cyn's great adventure

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Oct 14th, 2005, 02:21 PM
  #41
 
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Hi Cyn,

On the mosquito repellent topic: I trialled MosiGuard on my last trip to Botswana, and had very good results -- about as good as the 50% DEET I brought alone. Personally, I've found that DEET really irritates my skin, so I was happy to find an alternative. Over the span of a 2.5 week trip, I was bitten about three times (the same number of times I was bitten on a similar-length trip where I used the Ultrathon 100% DEET). All the bites were on my hands -- not a huge surprise because although you can take the doctor out of the hospital you can't take the hospital out of the doctor, and thorough hand-washing is a reflex -- unfortunately, re-applying insect repellent after said hand-washing is not!

I'm not sure if the MosiGuard I used is the same as the Mossi-Gard available in the US. The active ingredient is listed as Citriodiol, which appears to be a patented formula. The product is described as 'natural' and has been tested by the London School of Hygeine and Tropical Medicine, the British equivalent of the CDC (at least for tropical diseases).

I'd probably go for the Twelve Apostles over the Table Bay, though in all honesty I prefer to stay in much smaller boutique hotels (Kensington Place is a favourite). The Twelve Apostles has a shuttle to the Waterfront, and would provide more privacy than the Table Bay, which is right in the centre of things. On the other hand, there is the convenience of being able to roll out of bed and hop onto the Robben Island ferry...

I haven't stayed at the Akademie in Franschhoek, but I'm considering it for my next stay -- the location is great and you'll be able to walk to most of the restaurants. Look forward to hearing what you think of it!

Great to hear that you're staying at Crater Lodge. If you can, request a suite in Tree Lodge -- it has the best views.

From your previous posts, it sounds like you've already bought the FZ30 and the Epson P-2000. Noise is best thought of as the equivalent of 'grain' on film, or as 'static'. It can result in a grainy, degraded picture at higher ISOs (ASAs for Americans). I don't think noise will be a big issue for you unless you plan to do a lot of night photography (many of the places you are going don't allow night drives, so it won't be an issue). Even if it does become an issue in some of your late evening or indoor photos, you probably won't notice it unless you enlarge your photos more than 8x10 or 9x12. For daytime photography in Africa, ISO 80 or 100 should be fine unless the day is very dark and overcast.

Cheers,
Julian
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Oct 16th, 2005, 12:10 PM
  #42
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Cooncat:
Maine coons are BEAUTIFUL - lucky you! Thanks for the info on the skeeterbeater!

Leely:
Thanks for your comment on the itinerary - although I can't take credit for it. We met with our guide back in May, and had a general discussion with him as to what our interests are, and aside from a couple of changes from us, this is what they suggested. Your day in Nairobi sounds great! What is "nyama choma"? We'll definately try and see the Sheldrik ele/rhino orphanage and the Giraffe Center.

Sandi:
Yes, there are a few airports in VT (well, one that actually lands commercial flights) but it's in Burlington (top of the state) and we're about as far south as one can get. Our preferred airport is BDL (Hartford/Springfield) and up to a 4 years ago, we could fly direct from BDL to JFK. Now, if we want to fly to any of the NYC airports, we have to "connect" through Washington DC, Chicago, Cleveland,or somewhere else equally ridiculous first at about $320 each. We thought about the train, but that means going to Albany NY, $200 rt, pay for parking ($6/day.31 days = $186), and get from Penn Station to the airport and back,$100? plus hotel Mar 5 in nyc, $150. SO, train is about $650. Fly Boston to JFK?: flights, $100 each, parking at logan, $24/day or shuttle to Logan, $400 rt. We're still thinking, but it looks like we'll probably do a shuttle from home to JFK. It's about the same or a little more than the other options, but at least it's just direct to/from the airport. David was meeting with other clients, and came in from the Hartford airport.
We will have a car & driver in Nairobi, so we should be able to do at least some of the things you suggested. Thanks!

