Photography: Rand Air Show, Johannesburg

I had a great opportunity to try my hand at Air Show Photography about a week ago, at the Rand Airport just south of Johannesburg.

I did some research first, and found out that there are some basic rules to this type of photography:

  • The underside of an aeroplane is not the most interesting bit
  • You should stand at the end of the runway the Sun is at, so you don’t end up shooting into the glare
  • You should use a slow enough shutter speed to capture the movement of the propellers – frozen props look highly unnatural on an aeroplane in flight!
  • You should be careful to not underexpose the aeroplane, or overexpose the sky
  • Try to get the pilot in the picture – photograph the plane from the front or side as it’s banking
  • Pan with the motion of the planes and don’t be afraid to take multiple shots as they fly past (It looks and sounds so sexy and professional)

With those basics in mind, my Hubby and I trotted off to the show last Sunday morning. I took more than 600 shots, and had to discard about 80% of them because they were: too blurry, under- or overexposed, photos of the undersides, looking into the Sun – this stuff is HARD!

I’m proud to say ALL my propellers were obviously whirling 🙂

Fortunately, there were some shots I think are pretty successful – and here are a few of my favourites:

Canon 60D  –  f/11  –  1/200sec  –  ISO 100

A flyby of an old DC3 and a whole crowd of colourful little planes – Harvard in front, Yak 52s in the middle. The next shot is a close up from the same flyby (Yak 52s):

Canon 60D  –  f/11  –  1/200 sec  –  ISO 100

Some spectacular Pitt Specials flying in formation….these guys are brave, or maybe just a little crazy?

Canon 60D  –  f/11  –  1/200 sec  –  ISO 100

A couple of Extra 300’s:

Canon 60D  –  f/11  –  1/200 sec  –  ISO 100

I love this one! These two Pitt Specials did a whole routine with one of them flying upside down. It must be very disconcerting flying for any length of time with the earth over your head… and the sky beneath your feet….

Canon 60D  –  f/11 – 1/200 sec  –  ISO 100

Those Extra 300’s again:

Canon 60D  –  f/11  –  1/200 sec  –  ISO 160

I know the next one is not a great photo ( a bit noisy) – but check out these Pitt Special moves!

Canon 60D  –  f/11  –  1/200sec  –  ISO 100

The middle plane (a Mustang) is called Mustang Sally:

Canon 60D  –  f/11  –  1/200sec  –  ISO 100

And, please note – a couple of Pilots! (First a Pitt Special, and below that, a Bell helicopter)

Canon 60D  –  f/11  –  1/200sec  –  ISO 100

Canon 60D  –  f/11  –  1/200sec  –  ISO 100

This last photo, I’m ashamed to admit, was taken by my clever husband – and I think it’s BRILLIANT! Possibly the best of the lot……

*Grrrr*…. I’m the one who stood there for hours, with all the other photographers and their long lenses, patiently panning every passing ‘plane.

Glenn sits on the grass, looking after my camera while I go to the “ladies” – and he just casually takes this incredible shot of the DC3 rumbling past!

Canon 60D  –  f/11  –  1/200 sec  –  ISO 100

Well done, Darling – I’m officially jealous!

Never mind – I will persevere and maybe one day I’ll also be a Genius 🙂

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A note for photographers:

When I was adding the EXIF information for these photos, I noticed that they are ALL shot at f/11, 1/200 second and mostly at ISO 100-200. That’s because I only use the manual setting on my Canon 60D.

I had to do minimal extra work on Photoshop – mainly a little cropping (it’s hard to frame something perfectly when it’s careening past you at 350kph!) and I adjusted the levels on those that were a little over-exposed due to shooting close to the Sun.

I did not use a Polarising filter: I thought about it but realised I would have to be constantly aware of the Sun position with the Polariser on – I didn’t want to have to worry about that, so I only had on a UV filter.

African skies really ARE that blue!

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Update:

I am indebted to the son of a friend, who kindly went through my photos and identified the planes for me!

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Jenna the astrologer tries to sell me her “reiki grid”

 

It’s quite a lot of fun to subscribe to an astrologer’s newsletter, to see how far they will go to sell you their particular brand of bullshit.

