Weekly Photo Challenge : Forward

Muizenberg Beach – half an hours drive from the centre of Cpae Town, probably one of the most popular surfing beaches in the region. Weekends are when most surfers arrive, ranging from novices to experts, all clad in wetsuits, clutching some variation of a surfing device, be it a long board, surf board, paddle board, wave board, believe me, you’ll see them all here. Some of them arrive as early as dawn to catch the early wave, others arrive at their leisure, one things for sure everybody seems to be moving forward in some sort of way, even if its only standing on the baord heading towards the shore…:-). So my post responding to the “Forward” prompt on the Weekly Photo Challenge has images of some of these “forward” moving surfers
…………..the journey continues…..


Weekly Photo Challenge : Dreaming

Interesting Challenge this week, Dreaming….with the prompt to share images that make you dream. I have previously posted about Muizenberg Beach, a wide expanse of Beach with gentle waves just casually rolling to the shore. An absolute surfers paradise, resulting in it being quite busy most of the time, with surfers of all ages taking to the water, parents with children playing about at the waters edge, families out picknicking, people out walking their dogs, others just out for a jog or stroll, taking in the scenery etc. Doesn’t exactly sound like a place that conjures up images of dreaming, unless of course you’re a hard core surfer :-):-). Well, I’ve been out there around sunrise, and on some occasions, you can be lucky to get there before the sunrise surfers arrive, and the place is really “dreamy”.. :-), completely isolated, calm, and serene ..perhaps it just feels like that because everybody else is warmly tucked up in bed ..dreaming..:-). Seriously though, this large expanse of beach with the gentle rolling waves, and the soft morning light, with its soft puffy clouds, reflected in the moist sand has very much a “dream’ like appearance.

My images for this weeks “dreaming” challenge, is from one of these sunrise visits………. the journey continues……………..

Weekly Photo Challenge : Summer

This weeks Photo Challenge topic – Summer, is a bit of a contradiction for me, seeing that here, in the Southern hemisphere, we are in the midst of Winter. Nevertheless, I warmed to the idea :-), difficult not to, when the topic conjures up images of sun, sand, beach, holiday, fun, long days etc…etc. 🙂

Muizenberg Beach, about 25 minutes from Cape Town City Centre, is probably one of our many premier “summer” beaches. An incredibly long beach with gentle waves lazily making their way to the shore. No wonder it is one of the most popular surfing beaches in the region. Surfers young and old, from all genres, if there is such a thing in surfing vocabulary…..sporting, surfboards, longboards, body boards, paddle boards..I think (*the ones you stand on and paddle) and various other surf flotation device, make their way to this beach to make most of the “surfing” friendly conditions. They arrive as early as sunrise, some on their own, some couples, others with parents, or children for that matter, with a few friends, and even in a group of learners with a teacher in tow. “Summer”, is obviously when it is most busy, but even the coldest winters are not cold enough to keep purists away ..

I on the other hand was just an observer, with camera in hand. I got there at sunrise earlier this year, and watched  the activity unfurl…………how as the sun broke through the horizon, the activity on the beach increased, and in a short time the beach was a hive of activity, with surfers, swimmers, walkers, joggers, lovers, picnickers, strollers etc all making the most of the “summer” day on this popular beach.

Todays images are some of those that I captured while taking all of this in………………the journey continues……………………

Weekly Photo Challenge : Two Subjects

I suppose this weeks Photo Challenge will result in numerous different interpretations of ‘two subjects”. I thought about my own interpretation and decided that I preferred the version where the two subjects were interpreted as “two subjects” each of which could have been an image on their own. Somehow, in my opinion though, the ones I have chosen, are each enhanced by the other, which kindof means that they belong together anyway.
Muizenberg Beach is about a half hours drive from the Centre of Cape Town. Its orientation allows it to create a perfect foreground for sunrise, througout the year, however, depending on the season, the alignment of sunrise is different. As we are heading towards winter, sunrise is becoming later, so the half hour drive to catch sunrise nowadays doesnt require loss of too much sleep :-). The amazing thing though is how popular the place is at sunrise, there are surfers taking in the golden waves, early risers taking their dogs for a walk, energetic others starting off with a brisk walk or run, some passionate souls just taking in the tranquility, and even a few taking the plunge for a morning swim. Of course there are the “ealy birds” trying to catch the elusive morning seafood catch :-), not to mention the photographer or two looking for some shooting opportunities.
I too, was out there recently, camera in hand, to try and capture the moment…………..amazing orange sunlight, filtering through the clouds, reflecting onto the gentle waves slowly rolling onto the shore…… providing the perfect first subject…………..place a few people into that image and the second subject completes my interpretation of this weeks “two subjects” challenge…………….the journey continues……………

surfers delight…………….

