Exploratory walk


The sisters are now four months old. When the door was finally left open they egged one another on to explore the garden.


Jessica crept around obstacles


carefully watched by the deeply concerned poodle.


Grace found her feet on the pathways


and knew how to run from the Mongoose.

Most importantly, the pathway to the inner sanctum of a safe home is clearly established. This is what will help to let them have further walks in the near future.

Set to impress



Driving around the outskirts of Cape Town definitely gives a glimpse into all manner of human ways.


Colour bling brightens up the drive.



0007 easy to explode gas pays tribute to our deathly ways and blends in peaceably with the industrial murk of the sky.


For the time being, Table Mountain still dwarfs the Vissershok landfill.



Work enough and you get to catch up on some rest where and however you can. A hard day’s day?



Tick off RayBans, flipped back cap, and a cruiser of some kind and the safari begins right here in town.



Out for a run or a drive, it is a beautiful place to be.


The lesser photographed poodle


As pets go, our standard poodle, Baillie, features in photographs far less often than the other beloveds. This is not because she lacks character, but because her particularly even coat and dark eyes make it very hard to take a photograph that enables one to make out head or tail of where she starts and ends in pictures, and I end up discarding the shots. Recently though I was listening to an Internet masterclass with Annie Liebowitch extolloing the virtues of flat light while taking portraits and decided to experiment yet again.  The result? The first set of amazing portraits that I have taken of this dog in thirteen years. Thank you Annie. We can now share the light and love in her eyes, the softness and intelligence, and even if she is ageing now her joy is ever present. I am so glad to have so much left to learn.

Every litter has a runt


Every litter has the tiny one, and sometimes these are the ones who make up in character what they were not given in ability. Now nine weeks old Jessie is still not able to climb the stairs, but she is a loud and rambunctious presence in the house. In her world, things matter. She may not be the bravest or the biggest, but she sure is the strongest.


All vets beware.  Do not be fooled by the petite beauty spot on Jessie’s nose.  Each foot has its own set of lethal weapons. 


Being the dark sister comes naturally.


Thou shalt submit.


“So who is that gorgeous kitten in the window?”


Jokes aside, Jessie is fully on her way to becoming a loving companion to all who live with her. She is a very fine young woman, and even has a tiny beauty spot on her toe to match the one on her nose.

Portraits of Peaches


“Peaches” is a dilute tricoloured calico kitten who loves to sleep upside down.  She and her sister arrived on a lucky Friday the 13th and according to legend her colouring is about to bring great fortune to our household.


Peaches pays attention to small details.


She was the first kitten to climb the full staircase.


She is brave but gentle and trouble makes her worried.


Best of all, Peaches loves playtime.

The intrepid explorer

She is an intrepid explorer and we are looking forward to sharing her bright future. 


A lamb called Elmer James


Elmer James was picked up by animal lovers Ian and Lesley while he was out walking alone along the streets outside Caledon. He had clearly wondered off from his flock and was in distress and the couple answered to his need for care.  Many bottles of milk later and he became this  feisty learner grazer who will eat as much as he can of whatever he can find and bond with whomever carries the bottle of milk. Clearly survival is as innovative as jazz music can be!


So what’s for supper?


Finding abundant food and nectar in a drought stricken area seems to be one of life’s meaningful moments for this Cape Weaver; what to eat becomes a choice clearly thought about and not entered into too hastily.


The weaver’s choice is shared by the Cape Sugarbird. Both species are aggressively territorial and battles can ensue over who owns the flowering plant.


Typically the Southern Double Collared Sunbird slips in quietly every five minutes or so to check whether there is a lull in the aggressive feeding of the larger birds. If there is a gap he will grab it and flit in for a drop and be away within seconds. This bird sticks to a particular route and follows the same sequence in visiting various plants all day long.

Money in the beak


This Juvenile Common Fiscal was one of three siblings being fed by a parental couple.  The juveniles open their beaks wide to display the inner yellow cavity leading to the empty stomach, shake their wings to get critical attention, and if persistent enough, a parent will give up the most recent catch.  This youngster made off with his loot, and then proceeded to play with his food before eating it; possibly to show off to the siblings?


Find the tracks


I have been sent on interesting photographic assignments over the years, and each time I enjoy the little stretch that comes from people wanting what they want, which is the thing they can see in their mind’s eye. The latest version of this was the instruction to find some tortoise tracks to be displayed on an information board in Yzerfontein about our Angulate Tortoises. Easier said than done when there is still lots of rain and cold weather about, and these little creatures are tucked tightly into their shells and not moving. Luckily this morning arrived already warm and I found this obliging resident of the dunes. Not sure yet if this shot is going to make the grade, but I have enjoyed the hunt and tracking down of the subject!  

