Weekly Photo Challenge : Texture

Texture is the prompt on this weeks Weekly Photo Challenge, these images of doors in Locortondo, Southern Italy, are my response to the prompt.
……….the journey continues………..

Weekly Photo Challenge : Zig Zag

Hiking routes connecting the Villages of the Cinque Terra in Italy, zigzag their way across the Countryside, through valleys and ridges, through terraced planting areas and alongside flowing mountain streams. These routes become more formalised when they reach the Villages, yet still zigzag their way through the colourful buildings. Zigzag happens to be the prompt on the Weekly Photo Challenge this week, and images along the route and wiythin the village are my response to the prompt..
…………the journey continues……………


Absa Cape Epic 2014 – Stage 6 – Glimpses

The Absa Cape Epic 2014 MTB Challenge, known as the Untamed African MTB Race, covering a route of 718km, incorporating 14 850m of climbing, over 8 days finished today. Yesterday’s stage 6 was 85km, with 1 800m of climbing, was a circular route which commenced and ended at Oak Valley Wine Estate near Elgin. These are some images taken near the South Hills refreshment station.

Images Stage 6

Click on an image to see a slide show of the entire collection.

Weekly Photo Challenge : Inside

I wrote in a recent post about the arrival of Spring in the Southern Hemisphere, so a perfect opportunity to post some close up images of wild flowers of the Fynbos kingdom in response to the ‘inside” prompt on the Weekly Photo Challenge                       …………. the journey continues………


52 Photos Project : Wide Open Spaces

2013!!! Hoorayyy :-):-):-) I know, sounds like I missed all the fanfare 🙂 We’re three weeks into the New Year, and this is my first post for the New Year.
I suppose Bellas prompt on the 52 Photos Project (www.52photosproject.com), is rather appropriate, considering most people would have had some sort of break over the Festive period, and quite a few would have ventured into wide open spaces. Having said that, my post for this topic is about an area north of the Polar circle, within what is referred to as the last European wilderness, an area in Northern Sweden called Lappland. Wide open spaces, as far as you can see, with snow capped mountains, and beautifully saturated colours of the Autumn is what I found when I visited there in the last quarter of last year. The snow capped mountains on the images in this post are of “Lapporten” the U shaped entrance portal to Lappland…………………the journey continues…………
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Taha de Pitres……….. a hike through seven villages

Once you’ve spent a day or two becoming familiar with the vicinity you’re stationed in when you’re visiting the Alpujarras, your appetite for more of the same increases exponentially. So, from the occasional ramble between little viilages, you venture out into the slightly longer hikes, like the one I described in my blog of yesterday. The ease of getting around, and the simplicity of the access is quite liberating. Yes, this is mountain territory and the weather can close in any time, yes, some of the tracks are quite steep, and some of the surfaces quite corrugated, but something about the place makes you feel adventurous and explore more and venture out further.

So, when I picked up a leaflet “Exploring the Alpujarras” with Elma Thompson – Taha de Pitres – Seven Villages, the decision to do it was obvious. In hindsight, when I think about it now, 7.5km over donkey and similar tracks, is not really a long hike, though when you think about walking between seven villages, it somehow feels a lot further than it actually turned out to be. The route that links these villages, is ancient as it follows the medieval caminos that were used before modern transport dictated alternate access. An extract from the leaflet reads ” do not expect to find shops or even bars in each village – though you will find an abundance of drinking water”. So, backpacks packed with munchies it was off to the start. Ironically, the walk starts next to a bar/restaurant on the min road. just in case anybody needed topping up to avoid any withdrawal symptoms from the abstinence over the kilometers ahead :-):-).

The route starts in pitres, and it doesnt take long to realise why alternate routes had to be found for modern transportation, the first downhill part was literally a slot cut into a bank, which you soon realise is in excess of 2m deep….a bit daunting if the banks were a bit unstable, but its been there a while so it shouuld be fine:-). Before long, all of 20 minutes later, you reach Mecina. The significant thing about the closeness of these two villages, is how the altitudes differ, Pitres is 1245m, and Mecina 1027, yep! 218m difference in height!! hopefully that will emphasive how steep that bank must have been.

 The route continued to Mecinilla, then on to Fondales hich turned out to be the lowest village of the route at 930m. A short while later you cross the Puenta de Fondales (bridge), and the route leading to Ferreirola at 1005m starts the climb back up the slope. Interestingly, as you approached each little village there was always a group of three or for village elders I assume just hanging out there having a chat. They paused mid conversation, nodded an acknowledgement and just continued about their conversation. Along the route you encounter fruit and nut trees, amongst them almonds and oranges, and houses as described in previous blogs, though with quite high density, packed closely together, with very narrow roads in between and tunnels that are called “tinaos” where buildings straddled the road at the upper level. Houses were kitted out with flower boxes, and planting, chainlink screens, and even an outdoor hammock with an incredible view. Your instinct is to just buy a place and move there 🙂 and trust me, I lingered for a while at every te vende (for sale ) sign I stumbled upon.

