Welcome to my 2010 photo blog.

During this year I am taking up a challenge to post a photo a day on this blog. I am a beginner photographer hoping to learn much about my camera and how to take photos.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Full Moon Beauty

Tonight was full moon so Mark and I went down to the beach with the tripod to get in on the action. We took dozens of photos but were disappointed with many of them as they lacked definition. We also realised that we should have cleaned the lens before we started as it had some spots - probably from last night's photo shoot. This was one of the better photos although some of the others were interesting.

Just before I took this a school of dolphins swam gently across the beach just beyond the breakers. It was an awesome moment and although we took lots of photos they weren't really visible as they didn't breach at all, but what an exciting sighting of these beautiful creatures. I was just thinking about how doing this challenge has made us more open to photo opportunities. For me it has become the daily chance to "stop and smell the roses". A great idea and I feel so privileged to have started on this adventure.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Pink Skies at the Shark Rock

This is called Shark Rock Pier in Port Elizabeth. We bought roti's and samoosas for supper and sat on the wall watching the sunset. I just love it when the sky changes to glorious colours. There were some more fiery shots we took this evening but I love the way the pinks are reflected on the sea and even the beach sand looks pink.

There's always something uplifting about watching a sunrise or sunset in all it's glorious shades. It makes me think of that verse in scripture that says, "The Heavens declare the glory of God.." How wonderful to be able to enjoy God's art in such beautiful surroundings. I love being at the coast. Good night.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Fabulous Fungus

This is my photo for today. My husband spotted this bright yellow fungus "growing" out of the side of our garden table this morning. I used the macro function because it's actually quite small - just a few millimeters across. I love the bright yellow colour. It looks almost edible. I was wondering what prompted it to start growing there. The light rains we've had after the prolonged drought?

I need to do some more studying up on the macro function. I just don't seem to get the same definition my friend, Maggie gets with her camera. Whew, this photography is technical stuff! I'm enjoying it and a daily photo is certainly a way to learn about one's camera.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Bonus Photo

I can't resist adding another photo. This is our neighbour's cat keeping a careful watch on the pigeons that come to steal their dog food every evening. Yesterday evening I was taking photos of a group of pigeons sitting on the telephone wire waiting to swoop down and steal a morsel. Their large ginger cat suddenly appeared on the garage wall. The cat isn't really that close to the birds - it's an illusion, but it certainly gives a sense of drama.

Sweetie Hearts

You're looking at the face of bribery here today peeps. As you know I'm the computer teacher for Grades 1 to 3 at my school. We introduce the learners to the ThinkQuest website from Grade 2. It's a secure platform for project work which means that each child has to have a unique username and password to log in. The little ones really struggle to copy their username exactly as it is on their name card - then there's still the password. When we first started out it took the first 20 minutes to get everyone in. So I resorted to bribery. I buy these little heart sweets and any child who manages to log in without my help gets a sweetie heart. It's worth it for my sanity. ;-)

ThinkQuest really is a great site for kids once they get the hang of it. Of course I'm biased because we were world winners in the U12 narrative competition last year. Yeah! A first for South Africa! Well done Team.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Painted Patchwork

Isn't it amazing how once one starts on this challenge everything is a potential photo shoot. Today I took a photo of this "quilt" that hangs in the corridor at school. Some of the Grade 2's and 3's made it in art club. Each child painted a colourful square and then they strung them all together to make this wall hanging. This is just a part of it. I think it's a wonderful, creative idea.

Actually today I also took quite a lot of photos of the birds in our garden. Since our daughter gave us a bird feeder for Christmas we've really enjoyed watching them come and feed. It was difficult deciding which photo to post today but this one won it. Something different. The bird photos have been posted to my Facebook page.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Road Trip

Mark and I are planning a trip to Tanzania in June/July this year. We will be away for four and a half weeks and travel 10 000 km. We will be travelling through the following countries: SA, Swaziland, Mocambique, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Tanzania, Zambia and Botswana. That's a lot of kilometres and a lot of Africa!

