Caught in the lens

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Storm’s brewing: Pictures,trials and tribulations on a farm in Africa. Official site of “The World’s 3rd Worst Photographer “

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Born in the RSA 23rd June 1949 in Fish Hoek, Cape Town, Republic of South Africa . I would say that a considerable portion of my very early years were spent taking the sunshine,beaches and oceans totally for granted. Our front door was never locked , my mother safe in the knowledge that we were happy on the beach ,or what to us were, huge sand dunes under the watchful eyes of the numerous retired senior citizens that spent time in those locations. Everybody knew everybody, deeds of daring do or more accurately daring shouldn’t do never went unreported. What a halcyon life we led, have loved the sea ever since.

Went to school then an ill-timed stint at Univercity punctuated by military service and the an opportunity arose complete the Law degree and secure a sustainable future or risk everything on a trip overseas to race cars a no brainer , so I bowed down to studies … not. My love affair with racing cars started long before at the age of 11my Dad helped me to begin to race Go-karts. Far to old by modern standards ! We progressed to entry-level single seat open wheeled racing cars , very exciting full blown Sports Racing cars and later the brutal fully modified Saloon Cars, loved and miss them all . A passion for fast motorbikes went hand-in-glove with my other pursuits in the name of “The Need for Speed” which in those days had absolutely nothing to do with amphetamines , just common or garden adrenaline, self supplied. My Dad a “Hardly Abelson “ man rode several Harleys in various stages of development in the self same quest to piss off the Traffic Department.

Once the Racing Cars took a slightly closer position to the back burner the deep sea beckoned once more,so a 20 foot hull was purchased not much later to be replaced by a 24 footer and built a Sports Fishing Boat which resembled a brochure for electronic gizmos, I love most gadgets. This boat was to teach me something about myself very shortly. We were 27 nautical miles off shore on a bearing of 230 degrees from Slangkop lighthouse. The drill was one eye on the sea water temperature gauge and one eye out for the sea birds. The birds had both eyes out for the anchovy being herded into giant balls by the schools of long fin and larger Yellow fin Tunny (Tuna). So when the temp hit 24 from the 14 degrees inshore and the water changed from angry green to a startling clear blue ,on occasions, this was the time to be on the look out, the birds now had priority, what we looked for was a bunch of birds “Kamikazing” into the water.

The equation was birds + anchovy = game fish nearby. The Game fish tended to predate in the food chain rich mix of warm and cold water. The birds were peeling off and coming out the sun like WW11 pilots onto an enemy aircraft carrier all around us diving straight into the sea with much more grace than an Olympic Gold Medalist . A gentle ¾ swell was running (Don’t ask me, I had no idea then, or now, what a ¾ sea is or was , but it still sounds Ernest “Old Man of the Sea-ish.) Sunshine had turned the sea into mercury and brought back memories of the absolute beauty of the 4;30 AM launch from Hout Bay.

Virtually right away the phosphorescence turned the bow wave and wash from the propellers into a light show of magical cork screwing greenish dancing sparkles. Not much further and the Dolphins mocked our clumsy, noisy and fume laden efforts at sea travel and deemed them as much more than just decidedly pathetic and added to the laser light show. Anyway , back to 27 miles out, the mercury sea ,sunshine and… out of a swell less than 15 feet away burst an extremely large Yellow Fin , extremely large… cartwheeling through the air great clouds of probably somewhat traumatized anchovy flung left, right and center as he rammed the tight ball they were in. Three times he broached the waves and awed the crew and I, with his obvious delight at living his life to the fullest. So what was the first re-action on board, a round of applause ,take a photo ? No, no , “ Get the out-riggers ,blue and white lures. Five rods aft plus two out riggers gave us seven chances of hooking him !”

Then something totally unseen seemed to whack me on my head and I guess to the relief of most on board gave the instruction to “Up lines “. We watched as he cartwheeled ,twisted,turned and barrel rolled, his dark upper reflected all the metallic hues of the rainbow the silvery white of his underside looked gel coated , bright yellow pectoral fins repeated on a smaller triangular scale down his back to the tail fin. My Lord he was absolutely beautiful,plus he was having fun, how in Anybodies name,could we put a large stainless steel hook in his mouth, drag him to the boat , gaff and kill him. Ho hum I can hear a number of my friends mutter if they read this, didn’t bother him in the Army they’d say.

True enough but it’s these odd moments that effect you precisely at that time and perhaps return every now and again to prod one’s deeper soul and reflect on just who or what you’ve become. So, no, I didn’t sell the boat and start a sanctuary for orphaned Tuna fish nor did I take up a position with Green Peace. But what I did do was pick up my camera again and years later I’ve picked up another camera. This will give me a chance to send a smile or hopefully a laugh wrapped up in a picture to anyone who cares to share these pages. Holy Mackerel , I hear you say ,what’s your point ? My point is this, if you have passions in your life, mine are capturing a moment of life in a photo, riding a motorbike ,loving animals and you can get to do these things life has blessed you. I’m certainly not wealthy moneywise,but I’m richer than most millionaires. So from now on the editorial will be 75% photographic and 75% entertainment, that sounds about the right mix. Till then ,

Best Wishes,

John.

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