Tag Archives: stars

Heavenly Aloe

“Breaks don’t get enough credit in today’s world.If you take a break, you’re seen as lazy.


How many times have you found yourself trying EVERYTHING to solve a problem,
only to find that after getting up to brush your teeth, the solution comes to you in
the middle of it.

People who don’t take breaks get easily discouraged because they spend all this
time and energy and it’s just not working and that doesn’t do any good in terms of
the self-talk that goes on inside their head.

Breaks give you the space necessary for the answer to come.

They’re just as important as the work itself” ~ Brian Kim

— at Drakensberg Boys’ Choir School.


Taming the Dragon

“Russell Tungay had started on an autobiography which he called “Taming the Dragon” where he describes how he together with his parents and brothers came to the Cathkin Valley in the early 1950’s. The Tungay family used to holiday in the Cathkin Valley every year and one year Gwen “Ma” Tungay bought part of “old man Erfmann’s” farm when he subdivided it in 1955.

In 1960, the oldest brother, Peter Tungay was killed in an air crash. This devastated the family as Peter had always expressed his desire to take over the farm and start a dairy. In 1963 the family started a caravan park on the farm to generate much needed money to keep the farm running.

In the meantime, John Tungay, who was a choirmaster at the Trinity Congregational Church, approached his parents to take over the farm and turn it into a choir school. In 1966 John began adding onto the farmhouse a dormitory, dining room, kitchen and a classroom.

Twenty boys enrolled in the first year of the school’s existence (1967). By the second year there were 60 boys enrolled! “The boys were like the Pied Piper, they would attract boys from everywhere they went.”

It became clear to John right in the early days that in order to travel overseas, the choir had to be the best in the country. And in order to achieve this they needed 2 hours practice every day. His initial idea of trekking the boys to Winterton for their academic tuition had to be re-thought and that was when he asked his mother, “Ma” Tungay, to step in and help teach academics to the boys.

The Tungay family continued to play a pivotal role in the history of the Drakensberg Boys’ Choir School with Russell taking over the management of the school in 1968. The Tungay family sold the School and the 100 acre estate and buildings to a Board of Directors in 1981.

The entire Tungay family, i.e. Ron, Gwen, John, and subsequently Russell, were intimately involved in laying the foundations in one way or another of the Drakensberg Boys Choir School. How little they could have realised how much of a national asset their dreams and hard work, in often the most difficult and challenging circumstances, would become.” ~http://web.dbchoir.co.za/

Drakensberg Boy's Choir School (Large)

— at Drakensberg Boys’ Choir School

Deer Meadow

The moon was out in full force last night so the only option was to wake-up at 03:30 this morning (straight after moon-set) at Drakensberg Sun and head out into Champagne Valley, Drakensberg to shoot some stars.

I’m sure I’ll rave about this for weeks to come: up until first light I saw three deer, an owl, a wild rabbit and shooting stars – absolutely amazing!

The photo below was taken with my old (baby) Canon South Africa 550D using my recently won Sigma South Africa 10-20 lens (F4, ISO 1600, 50 sec). I also used a small LED Lenser USA in the pitch dark.

The 550D does not “see” as well as the big 6D so I had some issues with focussing and my horizontal line (the spare tripod with NIL angle adjustment didn’t help).

Deer Meadow

5 Star Durban I Love Durban Led Lenser South Africa LED LENSERDrakensberg Sun Champagne Sports Resort Cathkin Cottage, DrakensbergChampagne Castle Hotel & Resort

— at Drakensberg Sun

Heaven’s Gate

“The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quiet, alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be” ~ Anne Frank
Heaven's Gate

I watched the end of pk-movie some days ago. It tells the story of an alien who comes to Earth on a research mission. He befriends a television journalist and questions religious dogmas and superstitions.

After that I went to Harrismith and stayed overnight at the lovely Lali’s Guesthouse Harrismith. That evening I went out and got this shot despite my torch playing up (kindly replaced by Cape Union Mart The Pavilion Shopping Centre without a quibble yesterday). This is the photo I’ve been wanting to work on and left it for last.

