The Kuilfontein Workshop 3 – 5 May 2013

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Kuilfontein Stables, Colesberg, Northern Province, South Africa. ©John Bryant 2013

Tripod-mounted Canon EOS 1D Mark IV with a Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens. ISO 400

Evaluative metering, EC=-2/3 stop, 1/100 sec at f/9 in Aperture Priority mode.

A very successful workshop was held at Kuilfontein Stables from 3 – 5 May 2013. There were nine photographers attending which is the absolute maximum that I prefer, so that attention can be given to all participants. The weather was ideal for autumn photography. A few days before the workshop was to commence, the weather forecast was showing a cold front moving through the area. However, it all turned out perfectly with some cloud at the right times, little wind except for the second evening and the mornings were crisp with some frost, especially on the second morning. Kuilfontein was decked out in its autumn glory – even much better than I expected. There had been some rain a few week before and the farm dam near the homestead was full.

The participants were a very good group with everyone entering into the spirit of things and all got along just fine. They were all keen to learn and improve their skills in scenic photography. I was most impressed by the quality of images being captured during the latter part of the workshop. It was obvious that attention had been paid to the presentations on composition, exposure and focus. For me, the difficult part was that each and every photographer had a different model of camera, which makes setting up the cameras pretty difficult. The “dark side” outnumbered the rest 🙁 , but there were two compacts that impressed – a Canon Powershot SX50 and the Samsung NX1000. Both captured excellent images which were comparable to the DSLR’s – certainly for screen viewing.

Penny Southey and her very able team of family and staff really went out of their way to make it a memorable weekend. The excellent food and service just added to the wonderful experience. Personally I was well rewarded by the enthusiasm and the quality of output of all the photographers present. The non-photographers also had a most pleasant weekend, enjoying the beauty of the Karoo in autumn.

On the night before the workshop started, I had an opportunity to do some astrophotography on the farm and managed to capture the southern sky as shown in the image below. The southern part of the milky way is clearly visible with the Southern Cross, its pointers and the Southern Pleiades prominent. The “coal sack” stands out within the Southern Cross and in the right bottom corner is the Large Magellanic Cloud.

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The Southern night sky from Kuilfontein. ©John Bryant 2013

Tripod-mounted Canon EOS1DX with a Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM lens at 24mm. ISO 3200.

Manual metering set at 30 sec at f/2.8. The Prickly Pear leaf was briefly lit with an LED headlamp.

Here are a few examples of the sort of images that I managed to capture in between helping everyone. I also had a wonderful opportunity to fly over both Kuilfontein and the Riverside farms of the Southeys. A big thank you to Brian Stocks for taking me for the “flip”. I am always a bit nervous of one-engined (and one pilot) planes, but Brian was a most capable and fastidious airman and the flying conditions were ideal. I have included the two aerial images of the farms.

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Tripod-mounted Canon EOS 1DX with Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM lens. ISO 200. Evaluative metering, EC=+1/3 stop, 1/25 sec at f/11 in Aperture Priority mode.

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Tripod-mounted Canon EOS 1D Mark IV with Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens. ISO 400. Evaluative metering, 1/25 sec at f/5.6 in Aperture Priority mode.

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Tripod Mounted Canon EOS 1D X with Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM lens. Iso 200. Evaluative metering, 1/10 sec at f/14 in Live view mode. Circular polarising filter.

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Kuilfontein Stables

Hand-held Canon EOS 1D X with Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM lens, ISO 400. Evaluative metering, EC=-1/3 stop, 1/400 sec at f/10 in Aperture Priority Mode.

Kuilfontein201305_Z2Q9809Riverside Farm

Hand-held Canon EOS 1D X with Canon EF 24-70mm f2.8L II USM lens. ISO 400. Evaluative metering, EC= -2/3 stop, 1/400 sec at f/6.3 in Aperture Priority mode.

Please look out for updates to workshops or tours. Thanks to all the participant’s contribution in making this one a special weekend.

The Parting Shot……

Kuilfontein201305_Z2Q9562-2Tripod-mounted Canon EOS 1D Xwith a Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM lens at 50mm. ISO 200. Evaluative metering, EC=0, 1/250 sec at f/11 in Aperture Priority mode.