More about motivation

Underneath Virginia

An excerpt from a post a few weeks back:

Last night: My old motto – if you post the good photos, slave like hell over the bad but don’t post them then you are perhaps doing yourself a disservice.

The photos below nearly killed me. I even ventured back to an HDR automated programme (eek!!) to see if it could blend the photos of the pier where I was struggling to do it manually. The programme also failed. After four separate blends (manual & auto) I gave up on the pier. Eventually I used one RAW image and applied a few effects that generated some lovely halos (photos should not have halos). The Hitachi photo ended-up with a third of no thirds and although I really liked both shots, either my capture of them or processing will have to stand down for another day. The F-stop on the machine is low and the DOF is thus lacking.

As fate would have it, I bought myself a bottle of Tullamore Dew 12 year old Irish whiskey today and have had a few to calm my post-processing blues .

This morning – I removed some halos on the pier and fiddled the contrast after getting some late night motivation from Henry J Starbuck, Tammi Harding, Alwyn J Mouton, Elmer van Zyl, Mike Brookes, Joanne Gouveia and Elmo Jones to go round 6.

PS – the guard at Virginia Beach says no other photographers have visited. I would encourage you to go there soon as the pier I’m under is only temporary – it’s being used as a ramp to build the culvert on the left.

 

Gold

Virginia Gold 1

 

“All that is gold does not glitter,

Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.

From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.”

― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

Port St John’s – South Africa

Homeward Bound

I suspect legends have been made in Port St John’s (PSJ) but far more have fallen. As one unassuming highly intelligent gentleman (RIP) who resided there once said to me, “Andrew, whatever riches you bring with you to Port St John’s, will not leave with you when you go”. This same chap, from what I could gauge during my chats with him, lived a full, interesting but hard life that was cut somewhat short.

On the morning that I took this photo, I woke at 04:00 and left Umtata at 04:30 to head down the hill into PSJ. I arrived at around 06:00.

I can count on one hand the locations I have shot where I felt a strong sense of gratitude and satisfaction during and after the shoot. This feeling arose this same morning high on the mountaintop some 300 metres above and overlooking Cremorne Estate, Spotted Grunter, Claude’s Rest, Port St John’s River Lodge and the mighty Umzimvubu River seen down below.

PSJ is a really interesting little town full of many surprises but perhaps only if you are an interesting person. Great fishing and hiking opportunities also await one (plus crayfish thermidors and sun downers at Delicious Monster Restaurant – 2nd beach).

If you’re not adventurous and consider yourself above us common folk then rather head straight to Dubai via business class and mix it up with Prince Dollar of Obnoxia.

On the other hand, if you want to savour the fresh largely unspoilt Wild Coast, throw your watch away, leave your shoes at home, drop out the rat race, stop putting up the hard show, meet the locals, sip on beers with backpackers and maybe even meet the Mad Hatter in person, then drive 4.5 hours there from Durban on some challenging roads; it will be well worth it!

The photo gets its name from the road leading over the bridge and into the background: 4.5 hours to Durban, homeward bound from PSJ.

Canon 6D, 17-40mm, F16, 1/8 second

Forever in my dreams

On The Beach

 

 

“Between the eyes of love I call your name

Behind those guarded walls I used to go
Upon a summer wind there’s a certain melody
Takes me back to the place that I know
Down on the beach

The secrets of the summer I will keep
The sands of time will blow a mystery
No-one but you and I
Underneath that moonlit sky
Take me back to the place that I know
On the beach

Forever in my dreams my heart will be
Hanging on to this sweet memory
A day of strange desire
And a night that burned like fire
Take me back to the place that I know
On the beach” ~ Chris Rea

Tried to Hide

Crashed Out

“You know the day destroys the night
Night divides the day
Tried to run
Tried to hide
Break on through to the other side
Break on through to the other side
Break on through to the other side, yeah

We chased our pleasures here
Dug our treasures there
But can you still recall
The time we cried
Break on through to the other side
Break on through to the other side” ~ Break On Through (To The Other Side): The Doors

Canon South Africa 6D, 17-40mm L, ISO 100, F 10, 61 sec

Location: Bluff Durban

Fego on Broadway, Durban North

Fego 16-8-2014 (2) (Large)

It’s been a while since I took one of my decent cameras to a restaurant and let it loose on the food and interior. I used to do this quite often but lately have been preoccupied with landscape photography.

On Saturday 16 August 2014 we (my family being: yours truly and three fussy ladies) popped into Fego Café at 15 Broadway in Durban North 031-5644837.

