The year in review

At this time of year I always take time to look back at the year and the photos I have taken. Photos are a great reminder for me of what I have focussed energy and time on, and help define what I want to continue to do the following year and what I want to let go of.

The year started off well with a much yearned for trip to India. The experience was overwhelming in every sense. During the first week there, I vowed never to return again. By the time I left I vowed that I would definitely return not just once, but probably numerous times.

India challenges you in every way

India challenges you in every way

The return home from my India trip was bitter-sweet. Just as I felt I had got into the swing of things and was really getting to enjoy the experience, it was time to leave. Home meant downloading hundreds of photos and settling down to a day-to-day routine again. Shortly after getting back, my family visited for a few days. My great-nephew Cruz was only a couple of months old at the time.

Cruz at two months

Cruz at two months

March arrived and with it came Hurricane Irina. South Africa does not experience too many natural disasters, so it was exciting to witness the big wave action that the hurricane created. It was a great opportunity to grab some shots of the men on their surfboards, braving the water and winds to have some fun.

Jason Ribbink catches a wave during Hurricane Irina

Jason Ribbink catches a wave during Hurricane Irina

A long road trip to Port Elizabeth to see if we could get some early sardine run action was the theme for April. We spent endless hours searching and hoping for some activity. In between, I managed to take in some land based scenery and took photos of the incredible landscape and windy conditions that are part and parcel of this city.

The wind whips up the sand on a large sand dune in Port Elizabeth

The wind whips up the sand on a large sand dune in Port Elizabeth

In between celebrating my birthday and organising our move and renovations to our newly purchased home during May, we made time to attend the Paddle Out for sharks and to take photographs of Trevor Hutton training for his Deep Freedive for Sharks.

Paddle Out for sharks and Trevor Hutton training

Paddle Out for sharks and Trevor Hutton training

A June visit to Johannesburg to visit family, saw my return to a rented studio space to take some family photos. Having had my own studio, it was odd to hire a space and equipment.

Cruz and Gabi in the studio

Cruz and Gabi in the studio

June/ July is the time when the sardine run action starts in earnest if it’s going to happen at all. Port St Johns on the East Coast is the place to be, so we spent a week there, going out every day for up to 8 hours a day, waiting, watching, waiting…

During this time the humpback whales migrate northwards with their young and I was witness to more than one spectacular breach from them.

Port St Johns and the magical breaching humpback whales

Port St Johns and the magical breaching humpback whales

We knew that winter had really arrived when many parts of the country were blanketed in snow. Our proximity to the Drakensberg and surrounding areas meant I was able to take some photos . Snow is always magical, but when it happens in a country that hardly ever experiences it, it’s even more exciting.

Snow in South Africa

Snow in South Africa

Living at the coast is a new experience for me and I love everything associated with the lifestyle of living close to the sea. A short drive from our home, is a great spot for wind surfing. On a bright sunny day, I went to see what was going on and had a good time photographing the kites.

Wind surfing in Durban

Wind surfing in Durban

It had been a long time since I had been to the Kruger National Park, so November was an exciting month when we visited the park and Ithala Game reserve for 10 days. I was treated to many wonderful sighting and posted a number of photos in my Kruger Park blog posts . These three photos are a few of my favorite ones.

The wonders of the Kruger National Park

The wonders of the Kruger National Park

Following our amazing experiences in the game parks, we visited the Vernon Crookes Nature Reserve which is an hours drive from Durban and spent an enjoyable day photographing mostly zebra.

The beach-front skate park is always a great place to practice some slow shutter speed movement photography and the surfers are always an attraction.

Skating, surfing and wildlife watching

Skating, surfing and wildlife watching

I would love to say that December was a photography nirvana, but the truth is that the holiday season means that most of the month is spent with family celebrating Christmas. Planning for our trip to South East Asia from 1 January has also taken some time, so alas there is no December photo.

I will make up for it when I return from Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos in February with hundreds if not thousands of photographs on memory cards, ready to be shared.

For me, 2012 has been an exciting, fulfilling and busy year. I have travelled, experienced many wonderful moments with family, set up a firm base in a coastal city with the man of my dreams and have been fit and healthy throughout. I am grateful and bow out of the year with dreams and aspirations that 2013 will be just as amazing.

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