Category Archives: Cape Town

She’s free …!

So our stranded fishing vessel was finally pulled off the beach. I had still hoped to get to the beach in the evening to take the pics that I had in my head, but by lunch time I got the call from my daughter telling me that the boat was hooked up and efforts were being made to pull her back into the ocean.

I was supposed to be settling down to some work, but couldn’t miss the opportunity, so grabbed camera, two lenses and tripod and, on a completely empty petrol tank, made my way to where the crowds were gathering – no time to stop to refuel; I was going to have to rely on fumes and good thoughts to get me there.

It was an amazing sight. This tug boat out at sea, listing and straining, the fishing trawler stuck on the beach, resisting. the thick yellow cable between them, looking like a fragile thread, about to snap at any moment. It really was inch … by inch … by inch. And then, suddenly, a noise went up from the crowd … she was free. It is possible for a boat to look happy!

Farewell Eihatsu Maru. Be safe, and do no harm.

The tug that did all the work

The Eihatsu Maru, still stranded, being tugged and pulled at

She’s free!

Eihatsu Maru is accompanied out of the bay

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Filed under Cape Town, Photography

Stranded fishing trawler

Our Cape coastline has a habit of luring seafarers to its shores. Our most recent victim is a 50 metre Japanese fishing trawler, the Eihatsu Maru, which beached itself on 12 May. No one knows how it ran aground, and none of the 30 crew members, nor the dog, were able to explain – a language barrier, apparently.

It has created endless photo opportunities for Cape Town snappers, though, and it must be the  most photographed item this year. Salvage attempts have been foiled by low tides and bad weather, so I suspect she’ll still be providing photo ops this weekend.

I went down there last night. I had a specific angle and mood in mind, but police tape forced a new plan. Maybe I’ll sneak up on it from another side tonight. The weather is cold and miserable, and so it might keep the crowds away.

Eihatsu Maru, a Japanese fishing trawler, stranded off Clifton Beach, Cape Town: ISO 100, Aperture f/9, Shutter 15 Seconds

My young assistant tagged along, causing much distraction, but I did get this shot of her:

Leaping on Clifton Beach: ISO 100, Aperture f/4, Shutter 5 seconds, off-camera flash at full power

And then there was the sunset …no Photoshop required.

ISO 100, Aperture f/4, Shutter 1/2

Winter unset over Clifton Beach: ISO 100, Aperture f/4, Shutter 1/2

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Filed under Cape Town, Flash photography, Low light photography, Photography

Low light panoramic photography

A fellow photo blogger, Abe Pacana, very kindly paid a visit to my blog and left an encouraging comment. Of course, I immediately clicked on his link to see what he gets up to. It appears he also has a bit of a thing for low light photography, landscape photography in particular … and panoramics.

His pics are really great. So great, in fact, that was inspired to head out with my tripod for a half hour or so before cooking dinner.

Here is this evening’s effort (click on the image to enlarge).

ISO 100, Aperture f/4, Shutter speed 1.4 seconds

This pic has an aperture of f/4, and was from the first set of pics I took – f/4 simply to get the quickest shutter speed, and fire off a few test shots. The other sets were shot at f/18, with a 30 second shutter speed – which is more in keeping with what I usually do.

The smaller aperture and longer shutter speed creates this kind of effect:

ISO 100, Aperture f/18, Shutter speed 30″

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Filed under Cape Town, Landscape, Low light photography, Panoramic photography, Photography

From a bridge over the highway

Another night shot – I have a bit of a thing for heading out with my camera and tripod at night, these days.

I arrived early, way before the sun went down, and positioned myself on a pedestrian bridge over the N2 at Woodstock in Cape Town. Getting there early meant that I could record the changing light, and be ready when those few minutes of perfect light smile down on photographers – you know, that light that floods the world while you’re either sitting in the office, or driving in your car, cooking dinner … anything but taking pictures. I took a lot of pics that evening; once I start, I find it hard to stop. Lost track of time, kind of lost track of where I live – i.e. in a  place where what belongs to you also belongs to those who want it.

This pic is one of my favourites, though.

I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before, but just in case I haven’t – I generally keep my ISO at 100 when I take low light pics. I know, I know … you’ve been told to up the ISO to make the sensor more sensitive to light so that you can take pictures in the dark. And, yes, this is true. But: the camera is being kept nice and steady on a tripod, and I want a slow shutter speed. So why, then, would I want to crank up the ISO? Sure, if I had no tripod and had to hold the camera steady in my hands, I would have to increase the ISO as much as possible. Try as much as you like, but there’s no way you can keep a camera steady for seconds at a time. The higher ISO would mean a faster shutter speed, which, in turn, would mean shorter light trails. A different picture entirely, in that case.

Similarly, if I wanted to photograph a person in low light, and didn’t want to use flash, I would have to increase the ISO. Why? Because the person would not be able to keep perfectly still for a few seconds, and would end up blurred – even if I had the camera mounted on a tripod.

