We made a return trip to the Karoo last week. It was dramatic.
As we drove in on the Nieu Bethesda road the whole sky was dark and the weather very unsettled but as we crested the rise at the end of Rubidge Kloof the Kompassberg appeared, rising some 1200 metres above the plains.
That evening we went down to the river at Ganora Farm to place a flow meter into the river bed but the lightning was so intense that we didn’t dare until the storm had passed. I did get a nice picture, though, of a lone poplar that was being bent over by the strong down drafts.
This full colour picture of Kompassberg at sunset owes its pastel tints to the smoke from a veldt fire started by lightning ahead of that night’s storm.
Kate and I depart for a still wintry Sweden next week so these late summer landscapes will also be my last!
Uddevalla is where I live when I stay in Sweden, a former industrial town set in lovely natural surroundings. That is the mix I am trying to show in these two pictures. The mid-October sunset is taken from above Skalbanksmuseet – the Shell Bed Museum – on the eastern side of town looking west over the city to the fjord and the silhouette of Uddevallabron. It was a cold grey afternoon when I walked over there from Äsperöd but just towards sunset the sun dipped out of the clouds. I had to run to get up the hill to catch the light. My hands were shaking so much I had to lie down in the cold grass to get this shot. By the time I got home I was in need of a quick malt whisky which soon put me right. The second sunset was taken in early May looking north-west across Byfjord. It was spectacular and a much easier picture. I had walked up to the viewpoint above Gustafberg and spent a happy half hour leaning against the tall rocks watching the light change. I will post some more of the same sunset some time as it was one of the most beautiful I have ever seen.
I suspect this is going to be be the first of a number of posts on this theme …. these four pictures really are My Sweden:
- The Falun red paint at sunset on the barn at Äsperöd;
- The 3 am dawn light over the fjord;
- The Swedish flags snapping in the cold autumn winds;
- And, of course, a taste of snaps out in the forest at sunset.
Before going to bed last night I took a look out from the stoep . It was really clear with a bright moon rising behind the coral tree whose blossoms were picked out vividly by the house lights. I thought it would be worth trying to capture the two things and here are the results. They were taken in what I call intuitive mode – open the lens, press the bulb and count for as many seconds as seems reasonable (10, 20 or whatever) then close the lens. Simple really, I took about 10 pictures and these two are the best. They may be dark for some tastes, but that is the way it was ….
It is late summer in Sweden, or perhaps early autumn is a better description, the trees are just beginning to change colour and it is the time when there should be plenty of mushrooms. But there aren’t many of them this year.
My friends tell me that they came out early with the summer being so cool and wet. Most of them have been picked already or eaten by the local wildlife. There were some outside the mushroom exhibition at the Botanic Gardens in Gothenburg. That’s the first picture in the gallery. The rest of the pictures were taken in the forests around Uddevalla and Västra Götaland this past couple of years. The red ones are dödlig giftig – deadly poisonous according to the exhibition!
I guess most of us have a few of these pictures. The ones where you are taking a picture of a rock on Kompassberg mountain and you see an eye in it, or the face of a baboon on a rock in the Botanic Gardens, Göteborg.
Old trees are particularly good, I have a creature from a tree on Bassholmen island in Sweden and another from deep in the Baviaanskloof South Africa.
And then there is the owl peering at you from the trees at Trädgårdsföreningen, Göteborg and the man in the tree on Koster Island.
What better way to finish than with the face in the foot, again from the Baviaanskloof, or the ghoulish eyes in the roadside tree at Tunis.