Simplicity

This month, at our photo club, the theme for our set subject was Simplicity. As most of you know, it is easier just to take picture of wildlife than to have to think through a theme.

I first tried a bunch of shots with just a feather with a black background. But, somehow I could never get the shot I wanted. The idea was to take a photo of a white feather falling in front of a black background. I eventually gave up on this. I was just not satisfied with the results.

Next, I took pictures of a lone high heel shoe, polystyrene ball, sandal, ball mask, bracelet, etc.

Collage

For the Set Subject, I finally settled on the following:

Clean Glass of Water
Glass of Water. Set Subject (Simplicity) 2 Star silver award.

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Boardwalk Bird Sanctuary – 9 November 2013

A duck mother and her broodAngry father keeping an eye out for dangerMasked Weaver building a nestRed Bishop branching outRed Bishop hiding in red branchesRed Bishop in the reeds
The many bird hides at Boardwalk

I visited the Boardwalk Bird Sanctuary today.

Masked Weaver building a nest SM

This bird sanctuary can be found in the suburb of Valley Farm Agricultural Holdings, Pretoria, on the corner of Solomon Mahlangu Dr (Hans Strijdom Dr) and Haymeadow Crescent.

On the city’s website for this sanctuary, it says that there are at least 2 hides, since they use the plural instead of the singular “hide.” However, there is only one hide and it is out of commission currently while they are upgrading the wooden walkways to the hide.

When you get to the hide there are reeds on the left and right, and water in front of it. While I stood there, I saw no birds on the water, and the small birds, such as the Red Bishops and Yellow Masked Weavers, were too far to really enjoy.

BoardwalkBirdSanctuaryIn the image of the bird sanctuary above you will see the one single hide marked with the red circle. The green line on the right marks an area that carries a lot of water just under the walking surface of the grass, and every now and again your foot will sink in completely. So, you cannot walk too close to where the reeds are, and the birds.

On the left is a yellow line where you can walk comfortably and dry next to the water line and the reeds. You will find many birds here, but mostly the Red Bishops and Yellow Masked Weavers.

When it comes to water birds, I only saw two ducks and their brood of four. That is it!

Although there is no cost to access this sanctuary, it certainly will not make it into my current top three places to visit for photo opportunities.

GPS: 25°47’47.30″S
28°19’27.23″E

Bishop Bird Nature Area – 5 November 2013

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I visited the Bishop Bird Nature Area on Tuesday morning (5 Nov 2013). I am always looking out for new places with good photo opportunities.

However, I was somewhat disappointed about this spot. The bush and trees are very thick and the chances of seeing a bird clearly are quite slim.

There are several little single path excursions from the main trail, which should rather be avoided as they just end up in dead-ends or the bush becomes too thick to go any further.

There are four blesbucks. I tried to get close to them, but they kept on running this way and that way.

So, if you are looking for animal life, this is perhaps not the place to visit.

GPS: 25°52’38.48″S – 28° 8’33.72″E

Rietvlei Nature Reserve – 2 November 2013

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This past weekend I once again visited the Rietvlei Nature Reserve, just a few kilometres south from where I live. Although entrance is not free here, it is only R40 (about $4) for an adult, R20 ($2) for children 6-16 years, and R5 ($0.50) for children younger than that. GPS coordinates are 25°52’59.26″S – 28°15’49.95″E.

There are about 60Km of trail to ride on. Unfortunately, you have to remain in your car, and may only get out at designated areas. However, there are day or weekend hikes with the accompaniment of a game ranger. This is going to be my next endeavour at Rietvlei. This time the whole family must go together.

Moreletakloof Nature Reserve – 30 Oct 2013

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Just a few kilometres from where I live, in the neighbouring suburb of Moreleta Park, there is a little gem of a nature reserve called The Moreleta Kloof Nature Reserve. Entrance at this reserve is also free. GPS coordinates are 25°49’0.68″S – 28°17’28.16″E. The entrance is on the corner of Helios St and Palmiet St in Moreleta Park.

There are all kinds of animals here, but nothing dangerous. There is a total of about 7.5Km of trails to hike on and there are a few bird hides.

If you arrive early, within the first hour or so of the day, then you will find most of these animals close to the main entrance.

Austin Roberts Bird Sanctuary – 26 Oct 2013

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On this day the birds were very mellow, and so I didn’t get many birds in flight. Access to the sanctuary is free and the GPS coordinates are 25°46’11.32″S – 28°13’39.31″E. It is on the corner of Roper St and Boshoff St, in the suburb of Bailey’s Muckleneuk.

It is a very popular spot for bird photographers, and there are guys with lenses that they can hardly pick up. [envy][drool]

There are a couple of guys that I now recognize when I arrive there. I really do not have to travel far to get to this spot, so it fits very well into my budget. I go there fairly often, perhaps once a month. That may change, as I may have discovered some more places for photography, but I will check them out and report back on them.

Photos here and there

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The photograph above was taken by me on 30 October 2013. These two zebras seemed to be really into each other, and were bumping into each other like to teenagers.

UPDATE: Right now, I am truly annoyed, and I do not know who to be annoyed at, either WordPress, or Flickr. Below each of the events/places I mentioned below, there is supposed to be a slideshow of each of those photographic events. For some reason, WordPress strips out the embedded code provided by Flickr for each of those slideshows. Aaaarrrgghh! So, for now, in this post, you will have to be satisfied with links to the galleries on Flickr.

So, I have been out and about taking photographs here and there. It is not always easy to find the right pic and sometimes the subjects simply do not cooperate.

On 28 September 2013, I had the opportunity to be a photographer at the Believe Mountain Bike Race. The slideshow below contains pics from that event taken by me. The race was held at Northern Farm, GPS coordinates, 25°55’52.33″S – 27°58’45.59″E. Visit gallery here.

Next, on 19 October 2013, I was involved in photographing the 7th Warrior Adventure Race close to Hartebeespoortdam on the Redstone Private Country Estate, GPS coordinates, 25°46’37.06″S – 27°51’46.82″E. Visit gallery here.

The next 3 places are 3 of my favourite places to relax with my camera. It doesn’t cost me an arm and a leg to go to either of them.

On 26 October 2013 I visited the Austin Roberts Bird Sanctuary. On this day the birds were very mellow, and so I didn’t get many birds in flight. Access to the sanctuary is free and the GPS coordinates are 25°46’11.32″S – 28°13’39.31″E. It is on the corner of Roper St and Boshoff St, in the suburb of Bailey’s Muckleneuk. Visit gallery here.

Just a few kilometres from where I live, in the neighbouring suburb of Moreleta Park, there is a little gem of a nature reserve called The Moreletakloof Nature Reserve. Entrance at this reserve is also free. GPS coordinates are 25°49’0.68″S – 28°17’28.16″E. The entrance is on the corner of Helios St and Palmiet St in Moreleta Park. Visit gallery here.

And, then, finally, just a few kilometres south from where I live is the Rietvlei Nature Reserve. Although entrance is not free here, it is only R40 (about $4) for an adult, R20 ($2) for children 6-16 years, and R5 ($0.50) for children younger than that. GPS coordinates are 25°52’59.26″S – 28°15’49.95″E. Visit gallery here.

I have come to experience photography in a very therapeutic way. Whenever I feel stressed, all I need to do is head out somewhere to take photographs and soon I feel mellow again.

When you get a chance, come over to my Flickr profile and visit me!