Mountain weather is everything but predictable. So much so that three weather forecasts can all differ and all be wrong at the same time. My guess is the weather bureau have a dartboard at which they throw the dart. Instead of points we get the weather. The consolation for a sodden wet photographer is brooding clouds, glistening grass, shadowy trees in the mist and dramatic light.
This last weekend I joined a group of photographers for a workshop of mine in the Northern Drakensberg around the Amphitheatre. The weather turned out to be just that, weather. Wet and cold we found ourselves squinting through complete white outs on numerous occasions. But when the light shone through, wow. Tolkienesque is a nice description of the scene’s that presented themselves to use through the wisps of wet mist.
Still, warming toes and socks by the fire at the cosy Caterpillar Catfish restaurant at the top of Oliviershoek Pass helps put memories of frozen limbs at the back of the mind and more determined concentration on the next composition.
As always the highlight of the workshop is sitting on the Drakensberg escarpment at the edge of the Tugela Falls. An extremely cloudbound start of 5am ensured that we were able to make it to a viewpoint for sunrise. And did the photography gods conspire to our benefit! As we approached Sentinal car-park the clouds lifted and stars twinkled above. Rushing up the zigzags to the ‘Witches’ meant that we were able to look out over the base of the amphitheatre wall while the sun lifted over pockets of mist and cloud far below.
Although we missed the incredible views from the edge of the Amphitheatre wall itself, the sunrise shoot seemed to make up for this. As we left the mountain, so we returned once more, cloudbound and cold, but armed with cards of images of the brief sunshine that shone out over an ocean of cloud.
Thankfully, the clouds cooperated once more as a parting gift. Ensconced back at the mountainous Witsieshoek resort, we watched as stars came out and we set long exposures to paint their trails circling high above Sentinal Peak.
Thanks to (r - l) Nana ,Odelia, Katie, Jo, Jess, and Britt for a fantastic workshop in the wet!