Tag Archives: weekly photo challenge

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.
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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.

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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.

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.

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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…

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?

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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.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Serenity, Africa’s Allure.

Africa. A continent of conflict, as we all know. The home of pirates, religious fanatics, despots.

But…the real Africa has another face. Non-human…even non-animal. Just beauty and space.

And serenity…

Kirstenbosch Garden, Cape Town. A lane of 100 year old trees. It is quiet here…

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In the magnificent Baviaanskloof you can hear the silence

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Close to Stellenbosch. Only the forlorn cry of a fish eagle to keep you company.

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Ahhhh….the roads through Namibia. Nobody in sight. No telephone lines, no fences…

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The beauty of Damara Land

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Rain in the Serengeti

Weekly Photo Challenge: Gone, but not Forgotten – The plight of the Rhino

On one of Cape Town’s many spectacular beachfront walkways, you have to align the little bits of memory to remember what a rhino looks like. With more than 1000 of these animals poached in 2014 alone, it is a chilling reminder of how short sighted people can be. All too soon, these animals are soon to be extinct, with only a few stuffed specimens in the halls of museums to remind us of the greed of man…

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Skip ahead ten years, and listen to the conversation between an old man (who can’t forget) and a very small boy (who’ll never remember)…

“You see, son, those animals were huge. They had funny faces, too – all wrinkled and strange. Small eyes – they couldn’t see very well.”

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“And their bodies! Large and cumbersome, they seemed like tanks on the battlefield. Ah, yes, and they were indeed involved in a war. Only, they were outgunned…”

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“Oh, and I adored their backsides! Somehow the small head and the sturdy bum made this animal look …handsome…if you don’t mind me saying so.”r3

“But, Grandpa, why did the people kill all of these wonderful creatures? Surely they didn’t deserve to be extinct now? After all, you told me they had survived for millions of years  – floods, earthquakes, diseases…everything. And now…now they’re gone?”

“You’re right. They didn’t deserve what happened. But, to answer your questions, people shot these animals for a very small part of their bodies – the horn…”

r4The boy sighs. “I suppose I’ll never know what they really looked like. I do get an idea, though, from the bits you describe..”

“I’m glad. If you put the pieces together, you’ll get a good idea of the real thing.”

r5“No, son. You’ll have to try harder…”

“Okay,” the boy says, closing his eyes.

r6The old man smiles sadly. Yes, that’s about the best the boy can do. He’ll never see the real thing, though..

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Credit:

Artist: Andre Carl

Sculpture: Rhinosaur

View the 3D art on Sea Point Promenade, Cape Town.

Photo Challenge: Angular

An angle can imply many things. Viewing objects and people from different points of view may be as much fun as considering the various meanings of what an angle might mean.

Of course, most people prefer believing what they see. This is a no-angle approach and we all do it every day. What you see, is what you get…

IMG_3324But – very often – what we see isn’t reality. People pretend, others lie and relationships may be complicated. What you see, needs to be analyzed carefully to find out what is real.

IMG_2853You may also think of angles as geometrical, cast-in-stone objects. Although this lacks imagination, it does provide an easier passage through life.

IMG_2453But Life rarely follow easy, repeated and predictable patterns. Once we look at  – and really see – how Mother Nature treats such angles, we realise that Life isn’t a mathematical formula. It’s so much more complicated than that.

IMG_2588That’s why, in South Africa – and elsewhere, I suppose – we dream of an uncomplicated Life, where harmony directs us all towards a better future. Where what you see, is what you get…without any political angles.

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Weekly Photo Challenge – Achievement

Achievements, by the very nature of such events and things, tend to be personal. Talking about achievements – or capturing the moment in a photograph – might sound like bragging, which is not what the subject is about. Most achievements rest on the shoulders of others, after all.

Zambia ekspedisie 067Like going on a walking safari in North Luangwa with some very knowledgeable guides.

428Or visiting a Himba village, where one learns how precious relationships are. Big lesson here: it’s not what you have – it’s about who you are and how you cope.

IMG_2765Or realising that the most precious moments are those filled with peace and tranquility. Drifting silently on the Okavango river, contemplating the wonder of nature, must rate as one of those achievements in the top 10.

aaBut Nature hides bigger challenges, as well. Canoeing down the Upper Zambezi early one misty morning almost got me drowned (fortunately the crocs were still waiting for the day to heat up!). The achievement? Simply getting to the river bank… It sounds elementary, but the relief of safety…

IMG_2904Yes, I know. There’s a lot to look back on, a lot to be thankful for. There are the children and the grandchildren. Academic stuff and a happy career. Books that were published. Stories in magazines. But…maybe the biggest achievement is to get out there, face the challenges of Africa, and come back a little more wise, a little more complete.

Achievements should do that. It fills life with wonder. And that makes one appreciate every day added to live..

IMG_3136And that is one achievement we should all strive towards…every day.

Weekly Photo Challenge: a Minimalistic Fairy Tale.

There’s a story in every picture – and sometimes even the tiniest object holds the key to a tale of hardship, adventure…or love. Take for instance, the tragically beautiful deserted town of Kolmanskop – once a thriving community in the Namib desert. When the diamonds ran out, the town died. And today, only the spirit of a time gone by remains. Take a walk into a deserted house – let’s imagine what had happened here…

IMG_3048 Who stayed here? And what dreams were dreamt in the little house next to the track? Did he whoop it up at night – or was he a quiet introvert, working hard to make a living?

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Did he stare out of this window, thinking about a special somebody far, far away?

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And if he did, why did he leave his ink pot behind…or did the desert lure him into the wilderness, where he lost his way?

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But wait – he owned a rifle, at least. He wouldn’t have gone into the arid wasteland without it. Too many dangers there. A seasoned prospector would have been able to protect himself. So…maybe he survived the perils of the dunes?

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Ah….let’s be optimistic! He came home to find somebody waiting on the porch. A very, very special somebody from far, far away.

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Of course they celebrated! But first – the luxury of a long, warm bath in this waterless region. They spent a foamy, happy hour here while he told her of his big find.

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“Let’s go,” he said, “and live a life of luxury.”

And she nodded happily, telling him to leave everything behind. “We’ve got enough now. We don’t need more than you…and me…and that wonderful gem you found.”

So they did.

IMG_3356The desert, having given up it’s riches, then took back their house. They didn’t mind at all – they lived happily ever after.

The End

Weekly Photo Challenge: Cover Art

Selecting a cover for the book on Rolbos wasn’t easy. How do you capture the poignant but sometimes outrageous escapades of the group at the bar in Boggel’s Place? The cover had to say something about isolation and the atmosphere of the stories. Here are a few examples:

B 1But no, that didn’t do it. It had to be more human, more humane, say something about the town.

b 2Too desolate, run down. Maybe something more romantic?

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Nice…but still not enough character. So here’s the one that made it to the cover. It’s a lovely image, kindly provided by my most efficient publisher, and it says it all…

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