Published on: 3rd Jun 2017
As always, I wanted to make the best use of this opportunity to also take some photos as taking photos is for me still more important than any photography meeting. The day I lose my drive to search for that special photo will be the day I stop attending any photography meeting as well.
Francois Roux invited us to drive together and the plan was to be at his place in Vereeniging at about 6:30 – I had a landscape spot in mind just south of the Vaal Toll Plaza for our first break with an early morning coffee.
Unfortunately we only left home at 06:10 (you know how these early morning gathering-your-things-in-a-rush goes). At 6:45, just before sunrise, we crossed the Klip River south of Alberton on the R59 highway. It was minutes before sunrise. This is when Xiaoyi saw the mist on the river. Now, Xiaoyi is about mist as I am about trees, no matter the time of day, the urgency of the destination or the weather conditions, it must first be photographed. I took the turn-off south of the river while phoning Francois to inform him about the obstacle in our road. We arrived at the river as the sun was breaking above the horizon.
The car reported -1 degrees Celsius. Being from the sub-tropical Shenzhen in China where the coldest winter night is about 12 degrees, this is a big deal for Xiaoyi - but something she will face any day to get a good mist photo. We changed our shoes (yes we did come prepared) and walked through the frosted grass onto the riverbank. The photo above was the first photo I took when arriving at the river bank.
I wanted to get closer and followed a small footpath towards the reeds growing in the river. It was difficult, and I rememberI said to myself I wish there was not so many spider webs across the pathway.
Then I realised how the sun was falling on the spider webs.
The landscape photoshoot turned into a spider web shoot! I have never before seen so many spider webs in such a small area. Each one was covered in dewdrops that looked like light caught in crystals.
Shooting directly into the sunlight created some interesting chromatic abberation on all those micro lenses on the spider webs - not your normal corner cromatic aberration of a lower quality lens, but even right in the middle of the photo on all the dew drops on the spider webs - almost a rainbow effect. I tried to fix this in post processing but it seems to be impossible to fix in the normal way supplied in post prosessing software.
We only arrived in Vereeniging at 8:15 - this first 90 kilometre stretch took us exactly 2 hours and 5 minutes.
For me, this is a good start of a journey.
Francois did not get the opportunity to photograph the sunrise but he made up for it by making sure we arrived in Lady Grey by 16:00, just in time to drop our bags off and get out to photograph the sunset.
(If you have read up to here and did not click on a photo yet, do so to see them in larger format and also to browse through the rest of this gallery)