Monday 16 November 2009

Storms on the Highveld...

Most of you who've been to the Highveld of South Africa know what it's like. Endless rolling plains and knolls - green in the summer and brown in the winter. Lots of power lines, pylons, smoke stacks and eucalyptus trees (which is an intruder species in South Africa by the way).

But what you can also find on the Highveld, especially in spring and early summer, are enormous thunderstorms. And I do mean some mean storms.

I happen to live in a town called Secunda on the Highveld region of Mpumalanga, and went out to a nearby farm the other day to do some landscape photography amidst the brewing of another belter of a storm.

This particular farm offers some respite in terms of just seeing the power lines and power plants on all sides on the horizon, particularly since there are old ruins standing there. As the rain started pelting me (I had to keep wiping the lens clean), I had a great time trying different compositions and takes on the scenery around. The grass is already quite green from the continuous rain.

The clouds opened for a brief respite in the distance, and I took my shot:

I love how these ruins stand against the storm, weathered and worn, but withstanding for another year, until gradually the elements take their toll and all the man-made clutter starts to fade away.

I've always said that if I had a farm, it would be in the bushveld or the Kalahari...but being on this farm made me realise - any darn ol' piece of land to call my own outside of the confines of a town or city would be just FINE!!

I walked around some more since the rain was only coming down in spontaneous droplets crashing into my face every 10 seconds or so...(made me think of Forrest Gump, the legend, talking about "big ole fat rain"). There was a cattle pen nearby in which a lovely whitish-grey horse was trotting around listlessly, with its reign (made of nylon ski rope) dangling loosely in the sweltering wind.

As I saw this beautiful animal within the small pen - the wires around it being easily clearable with a single jump - and its reign flapping in the wind, it made me wonder how comfortable we've become in our 'cages', knowing freedom is just within reach, yet being fearful to take the 'leap' because we do so love the comfort of our chains and boundaries...hence this photo was born, one of my favourites - entitled FREEDOM...

I will leave you at that for now...some more interesting shots to be seen from this location, as I continue to explore Southern Africa in High Dynamic Range.......


  1. Really stunning. Morkel I have to say, you hit the nail on the head with regards to your analogy about freedom and how we as people have become too comfortable within our comfort zone. I have this ongoing obsession with the freedom that nature brings, and I too love to bring the two together. Being a South African living in London I really miss home and the exquisite beauty of my homeland and those amazing highveld storms I loved watching from my bedroom window at night. It's chlaustrophobic living in London, but hopefully this will be changing soon. I need it to!
    Take care, and great shots!

  2. thanks Amy - glad you read this post, I was beginning to think no-one had seen this one ;)

    hope you make it back to SA soon!