Monthly Archives: August 2010

Blogging Friends Festival

BIG THANKS to the wonderfully witty Cindy at The Only Cin, for passing my blog a Best Weekly Photo Award! Sincerely appreciated, Cin 🙂

Despite being clueless about Blog Award etiquette, I’ve created this BBF Award, to acknowledge cyber friends who inject an extra shot of joy into our online journey:

BBF BOUNTY

Colourful, Creative,
Wordsmiths all,
You fearlessly follow
your inner call

To express, encourage,
support and share,
converse, engage,
LOL and care

Like flowers that reach
towards the sun,
You brighten cyber space,
Every one.

Today’s BBF Award goes out with gratitude to these Fabulous Bloggers:

Africa on the Blog
Agrigirl
Healing4Tomorrow
Jingle
Kaleidoscopes
Kate Shrewsday
Live the Magic of Africa
Moments . . .
Reflections from a Cloudy Mirror
SA Venues
Souldipper
Spirit Lights The Way
The Jungle of Life
The Only Cin
Travel with Melissa
Woman of Worth

Please share freely 🙂 Continue reading

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Thirst

Thirst comes first.


MALE LEOPARD DRINKING – Londolozi Game Reserve, Sabi Sands, South Africa

Silent paws pad down the dirt road, leaving perfect prints. Leopard prints. Warren has picked up the trail of this most elusive cat. It appears to be a male, heading for water. Our eyes scan ahead for the flash of his tail tip. Nothing. Still, my pulse quickens as I flick the video camera onto standby. Leopards are among the rarest of game drive diamonds. We approach the dam slowly, spotlight sweeping from side to side.

The rustle of passing leaves whispers that someone has snuck from view. But we’re focussed forward. Rounding the road’s last bend, we see him! Cutting the engine, we coast closer for a more intimate look. Not too close, preserving the dignity of his personal space. Our frail human faculties can’t detect his scent, although the reverse seems true. Muscles bunch beneath his sleek spots, anticipating action. This is the way at waterholes. Encounters with other creatures are on the cards. After all, Thirst waits for no-one.

Quotes to consider:

“You should not see the desert simply as some faraway place of little rain. There are many forms of thirst.” – William Langewiesche

“When it comes to having a central nervous system, and the ability to feel pain, hunger, and thirst, a rat is a pig is a dog is a boy.” – Ingrid Newkirk

“Kissing is like drinking salted water: you drink and your thirst increases” – Chinese Proverb

“Good as drink is, it ends in thirst.” – Irish Proverb

“They talk of my drinking but never my thirst” – Scottish Proverb

“Thirst will parch your tongue and your body will waste through lack of sleep ere you can describe in words that which painting instantly sets before the eye” – Leonardo da Vinci

While reminiscing about the Sabi Sand reserve, and taking a cue from that last quote, I simply have to share a few more of Dave’s photo’s with you. These are from another spectacular sighting at Londolozi, legendary playground of South African leopards. We followed this female for a magical hour or more, before she leapt up a tree:


FEMALE LEOPARD EYES – Londolozi Game Reserve, Sabi Sands, South Africa


FEMALE LEOPARD PAW – Londolozi Game Reserve, South Africa

In videography terms, we call those shots ‘simple reveals’. Now for the ‘wide establisher’:


FEMALE LEOPARD LYING IN TREE – Londolozi Game Reserve, South Africa

Don’t you just love her body language, delightfully draped in her natural vantage point?

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Feng Shui Feeding Frenzy

Inspired by some stunningly creative Adobe training on Thursday, and spurred on by conversation with the special Souldipper, I took my Nikon along to feed our Koi fish yesterday. Resolving not to use Photoshop tools, I plunged into this shoot … Continue reading

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Apple iPhone is birdsong to my ears

This blogging world is super cool. What a great way to discover new things and interact with awesome people around the world. Last week, we were horrified to learn about the fatbooth iPhone app, which appallingly adds weight to an ordinary mug shot. This was thanks to an excellent post by Agrigirl: It’s Only Funny Until Someone Gets Hurt. Take a look – honestly, seeing is believing! Tammy mentioned more apps, inspiring me to investigate and, quite frankly, take my iPhone more seriously 🙂

My number one app, though, is Sasol eBirds. Dave, being my personal techno-wiz, loaded it for me (if it weren’t for him, I’d have an ancient Nokia). So, if I’m feeling like a bush fix in the middle of Jo’burg, I simply tap in, close my eyes and listen to a few calls. Within a virtual moment, I’m lounging in the luxury of the African wild. Of course, when literally there, we have the bonus of identifying birds and reading all about them.

Or even engaging in conversation, such as recently at Welgevonden. A Mocking Cliff-chat (impressive bird knowledge courtesy of our friends who are accomplished birders) took a shine to the lodge bar. Whipping out the iPhones, we returned its warbling (“loud, melodious mixture of mimicked bird song”). It’s so delightful that I’m going to share it with you – via my iPhone, Sasol eBirds app, and Wordpress’ brilliant Post by Voice feature 🙂

But first, here’s a picture:


MOCKING CLIFF-CHAT – Welgevonden Game Reserve, Waterberg, South Africa

As well as two photo’s of birds that have my all-time favourite calls. These are the Woodland Kingfisher, abundant in the Waterberg during summer:


WOODLAND KINGFISHER – Welgevonden Game Reserve, Waterberg, South Africa

. . . and the African Fish Eagle. It occurs here in South Africa, but is a more common resident of the Okavango Delta in Botswana:


FISH EAGLE TAKING OFF – Khwai River, Okavango Delta, Botswana

Now, for the audio of all three . . . ENJOY!

