Sunday, December 04, 2011

Christmas presents

What a wonderful privilege I had this week - staying over in the wonderful Nieu Bethesda. But one of the most wonderful opportunities was to witness the arrival of Santa (Father Christma) in the local township. The great moments of anticipation as the kids waited for the red-coated, grey bearded man to make his appearance.
The atmosphere was loaded with happiness, energy and the wonderful overexcitement of kids - waiting for someone to bring them something small, yet something beyond the ordinary. You won't believe the difference a packet of sweets can make!
Afterwards there were happy faces everywhere...
I realized once again that every day we've got something to look forward to, we choose the wonderful anticipation, be it for the sun to rise, colleagues to see, something to do...
We can look forward to something, or we can look up to it...
It's up to us.
Just remember, we are still children at heart! We have the right to look forward to every day with eager anticipation!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Welcome to Shangri-la

Time has stood still for a while. And therefore I am so privileged to be blogging again. Over the past week, I had one of the experiences of a lifetime, sharing in the knowledge of Bruce Copley & Associates. Bruce's website is at, and one of his associates, Michelle, has a website at:

Now this blog will suit as a memory to some of the lessons I have learnt, but also to share some of the pictures of the event with my fellow delegates. You see, like in the words of Henry David Thoreu, we "went to the woods because we wanted to live deliberately, we wanted to live deep and suck out the marrow of life..." all under the guidance of a wonderful teacher. And all at a wonderful place called Shangri-la.

Anyone who has ever experienced a session with Bruce will know to expect the unexpected...

You see, we all have to learn to look at life from a new perspective, a new point of view, a new self. Too often we look at our surroundings from an old paradigm, but a small change in angle can make such a tremendous difference...
 And very often we have to learn that we are not the only inhabitants of this wonderful planet. There are others who see things from a different point of view. As I looked at the wonderful trees, I wondered what it would look like if you were an ant. Just think, from a bit above an ant's point of few, grass looks like this:

As humans I think we often need to stand back in awe at the everyday miracles we tend to miss! You see, we often don't realize how small we are, until, - behold - what can you find in everyday places?
 The footprints of God:

And yes, on our way through life, with our fellow travellers, there are moments of fear...(the photo below does not show how steep the downhill is, but it is all reflected in Marsha's eyes:

But once you go through the barriers of fear, there is always the gift of wonder!

 Is it not true that once we appreciate the wonders out there, we really appreciate our own presence and power in the web of life?

Is it not then that we know that we are all composers of and dancers through a gift we often forget to unwrap, a gift we all have, a gift called life?

So next time that someone brings you something seemingly meaningless,

Just go on your knees, be grateful, and see how meaning presents itself:

Now, I do hope that this blog will give you something to reflect on...and yes, the story will continue...

Until we talk again, remember to have a grateful heart, a conscious mind and a loving soul.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Scenes, routes and memories.

It's a great time for all kinds of resolutions. But sometimes we forget that although looking forward is wonderful, the same can be said of looking back.
It all depends, I assume, what you focus on.
While on Christmas holidays, I asked my brother's son to play in the same river we played in when we were kids.
Suddenly it was there: The same muddy smell, the same grassy patches, the same sense of nature that I experienced while I was a kid. They all enveloped me once again while standing on the side with the camera.

And is it not these quiet  scenes we remember from our journey through life that often means the most?

Take time today to enjoy the wonderful wealth of memories, turning into experience, becoming the lunchbox we share in the school of life.

Wishing you a fabulous new year!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Stop signs

Sometimes we get so occupied in "the flow" of  life's demands, that we forget about the tremendous power of just "stopping" every now and then. It's much better to take a break than to be forced by circumstances (deteriorating health, destroyed relationships etc) to take a break. Sometimes it's just taking some time to be quiet, to reflect, and yes, to think. 

We tend to be rushed by he rush, hurried by the hurry and ruled by habits.
Sometimes changing the habits can assist us in not getting involved in the rush, the hurry and the general urgency of "life's" demands.
In order to focus on what is important and not be caught up in what is urgent, we need to stop.
So, when stopping seems impossible - it's time to stop.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Interesting things...

Sometimes we throw stuff out. Sometimes we keep it.
Scrapyard or scrapbook...
The decision is mostly based on our perception.

