Rhino

We are off to Detroit in the morning, to spend the weekend with my favourite sister-in-law – Cindy to her friends, but Cynthia to her sister.

I thought – considering where we are going – I should leave you with a photo, as I will most likely be maintaining radio silence until we are back home after the weekend.

No, it’s not Trump – it’s about as good-looking, but it’s a helluva lot smarter. It’s a rhino, heading down to the waterhole at Halali in Etosha, Namibia, for an after-dark rumble.

Which about fits the bill, doesn’t it?

Rhino, Halali

A different scale

On a different scale, if you’ll pardon the pun, from the pachyderms of Twyfelfontein, are the dazzling lizards – green is for girls and orange is for boys. We saw lots of them, on the deck and in the dining area at Camp Kipwe and on the large orange-and-ochre boulders that formed the walls of our outdoor bathroom. There was a lovely little water feature, too, where starlings and weavers, pigeons and various other kinds of small fowl gathered and parlayed, along with the occasional visiting lizard.

You’ll see, if you look closely, that one of the lizards is busy changing his skin.

Happiness is a Fine Art Print

Mussels are $6 a pound at Doonies on Wednesdays, so a couple of nights ago I headed off down Shaw Street in the direction of Bloor, in search of a pint of beer and some sustenance. And as I went, striding along in the evening light with fresh air in my lungs, I suddenly realised I was happy. Not just in the mundane, everyday, things-are-ok sense, but actually rejoicing, with an unfamiliar sense of renewal, of purpose, of satisfaction and fulfilment coursing through these ageing old veins of mine. There was a spring in my step, a sense of connection, that all too often is missing.

And as I walked I realised where it had come from: it had come from being utterly absorbed in doing something creative.

I learned an awful lot, last week, about digital printing: poring over Jeff Schewe’s The Digital Print and The Digital Negative, trying different papers and sizes, learning how to soft-proof (how had I ever printed without it!) and, in the end, producing a handful of landscapes and wildlife images that, honestly, thrilled me completely.

Part of the excitement, too, came from seeing my photos of the desert elephants at Twyfelfontein again, and remembering that almost spiritual sense of wonder and privilege as we watched from mere feet away while they stripped bark from the trees with their tusks, took sand-baths, and lay down in the shade for a late morning snooze. You can gauge how close we came from some of these images.

Here though are three of the images that I printed: the two shots of elephants sand-bathing I printed at 8 ½ x 11, while the mother and baby I did much larger, at 13 x 19. Though I say so myself, it’s a beauty.

Ugab to Twyfelfontein

From Ugab we drove on to Camp Kipwe in Twyfelfontein – named ‘doubtful spring,’ after the white farmer who settled here in the ‘forties, and who evidently would tell his guests, whenever they visited, that he was doubtful that the water would flow that year. I guess he was right more often than not.

Camp Kipwe was where we would round off our visit to Namibia – and in style, folks, in style! Kipwe is every bit as fabulous as it looks: blended into the huge red boulders of which it seems to form part, it is the epitome of ‘glamping’ – the kind of luxurious, ‘Out of Africa’ chilling that Rob and I only wish we could become accustomed to.

But for three nights, on a special deal, including two drives into the desert (more on this in another post) it was fabulous, and in dollars at least, relatively affordable.

Where Etosha was, for the most part, very much the Earth, post climate-change: flat and arid, painted with a palette of grey-greens, browns, chalk and charcoal, Twyfelfontein was from Mars, the red planet, a world of alien beauty – rocks, boulders, mountains, plains. And desert elephants, of which you will read in a future blog post.

Here in the meanwhile are some images: another landscape from Ugab, two landscapes from Camp Kipwe, and black and white photos of a tree, thrusting out of the boulders, and the Twyfelfontein Organ Pipes, cliffs of fractured dolomite columns that follow the course of a dry river bed.

From Etosha to Ugab

From Etosha we drove to Otjiwarongo, where – with some misadventure, i.e. the theft of cameras, iPad, cellphones, but fortunately not the Nikon, or our passports (!) – we spent the night. Next morning, somewhat disillusioned with the place, we went on to Ugab, where we stayed at the fabulous Ugab Terrace Lodge. Fabulous for its views, that is, its accommodation, and its extraordinary location, atop a narrow ridge reached by a death-defying climb up a track that in the last stretch seems to point vertically into the skies. Everything good, except for the food, which was merely decent, though miles – aeons – better than the crap we were fed at Namibia Wildlife Resorts. Needless to say, after several days in which food was simply sustenance at best, we tucked in with gusto.

Here, to ease the transition to the next stage of our journey, are a last few photos from Etosha, and two landscapes from Ugab. The bird in the photo is a korhaan.