31 May 2013

The Franschoek Motor Museum

Whether you are a Petrol Head or simply just male, this is one place that you should visit at least once in a while. This is the most comprehensive collection of motor vehicles, motorcycles, bicycles and memorabilia that I have seen in one place. It is to be found in the magnificent setting of L’Ormarins which is in Franschoek in the wine valley of the Western Cape.

The collection pieces are immaculate and must be worth many millions of ZAR. Shot with my Sony A99 and CZ16-35. No flash used.

The Entrance leads you past this wonderful large painting.

The collection is housed in these large buildings

What a beautiful setting

30 May 2013

Almost a step back in time - Muizenberg Beach Huts

Colourful Victorian bathing boxes comes to mind when I look at Muizenberg beach.. I can imaging ladies with their 19th century swimming costumes (if you can call them that) sitting on the stairs with the men in their striped shirts and long trunks playing cricket on the beach.

There’s something ‘retro’ about Muizenberg Beach, an echo of an era when seaside talent shows and parading along the promenade were all the fasion.  No doubt it’s the boldly-coloured Victorian bathing ‘boxes’ or huts which evoke the feeling of a stepping back in time.

I have for many years wanted to photograph these brightly coloured little boxes but until recently the light that I was looking for had simply eluded me... Then early one morning, not too long ago... it was there... and so was I.. armed with the Sony full frame and the Zeiss 16-35mm lens.. the rest is, as one would say, history........

29 May 2013

The Voortrekker Monument

The Voortrekker Monument is located just south of Pretoria in South Africa. This massive granite structure is prominently located on a hilltop, and was raised to commemorate the Voortrekkers who left the Cape Colony between 1835 and 1854.
On 8 July 2011 the Voortrekker Monument, designed by the architect Gerard Moerdijk, was declared a National Heritage Site by the South African Heritage Resource Agency.

The monument is square at 40m x 40m as well as 40m high. On a recent visit there I was surprised to find that a lift had replaced the stairs to the top in the one corner. 

The main staircase up to the monument

Surrounding walls - consisting of 64 ox-wagons made out of decorative granite. The same number of wagons were used at the Battle of Blood River to form the laager.

On each outside corner of the Monument there is a statue, respectively representing Piet Retief, Andries Pretorius, Hendrik Potgieter and an "unknown" leader (representative of all the other Voortrekker leaders). Each statue weighs approximately 6 tons.

The path around the top of the monument

Looking down onto the Cenotaph

The narrow stairway to the top

22 May 2013

An afternoon in the Studio

As some of you might know I do actually have a studio and being a full time commercial photographer I get to photograph all sorts in the studio. This ranges from products to people and now and again some beautiful models. 

A friend of mine sometimes hires the studio and so it was today and he had employed a lovely model for the day. Well, needless to say I snuck a few shots in (with their permission) and I quite liked the results.

I used the Sony A99 (which is an awesome machine with great tonal ranges) and the Carl Zeiss 85mm F1.4 lens. This in my mind is about the best camera/lens combination that I have ever come across for use in the studio.

The first shot was shot with an idea in mind.. (No, she didn't use that brush for her make up but I was going to use it to give her some colour!)

Voila!..... My end result! A little image editing and the image told it's story.

The lighting setup was changed and a fan switched on to blow her hair, a blue gel on a rim light and some nice effects were to be had.

The close up really brought the best of her features out!

20 May 2013

A Winters Morning Sunrise

Yes, no doubt, winter is here! Whilst most were still warm under their blankets or preparing for work in their warm houses, I had lost my mind. I had risen early, long before the sun had even thought about showing its'self and traveled the 60km to the area that was clear of buildings and power lines so that I might capture the beginning of the day on silicon. 

It was 1 degree celsius when I arrived and the mist was so thick that I couldn't see 5m in front of me. Pfft, looked like it was going to be a waste of time. The sun was far behind the mist and wasn't going to show till much later the morning. Well patience was rewarded and I managed a few images before the magic light was gone. 

The sun just burning through the mist.

A real eery feeling above the water between the trees.

The river running strong.

18 May 2013

Kirstenbosch calls for the Orange Breasted Sunbird

I had not visited Kirstenbosch in many years but was intent on getting the Orange Breasted Sunbird in my sights and I heard that they had been very active in the gardens. It was a bright sunny morning and I had heard that I should enter at the top gate and walk towards the fynbos area and I would be sure to find them. Well indeed, so it was. There were quite a few of them but they were so busy and in and out the bushes that it was going to almost be impossible to get a clear shot of these guys.

A birder might be happy with just a shot but as a photographer I wanted a good clear shot. I prepared myself next to some Protea bushes where I saw these guys going in and out and waited with the hope that I might just have a chance.

Now you must understand that these birds are small... much smaller than they seem... and with the shade and sun streaks this was going to be a difficult task. I often teach that the 3 P's of Avian photography are patience, patience and patience. Well 2 hours later I was still trying to get a decent shot and then, out of the blue, one posed for me.. I might add that only for a minute but it was in the open.. I managed a few shots and was pleased as punch at the result.


I spent a little longer walking around and managed a few shots of a few other birds.

It also goes to say that no visit to Kirstenbosch would be complete without a pic of a Protea!