can be enhanced with a pair of giraffes. They are such regal looking animals, but to me they always look unhappy.

Visit Skywatch for more great skies from around the world.