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There comes a time in everyone’s life…

when they’re forced to part with their favourite pair of jeans. Or for that matter, a preferred profile pic.

The former happened to me on Friday. Crouching down to cuddle our puppies, that trendy little tear on my left thigh screeched South. What is it about guys and demolition? Dave couldn’t resist adding his signature:


EX-FAVOURITE JEANS

The devastation moved me to write a ditty:

ODE TO BLUE JEANS:

Oh, the things we’ve done,
Places we’ve been,
Times we’ve shared,
People we’ve seen

Through it all,
you held me tight,
Tossing you out
doesn’t feel right

Makes me wonder
if the summer line
has a new pair
that will be mine

What the hell,
sorry for you
Out with the Old,
in with the New.

Heartless I know, but when it comes to clothes there’s always retail therapy to help you get over them. Profile pics, on the other hand, are a bit harder to replace. At least with ‘newer’ versions. Make that impossible. Unless of course you cheat and use an ‘older’ one. We just don’t get any younger. Still, they have a way of wearing out. Starting to look jaded, if only from overuse.

In any case, you know how one thing leads to another? The fabulous Nancy at Spirit Lights the Way wrote a post last week about clearing out: Give Your Stuff Away Day ~ 9/25. Then my jeans took their leave, and a friend’s daughter pointed out on Facebook that she needed a new pic. Often it takes the next generation to get us into gear. Thanks Lara 🙂

It’s certainly the way with us. My stepson was the one who introduced us to FB. It’s proved pretty useful, so thanks Michael 🙂 With the impetuousness of youth, he went right ahead and created Dave’s profile. It sat around for ages, until we finally decided to get with the program. That was about eighteen months ago and, horror of outdated horrors, we haven’t changed our profile pics since.

That old story about the mechanic who takes forever to fix his own car? As professional photographers, we’re guilty as charged. So we set our studio up yesterday and snapped a few shots. This is the one we chose of Dave:

I haven’t confessed it before, but I have a fetish. Few things give me greater pleasure than providing a client with their favourite photo. All the better if they use it online. Let’s face it, today’s hippest accessory is the professional profile pic. Ask any social media guru. As for offline branding, I’d go with a sensational pair of jeans. When your photograph can’t speak for you, at least they can do the talking:

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Trust

Trust = Treasure


GROUND SQUIRREL EATING FROM HAND – Mabuasehube, Botswana

A temporary home from home, Losoloago Pan shimmers her welcome. Oppressive desert heat drives us straight to our freezer, emerging with cans of half-frozen mango juice. Stretching, we soak it in, along with the silence. Like shrugging into a familiar shirt, we begin the process of unpacking. Some way off, the silhouette of a Spotted Hyena, less hairy than its Brown brother, lopes behind bushes. We know from last time that both may be about, unusual as it is for their territories to overlap. They’ll visit later no doubt, when the flames of our fire begin reaching for the stars.

The gurgling of a Hornbill catches our attention. Dave is ready, aiming his Nikon into the overhanging thorn tree, which provides scant shade for our rooftop tent. Not to be upstaged, a Francolin scampers towards his feet, followed by some Ground Squirrels. They’re shy at first, growing bolder when we offer little bits of bread. Teeny paws pull our hands closer, light as the brush of eyelashes to cheeks. Never before have we interacted this intimately. Tentative, but determined, they test the limits of Trust. The pleasure, of course, is entirely ours.

Quotes to consider:

“To be trusted is a greater compliment than being loved.” – George MacDonald

“Trust the instinct to the end, though you can render no reason” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

“You may be deceived if you trust too much, but you will live in torment if you do not trust enough” – Frank Crane

Here are some more images to illustrate the scene:


LOSOLOAGO PAN, Mabuasehube Game Reserve, Botswana


YELLOW-BILLED HORNBILL – Mabuasehube Game Reserve, Botswana


HAND FEEDING FRANCOLIN – Mabuasehube Game Reserve, Botswana


GROUND SQUIRREL – Mabuasehube Game Reserve, Botswana

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Grace

Grace = Gift


KALAHARI SUNSET – Central Kalahari Game Reserve, Botswana

We call it ‘Big Sky Country’, the Central Kalahari. Somehow the horizon seems more expansive. Parked alongside a pan in Passarge Valley, we contemplate the meeting point of Heaven and Earth. Mesmerized, we forget to sip our nicely chilled drinks and nibble on the cashew nuts. Regal Gemsbuck drift nearby, quietly crunching the rough grass. Further away, a Ground Squirrel family frolics above its burrows. We’re done filming them. That was exclusive to Golden Hour. Maybe they’ll humour us again in the morning.

Light lingers solely in the sky, gone from the sand. The first rumble of far-off roaring reaches our ears. Warm up for the hunt. Anticipation tingles through the evening air, tempered by a peculiar peace. ‘I have a theory,’ Dave murmurs. ‘It’s almost as if the animals enter a trance-like state, accepting that one of them will go down.’ He’s right, I muse. Predator and prey appear to share a primordial pact. Premeditated panic knows no place here. Only Grace.

Quotes to consider:

“I come into the peace of wild things who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief… For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.” – Wendell Berry

“Grace is available for each of us every day – our spiritual daily bread – but we’ve got to remember to ask for it with a grateful heart and not worry about whether there will be enough for tomorrow.” – Sarah Ban Breathnach

“We cannot go faster than grace…If God will not go ahead with us, we must wait and go with God.” – Marcia Hollis

This is how the Gemsbuck looked a little earlier:


GEMSBUCK HERD – Central Kalahari Game Reserve, Botswana
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