Saturday, April 23, 2011
Arniston - a photographic paradise.
You will however need to plan ahead as the cave is only accessible on low tide. You will need to check the tide times and have an idea of the type of photograph you would like to get, so you can be there at the right time of year and time of day. The water level can rise quickly so you will need to ensure you have any equipment you may need with you and try to work fast. A good all rounder lens for this cave shot is a 18-200mm lens. It is lightweight and has a wide zoom range allowing you to get both wide angle and detail shots.
Other photography hotspots in Arniston include the white washed fisherman cottages. These are common all along Agulus coast. However, Arniston and Struisbaai are the best place to photograph them from. Here you are able to get close and include the fisherman for some environmental portraiture shots. Or you can stand back and include white washed cottages against the blue sea and sky.
Use your polarizing filter for this type of shot to keep your sky deep blue. Also pay attention to your exposure as white often confuses your camera's light meter into underexposing. Remember to compensate for this and to use your histograms to check your image.
Moving just a few kilometres South along the shore is the town of Struisbaai. With over 14km of uninterrupted sandy beach, a raised boardwalk and a small nature reserve, this is another good photographic spot. The small nature reserve is called De Mond and is home to many endemic bird and flower species as well as some small mammals. Surfers, anglers and canoeists frequent this reserve so there is no shortage of things to photograph.
One of the best places in Struisbaai is the harbour. In the early morning the sun rises over the ocean, lighting up all the fishing boats in the harbour and the anglers along the shoreline. Local fisherman toss fish left over from the catch to the stingrays and seagulls ensuring a flurry of activity and opportunity. When photographing the birds, remember they move fast, so it is easiest to preset a high shutter speed and let you camera adjust the aperture so you are free to focus on your composition.
Just a little further South leads us to the Southern most point of the African continent. Cape Agulhus.
The Agulhus coastline is littered with shipwrecks. In winter, the often stormy skies create dramatic imagery. Needle sharp off shore rocks and a consistent curving coastline encourage you too look for a different and unique angle to photograph from.
Recently the Elim area had put itself on the map as a top wine area. There are four established vineyards all within a 5km radius and offering fine cuisine and wine tasting. Some of the vineyards offer cellar tours which can make for some interesting photography and a chance to work on low lighting techniques.
Here is a quick breakdown of what to expect in the Cape.
The summers are warm and dry with little rain but strong South Easterly winds, which are often responsible for the 'tablecloth' cloud effect over Table Mountain. (November to March)
Autumn days are warm and sunny with infrequent rains and calm winds. The vineyards are all transformed into a kaleidoscope of colours and the light is softer allowing longer hours of photography. (April – June)
Large cold fronts sweep in from the Atlantic ocean in Winter. Rainfall is common as the landscapes turn green and dramatic storm clouds add detail to the sky. ( June to September)
Spring is the most unpredictable as the transition between the wet and dry season. This season is good for photography as the flowers are all in bloom and Southern Right Whales frequent the bays. (September – November)