Fairies and forests

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Apparently Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, author of the Sherlock Holmes books, firmly believed in fairies and went to great lengths to photograph them. I don’t know how much success he had but  there are certainly fairies around Pretoria and I have photos to prove it!  Enjoy these selections from recent fairy shoots we’ve done. Thank you models Rebecca Stewart, Staci-Leigh Howard, Ané van der Walt and Leah van der Walt!

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…we decorate our horses and our women.

“In Rajasthan, we decorate our horses and our women.” I was browsing through a book of traditional Indian textiles. It was filled with bland photographs of the most wonderful saddle cloths and other tack items for horses and skirts, blouses and shawls for women. In typical Rajasthan fashion, the colours were bright and decorations over the top! The owner-manager of the hotel, the Hotel Nachana Haveli, looked over my shoulder and dropped that particular little non-PC bomb. I loved it and went scooting back to my, mostly feminist, female travelling companions to get the reaction! The westerners clucked and our Indian host said it was so typical of the male-dominated Indian culture, especially that of this particular desert state.

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But it got me thinking. About how incredibly clever we males are about decorating our women. In rural communities, where men still have horses, they actually have to go out, catch the horse, brush, comb and groom before they can add the finery and make it something that shows off the owner’s high status in society. Now, I don’t know much about rural women. Perhaps their men need to catch them before the decoration can begin, but the urban ones I know and the ones I saw in India are a particularly well-trained bunch. They are almost all self-decorating. They can be seen in the many exterior decorating shops measuring the feel and drape of textiles, matching colour schemes while ensuring that the whole picture adheres to the strict decorating rules, all laid down by the women who make the rules.

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While all this self-objectification is happening, the men are free to sit back, undecorated, and observe while putting back a beer or three. Sometimes the men are called upon to put in an admonishing word to an errant, undecorated women but it is thankfully rare. The women do a very good job of it on their own! Of course, there are some men who are part of the whole decorating thing. But all real men know that these are overly traditional, arty or otherwise limp-wristed. Real men wouldn’t fall for that kind of nonsense. Tie-dye T-shirts for us! (Not so?)

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So why all this Indian culture stuff now, 6 months after I should have got over it all and returned to being a proper westerner? It was all brought on by sitting at Fournos Bakery at the Grove yesterday, people-watching over a delicious salmon board.It is quite amazing how “In Pretoria, we decorate our women!” I’m not sure about the horses. And we do it the lazy way. Well, they do it for us. Pretoria ladies, even in the boring winter are well turned out. (It’s interesting that we use a horsey term for being well dressed!) In the fashion of the day, there are plenty of spandex-clad thighs and bums, peeping out from cheek-revealing tops, to keep the aesthetically-minded men happy all day. Our women are decorated. But so, it seems, are our horses!

spandex horse Spandex on the fashionably decorated gee-gee. (Pic from Google)

The final verdict? The men of Rajasthan are honest about it. In the west, we would deny it. Either way, our women and our horses are well decorated.

Are you?

Gliding

I’m not going to mess around—yesterday was awesome and all I want to talk about! The scene was the Kranskop Gliding Club at Brits. The occasion was a special open day for various students and interns from previously disadvantaged communities who are part of a couple of programmes to encourage flying as a profession as well as a recreation. A colleague of mine, Daniel Ralefeta, a pilot and all-round good guy, organised the whole thing. It involved getting more than 30 glider and powered flights done in a day at an airstrip where they usually manage 9. He did it!

I was asked to take pics, including air-to-air from a Lambada, a small plane and motor glider. When I got there I realised how small. The 70-200 lens was way too big for the cockpit!

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Patricia’s Adventure

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Patricia was a little nervous about what awaited her at the studio, I think. The result though, was that she left on a total high having had an absolute blast! We played with the black net and had her doing fun things before they had to leave to be in time for a soccer match – some things wait for no man! :-)

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I particularly like the antique black and white look on this one combined with Patricia’s very cool hat and quirky expression!

Some more – just click to view them:

 

Family History

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Hayley and Riaan’s wedding photos are further back in this blog so it was really special to go out with them for some maternity pics just before Ethan made his appearance! This shoot was a very relaxed affair and a lovely stroll around in beautiful surroundings. Here is a couple more:

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Tumi’s Maternity Shoot

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I do yoga with Tumi so I’ve had the pleasure of watching her little bump grow while Tumi seemed to be totally ignoring the fact that she’s pregnant and continued to out-yoga most people! She and hubby, soon to be Daddy, came around to the studio for a maternity shoot and we had such fun! I wanted a range of shots for them so I did both light and dark looks. I think white backgrounds are very over-used so normally my preference is for a darker look but they all  worked well. It helps having someone in front of the camera who is enjoying the experience and just going for it! (more…)

Watery MTB

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They have a floating bridge on the ASG trail at Rosemary Hill. If you don’t know what a floating bridge is, its a whole lot of wood held together in the form of a path about a meter wide, that floats on the surface of the water. Only just. It doesn’t hold the weight of a person with bicycle but, if you are moving fast enough, you can get across without sinking. Unless you make a mistake. Here are some photos I took at the recent 24hr race. From a photography point of view, the challenge here was to keep shutter speeds down so as to get some really nice pans and blurry motion. In this kind of photography, it’s important to show motion in wheels, spokes, pedals and other moving bits.

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Then there’s the rest of the course – some great singletrack and a few technical bits.

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