A while ago I subscribed to Jenna, at aboutastro.com. Naturally, she was SO PLEASED I contacted her, because she could instantly feel a strong connection to me. (The connection is so strong she doesn’t realise I’ve given her a false name, address and date of birth!)

Of course, “Jenna” is not a real person, just a name given to a marketing ploy. My responses to her “amazing” predictions about my future and assumptions about my life (ie “You’re a DAMN FRAUD, Jenna!”) were countered by “It’s so nice to hear from you Dear, I would love to help you but I need you to pay me first.”

So, I gave up trying to get a reaction and just allowed “her” to continue sending me emails, to see how silly it would get….. I was not disappointed 🙂

On May 10th I received another long, friendly, and very personal e-mail, telling me how wonderful I am, and how close she feels to me, how focussed she is on me, how she will always be at my service and be my very best friend.

AND, because she loves me so much (or at least, the person I’m pretending to be), she has made a very special Crystalline Reiki Grid for me. In her own words:

I want you to know that all of my attention and my vigilance is focused on you and I will always be at your service. I will not hesitate to tell you if a certain change or significant event is set to occur in your personal astrological configuration. Cherise, you can fully count upon my devotion. I will be here for you and I will be your friend and your astrologer.

I really wanted to produce a ‘Crystalline Reiki Grid’ for you, a grid which comes from a very ancient technique which I have now been using for a number of years with a great deal of success. I began this work very recently. This work aims at producing a very beneficial and positive magnetic influence and brings protection, chance and opportunity to the focus of of it’s energy through the interaction of a range of powerful precious stones. There is no magic or sorcery in all of this. We now know that magnetism exists as it has been proved by scientific techniques and it is certain that this energetic field can have extremely beneficial effects. The technique of the grid has existed for thousands of years and is extremely efficient. To give you a little more idea about what this means, the Grid is a way of arranging stones in a sacred geometric pattern. What is great about the Grid is that this pattern is then activated by a connection with a ‘line of light’ through the stones so that they radiate an energy field which then reaches out to the person the grid is destined for. I normally offer this work to those of my correspondents which I feel closest to and to those I want to bring very strong positive energy. Today Cherise this means you. To make this grid work properly for you and so that you get the best out of it’s influence, all you need to do is to concentrate on the photo which I have attached to this email. The grid will then be ‘activated’.

And here is the Grid:

I can see some quartz, and some other bits of rock, one or two of which may be ferrous, and therefore magnetic, placed around a two-coloured crayon pattern drawn with a compass. The note on the right refers to energy (always a dead give-away they don’t have a f*cking clue what they’re talking about), colour frequencies, vitality, balance and, of course, CHAKRAS!

The “line of sight” through the stones is supposed to generate the “magnetic energy field” that’s going to reach out and change my life when I concentrate on this accumulation of Scratch Patch left-overs. Really? How does that work EXACTLY?

I keep looking at it, but nothing is happening. Why not? Because some guy’s hastily assembled, badly photographed, badly written bit of woo is not going to convince any rational person of its magical powers, that’s why not!

Are there really people who buy into this utter crap? How crazy do you have to be to think there is some method a handful of common stones arranged on a kid’s drawing can generate an “energy field”? And then, assuming that “energy field” is activated and streaming at you from your PC or iPad’s screen, how exactly does it vitalise, balance and energise your chakras – which are themselves a load of self-delusional bullshit?

Just for the record, for those who aren’t already aware of the basic facts of reality and live in some fuzzy world where placebos rule their lives:

  • bits of stones do not generate energy fields, unless they are magnetic or radioactive
  • a magnetic field around a piece of iron is of very limited size (unless it’s a HUGE magnet) and such a field cannot and will not radiate out and change your life
  • there’s no such thing as a sacred grid. The above is a simple geometric drawing a 6-year-old could do without any difficulty. The “sacredness” is in the head of the humans who invented it.
  • staring at this picture may relax you, take your mind off your troubles for a while, even make you feel good if you are that way inclined. It will NOT change your environment or your life – you have to do that for yourself.
  • chakras are not real.

