Bird tracks

Whether they’re slithering, hopping or walking, animals leave tracks wherever they walk in the sand or on the earth. Equally, you can follow birds this way while they’re on land, but as soon as they take off, their path becomes invisible. Well, until now January 2018 at least, when photographer Barcelona-based photographer Xavi Bou decided to make them appear, through the magic of technology.

…he chose to work with a video camera, from which he extracts high-resolution photographs. After he films the birds in motion, Bou selects a section of the footage and layers the individual frames into one image.

The results are pretty amazing:

A herring gull flies over flamingos in Spain.


Fulmars and Puffins around a sea stack in Iceland.


I love the way that on that second image, you can actually look at the shape of the track and see which bird it belongs to: the near-effortless, near-gliding of the Fulmars versus the frantic, almost desperate efforts of the puffins.

There are more images on that link above and you should go and see them.

They are remarkable, not just for the fluidity and grace of the movement, but also because it’s a completely different way of viewing something that we all see every day. Additionally for me, the juxtaposition of static objects and wildly mobile bird tracks in these two images is especially good.


Photo credits: Xavi Bou

Like this

After a busy day making trees appear and making boxes disappear, I have fifteen minutes until my new favourite programme of the moment, Taskmaster, is on TV. I know that it’s awfully old-fashioned to be tied to a TV schedule when there are so many new-fangled ways of accessing visual content, but sometimes we need to go back to our roots and those halcyon pre-streaming times; to remind ourselves to stay grounded in this age of on-demand satisfaction.

Talking of on-demand satisfaction in the digital age, here are a couple of absolutely corking observations on that very theme:

[Oh wow. Neat segue.

This one, via The Guru, brilliantly documenting our need for instant digital gratification via social media, what happens when we fall short of the mark (as we nearly always seem to do), and how there is still (real) life after no likes.

By the light of a phone screen, a little egg created a social media account.
One Sunday, the warm sun came up and — snap! — out of the egg emerged a very thirsty caterpillar, who posted an artfully disheveled selfie #wokeuplikethis.

And then this tweet, which simply explains what happens when things go right for any of your given posts, tweets or ‘grams:

Please press the button. I’m always in need of TGC.

And that’s why I’m off to watch Greg and Alex now.

[Oh wow. Neat segue. Again.
Thanks. Again.]

WLR inclusion

Just a quick link to a “creative nonfiction” piece in this quarter’s World Literature Review magazine.

Here is that link:

Our protagonist is ostensibly chatting to a gentleman at a party, but her mind is a million miles away: apparently knee-deep in white guilt and self-doubt over her parents’ roles in pre-94 South Africa.

Sheesh. I know, right?

I don’t want to give away the ending, but I do want to say that one of the photographs illustrating the piece is – in my humble opinion, at least – rather good.

Cold, wet… Charity

It’s about this time of year that I make my regular annual plea to help out people stuck out in the cold in our area. A couple of cold fronts have brought some very heavy rain and some alarmingly chilly temperatures to the Cape and this sort of weather obviously really exacerbates the difficulties for the homeless people in the city.

Last night, I was in my car, battling my way through floods, gales and torrential rain when I heard that my football match had been called off. I returned home (direct access from garage to house), got changed into some cosy warm clothes, lit the fire and got myself a coffee.

Nice life.

The Haven is a group of shelters which can help or local homeless people with – at the very least – a bed for the night. And they have very strict and well-enforced zero tolerance policy on drugs, alcohol, weapons etc.

If you can donate just R12 (that’s 64 pence or 82 US cents), then you can provide a bed for one person for one night.

And it’s really easy to do. Snapscan here, for you locals:

Or via this page if you don’t have Snapscan or if you’re overseas.

I’ll be making a donation and I’ll also be encouraging my kids to use their charity pocket money to help The Haven out this month too. Why don’t you make a difference as well. 12 bucks. De nada.

Thanks for reading.

Danny Daycare

Danny MacAskill (see 6000 passim) takes his friends’ daughter out for a spin around Scotland. Brilliant.

There’s also a really cool “behind the scenes” video here.

I mean, Daisy was easy to work with; Danny was a challenge, really.

Good, silly fun. Definitely worth 4 minutes of your Sunday.