Cape of Storms

The Sky above Chapman’s Peak

It happened again! Heavy storms thundered across the Cape of Good Hope at the southern tip of Africa – also known as the famous ‘Cape of Storms’ . Just when spring was in full swing, painting the garden with magnificent colours, these chimeras start a mad dance around Chapman’s Peak before they came slashing down along its flanks and had a feast ripping it all apart. Just that they weren’t illusions, they are real.

 

While we all held our breaths when the temperatures dropped from 33 to 15 degrees within just a few hours, in the desperate hope of much-needed rains, and we rejoiced when we got a little, which was a great relief for the heavily battered garden, it’s far beyond what Cape Town needs! This means that we will have to continue on 87 litres of water per head maximum until . . .

The Sky Above Chapman's Peak

The damagewas massive . . . and the rain minimal down here in Noordhoek, South of Cape Town. Our dam is almost empty to this day. And this after the ‘winter rains’.

Meanwhile, the sun is shining, smiles are creeping back on worried faces, and resiliant as always, South Africans get back up from their knees and move forward and upward again!

Three years through the worst drought we’ve ever seen down here, we still hope it will change and a miracle happens. It will!

We need everyone’s positive outlook and prayers . . .

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Happy Sunday from Noordhoek

SMILE!

I don’t know about you but . . . it is a warm sunny autumn day here in Noordhoek, South Africa, and we even had a few drops of rain! We’re grateful!

After spending the dark and exciting time before dawn out in the wild, Mutzeputz, our Somali tomcat, is living his dream. He may well be the happiest cat on earth! I mean to say: tiger!

SMILEs with Bianca Gubalke

 

There were quite some requests to continue my Free Fun Cards Online – do you remember? ‘Good Morning from Noordhoek’ it was then. Well, I love funny cats, so this is all about making you smile and starting your Sunday on a high!

So enjoy your weekend and SMILE, CONNECT and SHARE!

 

 

#biancagubalkeauthor #spirituality #mysteryfiction

Free Ebooks

Happy Christmas Giveaway

As Christmas is the time of joy and giving, here’s my special contribution for all my readers! Some of you may have received a new Kindle device, so I hope that my Free Download and Christmas Book Giveaway “The Magical Garden” – A photographic Journey  – with well over 100 colour photos and inspiring excerpts and quotes from the cozy mystery novel “The Immortal Life of Piu Piu” – may delight you! So come an visit me in my secret garden at the tip of Africa, in Noordhoek – the place that wasn’t even on the map some 20 years ago!

xmas-2016-2016-12-24-008

 

 

Landscape Photography

The magic mystery novel  ‘The Immortal Life of Piu Piu’  – pronounced ‘pew-pew’ – initially included an abundance of photos taken by the author. Landscape photography. Animal Photography. Bird photos. Insect photography. . .  you name it! The idea was to complement the magical landscape in the reader’s mind by visually introducing the real landscape of the Western Cape coast of South Africa.

Just about 30 km south of one of the world’s top tourist attractions, the bustling garden-city of Cape Town, and encapsulated by high mountain ranges and the Atlantic Ocean, it forms part of the ‘richest floral kingdom in the world’ . Its unique flora of fynbos, proteas, ericas and restios abounds with a wealth of wildlife including birds, insects, lizards, frogs, snakes, lynx and many other animals. Known as one of the 34 biodiversity ‘hot spots’ in the world, it became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2004.

Unfortunately, including all these color pictures would have made the book prohibitive to buy, even in digital format. With Christmas coming up and many asking for my photos, we decided to add a COMPANION that our readers could download and refer to and enjoy while they were reading. The link is right in the ebook and will soon be integrated into the paperback version as well. Clearly structured in 12 chapters, it is the perfect document for parents, educators and librarians who work through the book with teens, young adults and other study groups.

It is also a wonderful addition for book discussions in Book Clubs.

Of course, YOU may not yet have read ‘The Immortal Life of Piu Piu’ , so this tour of the Magic Garden may whet your appetite for more of Piu Piu’s ‘Dance Between Worlds’.

GET YOUR FREE COPY NOW – CLICK HERE !

Happy holidays and ‘happy reading’!

 

Do Animals have Souls?