The bottom line, once again, is you should not be taken in by people claiming to be able to help you change your life with astrology, chakra-healing, reiki-healing, aura-healing or any other “alternative” ideology. They count on people’s hopes and dashed dreams to make themselves a nice little profit out of your gullibility.

Your life will only change, if you need it to, when you take control and make the changes happen for yourself.

 

I would like to repeat something I wrote in my post about Auras:

Try living each day as though it might be your last and ENJOY IT!  Love deeply and strongly; appreciate the kindness you receive, and give as much as you can in return; learn about the real world so you can understand why things happen – and tackle your problems head-on, instead of cowering behind irrationality;  be compassionate towards your fellow Earthlings – human and animal. Most of all – LOVE YOURSELF! Appreciate yourself, you are actually a Good Person :-)

Photography: (Lion)sex – Rated PG

 

Okay, I know some of you may have found my post (Lion)sex in the city(zoo) a bit of a let-down in the end – a bit of an anti-climax, you might say 🙂

I’m sorry about that – I didn’t want the blog to be in bad taste.

However, friends and family who have seen the photo of the lions actually doin’ it don’t think it’s so terrible…. and I don’t want to be accused of false advertising!…..so here goes….

(if you have a six-year-old sitting next to you, perhaps you should put your hand over his eyes about now….)

Naughty beast!

 

Photography: (Lion)sex in the city(Zoo)

 

A blogger once told me that if I wanted more hits on my blog, I should write about sex!

Does writing about a couple of lions having sex count? If I include pictures?

We have a lovely Zoo here in Johannesburg; Sunday was warm and sunny, so we took the kid, the camera and a couple of sandwiches and had a pleasant day wandering around, looking at animals and of course taking photos.

I hope you will like these. Yes, there are some (tasteful)photos of lions having sex 🙂

Not this one – this is an alert suricate (or meerkat),  guarding his burrow. These are sociable little mammals found only in southern Africa. The name “meerkat” is Dutch for “lake cat” – strange, because they don’t live near lakes, and they are not cats!

Canon 60D, 70-300mm @ 225mm, f/6.3, 1/800 sec, ISO 160

Meerkats are quite comical – their expressions can be quite human… I wonder what those two on the right are thinking?

Canon 60D 75-300mm @ 300mm, F/6.3, 1/800 sec. ISO 500

A pair of ducks:

Canon 60D 75-300mm @ 275mm, f/6.3, 1/800 sec, ISO 320

What can you say about a couple of ducks….? Not much really…. I liked the symmetry of the photo, that’s why it’s here 🙂

Canon 60D 75-300mm @ 300mm, f/11, 1/1250 sec, ISO 5000

Nile Crocodiles. Very common, very dangerous. It is NOT a good idea to take a dip in a river in many parts of Africa – these 5 to 6 metre long reptiles are infamous for leaping out at the water’s edge, grabbing an unsuspecting animal (or human) and dragging it down into the depths, never to be seen again. They wedge the dead carcass under a log or stone, wait for it to rot, and then tear it to pieces…..They have very strong jaws, but they can only bite, not chew….

Canon 60D 75-300mm @ 225mm, f/10, 1/800 sec, ISO 6400

A much happier picture! This old female African Elephant has been at the Jo’burg zoo for many, many years. She is one of the main attractions.

And now, as promised, the sexy lions!

These two were “playing” under a bush…

Canon 60D 75-300mm @ 200mm, f/11, 1/1250 sec, ISO 3200

When they walked out into the open, the male was nuzzling the female’s hind quarters, and then he took her tail in his mouth. I had never seen or heard of this behaviour before…. but it could obviously only mean one thing…

Canon 60D 75-200mm @ 220mm, f/11, 1/1250 sec, ISO 1000

Note the huge scratches on his nose! The lady must have put up a good fight at some stage….

I believe lions mate up to 40 times a day for the four days the female is on heat, so it’s probably just as well each  mating lasts only about half a minute.

Canon 60D 75-300 mm @ 165 mm, f/11, 1/1250 sec, ISO 1000

Magnificent beasts!