I love my Granddaughters! I really do! Sometimes though it's a mission to try and make a simple portrait. On our way back from picking them up at Cape Town airport we stopped at Primi Piatti, a restaurant chain that you cannot really go wrong with. The stairs leading up had a beautiful brick wall to use as a backdrop for some nice quick portraits. So I thought. LOL! After many tries struggling with flipping hair and "two fingered puckered posers" and "duck faces". And, "my hair is not right." I finally got one image that I really like. The one you like is up to you so I posted them all.
I love that my office is in Koeberg Nature Preserve. Very quiet. Walking trails everywhere. You never know if you're going to run into Zebra, Springbok, or many other species. Just be careful where you step. Many Cape Cobra's and Puff Adder's here. Not nice. In Winter they're hibernating so not a problem. Come summer they are out. I saw these clouds mid morning and I really liked the shapes and the color gradient as you looked farther East toward the mountains.
I don't ever remember wearing beanies in Miami. Only on the odd trip up North or an infrequent ski trip. In those cases I even had to borrow them. I certainly was not the type to wear one in ninety degree weather as is common to see now. That's just ridiculous. Anyway, the beanie is necessary here and I've collected a few already. This is a self-portrait after a surf session in the backyard.
Cape Town has First Thursday's, which is an Art Walk night in the City Bowl District. Art Galleries are open late, clubs open early. The wine flows because it's almost cheaper than water here. Stopped into a club and listened to an all-ladies metal band just off Bree Street. My365Project, Band at Cape Town Art Walk - 156/365
This is an all too common scene all over Cape Town and South Africa in general. I usually do not make images of the homeless because they are gratuitous and a way too easy way to get some emotional response for your image. I do, though, need to add this to make the visual images that I make about my time here real. It can't be real without the ugly reality. Why does this situation exist on such a vast scale here? Well there are a lot of reasons for it, but most of it is literally uncontrolled illegal immigration from other African countries. There is virtually no immigration enforcement unless of course you attempt to do it legally. Then there is a vast network that has to be navigated. A blind eye is turned toward the illegal immigration. Mostly being self serving. The public statements are that these individuals cannot be aggressively pursued because their home countries assisted the ANC (Afican National Congress) during the fight against Apartheid. The practical reason is that every Black African that comes to South Africa somehow finds a very expeditious way to become a citizen just prior to elections and are able to vote. Most of Black South Africa votes for the ANC. This guarantees that they stay in power. So over a period of time the ANC has systematically moved a huge population of Black Africans to the Western Cape with the promise of jobs, economic prosperity, a better life, and has not delivered. Anyway, my discussion on the crazy history of this place could go on for a long time. More than my blog could stand, but I thought it important to discuss because the reason the man is flat on his face sleeping in the street at night is not totally of his own doing, and there are tens of thousands like him mostly living in the squallor of crime ridden squatter camps that would be an outrage in the USA. Very sad. The Ugly Side of Cape Town - 149/365
This is the typical image of Muizenberg. Everything that it is famous for in one shot.The Mountains, the Beach, the Surfer, the Colorful Cabanas, the Water, and the Shark Flag. Oh and as an extra added bonus, notice the surfboard painted in the colors of the South African Flag. I could not have staged a better representation of Muizenberg. I love the place! It really grows on you.
All Natural Sunset Moon - My 365 Project 121/365. Not much to say about this except that it certainly caught me by surprise.
I don't usually get a really clear shape of the sun at sunset. I really liked the reflection off of the clouds. Also trying to make my colors look natural. My 365 Project 116/365.
Sometimes my 365 images are not about being artistic. Sometimes it's just interesting or a new thing I've encountered while here in Cape Town. First of all I've never seen Venison (Deer Meat) sold in a grocery store before. So that is interesting and different. On the other hand what is more interesting is to look at the name of the store: Woolworths. Lest it be confused with Woolworths in the USA. Here is the story.
Woolworths Holdings Limited (JSE: WHL) is a South African chain of retail stores and one of the largest in the country, modeled on Marks & Spencer of the United Kingdom. This relationship with Britain's Marks and Spencer was formed after the Second World War, which led to the retailer buying all of the unissued share capital of Woolworths in 1947. These shares were later sold, but close ties still remain. The first Woolworths store opened in The Old Royal Hotel in Cape Town in October 1931. It was founded by Max Sonnenberg assisted by his son Richard and Fred Kossuth.
The Woolworths brand now incorporates a series of food stores, some of which are attached to department stores, while others stand alone or are attached to Engen petrol stations in prosperous urban areas. Some branches include an in-store restaurant, branded as "Cafe W". Woolworths goods are sold at 149 corporate stores, 51 international franchise stores throughout the rest of Africa and the Middle East and 69 South African franchise stores nationwide.
