In Cape Town, you can get anything and everything on Long Stret, including trouble if you're not careful. When I first got here two years ago I was walking down Long Street during the day and saw two guys across the street shadowing my every move. Not surprising considering that the camera around my neck could feed a small village for a year. I stopped and I just stared their way letting them know that I knew they were there and luckily they just moved on. That was my first hint that I should get a smaller camera rather than carrying this Canon behemoth, that was no problem carrying around in the States. My next experience was much more abrupt. I was with a photography group and we were walking some side streets when a Police van screeched to a halt next to me and asked what I was doing there. They proceeded to tell me that my throat would be slit for the camera I was carrying. That was my decisive moment. The following weekend I was at the local camera store picking out a small Fuji camera. It was much smaller, lighter, and much more inconspicuous. I've really stuck with my Fuji gear and even used it to photograph my son's wedding in addition to my Canon gear. Unlike my Canon stuff I don't need a recovery and rehabilitation period after carrying it for hours. Oh and the images are amazing. They rarely need any adjustments. So yes size does matter. I attached some images from Long Street taken with my Fuji XT-1. These are straight out of the camera with no editing.
This morning I was thinking about the awesome experiences I've had while in Cape Town. When I dig deep though my most meaningful experiences have been centered around the people I've met. Two of these people are women and they competed against each other in the South African Longboarding Championships. They are Roxy Davis and Tarryn King.
Both of these individuals have become my friends and I hold them in the highest regard.Actually, if you've ever seen them surf, especially at the same time they are like Surfing Superheroes I am still amazed every time I see them in the water and see the things they pull off. And not just in a surfboard either. Also on Stand-Up-Paddleboards. On top of all that they occasionally throw some top tip my way. Whether it is a small detail from Roxy that changes everything about my surfing to Tarryn encouraging me to "commit! She says, you must commit to get that big wave!" It is rare that you have World Class Athletes giving unsolicited advice to a novice. I consider myself very lucky. I can say that whenever I do miss a wave I think to myself that, from Tarryn, I did not "commit", or from Roxy, that I am still looking down at my foot position too long. My most unforgettable and best lesson was by Roxy. I'd been bugging her for a coaching session. Then one day, out of the blue she asks if I'm busy the next day. I planned on surfing so that's what I told her and then she asked if I wanted to meet her in the morning before the shop opened for a private lesson. Without hesitation I said I would be there. I learned so much in that one lesson. I learned that I was looking down at my foot position too long. That my paddling frequency was not fast enough to catch bigger, faster, stronger waves, as well as other tips. It was small details, not necessarily big things, but small things that made a "big" difference. To give you some perspective here, Roxy is a 7 time winner of the South African Longboarding Championship and has represented her country on the International surfing scene. How many athletes have the ability to win something 7 times! She is foremost a Mom, a wife, an entrepreneur and an incredibly humble and generous person. She started out renting beach umbrellas on Surfers Corner as a teenager. Then progressed to renting surfboards after being sponsored by Roxy S.A. She eventually opened her store, now Surf Emporium in Surfers Corner on Muizenberg Beach. She is involved with charities and sits on the Board of Shark Spotters. But do not be fooled, this woman according to her husband William, is a fierce competitor and hates to lose. Not hard to believe from a professional athlete. Then there is Tarryn King, formerly Tarryn Kyte, who married a great guy and SA Champion in his own right, Thomas King. Tarryn is a really sweet woman and an unbelievable athlete who works at XpressionOnTheBeach directly next door to Surf Emporium. She was also a student of Roxy's and learned to surf at Surf Emporium. Tarryn as well, is one of those people that you would never guess is a professional athlete from her humble and welcoming nature. She is a tremendous surfer and is now touring with the South African Surf Team and competing in the SUP World Championship in Mexico. Tarryn won the Final at the SA Longboarding Championship in which Roxy also competed. Here lies the dilemma. Both are my friends, but both cannot win. I cheered them both on, and hoped that their trip to SA Champs would be filled with camaraderie, and good times. Alas, there could be only one winner, or maybe not? If you go back to the beginning, could there be one thing, skill, behavior, or technique that was passed on by teacher to student. What if the initial experience with surfing was so awesome that inspired the student to continue and achieve great heights. Frankly, I don't know how long Tarryn was taking lessons with Roxy, but I know that in my own experiences, I have always been able to take something from every lesson in whatever topic and apply it to future skills. Talent and a lot of hard work have paid off for Tarryn to become the Champion she is. She will be a Great Champion. I congratulate her in her achievement. I feel that the Women's South African Longboarding Championship will remain on that adjoining porch on Surfer's Corner between Xpression's and Surf Emporium for a long, long time. It matters to me not which way it goes on that porch. Just keep it on the porch! And I'm also sure that Roxy can look over with a smile and be happy. What better person to win against you than a former student and friend.
I've been trying to get a shot of the train pulling into Muizenberg for quite some time. I'm just not ever there at the right time. It's an old electric train, not very reliable, or safe, and quite run down, but very colorful, especially against the sky and the old buildings around the tracks. I like the fact that while some of the buildings have modern businesses, they've kept the old writingingnon the outside. The yellowish building at the side of the tracks has a surf shop and restaurant downstairs and a Backpackers (Hostel) above. This time I was approaching the tracks and the gates for the crosswalk closed.
