I’ve recently photographed the Mt Argus citrus Farm, a farm nestled deep in the Umkomaas Valley surrounded by red cliffs and bushveld with the mighty Umkomaas River winding through it. Alongside the river are soft citrus orchards, branches heavy and abundant with fruit. I arrive a few minutes earlier than the fruit pickers, and I step into another world. There is birdlife everywhere, buck and the track of a python. I can hear the constant buzz of bees, buzzing from one tree to another and the sound of running water. And I am overcome by the peace and beauty of this farm.
I have many memories of the Umkomaas River as a child. My family are a canoeing family. I remember waiting at the Hella Hella canoe race ‘finish’ ‘which was always at the St Josephine’s bridge. Even at the young age that I was, I could appreciate the beauty of this area. But I’d never gone beyond the bridge! I’ve driven over the bridge thousands of times, always checking the level of the water and how ‘big’ the rapids are on either side, but have never had the opportunity to explore this stretch of river. Sometimes, there are days when driving down into the valley that you can’t see anything because the morning mist is so thick. Then you wind your way up the steep Umkomaas road and at the top, it clears and the sky is brilliant blue. During the course of the morning, the mist evaporates and the valley heats up with red-brick cliffs holding the heat in like a furnace. I have a lot to learn about farming citrus, but I suspect that these weather conditions are perfect for it – if the naartjies are anything to go by!
Here is a gallery of my first shoot of Mt Argus farm and the farm workers! I’m hoping to get back soon and catch some more of the picking season…along with some late afternoon landscapes of this spectacular area; of the orchards, the red cliffs and the Umkomaas River.
Lianne Ashton Photography©2022
About Lianne Ashton
Lianne is a photographer based in KZN, South Africa. Her work mostly focuses on agriculture, in particular – the human element of agriculture. She creates people-centric photography for organisations and businesses, capturing the processes of an operation and the people in their work environment
Lianne has an agricultural background and is knowledgeable of a number of agricultural industries. Her understanding of agriculture and approachable and flexible nature enables her to connect easily with her clients and the people she is photographing, helping her capture and create authentic and uplifting imagery.