Supermoon over Hout Bay

Supermoon over Hout Bay

Having heard and read so much about the “Supermoon” in June 2013, I took my NIKON Coolpix P90 with me to a celebration dinner yesterday night, in Hout Bay harbour – perhaps I could capture the “Supermoon over Hout Bay” ? So far, this so-called ‘super moon’ had been hiding behind clouds and/or heavy rains – but I hoped to possibly catch it from a totally different angle, which of cause I did not know!

Supermoon over Hout Bay, South Africa, photographed by Bianca Gubalke

What an incredible surprise, when I suddenly saw the big white halo rising above the mountain across the bay – right from the dinner table! I had not expected it there at all! So here you see the first shot, from behind the window. As I can still not see properly, I had set ISO 100 beforehand and now ended up with an F/4, and 8 seconds… handheld camera! I had my tripod in the car, but could not really leave the table…  but I show it as it reflects the atmosphere… sort of with some delicious wine over a fresh seafood platter! I could watch its rise all the time, but it was not spectacular nor unusual – that we had seen and photographed in the past. It was beautiful and very fuzzy due to the high humidity in the air.

Supermoon over Hout Bay

Later, before leaving, I had some time for digital photography and this year’s “Supermoon over Hout Bay”! Meanwhile, the moon was much higher and the halo had diminished considerably. Spot-metering on the moon, here is the result! It did need some work with contrast and levels, but it shows the craters quite nicely. In fact, I was pretty surprised! iso 100, F/6.3 and 1/86 sec, spot, no flash.

Supermoon over Hout Bay, South Africa, photographed by Bianca Gubalke

Below you have the composite picture: the long shot across Hout Bay towards the mountain range with the ‘super moon’ rising above it.

Supermoon over Hout Bay, South Africa, photographed by Bianca Gubalke

Here I used ISO400, f/2.8 and 1/2 sec, pattern metering,  no flash. I had hoped to possibly catch a better angle as we drove home to Noordhoek, namely at the Chapman’s Peak outlook. But it wasn’t anything I had imagined, so I left it, being happy that I ‘shot from the hip’ immediately when the opportunity presented itself.

Happy moon-shooting to you all! Rains are forecast here, so I doubt I get another chance… at least not before August 2014! But then – hopefully – with my Fuji X E-1 and the right lens!

Romance is in the air

Romance is in the air

Clearly, romance is in the air between this stunning Belgian Shepherd and his new friend, a beautiful Border Collie. They are both about the same age.
Belgian Shepherd loves Border Collie - photographed by Bianca Gubalke

Not too long ago, Hollie got the fright of her life when she first met the big golden dog with the incredible jaws – who wouldn’t? But as they have to learn to get along with one another now, I did the trick with the stick, some cookies, some cuddles and, most importantly, me and my wellies always inbetween. Safety first. Hollie wasn’t comfortable at all, though highly interested in having a play- and runmate, not to speak of a playboy! Although… no, let’s not go there!

Belgian Shepherd loves Border Collie - photographed by Bianca Gubalke

After having some close and personal talks with the awe-inspiring yet gentle Mojo, he became so incredibly gentlemanlike that I melted away. Completely, that is! Well, there wasn’t much left of me anyway since we met for the first time. Look how he reaches with his giant paws across my wellies,paws-up – I’m all your’s, no hidden agenda, no guns. Pretty rare these days…

Belgian Shepherd loves Border Collie - photographed by Bianca Gubalke

No wonder Hollie was totally smitten! Look at her! Well, what would YOU do?

Belgian Shepherd loves Border Collie - photographed by Bianca Gubalke

Romance is in the air

Meanwhile, Mojo hid his face and laughed! He just knew it had worked again… he’s just irresistible! It seems, even those jaws were no deterrent  anymore and, definitely, suddenly there was Romance in the air!
And besides, who doesn’t want a strong and protective partner during rough times?

Belgian Shepherd loves Border Collie - photographed by Bianca Gubalke

Which was the cue for me to take both on a long hike up into the mountain, where you feel just so much better if you have those sort of jaws around. Just in case… these days, one just never knows!

Bianca Gubalke Showcase 2012

I just couldn’t resist to share these talking pictures – enjoy!

Original article by © Bianca Gubalke

Psychic Delia Website

Psychic Delia Website

Finally, the Psychic Delia website is back online, after it had been hit by a terrible hack attack – as so many others over the past year and, especially, month. Psychic Delia O’Riordan is a prolific writer with a large readership following her articles on Psychic Readings, Paranormal phenomena and many other topics so many people get more and more interested in today.

Psychic Delia Website designed by Bianca Gubalke

Psychic Delia Website

A personalized “Join me on Facebook” and “Join me on Twitter”  tab has been integrated on the Psychic Delia Website – and all that remains now is to redo the Shop.

Just Ask Delia’s readings are extremely helpful as you can read on the Testimonials page (these are real people that can be contacted!). Please use the Contact page if you want to urgently book a reading and the Shop is not ready yet. Otherwise, I hope I get it done by tomorrow!