We'll be spending time with friends and family along the way ending up at Moshe near Mt Kilimanjaro where we'll visit with Mark's cousins, Brock and Delphi. I can't wait. It's going to be a big adventure. Mark has done so much planning, plotting our route and we've organised international driver's licences. He has also bought a special rack for the roof of the Jeep to carry extras like jerry cans, gas bottles and our tent. Watch this space! You're going to see a lot of photos of Southern and Eastern Africa come the middle of the year.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Simply Salsa

This was the start of supper tonight. I wanted to grill some fish and decided to make a mixture to go with it. When I'd chopped up all the ingredients the colours looked so good I just had to take a photo.
The fish was actually disappointing - rather dry and tasteless (frozen hake fillets) but the salsa was delicious. I ended up eating my baby potatoes smothered in it.

Cooking is not one of my favourite things. I enjoy the eating but get very bored with thinking up something to cook every day. Hubby doesn't "do" cooking so it's my lot in life. Ah well, at least he's happy to wash up afterwards.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Feeding time for baby

I'm very excited about my photo today. We have a bird feeder hanging from the hook below the pole. This morning two baby Cape Sparrow chicks sat on the pole while the parents flew to the feeder, filled their beaks with seed then flew up to feed the chicks. I had to take this shot from the study window using the zoom but I'm please with the result. I'm so glad I shot it in time because shortly after this they left.

Thank you Lord for special moments with your creation. I feel like I've had a great start to my day.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Pretty One

This is our female Staffie, Maggie. She's the brother of Mutt - see my entry for 2 February. Maggie has a beautiful gentle nature. She's very loving and affectionate but she's completely dominated by Mutt who has yet to understand the concept of women's liberation.

Maggie is always watching for us when we get home from work. When I get out to unlock the gate she let's out an unusual sound that sounds rather like "Hawo". So cute. She doesn't often make noises except at that time or when someone dares to have the audacity to walk past our property. She lets them know in no uncertain terms that there's a big fierce black staffie on patrol and they'd better move along fast.

I think this photo shows here lovely eyes and expression. She is totally devoted to Mark and considers herself the head wife. :-)

Friday, February 19, 2010

Bright Berries

I chose today's shot because of the contrast between the bright red berries and the nest/ decaying leaf. This is obviously an indigenous plant because it isn't suffering too much with the drought. In fact it is decidedly healthy in spite of not being watered.

I really do need to go and have another closer look at that leaf in the morning to see why it looks the way it does. Is it an insect? Is it rotting? Perhaps my shot for tomorrow will be the next installment of this bush.

We continue to pray that rain will fall soon but there's none forecast in the near future. :-(

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Urban sunrise

Today is one of those days when I feel I'm running out of inspiration. I went out early this morning and captured these colourful clouds just before they lost their colours and turned grey. We live in a pretty built-up area so I had to stand on a garden bench to get above the clutter below. I'm quite pleased with the swirl shape of the clouds and the colours but I thought I might find something more inspiring later in the day. It was not to be. When I came home it was hot and dry. I can't even bear to go out and look at my back garden because everything is wilting for lack of water and our rain tank is just about empty. Not much to spare. Now where did that promised rain go? To KZN province of course! Poor people have suffered with so many downpours since October that they're waterlogged. We live in hope that tomorrow will bring some relief. In the meantime Mark and I are off to the beach to enjoy this glorious, wind-free afternoon. Of course I'll take the camera along..... 

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Cape White Eyes

This photo was taken in the evening - actually before the sun was fully set. I was sitting outside and realised a group of these little Cape White Eyes were eating nectar from the flowers on this shrub.

I should really have had the tripod. I was just taking shots without being able to see what was really happening. By the time I got the tripod up they had flown off. This was the best shot I managed to get. The rest were even more fuzzy.

This little chap is really cute and it's really great that I managed to get him drinking the nectar. It's a pity he's so far off-centre. 

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Shrove Tuesday Pancakes

Today is Shrove Tuesday. Traditionally this was the day that the people used up their stocks of flour, sugar and spices before the Lenten fast which begins on Ash Wednesday. Shrove Tuesday pancake feasts have remained an enduring tradition for obvious reasons. We are bless in our church that we have people with good equipment and skills to make the best pancakes in town. Thin, light and delicious! Best of all is the sugar and cinnamon. The second choice was a chicken filling for those who didn't eat at home first. :-)

And so begins the forty days of Lent. A time to reflect on one's life and recommit to God's way in the days leading up to Easter. May it be a blessed time for those who observe the season.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Showers of Blessings

Today was another hot, dry day in PE. It was so hot that cricket practice outside was canceled and instead the boys sat in the air conditioned computer lab where we discussed rules, skills and strategies in mini cricket.