Recently I posted about the beach at Big bay which is an area about half an hours drive away from the City Centre. The surrounding area is a mixture of high and medium density residential which has grown substantially over the years. The area has a very long stretch of uninterrupted beach with wonderful view of the City with Table Mountain as a backdrop. Due to the predominantly west-facing orientation, it is also a perfect vantage point for watching dramatic sunsets, as the sun slowly sinks into the sea. The area is also very popular with surfers, and due to windy conditions which are often experienced here, also popular with kite surfers, windsurfers and the like.
I was there recently, shortly before sunset. The cloud cover was dense, yet the sun punched through at every available opportunity, resulting in an extremely dramatic skyline with the rays of light shining through like guided spotlights. The clouds were quite dark in some areas with the contrast of the light rays punching through, the sun starting to set, the reflections and the glare on the water, made it almost surreal. Add to this a few surfers, some just hanging out waiting for a wave, others leaving after having done their time in the water, and others still arriving and joining the others who were already there. All kitted out in wetsuits with boards in hand, or below them, complementing what was already a very picturesque scene.
As you can imagine, I was out there with my camera, and took the opportunity to get some shots. My last two posts have been focusing on my beginnings with HDR photography, so when I was thinking about today’s post, I considered that perhaps HDR would be the perfect technique to try to capture and convey some of that “surreal” quality, some of the drama in the clouds, some of the dynamics of the light punching through, and some of the dynamics of the waves and the reflections created by the setting sun and so much more.
So todays images are a continuation of the HDR technique, very subjective, though, I suppose, its my interpretation of what the scene looked like, to me.
The journey continues……………………………

ocean pathway…………….

The weekly photo challenges always seem to prompt me to do a mental scan of all images that I may have taken that meet the criteria of the topic for that week. Fortuntely, I always seem to have something that is appropriate, and relevant. Nevertheless, I still find my self lingering on the topic after I have made the first post, wondering if anything else fits the bill too 🙂 So, more often than not, I’ve posted a second, and on one occasion a third post on the topic.
This week is no exception, while thinking about the path topic, considering my post was out of the Country, it prompted me to think of something that was shot at “home”. I remembered some shots I took at Big bay, a popular beach area for surfers. Not sure if the “big bay” connotation has anything to do with the size of waves, or if that just happens to be a coincidence. So, once again, lets just do a geographical migration back to South Africa, beacuse thats where todays post is 🙂

I happened to be in the Big bay area recently, fortunately with my camera, and discovered that the beach is very easily accesible via a path that leads off from the parking area of an adjacent shopping centre, on approaching the shore, you notice this timber walkway which literally leads you into the ocean. It is such a powerful lead in element that, you can almost visualise a surfer walking down along this path and heading off into the ocean. On this particular day, the sky was filled with clouds, and the sun was trying to punch its way through, making for a very dramatic scene. 🙂

Well, I didn’t have to visualise for too long, because as I stood there shooting, lo and behold, this surfer arrived, board in hand and walked down the pathway into the ocean…………………the journey continues……………..

Todays images are of the walkway, which will allow you to do the visualisation, the final image is the realisation of the visualisation, the surfer on the path…………..

the early bird catches the……………………….

A few days ago I was posting a series of blogs in and around Muizenberg Beach. The last post in the series was the post called “morning has broken” which was about what it was like on the beach at sunrise. The weekly photo challenge topic was announced on Friday, so I posted about that for the last two days. Today, I decide to continue the journey on Muizenberg Beach at sunrise.

