Hello World + Viva la South Africa
So this is my first ever blog post. I'm quite excited about getting this site up and running, I have lots of photos to upload over the coming days and weeks and this will eventually become the repository for my past, present and future pics.
It has been an eventful start of the year from a photography standpoint, starting with an amazing 2 week road trip across South Africa, and last weekend helping out with photo duties at my Mother-in-Laws amazing wedding.
South Africa was a photographers paradise. Whether you are into landscape, wildlife, macro, astro, or street/candid/portrait, there is someting for everyone.
We started out in Cape Town, and got to visit the impressive Table Mountain which has stunning 360 degree views over Cape Town itself, the Atlantic, and miles in each direction.
We then hit the open road and headed inland for several hours across dramatic terrain (it reminded me of the ruggedness of the Scottish Highlands combined with the desert feel of Arizona) and eventually arrived at our first stop in the town of Prince Albert.
This turned out to be one of the most rewarding places we visited. We were staying on a working vineyard with lots of free roaming animals (Cats, Cockrels, Geese, Dogs etc) and there were critters galore (crickets, spiders, moths, beetles etc)
Our timing of the trip had unfortunately coincided with the (almost) full moon, so the view of the stars was obscured considerably, however we waited up until around 3AM when the moon set, and were treated to the most magnificent views of the milky way. It was my first opportunity to photograph such dark skies, and learnt a lot from the experience.
We then moved on to Plettenberg Bay, where we went on Horse Safari (The camera remained locked in the car boot for this one!) but got the chance to drive past free roaming Zebra on the way out, and took some of my favourite shots of the holiday.
Our next stop was Addo Elephant Park, which is a 130 KM long free-drive safari which has tonnes of different animals including Lion, elephants, Rhino, Boar, deer, Jackals etc. It was an amazing experience as all are totally wild and unfed and frequently we would have to stop to give way to a herd of elephant crossing the track in front of us.
From there we drove to Jeffreys Bay, which is a worldwide sufing hotspot known for it's 'super tube' waves. It was relatively calm whilst we were there, but still impressive, and Rob hired a surfboard and caught some good waves.
From there we spent a couple of nights in Cintsa on the wild coast, which felt very much like the deserted wild beaches in the Outer Hebrides in Scotland. We then made our way up north to the Drackenberg mountains:
This gave me the opportunity to take some timelapse videos of the dramatic clouds, and also photograph wild baboon (who were launching nuts at the car from nearby trees!).
We then meandered back to Johannesburg to catch our flights home.
Check out the 'South Africa' Gallery for all the pics!
I will devote a seperate blog entry to my experiences of shooting my first wedding, which was both a scary and rewarding experience!
Keywords: Cape Town, Cintsa, Plett, ant, brown button, elephant, j-bay, jeffreys bay, milky way, plettenberg, rhino, south africa, spider, zebra
It was fantastic Tim, thanks for the kind words (and my first blog comment!)- unfortunately our trip had coincided with the full moon, so we really only had one decent shot at the milky way which was about 3-4 AM. I over-cooked the ISO a little so my images are all a little grainy, but I hope to have another go with some faster glass / lower ISO with hopefully better results. August is supposed to be best in the UK for the milky way, right after sunset. This website has a great night sky simulator to find a decent dark skies spot http://www.need-less.org.uk/ (scroll down). I quite like the idea of catching some 'iridium flares' too http://www.heavens-above.com/iridiumhelp.asp so I think a few excursions to mid-wales / the Lakes etc are on the cards this year :)
Sounds like you had a great trip. You took some really good photos on the way.
Getting out at night in an area with no light pollution is amazing, you just can't believe the difference.
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