Ferreirola was the next village followed by Atalbeitar at 1139m. There are numerous “hito” (marker posts) along the way, so theres no reason to feel like you’re lost, occasionally the route joins the GR7 hiking route through Europe. From Atelbeitar the route takes you to Portugos at 1303m before the circuit is completed when the path returns to Pitres. The hike was a wonderful way to discover so many little villages with populations all below 500 and not even exceeding a few more than one hundred in one case. Something that one becomes familiar with in this area of villages with tiny populations is how few people one sees. This is further amplified during the Spanish afternoon siesta, during which I walked through a few of the villages, the place was deserted except for a few hospitable street cats who decided to hang around to provide a friendly welcome to visitors who didn’t quite get the idea of the siesta and chose to go on a hike instead  :-):-)……..the journey continues……………………………………………………………

Which brings me to todays images, taken along the route of the seven village hike…. ………..my thanks to Elma Thompson for her comprehensive and explicit directions which made this hike very enjoyable..:-)

………..remember to take the camera

Whilst I’ve always had a keen interest in Photography over a very long time, most of it had been directly connected to specific situations. Perhaps a friends birthday, a family get together, a specific function, recording moments on a holiday, or a weekend break, or even progress on work related projects. Nevertheless, I used every opportunity to read magazines, literature, forums, blogs, etc with a view to learning from Professionals and others who were shooting more regularly than I was. Somehow, wherever you read it, there is a common thread from all the contributors….”always have a camera with you“. Professionals and Amateurs concur in interviews after award winning images are presented, that one of the secrets of capturing special moments requires that you always have your camera with you. I guess I knew this all along, having read it often enough, but did not really engage with it.

Recently, due to a slow down in the “day job” I have had more time to actively pursue my interest in Photography and continue the journey from “snapshots to greater shots”. The thing about shooting more pictures, more often, is that suddenly you begin to “see” many more shooting opportunities. Yep! you guessed it, and on a few of those occasions did I wish I had taken my camera with!!.

I travel on a particular route two mornings a week, which goes through and elevated area which is east facing and overlooks the harbour area. Since its winter here, sunrise is a lot later than normal, so as I was driving over the crest of this hill some time ago,  the amazing skyline unfolded before me. A huge grey cloud bank that was quite dense, save for a series of light beams literally forcing their way through the clouds. In an instant it hit me “no camera!!!!!!”. Foolishly I put it down to a missed opportunity and didn’t learn the hard lesson. Imagine my surprise two days later when exactly the same thing happened!!. But! this time I figured I had to do something different, to avoid getting the same result, so I stopped my car, and actually took a picture on my mobile phone, yep! my single act of trying to fix the fact that I hadn’t followed the advice of seasoned professionals and just “remembered to take the camera”, or rather get into the habit of taking the camera. But!! once again, I guess I didnt learn my lesson, so a week later there was a different but similarly dramatic scene with a very low cloud bank except this time the harbour cranes were punching through the cloud line!! Yep! you guessed it again !! “no camera”. Ta..da.. Mobile phone to the rescue :-).

Finally the penny dropped, and I was determined to fix this. So I have religiously taken the camera with since.  Needless to say I have travelled that route twice since then, but unfortuantely nada!! The saying that lightning doesnt strike in the same place twice, may have have been stretched to its limit with those three occurrences, but I guess expecting a fourth strike in such short proximity to one another, is nothing short of expecting a miracle. Nevertheless, miracle or not, I am determined, I’m not driving that route, and probably many others without “taking my camera.” The sad truth is that unfortunately this was not an isolated incident, and it did happen in other situations too. As I mentioned earlier, “shooting” more means you “see” more and if you dont have a camera with you “miss” more.  So watch this space………………………… 🙂 the next time lightning strikes, I’ll be waiting, camera in hand 🙂

And so the next episode of the “journey” blog continues, with a new set of images, yes, those very images taken with my mobile phone, of the suns rays punching through the clouds, and the harbour cranes punching through the clouds the other way, but also of another “missed” opportunity on the promenade along our coastline where a lone bird decided to perch itself onto one of the urban art pieces along the route. All courtesy of my trust Samsung Omnia mobile phone:-) My Canon 7d was sitting snugly in its case at home:-)

Moving beyond 2010 …..

It finally happened….the My Citi Rapid Transport system for Cape Town has become operational on both long distance and Inner City routes. The Inner city service commenced during the World Cup 2010, but was stopped shortly thereafter. The large fleet of brand new buses have been patiently awaiting the day when they would be able to ferry eager Capetonians to and from their work and leisure destinations. Lo and behold the day has arrived and almost one year to the day the service initially commenced, it is now back in operation, much to the delight of Cape Town commuters. There appears to be much support for the system which undoubtedly is reducing travelling times and commuting costs for Capetonians from all walks of life. The routes to the Waterfront through the City centre are enough to make a local feel like a tourist in their own city, by offering an opportunity to be driven around their City sitting in an elevated position and  getting a completely different perspective of the city than they are used to from a car. Reports are that buses are so well used that additional buses have to be implemented during peak hours.

Many Cities around the world are testament to the fact that an efficient Public Transport system is an absolute necessity, and Cape Town’s journey in this regard has begun.

I boarded one of these buses to the Waterfront today, and can confirm feeling like a tourist in my own City. Todays images are about the commencement of that journey, the bus stop, and an image of the interior of the bus, complete with video monitor proclaiming “Beyond 2010” Bus rapid transit system to cover the whole city….long may it live..


Reflections Sea, Sky and …………..

Sunset along the Sea Point coastline in our city never fails to amaze me. The setting sun brings about an array of wonderful colours, often diffused by cloud, fog rain and other climate activity. Whatever time of the year this surreal kaleidoscope is ever present at sunset. This scenic environment tends to attract all sorts of people to the Promenade, walkers, joggers, parents with kids on bicycles, lovers strolling hand in hand, families having picnics, elderly people being pushed along in wheelchairs, even homeless people. Most having a leisurely time enjoying the Public Realm. Of course there are the “working” people too, ice cream vendors on bicycles, food vendors, security people, police, street sweepers, cleaners, domestic workers and staff from nearby shops on their break. Each of them in some way or another on a journey…

I too was out there yesterday to take in the spectacle, camera in hand. Despite all this activity, there is an air of tranquility, which brings me to the topic of todays blog and image, reflections sea, sky and ………..everything else.