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.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Petunias for the pots

I bought these petunias for the pots on our front steps. The pots have been empty for the past few weeks but with no water I was loath to put in new seedlings. We've had some rain in the past week and the two rain tanks are topped up so I decided to take a chance and buy some new seedlings.

The other thing I bought was three more indigenous shrubs for the garden. I have a very bare corner at the back and I've decided to transplant some stuff from the rest of the garden. Perhaps I will also be able to attract some butterflies....

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The end of Summer

Today was the last day with Linda and Nicholas. We went to Sunday's River Valley to see my Dad in his home for Alzheimer's patients. The home is beautiful and the garden is awesome - not like an institution at all. Those of us who visit parents and loved ones there come away feeling uplifted by the serenity of the place.

My photo today speaks of the end of summer, of a visit, of a life. The edges of the petals of this flower are slightly wilted and in a few days it will be no more.

We've had a long, hot summer but during the past week there has been that slight chill in the air at times. The flower also symbolizes the end of a visit from our daughter and grandson. And the wilting flower also symbolizes the end of a life. The people at Heartfelt are also wilting in their life. The home is for people with Alzheimers disease. Their life at Heartfelt is as good as it can be under the circumstances. They are well cared for, contented and mostly peaceful in their daily lives. 

Nicholas and his Mum - 29 March

This is yesterday's picture. For some reason I couldn't upload my photo into Picasa last night but it seems to be working now. Nick looks pretty bored with all the photographing but his Mum is looking pretty relaxed and happy. We have so enjoyed our time with them. Sadly they'll be flying home tomorrow but we've had a wonderful week together.

Thanks for a the time spent with us.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Patterns in light and shade

Today's photo is one of light and patterns. I love the converging lines of sea, railing and pavement in the top right corner of the photo. The light and shadows caught my eye as we walked along the pier just before sunset today. As usual the light is beautiful at that time of day. We always enjoy going to the beachfront at sunset.

Of course there were more photos of grandson, Nicholas which I have posted elsewhere.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Study in Stripes

I'm two months old today. My Gran is having great fun taking photos of me while I am visiting them in PE. In this photo she had to make lots of faces and jump around to get my attention because all I wanted to do was suck my hands and look around me. Today I'm wearing two types of red strips so Gran decided to lay me on a striped rug and take some photos of me. I look a bit like a jailbird in red.

It's wonderful being a baby in your grandparents home. They spend all their time seeing to my needs and making sure I'm not unhappy. Of course my Mum and Dad do the same for me but it's nice to have a change of scenery.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Singing in the Rain

Tonight Elton John is visiting PE for his "Under African Skies" tour. The concert is being held in the open on a sport's field in the University complex. I guess the organisers thought they'd be safe to hold a concert in the open in PE. We are in the grip of a terrible drought and yesterday we were declared a disaster area.

Well sorry for Elton but this evening we had a thunderstorm with lots of lightening and it poured buckets. Those people at the concert can't be too comfortable but oh how we needed this rain. If nothing else it has filled our rain tanks and means we have a backup supply to keep some of the precious plants alive. This shot is taken from our front verandah. It was already fairly dark but my wonderful camera captured the scene quite well. I used the night shot setting.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Baby Nicholas

This is our gorgeous grandson, Nicholas. He and his Mum are visiting us in PE for a few days. This is him in a pensive mood as he enjoys his bath. He is really cute. I had a wonderful conversation (in Scribble) this afternoon. He coo-ed and gurgled for a while and then decided he didn't like the status quo and yelled himself into a froth.