So, unless I want a fast shutter speed so that I can freeze motion and/or avoid camera shake, I do not need a high ISO when taking photographs in low light.

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Filed under Cape Town, Landscape, Low light photography, Photography

Faithless luck in Cape Town

There I was amidst the throng of a very excited crowd at Grand West, feeling extremely fortunate with the comped Golden Circle wristband tied (a little too tightly) around my arm. I flipped the envelope over to check that it definitely was my name on the front (not that I was doubting the quadruple check made by the strong woman at the ticket office) and then saw it … ‘+ photo pass’. No way! Awesome! (No, really … the use of the word is legal in this case!)

Small snag … I didn’t bring my camera. Cameras are summarily confiscated from non-media people, and I didn’t want to run the risk of having to hand mine in at security. Nor did I want to take it along, just in case, and leave it in the car.

So, there I stood, a media pass handed to me, and no camera … kind of like that time I was at the top of Machu Picchu without my camera. My daughter had her little aim and shoot with her, though, so when Goldfish appeared on stage, I shoved her through the gate … ‘Go!’ I said, ‘go! Who else do you know who has a media pass for Faithless? Who else do you know who is going to be photographing Goldfish right now?’ So in she went, wielding her little shiny camera, muscled her way in amongst the big guys with the big lenses. Chutzpah, is what it’s called. And she had a blast.

In the meantime, I was frantically texting the Significant Other to get my camera bag and barrel through to Grand West before the main act. Luckily the battery was charged and everything I needed was in the big bag … for once I hadn’t been distracted by some idea or another, mucked about with the camera, and left bits and pieces spread about the house. The gods were smiling on me!

I had to miss most of the Goldfish set … a bummer, because they’re an amazing band! (I wrote about them here) … to head out into the parking lot and pick up my camera. Quickly screwed the 400 mm on, checked that I had a memory card in the camera, shoved another into my bra (yes, I did, really) and, balancing rather expertly on my very high shoes (in order to be taller than everyone else and so be able to see the show), I ran back inside, just in time to catch the end of Goldfish.

And so … there I was … in the media pit with the rest of the lens envy crowd, shooting away. I had a moment there, thinking … ‘Pfff … you’re not anybody. You’re just the one taking the pictures of genius.’ But I got over it. So I’m no genius. So I got to take the pictures of genius. That’s an honour not to be scoffed at!

And what a show they put on too!

Take a look at the Faithless Limited Edition Box set – the book was written by my very cool friend, David Matthews – and the rest of the Faithless and Goldfish pics on my website.

Maxi Jazz

Sister Bliss

Sudha Kheterpal

Sudha

Getting the shots: Not much to this, other than a nice big lens, a steady hand aided by image stabiliser, a high ISO (varying between 1600 and 3200), and a shutter speed that helps to freeze motion and fight camera shake. You’ll have some blurry shots, and some where the lighting guys just blow your image into oblivion, but that’s just the way it goes. Not every pic gets a Pulitzer!

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Filed under Cape Town, Events Photography, Musicians, Photography

Kiara’s Batmitzvah Album

The album to commemorate a special girl’s Batmitzvah:

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Filed under Cape Town, Children and Family Photography, Events Photography, Photography

World Cup Final Draw: Long Street Festival

The World Cup Soccer is drawing near, and this weekend the final draw was held at the Cape Town International Convention Centre. My friend, Ron Gaunt, master sports photographer, was there to record the glamour.

Very late in the day, when the festivities were pretty much in full swing, and by the time 50 000 people had gathered in Long Street to watch the draw on the big screen, be entertained by our local bands and to dance in the streets, I made my way downtown to see what’s up. And it was simply incredible!

Those sadsters like myself who had wandered into town too late to be allowed into the main festival area thronged at the gates, and pleaded with security guards and policemen to be let in. At that stage, the fellows had been on their feet for about eight hours, were hungry, tired and fed-up, and had heard every story imaginable. They were buying none of it. Not one more person was getting into the festival.

And so I meandered back down the road, and back up again, and back down, looking for some semblance of festivity to photograph for Ron. More and more people started arriving, excitedly making their way to the festival end of the road, where they would be sorely disappointed. All they would find were policemen on horseback and a mass  of people all trying to catch a glimpse of the party on the other side of the fence.

And then the mood changed. You could feel a shift in energy. A whole new party started on the other side of the fence. People made their own music, honking their vuvuzelas, drumming, chanting and singing, and they danced to their own beat. Laughing people with their arms around each other, all wanting their picture taken, danced and ran down the street. A crowd of people would suddenly stampede down the road, coming straight at me, singing at the top of their voices, waving flags and making a noise.

It was an amazing experience. People of all nationalities and all races were united in celebration. Everyone was everyone’s friend. On my own in the middle of town, carrying my camera, I felt completely safe. We were all looking out for each other. It was a great day in South African history. I am very grateful to have been a part of it.

For more of my pics, take a look here, and for Ron Gaunt’s full story, as well as his sports photography, take a look here.

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Filed under Cape Town, Events Photography, Flash photography, Photography