Saturday, August 14, 2010

Photography and fun times

During our last visit home, we spent many afternoons in the garden. Just soaking up the sun, socializing with our cats and dogs and enjoying the prolific birdlife. Even though the garden is dormant (I don't like to use the words: dead or dry) at this time of the year, we were thrilled to see so many visitors at the ponds, sunning themselves on the bare branches above us and feeding in the sleeping lawn and beds.

Of course, I was out there with my camera and snapped away...
Sitting on the garden bench next to the large pond in our garden back home, I photographed this female Wattled Starling sunning itself in the apple tree.

Panning down to the opposite side of the pond, I captured this Karoo Thrush having a drink

To the left of me, some distance away, I was thrilled to photograph these Cape White-Eyes at the waterfall
I love the droplets shooting up from the waterfall
It's not easy to capture White-Eyes as they move about all the time

When I downloaded the images onto th computer, I realised that I'd captured a Red-Headed Quelea without knowing it!

A few days later the Red-Faced mousebirds commandeered the waterfall. This one sure looks like he's having great fun!
A  Black-Chested Prinia arrived for a bath and a drink
The Hadeda Ibis is a beautiful bird with the most raucous call. As it flies up, it calls: Ha-ha-hadee-dah loudly and brashly. These birds, although regular visitors to our garden in South Africa, were rather skittish and flew off at the least disturbance. (I think it's because there is no-one in the garden while we're away, apart from the gardeners who work quietly) I was lying on the grass on my tummy quite a considerable distance from them and snapped away happily at these beautiful birds feeding in the garden.
The Cape Robin Chat is another resident bird in our garden and renders the first birdsong in the morning. During the summer months I have heard him calling at 3.25am. During the winter he starts singing at first light. He is also the last to call at night. Often long after dark. I'm wondering if this is the juvenile (now an adult) who was born in our garden and whom I photographed for days last summer

Still life...
 Visitors to our home and garden cannot believe that we have so many birds with six of "these" lying around in varying stages of rest and repose!

That week, I also photographed the moon. I was so excited at the result, that I took about two dozen photos!

Angus showed me how to use the sepia function on my camera

Using the macro feature on my camera, (which Amanda showed me), I captured this image of an aloe bloom in a container on my patio
Macro feature used again which magnified the fronds of the Melianthus Major (Giant Honey Flower)  and my finger (ewgh...)
On our motorcycling trip to Kwa Zulu Natal to visit John, Debbie and the chilren, we stopped in the Golden Gate Highlands National Park. The first bird to arrive and pose for me was this Southern Boubou

Not to be outdone, this female Red-winged Starling landed on the motorbike seat and struck a pose. They are very tame and will try to snatch food from your hands. This one left a "parcel" as well, which I had to clean up. I'm sorry I cut her feet off, but I was concentrating on focussing on the subject and blurring the background, that this was the result.

On the ground, this Red-Eyed Bulbul competed with the Red-Winged Starlings for our attention

80 kms/50 miles down the road, just before the Free State/Kwa Zulu Natal border,  we came across a colony of Cape Vultures.  Farmers place carcasses in strategic places and vultures visit these Vultures'  Restaurants. I was shaking a bit from the ride/excitement at seeing so many vultures, that the photo is not one of my best... (I had to have an excuse - LOL!)

 As we rode down the pass we had this most glorious view of the valley (which is the beginning of Kwa Zulul Natal) Using my landscape option, I achieved this water-colour effect of the beautiful scene below us

Using the Black and White feature on my camera, I took quite a few photos of our beautiful 16 month-old granddaughter. She has no problem posing for me.  I was thrilled with the back-lighting effect.
 This is the same darling child, clambering up the slide. She stopped when she saw me with the camera and this was what I captured!

Here I managed to capture her in a pensive mood. Both this photo and the one above is taken from a fair distance away

The Arabic for [the] bird is el tayr. The Arabic for boy child is tifl and girl child is tifla (pronounced teefil and teefla)


  1. JO....what a great collection of photos. Your portraits and macro shots are especially gorgeous. Was it difficult to leave your home and all your animals? Going back and forth can't be easy.

  2. Wow Jo---what a fabulous group of photos---ALL of them.... You are doing great with that new camera.

    Love seeing all of your birds since they are so different from ours... Those white-eyed ones are amazing....

    Your grandbabies are precious.... Thanks for sharing.

    Doesn't look like your kitties are the least bit interested in the birds...

    Have a great weekend.

  3. Wonderful photos, all! Keep on snapping and sharing with us :-)

  4. Hi Lori, thanks for popping in and for your kind comment. Yes, it's heart-rendering to leave our grandchildren and animals. The g/k's at least have their parents and other GP's nearby. Our pets are without us, but I think as long as they're fed and warmly housed (in luxury, no less!) they thrive... We have our North African cat, Shadow and the budgies who keep us feeling "at home" here in Khartoum!

    Hi Betsy;) thanks I knew you'd realise that I'd been practising at my photography. It's coming along, and I agree, our birds are so different from yours. The white-eyes (two varieties live in my garden) are called "glass-eyes" in Afrikaans! No, most of our kitties are not in the least bit interested in the birds. I agree, our g/k's are all stunning. That little blonde girl must be the prettiest child in all South Africa!

    Hi Joyful;) thanks for popping in and the encouragement.

  5. I can see you did and saw a lot when home, plus learning more about your new camera. I've been working on that myself. All those birds are glorious, but not as much as that sweet little grandchild.

  6. Absolutely Gaelyn;) she is so precious. I couldn't get enough photos of her!

  7. Wow, what wonderful photos, Jo. You have captured so many different birds, each one unique and beautiful. I also like the water droplets captured in mid-air. And your little granddaughter is so beautiful--sweetness personified!

  8. Hi Jo. Thanks for sharing these series of photos. I particularly like the sepia and moon shot.

    I was wondering why my comment on your Skywatch Friday post wasn't published. I answered about the Arabic word for sunset and sun.

    Have a wonderful day dear.


Thank you for visiting my blog and taking the time to leave a comment. I appreciate your feedback. Jo