Julian:
I'll check out the Mossi-Gard for the "citriodiol". I'm not too thilled with the "deet" either, but will probably bring a combination of stuff and see which works best.
We did decide on Table Bay, just because it is so centrally located.
The owner of the Akademie sent us the following info about places to eat in Franschhoek - I pass it on because I figure they should know, and perhaps someone else might like this info too:
DINNER AND LUNCH

• Bouillabaisse Opening 1 December 2005. Seafood restaurant and deli. Owned and run by Camil Haas of the famous Klein Oliphantshoek restaurant Klein Oliphantshoek restaurant which will be closed at the end of November (and is fully booked until then.) Bouillabaisse will not be open for dinners on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday nights. 021 876-4430 [email protected]
• Grande Provence. New, very beautiful venue on the old La Provence farm. Wonderful red wines are not available at present due to re-branding of the name to GP. Avoid the Angels’ Tears popular wines. Interesting contemporary art gallery. Can also eat al fresco. Closed Sunday evenings 021 876-8600 [email protected]
• Haute Cabriere Romantic as it is in a wine cellar but noisy for same reason. Restaurant run by Matthew Gordon as is The French Connection (see below). 021 876-3688 [email protected]
• La Couronne Stunning views, classical menu, piano, white napery. 021 876-2770 [email protected]
• Le Bon Vivant Easy walking distance. Can eat in garden. Guests of ours particularly fond of the 5 course "Surprise" menu. Lovely food. Not as full as some of the longer established places which surprises us. 021 876-2717 [email protected]
• Le Quartier Français - The Tasting Room (Do not confuse with Ici at same venue) Easy walking distance. Margot Janse voted S.A.’s best chef last year. This year rated 35th best restaurant in world and best in Africa and Middle East by Restaurant Magazine UK. Is different in concept and is a must for people who like good food. Only open at night. Various options available. Four-course, six-course menu and eight-course Gourmet menu with or without matching wines. Wine information not up to the same standard as the food. If one wants vegetarian courses specify when booking. Difficult to get in to in summer. Wonderful taste experience. 021 876-2151 [email protected]
• Monneaux at Franschhoek Country House. Good contemporary dishes. 021 876-3386 [email protected]
• Piccata Easy walking distance. Mediterranean food in a modern, airy restaurant. Trendy and popular. One can eat outside as well and watch the world go by. Excellent wine list, well priced. Pub section. Jazz on some Friday nights. 021 876-3534 [email protected]
• Reuben's. Easy walking distance. Local lad, Reuben Riffel, much feted - back from stint in U.K. to open his own restaurant. The food is wonderful. Named by Eat Out (November 2004) as best South African restaurant and as best South African chef. It is already necessary to book even in winter. Easier to get a luncheon booking. Interesting pub section where the bar-counter is the wing of a Dakota airplane. Open 7 days a week. One can eat outside in the courtyard. 021 876-3772 [email protected]
• The French Connection Bistro Easy walking distance. Bistro style, extremely popular particularly with the locals. Open 7 days a week. In season hard to get a booking. 021 876-4056 Fax 021 876-4036
• Topsi and Company Easy walking distance. Has changed her menu to traditional South African and also African food – but improves on the tradition to make it even better. If you want typical South African food there is no better place to get it. Slow service when full. Very interesting lady in small restaurant. Ideal for those looking for something different. Need to take your own wine, which makes it a relatively cheaper experience. Closed on Tuesdays. 021 876-2952 no e-mail fax 021 876-2952
• Tokara Half way to Stellenbosch. Etienne Bonthuys, one of South Africa’s great chefs, cooks French/Belgian style dishes in this state of the art restaurant / winery. Stunning views. Ask for a window seat. Closed Sundays and Mondays 021 808-5959 Fax 021 808-5966
LUNCHES ONLY
• Boschendal. Very beautiful farm to visit. Buffet lunches in main restaurant or outside, light lunches at le Café. In summer picnic lunches on the lawns – In summer bookings for main restaurant and picnics necessary well ahead. 021 870-4272 Fax 021 874-2137 [email protected]
• Bread and Wine. On Môreson wine farm. Usually only open for lunch and then not always – always enquire ahead. (My personal favourite lunch place). Not much choice for those who do not eat meat or fish though. Sit outside under umbrellas looking at the orange tree orchards and eat wonderful food in a very relaxed and informal atmosphere. 021 876-3692 [email protected]
• Café Allée Bleue Just the place for a light lunch after visiting Boschendal. Pick a day when one can sit outside on the shady patio. 021 874-1021 [email protected]
• Chamonix Excellent lunches seven days a week - lovely situation can eat under the large oak trees. Open for dinners on Fridays and Saturdays. In summer eat under the oaks. On weekends also open outside from 5.00 p.m. until 7.00p.m for light meals with wonderful views of the sunset. 021 876-3241 [email protected]
Yes, I did get the camera, and I'm definately struggling with the zoom part. Get beautiful, clear shots when I'm not zoomed, but more often than not, I get blurry shots when I zoom. Yikes! I've gone through the manual once, and now I've got to go through it again, because nothing jumped out at me to tell me what I'm doing wrong. I'm hoping it's just that I need to "practice, practice, practice". It's been so rainy here for the last 9 days, that I haven't been able to get outside and really do some playing around. Everything taken has been though a window or inside in rather low-light conditions, so.. maybe I'm worrying for no reason. (Wouldn't be the first time!)

