Coot Chicks

Coot Chicks

These little chicks are coot, you might say. I saw them, on the vlei at Marievale, far out on the water, at the furthest reach of my 500mm telephoto, and even then I had to crop the images severely. The teeniest chicks, interestingly, were the furthest out - mere orange-beaked fluff,  beside the black hulls [...]

Bird on a Wire

Bird on a Wire

Here's a good one. A prisoner in a Turkish prison goes to the prison library, and asks for a particular book. The prison librarian replies, 'We don't have that book. But we do have the author.' Signs of the times, you might say - the modern dystopia. History has not ended - in fact, it's [...]

Against the light

Against the light

From the corner of the hide, you looked out across the water, directly into the light, where the coots were squabbling and giving chase, and I knew at once that this was an image made for black-and-white. I took several photographs, aware of how tricky the light was, and struggling with the heavy lens to [...]

Photography Analogue and Digital

Photography Analogue and Digital

The world I was born into was analogue. That meant film: in my case, mostly Kodak Tri-X, or Ilford FP4. Tri-X for when you wanted to "push" the film speed, where the light was low, or where you wanted a contrasty, journalistic effect or - I shall come back to this in a moment – [...]

Squacco Heron lift-off

Squacco Heron lift-off

Now here's a thing.  Going through my photos from Marievale, I came across a nice sequence of images of a squacco heron marching through the reeds. You can almost hear the martial music – tum ti tum ti tum ti DUM – as it crashes onwards and finally, clumsily, launches into the air. I was [...]

What’s in the can?

Of course there are no longer 'cans' but still, you never really know, do you, what you've managed to capture on a day out in the field, shooting moving objects - birds, in this case - until you've got back home and uploaded your images into Lightroom on your Mac. I've just been scrolling through [...]

Joburg Water and the DA City Council

Our water is off again, in Parkmore - not, in this case, on this umpteenth occasion, for some dramatic, globally important reason such as drought or climate change, but simply because of an aging infrastructure, a lack of maintenance, the incapacity and incompetence and lack of responsiveness of local government.... Not, let me add, an [...]

FDR and Trump

FDR and Trump

I have been watching, these past few evenings, Ken Burns' richly described and absorbing account of the Roosevelts, including Presidents FDR and Theodore ('The Roosevelts, An Intimate History,' on Netflix). The past two episodes have focused on FDR - the extraordinary story of his polio, his ascendancy to the Presidency, the whirlwind first 100 Days [...]