Sunrise is an amazing time of the day, and the wonders of shooting during the “golden hour” have been written about at length by many photographers. Even I wrote a blog about it not too long ago. My photographic journey thus far has taught me many things, one of the more significant things is that I “see” more, it’s that quest for trying to find great shooting opportunities, perhaps you could describe that as notice more, or observe more, or become aware of more, either way I’m sure you understand what I mean. So, this day was no different, when I got there, I noticed how quiet and peaceful it was, with very little activity, from humans and animals. And as the sun started making its presence felt, slowly the level of activity increased. Not drastically, but noticeably so. Almost in proportional intensity to how the night faded into day, so the “early birds” were emerging for their own specific activity.

There were the seagulls, at the waters edge, feeding on whatever caught their attention,

 there were the two guys perfectly adorned in waterproof gear, metal detectors in hand, headphones secured to their heads gently skimming the surface of the sand in search of something valuable,

there were a few people also perfectly equipped for the conditions with a pump of some sort, suctioning out moist sand and looking for what I assumed were prawns,

there was the guy with his caravan all equipped with food and beverages for the hungry souls who happened to be around here in the early hours of the morning,

there was the first morning train full of workers probably heading into the city to earn their keep for the day,

there were even more walkers and joggers than earlier, catching up on their daily dose of exercise and recreation

there was even a couple of surfers emerging from the water having completed their morning surf

each of them in their own way personifying for me the expression, “the early bird catches the worm”, each looking for their own “worm” in a manner of speaking……….it didnt take me long to realise that I too was just like them in my own way,  another early bird, trying to capture some amazing shots during the golden hour, before the night metamorphasised into day once again…….the journey continues………….

These were some of my images…………………..

Muizenberg beach – viewed from above

My recent posts have featured Muizenberg, as one would encounter it if you were walking along the boardwalk between Muizenberg and St James. Alternately as you would encounter it as you drove into the large parking area which is normally populated by surfers and beachgoers alike, perhaps in different states of dress or undress :-). Not sure what visions that conjures up for you, but I was referring to surfers getting into or out of their wetsuits, or swimmers drying themselves off before putting some clothing back on. It’s also possible that you would have encountered it as a surfer heading off into the water with their surfboard, or maybe just a parent sitting on the beach have a leisurely read of the weekend newspaper as their kids entertained themselves on the beach.

I guess all of those encounters would give you a different perception of the size of this beach. I think I referred to that fact that this beach has a reputation of having the longest break in the Cape Peninsula,  the wave is rideable for approximately 1.5km in a previous blog. To really appreciate the relevance of that, actually  requires that you get an overview of the beach, which despite being able to see the horizon at “street level”  is not possible until you get higher up. I mentioned the Shark spotters in my last post, and they have a station that is positioned on Boyes drive, which is a road that straddles a hill on the western side of Muizenberg. This drive is particularly busy nowadays as there are ongoing road works on the road that straddles the coastline. The elevated position of the road makes it an ideal vantage point for incredible views, and even whale watching during the season, so it’s not uncommon to see walkers, hikers, cyclists at the various lookout points throughout the year.

The shark spotting station is a regular stopping point for tour buses, offering tourists the  perfect photo opportunity. I have stopped there a few times, though rarely when I’ve had my camera with. I recently made a point of stopping there with my camera to capture the amazing view and the actual impact of the size of this beach. Despite how deceptive it may be from below, it is very evident from above how a wave can be rideable for 1.5km.  The journey continues……………………………………………………………………………… 

Todays images are of the beach taken from the shark spotters station on Boyes drive..

Canon 7d, Canon 18-200mm lens f3.5/5.6, ISO 100, F11, 1/400 sec, FL= 24mm


Canon 7d, Canon 18-200mm lens f3.5/5.6, ISO 100, F11, 1/400 sec, FL= 35mm

Canon 7d, Canon 18-200mm lens f3.5/5.6, ISO 125, F8.0, 1/640 sec, FL= 18mm

Canon 7d, Canon 18-200mm lens f3.5/5.6, ISO 125, F16, 1/80 sec, FL= 110mm

Canon 7d, Canon 18-200mm lens f3.5/5.6, ISO 200, F16, 1/200 sec, FL= 190mm

Canon 7d, Canon 18-200mm lens f3.5/5.6, ISO 125, F8.0, 1/400 sec, FL= 18mm

Shark Alert!!

