As the night-time photos from Table Mountain Road (see Fancy a Game of Spot the Castle?) didn’t quite yield the result I’d envisaged (hm… this is starting to become a theme…), we got up really early two days later – just after dawn had cracked – and headed up Table Mountain Road once again.
“If we go very early in the morning,” hubby had reassured me knowledgeably the night before, “there will be no wind.”
I nodded my head sagely, packed all the gear we’d need, and set the alarm clocks early.
It was a glorious day.
Blue skies, clear air, hardly any traffic into town, we were almost alone on Tafelberg Road, apart from a few hardy hikers, energetic bikers and brave joggers…
And a howling gale!
It was bad.
But, having gotten up so early, we weren’t going to let this deter us. Even if I couldn’t use the tripod, and the wind was so strong that I could hardly hold the camera and lens steady, and hubby had to hold tightly onto my rucksack straps to prevent all of us being blown down the steep mountain side, I was going to capture the photos that I had in my head.
What I wanted was a shot of our beautiful Mother City from above, with the sweep of the harbour and Table Bay beyond, and in the fore-to-middle ground, the Castle of Good Hope, which is hosting the Cape Town Military Tattoo from 11 to 14 November 2015.
We unexpectedly encountered another obstacle in the form of a film crew. I’m not sure if they were filming an advert or a clip for a feature film, but mere moments after we had made our way to the very end of Tafelberg Road, they blocked off the road, so that the vehicle with the camera and film-crew on the back and the vehicle they were filming, could drive up and down, up and down, the winding road.
We quickly grabbed our gear and marched off along the last section of the road, which has been blocked off for a couple of years since some devastating fires on the slopes of Table Mountain and Devil’s Peak. Part of the roadway has collapsed entirely, and massive cement barricades block the road to all but cyclists and hikers. Grass is growing in all the cracks that have appeared. Here and there, an additional landslide has sent rocks tumbling onto the road too. I admit that I looked warily up the slope, wondering whether any more were going to come down while we walked past. Luckily, they didn’t.
“So the wind in Cape Town doesn’t blow early in the morning?” I asked hubby pointedly, as I clung firmly onto his arm, while another horrendous gust of wind almost whipped our feet from under us.
Buffeted by said gale-force wind, which shouldn’t have been blowing this early in the morning, we staggered along the now-pedestrianised roadway. I was determined to make it around the big curve of Devil’s Peak, from where I was hoping to get a clearer view of the Castle down below.
Well, we did eventually make it, but the photos didn’t quite work out as I’d imagined in my head – again. Although we did successfully photograph the Castle from this high vantage point, it required the use of a very long lens to do so. Long heavy lens + gale force wind – tripod = not a happy combination. Actually even + tripod, it wouldn’t have been a good combination. Hence the slight blurriness that you may see in some of the shots.
Nonetheless, even though none of these images was ultimately used in the Tattoo programme, and despite the gale, the whole experience had been a totally magical little early-morning adventure, which reminded me how lucky we are to live in this beautiful city, with the Mountain and Mother Nature literally on our doorstep.