The chain was named after the United States chain F. W. Woolworth Company but, because of the contemporary trademark laws, the name was legally used without permission. No financial connection ever existed between the companies. I thought it was rather interesting. They are almost like a Whole Foods, or Fresh Market. My 365 Project 109/365
I know I've said it before, "I never get tired of Sunsets in Cape Town or Table Mountain." I was driving home and I decided to stop at Blouberg Beach when I saw this beautiful sunset. The amazing thing about making sunset images it that they change in seconds. In this case the sun was setting behind my right shoulder and the colors you see are a reflection of the sunset on the scene. I must also say it's one of the first times I've seen this beach with calm water. Table Mountain Sunset from Blouberg Beach - My 365 Project 108/365
I made this image of the Moon Rising as a contrast to the many sunset images I've made. It was just so bright and low in the sky that it was remarkable to me. My 365 Project 105/365
Table Mountain is virtually everywhere you look in Cape Town. This is a view of the mountain at dusk from one of the Northern Suburbs along Plattekloof Road, in what is known as the Boerewors Gordyn (Eng Phonetic: Boorevors Hoardane) (Translation: The Boer Curtain) beyond which the main language spoken is Afrikaans. This dates back to when the English controlled Cape Town. The English ruled the Cape and people in and around the city and the Southern Suburbs spoke mainly English, where the Afrikaaners that were not fond of English rule stayed in the Northern Suburbs and mainly spoke Afrikaans. To this day I almost need a translator there. Not really, but you can instantly tell that the primary language is Afrikaans. Plattekloof offers a beautiful view of the city as it is at this point where you start gaining elevation away from Cape Town toward the East. My 365 Project 103/365.
There is an area of Cape Town called the Bo Kaap (Upper Cape). The Bo-Kaap is an area of Cape Town, South Africa formerly known as the Malay Quarter. It is quintessentially a Township, situated on the slopes of Signal Hill above the city centre and is an historical centre of Cape Malay culture in Cape Town. The Nurul Islam Mosque, established in 1844, is located in the area. Bo-Kaap is traditionally a multicultural area, rich in history and situated on the slopes of Signal Hill. The area is known for its brightly coloured homes and romantic cobble stoned streets. It originated during the third quarter of the 18th century, when Cape Town began to expand along an east-west axis. The first houses in this neighbourhood were probably built in 1790 but between 1795 and 1820 an increasing number of lower income families including many artisans began to make their homes here. The influx of Malays into this quarter probably began in the 1830s when slavery was abolished and Malay residents who had been forcibly brought to the Cape began to make their homes there, and by the middle of the 19th century it was already known as the Slamse Beurt, or the Islamic Quarter. It owes much of its character to the nature of its domestic architecture, mostly single storey houses with flat roofs painted in a variety of pastel colours. A number of mosques with picturesque minarets are still in daily use. The Quarter was probably a major factor why the Cape Malay community managed to retain its identity as a group. Unfortunately the quality of its environment began to deteriorate after WWI, and in 1944 it was declared a slum. This led a number of prominent Cape Town citizens to form a group for the retention of the Malay Quarter, with the support of both the then Historical Monuments Commission as well as the City Council. Initially much of the suburb was purchased by the City Council, but as public opinion began to swing in its favour, so then the Government began to set aside funds for the rehabilitation of this area. It was declared a National Monument under old NMC legislation on 15 April 1966. (Wikipedia) (http://www.sahistory.org.za/places/malay-quarter-cape-town)
My experience in the Bo Kaap started with aimlessly driving the streets of Cape Town when I got here. The colorful houses and culture was a photographic marvel to me. I organized a photowalk there and had everyone meet at a restaurant called Biesmiellah. Sanna, the lady on the far left told us that Biesmiellah is the oldest Malay restaurant in Cape Town and has been in business for thirty eight years. The Chef on the right has been there all thirty eight and his assistant for twenty seven. The food is amazing and every time I go I just have Sanna bring out "something". It's funny that many Capetonians knew nothing of The Bo Kaap, and were careful no to go there. I can tell you from experience that it is a totally safe place especially during the day with all of the tourist photographers making images of the colorful buildings. Tour busses stop here. What a wonderful place! My 365 Project 102/365
More images of The Bo Kaap from a previous visit.