In the era of digital photography, there is so much more "stuff." It has become an art to decide what to keep and why.
Focus is not only finding something to focus on, but also determining what to keep out of the frame. And that is one of the most difficult choices  (in life and in photography) - to decide what we really want, and not to be tempted by the world of marketing and advertising, but rather to stay focused on what we have framed/dreamed/envisioned and what will eventually be remembered as "the bigger picture."

Monday, September 13, 2010


Forrest Gump changed the way we look at shoes forever.
As I was taking the picture, I thought about the miracle of shoes. You know, it's not only about the physical's also about the footprints they leave and the footsteps we follow...
Stepping into someone's shoes - or wearing another's moccassins.
It's all about progress and empathy.
And maybe the two goes hand in hand. The older I get, the more sensitive I become to others...
And it's when I open my eyes that I realize my own shoes, the worn tattered ones. The memories and moments I have experienced -  fit me best. They're mine, to loathe or be proud of.
It all depends on my interpretation.
My story.
And my choice of story reveals my character.
Forrest's mama said that you could tell a lot about people by looking at their shoes...
My shoes tell the tales of where I've been and where I am going - and that says a lot about who I am.
And sometimes, just sometimes, I walk barefoot.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010


Interesting that we call ourselves human "beings," not "beens" or "becomings."
It's all about the power of the moment - it all happens so fast. Great moments are captured at dazzling speeds. 1/125 of a second gives you great "exposure" on a sunny morning -
We measure in hours, days and minutes.
We live in fractions of seconds.
Like the person on this picture.

We knocked on his door. Early on a Sunday morning.
He did not expect us, but he enjoyed the surprise: "Ah a bunch of Photographers - Come on in!"
Nothing was posed - this is how it was - no masks, no preparation, no make-up.
Just humans being - being human - human beings.
We need more of all of the above!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Some moments

Some moments are just to good to be missed.
They make you smile whenever you remember them, and if you've captured them, it's always worth the revisit...
You see, Pieter is a real gentleman.
When Nico gets married, Pieter offers to help me with the keys to the venue.
So dressed in his Saturday-best, he arrives to do key-duties.
But, as I said, he is a gentleman.
And when he sees the bride is in need of help, he willingly assists.
I just love the moment.

It makes me smile.
We need more of those.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


Some people never let you down when it comes to photo-opportunities.
They are the true characters of the world -
They stand out because of who they are...what they stand for, how they live.
No, I'm not talking about the "outstanding" businessmen, the glitzeratti or the famous jetsetters.
I'm talking about the people one gets to meet when you drive into the rural areas of South Africa.
People who love the countryside, breathe the fresh air, live in the present.
Some are poor in monetary terms.
But so often, when I interact with them, I find that they are wealthy in many ways.
And I always return home a wiser person.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

In the moment

In life, we often measure life in years, days and hours. In photography moments are captured in "parts of a second" (splitseconds). One is often astounded by the amount of things that can happen "in a moment."  When the Mitchells got married, the rain came down.
Especially after the sermon, when we were supposed to take the pictures.
We literally had only the moments.
And the moments were great.
We had to rush around, find the scenes and get the pictures.
Some would call it frustrating.
They called it adventurous.
And when it comes to moments, our choice of interpretation makes all the difference.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

To see the world...

Don't know why I've been thinking of poetry the past few days.
On the other hand, I think it's better than thinking of politics ...
As I was browsing through some of my older photographs, this one caught my eye.
It reminded me of the words "to see the world in a grain of sand". Sometimes the world is in a flower, a tree, a bird's flight. So often when we capture moments at shutter speeds of 1/250th of a second - we realize the speed at which daily miracles happen. Maybe we should keep our shutters of perception open to everyday wonders all the time...
They're always happening.
If we only take the time to see them.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Music makers and Dreamers of dreams

Dad used to recite part of the the poem by Arthur O'Shaugnessy, it goes like this:

We are the music-makers,

And we are the dreamers of dreams,
Wandering by lone sea-breakers,
And sitting by desolate streams.
World-losers and world-forsakers,
Upon whom the pale moon gleams;
Yet we are the movers and shakers,
Of the world forever, it seems.