Raptor Kills


Yellow-billed Kites arrive as an event each year. They announce the change from Winter to Spring all across the Southern African skies. And when they hunt, they display their true skill as raptor in the wide variety of flying snacks they latch onto. Sometimes large flocks will congregate around an emerging termite nest. Watching them swoop and snag such comparatively tiny prey can entertain me for hours. Grabbing a shot with a kite locked into position to catch a fluttering termite is pure pleasure.

Cloud build-up over the Highveld

suikerbosrand17042005 001

I am never entirely sure which of my photographs will stand the test of time: the ones that I am always pleased to see again, no matter how often they have passed in front of my eyes via the screensaver on my laptop. This particular shot was taken 11 years ago at Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve in Gauteng, and at the time I thought little of the fact that I experienced it as pleasing.  Now it puzzles me that I have grown to love it. I wonder what it is about this relatively simple composition that I find so enticing. Is it idiosyncratic, or would others find joy in it too? I often have huge skies in my photographs, because of an internal need for expansion, and this shot leaves me with a sense that I can stand next to that dark little bush on the edge and that the world will fall away and I will be able to see forever. 



Cape Weavers are known for their fierceness during breeding season and this male was telling me in no uncertain terms to leave his nest alone. All of this against the backdrop of millions of flowers strewn like a carpet across the landscape. Strange to think that in a few weeks this individual will return to a calm and dull olive-brown colour, while the furious yellow of his piercing eyes will become dark.  Around him the fields of flowers will return to dusty strandveld, leaving only the seeds to carry the potential of a next year’s splendour.

Inner cohesion and variety

The yearly West Coast flower season is opening up to the sun every day, and after the good rains we had it is promising to be a good one. It has me thinking of mandalas, secrets and variety. I climbed a koppie in the West Coast National Park and within half an hour I had photographed the inner hearts of near a dozen beings. Technically I used an extension tube for this probing, and handheld a 135 mm lens using a high ISO. But in my heart I was joyful for this symbolic mystery of resilience.

Home patch


I find it very satisfying photographing the birds living on my home patch at Yzerfontein. Yesterday this Grey-winged Francolin just happened to be out and about and ready to act as model of the day. Usually a very shy and elusive bird I have tried for many years to get close to this beautiful bird. My partner took one glance at my much prized photograph and said it would make a good puzzle. Looking at the feather detail I can’t help but agree.

Sleepy Sunday

6_Owl_African_Scops_0016 H de Klerk

The African Scops Owl is the smallest of our Southern owls. It is a blending expert, sleeping in plain sight against its chosen tree trunk all day long, hardly ever noticed by those who walk on by. When it is noticed and photographed it gives the barest recognition by opening its eyes into the tiniest slits imaginable. It fully embodies the need for rest and recovery.

Worker Be


18 July is a celebration of South Africa’s President Nelson Mandela and the community cohesion he worked for. It has left me contemplating the flow of energy involved in gathering and giving. My individual gains are so small, I find them easy to disregard. My conclusion at the end of a long, tiring and trying, day?  I find hope when I remember to just be a small working part of an alive planet.

Always time for rainbows


We are heading towards the 21 June solstice point still waiting for rain.  I find myself longing for rainbows. I want to experiment with getting a rainbow in sharp focus. HaHa. Not likely. They are ethereal things, made up of refracted light and the camera lens sees right through them and hardly takes note. This rainbow I found over the Karoo landscape some years ago shows just what I mean. It fades from colour to colour and in a split second of cloud movement it disappears. But I did have the time to catch it then and, now in this unseasonably dry time, I treasure it like a pot of gold.

Bumbling along

Out on an early walk this morning with cloud and mist in the sky, the bumble bees are playing along side me.

Out on an early walk this morning, with cloud and mist in the sky, this bumble bee was playing alongside me. Because of the soft light the contrasting yellow and purple show up clearly. In harsh bright light the colour would be more likely to burn out: literally too much light bounces off the camera’s sensor and the colour looks faded and washed out on the photograph. In low light conditions, such as this morning, however, the challenge is to get the fast moving insect in sharp focus. I resolved that problem by pushing up the ISO to 1600. It remains a compromise, though, as higher ISO settings can introduce too much colour noise and ruin the photograph in that way.