The cold Karoo leaves its mark

Without doubt the Karoo is cold in the winter months. We are just back from field work based at Ganora Guest Farm, New Bethesda and it was gray and cloudy and cold.  I managed to capture the grainy chill in these pictures: particularly in the skies towering over the gravel roads twisting through the big landscapes.  We’ve usually finished field work before sunset and so I get the chance for a quiet walk and the opportunity to compose some photos – hopefully beside some sheltered sun-warmed rocks.

Then there’s also the small things that you see when walking through the countryside. The donkeys, pumpkins at a road side farm stall, freshly shorn sheep smelling of lanolin and there were some orange-red blossoms like flame flickering amongst the rocks.

At night the sky sweeps above you and the stars are incredible.  This picture of the milky way was taken when it was hazy and cloudy so I was lucky to get the picture when there was a break in the clouds.  The farm buildings in the next picture are very bright because a guest’s car drove down to the farm whilst I was exposing the shot.  So the farm was light painted for me.  There’s a straight diagonal line running across the curved star trails in the last picture.  It’s the lights of the SAA flight from Port Elizabeth to Cape Town.

Night skies: Compassberg and Ganora Farm

We’re just back from three crystal clear days and nights in the Karoo.  Excellent conditions for taking photos at night.  The first picture is a long lens shot of Compassberg taken from Ganora Farm which must be about 10 kilometres from the mountain as the crow flies.  It was just after sunset with a thin moon lighting up the mist high on the mountain.  The exposure time was around five minutes.

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The second picture was taken the following night and quite a bit after the sun had gone at around 9pm. There was a crescent moon again that was lighting the prickly pears in the foreground and the mountains behind.  This time I exposed the picture for around an hour.

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