My favorite photos from the #DusiMarathon – @ForbesAfrica Assignment

Facing searing heat, treacherous rapids, menacing rocks and children throwing stones, more than 800 paddlers risked their necks on 119 kilometers of the rough white waters of South Africa’s Msunduzi River. Nearly a hundred didn’t make it. The Dusi Marathon, from Pietermaritzburg to Durban, is not for the faint hearted.

For more on the story get a copy of the Forbes Africa April Edition:

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Paddlers emerge from the Ernie Pearce Weir in the 2014 Dusi Marathon, one of South Africa’s most well known canoe races. The race is run over three days in the searing heat along the Msunduzi River from Pietermartizberg to Durban. Of the 817 teams who took part, 715 finished. This shot required both timing and a close encounter as the front packed slammed down the Pier in large groups. 400mm at 1/4000 at f5,6

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On a misty morning on Day 1

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The chaos of Ernie Pearce Weir

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Pedestrians crossing a low level bridge as paddlers make their way out of Pietermartizburg

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More rapids on Day 2

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Approaching the end of Day 2

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Day 3 – paddlers launch their boat after a portage, that is getting out of the water and carrying the 23kg canoe rather than risk floundering on the rocks.

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Lifeguards watch paddlers as they approach rapids on Day 3

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A close shot of paddlers as they take on the Tops Needle on Day 3. One of the racing team split their canoe in half and ran the rest of the way with half a canoe each to Durban. It took them four and a half hours to cross the finish line.

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The spirit of the race is amazing to see. Family members are roped in to help the racers. In the searing heat cool water is thrown onto paddlers at every opportunity.

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A landscape #photo holiday in #CapeTown part 3

The final part of my Cape Town trip. I went and bought myself an adjustable ND filter for Christmas from my favourite photographic shop ORMS direct. (I order my stuff from these guys in Joburg, they are brilliant when it comes to customer service and have the best prices)

Ever notice how polarized glasses eliminate the glare? Well the filter works like that, except with an adjustable filter you can determine how much glare you want to eliminate.

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This means that not only can I shoot during hard light, generally avoided by landscape photographers, but you can also darken your exposure allowing you to shoot delayed images to capture waves. Shot at 4 sec at f22. (usually you would only be able to push an exposure to 1/100)

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You would obviously need a tripod to stabalise the camera. 4 sec at f22

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The power of an ND filter is seen during golden hour. Polarized lenses allow greater colour. 15 sec at f 22 with 35mm.

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13 sec at f22 at 24mm. This is Clifton beach, arguably the most famous of Cape Town’s beaches.

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My last sunset before leaving back to Johannesburg. 1/4 at f4 with 75mm

A landscape #photo holiday in #CapeTown part 2

For part 1 click here!

Following a great few days on the beach we traveled to the interior of Cape Town. Here there are many nature reserves perfect for hiking and camping as well as the origins of South Africa’s wine farms in Stellenbosch.

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Before the arrival of my ND filter, we took a brief trip to the Helderberg Mountains. A Protea strewn nature reserve full of colour. 50mm 1/5000 at f1,4

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Stellenbosch wine lands. 50mm 1/8000 f1,6. I find when I go to wine lands I look out for this type of photo. A down the line shot with the vineyards in the background.

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4 sec at f22. On this particular day there were large swells hitting the rocks. I needed to find a means of comparing the scale of the waves, which is why I took this shot with the people sitting on the rocks.

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Near close to dark a couple stood on the rocks giving me a chance to get a silhouette. A very photojourn sort of shot (sometimes you can’t avoid thinking of work with you are on holiday). 1/800 at f1,4

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This was the last photo I took form this angle a day later. I had to wait for about an hour to get the right amount of white, with the rosey reflection in the water. 6 second at f22

Someone asked me to demonstrate the difference between a slow shutter speed and a fast. This was shot at 1/60 at f,16.

Someone asked me to demonstrate the difference between a slow shutter speed and a fast. This was shot at 1/60 at f,16.  Compare this to the above shot and you can also see the effects of depth of field. In this shot the ships in the background are blurry, whereas the foreground is sharp. Compare this to the above shot.

A landscape #photo holiday in #CapeTown part 1

It is known as one of the Worlds destination holiday spots and I was lucky to spend 8 days along its coastline. Cape Town, South Africa, is synonymous with white sandy beaches, crystal clear waters and offers stunning photographic opportunities for the sunrise and sunset lover.

This is a must see destination if you plan to visit South Africa. With sunlight from 5am to 9pm you are guarenteed to find a good spot to read a book. If you, like me, spend your free time thinking about the perfect landscape photo this has to be on your bucket list.

Just don’t plan on swimming, unless you like freezing cold water. Get too close to the rocks and you will know what I am talking about. The chances of you slipping along the seaweed is incredibly high.

I strongly suggest you bring along a sturdy tripod, lens cleaner and a remote trigger.

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Corner of Sea Point. Shot with my 50mm at 1/8000 and f1,6. I wanted to freeze the wave to capture its reflection in the water.

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Also shot with my 50mm at 1/8000 and f1,6 at about 9am. Surprisingly the light was soft enough to shoot. From 11am to 3pm I would advise you kick back and enjoy the beach the light is too hard.

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Sunset shot at 1/6000 at f1.4 with the 50mm

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What I had been waiting for: a shot over Bantry Bay, one of the richest bays along the Cape Coast, with the sunset. 1/8000 at f1,4 with my 50mm.

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With tripod set up and the sun setting it was time to play. 50mm with 5 sec delay at f22 to capture the water movement in motion. This was one of about 20 shots, I was looking for an image that would capture the white smokey effect from the water but still would leave detail in the pool below

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The seaweed and mussels along the rocks really punched with colour. Add in the reds of the cloud this was a great moment. Shot 10s F22 with the 50mm

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What stood out here was the purple reflection in the water. The silhouetted rocks break the minimalist scene, jut enough to make it interesting for me. Shot 2 sec f22

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This was a much longer time exposure, 30 sec at f22.

Eats, Shoots, and Trees – fields and trees of the Drakensberg, South Africa

The next few weeks you’re going to see a series of photos taken from the Drakensberg. The mountain range, which translated into English means the ‘dragon mountains’, is one of South Africa’s iconic landscapes. Home to a multitude of heritage sites the mountain ranges have a distinct face that can leave a hiker walking for days. The Drakensberg never fails to surprise the photographer, with a new photo around every corner.

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It’s all about perspective. This is a vertical photo-merge of a paper plantation deep within the valley of central Drakensburg.

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Hiking along the Drakensburg during Winter can be dry and golden. But the views are fantastic.

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