Category Archives: Photography

Weekly Photo Challenge – the freshness of an African dawn.

There’s something about the freshness in an African dawn…

405The misty waterfall seems to hold its breath as the sun lurks just below the horizon.

IMG_2159Even the clinging bushel of reeds light up in anticipation.

mattanu 085aA lone giraffe welcomes the comforting rays of light, relieved at surviving another night.

100_1493aWhile a tired lion rests after a night of hunting.

Zambia ekspedisie 112aThis is the time for the intrepid traveller to saddle up: Africa awaits, fresh and eager,  to display her charms.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Walls of Grief and longing

Walls know stuff. They’ve seen the arguments, the passion and the joy of living. And, long after the people have left, they tell the story.

IMG_3247A lover knocked, the door opened, arms reached out for comfort.

IMG_3246Put your hat on the shelf over there, she said, smiling coyly.

IMG_3248Dancing to the kitchen, she asked if he’d like some coffee.

IMG_3315I even stoked the geyser, should you want to freshen up, she said.

IMG_3094I have no time, he answered heavily. The war….

IMG_3339And he left her standing in the doorway, waiting.

IMG_3267She’s still there. She, the walls…and the sand…

Weekly Photo Challenge: Orange

Nowhere on earth (okay, it is a biased opinion!) does orange colour the sky as beautifully as in Africa, especially early in the morning.

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In the east, the endless Indian Ocean becomes a pewter-grey as the day is born. The clouds, however, celebrate the dawn.

earlyAn early bird flies inland to announce the new day. Its cry will wake those who slumber for the last few minutes of the night.

daybreakThis is a magical time on the continent. Light comes slowly at first, then it casts a joyous spell on all who celebrate the departure of darkness.

orangeThe waters of the great Makgadikgadi pans turn bronze in the heat of the sun’s harsh fury as it burns down on arid Botswana.

begin 2004 115aWhen at last the sun has spent its force, it is time to find a safe spot to spend the night.

fire

While Man, eternally fearful of the dark, feeds the fire, hoping the glow will keep danger away.

MAAN 004 mod 4Until…at last…the moon arrives to bathe Africa in an orange so unique, so special, that one wishes that dawn will postpone its arrival for just once…

elBut it refuses, and the animals gather once more, as they must, to greet the sun with joy.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Reward

More than a century ago, John Masefield sat down and penned a dream – he simply had to get away from it all and reward himself with me-time at the sea. He wasn’t (and isn’t) alone in this quest.  Don’t we all – from time to time – wish we could sit on a deserted beach and watch the waves come rolling in? Is it not an apt reward (and a great escape!) for pretending we actually like life in the crowded cities?  Come on, join John Masefield in his famous poem – Sea Fever.

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I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,
And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea’s face, and a grey dawn breaking.

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I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.
aa2
I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull’s way and the whale’s way, where the wind’s like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick’s over.

aa5

Thank you Mr Masefield  – for sharing a precious dream. Now I can listen to Kris Delmhorst singing while I close my eyes and dream…of a precious reward.

Three Shots: Waiting for Sunrise.

Daily PromptTake a subject you’re familiar with and imagine it as three photos in a sequence. Tackle the subject by describing those three shots.

Waiting for sunrise in Africa.

The old lion was tired. After a lifetime in the desert, it was time to move on.

b

He glanced around, appreciating – for the last time – the company of his loved ones.

c 4It’s getting lighter. A last drink, a last moment…

IMG_4029dAt last…release! Time to join the others in a magnificent display of light.

Photo Challenge: Thirds in Ruins

This week’s challenge: compose your subject off-center, obeying the Rule of Thirds. Come, visit Kolmanskop, where diamonds once created an impossible dream..

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People used to live here, sheltered from the sand storms in the desert. In the end, the wind won…

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Wind, sand, rocks. Mother Nature in an unforgiving mood…

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The people tried, though. The desalination plant supplied short-lived hope.

breekyster 2010 118

But only for a while. The dreams couldn’t match the reality. Only the walls remain, a silent monument to the men and women who dared to imagine they could tame the wilderness. The final chapter had an inevitable ending…

Weekly Photo Challenge: The Symmetry of the Zambezi

Not for Africa the stark lines of Gothic precision and precise lines. Here, Mother Nature designed with a free hand, a warm smile and an artistic touch. What better example of her symmetrical creativity than the waters of the mighty Zambezi?

A small stream in the upper Zambezi revels in the sunset. It is the start of a massive journey to the sea.

A small stream in the upper Zambezi revels in the sunset. It is the start of a massive journey to the sea.

The moss-grown cliffs oppose each other in an eternal stand-off at the Victoria Falls

The moss-grown cliffs oppose each other in an eternal stand-off at the Victoria Falls. The roar of the cascade announces the arrival of the water at this beautiful gorge.

Farther downstream, the sunset is greeted with quiet tranquility.

Farther downstream, the sunset is greeted with quiet tranquility.

A lonely tree guards the passage to the ocean as the water eddies past.

A lonely tree guards the passage to the ocean as the water eddies past.

At last, as the ocean draws near, twin elephants take a final bath in the cool, fresh, waters.

At last, as the ocean draws near, twin elephants take a final bath in the cool, fresh, waters.

geese

Finally the lagoon and the sea. Clouds will carry droplets back to the small stream, to start the journey all over again. Perfect symmetry? Only as Mother Nature can do it…

The Way to Rolbos

I’ll simply have to crook. 300 Words to describe Rolbos? That’s impossible. With a picture worth a thousand words, we’ll just have to go the scenic route…

The road there is a narrow gravel track, immediately telling you that you've left the city with all its pretence and false values behind.

