Category Archives: Photography

Photo Challenge: The Road Taken..

...less travelled, please! Remote. Isolated. Away… And oh! What beauty and serenity awaits once the sham of civilisation is left behind.015.jpgOnce the call of The Great Silence manages to entice you away from your desk, your computer and your mortgage bills, there is a road that’ll take you to Tranquility. But you must first escape.

057.jpgAt times, one may be excused for feeling a bit lost – after all, entering unknown regions may prove daunting…but keep on following the tracks. IMG_4655.JPGDon’t hesitate. Not even when it seems as if the road leads to Nowhere. Keep the faith.IMG_4857.JPGGear down. Deflate the tyres if you have to. But keep going.IMG_0344a.jpg.And then, suddenly, a new world unfolds. It’s simple. Unpretentious. You set up camp in a completely new mindset. And, for the first time, you notice the green world you’ve been ignoring for far too long…

A Good Match – Against the Odds

It’s rare to find graphic contributions that fit two different photo challenges. But a recent encounter proved that it is possible.

This is about a friendly and safe environment, a great couple of adults, and survival despite the atrocious threat of poaching.

The place? No, that’d be telling and inviting heartless men with big guns and greedy purses. But we had heard about ‘some’ elephants in the vicinity, so we decided to have a look.

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At first we only found some rather old bits of dung, where some mushrooms grew happily. At least (we thought) it was a good sign.

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Then, suddenly, the old cow showed herself. The juicy new twigs were just too good to ignore.

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Coming uncomfortably close, she shielded a younger cow from us and stared at us for what seemed to be a very long time before apparently making up her mind..

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She made her way to the rest of the herd once she’d decided we didn’t pose a threat to their safety. The old bull, however, disagreedIMG_0422a.jpg

She obeyed his orders. Gathering the little ones she disappeared into the bush. Silently. Majestically.

At home in her natural environment, despite the hardships brought on by drought and hunters, this mother took a chance to show off her family. She defied the odds to do this, but also remained loyal to the old bull’s wishes. What a match!

Photo Challenge: The Magic of the Secret

He doesn’t even look up – just shrugs and continues working on a potion. “You people think magic is a fast car. Or a radio.Or something you buy in a big shop. Then you leave your grand houses and travel many, many days to come to me…wanting to know the secret of life. Hah! Some secret!”

Now he looks up, the look of scorn all too plain to see.

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“The secret is not locked up in some book. It isn’t what somebody can show or tell you. It’s much more than that.”

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He bends over the embers, blowing softly. “Ah, there you are, my good friend!” He points at the flame-figure that now hovers over the smouldering logs. “See, my flame – The Flame – is here. It’s the sun, understand? The sun knows everything and many years ago it gave life to this wood. Life…and the secret.”

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He now sits down carefully, almost respectfully, to stare at the flames while chanting a tuneless song…or spell?

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“Now look carefully. The secret isn’t something you must find. Like the sun in the wood, it’s always been there. But the cars and the money and the houses and the shops? You have too many things, my friend. You have so much, you become blind to what’s in here.” He thumps his chest. “Here!” He emphasises the point. “It’s always been inside you…”

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Suddenly, the flames erupt in a display of sparks, rising up in the darkness of the night sky.

“See?” He sits back smiling, his job done. The secret, The Big One, explained in the most simple – yet complicated – manner.

When I leave, I thank him for his patience. He tells me that’s another part, another story. And that it’ll take time, but eventually I’d understand.

Weekly Photo Challenge: The Morning Olympics

In the quest for Olympic gold, Africa must be a favourite for the Breaking of Day competition….

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Her sunrises can be fast or slow, gradual or intense – but always a small miracle of nature.

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Animals know that dawn will conquer night’s darkness, announcing the new day.

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On the banks of rivers, birds will sing their praises, celebrating, calling, chirping in the misty light filtering through the haze.

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And man will, like he must, rekindle last night’s embers to brew a mug of coffee.

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Others aren’t so spoilt – a long, cool, drink will slake that night-thirst just as well.

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Jep…Africa should be assured of a podium finish – even the King thinks so.

The Problem with Democracy

“I am the biggest,” Elephant said, “you need protection. So it’s only natural that you must vote for me.”

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“Oh no,” Jackal countered. “You guys need somebody clever as a leader. Look, I know where to get food for free! I am your only choice.”

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“You’re all ssso ssstupid and sssilly!” Snake’s disgusted voice silenced the argument for a while. “You need to have a leader who is in touch with matters on ground level! Forget the lofty argumentsss…vote for me!”

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“Oh, shut your traps!” Lion had enough! “I represent royalty! I have a reputation! How can you not vote for me?”

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But, sadly, the voters didn’t care. The drought had brought on a terrible famine.  Hunger and fear – so much more that policies – made them vote for the candidate who had no intention of fulfilling his promises. When Baboon promised green pastures, plenty of rain, freedom to do what they want – and said that all animals would have equal rights, he knew it would be impossible to deliver. “The carnivores,” he said, “are the criminals. They steal our land and eat us. When I’m in charge, there’ll be peace. I’ll get rid of them.” Of course, he couldn’t look them in the eye…

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And so, when the day of the election dawned, all the animals voted. Monkey, being the most numerous of all, had the biggest say in the outcome.

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There was chaos afterwards. There was no free food, no strong animal to guard them, no freedom and plenty of fear.

