Putting the ‘Man’ in Manfrotto

Gordon's Bay Beach Landscape

With the seasons well into their transitional period, I’ve been on alert for a few weeks now with regards to the weather. In Autumn there are by far the most interesting weather events for Cape Town, this is to say that our thunderstorm season, if it were to be called that, runs from March until June. Despite the fact that thunderstorms in Cape Town is extremely uncommon when compared elsewhere, we do see on average around 3 storm days in this period each year.

Anyway, even when the thunderstorms don’t materialize there are often troughs which approach Cape Town from the west, often bringing with them unsettled weather and most importantly interesting clouds, which can make for some great sunsets.

Yesterday (24 April 2012) I had noticed that prior to another trough approaching the Cape that there were some nice cirrus clouds pushing in from early in the day, knowing that these clouds can make for some epic sunsets I planned to head down to the beach after I finished work.

After arriving home at 17:15, I checked online what time sunset would be and saw that it was scheduled for 18:12, the sun is now setting around 2 minutes earlier each day and it’s hard to keep up with just when the sunset will occur. I grabbed my camera and tripod and set out with my sights on Harbour Island which lies on the fringe of Gordon’s Bay. In Somerset West, when I left my home, there was not a breath of wind, we are lucky enough to be situated in an area which does not get the South Easter at all.

As I entered Gordon’s Bay though, I could see the trees dancing around a bit and noticed that conditions on the water weren’t perfect with ‘white horses’ in the distance. As I approached Harbour Island I decided to rather head to Gordon’s Bay beach and see what I can find there. Despite having lived in Gordon’s Bay for several years in the ’90s I really couldn’t remember the exact topography of the beaches.

When I arrived I was greeted with some insane winds, I am talking pretty much 10 minute averages of 55km/h at least, gusting up to what must have been 65km/h or more.

The sand was whipping against my legs constantly, as I looked for some compositions with what I had to work with. There was a small jetty extending from the beach which had some potential, followed by a line of poles ascending up from the sands, these in combination with the sands streaking directly towards them offered me my first shot of the day that I was happy with.

Gordon's Bay Beach Landscape
Sand whips around a series of wooden pillars

After shooting them a bit I moved my focus to the sunset which was now starting to cause some bright orange colouring on the dense, but nicely distanced cirrus overhead. The rocks in the foreground were offering some nice composition options, but I did have to stand in knee high water with camera on tripod and shoes and socks still on, but there was no telling how long the sunset would last for and I did not want to miss it.

Gordon's Bay Beach sunset
Knee deep in the water as the sun sets

As time went by the sky turned from yellow to orange and finally to a pinkish red, but by this time there was a group of dodgy guys standing on the shore watching me, and not being in the mood to get mugged on what was a completely desolate beach at this time, I dismounted my camera from my tripod, put it over my shoulder and assumed the “I will smash your faces with this tripod, it’s heavier than you think” stance. Putting the ‘man’ in Manfrotto.

When all was said and done, I was pretty happy with the results but the wind was definitely causing some problems with camera shake with 1/30 second shutter speeds and not all shots were as clear as I would have liked because of this. But I did realize Gordon’s Bay beach definitely has something to offer and I will be returning in the future.

Sunset at Gordon's Bay Beach
Pools of water lie between the rocks

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