We are enjoying having him and Linda to stay. We hope they enjoy it too.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Something Different

During the night there was a short shower and the rain collected on the rough surface of the old table outside the back door. When I went outside I saw the sunrise reflected in the puddle of water. Something unusual. It reminded me of a piece of beaten bronze. It's good to have a shower - however short during our drought.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Urban Jungle

After spending a long weekend camping in a forest I was very much aware of being back in the real jungle - the urban one. It's very difficult to take a photo from our garden without getting aerials, wires and satellite dishes in the picture. I missed the best of the sunset but I like the silhouette of "jungle" in this picture.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Monkey Business

This gorgeous little monkey sat in a tree above us and watched us eat our lunch at the campsite today. He was looking particularly imploring because one of his family members had stolen a bag of marshmallows off our table and all the juvenile monkeys had grabbed at them with great glee. I like to imagine that this little chap is saying to us, "Don't you have another marshmallow for me? The others didn't give me one!" LOL.

The vervet monkeys are actually a terrible pest wherever one goes camping in South Africa because they steal food from campers and that makes them more and more bold. It's necessary to keep all food out of site and preferably locked away in a trunk or a trailer. But they are so entertaining.....

Tranquility - 21 March 2010

This photo was taken from the campsite at Nature's Valley. The Groot Rivier runs alongside the camp which is situated in the most beautiful indigenous forest with majestic Yellowoods amongst other indigenous specimens. I went off on a quiet walk alone in search of a butterfly to photograph and instead took this photo of light and shade. It really was a most tranquil spot and although I saw lots of little butterflies flitting around none of them was the least bit interested in stopping to let me take a photo.

I really like this photo. It has a sense of mystery to it. One can almost hear the silence.....

Friday 19 March - Proteas

I couldn't visit the southern Cape without photographing the beautiful Protea - our national flower. I took this one quite late on Friday as we approached our camping site at Nature's Valley. This is a variety with gorgeous colours growing in the wild. One just can't capture the beauty of these flowers growing profusely in the wild in a florists bouquet. They are so stunning. This photo was taken with the zoom lens from the car window. I couldn't get closer because of a deep ditch on the side of the road. We were also anxious to reach the camp before dark.

Special flowers.

Thursday, March 18, 2010


Ok, so this is an example of a very bad macro shot. I became very excited when I arrived at school this morning because I spied this lovely colourful beetle right near the main door. He wasn't going anywhere in a hurry and there was time to take multiple shots.

Sadly I did something wrong again. The flowers came out well but my bug is a bit fuzzy. He was also at an awkward angle - sort of hanging upside down - so it was difficult to get a picture of his back which was lovely. All those photos came out very dark because of back light.

Back to the drawing board. I had made sure the digital zoom was off and I set it to macro....I still need lots of practice. I'm posting this shot as a bad example of my skills and hopefully by the end of the year I will have some brilliant macro shots to show off. :-)

Tomorrow we're off to Nature's Valley reserve to camp for the long weekend. I'm looking forward to finding something new and different to photograph. Beautiful forest, lots of birds and hopefully some bugs.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Wild Clips

This is no joke! This is a protest photo. I have two friends, Maggie and Jill who post their daily photo on their Facebook page. That's great, but they have so many wonderful bugs and beetles in their areas. Both are in KwaZulu Natal and the variety of colourful "wildlife" they photograph every day leaves me envious.

Today I decided I was going to find a bug to photograph and if it were colourful all the better. I sat under a bush, I scouted the flower beds, peered into rose bushes.... Nothing! Where are the bugs in this place? Is it just the drought? In desperation I posted this photo I took at school today. I spied a container of colourful paper clips in the bursar's office and tipped them onto a sunny windowsill to get this shot. Fun but hardly competes with the real colourful bugs my friends shoot. Bring on the rain....

Neglected Corner - 16 March

I've been teased by my family today about having a "senior moment". Now I'm really in trouble! I just realized I didn't post my photo for yesterday. Here it is.

We seldom go into our front garden. I love this old tree with it's gnarled branches and the contrast with the bird's nest fern under it. Usually there are violets growing under the tree but at the moment the ground is hard and dry. The front garden hasn't been touched for months. I keep telling myself that when the rains come we'll get to it. It's looking sad, overgrown with weeds and untidy. When the rains come....

Monday, March 15, 2010

Patterns in Symmetry

This week in the Grade 1 computer classes we're talking symmetry. We use Drawing for Children - a free download. It has some great little features and symmetry drawing is one of them.

