Dewald Kirsten

Monthly Archives: December 2014

Tankwa Karoo – Workshop – Afriscapes

  So it has been nearly two weeks since we have come back from the Tankwa Karoo after a very successful workshop. It is really scary how time flies and that 2014 is nearly at the end again! My dad, Johan and I set out for the Karoo on the Thursday already, with the bakkie packed to the max. We took along all the food and wood for the trip and we wanted to get there early to get everything packed out and set up and ready for when the first guests would start to arrive. Even though it is only 260km from Worcester, the drive will take you nearly 4 hours. Aout 200 of the 260km is gravel and the going is quite a bit slower than usual. This Karoo road is notorious for flat tyres as the sharp shale and rocks in the road have claimed many tyres before, and now we where about to add to that growing number of slain tyres.   We got a major blow-out a couple of kilometers before the Tankwa National Park. No worries, I did check the spare wheel. The problem came in with our jack, we could not get it in the right spot to get the bakkie lifted high enough to take off the slashed wheel… what now? After about an hour and a half of battling with lifting it, stacking wood underneath, then lifting it further and still not winning the fight it was getting late and we still had about 70km to go to Hammelhoek! We just passed a farm house where I know people lived, or hoped, judging by the solar panels next to the house. So I decided to go and ask for some help and if we could borrow a decent jack just to get the bakkie lifted! Luckily there was a bakkie that came along the road and after flagging them down, they agreed to help us with their jack. It was an elderly couple and their son, all the way from Sweden! Anyway after a very quick tyre change, we where on the road again, now without a spare wheel. We eventually arrived at Hammelhoek and started packing all the goods so that it would all be ready for the next day. After a quick supper it was off to bed.   The Friday came and so did lunch time and yet no guests! I must admit I was getting a bit worried at one stage if the people would all find the place. I did send them 3 different map versions so they would surely have found it. Dawie arrived first and then we had some more beers while waiting. We sat on the deck at the main house with the binoculars waiting for the very distinctive trail of dust on the horizon. After a while the people started arriving to my relief! Some of them drove past the main turn of, and came all the way back again and some turned around at the gate, but at least everyone made it safely and we where the only one with a blow-out on the road. We went onto the hill behind the houses to shoot sunset and the group scattered to find composition and spots for themselves. We had an amazing sunset over the escarpment due to a huge bank of high clouds that moved in late the afternoon. The only problem with high clouds is that they move very slowly, so by nighttime they where right above us which put a huge dampening on the astro-photography for the evening. None the less we still went out to go and shoot. Some people got some pretty interesting images. We got back to the Hammelhoek cottages at about 10:30 and then had dinner and it was lights out as we had to get up at 4:30am to get ready for sunrise. We had a typical Karoo sunrise, not a cloud in the sky and beautiful pastel colours on the horizon. Most of the people set up on the koppie again. The Karoo dawn is something to experience. You can really hear the veld come alive as the birds start to chirp and you slowly start to feel the sun getting warm on your back. From about 9am we saw the clouds building up and it was obvious that we where going to have some thunderclouds. The weather report looked good for thunder, warm day and 80% cloud cover. We did not have any lightning or thunder, but we did get a very light shower. The smell of the dry Karoo soil with a sprinkling of rain water is just magic! There was even a cell with some dark mamatus clouds that formed underneath, something you don’t see too often in our parts. Myself and Loraine went over the koppie to the open section behind it and got some interesting images with the dry Karoo shrubs and the stunning clouds overhead. The thunder clouds started to drift away, but not completely, there was still some high puffy clouds in the sky and we where going to be in for a good sunset, and so it was. The whole group shot all over the open ground below the cottages and there was really some spectacular images captured. Well with such an amazing sunset it was hard not to get any good shots! At dinnertime we had one of my dad’s famous potjies, and if you can see the size of that pot, you will not believe that there were hardly 2 plates of food left over! Due to the fact that there was still a heap of clouds in the sky, the group decided that they will rather enjoy the stunning Karoo evening on the deck with some good wine and even better conversations. The following morning just a handful of people where awake for sunrise. Most people just decided that their beds where more fun than getting up at 4:30am. We followed with a good breakfast and then we started to slowly pack away everything. During the morning the group slowly started leaving. All in all it was a great weekend where some new friends was made and lots of knowledge was shared. Here is to the next one. Planned date is the weekend of the 16-18 January 2015. Please view the info on the workshops tab.


