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Ufumene Game Lodge

A favorite destination for our family is the Ufumene Game Lodge. Ufumene is located in the Eastern Cape (South Africa) on the Cradock side of the Olifantshoek pass. The lodge is very family orientated, whether the kids go horse riding and the adults go for a long tranquil walk, its a place to relax and get yourself recharged.
The following photos are a collection of some of my favorites from the area surrounding the lodge:

Mother and Child. Newly born giraffe. Such serene animals.

Giraffe mommy and baby


This is a macro shot of a Lavender flower. I shot this with a 500mm Sigma lens with a 25mm extension tube attached so I could get in really close.

Lavender macro


On receiving my new Canon 7D mark II, the first thing that went through my mind was; how much noise am I going to get with a starscape. This was a 30 second exposure with an ISO of 4000.  I was truly impressed by the minimal noise that I got in this shot.

Starscape at Ufumene


This is an Hadeda Ibis, a pretty common bird in the Eastern Cape.

Hadeda ibis


One of the landscape picture I took of the surrounding area around Ufumene Lodge

Mountains At Ufunmene


One of the many birds of prey in the area.



A beautiful sunset at Ufumene. Everyday has a unique sunset.

Sunset at Ufumene


One of the great animals to see when visiting Ufumene, is the Sable Antelope. They are magnificent animals.

Sable Antelope


The Cape Sparrow is one of the many birds you will encounter at the lodge. Ufumene is a birders’ paradise.

Cape sparrow


Another landscape over the small dam outside the lodge. It can really produce some stunning effects

Sunrise at Ufumene


Road to tranquility.  Another landscape shot with touch of HDR

Mountains At Ufunmene


Another shot off the dam. Love the clouds.

Dam at Ufumene

Schoenmakerskop Seascape Sunset

Skoenmakerskop is a small coastal community in the Eastern Cape outside of Port Elizabeth.  It’s a great place to photograph amazing sunsets and seascapes. This shot was a combination of three photographs merged together and then made into an HDR photograph with a great little program called AutoHDR. This program is completely free, but if you make money using it or just feel generous, please donate something to the author for his effort. The camera that was used is a Canon 7D, with a Sigma 10-20mm lens attached.  Also, to get the effect of the water, a big-stopped was also used.

Schoenmakerskop Sunset

Schoenmakerskop Sunset

2014 Super Moon

Here is another Super Perigee Moon for 12 July 2014. A moon that is more brighter than the average moon and also closer to earth. This moon was superimposed onto a stary background to liven it up a little. Another Super Moon will also occur on the 10 August and 9 September this year. This Super moon image was taken in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.

2014 SuperMoon

Close-up of a Rain Spider – Palystes superciliosus

What makes people so scared of spiders? Is it their appearance? Is it a fear of being bitten? Or is it just that someone said that spiders are bad and that you should not get near them.
Well here is a close-up of Palystes superciliosus, a common rain spider of the Huntsman spiders of South Africa. Believe it or not, this spider was so placid and probably would not have harmed a fly!
Here is a link to some more information on these spiders:

Rain Spider - Palystes superciliosus

Here is the rest of this beautiful spider. They are pretty harmless, but the bite can be painful due to the size of the fangs (chelicerae) and the venom they possess, which is not medically significant in humans. They normally won’t bite unless stressed or threatend, but will probably warn you by raising its front legs. Awesome spiders.

Rain Spider
And another angle:

Rain Spider - side view

Red Tide – Blue Bioluminescence

A few of us photogs heard that the red tide was causing a beautiful display of blue luminescence in the water along the Port Elizabeth and Eastern Cape coast-line.  The opportunity was immediately snapped up to try out some long exposure shots of the water and surrounding area. Having not really done any long exposures before, I needed a little help from some fellow photogs and here are two of my favorites coming from this shoot.
The first picture is deliberately under-exposed in order to bring out the colours better.

Maitlands Red Tide Bioluminescence

This second photo was taken with a colder white balance to bring out the blues of the luminescence.

Maitlands Red Tide Bioluminescence

Bioluminescence is the production and emission of light by a living organism. In this case, the plankton.

A red tide is the common name for an algal bloom involving large concentrations of red or brown-coloured microorganisms, caused by a few species of dinoflagellates . Red tides are events in which estuarine, marine, or fresh water algae accumulate rapidly in the water column, resulting in coloration of the surface water.

These algae, known as phytoplankton, are single-celled protists, plant-like organisms that can form dense, visible patches near the water’s surface. Certain species of phytoplanktondinoflagellates, contain photosynthetic pigments that vary in color from green to brown to red. In this case, mainly blue

When the algae are present in high concentrations, the water appears to be discolored or murky, varying in color from purple to almost pink, normally being red or green. Not all algal blooms are dense enough to cause water discoloration, and not all discolored waters associated with algal blooms are red. Additionally, red tides are not typically associated with tidal movement of water, hence the term algal bloom.