This cute little guy was happy to show off his efforts. The kids love this lesson and it really helps them understand this mathematical concept. Technology is great as a learning tool. My little friend here thinks so too. :-)

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Sweep of Beach

This lovely sweep of clouds and sea is a sight one gets from the national road between Humansdorp and Port Elizabeth. This afternoon it looked particularly dramatic with the banks of clouds. I just had to stop and take a quick photo. It's always a risk stopping the car on the road because of the high crime rate in South Africa but I just had to take the chance. I didn't get out of the car - I took the photo from the open window.  I wished I'd had the opportunity to get out and take a better shot but this one will do.

In the last two weekends I have travelled this road 10 times going back and forth to facilitate and Intel Essentials course. I'm not bored with the scenery yet. It changes according to light and weather. Last weekend I took the photo of "Morning Vista". I haven't seen that area looking like that again. It changes all the time - that's what makes nature and photography so interesting. Taking a daily photo is my opportunity to "smell the roses".

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Hard to get.

Birds again! There was very little time for photos today. I was training in Humansdorp again and we were pretty busy all day.

Early this morning I spotted this Cape Sparrow pushing his head deep into the feeder as if he wanted to get hold of a particular seed.

We have enjoyed watching birds visiting this feeder since we hung it up in January. Yesterday I even caught a dove creating chaos when he managed to land on one of the perches and was throwing seeds out to his friends waiting below. No wonder the level of the seed drops so quickly!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Happy Hadeda

A beautiful specimen of the Hadeda ibis. This fellow has been hanging around our garden lately. We used to have lots of them visiting us when we lived in Pinetown. They were a noisy nuisance - especially when they screeched loudly in the early hours of the morning. When we moved here I was rather relieved to find they weren't so common around these parts. Now we have one who visits us regularly. They are beautiful birds (apart from the noise). Welcome Hadeda. Come and share our space. We hope you can refrain from early morning screeches. :-)

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Macro Magic

Ah! after struggling for the last week I finally managed to sort out the problem with my macro shots. I discovered I had to manually switch off the digital zoom.

I love the way the ants have come out in this photo. And the veins of the petals are visible. It's such a delicate little flower that waves around in the breeze and isn't easy to photograph because it moves in the gentlest breeze. I'm delighted the way I managed to capture the ant on this one.

A very satisfying feeling. :-)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Protea Family

This afternoon I walked around my sad and very dry garden looking for some inspiration for my photo. It was quite depressing to see the plants curled and dry, longing for some refreshing water. We are restricted to 500 litres a day so there's nothing to spare for the garden.

This flower is one of the beautiful Protea family - our national flower. The plant is indigenous and it seems to be coping well with the drought. It's an unusual protea but I love the colours.

This evening it is raining! It's amazing. So wonderful to hear the drip of water and feel the refreshing cooler air. Thank you Lord for blessings. We heard on the news that there has been over 50mm in the Baviaanskloof area which feeds Port Elizabeth's main dam. That is such good news.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Faithful Friends

Here is a rare shot of our two Staffies together. They don't often pose for me together like this. It's a pity they didn't choose a better background!

These two dogs are going to be 15 later this year. They are brother and sister from the same litter. The only time they were ever separated was for one night when the female got lost in the bush in Hluhluwe in 2005. We were afraid we'd lost her to a snake or something. She was away two nights and on the second morning I opened the door and there was our precious Maggie looking exhausted and very sore lying on the verandah. I have often wished she could tell us of her adventures during that time. Anyway, they're fairly healthy, very deaf and we suspect their sight isn't that great. But they give us lots of amusement.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Morning Vista

Today's photo is actually one of yesterday's. I feel like I'm cheating but I had to decide between this and the donkeys yesterday. Today has been busy and I was hoping to go to the beach this afternoon and try and get some pink cloud shots but it didn't happen and I left it too late.  So this is it!