Trinity & Cody – Equestrian Photography

Trinity & Cody - Equestrian Photography A couple of weeks ago I did this shoot for Trinity and Cody. When I heard the story behind the shoot I just had to get involved. There is something about horses that is just magical and they have fascinated humans for centuries. I myself have never even ridden a horse before, but that does not leave me without any admiration and wonder for these majestic creatures. I saw a saying once that said: There is something about the outside of a horse, that is good for the inside of a human being. At one point we where playing with the one horse, Beauty, in the one pen. And to have an animal that probably weighs anything from 750kg upwards run a mere 2 meters past you at close to full tilt, is something to get the adrenalin flowing for sure! I really cant wait for the next time I get to photograph these amazing animals. But first, here is the story from Tania, Trinity's mother. "We rescued Cody a 4 year old Stallion/Anglo Arab on 5 March 2013 for my daughter's 10th birthday. He was in poor condition, undernourished and neglected. We introduced Cody to Trinity on the 14 March, 2014 and he stole her heart completely. The vet recommended to have him gelded, his wolf teeth removed and checked, this took place within the next two weeks of rescuing him. We decided to move Cody to the Worcester Riding Stables on 16 May, 2013 due to the fact that he did not know he was a horse, he desperately needed companionship. He handled the horse box very well for a young horse with no experience. We knew that this was going to take a lot of hard work and commitment to get him stronger and saddled, so Trinity began working with him every week in the lunging ring with ground poles. This was where the relationship from Cody became more trusting and challenging and at the same time strengthening the bond between the two of them and Trinity doing a perfect join up with him.On 1 October, 2013 was the big day when Trinity saddled him up for the first time to ride, to our amazement they handled it like they had been together for years.On one occasion we experienced a scare when Trinity took Cody on an out-walk, coming back to the stables without warning he took off with her towards the stables, we only realised afterwards why he had behaved in such a manner, due to his background being deprived of food he sensed it was feeding time and couldn't wait, luckily Trinity and Cody were not injured.On 12 April, 2014 Cody was entered into his first Riding Show to compete and they walked away with two 1st Place Rozettes.On a second occasion 16 May, 2014 Friday afternoon, Trinity took Cody into the small circle to work him. While cantering he bucked her three times in a row before she fell off with his hind hooves landing on her shins, she was rushed for X-rays, luckily no broken bones. Unfortunately this experience set her back +- 4 months more out of fear than of injuries. On 30 September, 2014 her trainer spent 4 hours with her in the saddle to overcome her fear, but we did not succeed. This is when I reached out to Dewald Kirsten, hoping that a photoshoot with her and Cody would bring the two of them back together again and to help her overcome the fear of getting back into riding. To our amazement at the end of the photo shoot the two of them were cantering around the main camp fearless and free. To date she canters on him bare back in the main camp, loving every minute." To have been part of such a special shoot and to see the happiness in Tania and Trudie(her trainer)'s eyes was just amazing. It takes guts, and a lot of it to get back up after being down, and there is a lesson to be learned for everyone in this story. No matter where you come from, who said and did what, how many times you have been scared and thrown off, just get up and ride the crap out of it. All those bumps and bruises just makes you stronger and wiser, so next time you will be able to hold on and get the situation under control. Well I hope you enjoyed the story and now here is some of the images from this shoot. At the bottom I have included some of the other images from the day as well. Here is a couple of the other images I shot on the same shoot.


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