As a photographer, I love the pictures that celebrates life, energy, wonder. There are enough media to show us the bad things, it's up to us to feed our minds with the things that energize us.
So when last did you look at a picture for the sheer joy it brought?
When last were you a picture of joy?
We're all cameras, composing a great picture of life.
Indeed we are the picture makers and we are the dreamers of dreams...

Monday, March 08, 2010


Why do we take photographs?

To teach?
To remember?
To enjoy?
To try and take a precious moment in time with us?
I take photographs because it's fun. It's fun to look back and realize what effort went into the "creation" of the story. And yes, it includes all of the above...
It's about savouring the effort, the process and the result.
Probably the same things we need to do, in order to appreciate life.
Make time for the moments, for it's the moments that make up time.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

In love

It was Helgo Shomer who reminded me last week about the fact that when we are in love, we view the world differently. 
As I was taking pictures of this couple today, their sense of fun and interaction reminded me once again that we have a choice to be in love with life, or to take it for granted.

People who are in love with life celebrate the challenges and the victories, people who fall out of love with life are blinded by the obstacles and the defeats.
Nature, like a camera lens, is neutral.
It's the eye and heart of the beholder that makes it good or bad.
Do you still look at life through the lens of love, laughter and living?

Friday, January 22, 2010

A girl and a horse

Mostly photographers look for eye contact - still, sometimes it's all about the moment.

As she walked away, I pressed the shutter - some will say: "Not a great photograph," because of the rules. Others will realize it's about enjoying the moment.
We need to do it more often - Moments are made to enjoy.
They're our gifts.
That's why it's called: The Present.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Fun people

As I was taking pictures of this family, it was just fantastic to see them interact.  There was a consistent sense of fun and good-natured humour.

So often we fail to just "be in the moment" or "go with the flow." Actually that's when we really can be our true selves.  Still we make it difficult, we try to look professional, sophisticated or fancy.  When it's actually easy to be all three.
If we just be who we are...

It's so much easier than we think, because it comes naturally.
If we let it.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Where people still matter

This weekend, my family and I had the wonderful opportunity to spend time in the Kalahari. Although the weekend was short due to the long distance, it felt like a holiday. Mainly because of the friendly people, the creative encounters and the early mornings. (Jeepers - on Saturday we were out and about just after 04:30).
Maybe we should remember that weekends are mini-holidays, especially if we take more time to appreciate and less time to criticize, more time to reflect and less time to rush, more time to be and less time to become...more time at the oasis and less time in the desert...

In the end, it's about the landscapes of the soul, those unchartered panoramas of peace, we visit within ourselves, is it not?

And when we visit those panoramas, we find the great pictures, and call them memories...

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Anienie looked back at the camera.
She was having so much fun - with so little -
All we need is sand, sun, water - and the eyes of a child...

Monday, November 02, 2009

There is one gift that distinguishes geniuses from others...
We all have it, but very few use it.
It's the gift of natural curiosity, the willingness to learn, to experiment, and to keep on pushing the limits, because we know there is more to learn.As my son looked through a window, I hoped that he would treasure this gift, finding the windows of hope always opening as he keeps on living the quest for truth, love and happiness.
Godspeed, dear traveller.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A friend of mine got married and asked me to take the pictures. Every time I see a bride, I realize that we need to keep our Fairy Tales alive. Our life stories may take us on many roads, but it's not our external lives that makes Fairy Tales last...It's our hopes, dreams and beliefs.
No one can steal them, they help define us.
Like they define the beauty that one sees when one sees a bride with her eyes fixed on the future, her heart full of love and her thoughts filled with happiness.
The camera needs only to record, the fairy tale is already happening.
My cousin's matric farewell. I was taking the picture. I thought it would be lovely if she stood on a railroad track with the others just looking at her.
Then it happened.
As all had struck there poses, she momentarily lost her balance...
What a wonderful moment.
Maybe not at the time the picture was taken, but when one looks back, is that not what it's all about.
Unexpected moments, providing us with something to smile about.
Remember the moment is spontaneous, the interpretation afterwards is choice.
Little can be done about chance, but a great deal can be done about choice.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Girl Photographing a Dog

As I was doing research for some training on Social Networking, I came across this little picture. What fun it must have been to take it. Imagine the planning, the dressing up, the setting up...
And yes, more than anything else...
The sharing of a fabulous moment with others...
Too often we share our problems, ailments and complaints. We talk about the news and the recession.
Let's also rave about great moments.
Photography is painting with light, maybe we should take more light into our lives as well...
Share a great memory today.
It's part of the ingredients of what is called a great life!

