Category Archives: Photos

Receiving 15 aircraft in your back-yard

I’ve always said that I am a little left of normal and this is true of my entire family. Case in point: my sister Christelle is a student pilot, and her love of aviation combined with my mother’s love for cooking lead to this amazing breakfast fly-in.

We proved a while back that the farm where I grew up is the perfect wedding venue, but Christelle took it one step further this past Saturday by receiving 15 aircraft for breakfast.

The morning started with a true Zandfontein wind, blowing everyone setting up to receive guests hither and thither. The weather app on my phone claimed that it was only gusting at 16kmph (just over 8 knots for those aviatory-folk), but it sure felt and sounded like far more.

By 11:00 the wind had calmed down significantly, and the 900m runway had received a number of slings. The helicopters were lined up nicely and Mike Rumble literally dropped in on the festivities.

If you love great food and want to experience something slightly different in the Joburg and Pretoria vicinity, keep an eye on 29 Zandfontein’s Facebook page for the next event. It should be a lovely lunch in October.

 

 

All  images by the author: © catterflyworx 2014. Please contact me if you would like to use any images from this site.

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A cold Easter in the Free State

As I mentioned in my previous post, we spent the long weekend away from home visiting the beautiful Golden Gate Highlands national park in the Free State. Other than gushing about the beauty and complaining about the bitter cold, I thought I’d share my five tips from the weekend.Yes, and some (mostly HDR ’cause I’m a little obsessed at the moment) photos.

  1. If you’re visiting Clarens (which you should!), don’t pay R60 for a pretentious breakfast. Go to the Roter Hahn Bierstube Und Deli and enjoy a very wide choice of German beers with an even better meal.
  2. Pack lots of blankets. Then another one. Also, a hot water bottle.
  3. Take a good single malt with, it fights off the cold.
  4. If you’re camping in a spot that doesn’t get a lot of sun, stay in bed ’till the sun hits your tent.
  5. Visit the vulture restaurant on the Oribi loop drive. Maybe you’ll have better luck than we did and see some of these amazing birds.

 

All  images by the author: © catterflyworx 2014. Please contact me if you would like to use any images from this site.

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Golden Gate in HDR

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We’re spending the Easter weekend in the Golden Gate Highlands National Park. Stunning mountains and freezing temperatures are the first two things that come to mind. These two panorama images, taken on my HTC One, were a spur of the moment experimentation with HDR. I’m quite happy with the results.

Full report back at a later stage (when not posting from my phone and dependent on patches of signal).

UPDATE: Photos and a few tips in the next post.

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And all was well

At the end of my week in London in 2012, I visited the Warner Bros. studio tour of the making of Harry Potter. This was by far my most anticipated experience of the trip. If you’re a Potterhead and have the chance, this should definitely be on your bucket list! Get the audio-guide (narrated by Tom Felton) and immerse yourself for a few hours in the wonderful world of film and magic. I’ll let the photos speak for themselves. There are a lot of them, so keep scrolling!

Sets and set details

Costumes

Props and portraits

Artwork and odds & ends

 

Scale models

Hogwarts model

This is the crème de la crème of the experience. The entire model has miniature torches and lights simulating people passing in front of them. To appreciate the full-scale of the model, I’ve added a photo from the Daily Mail to the bottom of this post from their article on the model of Hogwarts. The lighting in the room where the model is kept cycles through a few phases, simulating night and day, showing  the model in all its immense glory.

From the Daily Mail article: Proud: Jose Granell, model supervisor, is pictured with the model of Hogwarts Castle. It has been used for every one of the Harry Potter films.

From the Daily Mail article: Proud: Jose Granell, model supervisor, is pictured with the model of Hogwarts Castle. It has been used for every one of the Harry Potter films.

All  images by the author: © catterflyworx 2012. Please contact me if you would like to use any images from this site.

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London in October

In October 2012, I spent eight days in a surprisingly sunny London. I was actually there to work with the Waggener Edstrom London team, but I made sure to have some extra time to explore the city and tick off an item from my (unpublished) bucket list. I arrived on a bright Saturday morning, ready to take on the city.

