Winter has hit us southerners hard. I thought Africa was supposedly a tough place. We always talk about the good weather, the warm sun and the vast open spaces. Yet when that first blast of wind from a cold front comes whipping across the highveld, we cower. Yes we cower; we complain, we hide and we shiver in front of heaters. Africa is a hard place, but we aren’t prepared for such cold!
Personally I love winter. I have a saying “winters are made for surfers and photographers” Surfers love winters due to the waves they bring. The stronger the cold front on the coast, the bigger the swell behind it. So when every one hates the gale force south-westerlies, the surfers are rubbing their hands in anticipation. No wonder people question their sanity!
Photographers like winters for different reasons. Those same cold fronts bring wispy cirrus clouds, making for some very beautiful skies. The mornings are cold and crisp with frost, giving us a lot more to photograph. But most of all it’s the light that stays good far almost all the day due to the sun staying low in the sky; that and snow. We so seldom get snow here that when it arrives it makes front-page news.
As I mentioned, this winter hit us hard. By luck, I was in the Eastern cape just after this winter’s coldest front had just swept over the country. I had a day off and so drove up to a place I knew would have snow on it- Hogsback. A mountain village with nice forests in the summer; in winter, one of the best villages to experience snow in South Africa. I drove through the town and through into the open country beyond it. There, where the cows were supposed to be was the most snow I had seen south of the equator. Knee deep snow lined the just opened road. I drove along, taking pictures where I saw opportunity, until I came to a bridge over a river. Here I saw an opportunity for some Infrared Photography (IR). I didn’t know how IR would react to snow, so naturally I was keen to try some imaging. I jumped out the car and sunk my foot right into a drift of ice-cold snow. The shoe had to go, and on came the sandal- not the warmest replacement. So with one shoe on and one shoe off, I walked along the river checking the different viewpoints until I came upon this scene. It was perfect for my type of IR. I set up the tripod and experimented with the settings. Eventually I came up with this: The snow on the hills in the background and the river flowing below it in the foreground. Run off from the melt. As cold as it gets in Africa.
The image looked great, but my foot didn’t, it was frozen stiff. I hobbled back to the car, to a warm heater, loving the cold of winter.
Nikon D70 - 18 - 70mm lens
Exposure - f 16 Shutter Speed: 8 sec
Exp. Comp. 0 EV
ISO equiv. - 200
Flash sync- not attached, Exposure mode- Manual, Metering Mode- centre weighted File type- NEF (RAW)
Focal length: 18mm (28mm, 35mm equivalent)