Our second experience of the Karoo Wine Club’s excellent tasting weekend in Graaff-Reinet didn’t disappoint. We went last Friday to find some wines cheap enough for the opening of my fringe exhibition ‘Metamorphosis’ at #NAF18. For the price of a R250 ticket you get to sample wine from some 30 different estates: there’s craft beer, gin and liqueurs too but I failed dismally to get the right product!
Tasting Stoep Wine
Wines to taste
Karoo Wine Club Sampling Glass
Sampling Beer at the Stoep Wine Tasting
We also took along my portfolio to discuss possibilities of exhibiting in the Drostdy Hotel at the lovely Imibala Gallery and had a couple of very positive and helpful discussions. I’m hoping that a return trip is going to happen later this year when I’ll be carrying some of my metal prints with me.
Friday evening was spent sampling the different clusters of wineries to find a safe place to take pictures on Saturday night. I quickly discovered that Graaff-Reinet’s motorists treat random photographers as fair game to flatten – especially after dark – and finally found a nice spot outside the Reinet House on Murray Street. I wanted to catch the stars above the fine historic building and the wine tasting going on outside as cars drove by.
Early Evening Stoep Wine Tasting outside Reinet House
Stars, wine and cars outside Reinet House
The N2’s not an easy road and I don’t think many festinos’ would think it’s a delight: but most people will come to #NAF18 along it. Whether from Port Elizabeth or King William’s Town it snakes its way across a whole sequence of deep valleys. I just love the names of the rivers. On the PE side you leave Grahamstown through Howieson’s Poort and must cross the Berg, Palmiet, Assegai, Kariega and Bushman’s before the long dry stretch to the Sunday’s River at Colchester.
N2 by Night: Howieson’s Poort
To the East of Grahamstown it’s across the Belmont Valley you go and over the Kowie River before the long climb up to Governor’s Kop. You’ve still got the Great Fish and Keisakamma to cross before you reach the Buffalo River bridge entering King William’s Town.
N2 by Night: Grahamstown
N2 by Night: Belmont Valley
The N2 at Night makes a good photo essay. From the radio masts on the western end of Mountain Drive you can catch the car headlights coming up Howieson’s Poort. At the toposcope you can look down over the N2 bypass to the town’s lights. Below you is the Port Alfred road and the N2 weaving across the Belmont Valley and up through the cuttings beyond.
The Howieson’s Poort picture is one of this year’s Grahamstown series that I’m showing in Metamorphosis, June 28 – 8 July, at the Johan Carinus Art Centre during #NAF18.
This month certainly started with a bang – we had a spectacular storm last night that’s given me another picture for #NAF18.
Autumn Storm over Grahamstown
I shall add it to the three night pictures in the Grahamstown Series I’ve already printed for Metamorphosis. You get such cool colours and effects in night photographs whether it’s a moon rise, car headlights or lightning. But they’re quite tricky to take. Then there’s problem of just how to print them. This time I’ve selected something a little different – Ilford Metallic Gloss.
Blue Moon over Grahamstown
N2 into Grahamstown
Lightning over Grahamstown
The prints have a slight metallic sheen with rich contrasts and plenty of detail. They’ll be on sale at the exhibition and also through my online portal later this month.
In a couple of month’s time Grahamstown’s Festival Gallery hosts its annual end-of.year exhibition. This year the theme is Summer in Miniatures – artworks have to be no bigger than 30 cms. I’ve decided to try out a submission with the idea of ‘Summer Nights’ and use a selection of four night pictures taken this past southern hemisphere summer.
The first two were taken on Ganora Farm which is just outside Nieu Bethesda in the Karoo. Summer Nights 1: Angel and Obelisk was taken in the middle of the night when there was no moon. I wanted to catch the Milky Way stretching directly above the rock and quite by chance I caught the light of my head torch that I was using to light-paint the top of the obelisk. Summer Nights 2: Compassberg Star Trails was taken on a night when the moon was full which is why the landscape is so bright. It’s a one hour exposure looking north to Compassberg mountain and has beautiful star trails arcing across the horizon.
Summer Nights 1: Angel and Obelisk
Summer Nights 2: Compassberg Star Trails
Summer Nights 3: Firefly and Star Trails
Summer Nights 4: Pride Rock Star Trails
Summer Nights 3 and 4 were both taken looking south from Mountain Drive, Grahamstown: so they are overlooking Featherstone Kloof. In Summer Nights 3 I was joined by a firefly that flickered briefly past my right shoulder and up into the sky. It’s another picture taken when the moon was full so I hid beneath a rock overhang to avoid getting direct moonlight on the lens. For the last picture, Summer Nights 4, I highlighted Pride Rock from underneath with a bright LED as there was no moonlight to bring out the foreground. The lights on the horizon are from Port Alfred 60 kms away.
If they’re accepted for the exhibition they’ll be priced at around R2500 for a framed print but I can supply a high resolution digital image for half of that. Contact me if you are interested.
Last night Äsperöd had clear skies with a distant Aurora forecast so I headed up the hill after it eventually got dark. I was looking for a band of green on the northern horizon that merges into pinks and purples before the black of the night sky above. Uddevalla city lights put paid to seeing anything low on the horizon but I did manage to capture the soft pinks and purples.
It’s been exciting this past couple of weeks seeing everything start to take shape. There will be 19 large format photographs for sale either as limited edition prints or as digital images at reduced size and resolution. A further 20 images from Symmetry in Nature will also be for sale in digital format along with the remaining six copies of the limited edition print run of the book.
I compiled two mosaics of all of the images that will be on view at the exhibition so it’s easy to see what’s on offer.
Symmetry in Nature
The pictures have been printed and the framing has started. Here’s the first two images that were waiting to be collected yesterday from Classic Framers in Grahamstown.
For collection …