The soul of an octopus

I always loved books! I love great stories that take me into the realm of the Magical, the Extraordinary, the Unknown . . . because the beauty of it is, that if I can see it, think it, imagine it . . . it becomes real! Heck, it IS real! Thoughts are energy. Everything is Source energy. Everything has a soul. Yes, believe it or not: of all beings, even an octopus has a soul as New York Times bestselling author Sy Montgomery revealed in a fascinating and scientifically well researched book, that bridges the gap between us humans and an almost alien species living in the mysterious depths of our seas.  Just as those who only see a roasted duck when they see an Egyptian goose may think twice after reading “The Immortal Life of Piu Piu”, even you may want to rethink your order of calamari and change certain views after immersing yourself in The Soul of an Octopus!

The soul is the same in all living creatures, although the body of each is different. - Hippocrates

What Hippocrates said about the soul

The soul is the same in all living creatures, although the body of each is different. ~ Hippocrates

If we think about wisdom – and especially strong quotes about animals and the animal soul (and by far not only there . . .), we don’t get away from the old Greeks. I know. And if you thought that ‘all that soul, consciousness, reincarnation and other woo-woo stuff’ originated in the New Age era, think twice! We’re actually standing on the shoulders of giants, we just need to study the ancient texts, beginning with the legendary Orpheus.

The Greek physician, Hippocrates (460 – 370 BC) may sound familiar to us  as ‘The Father of Western Medicine’ and in connection with the ‘Hippocratic Oath’  that at least Western medical graduates must take (as per my knowledge…) to honour certain ethics and morals in their medical practice. But what astonishes me is how ‘modern’ he – and others like Plato and Pythagoras as I mentioned in my earlier article – were at their time. BC that is!

Seen from today’s perspective, he was not only instrumental in separating the discipline of medicine from religion (. . . as well as from superstition), but he often advised lifestyle changes in terms of diet and exercise. The human engine hasn’t changed! It needs good water, fuel and oil . . . and it must be regularly run so it does not rust.

Lizards of Noordhoek

Even before I sat down to actually write ‘Animal Souls’ article number 2, I was intrigued by the fact that I was drawn to connect the above quote with my photo of a lizard . . .  almost a dragon . . . scurrying along in a ray of light between heavy boulders in my garden in Noordhoek, South Africa?

Of course, a lizard plays an important role in the story of Piu Piu in teaching her a painful yet important first lesson to help her survive in the wild, but then I stumbled upon the legend of Hippocrates’ daughter, who was transformed into a hundred-foot long dragon by the Greek goddess, Diana, and banned into an old castle. Her only chance to turn back into a woman was that a knight kissed her . . . which was a tricky thing with a murderous dragon in the way! Does this remind you of another . . . more recent story? I’ve got to check some recent photos . . . I may have another interesting addition . . .  I just got the idea!

But again we have a transformation from human being into an animal . . . which is a fascinating occurrence in many cultures. Something we’ll dive into another day!

Funny, somehow this Animal Souls series feels like my ‘Good Morning from Noordhoek’ series long ago – do you remember still?

Anyways, we had heavy rains in Cape Town . . . winter is here!

 

 

How to fix Fuji upload problems since WIN10

Fuji X-E1 problems on MS Windows 10

Once we Fuji X-E1 owners upgraded our computers to Microsoft Windows 10, we ran into an annoying problem: we could no longer upload our photos via the USB cable. This is the message we get:

Import Pictures and Video Message for Fuji X-E1

Of course, we first thought “What did I do wrong? Is it the battery? Is it… ?” You wondered what the bleep was going on! And while we saw fellow Fuji users complaining in forums about the same issue, there was no solution in sight. Not then… So I uploaded the images on my good old laptop where I still run an older version of Windows – and it worked. Perfectly so. Clearly, it was the Windows 10 update.

All this happened to me in August 2015. That’s when I upgraded to Win10 . . . and as website and media designers, we know how important photos are on today’s web.

Support for Fuji X-E1 cameras in sight for December 2015

Hoping that Fuji or Microsoft might solve the issue, I left it for a while – but after a new and hopeful trial today, I saw that nothing had changed. So I googled Fuji again and, finally, got my answer in form of an announcement by Fuji Film:

The new OS of Windows10 has been released from Microsoft. We have confirmed that images in a camera cannot be transferred to a Windows10 PC via a USB cable because the camera doesn’t recognize OS information of Windows10.

Note: This symptom happens only when a PC is connected to a camera via a USB cable. So, there is no problem when you use a memory card slot in the PC or a card reader.

