Thursday, July 7, 2011

Morning at Kubu Island, Botswana: The Hand Of Nature.

Rocks, foliage, bare trees take the early light.

 I lie propped up on my elbow, watching the sunlight as it furtively sneaks through the cracks between the drapes and slowly creeps down the wall highlighting each imperfection in shadowed relief. Moving on ever nearer to her sleeping body, golden light creeps across her pillow, laying its gentle touch upon her. Slowly, softly, fingers of light delicately but deliberately advancing, stroking her hair, silkily feeling their way down her exposed neck, playing lightly upon her shoulders, then rising up on rounded contours of breasts... the soft down on her naked arms glowing as the light shines across her skin.

 I look... not moving, not wishing to waken my sleeping lover. This delicious moment is for me to enjoy, savour and feast my senses upon. Form... texture... gentle curves... shadows... tranquility: the moving light accentuates these, leading my eyes with it.

 She sleeps on, unaware.

  I awake with a start! That Italian snoring in the over-cab tent next to me! Bum! The moment lost. Gone so quickly.
 What was I dreaming of? Oh yeah... light creeping across all those curves and contours...forms and textures on sensual display just for me. Oh, I would be so lucky. Yeah, right!
 Lightening up outside. Wow, It's morning! Brain kicks into gear... but she is waiting for me!

 I have a date with the most sensuous woman I know - Mother Nature... and that light lasts such a short time. She'll be revealing all her charms just for me if I get there on time!

 You know the feeling too. You've seen that sunlight in the 'Golden Hour' send light dancing across your partner's skin! You've watched too, so you know the anticipation I feel as I dress, don my thick fleece for the chilly morning air, find my camera, stuff extra batteries in my pockets, then none too smoothly unzip the opening of the over-cab tent and stealthily climb down the ladder, but set the Hi-lux gently rocking. The snoring stops. Oh well, can't be helped. Hopefully, waking her may encourage her to get up and get that camping expresso machine on the boil for a hot cup when I get back. She's never offered me one yet...I have to settle for instant.
  I have to be out there! On the rocks! That Italian did me a favour waking me up: it's 5am already!

 "Hurry Jim." for I will attend Nature's morning show all on my own! Kubu Island awakes soon.

I climb up on the rocks, take a few pics then await the brightening glow on the far horizon.

 Now you don't wander alone around African koppes in the dark. Too many dangers to be out on your own. Leopard territory! But I had figured that there shouldn't be any leopard around Kubu Island as there was no water, the nearest being 100 kms away. And game migrates to where water is, predators follow them. Snakes can be a concern in rocky terrain; lots of hiding places and rocks to warm up on in the sun. As it was winter, hopefully they were hibernating. None too convinced, as I climb over the rocks I keep an eye on where I am stepping.

 The previous evening I had worked out angles, direction of light and shadows, and noted interesting features like rocks and twisted trees, so I knew where I wanted to be and when, in relation to the position of the sun as it rose higher.

 Baobab and star chestnut trees I shoot in silhouette early on. Later as the sun moves higher, I'll shoot them with the low sunlight straight on, but after I have been out on the pans for the first blaze of the morning sun over the horizon.

First ray of sun on the horizon.

 It occurs to me that photography allows me to be like an artist who paints colours and textures on canvas, but using the camera I can create visual scenes from the multi media that Nature supplies- rocks, trees, foliage, terrain, and sun light.

 I begin to paint-

I move around Kubu Island using trees and scrub to create my pictures.

 Then I notice in the distance an old, wrinkled, gnarly figure, reaching his arms out towards the warmth of the rising sun.

 Images of an old homeless man, ragged and dishevelled, hunched over a brazier on a dark winter's street fill my mind. He doesn't see me. I move closer silently, not wanting to disturb his entreaty for comfort from the new blazing sun.
I have no wish to humiliate him by letting him see me taking his picture, so I zoom the lens in and capture his embrace for warmth.

Sometimes it's best to leave an old man alone, undisturbed with their dignity intact.