I posted the other day about the fact that we were having this amazing weather even though we are in the midst of winter. Muizenberg was the little coastal village where I started my walk to St James, along the coastline. I touched briefly on the beach, which actually lies on the north western end of False Bay . The beach stretches 35km eastwards to Strand and Gordons Bay boasting warmer sea temperatures than the beaches on the Atlantic Seabord. In summer water temperatures are around 20deg C, though the winter sea temperature is about 7 deg C cooler. Too cold for me thank you 🙂  This beach has a reputation of having the longest break in the Cape Peninsula, (I know those superlatives come in all over the place 🙂 ) the wave is rideable for approximately 1.5km  The best surf spot on the beach, is in the corner of the bay, and is very appropraitely named Surfers Corner. Obviously this makes the beach extremely popular amongst surfers, bodyboarders and swimmers. It is a well known fact that many seasoned surfers today actually learned to surf on this beach. 

From August to November land based sightings of Souther Right whales is possible from the walk to St James. Bottle nose dolphins and even Bryde’s whales can be seen further off shore. Recently there has been an increase in the number of sharks that visit the area too. There have been a few shark attacks in the past which obviously presents a major problem for all the watersport enthusiasts. An organisation called Shark spotters which started in 2004, has shark spotters on duty to alert all the water users of the presence of sharks in the water. The spotters are stationed at an elevated point on Boyes Drive which is a road that is on a hill alongside the beach. A flag system of warnings is used, so the relevant flag colour for the prevailing conditions is hoisted. Notice boards are placed on the beaches that advise the different flag colours and the status thereof.  An extract from the shark spotters website indicates the following categories of flag.

  • A Green Flag means visibility for the spotters is good and no sharks have been seen.
  • A Black Flag means visibility for the spotters is poor, but no sharks have been seen.
  • A Red Flag means that a shark has been seen recently, but is no longer visible to the spotters.
  • A White Flag with a Black Shark, along with a loud siren, means a shark has been sighted and you should leave the water calmly, but immediately.
  • No Flag means that spotters are not on duty.

I think they provide an absolutely essential community service of not only creating awareness, but actually providing an early warning system to help reduce the number of shark attack incidences on this beach. The system is obviously not 100% effective, so people need to understand the associated risks when entering the sea. Shark spotter website is  http://www.sharkspotters.org.za/ if you’re interested in finding out more.

The journey continues…………………………

Todays images are a continuation of the images taken on the walk that I posted about a few days ago, though with an emphasis on the water based activities here…………….

Winter – blue skies, surfing, swimming, fishing ?

We are supposedly in the midst of winter, so if you were a tourist and arrived here with your winter woolies in the last few days, you’d be wondering if perhaps, somehow, the pilot of your aircraft had punched in the wrong flight plan. We’ve had a wonderful spell of amazing weather. I’m talking blue skies, wonderful calm conditions devoid of any wind, gentle waves, and lovely warm weather.

South of the Cape Town City Centre is Muizenberg, a little village on the coastline, which has a nice wide shore with gentle waves rolling in.. Perfect conditions for surfers to learn the ropes. Now, this spot is generally jam packed in Summer, as you can imagine.

There is a walk that hugs the coastline between Muizenberg and St James the next village, which I had been wanting to do for a while. I figured today, was a s good as any to check it out. When I got there, I noticed, that almost everybody else had the same idea :-). There was the surfing school having a lesson for beginners, toddlers with parents wading in the water, fisherman patiently waiting for the next bite, people just hanging out on the beach, picknicking, reading, just enjoying the good weather. Of course there were many others doing the walk too, along the seaside with the train tracks alongside. All along the way there are tunnels below the railtracks which connect you to the other side. The walk goes along the seaside until it reaches the little village of St James with its colourful changerooms reflecting into the tidal pool. There too, families were out enjoying the wonderful weather. Thats the upside, the downside is that we have winter rainfall, and to date we have not had anywhere near enough rainfall at this stage of the winter season. So, roll on rain clouds, we need you too…………..The journey continues………………………….

Todays images are of moments along the walk……………………