Monday, August 31, 2009

Spring Day

Tomorrow (or today, depending when you read this) is Spring day. So it means bye-bye to the winter (even if its just on the calender), flowers blooming, bees buzzing, butterflies hovering, birds chirping and longer days. Oh yes, and don't forget people in bright clothes welcoming the arrival of spring. So in celebration of the coming spring, here is some... yes, you guessed it, flowers.




Sunday, August 30, 2009

Spot the difference

I took this pic in Soweto, Johannesburg a while ago and the more I look at it the more I think I should go out and try to take more of these kind of pics. The funny thing about the picture is that I keep on thinking I have to spot the difference between the two sides. So spotting the differences on the right:
  • there is a person standing in it
  • the writing on the window is different
  • Coke signs on the fridges
  • more drinks in the fridges
  • there is no bin

Maybe I play Spot the Difference on Facebook way too much. LOL.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Big 5

The Big Five was the phrase given by big-game hunters to the five most difficult or dangerous animals in Africa to hunt on foot. These days the Big 5 is high on the list of must-see attractions on a tourist's list of things to do or see when visiting South Africa. I present to you, The Big 5.

African Elephant (Loxodonta africana)

Lion (Panthera leo)

Cape Buffalo (Syncerus caffer)

White Rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum) (above) or Black Rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis)

Leopard (Panthera pardus)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Yesterday-today-and-tomorrow

The Yesterday-today-and-tomorrow (Brunfelsia pauciflora) is a fascinating flowering bush which originally came from Brazil. It is very unique as the flowers open purple before turning light lavender and finally white before wilting. This means that you get all three colours on the plant all the time. A word of warning though. The plant is known to contain poisonous alkaloids. The berries are especially toxic.


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Birds, boats and bathers at sunrise

Sunrise over Kings Beach here in Port Elizabeth with fishing boats on the horizon, some early morning brave bathers on the right and a couple of gulls flying through the middle of the picture.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Boardwalk lake

We spent the morning at the Boardwalk Casino and Entertainment Complex a weekend or so ago for a trampoline display by the GymStars Trampoline Club Chaos Boy goes to. It was a gorgeous morning which gave me the ideal opportunity to take a couple of pics across the Boardwalk lake.

This is looking towards the 2nd Avenue entrance. The building with the green roof is home to Algoa FM while in the front there is a couple of food kiosks.


The building with the red roof is the casino while on the right is an excellent seafood restaurant called 34degrees South.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Cochineal

Yesterday I told you about Prickly Pears and in this case the red prickly pear. I also mentioned that the cochineal beetle was introduced as the prickly pear's natural enemy to stem the spreading of the plant. Cochineal beetles are best know for the fact that they are used to create a natural red dye. The information below I got off Wikipedia.

Cochineal insects are soft-bodied, flat, oval-shaped scale insects. The females, wingless and about 5 millimetres (0.20 in) long, cluster on cactus pads. They penetrate the cactus with their beak-like mouthparts and feed on its juices, remaining immobile. After mating, the fertilized female increases in size and gives birth to tiny nymphs. The nymphs secrete a waxy white substance over their bodies for protection from water and excessive sun. This substance makes the cochineal insect appear white or grey from the outside, though the body of the insect and its nymphs produces the red pigment, which makes the insides of the insect look dark purple. Adult males can be distinguished from females by their diminutive size and their wings.
It is in the nymph stage (also called the crawler stage) that the cochineal disperses. The juveniles move to a feeding spot and produce long wax filaments. Later they move to the edge of the cactus pad where the wind catches the wax filaments and carries the cochineals to a new host. These individuals establish feeding sites on the new host and produce a new generation of cochineals. Male nymphs feed on the cactus until they reach sexual maturity; when they mature they cannot feed at all and live only long enough to fertilize the eggs. They are therefore seldom observed.
Here I have crushed the cochineal to show the red colouring

Friday, August 21, 2009

Red Prickly Pears

Prickly Pears are originally found in Central America and first came to South Africa as fodder for cattle. Being a cactus plant, they grow very easily and took root quickly before starting to spread throughout some part of the country at an alarming rate. The spreading of it was brought under control through the introduction of the cochineal beetle.
The fruit of the prickly pear is about as big as a extra large egg and is sweet in taste. It is an acquired taste though as the fruit consist mainly of pips. The leaves of the prickly pear plant have nasty thorns on them while the fruit has hundreds of hairlike thorns which can be very irritating when it gets in your fingers.

