The Silence of Elephants – a haiga

I found this lovely haiku by Ingrid Baluchi when I was recently browsing through back issues of The Mamba Journal – it’s the Africa Haiku Network’s online publication that comes out twice a year. Right away I knew I would like to put it to imagery and – fortunately – we had already booked a visit to Woodbury Tented Camp at Amakhala Private Game Reserve. Our ranger (Brad Louwrens) was extremely helpful in positioning the vehicle during our game drives and that was a big help in getting the video clips I needed to make this haiga.

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Lockdown Safari to Amakhala Private Game Reserve

In September and October South Africa began to ease the Covid-19 lockdown restrictions and our local Game Reserves began to open up. We were desperate to get out of town and into the bush so we took advantage of the special offers for residents and had day game drives to Kwandwe and stayed for two nights at Woodbury Tented Camp, Amakhala.

We were treated to spectacular game viewing in beautiful landscapes. It was so nice to get out with the camera again for some nature photography that I’ve put together this little video of our time at Woodbury Tented Camp. We went mid week and so were the only people staying there. I think you’ll agree that it was memorable!

 

In Tandem: Poetry to Imagery

Just before lockdown I shared a quiet couple of beers with Harry Owen and we talked about trying something new for the Virtual National Arts Festival. Seeing as we had lots of poetry and imagery between us why not collaborate? Here’s a taste of what we have been working on.

Aorta – Harry’s unpublished poem was initially prepared with Coming Home: Poems of the Grahamstown Diaspora in mind. It’s the first one that we worked on and has all of the elements that we have stuck with. There’s a voice-over to a sequence of images followed by the written text of the poem. A soundtrack backing the voice-over is the final strand of what we have put together.

The second piece is from Coming Home. It’s Gillian Rennie’s lovely small poem ‘Bots Aloes’. Harry again is the reader. Coming Home is published in East London by Amitabh Mitra’s The Poets Printery.

The last poem took a while to complete because we really wanted to track down the author – Hannah Armour – to get her reading of ‘Now’. She wrote this when she was ten and eight years have passed since then. It’s published in For Rhino in a Shrinking World: An International Anthology, edited by Harry Owen and published by The Poet’s Printery. Thanks to social media and our network of FaceBook we found her and she kindly gave us the voice-over.

We still have three more In Tandem videos that we are working on. They’re all longer than the ones we have done so far and consequently more complex. Watch this space!

 

The Sound of Water: Three Haiku

We missed Reddit’s Poetry last month because of the Covid-19 lockdown so I’ve decided to make this short video clip instead. It’s three haiku with a water theme that I found at The Haiku Foundation’s website. Each of them is overlain on one of my photos of Eastern Cape waterfalls:

  • Wally Swist’s haiku with the Upper Kowie Falls in Featherstone Kloof near Grahamstown;
  • Ron Moss’s haiku with the Madonna and Child Falls at Hogsback;
  • Bashō’s classic haiku with The Upper Tyumie Falls at Hogsback.

I hope you enjoy them.

 

When the wave breaks

Towering over our townships, like a wave ready to break, was this huge cumulus cloud. Ominously pink in the late glow after sunset the top of the cloud was rising fast and, blown by the winds, looked like a crest hovering over Grahamstown’s townships below. This was taken a couple of nights ago, a week after the lockdown began, and mirrors my feelings of apprehension.

Cumulus clouds breaking over Makhanda's (Grahamstown) townships during the Corona virus lockdown

When the wave breaks

Technically this was a tricky photo to take. It uses the Olympus’ Live Composite mode – in this case it’s seven minutes worth of half-a second exposures superimposed (a total of 840 frames).  But it was really quite dark at 6:40 pm so I adjusted the ISO to 1000 and opened the lens up as far as possible to F2.8. The bright white lines in the sky are star trails. The moon was playing hide and seek in the clouds whilst I took the picture and that gave an unpleasant bright smudge in the sky that I have edited out.

Hogsback Land and Sky

The views of Hogsback’s landscapes and sky-scapes from Wild Fox Hill are outstanding and so I’ve made this small video of 24 pictures. It’s not as if you have far to go to get a really good shot: some of these pictures were taken right from the stoop of the eco-cabin. Others are taken from the hills nearby. I just love being able to get outside whatever the time of the day or night and capture the changing light and moods.

The video is three minutes long. It’s my first attempt so comments and suggestions are welcome!