Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Sand ripples

As some of you may know, I love sunset pictures. Sunrises as well, but I normally rise with the sun and not before it. When I do get by behind out of bed for a sunrise, I try to make it worth it. I was out at Cape Recife Nature Reserve (the western end of Algoa Bay) the other morning and shortly after sunrise noticed the shadows and light playing with the ripples in the sand. I have to say, this looks like it could have been an aerial picture taken over some desert as well.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Everlasting flowers

On a walk through Cape Recife Nature Reserve the other day I found this clump of Everlasting flowers next to the road (I'm not 100% sure if they are Everlasting flowers, but if anybody can tell me otherwise, I promise, I will change the title of the post).

I noticed lots of beetles on the flowers and on closer inspection found these. It looks like they may be after the nectar in the flowers. They had what looked like fine hairs all over their bodies and they were covered in pollen. I was on my knees right in the plant trying to get a good shot and heard a lady tell her friends as they walked by that her husband is like that (obviously like me) as well going after bugs and things with his camera all the time. I couldn't help but get a smile on my face. Glad its not only me.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Reflection

I was down in Govan Mbeki Street (Main Street) with the film crew the other day and we found these four Nigerian dudes chilling by the traders' stalls. What made the scene even better was that there was a brilliant reflection of them in the shoe shop window. At first they were a bit suspicious of us, but when people hear "FIFA" they play along very quickly.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Horse-a-flutter

Spending some time with the FIFA city profile film crew last week gave me the opportunity to observe the camera men very closely which gave me a lot of tips to try with my own photography. One of the spots they filmed at was the Horse Memorial here n Port Elizabeth. There is always lots of pigeons around and the camera man used two loaves of bread to attract them to the monument just to frighten them off again for the shot.

I know both these photos aren't framed perfectly and I didn't want to fiddle with them by trying to crop them, cause I kept on cutting out most of the birds. After looking at the pics I realised that for me the pic is more about the birds than the monument and that the monument is just a good backdrop for the pigeons flying off. Out of the two I prefer the second angled shot more as there seems to be more action in it.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Alley Graffiti

Graffiti in an alley just of Govan Mbeki Avenue (Main Street) here in Port Elizabeth

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Harbour sunrise

I spent a couple of days with a film crew shooting footage for the FIFA 2010 World Cup City Profiles which meant that I had some time to click away and take a couple of pictures of my own while with them. It also meant meeting them at their hotel 5am every morning to go and get sunrise footage.

05h43 am and we are standing on the freeway overlooking the Port Elizabeth Harbour.


05h53 am. A container ship next to the gantry cranes. In the foreground you can see the light reflecting in the windows of the cars waiting for a car ship to arrive for them to be exported

06h16 am and the sun peeks out over the harbour buildings

For more awesome pictures featuring the sky, visit Skywatch

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Silhouette of a church

The Hill Presbyterian Church silhouetted against the sky with the sun hiding behind the steeple


The steeple

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Ginger biscuits

I have been so busy over the last four days accompanying a film crew shooting the city profiles for the FIFA 2010 World Cup that I haven't had much time to do the blogging thing. Thank goodness for forward posting. I wanted to get back into it tonight, but only got home at nearly 10h30 pm, so I'm just grabbing a "in case I don't have time for a proper post" picture. In this case a couple of bags of ginger biscuits from one of the local farmers' markets. The up side of getting up at 4 am and home late over the last couple of days is that I got some awesome pictures. Watch this space.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Forest lily

The forest lily grows up to half a meter high with leaves up to 45 x 7 centimetres. It flowers in July to September before turning into inflated capsules containing the fruit. They are normally found in coastal bush in the south east of South Africa and grow in light shade. This one lives in a pot next to my pool.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Web funnel

While taking some flower pictures the other day I kept a lookout for insects of any sort for some macro shots. Nothing was forthcoming, but I did find this little hole (no more than 1 centimetre wide) with a web funnel in it. No spider wanted to peek out of it though.

Friday, September 18, 2009

SAMREC

I popped down to SAMREC in the Cape Recife Nature Reserve the other day to have a look at their new facilities. The South African Marine Rehabilitation Centre, SAMREC, has built a rehabilitation centre at Cape Recife to care for the sick and injured Marine Life of Algoa Bay and neighbouring coast line. Although they will specialise in marine birds, they will also rescue and look after mammals if it is required of them (and obviously if their facilities allow it). Its been a couple of years that this has been in the pipeline, but there has been lots of red tape for them to get through before getting to this point.

Visitors to the centre doesn't only come and look, you actually get taken through the whole process of how to care for oiled seabirds, specially penguins. Here some of the people who were there at the same time of me are washing dirty car oil off feathers to see which soap gets the feathers the cleanest fastest.


Port Elizabeth tourist guide, Mike Callahan, is holding a penguin (a dummy, not a real one) while another visitor is feeding it. Penguins bite, so you get taught exactly how to hold the bird for the process.

