Again in the garden

Both, my wife and I, like flowers. Maybe it’s our Dutch background (“Dutch say it with flowers”) but more likely it has to do with the restoration and extension of a historical botanical garden in South Africa that has kept us busy between April 2000 and July 2011. Anyway you find me every day in our garden with my camera and virtually every day there is something new. We live in an area with a subtropical climate (climate zone 10); ideal for succulent plants including cacti. Here are some pictures I shot during the last week or so.

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My bracelet

Pure silver and there is only one: that’s my bracelet. Made in 1977 by a woman named Rose in Glastonbury (Somerset, UK) and I’m wearing it every day since than. Yes; I was born in the Chinese Year of the Dragon.

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From the sea

Evolution is a weird subject if you come to succulent plants like cacti. Did you know that all succulent plants are originating from underwater plants. Hence that divers walking around in our garden are amazed by the view of many plants they link with plants they meet once they’re exploring the sea bottom. Southern Africa, where many succulent plants originate from, was once largely covered with lakes and during a period of thousands, maybe millions, of years these plants had to adept to a complet opposite environment; from surviving under water to surviving in a desert. So these plants evolved into waterstoring plants; storing water in roots, leafs and/or stems. Reason for us to collect some shells and rocks at the nearby beach and cover a small part of our garden with it.

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Playing with portrait backgrounds

Recently I posted about the experience with my first photo-model. Today I played with her a bit in Photoshop; i.e. adding different backgrounds. Think that the picture on top is the best. And if you have a different opinion just let me know. Never too old to learn!

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Minimal colors; an experiment

I like both: black & White and color pictures. There are many grades in each of both and I just experimented with grades between both.

To be honest: I don’t like it but you may think different.

A few examples. The full color ones as shot with my camera and the minimal color images by moving the ‘saturation’ slide in Photoshop to the left.

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Looking after Life: A look at the local cemetery

There is a wide variety of cultures in South Africa and every culture has its own way of living with the ‘beloved ones’ who passed away.

Simplified; there are ‘rich’ and ‘poor’ people’s graves. ‘Poor’ does not always mean ‘poor at heart’ and the same applies the other way around for ‘rich’.

But who am I to judge?

I just visited the local cemeteries and took some pictures. Pictures speak for themselves. That’s all.

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My first photo-model

In a small village like Stanford it’s not easy to ‘persuade’ people, especially women, to photograph them. Whatever the reason it took a while and against all odds (even her mother said that she would “never ever” do it) Karuna didn’t even think twice. She admits that she hates to be photographed but this time she challenged herself.

I prefer making pictures as natural as possible without artificial lightning and if I use a model I prefer him/her to look natural. The only compromise I make is the use of photo-processing software which I’ve done extensively with Karuna. I’ve been cropping a bit and processing in RAW I shifted the buttons for exposure, black, white, highlights, saturation, contrast, shadow, etc. numerous times to get the desired image. While taking these pictures I tried to emphasize on reflection with the use of windows and a mirror.

But before I really started to work with this first time model I made several snapshots of her and together discussed them. After that I made a serie of approx. 300 portraits and this is what’s left.

BTW: Karuna does not like bananas….

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The Chilling Chameleon

We are privileged to live where we live in South Africa; an abundance of nature and an amazing landscape. Hidden in the mountains are numerous waterfalls, patches with pristine fynbos and various other plant genera. And than the animals. In the Overberg you find everything from a small bug to baboons and leopards. And they all like to chill every now and than; human beings alike.

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Sunsets and the ‘Image Building Industry’

A sunset is one of the more popular subjects within the ‘image building industry’. I use this expression on purpose for most of the famous contemporary pictured sunsets have gone extensively through photo-processing software. This sunset is a genuine one made in RAW from our front door. And yes, maybe one day I’ll become famous too, so I added (photoshopped) a bird to it (and the copyright notice). Fun!!!

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