Monthly Archives: January 2007

POTD 2007-01-28

McNaughts Comet Eyre Peninsula South Australia
McNaughts Comet Eyre Peninsula South Australia originally uploaded by john white photos.

A Lucky Find

Last Sunday we went for a drive to Hermanus having heard from Faith that there was a good bookshop there; so after the obligatory lunch at nino’s we popped into Hemingway’s. This place is not the kind of used book store where you pick up ragged copies of trashy novels for a few bucks. They have a wide variety of books including out-of-print collectables and in a section containing erotic and nude photographic works I saw a number of Sam Haskins’ works and an old copy of David Bailey’s The Lady Is a Tramp: Portraits of Catherine Bailey; a beautiful book but very expensive at R1,200, particularly since Exclusive Books lists it for R408, but perhaps it was a signed copy or special for some other reason.

I was looking more for technical and historical photography books though, rather than photo essays. Visiting stockists of new books these days is depressing because South Africa is such a small market that all they ever seem to have is a selection of books that rehash the same info about digital photography, and usually begin something like “Let’s assume you’re a moron that has never seen a camera before”. If you want to buy better, or more advanced, books you need to buy online and then you have no opportunity to browse and page through books to get a feel for them. I was pleasant therefore to browse through the small selection of older photographic books. Some were very old; yearbooks dating back to the 1960s,for instance, while others were a little more pricey than I was hoping for. I did buy four books though at just R220 for the lot.

The first two interested me not only because I want to become more profficient at working with models but also from a historical point of view. They date back to 1984 and were published under the Squire magazine banner and feature all South African models, including some old favourites from my youth; like Vanessa Wannenburg, Miss SA 1977. I have only a vagure recollection of Squire magazine and had never seen these guides before. No doubt they did not appear on the shelves of your local CNA and I was also not very interested in photography in those days in any case.

There were some other books on photographing and lighting nudes but as I have still to graduate to photographing clothed models with any regularity I gave those a miss and settled for a book on technique and one that might help me earn some pocket money from my photography and also contains some beautiful photographs to look at.

I’ll definitely be visiting Hemingway’s again, but I think I’ll wait for winter when it isn’t stiflingly hot in there amongst all the beautiful books.

Comet McNaught

Comet McNaught

After the huge response I had to the photo I took on Friday night I decided to go out to the same spot again on Saturday night. Fellow ODP members, Bluepixel and squiggles joined me and we spent a pleasant few hours sitting on the rocks and snapping shots of the moon and comet. Unfortunately the wind was pumping, as it often does in this part of the world, and I almost had my tripod and camera blown off the rocks. This made night photography difficult as exposures of several seconds are needed and my tripod doesn’t provide enough stability in such wind. Still, I managed to get another nice shot of the comet and tail, shortly before it set.

Comet’s Tail

Comet's Tail

On Friday evening I went out to the lookout point beyond the Steenbras River mouth to do some comet spotting. McNaught put on a great show and the weather was quite pleasant with a stiff breeze that moved some small clouds across the sky providing added interest to photographs.

As the comet gradually set the tail spread out over a vast expanse of the sky and I took this photo with a 50mm lens, after the comet itself had set behind a low bank of cloud on the horison.

This photograph was featured on the home page of SpaceWeather.com on the following day.

365.012: Self-portrait with Monopod

365.012: Self-portrait with Monopod

365.012: Scars

365.012: Scars

My left palm has several scars that date back to when I was two years old. It was winter in Scotland and I insisted on helping to carry the milk home from the box at the end of the road. I slipped on ice, the bottle broke and gave me these scars.

Comet McNaught from Cape Town

Comet McNaught

This is the first night I’ve been able to see the comet as we’ve had pretty solid cloud cover over the past few days.