It’s a strange thing…

It’s a strange thing to meet you and not extend an arm to pull you closer

and tilt my chin up instinctively

to feel you head against my heart

It’s a strange seeing you smile

but realise your eyes are saying something else

and to feel overwhelmed by that same dread for the days to come

It’s strange stopping myself from saying let’s go grab breakfast

or to go quickly gobble up pizza

despite the promises to eat better

It’s a strange thing to text more and get responses

in a time when the words feel utterly futile

and yet so much more essential

It’s going to be a strange new world we will emerge into

broken and then pieced together to start over

and I’ll raise my arm place it on your shoulder

so that we can walk together once more

Home is where I lay my hat…

I was reminded of the idiom that says you never know what you have until its gone is one the other day, walking on the Copacabana promenade early one morning with the sun fighting the wispy clouds in trying to come out.  I was grateful that the famous black and white stones on the walkway had been worn smooth by millions of Havaianas walking up and down as they didn’t hurt my bare feet as much.  My shoes had been soaked early when I got caught by a wave I didn’t see coming and I decided to walk back to the hotel some 4km away with them in my hand.  I hadn’t walked anywhere barefoot in ages.  But we used to do it all the time in Durban.  And the main strip in Rio, Copacabana Beach reminded me a lot of the golden mile in Durban.  Only Copacabana is scaled up a little bit and possibly a little more famous.  Durban is however not a 10 and 1/2 flight away.

Continue reading “Home is where I lay my hat…”

My mom, the Basket Aunty…

In Indian society, every older unrelated male is an uncle and older unrelated female an aunty (not aunt, aunty).  Your real uncle and aunts are given their designations by the relationship they come to be your real aunts and uncles by.  Your mother’s brothers are your Mamas and your father’s sisters your Poowas. Or Foi or Aatha depending on the dialect you speak.  And you then also have big dads and big moms for the eldest uncles and aunts.  Everyone else who is older is designated uncle or aunt and then their name.  The neighbour, Aunty Saras (not to be confused with the neighbour-aunty, Saras) or Uncle Sagren who lives down the road.  When, as an Indian kid, you don’t know someone by their name you default to some attribute of how they look or what they do with and added uncle or aunty at the front.  So the Fowl Aunty was the lady who provided fresh chickens on a Saturday morning, Fisher Uncle or Uncle Fishy was a good fisherman and the Milk Uncle drove the van that sold bread and milk and sweets that came around at 3 o’ clock every afternoon.  That’s probably how my mother ended up being the  Basket Aunty and then the Sweet Aunty. Continue reading “My mom, the Basket Aunty…”

First Impressions: Sony A7III (and possibly the 100-400mmF4.5-5.6 GMaster by association)

The Backstory

So.  Have you read enough about the Sony Alpha cameras already?  Actually if you are not a camera geek like me you probably haven’t heard much of the Sony camera’s currently taking the world by storm.  Unless you are friends with me on any form of social media – then you probably heard too much in the last couple weeks and you are probably hoping that I would stop.  And I promise that this blog post is the culmination of what has been an exciting few weeks.  I therefore ask that you bear with me and maybe this is the last you’ll hear of it…for now!

Continue reading “First Impressions: Sony A7III (and possibly the 100-400mmF4.5-5.6 GMaster by association)”

It’s my Birthday and you can come if you want to!

Its my birthday next week you know…

Yeah of course I know

It would please me much if you were there…

Yeah I know that as well

So will you come?

But what do I come as?

It’s not a costume party, you don’t have to dress up but…

Shut up you know what I mean

…you can come as Hermoine dressed in her Gryffindor uniform perhaps?

Be serious! You know what I mean!

No I don’t actually…

Who do I come as? In relation to you? 

Do I have to spell it out then?

Well.

Come as part of the friendship that they can’t comprehend, a bond that only you and I understand,

As my biggest critic who keeps me honest,

The person I can achieve anything with when you are standing beside me,

The one I wish was on every one of my adventures.

Come as the girl who smiles through the pain,

Who my heart breaks for only to be rebuilt by your strength and courage,

Come as the reader, the writer, the swimmer, the hiker,

The sister, the daughter, the scrappy street fighter.

 

Come as the person I would miss the most if you didn’t,

The part of me that would be missing if you were not there.

But mostly come as all that makes you YOU,

The person I perhaps hardly even know but who I want to spend every minute learning…

 

 

 

 

Is it talent or hard work and experience or simply having the right equipment that counts most?

One of my quotes of all time is from Albert Einstein that goes “I have no particular talent, I am merely extremely inquisitive”. Now I make no claim to be anywhere close to the genius that was Einstein but I would say that  I too have no particular talent except perhaps for being curious.  And that can get you a long way sometimes but perhaps curiosity is not all you need (cos we all know that love is all you need).  I’ve, in the last couple months, been having a recurring conversation with a few different people on the topic of natural talent versus hard work towards a goal versus having the better tools on hand to finish the job and buying some luck with that.  The conversations seem pretty pointless because they inevitably lead nowhere because this debate is as old as time. I mean I’m sure even the early cavemen had hunters who made more kills because of a better spear or fishermen who caught fish easier because they were fishing 7 days a week.  But let me give you my take because you’ve already read so far in, you might as well read on…

Continue reading “Is it talent or hard work and experience or simply having the right equipment that counts most?”

I’m making 2018 my year of influence

So full 2 weeks of the New Year have come and gone.  If you are still holding on to your resolutions good on you!  If have already you broke them for whatever reason, well you only 2 weeks in so you can always wake up, shout “Mulligan!” and start over.  If you didn’t make any, you do you as best as you can, because you never know who’s watching and looking up to you!  My resolution for 2018 is actually something along those lines, but before we get there some background.