Nature breathes new warmth and light across the land: old trees and ancient rocks absorb it. They glow red in the light...just for me.

The hand of Nature?
Can you see the outstretched hand in the foreground rocks?



JIM said...

Nicely done Jim.. I remember the fun when I first took photography seriously. Going on the hunt and letting my imagination wander free to see to really see for the first but not the last time.
Be careful Jim it can be an expensive art lol. The hockey of Art. Everything cost $$$$ and the hours oh the hours spent.
You have a good eye, I look forward to seeing more from you.

Anonymous said...

Sexy! Beautiful pics Jim as always!

Anonymous said...

Sexy! Beautiful pics Jim as always!

Mari Sterling Wilbur said...

Your photos are gorgeous! You have a wonderful eye for composition and capture each scene perfectly.

Jim said...

You can say that again Pamela! Thanks.

JIM, you're so right. I read your blog and you inspire me also. Imagination is the artist;s greatest tool after all.
It was while sitting on the rocks, waiting for dawn that I thought of that opening, because being their alone, watching the light spreading over the rocks and trees, is just like watching the light of morning across my sleeping wife.
Oh, remind me never to travel without her again...

Thanks Mari, coming from an expert like you I am humbled. I do think though that my craft as shoemaker/designer does help in composition, or seeing a shot where others may not.
That last one was a case in point. I first photographed the tree, then realised that the contrast of boulders against the twisted branches made a better subject so took several of that. Only reviewing them on my computer did I realise what the boulder shapes suggested- a hand.

Anonymous said...

I absolutely love any picture dealing with the sun either setting or coming up. This was wonderful, almost feels like I'm there and of course I'm a night person so I see the sunset more than the sunrise but, I do see it several times on my way to bed.

Shanda said...

Incredible shots. Having grown up in Africa, it's scenery pulls at my heart. And, I have to say, your photos are definitely some of the best I have seen.
Thank you for visiting my blog. I have actually been to New Zealand as my brother in law used to pastor a church in Auckland. You, also, have a beautiful country.

Nomadic Samuel said...

Jim, you've done an excellent job of composing these shots. I love how you use the trees & foliage for framing throughout the shots & the captures you made with varying degrees of light. I could learn a lot about landscape photography by studying your work :)

Jim said...

Hi Jen,catch the right moment or weather and sunsets and sunrises are equally as exciting. But yes, staying in bed most of us miss them.

Hi Shanda,
Thanks for the comments on the photos. Africa really does get into your consciousness with its glorious sunsets and sunrises. I probably miss it as much as you.
Plenty more photos going to be posted up so keep popping in.

Hi Samuel,some photos have been cropped but that's all. No colour enhancing. They're just examples of what a camera can capture.
I do instinctively use any feature to frame a scene just to break up the otherwise square frame. It's amazing how many people I observe who will step clear of anything around them to take a shot of a feature, whereas I'll step back and include a bit of it at the side or around the frame. I gather it can be an accepted photography technique.
I think I'll be looking for a tutorial somewhere soon.

Mari Sterling Wilbur said...

What a grand idea you have for the travel blogs to get together in such a fashion. I'm limited to travelling on my computer so love the travel sites and photos. Thank you for the idea and for the compliment you made above on my photos.

Jeremy Branham said...

Jim, these are incredibly beautiful and love your description and personification of nature and the surroundings. Even when things are still and quiet, you give life to what is around you. I have to admit it would be difficult for me to get up this early to snap photos of a sunrise but what beauty! Thanks for sharing!

Jim said...

Thanks Mari. I think at the moment I'm limited with picture quality because the superzoom model I have doesn't capture as good a resolution as a true DSLR. I'll have to chat to my wife Kay about upgrading....not going to be easy.

Jeremy, so nice to see you here again. When there is someone snoring in the overcab tent right next to you, it's surprisingly easy mate!
Never got that expresso either. Had to make my own instant coffee.

robin said...

Something about sunsets and sunrises in Africa. Beautiful.