To Hell on a motorbike

first_img26 November 2003“Everyone should take a trip to South Africa’s mecca, The Hell, at least once in their lives – preferably on a BMW motorcycle,” says German-born Juergen Muess, owner of Karoo Biking: BMW motorcycle tours and rentals in South Africa.Operating from Cape Town, Karoo Biking offers an increasing number of international visitors, as well as locals, four standard BMW motorcycle tours – two of which include an overnight stay in one of South Africa’s best-kept secrets, the Gamkaskloof valley, known as The Hell by residents of the Small Karoo.The 14-day Karoo / Garden Route / R62 tour takes the biker through some of the most beautiful landscapes that South Africa has to offer, travelling along the famous Route 62 through the Small Karoo and then along the East Coast to Port Elizabeth before heading back to Cape Town via the Garden Route.Day 4 of the tour is described as follows: “It’s hell. Today is certain to be one of the tour’s highlights. We’ll be leaving again at 9am after breakfast and be travelling over the Huisriver Pass, through Kruisriver and Matjesrivier to the Swartberg Pass.“At the pass’ summit (at around 1 568m) we’ll be taking a left and be heading off down Gamkaskloof to a place better known as The Hell. A majestic gorge characterised by soaring rock faces, fascinating plants, and clear falls of mountain water – this is one of the most isolated areas in South Africa. We’ll picnic in the mountains for lunch before the exciting trip down the valley to the Hell begins.“We’ll be staying in The Hell for the evening in original houses restored by the Nature Conservation Board. Mod cons are not the order of the day here, but we can guarantee you that you will be hard pressed to find a more stunning heaven anywhere in the world. We will barbecue in the evening and enjoy a few beers under the African stars …”Karoo Biking is not the only operator inviting tourists to discover SA’s diverse, spectacular landscape on two wheels (see Related Links on the right). MOTOBerlin is a BMW motorbike and adventure tour specialist offering tours in South Africa’s Garden Route, KwaZulu-Natal and Lesotho, Mpumalanga and the Kruger National Park, the Kalahari Highway, and the Johannesburg to Cape Town route.“Few countries on earth can rival the grandeur and beauty of the South African landscape. Mountain ranges, sunburned deserts, deep forests, fruit-filled valleys and the endless coastline beckon you the traveller to come and see for yourself”, MOTOBerlin declares on its website.“What better way to traverse this giant canvas than on two wheels?”Muess says the South African motorcycle tourism industry is an untapped market worth investing in, pointing out that South Africa is now the fourth most popular holiday destination for the American market, which has around 20 million motorcyclists.South Africa is also a popular destination with German and British tourists, and Germany boasts nine million registered bikers, while the United Kingdom has about eight million bikers.For this reason, Karoo Biking will initially target the US, UK and German markets, with plans to expand into the Spanish-speaking market.The Karoo is a particularly good destination for bikers, offering wonderful hospitality, the opportunity to get in touch with local culture, and the opportunity to ride on both tarred and dirt roads.Karoo Biking’s machines come from the latest BMW ranges, to ensure its clients enjoy the best possible touring experience.Pieter de Waal, general manager of BMW Motorrad South Africa, says motorcycle touring is becoming an increasingly popular pastime: “Sales of our touring motorcycles have doubled during the past three years. This growth reflects the increased desire of South Africans to explore our wonderful country by motorcycle.”Says Muess: “You can bet that Karoo Biking will do its part, and make every effort to market South Africa and its more interesting nooks and crannies to the world, by taking its international clients to some of South Africa’s best-kept secrets in style – astride a BMW motorcycle.”SouthAfrica.info reporterlast_img read more