Bianca Gubalke Showcase 2012

Sometimes family and friends are just too close and you need a neutral professional to help with an issue – that’s where Delia O’Riordan can be of immense help!

Dill from Noordhoek

Dill from Noordhoek

“Dill from Noordhoek” could become a niche product for me as the plants are thriving so well in my garden! As we are moving towards the shortest day and the longest (and probably coldest) night down here in the Southern hemisphere at the tip of Africa, we have to use every minute of sunshine to get on with all that needs to be done in the garden, planting and transplanting, just before the next storm or rains hit us!
Dill from Noordhoek by Bianca Gubalke Photography

That’s when I also noticed that my dill (Anethum graveolens), which is also called ‘Lao coriander’ when grown in Laos and Thailand, is much higher than the 40-60 cm mentioned in many manuals! It’s not only a very useful culinary as well as medicinal plant and herb, but in my view also pretty decorative in gardens, besides the fact that it attracts beneficial insects. I love the fragrance and use almost everything – the fernlike aromatic leaves, stems and seeds – when preparing delicious meals, especially in winter vegetable soups, colourful healthy salads and fish dishes. It’s unbeatable in mashed potatoes, cucumber pickles  and with smoked salmon.

Here we go again: food! I could go on and on. . . so could you, I’m sure !
Dill from Noordhoek by Bianca Gubalke Photography

Dill from Noordhoek

My other agenda when it comes to ‘Dill from Noordhoek’ is, of course, digital photography! And Dill is so incredibly photogenic! Whether as a plant with its fine twigs and umbrella-shaped yellow flowers or when the seeds ripen! As I’m not back to normal eye-sight just yet, I am starting slowly to get back into swing with my images. The photo below is the original I took about a month ago with my Fujifilm – and I think it’s rather sharp although, at that time, I wasn’t seeing that sharp anymore and wondered why!

Dill from Noordhoek by Bianca Gubalke Photography

But to get back into swing, I worked on this simple photo in ADOBE Photoshop to give it a different look, an antique frame, and playing with black & white values. When seeing the photo, I immediately saw an arum lily as well, and tried to bring this out as a little side note – not that it is important, but it inspired me to work around it! If you squeeze your eyes and look at it from further away, it’s actually quite amazing!

So that’s for today’s article on “Dill from Noordhoek”…. working my way up again after losing all my work since February due to a bad hack – so don’t be surprised by seeing changes in the website soon, too!

Have a happy weekend and enjoy a good meal – with or without dill!

Good Evening from Noordhoek

Good Evening from Noordhoek

Catching up and replacing posts after a rollback following a major hack – just fun!

So here’s the last visible sunset at Chapman’s Peak is a good reason to send everybody a cheerful “Good Evening from Noordhoek” – in gold !

Sunset at Chapman's Peak by Bianca Gubalke Photography

On its path – depending on who’s looking from where and how of course – the sun disappears from our sight around mid February and returns around mid November. At Christmas we see it sinking into the Atlantic Ocean, right in front of us.

Good Evening from Noordhoek

These days we unfortunately spend more time on cleaning out hacks than enjoying something like a peaceful and serene “Good Evening from Noordhoek” – or grabbing a digital camera for some digital photography.

However, it seems these brave guys have upgraded from hitting normal people to the likes of Facebook and Microsoft. May those entitities deal with them accordingly.

Now for a glass of champagne to celebrate the end of February 2013 – on my sister’s birthday February 29th – forever young! Cheers!

First March Lilies 2013

First March Lilies 2013

The first March Lilies (Amaryllis belladonna) 2013 greeted me early this morning when I stepped into my garden! The ideal moment for some flower photography: a bright pink bouquet of amazing beauty with Chapman’s Peak in Noordhoek, South Africa, in the background! The perfect “Good morning from Noordhoek!”

First March Lilies in my garden !

First March Lilies 2013

Perhaps it’s a bit early for the first March Lilies, but I am thrilled whenever I see them coming up! It means that it will get a little cooler and – hopefully for Nature and the gardens – the rains are not far away!

First March Lilies in my Garden 2013
First March Lilies 2013

The huge trumpetlike flowers of the Amaryllis belladonna exhude a fine scent and are an unforgetful sight when growing in carpets on a mountain slope. They love rocks and rocky soil. While the seeds are distributed by the wind, they have large clumps of bulbs that can be separated during the dormant season and transplanted. That’s how I transplanted these in a sheltered yet very central spot, close to rocks and agapanthus.

I will have to inspect my garden for all the secret places that may explode in pink within the next days! They will attract honey bees and carpenter bees and I have seen sunbirds hovering over them. Unfortunately, there’s also a black and yellow striped caterpillar – the lily borer – that means big trouble. If I see it I remove it by hand and cut off the infected and damaged parts of the foliage. If I don’t, the little bugger continues to eat its way through and the stem eventually collapses. I’m sure there is other food around – just not these stunning march lilies that don’t last forever anyway!

Interestingly, the longish leaves of the amaryllis belladonna only appear after flowering and remain green and juicy throughout winter. This rather unusual phenomenon is called hysteranthy.