Thursday, August 06, 2009

It was early morning.
There is nothing like early mornings.
Everything is fresh, the colors keep on changing, there's expectation in the air.
Anien, my daughter was running on a dune with a friend.

Too often the break of dawn brings the newspapers and newsbulletins. Mostly negative.
Sunchasing is about the positive stuff.
Loving the break of a new day.
Looking forward to gifts bestowed by the day:
Moments - turning into seconds, minutes and hours.
Moments to run towards the sun, passionately pursuing the firelights of our purpose.
I knew that the picture was there. The moon was shining beautifully over the sea.
As I watched the scene, I realized there was no foreground interest. A big log was lying about 200 meters away.
It took a little help, sweat and effort from a friend. And then the composition could be made.
The result was this:
Then last Sunday there was a sermon on VISION. If you have a vision, you can work towards it, you can create it. Disney saw Disneyland before it was there...

So yes, if you see the picture before you create it, you'll be able to find the materials you need. It all makes sense. And yes, all it takes is effort, sweat and a friend or two.

So in photography, as in life, we need to:
Know what we want to achieve (Vision).
Focus on our vision. (Usually through goals)
Find what's needed to compose the final picture. (What's left out of the frame and what is kept)
Go out and do it.
And yes, have fun along the way.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Wonderful place, the web.
I received a comment from someone about a picture. It was a picture of the farm where I grew up.
I love taking pictures on the road to the farm

As I replied to the comment, a bit of a digital conversation ensued... And here's the fun part. Turns out we are neighbours (her parents now reside on the farm next to the one where I grew up).
It made me think of the old saying, "A stranger is just a friend you have to meet," but what a strange world it has become, - meeting your neighbours in cyberspace.
Maybe there are too many strangers and too little friends these days.
Friends or strangers? Who decides?
You do.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Let's learn from the kids.
They live in the moment...
Happy or sad.
They know the present is the greatest gift we have...
That's why it's called the present...

Life for kids is full of color, sepia (the past) brings great memories and the future is filled with dreams...

Let's live, dream and remember things that make us better!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

I was driving through a small town called Koffiefontein. These guys were having fun, playing with their self-made push-and-go car. I took some pictures and went on a drive through the town.

On my way back, I found only this guy...

Yes. The wheels had come off.
Suddenly he was on his own.
Is that not true sometimes? When the wheels come off in the drama of life, we suddenly find ourselves feeling alone?
Well, take note that it's mostly a "feeling" and not a fact. And even if it seems like a fact, it's a very subjective fact, which makes it no fact at all!
But what if it is a fact?
Well, make sure you spend the time well, make sure you use the winter of life to prepare for the spring that's coming.
Spring always follows winter.
And if it seems to be happening too slow, don't just sit there, start pushing the car!

Thursday, February 19, 2009


Is it not fascinating how some people just have it?
My friend, Hendrik, a life coach, (See the link to Craffie's Coaching), talks a lot about energy.
The energy that makes us walk upright, smile sincerely, breathe deeply, laugh loudly and live passionately.

Last year during the December holidays, I was asked to take pictures of a group of young people. They were making calenders for their parents. When they arrived, they had all the fun stuff! Winter clothes, summer clothes, hats - the whole lot! They were having a ball. Because they had the main thing: Energy.
Energy is an interesting thing, the more you have, the more you give - and the more you give, the more you get!

Please feel free to write in the comments field about something or someone that energizes you...

And then smile, pull back your shoulders, breathe deeply and take in the energy.
It's free.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Two years ago my son's pre-primary school had a Visitor's day for grandparents. As I was taking pictures, I was drawn to the beauty of hands. Old hands and young hands were working together, painting together and being together. It reminded me...

My grandma used to have hands filled with blue veins, which she used to knit and create. My mom had gentle, comforting hands. My dad had strong healing hands. When I think of these hands, none of them being on earth anymore, I realize that we have to use our hands to make the world a better place.

And how do we do it?
Well, reach out to the many miracles that surround you. Touch a tree, caress a flower, hold a hand.

If you have a story about hands which meant a lot to you, please feel free to share it in the comments field below.
Reach out.
Lend a hand.