Tag: Nature

Find the Dassies

Can you see one, two or three dassies?

No wonder these okes aren’t extinct… They have Wally ninja skills.

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Courtesy of the Pretoria Botanical Gardens.

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Escape of the City Sleeker

Roodeplaat Dam

A leisurely Sunday drive north from Pretoria took me to the tranquil Roodeplaat dam. Nature has always been a welcome escape to my sometimes frustrated and busy city sleeker soul. The spellbound serenity of the barley moving water soothes and envelopes the mind with a powerful relaxation. The peaceful afternoon hypnotizes me and I can feel all the pent up negativity slowly seeping away into the void as I completely forget the grains of sand passing through the hourglass. Mother Nature always finds a way to rinse out the soot of a busy and sometimes seemingly trivial 8 to 5 rat race that we sentence ourselves to.

As I sit in complete peace, my soul content, a few words that pop into my head: “Food is the most abused anxiety drug. Exercise is the most underutilized antidepressant”…Why do we choose to spite ourselves? It makes me sad that we can so easily chain ourselves to materialistic aspirations. Before you know it you are chasing money, success, fame, recognition and acceptance. This capitalistic game really seems trivial and juvenile as I enjoy the company of a few conversational birds, leaping fish and the whispers of the wind.

Soothing Waters

Roodeplaat Dam

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Wondrous Faerie Glen Nature Reserve

On my way to work I spotted the Faerie Glen nature reserve, nestled next to one of the big “streets” of Pretoria. It is almost surreal to walk within this gem of nature, and I like to think of the reserve as an oasis in an otherwise bustling city.

The reserve has three different hiking trails that one can choose from and a few lovely spots like the Weaver’s Nest along the river that leisurely winds through the reserve. With a R5 coin as entrance fee, one can inexpensively spend the whole day exploring the reserve, but just be sure to take a hat, water and some sunscreen as protection against Pretoria’s unforgiving heat.

 

A bee sticking his face into a lovely purple flower:

Bee

 

Nature in the city:

Pathway 1

 

There are some lovely scenes you will encounter:

Pathway 2

 

A variety of plant life will keep the enthusiastic snapper happy:

Purple Flower

 

Even the lone sunflower makes an appearance:

Sunflower

 

White flowers:

White Flowers

 

Sometimes the trail gives way to cool and secluded dens that only gnomes and fairies can dream about:

Tree & Fungi

 

Weavers’ nests hanging above the cool stream:

Weaver's Nest

Be sure to check out this picturesque gem if you find yourself in Pretoria. A good way to find interesting places to visit in Pretoria is through the city’s website http://www.tshwane.gov.za/Services/Nature%20Conservation/Pages/default.aspx. Next on my list is Groenkloof (definitely going to take my mountain bike along for the ride).

 

Coming up for air

I kept the shutter open for 30 seconds, and was quite surprised to see little star trails. Will definitely invest in a remote shutter release and book a ticket to dessert country to see if I can get an epic-star-trail-combined-with-spectacular-scenery-photo.

30 second shutter

Just some clouds bleeding amber.

Glowing Clouds

Wild Peach Destroyer

It is time for exams again, and thus the procrastination and blogging and taking photos commences at full force. As a student I will do just about anything to avoid my books… Especially when I need to study for Accounting. I nurture a special hatred for the dull subject that basically consists of the tedious  task of balancing BORING financial scales.

Every year at about this time, the larvae of the Garden Acraea (those orange butterflies with the black spots) start to hatch on the leaves of our wild peach tree. We know that in a few weeks’ time it will look as though that tree is in the middle of winter. The larvae completely defoliate the wild peach and then they start to form their chrysalises all over the place. They become pupae on the walls surrounding our house, inside my father’s ‘Wendy house’, on the window panes – basically in every nook and cranny.

I will document (procrastinate) the destruction of our wild peach over the next few weeks as I drag my academic feet through the putrid, rancid and pungent mud that is financial accounting.

 

Camera Fight

These past few weeks were filled with excitement and anticipation as I set on a journey to find a suitable replacement for my old DSLR. The 350D Canon has served me well, since being passed down from the older generation, but the time has come for me to broaden my horizon! Any entry-level DSLR would suffice (my bank is already broken), but the obvious choice lay between Nikon and Canon. Many hours were spent on dpreview.com, weighing options, reading reviews and comparing brands and their models. My dad had switched over to the dark-side a few years ago, and taunted me about wanting to go Canon once more. I had no problem with the brand, for it has served me well in my quests of creativity and exploration. Nikon versus Canon, the fight had begun.

I made my mind up before I reached the painstaking task of comparing prices from the throng of camera shops littered across Gauteng. I want a Canon. And I want it now!

Ironically I found the best prices for digital cameras in a shop in Sandton. Wow. Sandton = cheap? WHAT!? Who would have thought… The shop’s name is Cats digital / Catz digital or something like that. They have an array of products, ranging from tablets to cameras to… To be quite honest, I was wholly fixated on the cameras, so I don’t actually know what the rest of the shop looked like.

Expert advice was given; expert advice was listened to and mulled over, with the constant asthma voice of Darth Father blowing in my ear: “Nikon, my son, Nikon is the chosen path…”

I walked out of the shop, and am now a proud new owner of a Nikon. I was hooked on the better low-light capability and the sound of the shutter lightly flicking down, like a tiny wave of water lapping a rock at the tranquil sea.

 One of the last pictures I have taken with my Canon 350D.