And they continue:

We will provide upgraded firmware for models with the symptom by posting the firmware on the Global website.

With that said, they provide a time schedule for the release of upgraded firmware, and a list of applicable camera models – namely those launched as of 2010, including the X-E1.

According to that schedule, the problem for the Fuji X-E1 will be resolved around year-end, i.e. December 2015.

If you’re a happy owner of this fabulous camera model as well, keep an eye on the global Fuji site. Our frustration will have an end!

Of course, if you have a memory card slot in your computer, or a card reader, your problem never occurred respectively can be solved fast.

Thank heavens for ‘old’ laptops …

 

 

Ycademy Webinars

Ycademy Seminar September 2015

Today, high quality images and photos are even more important than ever before when it comes to website development and web design, this month’s Ycademy Seminar September 2015 will focus on the new features of one of the most brilliant programmes ever created in my view: Photoshop!

Workshop on Adobe Photoshop CC 2015

Mind you, even if you have an older version – if you’re a skilled graphic artist who has an inner image of what the final product you create should look like – that’s fine, too. We’re talking of a tool, like a brush. It’s always a human being behind the tool who decides on the outcome. However, the more sophisticated the tool, the more we may be able to achieve within a shorter period of time. Don’t forget, resolutions are being pushed higher and higher, and streaming gets faster and faster – that’s the future market we serve. And that’s why we look at the latest version of Adobe Photoshop – CC 2015.

Workshop on Camera Raw

If time permits, we’ll also look into Camera Raw – my personal favourite when it comes to improving a picture with a few quick tweaks. I hardly need anything else. If a picture isn’t up to standard, it lands in my waste bin anyway. But since I really started using my Fuji X E1 – especially during my time in Namibia – I’m just amazed at the difference in data compared to my good old Nikon Coolpix P90. In those days, my Coolpix was just perfect for what I needed on the Internet. With a very handy zoom, it allowed me to operate quickly and almost automatically, giving me in most cases the results I wanted (excluding low-light… duhhh!). But since I started to create printed books – with my first English novel “The Immortal Life of Piu Piu” coming out very soon – please join my Newsletter on my Author Website Here for updates and freebies – I quickly discovered my limitations. What I need now – besides much more experience, much more knowledge – is a 200 mm lens! Oh, they have even a better one, a killer lens I absolutely need for my next photo trip… back to Namibia! There’s nothing like home! By the way, the above photo was shot near Sossusvlei in Namibia in May 2015.

Where would we be today?

It’s hard to imagine where we would be today without a programme like ADOBE Photoshop . . . and how we would cope without using layers! I still worked extensively with pencils, pens and airbrush in pre-digital times – and if for some reason the illustration was messed up – sometimes by a simple stupid thing like a sudden difference in pressure in my airbrush so that it would spit ink all over the design – well, that was game over and you didn’t want to have any dead lines in that moment!

Yes, there’s progress! We’re living in a blessed time where we are able to explore, experiment and create at our heart’s desire – until we are satisfied with the result, the product – and our clients are happy, too!

On a personal note: you may not have seen me blogging for a while… but this will change soon. This website will change as well… Just that the publishing of my book has priority right now and – believe me – I’ve been writing all the time :)  Time for Google to remember that I exist!

 

Animal Bronze Sculptures South Africa

New Website for Sculptor Richard J. Gunston

While we at ‘Web Design South Africa’ are currently developing the new website for South African Bronze Sculptor Richard J. Gunston, we took some quick snapshot impressions from the current Art Exhibition in ‘THE STUDIO’ in Kalk Bay, South Africa, where the artist exhibits some of his small animal bronze sculptures – toads, suricats, velvet monkeys, birds, a beautiful bronze foal and miniature fighting hippo bulls – by invitation of Marc Alexander who is showing a collection of paintings and drawings.

Art Exhibition Kalk Bay January 2015

On the above photo, you see the hippo bronze in the foreground with a funny family of meerkats (suricat) looking on, while an impressive black and white portrait of our beloved ‘Madiba’ – the late Nelson Mandela – keeps smiling at the many talents of our ‘rainbow nation’.

THE STUDIO GALLERY is easily accessible from Kalk Bay Main Road. The exhibition runs until 28 January 2015, opening hours are 10 am to 5 pm.

 

Enjoy… more to follow soon!