In the meantime on the farm

Since we live in Napier (Western Cape, South Africa) I’ve been picturing the surrounding landscapes during the past 17 months. Never lived in a place where I experienced continuously changing sky colors/temperatures on such a fast track; sometimes I’ve only seconds to shoot the right image and often I’m too late … The influence of the light on the landscape is astonishing many photographers from around with who I made an early morning trip. It’s a challenging world here.

The open landscapes in this part of the world are ‘layered’ ones with numerous hills and mountains at the horizon. Sometimes I have to go on private property of the farmers and in principle I always ask beforehand. Never had any problems. On the contrary: a real genuine warm hospitality of farmers and their staff; sometimes even touring me around in a four wheel drive to places inaccessible for my car. Last week, for example, I was during the day at Sanddrif Farm about 5 kilometers out of the village just to ask the owner if there were no objections to go on his land. “You can drive and walk here whenever and where-ever”, farmer Jan Wessels answered. While chatting he tells about his farm with 170 (free range) milk cows producing milk for Woolworth (of ‘Woollies’ as some South Africans name this supermarket chain). The farm is self-sufficient meaning that all food is produced on the farm and he has to store (‘opkuil’ as he calls it) grass  so he does not have to buy fodder during dry periods. Layer by layer the grass is deposited between two walls and tractors driving up and down on top to compact it. Coarse salt is spread on top of every layer for preservation. Once the ‘tray’ is full it’s covered. In a few months time, during the dry South African Summer months, it’s ready for consumption. It’s also called “silage”. Green fodder is packed airtight so as to ensure fermentation instead of decomposition, thereby preserving its nutritional value.

Quickly scanning the farm I see winged wildlife around and can’t resist to make a few snapshots.


A Year Round Floral Display

We don’t have the extreme temperature differences throughout the year as in some places in the world. Think about some parts of Ontario (Canada) or Russia (from minus 40 to plus 40 degrees Celcius). Here it is from plus 6 to plus 37. So throughout the seasons we have floral display in our garden although something is going to change.  Here are a few pics shot throughout the seasons last year.

Light reflection (2 pictures to compare)

I never use flashlights or other artificial lighting equipment. Personally I think that you can make perfect pictures with advanced artificial lighting but you loose the ‘soul’ of the subject. For me it’s the challenge to use the available light and picture as is, followed by enhancing the ‘soul of the image’ with photo-processing software. At this stage I’m fascinated by the influence of (natural) light and it’s colour (temperatures) reflecting on my subjects. The colour of water surface, for example, changes continuously partly influenced also by the surrounding colours of vegetation etc.

Take this cactus (botanical name ‘Cephalocereus  senilis’ but just say ‘Old Man’s Beard’). It’s one with white hair as seen with the bare eye but it’s not that white if nearby other (flowering) plants with different colours. Than the ‘Old Man’ suddenly becomes a colourful personality (or must I say ‘plantality? 😉 ). To enhance the colours I only had to move the ‘contrast’ and ‘brightness’ sliders plus the ‘exposure’ one in Photoshop a bit. More important was to photograph it at the right time of the right day. I made three pictures this morning somewhere between 10 and 11 AM and only one had more or less the desired ‘natural’ colours.

The second picture is the original (as is). See for yourself!