It’s nearing the end of autumn – it’s been a fantastic summer down here on the Southern Tip (of Africa). The temperatures started to rise during October and by Christmas, we were all wondering where the seasonal winds had gone, as day after day passed in a welter of clear skies and balmy temperatures.
The Cape Doctor* (our seasonal south easterly wind) finally arrived late in December and put a stop to our luxuriating for several weeks, finally moving away only in March and making a sneaky return for a final go-round in early May.
In between, the post Christmas period has been beautiful; warm days, clear skies, starry nights – the best the Cape can offer.
So, time this weekend to get the cameras out and do a bit of coastal exploring.
Both sets of images were taken in the hour before sunrise. The first on Saturday, the balance this morning (Monday). The locations varied; on Saturday, I walked just beyond our neighbour’s property to an area known locally as Roman Rock. Today’s pics were taken above the village on the road to Pringle Bay and the balance near Kogel Bay – a favourite spot just along the coast towards Gordon’s Bay.
As is now my habit, I concentrated on the Fuji X-Pros. I’ll be touring the far north of Scotland in a couple of months and want to ensure my Fuji skills are up to the job. Aside from not being able to find the ISO menu option and having to content myself with Auto ISO, everything else worked fine.
Anyway, I think I’m making progress and shot with Fuji’s 16mm f1.4, 35mm f1.4 and 90mm f2, plus my Leica 50mm f1.4 Summilux, although the latter proved to be a bit long for what I was trying to achieve. In addition, I used an ND grad to control the brightness of the sky – this is Africa and from pitch dark to full sunlight is a surprisingly rapid transition.
* Named because it blows so hard that it (figuratively) rids us of all the poor weather. Mind you, it’s hard to see the benefits when it’s howling at 80km/h – 100km/h outside and delivering a thick coating of salt spray everywhere. The sun may be shining out there and the thermometer reading in the high 20s, but it’s still inadvisable to open a window – lest the furniture, pictures and pets all get blown away.
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LOL – did South Africa name its wind as the Cape Doctor in imitation of our “Fremantle Doctor”? – or did we plagiarise the name of your wind, Paul? Either way, ours is gentler and most welcome, almost every day through the summer months.
You are ahead of me. I am doing a “study” of sky effects – clouds – sky colours – sunsets – sunrises – anything at all to do with that part of our environment. But I have yet to trouble with the underlying scenery, that’s coming next. The point of this exercise is that digital is a fascinating medium, which gives me the ability to capture extraordinary nuances of colour, and this is at least one point of entry, to engage in an in depth exploration of what it can do for us. Practically all landscapes and much architectural photography is framed in at least part of a “sky scape”, and the sky also affects the colours of what lies below it. So I have decided that, for me at least, a deeper understanding of what lies above us is essential to the success of most of my photographs. (Well excluding night shots, I guess – LOL – although they have similar issues, those issues derive from other sources).
And I see in your photos the kind of thing I am steering towards . . . I hope!
Not sure why the auto ISO troubles you – I don’t care so much about it, as long as I hold it down low enough to be able to control “noise”. Yes it’s something to think of, but not as important to me as shutter, aperture, DoF, etc. Instead, I find it kind of liberating – because ISO that looks after itself frees my mind up, to concentrate on what is important to my shot[s]. Maybe with more experience of digital, I’ll start worrying about it a little more.
Pete, I don’t know how The Cape Doctor got it’s name. I’ll content myself with just not liking it 🙁
The Auto ISO issue is simple and a real Homer Simpson moment; I use Auto ISO (min 200, max 3200, minimum shutter speed 125th) and for street and general photo wandering, it’s fine.
It does its job admirably on a tripod too, but why would I want (for example) ISO 3200 a shutter speed of 1/125th with my aperture at f11? I’m using a tripod, so I could indulge myself in some ISO200 love and let the shutter speed drift downward into can’t-hand-hold-it territory. But then I don’t care the tripod is steadier than I am.
How can I post a comment, that contains a photo? I have one that you might like, Paul – shot over Cape Town, and I thought it might be of interest to you, but I don’t seem to be able to attach photos to a comment like this.
Hello Paul !
I see you seem to use Lightroom to develop your X-Pro files, and I was wondering if you are satisfied with the results (well, i guess so, since you gave us those gorgeous images to look at) ? I am thinking about switching from my Nikon gear to Fuji’s but people seems to have trouble finding a software that can handle the RAW files to make pictures as good as the out of camera JPEG. Would you be kind enough to share your thoughts with me ? 🙂
Co-incidentally, I’m bust starting prep an article on using Iridient Developer with LR. More soon.
Thank you for your answer, i’ll be sur to read it when it comes 😉 !