There are six different species of prickly pears of which the red prickly pear is one we don't get to see much of. The other day I visited my mother in Despatch and she went to show me a bush of red prickly pears growing about a block away from their house next to the fence. Here are a couple of pics.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Wading

Chaos Boy wading in the lagoon at the Maitlands River mouth just outside Port Elizabeth. I also took a couple of pics of the river on its own, but it needed a subject and I had my model (at this stage he still volunteers his services when required but sometimes grumbles when I take to long to get the right shot) on hand.
The sky was such a great blue when we were there, so I decided to also use this as my Skywatch submission this week. For more great pictures of the sky from all over the world, click here.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Giraffe

Janet of Greetings from Gauteng did a post today featuring two giraffe and I went looking to see if I still had giraffe pics that I haven't posted yet. Here is a couple I took a week or so ago at Seaview Game and Lion Park just outside Port Elizabeth.

Monday, August 17, 2009

The Lion King


Not a lot that I want to say about these today. Both were taken at the Seaview Game and Lion Park the other day (last lion photos for now, I promise).

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Natal Creeping Fig

The Natal Creeping Fig (Carpobrotus dimidiatus) are found in coastal areas from the South East of South Africa and all the way up to Mozambique. Its a succulent which grows very easily and is often very popular as a ground cover in landscaping.
The flowers are magenta and its close relative is the Sour Fig (Carpobrotus edulis) which looks very similar but has yellow flowers.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Lion cub

My post tonight on the Port Elizabeth Photo Files is about the Seaview Game and Lion Park and in the picture is a couple handling the big cubs at the park. On my visit there were also small cubs (I didn't get the age, but I think them to be about 5 or 6 weeks old). They are still too small for guests to handle them as they haven't had their inoculations yet.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Airborne

Last weekend the weather down here in Port Elizabeth was absolutely awesome and we went out to Maitlands and climbed up the giant Maitlands dune. Chaos Boy was leaping down the steep parts of the dune and I couldn't resist the opportunity to get a couple of shots of him being airborne. I love both the shots, but personally prefer the one with the sun in just a bit more.



For more excellent Skywatch pictures from great photographers around the world, click here.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Meow, meow, purrrrrrr....

One of the three Siberian Tigers at Seaview Game and Lion Park. I have posted a pic of the Seaview tigers before and it can be seen here.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

My, what big teeth you have

On my visit to Seaview Game and Lion Park just outside Port Elizabeth on Sunday, this adult male white lion was lying right up against the fence allowing me to get some great close-up photos.


Monday, August 10, 2009

Monkey skull

I took Chaos Boy out to Seaview Game and Lion Park on Sunday morning while the girls attended a party. On display in the restaurant / shop area is a number of small animal skulls that they have found on the property over the years. The monkey skull was of particular interest to me and my camera.


Sunday, August 9, 2009

Barbed wire

For so long now I've been wanting to take a picture like this, but I haven't really had a chance yet. Mainly due to the lack of barbed wire in the suburbs. Electric fences, yes... Razor wire, sometimes... but not a lot of barbed wire around. So on the weekend I got the opportunity just outside town. The barb is lined up about two centimeters from the lens and the camera is set on super macro. Cars going past must have thought me lacking a couple of barbs on my wire, but I was hiding behind my camera so that makes it ok.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Sign posts

I always enjoy it if I go somewhere and there is a sign post pointing towards major world cities along with distances. At that moment you realise how big the world really is and while I'm typing this the contrary is also true as within nanoseconds of clicking publish post this post will be available world wide.

This one stands on the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town...


... while this one is situated at Cape Point

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Vicky Davis

I am not much of a people's photographer and much rather prefer landscapes, nature and travel pictures. Last weekend I got to be part of a recording for the Afrikaans television magazine show Pasella. The insert on Port Elizabeth will be presented by Vicky Davis who most South African tv fans will remember as Tessa of 7de Laan. (If you want to know more about Vicky, read this article) Anyway, I got this awesome portrait shot of her during the shoot and although its a candid shot and not posed, its not bad for a guy who would rather look for a nice foreground to a stunning sunset than shoot people.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Hillbrow Tower

Today I am posting another of the pics I took when I was in Johannesburg recently.
The Hillbrow Tower is the highest structure in Johannesburg, and is probably the city's most recognisable landmark. The tower was completed in 1971, and is 269m high. It is interesting to note that the height of the Hillbrow Tower is virtually the same as the length of the Titanic.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Bees

Yes, yes, I know I posted a pic of a bee last week, but over the weekend we visited friends of ours for a birthday party and I couldn't help noticing the bees on the Strelitzia flowers outside. So as my colleague PP said the other day. "He probably saw a goggatjie (little bug) somewhere to photograph." And I did... from different angles.

Monday, August 3, 2009

City Hall reflextion

The reflection of the City Hall clock tower in one of the windows of the Feather Market Hall

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Old Post Office tower

I was out the whole day today with the presenter and crew of the television magazine program Pasella. By late afternoon we were in the city centre and although I go there quite often, I never get there late in the day. We were shooting in front of the Feather Market Centre and I noticed that the sunlight was perfect on the old Post Office tower.