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Astro-photography Astronomy Flowers Photography Renonvations Riviersonderend Travel

Portfolio

Recently I found that most creative people have a portfolio so I decided it was time I created a brag page so here we go.
I am a generalist or less politely a jack of all trades. Whichever title you want to use it means I am curious about practically anything so to save you from browsing through the entire website, I will provide a short summary. So here goes

Painting – oil, acrylics and pastels. Acrylic first

Oil

Pastels

Charcoal

Photography – photograph anything that takes my fancy, flowers, sunsets, stars, landscapes and birds.

A glacial pavement just outside Nieuwoudtville when we were part of Pangea.

And then there are the other things

Baking

Croissants

Bee keeping. Bees Bearding a hive to keep it cool

Hiking

Renovating a house in Riviersonderend

Categories
Birding Photography

Pale Chanting Goshawk Mating Flight

This gif is made from a series of pictures taken of a mating flight of two Pale Chanting Goshawks – the birds were a long way away but the dance makes up for the lack of sharpness

Categories
Photography

Winter Weather

The Cape has experienced really cold, wet and windy weather. Many people were affected, loss of housing and possessions. A sad time. There was one upside to the weather, it makes for some great black and white photography.

And one colour photo to show we were definitely out there.

Categories
Birding Travel

Agulhas Birding Weekend

We joined the Honorary Rangers of the Agulhas Reserve for a birding weekend. The weather was cold and very windy, as only the Agulhas Plains can be. It was not really conducive to much standing around in the open but we did do some good birding just sitting in the car.Even though this is a birding page, you must have a couple of nice travel shots.

Agulhas has probably the most bizarre and intriguing lighthouse. More like a Medieval castle converted to lighthouse duties. It makes for an interesting picture.

The other side is more ordinary, but still an impressive structure.

You can see from the next picture just how powerful the wind was. Those are female weavers clinging on for dear life while the wild wheat blows under them.

Here is a picture of some of the birders returning from a bracing walk in a minor gale.

Flowers – you gotta have flowers. Actually, those white things at the feet of the birders in the picture above are these flowers.

There is a bird in the next picture. Promise.

See? There is a bird. Only a bit small. An LBJ (Little Brown Job) and it is a Large Billed Lark – after much deliberation.

We saw some fish eagles in the far distance and photographed them for id purposes. Turns out we got some rather pleasant landscape pictures as well. There are two fish eagles in there, but check out the landscape. Lovely.

Silhouette of a kite playing the winds.

Weavers sheltering from the wind.

Down at the watering trough.

A kelp gull found an ideal sheltering place.

A white chested comorant takes the early morning sun.

Terns sheltering from the wind.

Waves in the wind.

Here’s looking at you. Cape Spur Fowl.

Steppe buzzard readying for flight.

Cape Robin Chat. We had, by this time migrated to Riviersonderend.

Categories
Travel

Honeymoon in Tanzania

This is a very old post – 2007, but I thought I would update and bring it in line with modern technology. There is a more extensive set of pictures here but the page is old and needs work.

We left Cape Town International early on Monday morning and arrived in Dar-Es-Salaam on Monday afternoon and were rapidly transferred to the domestic arrivals and departures concourse.

Our destination? Chole Island off the coast of Tanzania. The transition from jet planes to prop planes was the start of an amazing adventure.

The sea beneath us as we headed for Mafia Island was studded with coral islands.

We arrived at Mafia Island Airport

The tar is the aircraft parking zone. The dirt is the actual runway. And yes, that is the plane we arrived in!

The taxi drive to the other side of Mafia was an experience all of its own. Land Rovers are the ONLY vehicle in use and they have their own resident mosquitoes. The roads are all dirt roads, they do have speed signs up, but I doubt if any one tries to enforce the speed limit mainly because I personally never saw any of the drivers take the vehicles out of low range.

You don’t drive on the roads as there are too many potholes. You drive next to the road.

We arrived in the Mafia Marine Park in the early evening.

Amanda fleeing the underseat mosquitoes

The next stage of the trip is a boat trip to Chole Island. The boats used are small dhows. I never got to learn the actual name of the type of dhow, they had the typical lateen sail and were used as we might use the family car to nip off to the shop or to take the kids to school.

I am not sure if this one qualifies as a dhow, but you might think of it as a laptop! Actually if you want to be thoroughly boring, it is an outrigger canoe carved from a single mango tree and having a lateen sail. From what I could see, they used this sort of boat for fishing mainly. Note the Mangrove trees growing out of the water in the background.

Bicycles are another way of getting around. You see bicycles everywhere and even bicycles turned to other uses.

But our boat wasn’t ready, so we had beer on the beach.

Darkness came and along with it the boat.

Of course it does splash a bit.

