Tag Archives: photo challenge

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: Local Faces

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South Africa has many faces, all of them local and all of them precious. In Cape Town the mood is light and smiles welcome you, inviting you to come in.

IMG_0218.JPGIn the Kalahari, !Oushe is more serious as he imparts age-old wisdoms to a boy on the verge of manhood.IMG_0288_edited-1.jpgHis name is Kobus, and he’s preparing the snoek – fresh from the cold Atlantic – for a family feast in Namaqualand.

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The descendents of the original Nama people are proud of their heritage. You’ll never get lost in this arid landscape: the Riemvasmakers are all too keen to spoil you with unselfish hospitality and will gladly point out the right route to your destination.IMG_4739.JPG

You’ll find Sefanja in the middle of nowhere, where his neat little ‘garage’ is constructed of sticks, stone and wire. Whistling an age-old tune, he can fix a punctured tyre in no time. IMG_5712.JPGThe best, most famous ‘face’ of South Africa, is quite possibly not human at all. No matter where or what or how you are right now, this is the picture that tells you where ‘home’ is. It is timeless and precious, friendly and welcoming, and it’ll always invite you in.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Half and Half

Every country offers the traveller something unique – something that makes you come back time and again. Namibia has it all: people, culture, comfort and wilderness. The countryside offers vast vistas of unspoilt nature where one can simply sit down and wonder about the magnificent creation around you. It’s a place filled with silence, solitude and…surprises.

For this half-and-half challenge, looking for some symmetry in the picture, the following:

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The contrast between the dry veld and the sky – with the thin line of mountains in the background – made me stop for this one.

IMG_4610Drawing nearer, the landscape changed as the sun slowly released its grip on the desert in the later afternoon.

IMG_4883aThe next day, the landscape was covered in withered grass and stunted trees – but the hills of ancient volcanic rocks formed a barrier between sand and sky.

IMG_5070aAnd here the surprise waited: a shallow pool, where two juvenile desert elephants posed for a while.

I’ll simply have to go again.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Off Season…

When the rains have gone and the waterlevel drops, Life becomes harsh.

420The veld loses it’s vitality as the small pools dry up.
Trip 2012 305 The fishermen give up hope. The boats will wait patiently for their return.

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The elephants are the last to leave. They know the way to a hidden spring.

begin 2004 130aAt last the veld is empty. Silent. Waiting…

103_0319aBecause Nature knows: the winter will pass. The rains will come and the animals return.There is – indeed – a time for every season under heaven.

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.

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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: Perspective…Holey Moley!

South Africans are famous for many things. We make mountains out of molehills. And we are great at ignoring important stuff. We live with shocking figures when it comes to murder and rape statistics; turn a blind eye to corruption and crime; and hide behind the high walls of survival.

Our national animal should be the humble mole, who hides below the surface, digging blindly to…nowhere.

This morning while walking on the beach, a little mound of sand caught my eye…

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The last photograph is blurred (sorry!). Moles are shy and extremely reluctant to be photographed. They hate being seen in the open, and usually disappear quickly when they see strangers near their homes. They don’t like surprises, you see?

So they live solitary lives, avoiding the dangers lurking outside their warm and cosy and dark tunnels. They prefer to let the outside world take care of itself while they live in the dark.

Like I said: the perfect national symbol for a society struggling to get the right perspective on what the word ‘normal’ means… Surely it can’t just be a setting on the program of the washing machine?

Weekly Photo Challenge: Joy…the bigger picture.

The depict Joy, one must have an open mind. It can be so many things… j1                                Of course, it may be the happy faces of loved ones. j2                                                                   Or the happiness of giving a soft toy on Christmas eve. j3                                                           Or simply sharing the digital image on your camera with somebody who’s never had the privilege before. j4                                                                                                                               Or posing with a Masai warrior in the Serengeti. j4                                                                      Or watching San women dancing – being grateful for the little they have. j5                               But me? Give me solitude. Silence. A limp line in the water, waiting for the Big One. Time to think – and time to remember. That’s when I contemplate joy…and find beauty.                      j6Joy – I found – is in every dawn. Other people cannot discover it for you. You have to do it yourself.