The West Coast of South Africa has many great surf spots: Noordhoek, Long Beach, Llundadno, Big Bay, Melkbos, and many more. One of the best, however, is Elands Bay, also known as the Jeffrey's Bay of the West Coast. It was made famous in the surf movie, The Endless Summer. Well I will be visiting this weekend on a surf tour run by my friends at Surf Emporium in Muizenberg. We'll be leaving on Friday afternoon and coming back to Cape Town Sunday afternoon. Elands Bay is only about 100 miles North of Cape Town and a surf is planned when we get there. We're staying in a B&B on a real working ranch. Elands Bay is also known for its hiking, wildlife observation and pre-historic cave paintings. Our guide and Coach will be Karel Lewy, an ISA Level 2 coach and Naturalist. Really looking forward to the trip! Also looking forward to using my new board and making plenty of images!
I continue to post my 365 images as I get to them. It was tough enough to make the images let alone post them everyday. To that end I am still catching up and I plan to make a small book of all of the images. I'll have more information on that as soon as I get some information on details and possible publication methods. I want to get back to real photographs that you can hold in your hand and not just see on the computer. Nothing beats having an album.
I made this image one evening when I saw this beautiful fiery sunset and there were a couple of people walking on the beach. I wanted to convey how nice and simple life can be by just taking a walk with a loved one. I made this with my Fuji camera and I made three exposures and combined them to be able to get the bright light of the sun and the shadows in the same image.
I made this sunset image along the "Cape Wine Route" while I was having a pizza at a Craft Beer Brewery. Table Mountain can be seen in the distance on the right. Beautiful place. Great beer!
I made this image to commemorate getting my second stripe as a White Belt in Gracie Jiu Jitsu. It's a while back since I'm behind in my posts. Hopefully getting my third soon, but that's not my call.
These are two of my favorite people in Cape Town, specifically, Muizenberg. I have a very good business and personal relationship with a couple of the surf shops in Muizenberg. These ladies Shani and Tarryn work at Xpression On The Beach. I go and visit every time I go to "the berg." Shani runs the retail store on Sunday and when Tarryn is not competing out of town for South Africa somewhere she is there also. Both of them give Surf and SUP lessons. Very cool chicks! Had to snap a pic of them eating a piece of homemade cheesecake I got for them at Yoffi Falafel. Yes, they are probably going to kill me!
Driving home from Cape Town on a rainy evening I noticed the way the lights bounced off the droplets on my windshield.
I posted an image similar to this a while back, however, it does not change my amazement. When I step out of my office I don't know what animal I may encounter. Pretty amazing!
There's a really classy, upscale bar in Cape Town called The Alexander Bar and Theatre. They have a small theatre upstairs where they show movies free of charge. The owners are fans of quirky, foreign, artsy movies, as am I. I love going there.
The Alexander Bar in downtown Cape Town is a cool place to just relax with friends, have a drink and something light to eat. What makes it special is that upstairs they show Indie films for free. The owners love Indie films and they show them every couple of weeks. People have fun and it brings in customers.
I went on a photo walk with my photography group in Cape Town. We visited a wine estate called Hillcrest. www.winelands.co.za/wine-farms/ Hillcrest Estate is a boutique winery nestled in the Tygerberg Hills. We hiked around a bit and got to the top a hill just in time to see a storm moving in. I just love the photographic drama of storms!
I helped host a photo-walk at Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens in Cape Town. It's like many other City, State, or National Botanical Gardens except that this was the yard of Cecil John Rhodes i.e. "Rhodes Scholars" still funded by his trust. Rhodes made his fortune in Diamonds in South Africa and Rhodesia (a country he named after himself), by founding the DeBeers Diamond Company. He is both revered and reviled. Much like John Rockefeller, J.P. Morgan and Andrew Carnegie, regardless of their reputations, these men helped make their countries successful. I almost ran into this spider until warned by a friend. It was about the size of a tennis ball. I have no idea if it was poisonous or not, and I know nothing about it. I did think, though, that it would make an interesting image.
While it served me well, my old triathlon wetsuit had to go. Not warm enough for Cape Town. Especially the Atlantic side! The funny thing is that in all the years I owned it I used it here for surfing more than use in all of my triathlons. It was also starting to tear. Not tough enough for surfing. Fortunately the Billabong store had a 20% off New Wetsuits if you trade in an old one. The really good part was they they reconditioned and repaired them and gave them to those less fortunate. Way to recycle Billabong! Plus, now I am warm! The Old Wetsuit Had to Go - 177/365
I woke up this morning to an ocean, that for Cape Town, almost looked like a lake. Though there were small waves, it was very calm. I knew that if I just looked carefully enough during these conditions, it would not be difficult to spot the Whales. I opened the blinds and I did not have to search. They were about 50-100 yards off the beach. Right in front of my place. The last time I saw them they were much farther off. I made some photos of what I saw this morning and you can see those below. What I tried to emphasize was perspective. I wanted to show their size and how close they were to shore. These are the Southern Right Whales. They come close to shore between June and November to calve and feed their newborns. As such you do not see them breach (jumping out of the water). It paid off being patient though. The last few images were of the tail. Enjoy!
The beauty and look of the Old School Longboard is Classic and ageless. While this board may not actually be a longboard (greater than 9'1") the shape and look fit the profile. So does the gray haired guy carrying the board. Surfers here in Cape Town have surfed all their lives. Many were taught by their Fathers or Mothers and have passed it on to their kids and Grandkids. While there are many places with better and bigger waves than Muizenberg in South Africa, it is definitely the center of the universe for the sport in Cape Town. Everyone learns in Muizenberg.
All or most of the images of Table Mountain, including my own, are the Post Card type pretty touristy views. I am going to start capturing images of the Table Mountain that we see everyday in Cape Town from different perspectives and places. Some not so pretty, but always majestic.
A Night Scene of the town Melkbosstrand (Melkbos Beach) where I live.