Thanks to Amanda’s persistence we stayed in the Chole Mjinji Resort.
The resort consists of a number of tree house and for those who can’t take the height, ground chalets are provided.
Every effort has been made to ensure the minimum impact on the surrounding nature.
There is no electricity, no TV and no running water.
The trees around the tree houses are baobabs.

Music to eat by! I must admit it must be an acquired taste!

This guy shinned up this mast like he was ambling down Adderley Street.

Searching for Whale Sharks and not finding them. The one disappointment of the trip. But a good outing in any case.

The Village tour

Arranged by the hotel. The village is scattered across a huge area. No motor cars, trucks or rail. Just bicycles. Oh, and satellite TV.

A chicken coop. Just a miniature house.

Building materials are mud, coral, rocks and ground up coral.

Everything is done outside. It is just too hot to sit inside.

A makeshift but very comfortable bench outside someones home.

A fruit bat. And yes they are as big as that one looks. About 30 to 40 cm across the wings. Also called flying foxes.

Boat building is a dying craft. Everything is made by hand, even nails are hand made.

School Children on the beach waiting for the ferry to Mafia Island.

Going diving on the dhow.

Hamisi setting up the cylinders.

Last minute diving instructions.

Hamissi taking a break before the dive.

Amanda before her first scuba dive. Looking very cool in a wet suit.

That water is WARM. Richard diving in a pair of shorts and a tee shirt. Both for sunburn, rather than warmth. This is the way to dive and only 6 kgs on the belt. Heaven!

Last evening on Chole. Romantic dinner on the slipway before and early start.

Early morning trip to Mafia to return to the mainland Tanzania.

Tanzanian coast line.

Siesta on Zanzibar while the tour company sorted out the payment for our accommodation.

At Mercuries. The story goes that Freddy Mercury of Queen fame grew up in the neighbourhood and the restaurant is named after hem.

Early evening swim! Best thing to do in the heat and humidity.

Breakfast on the top of Malindi guest house.

The fast food restaurant for locals.

The residents lounge – Malindi Guest house

Welcome to the Sultans Palace. Now a museum.

A gatling gun.

Back to Malindi and the start of our return journey.

Home

Categories
Birding

Sabine Gulls in Table Bay

Sabine Gulls are birds that do not normally come close to shore. They do however shelter from powerful storms. In the case of this video they are sheltering from a massive south easter wind in Table Bay.

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Baking

Baking with Grape Yeast

Lock down in South Africa forced me to look for things to do at home to stop myself from going mad. One thing I found was baking so I started experimenting. Things like the South African staple, rusks.

I even tried my hand at croissants – after many a failure I got that right too.

But sourdough bread was what got me started. I used the normal flour fed starter.

Then I heard that you could use fruit fed yeasts as a starter. I had some grapes to hand and they got pressed (pun intended) into service. I put the grapes into a jar, gave them a rinse to get rid of any stray dirt but to prevent the natural yeasts from being washed away. I then crushed them and added enough water to cover them and then left them to do their bit which they promptly did.

After 3 days I strained the crushed grapes out and added new grapes – white grapes this time

And let them fizz up again. I strained the juice, made a 70% hydration loaf using a mix of unsifted wheat, spelt and sifted wheat flour,
I did the usual sourdough things and baked the bread.

The crust was nice and crunchy. And the inside? Well see for yourself.

The bread is a bit more dense than bread made with white bread flour as the spelt and unsifted flour have less gluten.
And the taste? Not so much of the sourdough flavour, more fruity and a little sweet.
My only complaint is that the fruit starter requires a lot of maintenance. It is worth it for special occasions, but for day to day baking, stick with the flour fed starter.

Categories
Moon Photography Sunset

Full Moon

This is a set of photographs that I took when going to photograph a full moon. The clouds, as usual came up and messed up the moon, but they did leave me with some fine sunset photographs

The only pictures I got of the full moon. And then sunset came

Categories
Astro-photography Flowers Photography

Citrusdal Baths

We went to the Citrusdal Baths in September 2023 and we got some lovely photographs.

Sunset on our first evening there – the Cederberg Mountains in their evening finery

I was all set up to take photos of the stars at 10 PM. And the clouds rolled in. In disgust I went to bed. At 2 AM answering a call of nature I looked outside and found that the clouds had cleared and this was the view. In a pair or shorts and an open tee shirt I braved the 5 degree cold to take a series of photos, this one being the best.

Coral trees are just so photogenic

And not forgetting the nastutians

And a bit of macro photography to finish up.

Categories
Moon Photography Sunset

Sunset and Full Moon in Cape Town

This evening it is full moon and I was fortunate enough to be on Table Mountain for the rise of the moon and the setting of the sun. I got some lovely pictures.