#638. The Greyton weekend

By Paul Perton | Travel Photography

Aug 30


Saturday sunset - Paul Perton

Saturday sunset – Paul Perton


I told Paul that I don’t do hills.


It’s not that I can’t, but ageing knees, a paucity of breath and ten or fifteen kilos of photo kit just don’t do it for me any more.


That seemed eminently sensible until Sunday morning, when Paul (Bruins) our flamingo-legged guide led us down from hill top to a dam just a couple of hundred metres distant. Horizontally, that is. The incline looked quite steep from the dam wall and I did wonder how we were all going to get back up to our cars. You can catch a glimpse of the terrain in the left hand side of Cathy Bell’s pic below.


Of course we did, but I’m sure I heard an EMS chopper hanging about nearby. Just in case, as it were.


Greyton Nature Reserve - Veronica de Bruyn

Greyton Nature Reserve – Veronica de Bruyn


Friday sunset amid the proteas - Paul Perton

Friday sunset amid the proteas – Paul Perton


Dam reflection - Paul Perton

Dam reflection – Paul Perton


This is Greyton, a tiny town nestled amidst the Riversonderend mountains, about 120km from Cape Town. Paul has a holiday cottage here, knows the area like the back of his hand and had earned his Panorama Paul moniker in the region. The idea of an organised weekend shoot wth him was just too much to miss.


Clearly, I wasn’t alone, as additional workshops are scheduled to meet the clamour for weekends in these spectacular foothills.


Joining Paul to assist was German landscape photographer, Jan Zwilling, who had arrived in Cape Town the previous day. Between Paul and Jan, we were brilliantly looked after, advised, guided and generally helped to make the best of our weekend.


Greyton Nature Reserve dam - Paul Perton

Greyton Nature Reserve dam – Paul Perton


Saturday sunrise - Paul Perton

Saturday sunrise – Paul Perton


Saturday sunrise - Fumi Hirai

Saturday sunrise – Fumi Hirai


Friday afternoon’s first shoot was in the local nature reserve, first taking in a tiny dam in a spectacularly steep gorge and then bidding the sun goodbye, looking across a field of proteas.


A great start, signalling good weather and fantastic photographic opportunities for the coming two days.


Saturday morning found us set up around a local farm dam, watching the sun colouring the clouds and sky almost every imaginable colour. Mother nature added wisps of mist to give us yet more mood in our pictures.


Canola and the Riversonderend mountains - Marleen le Grange

Canola and the Riversonderend mountains – Marleen le Grange


Canola road - Johan Mocke

Canola road – Johan Mocke


Bucolic Greyton - Cathy Bell

Bucolic Greyton – Cathy Bell


After breakfast, our guides took us out on to the roads of the region to find locations to shoot canola fields. A major crop in the south eastern Cape, canola’s brilliant yellow flowers create a chrome coloured sea against the might of the nearby mountains. A photographer’s dream.


Sunset Saturday and Paul told us we were going to The Castle.




Several kilometres of not very good farm roads, a precipitous climb (bet you can work out where that’s leading to by now), a pine forest and we arrived at an aerie with views from a nearby vineyard, to canola fields and the mountains disappearing into the distance. A spectacular sunset followed by some wine, beer and snacks and we were all ready to head back into Greyton and an early(ish) night.


Saturday sunset- Melanie Neethling

Saturday sunset- Melanie Neethling


Sunday sunrise - Paul Perton

Sunday sunrise – Paul Perton


The Castle also provided car parking for Sunday morning’s shoot. This time, we were on foot and from the path through the woods, we discovered a wonderful scene just a couple of hundred metres away below us. As before, nature delivered in spades, giving us a dream sunrise. The rest of the story, you’ve already read.


Over breakfast, Paul did admit to me that he was going to find a different access road to that particular spot and that despite his dramatic leg length (almost as long as the rest of us are tall), it didn’t help as he had also found it necessary to stop four or five times to catch his breath.


I asked all of the photographers to send me their choice of image from the weekend. You can see them here, tagged by name.


My weekend was very much a proof of concept; Fuji when I travel and Nikon when my Land Rover does the hauling. Friday evening’s shoot was a bit of an unknown, so the X-Pro2 got the nod. For the rest of the weekend, the D800 and various lenses I’ve not used for a while, got lots of exercise.


I really enjoyed my mostly-Nikon weekend. Why isn’t there a lighter, mirrorless offering yet?


Driving home, I was struck by the level of planning and organisation that had gone into the weekend. That our guides barely touched their own cameras added to my sense of satisfaction and job well done – far too many workshops are led by photographers who all too willingly put their own image taking alongside (and sometimes above) their fee paying guests.


All in, a fine weekend – I’ll put it in my diary for next year.


Canola country - Paul Perton

Canola country – Paul Perton


Canola country - Paul Perton

Canola country – Paul Perton


Email: subscribed: 4
  • Fran Oldham (ancient male, X-T2) says:

    Maybe it says more about me than the pictures but, for whatever reason, I liked the photos in this post even more than most….even well enough to thank you for posting them.

  • bob hamilton says:

    Good article and nice pictures of what is obviously a lovely part of the world.
    One point. You keep asking for a lighter, mirrorless Nikon but the sad truth is that, just as the body of the Fuji GFX50S is a bit lighter and more compact than most of the medium format competition (the Hasselblad X1D excepted), the lenses are barely so as not even Fuji is able to defeat the laws of physics and the image circle diameter needed to cover that size of sensor, not to mention the gubbins needed for auto focus and image stabilisation. Sadly, any Nikon full frame, mirrorless offering would be in the same boat, especially if, as they undoubtedly would, they were to make it able to use their existing range of lenses.
    Stick to your Fuji X system….!!!

    • pascaljappy says:

      Go for it, Bob. Push him overboard, push him overboard 😉 We, as a team, owe it to the world to buy one of these medium format cameras !!

  • Peter Oosthuizen says:

    Bob, you beat me to it – the problem is the weight of the lenses. For those seriously concerned about weight, classic Nikon manual focus lenses are the answer, most are much lighter than their AF equivalent. To see what they can do in good hands and on cameras like the Df, D800 and D500 have a look at some of the images posted on http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/929565/

    I also think these images are great.


  • pascaljappy says:

    Pauls, and other participants, thanks for sharing this. Some really wonderful and inspiring photographs there and, as the warm season prepares to depart our Northerly climes to migrate to yours, a great incentive to come and visit ourselves (as if an incentive was needed …)

  • Cliff Whittaker says:

    You had an excellent photographic adventure and the images match the effort. Thanks for posting them.
    I’m not a great fan of the mirrorless cameras currently on the market. I just can’t abide the view through the EVF. BUT, every time I photograph a nearby bird and see it flinch or fly away when it hears the kalak-slap of the mirror of my D800E I wish for something a lot quieter. And mirrorless does provide that. Too bad, because I already have a full kit of telephoto lenses that would not work on mirrorless and I’m not about to start over.
    So…., rather than ask for mirrorless development, I would ask that Nikon do something about that noisy mirror slap. Seems like they could provide some type of cushioning device that would eliminate that situation. 🙂

  • philberphoto says:

    Paul, your post shows what I believe is an unsung fact, that is that South Africa is one of the absolute most beautiful countries in the world. And, right now, one of the least expensive ones on that hallowed list. No Icelandic prices, and flocks of tripod-carrying ‘togs crowding a spot either. And as always, your storytelling, visually and otherwise, is top-notch. Great stuff!

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