Shortly after I arrived home at 4pm the wind came up and then the lightening and thunder. I thought we were going to have yet another dry storm until big drops began to fall. This was the sight from the study window. Hooray! I rushed to the front verandah in excitement and breathed in that amazing smell of rain on hot dusty ground.

The rain didn't last long and we only got about 2mm but the relief from the dust and heat is fantastic. Thank you Lord. More please???

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Reflections in wood

Today I've been experimenting with taking with texture. I took about 50 shots of this table from across the room using the zoom. The table is made from a single cross-section piece of a tree that was cut down in Tanzania when Mark was a boy. (poor tree!)

I was trying to capture the texture on the side compared to the gloss on the table top with the reflections from the collage photo of our ThinkQuest trip to San Francisco. It's no brain work from me - after numerous tries on varied settings I eventually set the camera on Auto.  The camera told me to raise the flash and bingo. So simple. Clever camera. I happily deleted all my other attempts. Hmmm the copper jug could have been better placed - or left out. What do you think, Maggie?

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Happy Birthday Dad

 My Dad celebrated his 85th birthday today. He wasn't really aware that his birthday was coming up and expressed incredulity when told he is now 85. He also couldn't believe his granddaughter Linda has a son. He remembers everything as it was anything from 20 to 80 years ago. The present doesn't really exist.

One of the bonuses of his lack of short term memory is that he's quite at peace where he is in his life. He doesn't really remember who visited him this week and it's no longer important. He's just blissfully content when he gets his meals on time and there's someone to look after his every need.

Bless you on your special day, Dad.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Valentine's Celebration

Today was our Valentine's Day celebration at school. The children are allowed to come dressed in red and white and the grade 1's do a short concert at assembly. The subject of the assembly is showing love and kindness.  This little group of grade 1's had obviously been told they had to behave and sit still or there'd be trouble. They are all taking the whole thing very seriously and you won't see a smiling face amongst them - not quite in tune with the theme of love and kindness. They are very cute and they presented a lovely concert. I just caught the photo at the wrong moment. 
Well done, Grade 1's!

Clouds and branches

This is the picture from yesterday. I had trouble uploading it to my blog and then decided to go off to bed instead. This morning I forgot about it so here I am. As you may have gathered I spend a lot of time watching the weather these days because I am anxious for a bit of rain. Our rain tanks have run dry and the garden is dying. We are on strict water restrictions so there's very little to spare for the garden. 

I sat in the garden waiting for inspiration for my photo. The clouds seemed to me to be a relevant topic given the circumstances with the drought. I also like the varying shapes and textures. Now I just have to work out why the text is under the image today and not wrapped around it.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Thunder Clouds

This striking burst of colour was what met us outside the back door this morning. The clouds were heavy and dark and the early sunshine made the trees appear almost luminous. A stunning sight that I couldn't resist photographing for this blog.

The drought in our region has become critical and so when we saw this sky we were hopeful that it meant we would have a storm - or at least a shower today. Sadly it just didn't happen. At about lunch time we had a few big drops of rain but not enough to even wash the dust off the cars. Then nothing more.

Today has been a day of prayer for rain. May our prayers be answered soon.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Wedding Water

Today has been so hot here. It's seems it's been hot all over the country and everyone has been complaining.

After I had prepared the supper I decided to make up a jug of ice water. We call it Wedding Water because we had it on the tables at our daughter's wedding as a thirst quencher. It was hugely popular and you can see why. Lots of ice, lemon slices, mint leaves and any fruit available. It's really great with a variety of colours.

I took this photo with my old point and shoot digital camera. It's fine but I'd like to do it again and use our better camera and see if we get a different effect.

In sweltering weather like this ice water is the best cooler. Find a shady tree to sit under and enjoy a cooling class of wedding water. Great!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Teacher's Mug

Today's photo was taken in my computer lab. I was looking around for some inspiration when I saw this very special mug that was given to me by a teacher from Pakistan. Aniqa is the coach of one of the other ThinkQuest winning teams. We spent time together in workshops and enjoyed one anothers' company.

At the end of ThinkQuest week Aniqa gave me this lovely inspirational mug which I just love. I'm afraid of using it for my tea on a daily basis because mugs have a habit of getting chipped or broken in our staff room so I keep it on my desk to remind me of the reponsibility of being a teacher.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Sunday 7 February- Flight

Ok, we've done the Nicholas thing - he's the cutest. I know I have already posted a photo today but the first one was for yesterday. I was having trouble with the internet the past couple of days - apart from which little babies are so time consuming I just didn't get to uploading my photos.