London has tonnes and tonnes of sites to see, museums to visit, and pubs to explore. I managed to see a lot taking into consideration that I only had the Saturday and Sunday of the weekend I arrived, and the evenings after work.

My first point of business was to buy a local UK sim card. After getting lost all over the show in Europe in April (with a husband to navigate), I thought I’d place my trust in the Google. The second point of business was an Oyster card. Clearly I had my priorities sorted out, and I strongly recommend that you do this as well if you’re unfamiliar with the city.

After checking into the hotel, I set out to “pursue that flighty temptress, adventure”, only to realise nothing has opened yet. After waiting around, a little tired from the long flight, things started looking up and I managed to visit the Jubilee market, Trafalgar square, the National Gallery (amazing!), the Houses of Parliament, and Westminster Abbey. I joined a Swede who stayed in the hostel with me, and we had a fantastic Indian dinner in Brick lane.

On Sunday I checked into the Charing Cross hotel, and ticked Tower bridge, Shakespeare’s Globe theatre, the Tate modern (holy crap, when can I go back?), Millennium bridge, St. Paul’s cathedral and Camden town off my list.

My week nights were filled with random pubs, amazing restaurants, and revisiting some of the sites I’d already seen to take a few photos of them at night. My last visit before departing London the following Saturday, was the National Portrait gallery and the very bright M&M’s World in Leicester square.

There is one other element that I’m saving for a post of its own, one that deserved taking a Friday afternoon off and going all the way to Watford. “To be continued…

Reflecting on London

M & Ms World, Leicester square

All  images by the author: © catterflyworx 2012. Please contact me if you would like to use any images from this site.

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Dîner en Blanc Johannesburg 2013

We spent Friday night at the very first Dîner en Blanc Johannesburg, which was also the first DeB in South Africa. It was fantastic! There are more photos on the Facebook page as well.

All  images by the author: © catterflyworx 2013. Please contact me if you would like to use any images from this site.

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A night tour at the National Zoological Gardens in Pretoria

We spent Saturday night at the National Zoological Gardens in Pretoria, better known as the Pretoria Zoo. They offer night tours with knowledgeable guides, focusing on nocturnal animals. The tour starts at 18:30 and ends at around 20:30, where after groups may proceed to designated picnic areas to braai and spend some time relaxing around a bonfire. If you’d like to make a bigger trip out of this, you may also book a camping tour.

The Pretoria Zoo stretches over 88 hectares (roughly 217 acres) and celebrates its 114th year in 2013. The night tour is well worth the effort, as there are only a few other guided tours in the zoo at night and there’s no jostling for a view. The tour is however very focused, so if you want to see a bigger variety of animals it might be better to visit in the day. Photo opportunities will also be better then 😉

I managed to get a few pictures, but with my ISO set to 3200 most of them are very noisy.

An exotic buck seen in a spotlight at the Pretoria Zoo A flock of flamingoes settling down for the night at the Pretoria Zoo

A juvenile eagle owl sitting on a log at the Pretoria Zoo

A male bengal tiger seen at night in the Pretoria Zoo

A view of the union buildings and the city of Pretoria in the background, with a sundial in the foreground at the Pretoria Zoo A pack of wild dogs sleeping under a tree at the Pretoria Zoo

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Eurotrip 2012: Everything in one place

Eurotrip 2012: The route (click for more detail)

Reliving our trip in April digitally over the last few months has been amazing. Sometimes I wish I’d taken more photos and other times I wish I had spent less time behind my camera. Either way, I have loved capturing the trip here.

I’ve summarised the posts below in chronological order of events, with the photo galleries  (for those days where I could just not get around to writing) below the story of our trip. I hope this helps ease navigating the month long trip! Continue reading

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Eurotrip 2012: Highlights from Amsterdam, The Netherlands

27 – 30 APRIL: AMSTERDAM, THE NETHERLANDS
THE HIGHLIGHTS FROM THREE DAYS IN AMSTERDAM

Continued from part 14: Day four in Paris

As with most things in life, all good things must eventually come to an end. I’ve been putting off writing this post (for a month, I know!), as I feel that it will finally conclude a trip I’m not quite ready to forget.

