Birds

After the pig photo the other day we now focus skywards and feature birds. They’re not as easy to photograph as pigs but they’re prettier and more challenging. If you want a challenge.

My friend Heather spends a fortune on bird feed. She has a lovely garden full of trees and large shrubs which all attract birds, plus she feeds them regularly. Every afternoon they start arriving, knowing they will be fed. They sit on the branches and wait patiently for her to scatter seeds and then they plunge down and have a feast.

I spent some time last week hoping for a few great photos (#failed) after a fabulous lunch accompanied by a most delectable wine inadvertently left behind by Heather’s ex after a recent visit – he has his uses.

This is the bird corner. That's their favourite tree and that is their bench.

This is the bird corner. That’s their favourite tree and that is their bench.

birds waiting

Slowly gathering.

swoop and scoff

Feasting – Heather buys only the best seeds and the birds know this is the best spot in town

birds taking off

And of course we take off in a wild flurry at the slightest sound or movement, only to come straight back seconds later.

Birds

And the afternoon ends with a shot of the sky at sunset.

Spring, kinda

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First day of spring and I’d hoped to go and see the flowers in the West Coast National Park and at the same time test the new company wheels on an open road. But it rained this morning, then the sky was overcast for most of the day, and the flowers, being mostly daisies, need sun to show their faces – as you can see above, a field of orange daisies all with their petals shut.

So I changed the plan and Heather and I went to the little village of Philadelphia for lunch. They call it a town but there’s a church, a post office, 2 streets and 3 restaurants, so I’m sticking to village. It’s only about 40 km from the city centre but you may as well be way out in the sticks, since it’s surrounded by farms and canola fields which look stunning at the moment. I wasn’t very inspired to take outdoor photos but I took a few in a little gem of a shop called Magical Minerals. They specialise in crystals and minerals but also have a rather decent selection of gifts and fun retro items.

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Remember these? Kaleidoscopes!

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Indeed.
Not the full poem and the title is misspelled but still one of my favourites.

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Very retro – press underneath and the character collapses.

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Even more retro – cheaper than the collapsing character but more entertaining.

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Kicking myself for not buying some for the next season of Game of Thrones.

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Told you it’s spring!

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Classic Cape Dutch gabbling on this house but the section in the middle is puzzling as it looks Victorian.
I enquired on a ‘Cape buildings’ group on Facebook and was told this: “A whole Cape Dutch style (as opposed to the original Cape Dutch Architecture) developed after the design and building of Groote Schuur. A number of English architects, schooled in arts and crafts, started practise in SA. This is the result thereof. The style still exists and continues to develop.”

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The new wheels.
I wanted Heather to drape herself seductively across the bonnet but she can only do that in a bikini so this will have to do until summer.

Reluctant climber

Once upon a sunny Sunday Heather and I decided to go to Silvermine for a little hike, as we are wont to do quite often.  My friend Gaetan, the expert rock climber, suggested we should include some abseiling. I’d been bragging about my abseiling activities in Silvermine so Heather was game.

A disclaimer at this point is necessary: I did advise Heather that we would have to walk around the mountain back to the car because the only other way out is to rock-climb up and out and we are not rock climbers. Everyone was in agreement. Everyone.

Heather abseiled down, all good. When it came to my turn I did a cold-feet chicken-shit wussie-faced job. Nothing, none of Gaetan’s inducing could get me to step backwards into the void. Heather waited patiently below, enjoying the view, as Gaetan tried to sweet-talk me over a cliff. No way. Eventually he gave up, hopped down to join Heather and that’s when the fun really began.

He convinced her that walking around was boring (only for wussies) and she should climb up. I positioned myself, changed the camera batteries and waited. It’s amazing how even when you’ve known someone for decades they can still surprise you.

It took hours and hours, I lost count. Two kind strangers gave advice from below, Heather used some of the rudest words ever heard, Gaetan gave patient encouragement from above, Heather shared more obscure words, I took a gazillion photos of the sky, the birds, the scenery, some other climbers, more scenery, and many aspects of the long climb to freedom. I was nervous.

She made it to the half-way point and collapsed on the ledge (you can see the ledge below) in a very unladylike fashion, told us to eff off while she enjoyed the view and drank some water. The ascent continued. This part took about an hour to just get going because there were no visible/novice footholds and her arms and legs were packing in by now.

By rock climbing standards it’s not a difficult climb but for someone who had previously only done a level-7 climb this was a masterful feat. I would have freaked out and bawled and panicked (as I did on the level-7 climb). But she did it and even managed to laugh her way out of the top section which involved climbing through a sort of hole in the rocks.

Then we had to get out of Silvermine – with minutes to spare before the gates shut. But that’s another story.

Her arms were so sore and stiff, it took Heather several days before she could change gears without wanting to cry.

R-e-s-p-e-c-t !!

Discovering wide

This photo of Clarence Drive (between Gordon’s Bay and Betty’s Bay) is noteworthy for the fact that this was when I discovered the wide function of my camera and once I started, I couldn’t get enough. I took two shots of this scene but the other one didn’t have the rocks in front so it lacks depth, or something.

I was on my way home after a weekend spent in Kleinmond with Heather and Caroline. Caroline’s mother, Audrey, had asked us to come and see the flowers on the mountain behind her house that were coming into bloom after a fire. We were not disappointed – all sorts of beautiful little flowers had sprung up all over the mountain amongst the burnt proteas and other fynbos. It was a bit surreal to see the contrast between colour, life and dead plants. We had a fabulous walk with, as usual, Audrey outpacing us and putting us ‘youngsters’ to shame as we huffed and puffed and dawdled.

After that walk we’d built up a healthy appetite for lunch and ate our way through an oxtail stew like an army of ants. Poor Audrey, if she hoped for leftovers she didn’t get any.

And the wide setting? I often forget to change back so I have a lot of wide angled flowers and my computer goes into spasms trying to deal with massive transfers but I do have some very nice wide angle shots of the pretty spaces around me.

Disclaimer

A note to all accidental visitors:

I am not a photographer and do not claim to have any particular skills whatsoever in that department. I have enormous respect for those who can see the potential in a scene and can create a great photo. Good photography is an art, in my opinion.

I am just a happy snapper, I have no special lenses or accessories, my camera is very simple and it's usually best to leave the setting on auto.

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