Thanks for your help/comments everyone!

Cyn

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Oct 16th, 2005, 02:53 PM
  #43
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cyn:
I think I remember someone on another thread indicating that with the zoom you hold the shutter at halfway mark and then fully depress. It might be on the camera under $500 thread. [or I could be completely wrong!]
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Oct 17th, 2005, 04:23 AM
  #44
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cyn -

Guess, "you can't get there from.... "

I thought I remembered Bradley, as this was the airport I used to visit a friend in Springfield, Mass. Sorry to hear that flights no longer go direct to JFK. Though if to DC, and with SAA now having flights from Dulles to JNB would have been an alternative. But at this point you've got the flights you've got and have to go from there.

I'm certain this litle "burp" in plans will come together. It's apparent that besides inheritance, divorce and tax laws of the state one chooses to live... being near a hub airport is another consideration. LOL!
 
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Oct 17th, 2005, 06:48 AM
  #45
 
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Hi Cyn,

A few FZ hints:

* Make sure the optical stabilisation is on; if it is on and you're still getting blur, try setting it to Mode 2 rather than Mode 1.

* Depress shutter 1/2 way to focus after you have zoomed; once the viewfinder picture is sharp. fully depress to take the picture

* Use the viewfinder, not the LCD -- it's much easier to hold the camera steady when it's up against your face, not floating somewhere in mid-air

* Make sure you are not covering the AF assist (not sure where this is on the FZ30 -- on the FZ20 it's near the upper left edge of the lens barrel, and can sometimes be blocked by your hand on the lens barrel)

I'm sure you'll have it figured out by the time you go on your trip!

Cheers,
Julian
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Oct 17th, 2005, 06:53 AM
  #46
 
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Hi again,

In terms of restaurants -- I would also recommend Le Petit Ferme for lunch (nice food, fabulous views -- ask for a window table), and Klein Olphantshoek for dinner.

I didn't find Haute Cabriere at all noisy -- it's a very nice restaurant where everything is served in whole and half portions rather than the traditional starters and mains, so you can try more dishes without feeling constrained by the menu. On certain days (it used to be Saturday morning, but you'll want to check), the winemaker demonstrates the vanishing art of sabrage (opening a champagne bottle using a sword). I know how to do this, though I've never tried it anywhere other than at home.

Personally, I was rather underwhelmed by Boschendal -- it doesn't look that much different from the other wineries I visited, and the food was nothing special.

Cheers,
Julian
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Oct 19th, 2005, 05:37 AM
  #47
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Bat:
Yes, one does press 1/2 on shutter. BUt making it focus on what I want instead of what IT thinks is another story - especially when it's a moving target!

Sandi:
Yes, we'll get it figured out. Now thinking of renting a car, dropping it in NYC, and then renting one to come back. 2 problems with that:1.) Nearest car rental is 30 miles away, 2.) We (read HUBBY) will have to drive in the city. YIKES!
You are so right about choosing a place to live near an airport. It makes travel much simpler. Of course, I don't think I would want to lose what I have here in terms of joy of living, so... I'll just deal with these little problems.

Julien:
I put some (non-safari)pictures up if I could trouble you and others to take a look and give me some suggestions/criticisms.
http://www.kodakgallery.com/BrowsePh...129726157277&&

I have the stabilizer in mode 1 on the cat and bird pics, and 2 on the deer pics.

Thanks for the comment on using the viewfinder over the led - I tried using the led and thought I was pathetic - so unsteady and I hadn't even had any wine!
AF assist?? OK, found it - I may be blocking it. I'll pay attention when I get out and do some more shooting.
Thanks for the additional comments on the restaurants in Frank..It seems like it should be a great place to recover from jet lag.

Cyn

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Oct 19th, 2005, 01:43 PM
  #48
 
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Hi Cyn,

Just took a look at some of your pics.

The cat in Shot 1 looks fine, though not as sharp as he/she could be (the demented green eyes are normal when you take a picture of a cat with a flash). The 'flat' appearance of the photo is from the flash -- I almost never use flash for this reason. At least your cat will sit still -- mine takes one look at that big lens and runs for cover under my bed. The cats in Shot 12 are much more natural looking -- and very cute!

