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Scenery Archives

Passionfruit Flower and Honey Bee

Honey bee on passionfruit flowerCaption: Honey bee atop a passionfruit flower (Passiflora edulis), Currys Post, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, taken with Canon EOS 50D camera and EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS lens.

According to Wikipedia, Passiflora edulis is a vine species of passion flower that is native to Paraguary, Brazil, and northern Argentina. It is widely grown in many parts of the world and often commercially cultivated for its fruit.

In South Africa, passionfruit (or “granadilla” as it’s often known), is used to flavor yogurt and soft drinks, as a topping for cakes and desserts, and also eaten raw as a fruit.

African Moonrise

African moonrise
Caption: Full moon rising above the trees in early evening, Lower Zambezi National Park, Zambia.

Camera: Canon EOS 450D (Canon Rebel XSi 12.2MP); Canon EF 400mm f/5.6 L USM; Focal Length: 400mm; Shutter speed: 1/100; Aperture: f/5.6; ISO: 400.

Moonrise in the African bush is nearly always spectacular. Maybe it’s because one’s on holiday, so you simply have more time to gaze and appreciate it.

Often you’re still out on your afternoon game drive and a knowledgeable safari guide will position the vehicle to ensure guests have the best possible view. There’s also the African dust, particularly in winter when game viewing is at its best, which saturates the orangy-reds of the huge orb as it rises above the tree line.

The photo above of the full moon rising was taken at 5.51pm on 28 April this year, which in southern Africa is autumn or fall.

Nature’s Patterns

Lichen on rock forming abstract patterns

Lichen abstract

Caption: Colorful, abstract shapes formed by lichen on rocks, Mbotyi, Wild Coast, South Africa.

Camera: Canon EOS 450D (Canon Rebel XSi 12.2MP); Lens: Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS standard zoom lens.

The beaches along South Africa’s Wild Coast. are spectacular, but also remote — no cafes or beach vendors, chairs, umbrellas or modern comforts, other than those you bring.

I recently spent a few days with friends at their beach shack at Mbotyi on the Wild Coast. But as I don’t fish and don’t much enjoy sitting in the sun, I opted to wander around, hunting for interesting things to photograph when we visited beaches in the area.

This piece of coast is quite magical so, in addition to the small things, it’s almost obligatory to snap a few seascapes while you’re there:

Moody seascape, Wild Coast

wave patterns, Wild Coast

Seascape, Mbotyi, Wild Coast

South Africa’s Wild Coast

Beach near Mbotyi on South Africa's Wild Coast

Caption: A pristine beach near Mbotyi on South Africa’s spectacular Wild Coast. This picture was taken with Canon’ s kit lens, the EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS standard zoom, at a focal length of 47mm. Aperture was f/11 and shutter speed 1/400.

The next picture, from a similar vantage point, was taken with the EF 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 IS USM zoom lens at 70mm, with the aperture on f/5.6 to get a softer background. The third picture was taken on one of Mbotyi’s other beaches, also with the kit lens, at 50mm focal length, aperture of f/8 at 1/500 sec. I was standing in shallow surf, facing the sun, hence the monochrome look.

Wild Coast beach, Mbotyi, South Africa

Beach in monochrome, Mbotyi, Wild Coast South Africa

The Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS kit lens is cheap, light, and compact and comes with a plastic mount, yet is capable of producing surprisingly sharp images. It is usually bundled with one of the Canon EOS entry-level digital bodies, but can be bought separately for around $110.

If you want a similar focal length but need more professional specs, the Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM zoom is available with a constant f/2.8 maximum aperture and USM focusing — but costs anywhere from $990 to $1130.

That’s a huge price differential and one has to ask whether it’s worth it. I guess it depends on your particular requirements. I need a small, light lens for the odd scenic shot and as a handy walkaround lens, so the cheap version works fine for me.

But if you’re a professional wedding photographer, for example, who needs a fast maximum aperture lens with quiet and fast autofocus, then the cost of the 17-55mm f/2.8 can probably be justified.

Later this week I’m returning to Mbotyi on the Wild Coast for a few days, staying in a rustic cottage overlooking the ocean, and no doubt my little kit lens will again come in handy.

Flowering Impala Lily

Flowering impala lily (adenium multiflorum)

Photo Details: The brilliant red and white flowers of an impala lily (Adenium multiflorum) add a splash of color to the winter scenery, Ndumo Game Reserve, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.

Camera: Canon EOS 450D (Canon Rebel XSi 12.2MP) on a tripod; Lens: Canon EF70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM; Focal Length: 300mm; Shutter speed: 1/125; Aperture: f5.6; ISO: 100; 29 July 2009, 8.07am.

Additional Info: The impala lily, a shrub with succulent stem and branches, is quite small – usually around waist height – but can reach 3 to 4m (10 to 13ft) under favorable conditions. It flowers in winter, its pretty white flowers with red fringes providing welcome color, particularly towards the end of winter when much of the bushveld vegetation is dry and brown.

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