Monday, 25 July 2016

BillBoards of Promise

BillBoards of Promise

It was a cold and windy Sunday evening and I had just been called to do some anaesthetic work. I gathered my things and took my camera along as it had just started to rain and maybe I could photograph some night scenes on the way back. The patient turned out to be one of the friendliest and easiest patients I had the pleasure of dealing with. By now it was raining harder and as I drove home I thought I should try out two spots in town which had long since been on my photographic wishlist. The first was the Black & White Bottle Store at an intersection between Bethlehem and Bohklokong. I shot from inside the Land Rover as not to get wet and keep the lens free from the rain. A quick look at the LCD screen and it appeared Okay and off to the the second spot.

B & W Bottle Store - Nikon D750 Tamron 35mm F1.8 1/20th sec x6 shots merged

The second spot was at the Bethlehem taxi rank which has this large shed with the promise of R15 Billion from the Lotto all lit up by a large light cluster high above. The place was deserted and with the rain I still decided to shoot from the safety of the Land Rover. I wasn't quite happy with the composition and drove forward to get a different viewpoint.

R15 Billion Lotto shed - Nikon d750 Tamron 35mm three shot photomerge

Bethlehem taxi rank and billboard - Nikon D750 and Tamron 35mm

As I drove forward I saw the large billboard however as it was backlit by the bright lights above it, all I saw at first was the FREE HIGH SPEED WIFI letters. Then I saw Julius smiling in the corner and then it clicked - what an amazing election promise! Despite the rain coming down this scene was definitely worth exploring on foot. In the rain and wiping the front of the lens clean every so often, a car drove past and made some great light streaks but at a quarter of a second there was just too much camera shake.

EFF billboard against the light and then with moving car 

There was still a photo lurking there and then slowly from the left hand side a police van arrived. As if perfectly on cue the lights of the police van lit up the red billboard and I carried on shooting trying to keep the camera still. Soon the police van was a lot closer and I realised how strange it must look seeing somebody taking photos in the rain of an EFF billboard. Sheepishly I waved at the police and they hooted unexpectedly - Julius was still smiling and it was time to go. A surreal series of events.

Julius smiling in the rain lit by passing police van - Nikon D750 Tamron 35mmf1.8 1/6th sec

 The night delivered a few pleasant surprises and despite all the rain and wind it left me with Hope. The very rain and wind changed the landscape transforming the grey urban scene into a shiny wonderland with light reflecting from so many surfaces. The gift of light on the billboard from ironically the police literally put Julius Malema in a new light. The seemingly empty promise of Free High Speed Wifi in All Public Spaces does indeed sound like a noble and uplifting idea. If Black & White can reconcile on a Bottle Store sign it is a start. If we as South Africans could start seeing ourselves differently, with new eyes of Hope. May the rain wash away the grey gloom of despair and restore our rainbow colour sparkle. May the Billboards of Promise be lit up brightly for all to see - our future is BRIGHT! God bless South Africa