January is Turquoise [Introducing the Colour Project]


How it Started

Toward the end of 2017, when the Instagram craze of sharing your "best nine" photos of the year came around again, it got me thinking about the colours that have featured in my own photography over the course of a year. I ended up going down a rabbit hole looking, and sorting, and making pretty collages out of the various colours I'd captured. 

[Here's the Steller story I made about "2017 - A Year in Colour"

I'd already been thinking about doing a more focused photo project for the year, and when a friend suggested I focus on colour, that was it. Here's what I wrote in my first Instagram post for 2018, to give you a better idea of how it all started. 

New year, new project. Although last year was colourful, I don’t think it was nearly colourful enough! This year, when it comes to Instagram, I’ve decided to focus on bright, bold, glorious, crazy colour. I’m going to dedicate one month each to shades of turquoise, green, orange, yellow, brown, black, white, blue, purples, pink and red. I’m hoping it stretches me creatively and helps me pay closer attention to the world around me.

January is Turquoise

I decided January would be turquoise. Although I gave myself a bit of leeway by using a few photos I had on hand, most of the images I posted in January were ones I went looking for. I've found my eye gravitating to turquoise, whether it be the dress of a woman waiting at a bus stop, shop window displays, or architectural details. I've also learned a bit about the colour turquoise, how to make it, it's neighbouring colours (aqua and teal), and where the term originated (it's the French word for 'Turkish' where the gemstone was originally imported from).

So that's January, done and dusted (you can see the whole lot over here). 

P.S. February is coral!

It's Time

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Angus Buchan put out a public call for South Africa to gather and pray and thousands upon thousands (people say over a million people) showed up. I took with a bunch of people I didn't know to attend the mass prayer meeting in Bloemfontein last year. It was quite an experience. I took a bunch of photos along the way.

Here are some more photography-related posts...

Ceramique - A Concept Squarespace Site

I wanted to put together a one-page Squarespace site based on a couple of ideas I've been toying with lately so I came up with this "concept" site idea and called it 'Ceramique'. I was picturing a site for the kind of business that values the creative impulse, is drawn to natural textures and embodies things like sustainable, slow-living practices. 

Moody Botanicals - A Photo Walk

I discovered Annie Spratt's work a while ago through Unsplash, one of my favourite free stock photography sites, and was taken with her story and her beautiful travel photography. Just recently I was reminded of her work once again and found myself mesmerised by a set of moody floral shots. She called it her 'brooding blossoms' phase. The combination of the dark background with the flower in close-up focus in the foreground makes a striking and whimsical image. And I love how the flowers don't look at all staged or styled. I can't be sure of this, but I suspect she took these in the wild.

Shooting Beautiful Spaces - a Foray into Photographing Interiors

My first attempt at photographing interiors came as result of a phone call from my brother, Andrew (aka Guy With Camera). He's started this new side thing (check it out!) and was looking for someone to head up to the Midlands with a camera in hand to get some shots of a property there. I said I'd do it. Okay, I reluctantly and nervously said I'd do it.

9 Ways to Curate Your Instagram Feed

Imagine your Instagram feed is an ongoing art exhibition, where you are responsible for choosing the best content to provide your visitors with an enjoyable experience. That is, in essence, what it means to 'curate' your feed.

How to Take Original Photos for Your Blog Graphics

Have you ever wondered how people get those beautiful bold blog graphics, the ones with text overlay, that are themed and all fit nicely together? Well, if you haven't, I certainly have so I thought I'd do a bit of investigating. I also wanted to see if I could come up with my own DIY-ed images, and then share my process with you.

Horsing Around in the Midlands

I recently visited the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands to attend a mini conference and booked to stay on a farm in the Fort Nottingham area. Since I only had the early mornings to myself, I was torn between sleeping in (and staying warm), or getting up early to explore the farm. The next morning my characteristic fomo kicked in and I got up in the dark, put on as many layers as possible, grabbed my camera and tackies, and headed out. Below the farmhouse was a small dam, and I thought that might be a good spot to capture the morning light over the water. Half-way across the field, I realised I would have to hike a good few kilometres to the other side of the valley in order to get that sort of shot, so I changed course and walked in the direction of the rising sun. At this stage, there was just a faint glimmer over the hill.

Steam Train to the Valley of Aloes

Every year through the winter months, Creighton's old steam engine takes its picnicking passengers out into the heart of aloe country alongside the Ngogwaan river. Stocked with coffee, snacks and all manner of cameras, the Huttons, some friends and I headed out last weekend on a slow journey into the spectacular valley of a thousand aloes. Being amongst that volume of vivid, flowering aloes growing on either side of the river was really something.

Late Afternoons at Lucien

The extended Clark family - a few of whom are good friends of mine - all happened to be on holiday on the South Coast, so we met up for an impromptu family shoot down at Lucien. The late afternoon light moves pretty quickly from glaring and bright, to golden, and then gone. So we had limited time. In addition to the race-against-the-light challenge, we also had the toddler-at-grumpy-o'clock thing to deal with. Sam (3 years, and in high spirits) told me that he had seen a whale hiding in the sea.

Pringle Family Beach Shoot

The plan was to pack a picnic basket, a skottel, a flask of coffee and head down to the beach in time to catch the sunrise with the Pringle family. In my enthusiasm/nervousness not to miss the sunrise we ended up arriving in near darkness! So there was a bit of a wait before we got going with the pics. But it was definitely worth it in the end. What a spectacular morning it turned out to be, with the colour palette changing slowly from deep blues and greys, to soft pinks and oranges, with a dramatic gold light lining the clouds.

Burned Botanicals

We should really have discovered the Ramsgate Ramble years ago, but the sad truth is that we didn't. And I have no idea how that didn't happen. Any outing where my sister is involved must necessarily include flowers, hiking, photography, and silliness - not necessarily in that order.

A Riot of Yellow

Cassias are flowering everywhere, and in the late afternoon light they begin to glow a little. I've been meaning to take some photos of them to try and capture their floral character, and I finally did so yesterday afternoon. It does look a bit strange to the average passer by when you have your nose stuck in a shrub, snapping away at pods and blossoms. Sometimes there's a concerned look and a quick acceleration as they drive past, and sometimes there's a benevolent wave. 

Golden Hour & Good Friends

My good friend Sizwe came to visit over the Easter Weekend. I had asked her if she would help me with a photo shoot - all in the name of me getting some decent practice taking photos of real live people (and not just solo-parked cars and flowers). The weekend went by and I completely forgot about the photo idea until Monday afternoon when the light suddenly turned golden. "Come on Siz, lets do this photo thing." She was ready for a long drive back home, in comfy clothes, hair pulled back, and zero make up. Hardly the right kind of preparation but she's gorgeous so it doesn't really matter. 

Rose & Hutch Wedding

I had the incredible privilege of helping photograph the wedding of Sarah Hutchinson and Matthew Rose a couple of week's back at Rebel's Rus, a remote and spectacular private nature reserve in the Eastern Cape. Its been the holiday home of many of the family and friends of Sarah's family for years and holds a special place in their hearts. Its wild, rugged and beautiful.