We started on the coffees, cappuccinos and milkshakes in a cosy lounge (two double leather couches) overlooking the lower end (nearest the sea) of Broadway. We had sight of our car outside and the pavement (so the ladies could see who was passing by and what they were wearing). Parking was a plenty.

Fego 16-8-2014 (17) (Large)

It wasn’t long before we were hooked up onto their free Wi-Fi and sampling the more than adequate menu with some decent choices to make.

I ambled over to the muffin and cake section where I started taking a few photos of the brightly coloured delights. The current newspaper was nearby on a stand but there was no time to read up on who was doing who.

Fego 16-8-2014 (23) (Large)

A good selection of whiskey was seen kept on a rack behind the bar, but were there to only have lunch at 12:00 not watch the Boks play a tough game against the Pumas at 17:00.

Fego 16-8-2014 (15) (Large)

I went for the Basil Pesto pasta vegetarian dish as I wanted something light. Freshly chopped green chilli, parmesan cheese and garlic were presented in three small bowls and I tossed a fair bit on. We also asked for and received another bottle of chilli (the young ladies have insisted that we get a bottle for home).

Fego 16-8-2014 (1) (Large)

I also asked for plain tap water not chilled / nothing added and that’s exactly what I got to my delight (no ice or lemon added as waiters often do).

Fego 16-8-2014 (25) (Large)

The ladies had chicken baskets and a hamburger, and they all voiced their enjoyment. This was good as I also enjoyed my meal. I did have to add a little extra salt but rather this than me trying to remove salt from the sauce; I would have been there until after the rugby. A good choice.

Fego 16-8-2014 (24) (Large)

Fego was fairly busy but not to the extent that we felt overcrowded. Some more discreet seating was to be found at the rear.

Fego 16-8-2014 (16) (Large)

The one owner (Nirrad) and I got chatting (owners of restaurant either hate or love persons taking up close photos of their food).

Fego 16-8-2014 (14) (Large)

He told me that he and his wife (Tashya) recently bought the spot and they are both serious about Fego’s success. I believe him because he and his wife are both legal professionals. OK, no lawyer jokes now Andy LOL. No, I believe them because Nirrad actually enjoys coffee shops and free Wi-Fi and this is one reason why they bought the business. Also, I’m sure he would just love to relax after a hard week of battling case law but was hands on inside Fego to ensure its smooth running.

Fego 16-8-2014 (18) (Large)

I would hate you to think Fego is 100% perfect. No place that I have been to is.

However, our waitress was very keen to hear a few of my suggestions (I do this when in a good mood and complain to management when angry) and we had a very enjoyable time there.

Fego 16-8-2014 (9) (Large)

Nirrad and his wife, if not at Fego, are only a telephone call away to hear your pleasure or displeasure, and rectify it.

Fego 16-8-2014 (5) (Large)

Preparation

Dundee

Henry J Starbuck here is your hometown. Unfortunately, my prep for this photo was shocking. The scene was amazing and light rays dispersed and golden. I was running late so I just pointed out the LDV window and shot. I should have raised the ISO to fasten the shutter speed. The F was 5.6. At 1/25 sec all I got was two semi-blurred persons and the tarmac about 1m behind them (unseen) in focus ;). An opportunity lost as there were a lot of people walking on that stretch and cars going up and down with headlights still on (street lights too).

There is Hope

Dundee Hope

“No matter how far you might think you have come from grace, your connection to Spirit is always right there, right at your centre. All you have to do is remember it.” – Luitha K. Tamaya

In the past few months I have opportunity to drive through Tugela Ferry in KZN and then through Dundee. The drive there is very scenic and beautiful. The Ferry and surrounding area has been the location of many fierce battles and clashes amongst the locals throughout its history, as far as I know.

Lately, the area seems very peaceful (or at least it looks that way), but there is certainly another silent battle going on. I was taken aback upon entering Dundee at the number of funeral parlours that almost seem to be on every street in the CBD. I would challenge anyone to show me the same concentration of parlours in say Durban, Cape Town or JHB. My facts may be a little skewed or very accurate, but something is not well.

On a positive note – I hauled my Canon 550D along on the trip instead of my master-blaster 6D. The accompanying photo was taken on the outskirts of Dundee at sunrise. The ground was frosted over and there was a little mist about in pockets here and there. It was amazing!

The 550D battled with the low light in places although I admittedly stretched the RAW image past it accepted capabilities. This resulted in noise which I mostly cancelled out.

550D settings F 9, 1/400 sec, ISO 100 using 24/105L @ 35mm