The photo was taken on my way to Humansdorp just after 7am yesterday. I stopped the car along the road because I could see this beautiful vista across the Gamtoos Valley towards the Baviaanskloof wilderness area in the distance. I love the layers of hills and mountains stretching away and the dramatic clouds. I'd like to paint this one.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Donkey School

It's official - our education system is going to the donkeys! This photo was taken at the school where I have been training this weekend. It's a semi-rural school and the gates are left open all day. These donkeys obviously wandered in to take in a class or two. They were waiting patiently for us when we returned from lunch. I couldn't resist getting a photo for my blog.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Intel Essentials Group

Today I started facilitating an Intel Essentials course for two out of town schools. The teachers were enthusiastic and very patient when we  had technology issues.  This is a great course about ICT integration in project based learning. It's intensive but very rewarding.

I have great respect for teachers such as these who are prepared to give up two weekends to upgrade their skills. This photo and one other were all I could manage today. It was hectic and I'm pretty tired tonight. Hubby suggested a drive down to the beach which normally I would jump at but tonight I just didn't have the energy - so this is my offering.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Today's Fun Photo

Today's photo is purely for fun. This is a fridge magnet that one of our children bought for their Dad. It always raises a chuckle from visitors. I have just walked around the garden looking for inspiration. An insect or two would do - but nothing apart from a fly. I did get a shot of him but he was pretty dull.  So here is my offering. No talent required. Have a lovely evening!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Almost Quince Jam

These quinces have been lurking in my kitchen for a couple of weeks now. I'm planning on making jam and jelly with them. I have no experience of cooking with quinces so I'm not sure if they're ready to use or if I should wait a bit longer. I just thought they'd make an interesting photo today.

The wind is really blowing hard outside and the thought of venturing out to take photos just doesn't appeal. Then I saw these quinces and they have become my subject for the day.

Perhaps I'll give them a try today. If it doesn't work out I have a few more to experiment with. I'll post a photo of the bottles of jam here and you can have a cyber taste.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Birthday Excitement

This is a spontaneous photo taken of a little girl who was celebrating her birthday today. She's in Grade 1 and turned 7. Birthday children are allowed to wear "civvies" on their birthday. This little girl's hot pink outfit stood out so brightly against the uniform of the other girls.

Birthday girl was so excited and was certainly celebrating life with her friends. They danced and sang together and she was enjoying it enormously.

I tried to get another posed photo of her with her friends but as soon as the other kids in the vicinity realised there was a photo being taken they all rushed over and tried to get in on the picture and spoilt the moment. There's something about a camera and kids. They love to pose and wave. So this action shot is the best I could get. I actually enjoy the little girl on the right at the front. She is also so absorbed in the game. One gets the sense of excitement and movement from them all.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Colour and Texture

I was rather busy with admin stuff this afternoon, not feeling very inspired about what to take as my daily photo. I was feeling rather sorry I didn't look for a subject at school. I wandered around the garden and stopped in front of a pile of logs we have stacked for our winter fires - and there it was! I love the rough, dry bark. Then I saw the pink flowers waving in the breeze and I enjoyed seeing the contrast between the rough and the delicate. I picked one of the blossoms and here is the result. It's amazing what one can find in nature when one is looking.

This picture is a bit like life. It can be rough and hard. Our lives are fragile. We need to handle them with care.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Drought resistant

After the excitement of the last few days taking lots of photos of birds, sunsets and the full moon I was a bit lost to find a subject today. I was wondering around my garden looking for a photo topic when I saw this humble little plant that grows prolifically in parts of the garden. I love the pretty pink border around the leaves and the "rose" appearance. It's a succulent that is a pleasure to have in the garden at times like these when we are in the grip of a terrible drought. These hardy little plants just keep surviving - even when there's no rain and no watering for weeks. Succulents have my respect because they flourish in the "desert places".

I'm reminded that so often when I am going through those dry times, either spiritually or emotionally I complain unlike this beauty. I could learn a lesson from my friend here.