The centre has just opened and it already has its first visitor. Hope was found out in Algoa Bay covered in oil and was brought to the centre before it was even open. The day I visited Hope dived under water in her pool for the first time and the staff was just about out of their skins with excitement.
On returning to the building visitors can plop down on their knees, push their bum up in the air and peep through the front door of the mouse house. The mouse house is in recognition of the field mice who possibly may have had to give up their homes for the centre to be built.
I wish Libby and her team at SAMREC all the best in their work. May the public as well as the businesses of Port Elizabeth give you their full support.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Coral Tree flowers

This time of year the Coral Trees are in full bloom and looks awesome with their orange flowers. This pic was taken with a slight back lighting on the flowers which leaves the branches in shadow but the flowers bright and colourful.
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For more super sky shots, visiting Skywatch Friday by clicking here.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Cape Recife Lighthouse

I haven't been to Cape Recife, the western point of Algoa Bay, for ages and last week had the opportunity to pop down quickly when I was in the area. I took a couple of quick photos before I had to hurry back to the office, but as soon as I get a chance to take a couple of days off I will be back for more.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Chairs

I just felt that I wanted to post something different to the usual travel and nature pics I always post. Back to nature tomorrow. Promise.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Dodd's Farm

After spending last Sunday morning in Settlers Park , we headed over to Dodds Farm a little higher up the Baakens Valley in the afternoon. I've been there before, but the Damselfly and the Rugrats hadn't. Its also on the banks of the Baakens River with cliffs and lots of trees. And best of all, like Settlers Park, its a stone's throw from the suburbs.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Flower children

The Rugrats sitting in a field of wild flowers in Settlers Park

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Settlers Park scenes

These are some of the scenes we encountered in Settlers Park on Sunday. It is hard to believe that this is in the heart of Port Elizabeth only a stone's throw away from the suburbs.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Settlers Park wild flowers

We spent most of Sunday in various parts of Settlers Park enjoying this magnificent natural area right here in the heart of Port Elizabeth. Over the next couple of posts I will show off some of the picture I took in the park.
Yesterday I found out that there is a local photographic competition with wild flowers as the theme and I would like to enter a couple of photos into the competition. I want to head back to Settlers Park next weekend specially with the view of taking some flower pictures to enter, but in the mean time here are a few I took this weekend. What do you think?

Monday, September 7, 2009

King Protea

A post or two ago I posted a pic of a King Protea bud and a couple of people asked me what it will look like when in full bloom. This past Sunday we spent most of the day in Settlers Park (of which I will still post more pics) and I found a King Protea in full bloom. The King Protea is South Africa's national flower and is part of the Cape Floral Kingdom (Fynbos biome) which is a UNESCO World Heritage Natural Site. A nice big King Protea can be about the length of a standard ruler (30 centimetres) from side to side.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Cullinan Mine Tower

People who live around Johannesburg are probably used to seeing mine towers and mine dumps, but us peeps from down at the coast aren't. This meant that when I got to visit the Cullinan diamond mine close to Pretoria north of Johannesburg a little while ago it was like discovering a whole new world. The thing that literally stands out like a sore thumb at a mine is the mine tower. Below are two different angles of the tower at Cullinan.


Just for interest sake. This mine is where the Cullinan diamond was found. It is the largest rough gem-quality diamond ever found, at 3,106.75 carats. The largest polished gem from the stone is named Cullinan I or the First Star of Africa, and at 530.2 carats was the largest polished diamond in the world until the 1985 discovery of the Golden Jubilee Diamond, 545.67 carats. The Cullinan I is now mounted in the head of the Sceptre with the Cross. The second largest gem from the Cullinan stone, Cullinan II or the Lesser Star of Africa, at 317.4 carats, is the fourth largest polished diamond in the world. Both gems are in the Crown Jewels of the United.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Protea blooms

While waiting for Chaos Boy at trampolining the other evening (or actually late afternoon), I strolled around the church gardens to see if there were any flowers in bloom (what with it being spring and all). The light of the setting sun on the proteas were just perfect and I couldn't resist getting the camera out for a couple of shots. Both of these are about to blossom into full bloom, but isn't quite there yet.

King Protea

Pin cussion protea

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Happy Birthday to me

Last year on my birthday I went down to the beachfront and took a self portrait of myself for birthday sake, so at lunchtime I headed down to Shark Rock Pier to do it again. This time I had nothing to do a reflection or mirror shot in, so I just did the whole "hold the camera up with both hands and smile while taking the picture into the general direction of my face" photo thing. A guy was standing on the pier staring at me with a puzzled look on his face, but I thought what the hell... its my birthday.


Oh yes, and moments later I could have been wet. My timing was just right. The lesson may well have been: "Don't turn your back on the ocean when trying to take birthday self portraits!"

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Little Miss Muffet

Little Miss Muffet
Sat on a tuffet,
Eating her curds and whey;
Along came a spider,
Who sat down beside her
And frightened Miss Muffet away

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Bokbaai Vygies

Although my post yesterday was for Spring Day which is actually only today, I decided to stick with the spring theme and post a couple more flowers. These are Bokbaai Fygies growing in pots around our swimming pool.