Monday, July 30, 2012

Flooding in HDR

Even though there is still another month to go till the end of winter we've already had the 3rd wettest winter ever in Port Elizabeth.  Last week we had two days of rain again and this following the flooding we had three weeks ago means that there is a lots of water around.  I drove out to have a look at the Seaview Road just outside the city which is over 1,5 meters under water.  Took this picture to the side of the road with the clouds reflecting in the water and then played around with a bit of HDR to give it that extra effect. 

Friday, July 27, 2012

Black Sparrowhawk

Life and the universe tend to sneak you a very pleasant and unexpected surprise every now and then and I clearly got one of those pulling into my driveway the other day.  As I turned off thew road I spotted something on the lawn under one of the two big palm trees in my front yard.  There right in front of me was a bird of prey sitting on top of one of the palm trees' resident pigeons feeding away with very little regard for me trying to get a good picture of him.  After about ten minutes or so he decided to try and carry his dinner away but the pigeon was clearly to heavy for him so he literally bounced across the road and continued feeding on the other side of the road for another 15 minutes or so.
My bird knowledge is so-so and I wasn't too sure what it could be so I uploaded a pic to the PE Photography Club Facebook Page and within minutes the guys identified it as a Black Sparrowhawk.  The Black Sparrowhawk (Accipiter melanoleucus), is the largest African member of the genus Accipiter and occurs mainly in forests and non-desert areas south of the Sahara.  They nest in large trees and has a particular liking for suburban and human-altered landscapes.  It preys primarily on birds of moderate size, which explains why it took down one of the palm tree pigeons.  The adults are dark with white while the juveniles are brown which means looking at its feathers it was probably a young adult. 
Somebody commented that the fact that there are so many feathers lying around shows that its a Black Sparrowhawk as they, unlike most other birds of prey, don't eat the feathers.

It's days like this though that I wish I had a SLR camera with my prosumer super zoom, even though it generally takes fantastic pictures, just taking too long to focus and take the picture resulting in most of the pictures being slightly out of focus or blurry.

Read more about the Black Sparrowhawk on Wikipedia.

Kaap Recife vuurtoring

Die Kaap Recife vuurtoring is op 1 April 1851 in gebruik geneem en staan net buite Port Elizabeth op die westelike punt van Algoabaai.  Kaap Recife is die draaipunt in Algoabaai in en word verskriklik gevaarlikste geag as gevolg van Thunderbolt-rif wat oor die eeue al verskeie bote en skepe geëis het.  Die rif self is vernoem na die HMS Thunderbolt wat in 1847 daar op die rotse geloop het.  The vuurtoring is 24 meter hoog en die lig is 4 000 000 kerskrag sterk.  Hy flits elke 30 sekondes en kan 29 seemyl ver gesien word.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Spinning round

Towards the end of the recent school holidays I took the Kidz and their friends for an outing around Port Elizabeth.  Being a warm winters day I decided to end off the trip at St Georges Park and let the kids play in the park for a while.  While watching them go round and round and round I decided to try and get a picture of the kids on the merry-go-round (at a lack of a better word for it) with a moving background.  It was quite an interesting experience getting the thing up to a manageable speed and holding on with one hand while aiming the camera with the other.  So what do you think of the result?

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Volstruise


As ek mag wil ek graag die lirieke van Groot Voël Paradys deur Jacques de Coning aanhaal om saam met hierdie foto te gaan.

Oudtshoorn is 'n grootvoël paradys,
los jou budgy by die huis en ek sal jou 'n groot voël wys.
Oudtshoorn is 'n grootvoël paradys,
Los jou mossie by die bossie en kom speel met my volstruis.
 
Kom sit hier op my skoot dan vertel ek vir jou,
van die grootste voël wat ek gesien het my vrou.
Dit was daar by die Klein Karoo Kunstefees,
as ek 'n voël kon kies dan sou dit daai een wees.