2010 Fifa World Cup: Stadium construction 1

first_imgClick on a thumbnail for a low-resolution image, or right-click on the link below it to download a high-resolution copy of the image.  Cape Town Stadium under constructionin April 2008.Photo: Rodger Bosch, MediaClubSouthAfrica.com• Download high-resolution image Cape Town Stadium under constructionin September 2009.Photo: Local Organising Committee• Download high-resolution image Cape Town Stadium under constructionin August 2008.Photo: Bruce Sutherland, City of Cape Town• Download high-resolution image Royal Bafokeng Stadium under constructionin March 2008Photo: Hannelie Coetzee, MediaClubSouthAfrica.com• Download high-resolution image Royal Bafokeng Stadium under constructionin March 2008Photo: Hannelie Coetzee, MediaClubSouthAfrica.com• Download high-resolution image Royal Bafokeng Stadium under constructionin March 2008Photo: Hannelie Coetzee, MediaClubSouthAfrica.com• Download high-resolution image Royal Bafokeng Stadium under constructionin March 2008Photo: Hannelie Coetzee, MediaClubSouthAfrica.com• Download high-resolution image Royal Bafokeng Stadium under constructionin March 2008Photo: Hannelie Coetzee, MediaClubSouthAfrica.com• Download high-resolution image Royal Bafokeng Stadium under constructionin March 2008Photo: Hannelie Coetzee, MediaClubSouthAfrica.com• Download high-resolution image Royal Bafokeng Stadium under constructionin March 2008Photo: Hannelie Coetzee, MediaClubSouthAfrica.com• Download high-resolution image {loadposition fifa}last_img read more

Interview: Director of Photography Jake Swantko of Netflix’s Icarus

first_imgNot every documentary turns out the way you intend. Find out how this filmmaker pivoted to tell a remarkable story.All images via Netflix.We had the opportunity to sit down with the DP Jake Swantko of Netflix’s latest documentary, Icarus. This riveting documentary begins by attempting to reveal the truth about steroid use in sports. However, after consulting with a Russian scientist, the story takes a drastic turn from a Supersize Me-like experiment into a story of espionage while shining a light on one of the biggest scandals in sports history.PremiumBeat: Will you tell us a little bit about your background and how it led to your work on Icarus?Jake Swantko: Yes, well I come from a journalism background. I graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in communications and then that program went on to basically become cinematography towards the end of my tenure in school. I started shooting documentaries right towards my senior year and then picked up a gig with National Geographic. It’s been a long road. I started off in Oregon and then lived in L.A. for about a year, then I moved to New York, and then briefly after I moved to New York I did some work during the Ukraine Revolution. After that I got a call from Bryan, probably two or three months after I did that work, and he basically told me about this idea for a project that he wanted to start shooting in a month in Boulder, Colorado. So he connected me to a producer who I worked with for quiet a while. I then basically met this guy in Colorado. It started off with this guy with all his belongings in an SUV.For me the camera’s always been able to speak the way I see. To be able to find so much of your voice with the camera, it’s been just a revelation throughout my career. It’s been great to become more of a cinematographer and learn and be able to capture the things as you want to imagine them. I think that’s always been the ethos of my work is to try and capture what I see. It was perfect for Brian and I to meet like that. He needed a journalist, or he needed somebody kind of with that background, and so yeah — I kind of just took off from there.PB: Will you tell us a little bit about the camera package you used on the film?JS: Yes, we used a Canon Vixia for sort of that Supersize Me candidness that you see a lot of in the film. We shot with a Canon C300 and a 24-70, 16-35, and a 70-200. The camera was just the perfect package for us. I shoot with that camera on a Glidecam HD2000 on the back of the motorcycle. The camera ended up being able to balance on the Glidecam. Also, the dynamic range and also the versatility to shoot both action sports but also be able to go incognito enough to go into these Moscow labs and shoot with Gregory. It was the camera to use. Then when the dual pixel autofocus came out, it made it much better to control.PB: The plot of the film almost completely changes; it does a complete 180. As a cinematographer did you have to adjust your shooting style and approach with that change in story or direction?JS: It’s funny, so I come from a journalism background. I had to switch my brain to shoot action sports, and then once it became this political sort of thing, I realized this is more conversation-based and less action. It was definitely at the beginning trying to figure out how to shoot action sports first and take chances with it. Once it became like this is, it was more like nothing strange.PB: As filmmakers was the plot change a gradual process and you happened to find yourself in this new story, or was it immediate and you had to make that quick decision to switch?JS: Well, it was gradual. It’s just weird how it all came about. The second trip of the races, we ended it in Geneva, and then we would leave from Geneva to Moscow to go talk with Gregory. There was kind of a gradual transition in the middle of it. Then when you go from over the course of three years, I guess anything is gradual. I mean when you start to look at it full circle, we started off with a Canon Vixia camera shooting this guy getting out of his car with all his belongings in Colorado. Then you’re filming a Russian chemist getting fingerprinted to enter into witness protection.PB: Did you have that feeling that you struck gold with where the story went?JS: Gregory certainly at one point said “Ryan you’re a very lucky  man.” With Gregory, he’s always saying very explicit and controversial things, but he’s just Gregory, you know. So it seemed like fun and games, and then, yeah — all of a  sudden it was this thing, and we were releasing documents to the New York Times, and the story was on the front page. Then it’s like Wow!PB: So I absolutely loved the lighting in your interviews. Can you tell me a little bit about your lighting approach for those?JS: I love to use pretty simple things to assist natural light as much as possible. I think the C300 is a great camera; its color rendition in daylight is so perfect. Basically what I would do is rig together an 85-watt fluorescent bulb in a china ball and push through silk. Then other than that, we had KinoFlos when we had bigger setups.PB: Will you tell us a little more about your GlideCam setup?JS: When I was approaching shooting and style, I was like I need to take more risk. I was up against the footage from the Tour de France where they have ENG cameras on motorcycles built out. I was going to have none of these and go like 100 miles an hour downhill. Plus, I had to shoot like 14- to 16-hour days. So I was like I’m trying using the C300 on the GlideCam, and it balanced.PB: What’s the main thing you want people to take away from your work on this film? JS: When you are a cinematographer like me, if you are coming from a journalism background, you kind of feel sort of the same things that I feel. Gregory is by far the most intelligent, charismatic, interesting character I’ve ever met. I really hope that people see him for that. There’s a lot of stigma around what he did and the measures he took to beat the system. I would just say (and to echo the film a little bit) he’s risking his life to do something extremely unpopular that no one wants to hear about. The goal of this film is to give him a voice and give whistleblowers like him a voice. There’s no incentive to do what he’s doing, no incentive whatsoever.last_img read more