The entrance to Pension de Laurier. Photo from http://www.hostelworld.com

We depart the beautifully wet city of Paris on an early morning train to Amsterdam. The owner of Pension de Laurier, the B&B we will be staying at, kindly smsed us details explaining which trams to take to get there safely. Of all the train stations we’ve arrived at over the last four weeks, Centraal Stasie seems to have been the most confusing one to decipher. It cost two journeys back to the station in order to get tickets for the bus and tram system, but finally we succeed.

Arriving at Pension de Laurier could not have been more different from our Parisian “hotel” experience. It felt like arriving home to a place of love. We showered and felt 1000 times better for it, ready to take on the city of Amsterdam.

After Venice, Amsterdam seemed a breeze to navigate. The streets were easy to understand and the entire city if amazingly beautiful. I truly feel as though I would be able to live there, if ever I wanted to leave the sunny “velde” of South Africa behind.

We had so much planned for Amsterdam, but after so many museums, beautiful parks, exciting roadtrips and historical sites; we were completely touristed-out. We spent our last three days in Europe being far less industrious and far more relaxed. We also stopped taking notes of what we did every day, so I am recalling the highlights from memory!

1. Walking to the Van Gogh Museum and instead of going in, enjoying a picnic of cheese, fresh bread and champagne on the lawn in front of the museum.

Picnic on the lawn in front of the Rijks and Van Gogh museums, Museumplein, Amsterdam

Boerenkaas with black truffle

2. Shopping in De 9 Straatjes area. The shops here are quaint and small and intimate and awesome!

3. Sharing a serving of fresh ‘frittes’ with Francois in De Dam Plein, watching the “kermis”.

4. Finding a cheese shop with amazing fresh breads down the road from where we were staying.

5. Discovering that Burger King was running a promotion 🙂

6. Walking through the Westermarkt market on Sunday.

7. Marvelling at the very Dutch, very lopsided architecture.

8. Enjoying the rest of Amsterdam, in gloriously sunny weather.

9. And of course, being in Amsterdam on 30 April 2012 for Koninginnedag!

Koninginnedag 2012 by Antonio Olmedo

Header photo by Deon Joubert.
Koninginnedag 2012 by Antonio Olmedo.
All other images by the author: © catterflyworx 2012.

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Eurotrip 2012: Day four in Paris, France

23 – 27 APRIL: PARIS, FRANCE

Continued from part 13: Day three in Paris

26 April: The creepy underground of Paris’ catacombs

As you’ll know from our visit to the Capuchin Crypts in Rome, I have a slightly morbid fascination with the way in which human remains are on display. Growing up in South Africa, this is completely unheard of and more than a little eerie.

I also realised (a little belatedly) that this scene in the Court of Miracles from The Hunchback of Notre Dame was actually far more creepy than I initially thought as a child back in 1996.

The catacombs in Paris was one of the only attractions we couldn’t book tickets for before-hand and my only advice here is the GET THERE EARLY. We stood in line for two hours, as only a select amount of people are allowed in at any given time. There are numerous warnings to the faint-hearted about the catacombs’ confined spaces and somewhat disturbing displays of remains. In addition the passages accessible to the public form an almost 2km long labyrinth some 20m underground. This tour is not accessible to young children. Though cameras are allowed, you are not allowed to use flash and the conditions are very dim.

In comparison with the very stylised displays of the Capuchin Crypts, the catacombs seemed impersonal and gave a distinct “function over form” feel.The catacombs used to be stone quarries in the 1700s. Abandoned because of the dangerous conditions, these empty tunnels became the perfect place to store the remains of approximately 6 million people when the Paris cemeteries were filled up in the early 1800s. Along the path are signs showing the cemetery that the remains originated from, as well as the date on which they were moved.

I loved the experience and highly recommend it!

Our trip concludes: Three (very lazy) days in Amsterdam

Header photo by Deon Joubert.
All other images by the author: © catterflyworx 2012.

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