Daai voël se nek is so lank soos 'n paal,
en hy sit op twee eiers, 'n heerlike maal.
Maar as hy opstaan daai voël, dan is hy twee keer so groot,
so pasop as hy skop hy los 'n vreeslike knop.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Montagu Museum


During a visit to the beautiful Klein Karoo town of Montagu I discovered two very interesting and equally historic museums on Long Street, the town's main drag.  The first one was the fascinating Joubert House while the second was the Montagu Museum.  The Montagu Museum is housed in the Neo-Gothic style Old Mission Church which was built in 1907 and its main aim is the research of the cultural-historic heritage of Montagu.
The museum has a large and diverse collection and frequently changes its temporary exhibitions.  It's collection of pulpit Bibles and church artifacts including old wedding dresses form the focal point of the church with the original pulpit, pulpit cloth and wall text taking pride of place. Other important permanent exhibitions are the Indigenous Medicinal Plant research project displayed in one wing, the Françoise Krige collection of paintings and memorabilia and the T.O. Honiball (he of Oom Kaspaas, Jakkals En Wolf and Adoons-Hulle fame) collection of cartoons.  The museum also has its own oval date stamp which is a replica of the first postmark to be used in Montagu in1858.

Behind the church is a magnificent rose garden which was beautifully in bloom on my visit while the archive which adjoins the church is an important research centre containing a comprehensive collection of historical documents and photos relating to Montagu, the district and people as well as the museum library.  Unfortunately my visits to both museums were done at a bit of a rush as I didn't really gave myself much time going there but we have already booked a return visit to Montagu for the end of the year and this time around I'm going to be spending a lot more time in the two museums.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Seepampoentjie


Almal wat al langs 'n Suid-Afrikaanse strand gestap het moes die een of ander tyd êrens 'n seepampoentjie opgetel het.  Ek weet 'n seepampoentjie is 'n "sea urchin" in Engels, maar het nog altyd gewonder of dit dalk 'n ander naam in Afrikaans het wanneer dit nog leef.  Die eerste een wat ek besluit om te vra was my goeie vriend Google.  Hy laat my selde in die steek en hierdie geleendheid was nie anders nie.  Penny Nyren se boek Ontdek Stande was bo-aan die soeklys en daarin sê sy dat 'n lewende seepampoentjie 'n see-engel genoem word.  See-engele woon gewoonlik op koraalriwwe of in rotspoele en het skerp penne wat hulle hele dop (skulp) bedek.  Hierdie gevaarlike penne word gebruik om hulle te beskerm en is gewoonlik giftig.  Probeer om nie in een van hulle te trap nie, want daardie einste penne breek maklik in jou voet af en kan maklik infeksie veroorsaak.  Die seepampoentjie in die foto het ek gekry op 'n rots by die Knysnakoppe en moes deur iemand daar neergesit geword het nie lank voor my nie.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Groenpunt


Wanneer mens in 'n stad woon is daar niks lekkerder as om uit die stad uit weg te kom nie, maar dis nie altyd moontlik nie.  Die volgende beste opsie is om op 'n strand, 'n park of natuurarea in die stad te gaan stap.  Al drie Suid-Afrika se groot kusstede het baie gewilde wandelroetes langs hulle onderskeie strandfronte.  Dit maak nie saak op watter strandfront jy stap nie, elkeen het sy eie bekoring, pragtige uitsigte en verskillende besienswaardighede.  Die Kaapstadse strandfront kyk meesal uit oor Valsbaai met die berg in die agtergrond.  Die foto is geneem vanaf Seepunt en kyk terug na Groenpunt met die Groenpuntvuurtoring aan die regterkant. 