Continue reading “I’m making 2018 my year of influence”

2017 in rear view…

I know what you thinking. “Hold up, hold up, you can’t just be writing a year in review when the year is not yet over! Its not even Christmas!” But let’s be honest guys, as a South African the year officially ends on the long weekend of the 16th December and the new year begins after the 2nd January, maybe only officially the 8th January.  The two week period in-between is neither the old year or the new year, filled with the haze of balmy summer nights, sweet over-indulgence, instagram posts and stories and travel to local or exotic destinations; all the while surrounded by dear family and friends. We should really start a petition to get the South African Government to make the 16 December to 1 January summer leave for everyone. So, for me at least, the year ended a few days back already unofficially and therefore I can just!  So here are my two highlights of 2017…

Continue reading “2017 in rear view…”

I have walked my 500 miles…

Forrest Gump’s momma was a wise women.  One of her pearls of wisdom was that “You can tell a lot about a person by their shoes, where they going, where they been”.  I got to thinking the other day and began to wonder about where my own shoes have taken me and where I still have to go.  I had just been in to the shoe shop in Dunkeld, got my feet measured for no reason because I was just getting the latest version of my now trusted running shoes, New Balance 880 version 7’s, which were replacing the now worn down version 6’s I had worn for more than 18 months which themselves had replaced a pair of version 5s.  The 880s are one of the few running shoes that actually come in my size; UK 10s with 2E width, so I am pretty much limited to them.  And I began recalling all the shoes I have worn.

Continue reading “I have walked my 500 miles…”

Getting over the hump…

I get asked quite often these days how long I’ve been so passionate about my photography, quite often I think, with the expectation of the answer being something like all my life.  And when I reply in all seriousness that it has been perhaps only in the last few years that I have really dived right in I get some surprised responses.  Photography, and in particular photographs, have been a part of my life for a long while.  My dad had various cameras, many of which I recently reclaimed and shot many rolls of film of us growing up and growing older.  However I didn’t really pick up a serious camera until about 10 years ago and only got my first DSLR about 6 years ago.  Even still I’ve never taken my photography seriously and probably still don’t because of a few significant reasons.

  1. I’ve never thought myself good enough.  Now this is not to say that I am someone who strives for perfection.  To the contrary, I’ve always been one for trying your best and if your best is not good enough then you can always wipe the slate clean and try again.  But for various reasons I’ve never felt my photography was good enough for me to call myself a serious photographer.  Perhaps it has been the influence of other aspects in my life that say that, yes while I am good, I come off second best more often than not, so why should it be any different with my photography.  And it’s always been the hardest thing to accept a compliment for me.  Like someone would say nice haircut and I would reply with a self deprecating comment about my big head (But seriously I do have a big head). So it’s hard to actually internalise good feedback when I do get it.  But its something I actively work on these days, finding the best way to accept that I may be good by first saying how I captured a shot, then what I like about it and only then saying what I think I could do better.
  2. Putting myself out there opens me up to criticism. Now to even get any good comments you have to learn how to handle the “bad ones”.  And they always seem worse when you are getting them.  But you have to learn how to weed out the good from even the bad.  And be willing to admit mistakes and failure when it happens and be willing to learn.  I’ve said it before on here I think, but no-one ever won anything by playing it small so you will have to put yourself out there as a photographer at some point, just so you can learn to get better.  Even then there will be someone will not like your work.  What has helped a great deal for me is joining a photography club and more recently joining my stock photography site.  That anyone is willing to pay for my photos is great positive affirmation for me that I must be doing something right.
  3. Photography means I have to will have to interact with people. Many photographers I know struggle when it comes to dealing with people.  They may love to take people photographs but the social anxiety of having to deal with people may just be too great and they tend to shy away.  For many, photography is an escape, a way to get out and do what they love for an by themselves.  So having to come back to reality and deal with people may well be a very limiting factor.  I am no shrinking violet when it comes to interacting with people, believing there is always some or other common ground you can strike with someone you have just met.  And I can spend hours talking about my photography.  But, for the two previous reasons I think I have tended to stay away from photographing people.  And many photographers go their whole careers doing just that, mastering other genres but eventually you will have to deal with people, even if it is to sell them your photos or share your photos on social media sites.  So sooner or later as a photographer you have to deal with people so you have to learn how to.  Even if it’s slowly over time.  I have started asking my friends to pose for me and mostly they are more than willing to oblige.  The feedback they will give you is honest and will also help with both previous points.
  4. Comparing myself to others is mostly a bad idea.  This one is a general life rule I think.  For the most part I avoid comparing myself to others in other aspects of my life, knowing that we not all running a giant race against each other but rather in our own lanes finding our way home.  Even when I run in actual races I use the same philosophy, running withing myself more often than not, taking time to enjoy the beauty of the run rather than pushing myself to do better.  I think I ended up last of everyone who did the 10km over the weekend in the local zoo trot.  But when it comes to photography there always seems to be someone better.  Someone who is doing brilliantly with the same kit you have, at the same places you visit.  And this is often the feedback loop to the first point for me.  Again I am learning to get over this, learning to ask questions and sometimes learning to be grateful to have seen something that simply astounds you.

I had to get over these mostly self thought up humps (and some smaller others such as technical know how) before starting to believe in my photography skills.  And like with anything you learn, I progressed through the 4 stages of competency from unconsciously incompetent  before I picked up my first camera to nearly the point of unconscious competence now. Personally I would add a fifth stage to the model – confidently competent.  Where you are good and willing to put yourself out there enough to make the most of your skills, photography or otherwise.  Just don’t jump the gun at the confidently incompetent stage!

P.S.  Why the cover of a Giraffe you may ask? Giraffa Camelopardalis – the leopard spotted camel (who have differing numbers of humps if they are named Sally)