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Even though I travel to the townships nearly everyday, it has been amazingly difficult to take pictures there. These places should be quite safe, but I need to be very aware of what I am doing. Certain rules tend to apply: such as always walking with someone from the community who people know, and of course, don’t flash around a lot of money. So I’ve done some nice walks with friends and my trusty point-and-shoot camera. I’ve really enjoyed being in these communities, meeting a diverse group of people, and getting a good feel for what the “real” South Africa is like. These townships are definitely a world apart from the western setting of Cape Town. These are some images from Khayelitsha, an informal settlement with more than a million people.

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Penguins? In Africa?

So one of my favorite sights thus far have been the penguins. There is just something about the creatures that can melt your heart. They are so incredibly cute, and it’s always a shock to think that I’m hanging with these creatures on a beach in Africa. These birds are awkward on land, but amazingly fast and graceful in the water: amazing swimming companions when I manage to brave the chilly water for a quick dip. These were all taken at the famous Boulder’s Beach, near Simonstown.

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Road Trip

I recently took a break from my clinic work to take a road trip along the Garden Route, a long stretch of road that runs along South Africa’s southern coast. I was fully exposed to some of South Africa’s most diverse langscapes, from mountains, to wide open plains, to beautiful seashore. Here’s are some of my favorites.

Cape Agulhas lighthouse (Africa’s most southern point)on a stormy day:

The Cango Caves, a really neat set of formations hidden up in the Overberg Mountains:

And another set of pictures from the journey:

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Cape Town

I’ve finally arrived. After 4 long days running through airports and a whirlwind 2 day swing through London, I have made it in to Cape Town. I’ll be living and working here for the next 3 months (through the end of August), and am starting to branch out and explore this new place called home. For the next three months I’ll be working with the Desmond Tutu TB Center on an epidemiology project tracking the impact that tuberculosis and HIV jointly (called co-infection) are having on the populations in the townships of the region. I’ll spend time in the townships of Mzamomhle, Nyanga, Delft South, Nolungile (also known as Site C, Khayelitsha),Kuyasa (also known as Harare, Khayelitsha), Wallacedene, Kayamandi (near Stellenbosch in the west Coast Winelands subdistrict), Mbekweni and Phola Park. These should be some really different areas, and I’m excited for the chance to experience them all. South Africa is an amazingly diverse place, with 14 official languages and a host of different cultural influences. It’s so easy to get caught up in the Western European feel of central (and wealthy) Cape Town, so I’m very glad to get the chance to work in these other areas every day to get a feel for what the real Cape Town experience is like for the majority of the population here.

After living in Cape Town last year, I am actually reasonably familiar with many of the main attractions of this rather developed and touristy city. However, before I was staying in an English suburb called Rondebosch, a rather well-to-do area near the foot of Table Mountain, the dominating lone mountain that presides over all of the Cape Town landscape. This time however, I’m staying in Bellville, an Afrikaans area which is quite different. Ironically, I’ve had little use for the Xhosa that I’ve been trying to learn over the past 3 months, as most people speak either Afrikaans, English or Sutu. However, I’m sure I’ll get the chance as I branch out a little further during my stay. Anyway, enough with the travel essay for now. Most of you are here for the pictures…so here we go.

First a few from London. See if you can recognize any of the landmarks:

Next a group from Cape Town. These are a group from the waterfront area and Kamps Bay, one of my favorite beach areas, with the Atlantic on one side and Table Mountain on the other.

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  • ben chrisman - May 30, 2007 - 11:23 am

    have a great time Mr. Bang Bang! Be careful and see ya back home this Fall.


Matthew & Tracie | Stanford Memorial Church | Wedding | San Mateo History Museum

Matthew and Tracie had their wedding at the gorgeous Stanford Memorial Church, with the reception at the San Mateo History Museum. Both we just fantastic locations and I had a fantastic time working with the great architecture, mixed in with an energetic and fun group of people. Going to school at Stanford, I had been to the Memorial Church several times for various events, but this was my first time doing a wedding at the church, or around the Stanford campus. I have seen many photographers and couples wandering around the big arches and hallways around the central courtyard. It was fun to get the chance to make my own images from the area (and I think we did pretty well too). Matthew was an undergraduate and law student at Stanford, and there were a lot of other people from the Stanford community around the wedding- so it was a sentimental location for all involved.

The reception was fantastic too, with a great live band, and a really neat downtown location to work with for pictures. Thanks so much to Matthew and Tracie for the opportunity to shoot your weddings, and I hope you enjoy your trip to Costa Rica!

A full slideshow is available HERE.

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Echo & Jim | Family Portraits | Engagement | Bay Area

I met up with Jim and Echo at a beach in Marin and we came up with a set of really fun pictures. This was my first “engagement” shoot that involved kids…but hey, I always enjoy working on different projects- and this one turned out to be great. Thanks to Echo and Jim for the drive to this great location, and to Anthony and Dawnelle- my incredibly photogenic superstars. I can’t wait for the wedding in September.

Here’s a fun photo that I dug up of me hard at work. Gotta love being able to work with bare feet out on the beach.

A full slideshow is available HERE.

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