Monday, July 16, 2012

Baby grasshoppers

Going for a walk along one of the trails at Sleepy Hollow outside Port Elizabeth I noticed a black blob in the long grass next to the trial.  Now being a curious creature (and always looking for something to photograph), I decided to have a closer look and this is what I found.  A whole bunch of little baby grasshoppers.
Getting up after one or two pics I noticed for the first time that there was a Praying Mantis in the grass below the grasshoppers enjoying one of them for breakfast.  Would have been a great shot but the grass was in the way and my camera a bit slow on the focus to just move the grass and get a quick pic.  I decided not to disturb his brekkie any further and moved on.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Kaap Recife Natuurreservaat


Die Kaap Recife Natuurreservaat in Port Elizabeth beslaan omtrent 370 hektaar om die westelike punt van Algoabaai.  Die reservaat is idiaal vir voëlkyk beide aan die kus en om die waterherwinningspoele.  Die beste manier om die reservaat te verken is om op die 9km lange Roseate Tern wandelroete gaan.  Die roete begin by SAMREC (South African Marine Rehabilitation and Education Centre), 'n pikkewyn reddingssentrum, voor dit by die waterherwinningspoele verby gaan.  Die roete lei dan deur plantbedekte sandduine en verby 'n uitkykpos wat uit die Tweede Wêreldoorlog dateer.  Langs die kus sluit die roete die Kaap Recife vuurtoring in wat in 1851 gebou is en stap jy al langs die kus af terug tot by SAMREC. 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Twaalf Appostels


Die Tafelbergreeks strek van Tafelberg tot by Kaappunt en het heelwat bekende pieke en landmerke wat deel van die bergreeks uitmaak.  Bo en behalwe Tafelberg self is daar ook Leeukop, Duiwelspiek en Seinheuwel met die Twaalf Appostels wat die mees prominente pieke aan die Atlantiese kant van die Skiereiland is.  Die Twaalf Appostels maak vir die perfekte agtergrond teen die luukse strande van Clifton en Kampsbaai. 

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Plettenbergbaai sonopkoms


Sonopkoms en sonsondergang fotos is van my gunsteling fotos om te neem.  So rukkie terug het ons 'n naweek op Plettenbergbaai deurgebring.  Dit was 'n bibberend koue oggend en ek het maar gesukkel om uit die bed te kom, maar wou graag op die strand wees vir sonopkoms.  Dit was die moeite werd, want daardie oggend het ek van my gunsteling sonopkoms fotos geneem.  Die enigste probleem was dat ek gevoel het dat ek 'n fokuspunt of onderwerp in die voorgrond wou hê en daar nie regtig iets was nie.  Onnodig om te sê dat as enige iemand my daai oggend gesien het op en af hardloop op die strand, hulle seker lekker sou gelag het.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Two wheel track

The back seats on an open game viewing vehicle may be the most bumpy but it also offers the best view not just of animals but the surrounding countryside.  In this case while my fellow game viewers were watching a couple of zebra I was hanging out the back trying to get a nice picture of the two wheel track behind us.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Daar's 'n hoender wat 'n eier nie kan lê

Daar's 'n hoender wat 'n eier nie kan lê,
daar's 'n hoender wat 'n eier nie kan lê,
daar's 'n hoender wat 'n eier nie kan lê,
dis die haan wat op die kerk se toring staan.
 
Wanneer ek reis en deur 'n klein dorpie ry soek ek altyd na historiese geboue en interessante plekke om te besoek en 'n foto van te neem.  Die eerste ding wat ek doen wanneer ek 'n ou kerk teëkom is om op te kyk na die kerktoring om te sien of daar 'n weerhaan bo-op is.  Die beste ding is dat hulle amper nooit dieselfde is nie en daar altyd 'n nuwe een is om te sien.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Eersterivier sonsondergang


'n Goue sonsondergang op Eersterivier aan die ooste kant van die Tsitsikamma in die Ooskaap

Ant-eating Chat

I'm not a big bird photographer, not by choice but because my camera is a bit slow to focus and then still has a bit of a shutter lag as well.  But when a bird sits still for long enough for me to focus and get a nice pic I won't let the opportunity slip by.  Small birds are especially difficult for me as they always dart around but on a recent game drive at Amakhala Game Reserve a Ant-eating Chat decided to sit still on a sweet thorn tree and look around for long enough for me to get this pic of him.  The Ant-eating Chat's natural habitats are subtropical or tropical dry shrubland and lowland grassland and they mainly eats insects, especially ants and termites. 