In Shot 2, it looks like you've encountered a common problem for wildlife photographers -- the AF has focused on the branches in front of the deer, so they are sharp whilst the deer is not. There are a couple of ways to cope with this: focus on the deer, lock the AF, and then recompose the shot; use manual focus (the FZ cameras have a nice 'close-up' assist which helps you out here), or switch to spot AF and spot focus on the deer. This is a common issue on safari because of the bush which can intrude between you and the animal, so it's good to get some practice.

The faded, desaturated colours in many of the deer shots are probably due to a combination of shooting through the window and the lousy light (from your landscape shot, it looks like it was a very overcast/misty day when the sun was playing 'hide and seek' with the clouds -- quite challenging to shoot in). Using a circular polarising filter can help a lot if you'll be shooting through glass -- it's a worthwhile purchase. This will also cut haze and glare, which can be a big problem on very bright days and on overcast days. I use this filter a lot on safari, as the African sun can be very bright. Make sure you get a good quality one -- you don't want to put a cheap piece of glass on your nice Leica lens.

It looks like your white balance in the deer shots may be a bit off -- were you using the 'cloudy day' setting? This might also have contributed to the fact that the deer look a bit greyish.

The shots taken with Mode 2 are quite a bit sharper than those taken with Mode 1. I've found that Mode 2 tends to result in better pics than Mode 1, particularly if the vehicle is moving.

Despite the challenging conditions, you got some nice shots -- No 5 is quite good, and with a bit of post-processing in Photoshop to bump up the saturation and adjust the levels it could be very nice indeed.

Cheers,
Julian
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Oct 20th, 2005, 12:00 AM
  #49
 
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For your last night in Cape Town I would definitely stay at the City Lodge at the airport as you may have a problem obtaining transport from Cape Town at that time of the morning. Try the website: http://www.citylodge.co.za/rl12.htm
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Oct 27th, 2005, 07:36 PM
  #50
 
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It may sound like a silly thing, but eating garlic will keep a lot of the mosquitos away too.

It won't stop all of them, but it should discourage a few.

Every little bit helps though.
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Oct 28th, 2005, 01:18 AM
  #51
 
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And vampires, too!
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Oct 28th, 2005, 07:54 AM
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And everyone else in camp...if you eat a lot of garlic your sweat will smell of garlic, and in close quarters that's not necessarily a good thing...

Cheers,
Julian
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Nov 1st, 2005, 05:24 AM
  #53
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Julian:
Thank you very much for taking the time to look at my pictures and to give me some good advice. I really appreciate it! I'm not sure about getting the filter you suggest as I have never used one before, and wouldn't know when to use it or not. I don't imagine I'll be shooting much through glass (other than at home at my backyard wildlife ;-) ). Re: color of deer - at this time of year, they really are that gray-ish brown color. That, and my windows REALLY need a good washing. I do think using mode 2 is better, and for me, easier to use. I just wish I was steadier when shooting. I try holding my breath, breathing out etc and I'm just not steady. At any rate, thanks again Julian - I think I am really going to enjoy this camera! And I'll continue practice-practice-practice!

50Something:
Thanks for the info on the hotel near the airport. I have already booked the TableBay for our last 2 nights, but may reconsider for this. We have to return a rental car also - it's Hertz. Does anyone know if they are really open 24 hours? Website says yes, but I would like some objective confirmation.

Binkieloo:
Garlic doesn't sound silly, as I've heard that before. However, as Julian said - sometimes one can give off the odor. People have told me how romantic being on safari is, and, even after 29 years, I still really enjoy being with my husband. He hates garlic, soooo...I'll pass on the garlic.
Well, we're less than 100 days away from travel-day (ok, 94 to be exact!) and I just can't wait! Our guide is coming to visit on Tuesday, so I will get a definitive answer on the bra-washing question. He is bringing Christof of Ngong House as a traveling companion (hence my posting asking if anyone has met him.) I'm gee-just-slightly intimidated by having a gourmet chef come to my house for dinner, but what an opportunity to pump them both for information and insights.

Again, thanks to everyone on this board - it is such a pleasure to come to this forum.

Cyn
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Nov 10th, 2005, 12:21 PM
  #54
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Hi everybody! Met with our guide on Tuesday, and the answer on the bra-washing question is: I'll be doing them myself. They do consider bras as underwear.
Does anyone know if the Hertz car rental is open 24hrs a day in Cape Town?

Thanks -
Cyn

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