The road there starts as a narrow gravel track, immediately telling you that you’ve left the city with all its pretence and false values behind. Please slow down. Drive with care…

The scenery around Rolbos is - according to some - dull and uninviting. Yet it is here that you'll discover the solitude to find yourself.

The scenery around Rolbos is – according to some – dull and uninviting. Yet it is here that you’ll discover the solitude to find yourself. The truth you seek isn’t found in lectures and books, TV shows and sermons – it is patiently waiting inside you to find it where it’s always been.

The big weaver nests suggest something of the values you'll find here. It's about cooperation, family life and accepting that each inhabitant has a role to play.

Along the way, the big weaver nests suggest something of the values you’ll find here. It’s about cooperation, family life and accepting that each inhabitant has a role to play. These birds work hard to take care of the nests – without having to resort to violence. Look at them carefully: they’re living in harmony, which is more than we can say.

Getting there isn't always easy. Often, people turn back because they are afraid of the challenge.

Getting there isn’t always easy. Often, people turn back because they are afraid of the challenge. Perseverance is the key. Instant gratification – the promise all politicians make – has no place here. Guts, determination and hard work are the key elements required to succeed.

The people around here are used to hardship and make do with what is available. Forget the mall and the large shopping centres, life here doesn't need bling to impress others.

The people around here are used to hardship and make do with what is available. Forget the mall and the large shopping centres.,Life here doesn’t need bling to impress others.

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At last! The small town of Rolbos on the horizon. To get here, you have had to shed pretence in favour of perseverance, exchanged the mad politics of the world for hope, and swapped the cynical smile for a peal of genuine laughter. The way ahead, you realise, is through faith, love and kindness. And somehow you know – with a new certainty – that this is what Rolbos is all about. Welcome! Don’t worry – you won’t find the place crowded. Not many people are brave enough to face the simplicity that is the essence of Rolbos culture.

Weekly Photo Challenge: African Travel Expressions

Yeah, we’ve got them all here, just the same as the folks in Europe or Asia or the States. Some personalities are universal – you simply can’t go anywhere without bumping into them. So let’s get off the plane at the deserted little airfield and watch the characters around us.

sealThat smug young blonde – makeup freshly applied – will eye you at the baggage carousel. Are you rich enough? Just passing through? Or maybe willing to mix business with a little…pleasure?

bok

There’s the timid young man, uncertain about the first night on safari and far too proud to admit his anxiety. Will he be able to close an eye tonight, or be hunted (and haunted) by yet another nightmare?

crocInevitably, over there, we have the lecherous old man, biding his time before making his move. His thoughts are evilly carnal, his appetite never satisfied.

lionBut wait, here’s the slick game ranger (and she’s a girl!)! Dressed in regulation tight-fitting khaki, she’ll take her time to select something…special…for tonight. Beware though: don’t slip into her tent uninvited. Staying beyond the reach of those claws (and teeth) is a very good idea.

buffelWhat? Politicians? Yes, they’re everywhere. And just like in any other country, they are unpredictable and extremely dangerous. Best sit next to the blonde, then. Or even the ranger.

dogOh, well…maybe you’ll be better off in the air-conditioned comfort of the lodge. Yes, great idea. Oh, you’ll still wish you were out there, but at least you’ll be safe. Maybe order room service for the next few days? Yeah…then you can buy some postcards to show the friends back home.

A Moment to Remember

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“This tree,” Vetfaan says as he slides the photograph over the counter, “is special. It didn’t give up.”

Boggel studies the picture. He has seen it before – several times. When Vetfaan slips into one of his pensive moods, he sometimes produces the photo. It seems to give him strength to overcome his depression – a rare but not unknown occurrence

“It’s the one in Caprivi, isn’t it?”

“Yep. Grows there in the barren soil, amidst the rocks where everything else struggles to survive.”

“That’s where the ambush was.” Boggel doesn’t have to ask, he knows the story.

Vetfaan closes his eyes deliberately, as if he wants to kill the picture in his mind. He doesn’t succeed, of course. Not now.

Some moments in time get burned so deeply into the circuitry of the brain, they remain sharp and fresh for a lifetime. Nothing – not time nor age – will spontaneously fade those moments away to insignificant grey graphics; especially if the horror of those moments are nurtured by clinging to them. That’s the trick, of course: the ability to let go. It is necessary to replace the memory with the reality of the present. Unlike the yellowing photographs in an old album. these pictures retain colour, focus and even sound as long as they are allowed to torment by revisiting them. Even now, the crash of gunfire and exploding grenades reverberate in Vetfaan’s ears.

“Why did you take that picture, Vetfaan? Surely you need to forget those days,”

When Vetfaan opens his eyes, Boggel notices the incredible sadness in them.

“I went back, Boggel, many years later.” Boggel knows this, too, but like the good barman he is, he listens intently. “To see. To remember. To forget.” Vetfaan sighs heavily. “I wanted to see if the blood had washed away in the meantime. And you know? No matter how hard I tried not to see it, there was blood everywhere. Gunfire. Screams.

“So I took the photo. See that tree? The rocks didn’t stop it from growing. It gives me hope.”

Boggel slides another beer towards his friend. “It looks like the tree is lifting the rock up – breaking it in two.”

“It does, doesn’t it? And on the picture, there’s no sound, no blood. That only remains up here.” He taps his head with a calloused finger. “I so wish this picture can be there as well. Maybe if I looked at it long enough…?”

Boggel nods patiently. One day he’ll tell Vetfaan that memories can be like that rock. Slowly, gently, the mind will grow around the agony of the past, lifting it, breaking it. The blood and gore will wash away. And, in contrast to what the mind remembers, the real, true, picture will eventually break the chains anchoring Vetfaan to the yesterdays he so desperately needs to forget.

“It takes time, Vetfaan.”

“Yes, Boggel. I’ll get there. Just like that tree. One moment at a time.”