Cong., BJP candidates file papers for Rajasthan bypolls

first_imgThe candidates of Congress, BJP and its ally Rashtriya Loktantrik Party filed their nomination papers on Monday for the upcoming by-elections to Khinvsar and Mandawa Assembly seats in Rajasthan, setting the stage for a keen contest between the State’s ruling party and the alliance which had won the Nagaur seat in this year’s Lok Sabha election.The Congress had lost both the Jat-dominated Assembly constituencies in the 2018 election and the seats became vacant after the sitting MLAs were elected to the Lok Sabha. Mandawa MLA Narendra Khichar won as the BJP MP from Jhunjhunu, while RLP MLA from Khinvsar, Hanuman Beniwal, supported by BJP, won from Nagaur.Mr. Beniwal’s younger brother Narayan Beniwal filed his papers as the RLP candidate from Khinvsar in the presence of senior BJP leaders. ,The Congress, which has strengthened its position in the State Assembly after the recent merger of six Bahujan Samaj Party MLAs, has given ticket from Khinvsar to former Minister Harendra Mirdha.Surprise candidateThe BJP sprung a surprise by fielding former Congress leader Sushila Sigra from Mandawa as its candidate a few hours after inducting her into the party. Ms. Sigra, a Pradhan in Jhunjhunu panchayat Samiti, was expelled from Congress after the 2018 Assemble election over her anti-party activities. She also filed her nomination on Monday.Veteran Congress leader Ram Narayan Chaudhary’s daughter Rita Chaudhary filed her nomination papers as the Congress candidate from Mandava..last_img read more