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Tsitsikamma Inheemse woud


Driehonderd jaar gelede het die inheemse woude van die Suidkaap al die pad van omtrent Mosselbaai tot by Humansdorp in die ooste gestrek.  Gedurende die laat 18de en die 19de eeu is groot dele van die woude afgekap om die aanvraag van hout vir die bou van skepe, die spoorweë, geboue en meubels te bevredig.  Dit gepaart met die groot vuur van 1869 en moderne ontwikkeling het daartoe gelei dat daar vandag net 'n klein persentasie van die oorspronklike woud oor is met die grootste dele in die Knysna en Tsitsikamma omgewings.  Die meeste van hierdie oorblywende woude word vandag streng beskerm en val binne die Tuinroete-nasionale park.  Die Plaatbos Natuurreservaat seksie van die woud is geleë in die Stormsrivier area aan die oostekant van die park.

Joubert House

Most people probably find town museums quite boring, but I love what they have to offer.  Its usually the best place to learn more about a town's history and there is always something, usually more than one thing, new to discover in these museums.  One such small town museum which I have discovered is Joubert House in the Klein Karoo town of Montagu.  My timing wasn't the best and I walked into the museum about 20 minuted before closing time on a Saturday afternoon.  Even though I was the only person in the museum it didn't stop curator Annette Cilliers from sharing her very extensive knowledge with me on a personal tour of the museum.  Even though closing time was nearly on us she didn't leave out anything and told and showed me ever bit of detail there was to be seen.  She even offered to stay open a bit longer while I walked around to take a couple of photos after the tour.  Ms Cilliers really deserves some kind of tourism award for what she does at Joubert House.
Joubert House was built in 1853 by 22-year old Pieter Gideon Joubert for his par­ents and is thought to be the oldest dwelling in Montagu.  After the devastating floods of January 1981 the building, which was built from sun­baked bricks and clay, was on the verge of collapsing and the municipality decided to have it demolished.  Luckily it was saved from demolition by the Montagu Museum Board of Trustees who had it restored to its former glory.  Joubert House was opened as a museum in 1983 and celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2003.

Joubert House is a house museum and portrays the typical country lifestyle of the 1850’s.  Each room has been meticulously recreated and each one had a unique appeal.  The lounge contains the pictures of historical figures who visited the family back in the days while there is also a piece of the original wall paper.  The kitchen is normally my favorite room in this kind of museum while there is also an exceptional collection of toys and individually numbered handmade porcelain dolls.
Next to the house visitors will find the town's first jail right next to the ori­ginal privy.  Pieter Gideon Joubert senior was also the town's first Justice of the Peace and any­one found dis­turb­ing the peace found themselves locked up here for a little while.


Behind the museum is an indigenous medicinal garden.  Over the last 22 years the Montagu Museum has been researching the traditional uses of medicinal plants in the Montagu district as used by the Khoi, San and settler farmers from Europe.  The garden contains most of the more than 120 plants that have been researched and published by the museum.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Volstruisresies

Hoeveel mense kan op hulle cv skryf dat hulle 'n professionele volstruisjoggie is?  Nie baie nie, maar as jy hulle in aksie wil sien is die beste plek een of twee van die volstruisplase net buite Oudtshoorn.  Die volstruisresies in die foto vind plaas by Safari Volstruisplaas 'n paar kilometer buite dié bekende Klein Karoo dorp.

Serval Cat

I have never had the opportunity to see a real live serval cat before seeing that they are extinct in the Eastern and Western Cape.  Visiting the Royalston Game Reserve just outside Port Elizabeth not long ago the owners took us to have a look at their Serval rehabilitation project.  They obtained two serval cats from another rehabilitation project and they have had three babies which are being prepared for release at one of the big private game reserves near Port Elizabeth. 
The serval is a medium-sized cat but I didn't really know what to expect before we got there. They look like normal domestic cats just a lot bigger with much longer legs. Servals grow to about 59 to 92 cm in length and stand about half a meter tall.  This boy was in a very playful mood and had a ball chasing the handler's scarf.  The rest of us, well we were clicking away through the fence as they wanted as little interaction with other people as possible. 

For more information on Serval Cats in general, visit Wikipedia.