Landscapes of Rustenburg

Its nice to get some afternoon light. I shot these in the car on the way back from Rustenburg, about two and a half hours outside of Johannesburg. The landscape is littered with farmland, open bushveld and platinum mines.

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Flick-flacks in Sandton, Johannesburg Mark Tathum performs for his porfolio

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A quick morning portrait shoot with studying performance dancer Mark Tathum. There is nothing like a winter sky in the city, we got some great snaps for his portfolio. I also got to test my new Hahnel wireless remote, which has been performing well.

When Mark gave me a call asking for some photos for his professional portfolio I thought to myself ‘Hey any excuse for a photograph, right’.

So we trundled off to Sandton City, arguably Johannesburg’s richest shopping centre,  for a quick one hour Sunday morning shoot…and I got him to do some flick-flicks.

And while we were at it, I got to test my new Hahnel wireless remote.For anyone thinking about doing some strobe/speed-light photography its a good investment. Its far more flexible than lugging around lighting equipment and a battery pack.

The last time I bought a wireless it cost me half that. I should not have been surprised when it died on me a few months later. So this time, setting me back a hefty R2800, I went for a medium range buy.For Mark’s shoot I decided to use it to fill in his features, mainly because I am doing more portraits and I need something I can rely on low light conditions.

The Hanel has proven to be quite flexible. It has a decent range, from what I tested, and if you have nothing blocking the signal. At times it seems like the system gets overloaded and you need to reset the remote. Also if you are planning on using it as a main source of light make sure you are using a diffusser of some kind, the ETTL over compensates quite a bit and can blow your figures out and throw in some heavy background shadows. I am not really much of a fan using this mode, I rather use manual and go for a setting of 1/32 or faster, I just to add some punch and bring him out.

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The Hahnel also comes with a high speed wireless function, and a rear end flash, but I haven’t had a chance to test this just yet. The advantage of an off camera flash is that you can control the direction and distance of light from the subject.

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Mark’s always keen to try something fun, so we ran outside and I got him to do some flips to set some atmosphere, which was when we got this gem here.

Cataloguing properly got me in a magazine, once.

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Perusing through my archives I found this image while searching for my rhino shot. A wonderful panorama overlooking the valley where we staying at the time, Mabula lodge (or something-or-other).

I get chills whenever I hear the words “my computer crashed”. My first instinct is to think ‘man if that happens to me I am stuffed’.

As someone who shoots Gigabytes of data at a time. I obsess even when I lose one image. Imagine losing a whole two year project, or a thesis.  I dread to think of the day that my computer blanks out, I would lose thousands of images.

On those days that I hear the utterances of disaster, I go home and back my stuff up. Ha. Who does that right? But it’s true.

I spend at least two days a month backing up. At times I must appear to be some sort of neurotic digital-hoarder, refusing to throw away his possessions years after their expiration date.

This week, however, I was incredibly happy to have an obsessive compulsion to catalogue. We were in the office and one of the picture editor’s needed a photograph of a rhino from the bush. My spider sense tingled, and I knew that I had a great shot of that. I had gone on a holiday about a year ago to a bush lodge called Mabula-something-or-other. To be honest, it was so long ago that I couldn’t even remember the name of the lodge, but the point was I knew I had saved some great shots of a baby rhino and her mother.

The next problem was finding the images. Once you have made the backups it’s another thing to be able to quickly sift through your information and find what you need. It’s equally as important to have a decent catalogue system.

In a business like journalism, speed is everything. News gets outdated before you can blink. Sure the magazine pace is a little slower but the same principal’s apply.

National Geographic photographers have been known to shoot more than 30,000 photographs for a single assignment. In my case, thanks to my obsession, I was able to sift through hundreds of DVDs’ to find the right photo. I got it in the next day.

So what’s a little obsessive-ness when it comes to photography? I say it’s the difference between a scream of frustration at losing days of hard work and the sound of you patting yourself on the back for being an OCD data freak.

After looking for a little while I found the photo for the magazine. i am so glad I kept every last image from the holiday.

After looking for a little while I found the photo for the magazine. i am so glad I kept every last image from the holiday.

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It’s interesting to see how much your eye changes after time. I had completely overlooked this image when I first edited down this shoot. I am glad I didn’t miss it the second time around.