Some red tides are associated with the production of natural toxins, depletion of dissolved oxygen or other harmful effects, and are generally described as harmful algal blooms. During Red Tides, it is often advisable NOT to eat various shellfish (filter feeders such as mussels and oysters) as these may contain toxins that might harm us.  Some of the symptoms of red tide poisoning are headaches, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, and pain. Other more severe problems may develop depending on the toxins, like difficulty swallowing, sense of throat constriction, speech incoherence or complete loss of speech and even paralysis.
Some of this information supplied by Wikipedia

Flatties – Family Selenopidae

Here are a few shots of the Wall Crab Spider, often known as the Flattie spider. Flatties comes from the Family Selenopidae. The wall crab spiders  are members of a group of families collectively called crab spiders because of their laterigrade (sideways-moving) legs. This family consists of about 175 species in four genera, of which Selenops is the best known. The family is primarily tropical with the genus Anyphops confined to Sub-Saharan Africa and the genus Hovops confined to Madagascar. The spiders are very flat and are commonly found on walls or under rocks. They are very quick and very difficult to capture and their coloring makes them often quite difficult to see. All of this family have eight eyes.

This first Flattie was photographed at Ufumene Game Farm, in the Eastern Cape, South Africa.

flattie spider on rock

The next two photos are the same spider, just a very close macro of its face. It is sitting on top of a drum skin.

flattie on a drum skin


flattie macroThanks to Wikipedia for some of the information used here.


Lady’s Slipper Sunset Photograpy Outing

Our photography club outing for this month was a trip to Lady Slipper to try and get a shot of the sunset. Unfortunately the weather did not play fair and was really cloudy and miserable! I only got one decent shot on this trip and I am really proud of it.

Lady Slipper Sunset

The second picture is a shot I took a year ago when the weather was a little better.

Lady Slipper Sunset


If you get the opportunity to visit Lady’s Slipper, don’t turn it down.  It is really an awesome place.
Both these photos were taken with a Canon 7D camera using 3 photos merged in LuminanceHDR software to give the dynamic effects.

Burnished Opals – Chrysoritis chrysaor

Here is a small collection of some Burnished Opals taken in the Eastern Cape of South Africa. They were a taken with a Canon 7D camera with a Tamron 90mm VC lens. These are some of the most stunning butterflies in my humble opinion and believe me, they are not easy to shoot with a camera!

Burnished Opal - Chrysoritis chrysaor

The males of this species grow to size between 22mm and 27mm whilst the female have a slightly wider range of between 23mm and 30mm.

Burnished Opal - Chrysoritis chrysaor

The distribution of the Chrysoritis chrysaor is widespread in South Africa, but mainly in the east. It is also found in fynbos up the west coast of the Western Cape, in Nama Karoo or Western Cape and Eastern Cape, in the valley bushveld near Port Alfred, Kwazulu Natal, Free State, South Mpumalanga and Gauteng.

Burnished Opal - Chrysoritis chrysaor

Burnished Opal’s flight period is all year round at the coast, but peaks in November and February at high altitudes.

Burnished Opal - Chrysoritis chrysaor

It’s habitats include the following; Coasts, flatlands, mountains, hillsides and rocky slopes. Their larval foodplants include; Tylecondon paniculatus, Cotyledon orbiculata, Zygophyllum sessilifolium and Zygophyllum retrofractum, Acacia karroo and Rhus spp. The larvae is associated with Crematorgaster nr liengmei ants.

References: Steve Woodhalls book “Field Guide to Butterflies of South Africa

Chrysoritis chrysaor -- Burnished opal -  Besembos Goue-opaal

Garden Bokmakieries

These are two Bokmakierie pictures shot in my garden in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. Its latin name is Telophorus zeylonus and it belongs to the Malaconotidae bird family group which includes birds such as Bush-shrikesPuffbacksTchagrasBoubousHelment-shrikesBatises and Wattle-eyes.
This shot was taken with a Canon 7D with a Sigma 150-500mm Lens
Garden Bokmakierie

… and this one was taken with a Canon 7D with a 100-400mm L IS lens

Garden Bokmakierie

Limestone Sugarbush – Protea obtusifolia

The Protea obtusifolia or the Limestone Sugarbush belongs to the Proteaceae family. Other names for this include the Bredasdorp protea, limestone protea and limestone sugarbush. This is the white form of this Protea and they vary from white to vivid shades of red. The leaves on the rest of the plant are dark green, elongated and leathery. They grow upwards of two to four meters in height and usually takes the form of a large, roundish shrub.

Protea obtusifolia

Protea obtusifolia is a vigorous, robust species forming a rounded shrub and is easily raised from seeds. It  is a relatively long-lived, large bushy evergreen shrub and does well as a screening or informal hedge plant. It produces beautiful, long-lasting cut flowers during the winter months, still looking good after 20 years. Unlike most proteas it thrives in clay and alkaline soils. It is equally at home in acidic ‘fynbos’ soils. It is also tolerant of coastal conditions and withstands salt-laden winds. It is drought tolerant and requires little supplementary watering when established. It requires protection from frost.

Photo taken at the van Stadens Flower Reserve near Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape of South Africa.




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