On my evening run I made several images and this one was a pleasant surprise. I initially wanted to get a view of my favorite subject, Table Mountain, from a low vantage point with a sweeping view of the beach in the foreground. When I got home and looked at the image on the computer I immediately realized that what I captured really was not about Table Mountain, but of the texture of the sand in the foreground. While the mountain is there and is certainly pleasing, I was more interested on how you could see the individual grains of sand which is the texture in the image. Surprisingly enough, I got this amount of detail with my iPhone.Read More
I saw a great combination of sunset and Table Mountain to get a bit of a silhouette of it and dusk. I immediately pulled over in Table View Beach to make the image. I've been looking for this for a while now. 74/365 #tablemountainsunset #tablemountain #capetown #tableview #capetownbeach #southafrica #za #capetownsunset #fujixe2 #365projectRead More
I saw this little bot in Hout Bay, a harbor town just on the other side of Table Mountain from Cape Town. I had gone to a market that they have there especially so that I could do some photography at the market and the fishing boats in the Harbor. This boy's Mother was selling sea shell trays that you would put change, or your keys in. I stopped and asked if I could make some images of him and she said yes. I also bought to little trays. I will never make an image of someone if they ask for money, but if they're selling something I will always buy.Read More
"African Runner" 19/365
I was out for a run on my Cape Town beach, and making sunset images when I saw another runner coming my way. I waited for him to enter the frame anticipating a silhouette caused by the sunset. #365project #iphoneography #capetown #beachrun #sunset #melkbosstrand.
I made this image from one of the many public beaches between my apartment in Melkbosstrand and Cape Town. I just happened to see Table Mountain with the Southeaster, or Cape Doctor clouds developing just before they roll down the North side and the wind begins to howl. I got out and really did not know what to expect from the scenery on the beach. It was beautiful and deserted. The wind was already blowing pretty hard and it was difficult to keep the camera steady. I had to sit down on a dune and secure the camera between my knees and my face to get this image. If I see this effect from home then I know the winds will reach me in about an hour if they're mild, or forty-five minutes if it's really going to blow hard. For the photo geeks out there, I used my Canon 5D Mark III, 24-70mm 2.8L lens @ 42mm 1/250 sec @ f5.6 to make this image. Oh and yes, this is an HDR image. Enjoy...
I heard some debate to day on the radio whether or not this was the last day of winter here in Cape Town, South Africa. Regardless of whether it is or not I decided to go out with my iPhone and make an image of the potential last sunset of winter. The sunsets here never cease to amaze me. I guess that's what is experienced by living directly on the beach. To that end I thought a lot about the experiences I've had here and the realization that we, as individuals, do not experience enough beauty, nature, people, and travel. We tend, and by that I include myself, to allow too much of our lives to go by un-experienced! And also un-appreciated. As they say here in Cape Town, "sho, shame man." This place and the people here are amazing. I'm sure some will be long time friends. Are there problems here in Cape Town, yes, but probably no more that any other large city in the aggregate. People in Cape Town know how to live. They experience life to the fullest because they enjoy life. Take for instance the Braai. We in the U.S. would call it a Bar-B-Q. But here it has little to do with eating. It's about people getting together, building a fire out of wood and waiting hours until that wood turns to red embers prior to cooking. In the meantime people are talking, sharing experiences and a little bit of drinking. Do I miss family and friends back in the States? Of course I do, but the experiences that I have had and made here, and have yet to experience are, and will be priceless. And I plan on sharing those with others when I get back to the U.S. So what started out in my mind as just going out and making a simple image has reminded me of all of the advice that you hear in song, in writings, and in the movies. Go out and experience life. Take that risk. Travel to that place that you've always planned on visiting, but haven't. Most of all, live a life without regret!
Last Saturday I traveled to Stellenbosch at the urging of a friend as it is definitely a place not to miss if you visit Cape Town. I was also advised that I may have trouble communicating as Stellenbosch is also VERY Afrikaans. Well, they were right on both accounts. I've seen towns, but what could be so special? When I got there it's as if I had been transported back in time with all of the Dutch and Afrikaaner architecture. Not to be lost in the conversation, it is the home of Stellenbosch University. A fact I did not know is that Stellenbosch University is where the South African National Rugby Team, Springboks, was founded. The town was founded in 1679 by the Governor of the Cape Colony, Simon van der Stel, who named it after himself — Stellenbosch means "(van der) Stel's Bush". Humble guy. It is situated on the banks of the Eerste Rivier ("First River"), so named as it was the first new river he reached and followed when he went on an expedition over the Cape Flats to explore the territory towards what is now known as Stellenbosch. Yes, there were modern shops, galleries, restaurants, and cafe's, but all was in theme with the aged charm, of the town. It was a shame as most Galleries and shops were closed as I got there later in the afternoon after getting lost on the way. Not a surprise. There is wine everywhere. During 1690 some Huguenot refugees settled in Stellenbosch, grapes were planted in the fertile valleys around Stellenbosch and soon it became the centre of the South African wine industry. I don't know much at all about wine personally as I am a beer snob, but I have been told that the South African wines are among the best in the world. Unfortunately, my stay was cut short as it was raining, so my time there was very limited. Here are a few select images. I will definitely be traveling back to Stellenbosch in the near future on a nice day. Hopefully I can find a bar with good beer!