Now this picture is really for today. I kept the camera with me during my flight back from Durban to PE. This is a shot of the large sand dunes east of Port Elizabeth just before the coast of Africa turns to the north-east. One doesn't usually get a sighting of these dunes on the ground unless one is hiking along the beach. This section of the coast forms part of the greater Addo Elephant Park reserve and it's quite a fascinating area.  There are apparently springs of water that flow through the dunes.

It was quite difficult to get his shot because the sun was low to the left of the airplane window and it created the white light effect there but I love this sight from the air because it means we're almost home.

Grandson Nicholas

I have spent this past weekend with our grandson and his little family. He's not two weeks yet but already he has a wisdom beyond his years. Does that sound like a proud granny speaking? Seriously, who could resist such a cute little face with that serious expression?

I was reminded again of how time consuming tiny babies are. The activities of the whole family revolve around the little person and he or she manages to exhaust all his proud "peeps" - but they love and dote on them nevertheless.

So Nicholas, here's to a wonderful future for you and your family. May your continue to be a blessing.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

These feet were made for walking!

 I didn't manage to post my photo yesterday because Blogger wouldn't allow me to sign in. But I took the photo ready to upload so here it is. Such a beautiful little foot and it holds so much potential. Where will these feet take Nicholas in his life. May he be blessed in his journey.

I am really blessed to be with Nicholas and his folks for the weekend doing the "granny" thing. He's the cutest little chap. So calm and relaxed - most of the time. He's just ten days old and settling into his little family very well. I had forgotten how all consuming newborns can be but what a joy to be granny to little Nicholas.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Pink Rose

I had a choice of a few shots to post today. I started out with one little purple flower and ended up with this lovely delicate pink rose. This rose grows in pot in our back garden. I forget the name but it flowers a lot. Growing plants in pots here means they are easier to water with a little bit of water in a drought.

Growing flowers is so satisfying and roses are my favourite. Like taking photos it's a learning curve.

Our constant prayer in PE is that we get good rains - and soon. The latest estimate is that we're going to run out of water by July. A scary thought but one that makes us realise just how precious water is - more precious than life itself.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Reflections of School

Today's photo is a bit different. I was walking around the school grounds before school looking for a subject for my daily photo. Of course all the children wanted me to take photos of them. I did take some - they do make me laugh the way they pose. So cute.

Then I spied this gorgeous reflection in the window of a classroom. The sun was really bright so it's lovely and clear with the hall in the background and a large group of girls in the centre. It's amazing how doing this blog has made me more aware of opportunities for photos. I'm rather pleased with the subject of this one.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Old Mutt

This dog's name is actually Mutt. He'll be 15 in May - that makes him almost a hundred in human years. He's been a loving and faithful pet to the family and enjoys nothing better than having his "peeps" around him. He now suffers with arthritis so he's inclined to whimper quite a lot. As he's stone deaf it doesn't bother him at all but there are days when it all gets too much for me.

Pets certainly enrich our lives and Mutt and his sister, Maggie have been a great blessing to us. Sadly they won't live too many more years and it's going to be difficult deciding whether we replace them or not. But that's for another day.... For now we enjoy Mutt's eccentric behaviour. Every day as my husband walks in the door he starts shouting for his biscuits. If his bowl isn't filled to his liking he comes and tells him off and the same if the blankets aren't arranged well in his basket. Every morning he helps Mark "make the bed", which involves Mark throwing all the bedding on top of him and the game is for Mutt to escape. He loves the game and looks quite put out on sheet-washing days when he can't be part of the ritual.

So here's to Mutt, Maggie and other pets. They are a blessing.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Shape Pictures

Today my topic is something from my professional life. I teach computers to Grades 1 to 3 at a prep school. Mondays and Fridays I have only Grade 1's and at the beginning of the year it's one step at a time because most of them are experiencing computers for the first time.

This lesson is one from the Computers4Kids programme that we use. The children have to build pictures using basic shapes and lovely bright colours. It's similar to the pictures we had to make using coloured sticky paper when I was in Grade 1. Now the children use technology - of course!

I have to say that I am always amazed at the amazing progress the grade 1's make considering most of them don't have computers at home. Learning is such fun - for them and for me.