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“That’s the problem with elections,” Secretary Bird sighed. “Smoke and mirrors. Promises of change? Hah! When will we learn to vote with for good, upright individuals who have already served the community, shown that they really care and proved that they are qualified to deliver on their promises? Sadly, we get what we vote for: lots of words and no change. It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent. It’s the ones most responsive to change. Darwin said it and we still don’t get it.”

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Weekly Photo Challenge – Cherry on Top

He’s been walking for a day-and-a-half; if he doesn’t find water, the desert would have won. But…he knows the area and he knows the tradition of his people. If only he could see their marker, he’d be alright.

Ah…there it is!

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To a stranger, it’s just a heap of twigs. Nothing to stand out in the barren wilderness. He knows better…

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First, he’ll thank the unknown man who did this. Then, carefully and with the necessary respect, he’ll remove the camouflage.

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Uncovering the hidden treasure needs time and patience. Breaking the egg would be disastrous.

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Is it dry? Has the water evaporated? Noo…there it is – the cherry on top! Cool, clear, water.

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Now he has to do the right thing: find the man who hid the water, thank him…and then fill up the ostrich egg again.

 

Weekly Photo Challenge – Half-light…

The Challenge: Share a  half-light photo inspired by a poem, verse, song lyric or story.

 

Okay: here’s the Rolbos entry, titled: Zuma Sunset.

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It is the evening of the day,
I sit and watch the children play.
Smiling faces I can see
But not for me,
I sit and watch as tears go by.                                                    M Faithful

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Life in Harmony

“Every event in Nature has a unique harmony and rhythm.” ― Joseph Rain.

Harmony fills the residual vacuum after emotion is removed from a situation – if we’re lucky. When only the facts of a matter is considered, one is left with one of two possible outcomes. Anger and acceptance cannot coexist in the same space, after all.

Harmony – the holy grail so lacking in society – has proven to be an extremely illusive goal. In my search for harmony, I have found some striking pointers in nature to chart the way into the unknown.

IMG_4302.JPGIt seems as if the younger members of most species are quite prepared to be unafraid and to share whatever they have. We, on the other hand, thrive on fear (why else do we listen to the politicians?) and tend to hoard. Innocence lost, indeed…IMG_4353.JPGTenacity…we’ve lost the will to persist. If at first we don’t succeed, we give up. Harmony so often requires a sustained effort  – and then rewards us with grace.IMG_3619.JPGHarmony is a reflection of the state of mind. It is the product of the past. In the tranquility of acceptance, we can reach for the sky.IMG_4753.JPGHarmony is the balance between sun and shade. Once we allow the sun to shine on others, we are often surprised at the response. Individuals who are also striving towards joy and beauty will respond in kind – even though they are rare. But…we’ll never know who they are until we reach out, will we?IMG_4881.JPGHarmony has always been there, waiting patiently. It is there, even now. The turmoil burdening the journey to contentment, frequently only exists in the eye of the beholder. A favourite quote attributed to Paulo Coelho: ‘Everything will be okay in the end. And if it isn’t okay, it’s not the end…yet.IMG_5490.JPGSadly, harmony sometimes only reveals itself in the later stages of life. When the day is done, the sword safely back in the scabbard and tranquility finally is allowed to surface – that’s when, at last, we discover the liberating joy of dancing to the rhythm of Life.

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: State of Mind.

I believe that moods, though universal, are more pronounced in Africa. Here you won’t find the stiff upper lip or diplomatic smile. Pretence, the way so many individuals ply the art of  make-believe to present themselves to others, has no place on a continent that forces you to be honest. This is evident not only in the turmoil we live with every day, but also in the people living here as well as Nature.

Literature is a treasure of wisdom. It says so much of our continent and…our times.

“When we want mood experiences, we go to concerts or museums. When we want meaningful emotional experience, we go to the storyteller.” ― Robert McKee, Story: Style, Structure, Substance, and the Principles of Screenwritingb5

“Music is energy. A mood, atmosphere. Feeling.” ― Kurt Cobainb6

“I suppose one must be serious sometimes.” ― Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian GrayIMG_4986

“A performance must capture or communicate with the mood and feelings of that very moment.” ― Unarine RamaruPetro 9

“The first few moments of the day are some of the most important as they can determine the mood for the rest of the day.” ― Daniel Willeyj6

Modern, ancient, animal, man and nature: state of mind always directs us toward an uncertain future. But, as Voltaire summed it up so nicely: “When life is a shipwreck, we must not forget to sing in the lifeboats….”Trip 2012 306

Weekly Photo Challenge: Seasons

IMG_5759Life starts off with promises and dreams, unlimited horizons and infinite potential.

a2This, however, is an illusion. Life is a vast and lonely place – a series of individual challenges that’ll test even the most courageous to the utmost limits.a5At last, having survived the seasons of drought and plenty, the realisation dawns: Hope, Love and Faith are choices and not guaranteed in any way. Life is, in fact, what actually happened while we were making other plans.a4And then we take note of failures and mishaps and unfortunate events – all of these steering us to abandon wild dreams and false promises.

Somewhere between the illusive mansion of expectation and the ruins of reality, contentment awaits. Satisfied with so much less but with the firm belief that the best is yet to come, we soldier on bravely.188_8855Until, with the comfort of a faithful companion, we look back at the seasons of our lives – remembering the successes and failures. It’s been quite a journey but worth every drop of sweat, every tear, along the way. This is the season too – because we finally understand  – we are able to embrace the unlimited horizons and infinite potential that were promised in the beginning.