I found peace, gratitude, a satisfying stillness, a sense of awe and heaven under the stars that night. It was similar to those 1 in every 20 or 30 sunrises: mesmerized!

Canon South Africa 6D, Canon EF 17–40mm lens, F4, ISO 8000, 25 sec. 44MB JPG downsized for Facebook.

PS – I have a new Led Lenser South Africa M1 torch for my next starscape shoot – can’t wait (Y): super small and bright – 140m, over 200L under ZAR 600 smile emoticon.

LED LENSER Led Lenser Australia LED Lenser USA

Harrismith, South Africa.

Milky Road

Enjoying the stars now more than the sea. Late night shooting and then a good rest and breakfast at Lali’s Guesthouse Harrismith.

Milky Road

I have one photo left to work on from this evening and it’s my favourite.

You can with a Canon South Africa 6D and Canon EF 17–40mm lens on F4, 25 sec, ISO 10000

Harrismith South Africa.

Under Heaven

Last week I ended up in Newcastle Country Lodge and went star-shooting in the evening. Loved it! As luck would have it, I’m back in the country tonight (18 May 2015) and have just finished some last minute work. I would say it’s time to go grab some dinner in my faithful Ford LDV and then look up to the stars with my Canon South Africa 6D and Canon EF 17–40mm lens

Under Heaven (2)

Canon 6D & 17-40L, 25 secs, F4, ISO changed from 3200 upwards to 6400. PS layers. Flashlight 20 m away on ground.

Newcastle, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.


I threatened to go and shoot the stars last night and that’s just what I did. While driving I saw a tokoloshe run across the road. A few kilometres on I realised that it wasn’t a tokoloshe when I saw two porcupines scurrying to the side of the road lol ;).


Canon South Africa 6D, Canon EF 17–40mm lens, F4, 25 sec, ISO 6400

Harrismith, South Africa

Gateway to Heaven

It was very cold on the old Memel Road outside Newcastle Country Lodgelate last night. I was alone and having my first serious attempt at some star photography. Dinner at Nando’s down the road with a Magnum ice-cream to round it off had me on a sugar rush. I did 5 minutes reading on camera settings and thought let’s give it a bash.

The one tutorial said “you will not see the milky way with the naked eye so get an app for … USD”. I thought let’s go see what we see. Initially, I was a little worried and only saw a few stars. As the city lights faded and it got later I thought “Oh my fish!!”. I was trying to focus in the dark with a faulty weak flashlight (very important tool) but still got to see three shooting stars in less than a minute.

The Memel Road is not the safest road on earth. Motorists and large trucks go like bats out of hell. There was also a taxi / bus driver war on the go so I didn’t feel too safe. I also had to avoid over-protective shotgun Frik farmers who might have fired buckshot up my rear.

Ok that’s most my excuses out of the way.. lol. Here is the photo shot with myCanon South Africa 6D from Orms using a Canon EF 17–40mm lens lens all set on F4, ISO 1600 and 25 sec manual / tripod.

If you thought I was mad over seascape photos let’s see what I get up to in the next few months wink emoticon. It was one of those photo shoots where I felt the blessings raining down (happens every 20th sunrise or so).

Gateway to Heaven

PS: my 2nd place prize from Sigma South Africa for the wide-angle competition was delivered to my door yesterday – a Sigma lenses 10-20 Canon mount. Thank you to the gent who cheated his way into 1st place and then got disqualified; you pushed me from 3rd (no prize) into 2nd smile emoticon like emoticon. I see Sigma has a 12-24mm F4.5-5.6 DG HSM II lens that would fit nicely onto my 6D – I was thinking of asking if I could swap my prize for this lens with a cash difference pay-in smile emoticon.

Jimmy’s a Star

Jimmy's a Star

If I had to name one single photographer that has inspired me enormously and helped me progress the most (via short questions & tutorials), then it would UK based Jimmy Mcintyre. He’s a really likeable and well-mannered chaps. The photo below is a composite of my buildings & ground, and Jimmy’s stars. Read more here http://www.shutterevolve.com/how-to-add-the-milky-way-in-photos/