Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Africa X Cinestill

Here's a couple of images from my trip to South Africa earlier this month, all shot on a Yahsica Electro 35 GTN with Cinestill 50D pushed +2. The picture of the aloe plant which was really underexposed ended up being my favorite in a happy accident. I think in hindsight it's pretty obvious I didn't have the right camera for wildlife shooting but since I only had 3.5 days, I wanted to bring a rangefinder and keep it easy and quick.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

South Africa - Part 3

After 2 days on the south coast I realized there wouldn't be any waves, so I decided to change plans a little bit and spend a night in Durban, but stopping at a game reserve on the way. I got to Tala Private Game Reserve early in the morning (first name on the check in list) which is about an hour west of Durban. Its a self-drive reserve, basically they give you a map and you drive around spotting animals, with a couple of places where you're allowed to safely get out. It was a nice lazy way to marvel at some amazing wildlife after that 10k hike, although piloting a ford fiesta on craggly dirt paths was a challenge of its own. As soon as I got in the gate, I came right up to a big group of zebras and antelope. I honestly don't know the exact names of a lot of these animals but they were all really amazing to watch.

The craziest part was running into a group of 3 rhinos! Apparently they have GPS trackers and their own security force to protect against poachers. They were the only ones who made me a little nervous, they gave me a pretty intense look and I could picture that horn tearing up my poor fiesta...

After a couple hours driving around and no luck finding the giraffes, I headed to Durban and checked out the Golden Mile beachfront. It felt a little like Huntington Beach. I stopped and had lunch at a place called Afro's Chicken Shack on the recommendation from a guy at a surf shop, the chicken was all time.

I spent the next day sampling Durban's various coffee shops and even went to a sourdough bakery! The food and bean scene is top notch, but I didn't take any more pictures. After a crazy 5 days, it was time to head home. I checked out seatguru's page on the South African Airways' Airbus A346 and found out I should book seat 73D, because there is a safety hatch in front of it and no seat. You gotta love the internet!

Tomorrow i'm hoping to get a chance to drop off my film, and in 2.5 weeks i'll head back to Zimbabwe to retrieve the camera system.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

South Africa - Part 2

I woke up early today and drove around to do some surf checking, but unfortunately I happened to be here at the wrong time of the year to score waves. There are a bunch of amazing spots and I really hope to be able to come back some day in the wintertime for a proper surf trip. I continued on my journey to the Oribi Gorge natural reserve, which was about 20km inland. Entrance fee and a map was a steep $2, and I set off hiking. It started with some pretty steep climbing and I ended up on top of the gorge with some of the most incredible views i've ever seen, and not another person in sight. 

The hike followed the ridge for a couple of km, and was just one amazing vista after another.

After 4km, the path runs down the side of the gorge to the river. It was crazy steep! My legs were shaking from such an extended descent and I walked through at least 20 spiderwebs, each more fun than the last. Here's the view from the bottom looking back up to where I started.

And here's a picture of the map - I did the yellow Miziki walk. 9 kilometers hiked and it was barely noon!

They had an amazing ice cold swimming pool to cool off in at the reception, and then I went and had lunch and toured the property at Beaver Creek coffee estate.

If you didnt notice, I tend to do a LOT of stuff on my trips. If youre the type of person who's idea of a good vacation is sitting by a pool and sipping on a drink, don't ever go on a trip with me. Still more to come!

Friday, March 4, 2016

South Africa - Part 1

The blog has been dormant for some time but this trip necessitated a (brief?) revival. I'm currently in KZN, South Africa about an hour south of Durban. I came for a job which unfortunately did not go well, we had some equipment malfunctions and the fact that we are 10,000 miles and 7+ time zones away didn't help. New parts are being flown in with a company service person from California, and I was told to stick to my original plans being that there was nothing more I could do to fix our problem. I flew out to Durban from Johannesburg this morning after an anxiety wracked night and picked up my car. Getting used to driving on the left, and shifting a manual with my left hand was a challenge for the first hour! I stopped into the Factory Cafe, one of South Africa's oldest roasters and had an amazing pour over of Tanzanian bean. I made friends with the staff and they showed me around and I bought four bags of coffee to take home (are you one of the lucky recipients??)

My next stop was Gounden's take away and restaurant, where I had Durban's most famous dish - Bunny Chow. It's basically a super spicy curry dumped into a hollowed out 1/4 loaf of bread. It was amazing but so so spicy.

I tried to stop in a surf shop before heading south, but got stuck in one of the wildest traffic jams i've ever experienced and decided to just get out of there. The Fiesta and I drove down to Vernon Crookes, a small nature reserve southwest of Durban. Since it was the afternoon, I wasn't expecting to see many animals (they're most active in the morning). Surprisingly, I got within 10 feet of a herd of wildebeest, and a couple of zebras! It was really amazing, now I really felt like I was in Africa. I also saw a couple of giant lizards and a monkey.

These were all taken with my phone, I didn't bring any digital gear. I'm shooting with the Yashica Electro 35 GTN and Cinestill 50D, which I think should look great. More to come soon!