I generally do not make images of the homeless or the downtrodden, as I generally find it too easy and gratuitous. When I do though it is to add to the story or the description of the location. Sadly, this man is representative to a large population of Cape Town and South Africa. I found it ironic for him to be walking in front of the Mercedes with the two guys sitting inside with the blank stare. The image was not made to judge anyone in the image, but just to give a complete representation of the people of Cape Town. All three in the image are therefore to this city.
Cape Town Beach
Last weekend I headed over to Muizenberg to pick-up my surfboard after a repair from a mishap the previous weekend. The waves in Muizenverg were nonexistent so I took a drive to see some of the other breaks that I have not visited yet, namely Kommetjie (co-mick-ee) and Long Beach.
Well I never got to Kommetjie as I spent much of the late afternoon watching and photographing surfing at Long Beach. There were quite a few people in the water and as I was unfamiliar with that break, and recognize the territorial nature of surfers, I decided not to surf but watch and shoot. I titled this "Back to my Roots", because my professional photography career started out by photographing sports. I really like the action and the fact that you have to anticipate where the peak point of action will happen to get a good shot. Additionally, I've always preferred shooting sports in Black and White. I converted this and made specific adjustments to my taste. I like the overall drama of the image. The point at which you don't know if the surfer is going to make his turn and the dramatic sky and mountain behind him. I did not have my long lens with me, but I quite like how this wider shot turned out.
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.
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 image immediately after my ALS Ice Bucket Challenge video. Luckily it was warm in Cape Town that day, but as usual, the water was Ice Cold so I needed neither a bucket nor ice!
Muizenberg is a special place for me. It's where I resurrected my love for surfing, where I made new friends, and where I started to understand South Africa a little better.
I made this image by getting as close to the ground with my camera as possible to accentuate the sand and shells in the foreground as well as the sky and upcoming sunset. What drew me to the scene initially were the wisps of clouds that look like smoke coming off of a fire.
You've all seen this type of image before if you've followed my blog, but every one of these is truly different. The mood and the look changes so quickly that sometimes I look out of my window and think it is blah, and then like on this occasion, I see something that has potential and I run out to the beach. Black and White for this type of image is ideal as it sets the mood.
Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUPing) here is not just a flat-water sport as it is in Florida. Here it is quite the opposite. Yes there are people that SUP on flat water, but most do it as a form of surfing. Some people here were quite amazed when I told them that in Miami people do Yoga on them. You can do that when the water does not move. The SUP's are also much shorter for performance riding on the waves, like these guys were getting ready to practice. I saw them almost at sunset and I asked them to pose for a photo. I also gave them my card, and when the one on the left emailed me I sent them the image for free. I do that with all of the images I make of people I encounter.
If you've been following my posts, you can probably tell I love photographing the weather here. I never lived on the beach, and never realized how quickly the weather changes and how beautiful and dramatic it is when it is extreme and combined with a sunset. This is another image of "The Cape of Storms" in all it's glory.
Cape Of Good Hope : Bartolomeu Dias originally named it the "Cape of Storms". If you have felt the winds in the Cape, you can draw your own conclusions as to why he named it that.
However, it was later renamed by John II of Portugal as "Cape of Good Hope" because of the great optimism engendered by the opening of a sea route to India and the East, which would be fruitful for trade.
People having fun in the water. Some surfing, taking lessons, jumping in the waves, or a girl with a surfboard just walking by. That's why I love Muizenberg! Another Day in Muizenberg - 208/365
It never gets old seeing these Cabanas when I round the circle to Surfers Corner in Muizenberg, Cape Town, South Africa. They are the symbol of the Cape Peninsula towns of St. James, Muizenberg, and Khalk Bay. I really don't know how old they are, but you must walk gingerly on the planks of the steps as they seem like they'll collapse at any moment. I could photograph these cabanas all day and sometimes I do.
Cape Town is known as "The Cape of Storms". I thought storms came into Florida quickly and they do, but in Cape Town they are ferocious. The wind howls, the rain blasts, and the ocean churns with such force that amazes. It is also beautiful. There is something calming and relaxing about watching a storm roll in. I remember rounding the Cape of Storms when I was in the Navy on an Aircraft Carrier. There was a huge storm as we were rounding in winter with 90 foot seas. The huge ship was bobbing like a cork in the water. We could not eat for two days and we had to strap ourselves in our bunks. I remember thinking, how did these guys in little ships make it around? Well a lot did not. To this day the Cape of Storms takes it's toll on even modern vessels.
I spend a lot of time surfing on the weekends, and one of my favorite time is when I can go right out my door and go straight into the water. No traveling, or hassle, but I do miss seeing my friends in Muizenberg. As I've said before, it is very meditative for me just being out there on the water. Maybe that's why surfers and surfing in general is so mellow and laid back. Never really grasped all of this in my earlier days of surfing. Road-trips and girls were the order of the day then. Will never forget those days, with Hector, Jimmy, Willie, Lee, Bobby, Shelly (he didn't like Sheldon), Joe, Pepe, Billy, and many others. Good times.
I saw this Surf Fisherman on a cold afternoon run on my beach. No idea what he was fishing for. I made several images. Most did not show his hand with this gesture. It added interest. The others bored me as it just showed his body with the fishing rod sticking up.
An image of the Lifeguard Stands in my town of Melkbosstrand. Melkbos is a Milk Bush and Strand is Beach in Afrikaans. It's like a little fantasy village. Unlike any other place in Cape Town. It was actually voted the best place to live in South Africa. A surf town. Neighborhood Watch. Kids walk and ride their bikes to school. People run and walk their dogs on the beach. Police and Armed response patrols are always somewhere close. Couldn't think about living anywhere else while I'm here. Lifeguard Stands at Melkbosstrand - 142/365
Here I am after a day of surfing at Big Bay. Big Bay is a surfing area in a neighborhood called Table View due to the Table Mountain view behind me. It's a really nice beach with a boardwalk, restaurants and shops. It was a beautiful day with nice beginner waves. After a Day of Surfing at Big Bay - 138/365