Friday, 10 May 2013

The Owl House, Nieu Bethesda

I am currently busy with my ongoing 'review' of the Canon Eos M. But I thought I would take a break and post some images of a remarkable house in Nieu Bethesda...

For the past few years in December, when the whole country goes on holiday, my wife Cheryl, and I go on a photographic journey. We pick an area that we can reach after a days drive and then spend another day or two driving around. Last year ( December 2012 ) we drove to Smithfield,  Hofmeyer and Nieu Bethesda. Our last stop was in Nieu Bethesda where we wanted to celebrate out anniversary. Nieu Bethesda is a bit more touristy and it has many many guesthouses and also a restaurant or two..

I picked up a potential problem with my car, after having had it serviced just a week before! Funny how cars pick up problems only after the service...! Anyway I had to stay another night in Nieu Bethesda, which was quite nice and cancel my night in Jagersfontein at short notice. The owner of the guesthouse in Jagersfontein, Karin Duvenhage kindly offered to keep my deposit for a year! How is that for service!
So after a long trip from Pretoria to Smithfield and then Hofmeyer I ended up in Nieu Bethesda for two nights.
As most of us know the main attraction in Nieu Bethesda is the Owl house. I have been to Nieu Bethesda before but the last time was about 12 years ago. I visited the Owl house each time but never really took any photographs. This time I visited in the middle of a very hot December afternoon. I quickly walked through the garden and took many photographs but the time of day was just wrong and before I publish any photographs here on my blog of the garden, or 'Camel Yard' and its many cement figures I will have to work extensively on the images via photoshop etc.
The interior was wonderful and a great reprieve from the midday heat. I photograph many interiors professionally but these interior spaces blew me away! They were so colourful and personal...and to think Helen Maartins started the project in the fifties...truly remarkable!
More images from my trip, as usual working backwards, to come...
I used my little Leica X1 with a fixed 35mm equivalent lens for all these available light photographs. Most of the rooms were partially cordoned off and it was quite difficult to get decent angles. As it got quite dark inside I had to bump up the iso sometimes to the maximum of 3200 ( all the images were taken with the iso set between 800 and 3200 ) to prevent camera shake and often shot at the max aperture of f2.8. ( I didn't have a tripod and I wasn't sure if I would be allowed to bring one...I just took it for granted that it would be disallowed. I never thought to ask..... ) Looking at these images at 100% enlargement on my monitor I was quite surprised at the good quality of the can just do sooooo much with digital!
The entrance fee was R80-00 for two (about 8 Euros). The Owl House Foundation can be contacted at 049 8411733, and the international dialing code is +27.


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