The moon over Cape Town

Before the third session of the Digital Photography Course, we had to complete this project:

“Using different shooting modes that your camera offers, capture and print a set of 5 photos for inclusion in a glossy publication called ‘The Real Cape Town’ – through the eyes of Capetonians”.

Before you get excited, the “publication”, incidentally, was fictional. 🙂

The instructions were vague enough to allow us pretty much free rein. Unfortunately, “my” beloved digital camera had travelled with Richard to Amsterdam that week (although I’ve become a little possessive of it, it’s actually “OUR” camera, strictly speaking…) But still, having to do a photography project without a camera was making me quite frantic.

Time was ticking… opportunities were whizzing by…

So it was with much relief that we headed down towards the sea at Green Point on Sunday afternoon, with the intention of going for a quiet stroll along the beautiful promenade to photograph the sunset.

Unfortunately, the weather had other plans.

As we came in on Eastern Boulevard, a thick bank of fog was rolling in over Lion’s Head and Signal Hill. Very dramatic! I tried to take some photos out of the fast-moving car, of which this was (unfortunately) the best:

A bank of fog rolling in over the city

A bank of fog rolling in over the city

By the time we arrived at Green Point, the fog was so thick and cold and the wind so blustery that there was no way we’d be watching the sunset from there. And there went my plans of capturing that “golden hour” just before sunset until just after. We drove on in the direction of Camps Bay, but it looked even more gloomy that way.

So we turned down a small side-road in Bantry Bay, where we found a rocky “beach”. Well, no beach with sand, but literally just huge boulders piled ontop of each other. As you can see, these luxury apartments (probably a couple of million Rands each!) are built right on the shoreline.

Rocky Beach at Bantry Bay

Rocky Beach at Bantry Bay

We clambered over the rocks, and Richard patiently waited while I played around with all the complex settings I’d never used before (well, not deliberately!): aperture, shutter speed, exposure correction and ISO.

I was struggling to get my head around the fact that a small number (e.g. f/2.8) meant that it was a large aperture, and that this meant there was less depth of field, which in turn meant it was great for portraits, where you want the background to be more blurry. I was also playing around with the motion of the waves – a short shutter speed meant that the waves would be crisper or sharper, but because there wasn’t much light in the fog, I had to open the aperture more, and even increase the time of exposure. Then I tried to blur the waves to create that milky effect… it kind of worked, although it took me about 10 photos!

After a lot of experimentation, I finally got this nice shot of the man standing on the rocks in the distance, with the ship lit up on the horizon.

Man on the rocks above the churning sea

Man on the rocks above the churning sea

Eventually, chilled to the bone by the buffeting wind, we headed back towards town. By miraculous coincidence, we saw that the moon had risen in the meantime, so Richard screeched to a halt at the side of the road for me to try some more slow shutter speed and wide open aperture photos…. without a tripod… Despite that, I was quite pleased with this shot:

An almost full moon above the skyscrapers of Green Point

An almost full moon above the skyscrapers of Green Point

As we drove past the Green Point stadium, whose roof is going to be put up shortly, I saw the moon again! And yet again, Richard kindly pulled over on the side of the road, where there wasn’t strictly speaking a place to pull over, so that I could get some more shots. This time, he briefly turned off the car’s engine, so that I could support the camera on the sideview mirror… and it worked!

The moon above Green Point stadium

The moon above Green Point stadium

This was just amazing!

I got a bit of a fright when a man suddenly appeared on the driver’s side – but he wasn’t a hijacker, he was just a visitor to our fair city, who needed directions to the Cape Town International Convention Centre. We told him to follow us, as we were going in that direction anyway, and then led him straight there.

And because it involved a slight detour, I got a chance to try out my camera’s night-time settings in the brightly lit city centre.

The Westin Grand and the Convention Centre at night

The Westin Grand and the Convention Centre at night

I was so chuffed that this photo came out, that I persuaded Richard to do one final detour, to find the famous incomplete highway, which is so often used by film crews and photographers.

Unfortunately, although we zigzagged around this rather neglected and rundown area on the foreshore, there was no space to stop safely at the side of the road. So I ended up taking this photo without a tripod, but supporting it on the car’s roof instead – unfortunately with the engine running, so I could leap in if cars came roaring down the road. Which is why the photo is a little blurry… But I got the moon in!!!

The unfinished highway with the bright moon in the sky

The unfinished highway with the bright moon in the sky

By now we were ravenous, so we headed home… with one more little detour, so that I could capture Table Mountain at night:

Table Mountain at night time

Table Mountain at night time

The next evening, because it was full moon, I set up the tripod in the back garden to see if I could photograph the moon’s reflection in the pool. Unfortunately, there was quite a bit of wind, so the leaves were waving about. But it does create a beautiful, rather eerie effect.

Moon reflected in the water

Moon reflected in the water

Anyhow, I had a great time playing around with the features of my camera that I’d never properly used before – well, except by accident. And I hope you enjoyed looking at these pictures too.

2 thoughts on “The moon over Cape Town

  1. All lovely shots, but the last one, ‘Moon reflected in the water’ is my favorite. My eyes see it as the light at the end of a tunnel. It looks like a negative of the Andy Goldsworthy image I added to my Rowan Trees post yesterday.

    I studied photography years ago as an art student and have always found it to be such a technical, complicated medium compared to just picking up a pencil and drawing a subject on paper.

    • Oh my gosh! I had a look at that image on your post – and you’re absolutely right! How strangely synchronicitous is that! And what breathtaking images he has created! They can be found here.

      Unfortunately, I have never learned how to draw… I’d LOVE to know how, but I just don’t even know where to start. I find drawing and painting quite intimidating.

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