Let's start in Africa...
Last year I traveled to Africa with my dad's side of the family - (almost) all 17 of us, including my cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents. It was a celebratory trip for my grandfather's 75th (for his 70th we went to Cairns - more convenient for my family than for my relatives in Hawaii! - and his 65th and 60th were celebrated in Hawaii), and he wanted to take us grandchildren on a trip we would remember. Well, I know I'll never forget Africa. We traveled around Southern Africa - South Africa, Zambia and Botswana.
This was one of my initial impressions and sadder memories of Africa. I took this on a driving tour of Johannesbourg, on one of our first days in Africa. This is an informal settlement in Soweto, South Western Townships outside Johannesbourg. These settlements have no electricity or running water.
In these settlements, they make coal out of coal dust and clay. I love that this shot contains the coal and the settlements and the women looking out over the settlements. The black and white really enhances the bleakness of it.
This is one of my favourite photos ever (though I do have a few of those.) It was taken at sunrise on the Zambezi River, which forms part of the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe. The 'sunrise cruise' was optional - we had to get up early (6 am) in order to meet the boat at 6.30. That morning it was misty, and so we had to wait a cold 15 minutes for before it had lifted a little. Once a ways out, we stopped for tea and coffee and to watch the sun rise. I have so many beautiful shots of the sun rising through the mist - as my cousin put it, it was a real African sunrise, the ones you only see photos of in National Geographic. It was something spectacular. I snapped this of the other boat just watching the sun rise.
Another favourite photo. This is on the Okavanga Delta. We were poled down the Delta in these little canoes called makoros (pronounced like maquarie, but maquaro). The boat in this photo has my cousins in it. Traditionally made out of wood, these boats are now made out of fibre glass to preserve trees.
This of a breeding herd crossing the road at Chobe National Park.
This furry little guy is a meerkat. They come out of their burrows during the day to first, bask in the morning sun and second, search for food (at least they have priorities!). Cute, but shy; you have to be very discreet in the manner in which you approach them - they will let you stand right next to them if you are slow and subtle about it.
And now, let's return home...
Last year, my friend came home with me for exeat weekend. I took these photos while showing her the beauty of my farm:
We live right on the creek (literally metres away). The sun sets on the creek and can be seen from the house (though this photo was taken a little ways from the house) - it is beautiful. Most sunset photos don't look great in black and white, but (I think) this one does. Plus it conveys the splendour of the creek.
This, too, is one of my absolute favourite photos. It's of my friend, Miss SC, silhouetted by the sun. I think it's gorgeous.
Now, to Christmas...
Last Christmas/New Year my family and I traveled to Hawaii to spend with my dad's family (yes, the very same whom we traveled to Africa with). As always (we split our Christmases between my mum's family in NSW and my dad's in Hawaii - one year each), it was awesome, though this year was spent on the other islands (previously we have traveled around the States or Europe). We stayed in Hilo on the Big Island and visited the volcanoes and the beaches (yes, an island of extremes; the rainy east coast and the sunny west coast). It was beautiful, though, yet again, I was unable to get a tan. But I did get these photos!
This photo is of my grandparents' back lawn, which extends down to a stream (bottom of the photo) where a lush rainforest covered mountain begins on the other side. Lush, green, majestic and picturesque.
This is my family, walking down Kahala Beach, completely unaware that they are posing for the photo...I just love the footprints in the sand.
Let's return to the present year and location (well, home again)...
Meet Satan. Actually, he's kitty/puss/cat/not likely to be named otherwise. I wanted to call him Satan, because he's black and has evil tendencies (to bite your fingers and toes, it's a bit of a fetish. He also has a thing for hair...) But it never really stuck. And so this cute kitty will remain...kitty. I think this photo really captures his playful/innocent nature. And, of course, his charming good looks. He also has this whole deceiving "Puss In Boots" big eyes ('who, me?') thing going on.
Contrary to popular belief, this is not my house. It is the fisherman's hut on our farm. It is so dry that we could walk there - usually (and when it was inhabited) it is surrounded by water, and accessed by boat. I love that it's becoming part of nature; there are various trees and shrubs growing in and around it. It's also right on the creek (closer than house - literally two metres away!) and it would be gorgeous to live in (albeit a little isolated). The black and white really enhances the old and run down feel of it, but also it's rustic, natural beauty.
And that concludes my life: a black and white story. Or rather, the last two years of my life summarised by the best photos I've taken.
Just a girl