I have developed a habit of pulling my car over and jumping out to photograph anything I see that is beautiful / interesting / unique / strange.
Unfortunately, as I live in Johannesburg, it’s not exactly safe to stop the car when you’re on your own. So I’m pretty aware of what’s going on around me and who might be walking towards me…. so far I’ve been lucky. I haven’t been mugged, or had my camera or my car stolen 🙂
Yesterday I was driving through an area near home, and I saw some beautiful bright red flowers we call “Paintbrushes” (scadoxus puniceus) growing near the fence of a large plot of land. They flower only once a year, from an underground bulb, and the blooms fade fast. So naturally I pulled over, jumped out with my camera, locked the car and put the key in my pocket. There was nobody around so I felt safe enough to get down on my haunches near the fence, trying to get a nice shot of the flowers.
It wasn’t bad, but I thought I should move a little to the right for a better angle, and as I leaned forward to change my footing – ZAPPPP!!!! – I felt a strong electric shock through my entire body – I hadn’t realized the fence was an electric fence – I touched it with the back of my hand while I was looking through the viewfinder!
Man, was that painful!
Many South Africans protect their properties with razor wire and electrified fences (and vicious dogs, burglar bars, armed reaction, alarm systems etc) I had always thought the fences gave a mild shock because they’re pretty ineffective at stopping burglars. I was wrong – they shock like hell!
Fortunately there was no frenzied activity around the house, no-one came to see who was loitering at the fence, so I stumbled back to my car and drove off.
To top it all, when I arrived at my destination I noticed that the housing complex I was visiting had a whole bed FULL of Paintbrushes near the entrance! No electric fences, no guard dogs… just step up and take as many photos as you want!