Picking lemons in the Umzimkulu Valley

I’ve recently been looking to expand my photography portfolio by photographing and learning about the different agricultural sectors in the Ixopo/Southern KZN midlands area. The Ixopo region (my base) is certainly the perfect place to be as an agricultural photographer. This area has recently undergone massive changes in the way of agriculture with huge developments and long term investments in the way of farming citrus, macadamia’s and avo’s.

Pete Button, (right) however is not new to citrus in any way. He’s farmed citrus for many years with some of his Naval trees as old as 42 years. His orchards consist of lemons, Valencia’s and Naval varieties. This citrus is sent up the road to the Carisbrooke Valley Citrus Packhouse. From there, the ‘export-quality’ citrus is marketed and distributed internationally through Capespan.

By now, it comes as no surprise that I have a special interest in photographing people in their workplace and in many cases, I get to photograph people doing what they love to do or what they are passionate about. Better yet, I get to see ‘growth’ first hand, which is especially evident in this Ixopo area in the way of agricultural developments.

As an agricultural photographer, it makes perfect sense for me to get to know the sectors in my area and to learn about them. This is the thing about agricultural photography – as much as it is about connecting with the people I am photographing, composing a good photograph, lighting the ‘subject’ in what is most often in harsh midday sunlight – it is especially important for me to have a good knowledge of the particular industry I am photographing. I need to know it like a farmer knows it!

This is my intention with citrus, avo’s and macadamias. I am surrounded by some of the most beautiful farmlands in KZN and of course there is the Carisbrooke Valley Citrus Packhouse just down the road from me. It’s all right here on my doorstep…my designated school of agriculture and photographing it in a way that promotes it and assists in uplifting the industry and community in this region.

Lianne Ashton Photography ©2022

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