52 Weeks of Life Seen Through My Eyes

Ida's Photo Theme Challenge


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Week 28, 29 and 30 #38. Powerful #A3. Nature #A5. Straight Out of The Camera (SOTC)

The following images were all taken on the same day, showing the merest fraction of the magnificent animals wandering in the wilds in one of South Africa’s vast number of game reserves. My South African sojourn resulted in hundreds of photographs for my archives. I was so thrilled to have seen quite a few of these marvelous animals in this incredible country especially as safaris of any description were not on my agenda. As a result, I’m taking the liberty of posting three different themes in one post.

#38. Powerful

This brown lion’s immense paws and massive head cannot be described without using the word ‘powerful’. Even the look in his eyes spoke volumes about the power in his body. His deep roar added to that sense of dominance.

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# A3. Nature

A small herd of Common Water Buck stepped gingerly over a ridge, constantly alert as they made their way through the tall grass, halting together to assess any threat in their surroundings. They may be common, but they are beautiful creatures with lovely long eyelashes and deep brown eyes. Such a treat!

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#A5. S.O.T.C.

Cheetahs are beautifully marked with their spotted coats and black tear marks. Their long legs and slender bodies are perfect for speed. This lovely feline, so close to us, walked at a fairly brisk pace, obviously aware of our presence and clearly uncomfortable with it. I was lucky to be able to get the shot before the long grasses hid him almost totally from sight. There was no time to make adjustments or change lenses while taking the photograph. It is just as it is…straight out of the camera, unedited.

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Week 27 #22. Laundry

Bright colors draping the roughly hand-hewn wood and barbed wire fence against the vivid green of the sugar cane field caught my eye as we drove past a crude encampment huddled amidst banana palms alongside the road. The wet laundry of the indigenous people, the Ngobe Bugle, who inhabit the primitive shelters, reflected in the recently-formed puddle of muddy water.IMG_2461 (2)

 


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Week 26 #35. On the River

I spotted this little green heron perched in a tangle of roots on the banks of a narrow channel of water that is river-like in the wet season. It was actually quite surprising when he appeared in my peripheral vision, silently riveted in place as I crouched down to take a photo of a snowy egret wading in the water. I immediately switched focus. His eyes never left me as he watched my every move.

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Week 25 #46. Tell a Story

This is a brief version of a long story about an adventure (complete with a couple of photographic albums to help illustrate the tale), an adventure that lasted well over a year and took two friends on a journey that would remain forever in their memories and become a family tale spun for generations.  So please bear with me as I share this photo exhibit taken from the albums in my mother’s vast collection of treasures.

In early October, 1949, my father, then a young man of almost 23 years with 26 English pounds in his pocket, began a journey with a friend in King William’s Town in the Eastern Cape of South Africa. They drove a specially modified jeep to house all their equipment and traversed the length of Africa, stopping in villages, towns, and cities, and experiencing the variety of cultures across this expansive continent in the post-WWII era.

To support themselves, they showed films about travel, places, operas, and other primarily documentary topics. They were extremely well treated wherever they went, often driving for a week or longer without encountering another human being, Uganda and Tanganyika being the most uninhabited countries through which they passed.  The tribes they happened upon were friendly and welcoming, especially enthralled by the moving pictures my father showed them. They spent Christmas in the Kenyan Highlands with the English community who welcomed these two German-born men with open arms.

One of my father’s stories that has stuck in my mind since I heard it as a little girl is the one of his race to safety after attempting to sneak closer to a herd of elephants to take photographs. Needless to say, he ended up scrambling for his life, unable to take a single photo, as the elephants thundered after him. He leaped into a tree where he was forced to roost for almost 3 hours before the elephants lost interest and wandered off into the bush. This was a source of unbridled amusement for his friend, Karl, seated atop the jeep with  a pair of binoculars, who said my father was lucky he chose to run in the direction he had. If he had turned the opposite way, he would have run smack! into a group of water buffalo.

Egypt was a definite highlight of their trip where they visited the temples in Luxor, the rock-carved city of Petra, the pyramids, the sphinx, and other ancient attractions. They even struck up friendships after inadvertently pitching their tent in the pitch black night on the lawn of one of the embassies in Cairo.

Their journey continued  westward along the Mediterranean coast from Alexandria, Egypt through Libya where they embarked on a ferry in Tripoli, disembarking in Italy. They traveled through Italy, driving their jeep to Rome where they spent Easter. As it had throughout Africa, their jeep drew much fascinated attention. After Easter, the companions made their way to Switzerland where the two men parted company. My father drove to Germany where he spent many months with family, even joining the Wandervogel, a German youth group, which later caused many problems for my father when he returned home to South Africa by a Castle Line ship in 1951. But that’s another story…

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Week 24 #14. Enclosed

On one of the last evenings that remained of my niece and her family’s home visit to South Africa, Katelyn, about to turn 7, was setting up a tea party in the shed which belongs to her Granny. There she entertained her Granny, Nana, Mummy, and her aunts (one of them a grand-aunt) who were all celebrating an early birthday for the littlest of the ladies. Her tea party included the singing of Christmas carols, drinking “tea” from plastic cups, and wearing colorful scarves and Santa hats…in April. At one point during the preparations for tea, Katelyn stood on a chair to look through the bars and window and exhibit her tongue which filled the space left by her missing baby teeth.  Her tongue was enclosed as was she.

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Week 23 #33. Old Timer

Driving through a game park in South Africa, we excitedly watched an old white lion stroll through the tall grasses attempting to skirt the vehicles parked on the rutted red-earth road. He walked slowly, stopping once in a while, constantly on the alert, seeming at times to be agitated by human presence. At one point he lifted his massive maned head to emit a mournful roar before lowering it and selecting a path that led away through the brush. He was clearly an old timer, but his powerful, scarred body still retained his majestic strength.

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