Karoo Light: Sunsets, Storms and Night Skies

Two or three times a year we make the journey west from Grahamstown and into the Karoo – often staying somewhere around Compassberg which at 2504 metres is the highest peak in the Sneeuberg and Karoo. Kate has been working in the area for many years and I’ve gone along too. Sometimes that’s involved some academic work but more often I take my camera out and about. For me as a photographer the Karoo is really grainy: there’s gravel roads, flatlands, thorn scrub on rock outcrops, flat sedimentary ledges in front of rugged mountains, dolerite columns and twisting sandy rivers. All of this under a huge sky with dramatic light – especially when there’s rain (and snow) about.

This slideshow features some of my favourite themes, sunsets, storms and night skies.

There’s a picture of an iconic Karoo wind pump under a stormy sky. The Obelisk below the Milky Way is at Ganora Guest Farm (it marks the sharp turnoff to their self catering cottage). The Karoo Sunset was actually taken from Hogsback, which isn’t in the Karoo, but I was looking due west at the sun setting beyond range after range of Karoo hills. The two Passing Storm pictures were taken approaching (and from within) the Karoo National Park one dramatic afternoon. The last two pictures are of sunsets at Compassberg and the Sneeuberg north of Nieu Bethesda.

I’ve put The Karoo Windpump and The Road to Compassberg in my online store where you can also find plenty of other landscape pictures and my latest exhibition – Metamorphosis.

Working with Symmetry

The past eight months of Kate’s cancer treatment have seen our lives turned upside-down.  Seemingly by chance I started a photo project – Symmetry – and it’s proved to be a therapeutic space where I can turn away from day-to-day concerns and focus my creativity on beauty and harmony.

Symmetry Slide 39

As I have been working I’ve shown a number of the photos to Kate, Helen and Jeannie and their responses have been very encouraging.  When I was at Warton Farm in July my sister-in-law Jeannie caught sight of some of them on my iPad (which her grandchildren were playing with).  She said I should think of an exhibition.  I’ve toyed with the idea ever since but last week I changed my mind and postponed that thought.  I had just sent 40 images to Sweden where my friend Janet Hall lives and this is what she said:

“I am gobsmacked by your pics……..truly I am. I was immediately thrown back into childhood and my love of and fascination for kaleidoscopes, I could peer endlessly down those tubes at the magical patterns that formed themselves. There is definitely a book there.”

Her last remark immediately struck a chord and so now I am busy finding out how Apple’s iStore and Amazon’s eBooks handle the distribution rights for electronic photo books.  I’ll shortly be working with new software in order to get the right ePub file, text and layout to deal with.  So from now on I’m going to be very happily engaged making an electronic photo book out of my images. I’ll be blogging some more about this I am sure.

Symmetry Slide 1

The two pictures are ones that I have worked with as potential title pages.

Inspired by Lux

These pictures were inspired by the Lux exhibition in the grounds of Cragside. It’s a celebration of light and innovation. I loved the sounds of the laurel tree growing (harmonica botanica) spilling around the formal gardens. The glass light vessel was also striking. Here’s some images produced using the filter presets in Snapseed: the light vessel, the wonderful owl carving that’s a permanent feature in the grounds and lastly some of the wonderful textures in the lush vegetation.