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The Home of Martial Eagles Photography

The Home of Martial Eagles

by Mike Rossi


The first time I saw the Phalaborwa landscape was from the heavens. As the aeroplane cut through the thick cotton ball clouds, I saw below a flat never-ending plain, dotted with rock eruptions. Through the clouds the sunlight streaked, sprinkling its dapple-light onto mineral rich encrusted koppies. All that glitters is not gold, but platinum, palladium, silver, copper and other precious metals.


There were hundred of koppies as far as my eye could see – stone structures – boulders balancing precariously on each other like ballet dancers frozen in a moment of time.


Two koppies caught my eye, probably because of their size, Mopokai and Mapotweng. Like twins, they stood side by side, some five kilometers from Phalaborwa, separated by the Gravelotte road.


On one particular afternoon I stood at the bottom of an embankment looking up at Mopokai. This majestic koppie was once the residence of the baPhalaborwa tribe, specifically the families of Monyela, Pilusa, both headman of the tribe and Malatji, the head chief. Shaped-like a knobby round breast, the mammoth rose up to a pinnacle point, supported by sheer-faced granite rocks.


On this day, it was unbearably hot. The sun blazed down through an empty sky, drawing the cicadas to come up through the bush and play. For the next few hours, while I waited for Nimbus to arrive, I was plagued by giant grasshoppers, whose thorny legs ripped into my tender city skin. Like frenzied mutant birds, they clambered all over me jabbing. Some even found comfort in shredding the curve of my Panama hat. Then the temperature dropped as the Nimbus clouds started to glide in. This unsettled the creatures –- they quickly flew away. I waited.


On top of the embankment, on my left stood a good-looking Marula tree, wind-shaped like a cobblers shoe-anvil. The sweet smell of ripe Marulas and the Potato shrub scented the air, peppering the African bush. As I assembled my equipment, a group of guinea fowl took to the air; bursting out of the Marula tree, just below the watchful eyes of a pair of Martial eagles circling above Mopokai. This is their home — their domain. Each Koppie housed one raptor pair. I waited for several hours before Nimbus showed her compassion. When she did, her thick scent of sandalwood descended, permeating the dense bush around me. She stayed there for almost two hours. Then the sun arrived, scattering her scent into the winds that followed.


Part of the "Shadows Over Stones" Photographic Art Collection. Available as “Custom Finish & Bespoke” Fine Art and Photo Prints, framed or unframed. Photography created as beautiful pieces of Wall Art for you to invest and enjoy, from OPENPHOTO-STUDIO.

  • Specification Unframed Print

    Unframed - Black & White Print - ref: 00111-1

    Print Paper Type: Fine Art - Cotton 215gsm

    Image Size: 60cm x 22.5cm

    Print Boarder: 4cm White

    Overall Size: 68cm x 30.5cm

    Backing: 2mm White Card

  • Specification Framed Print

    Framed - Black & White Print - ref: 00111-2

    Print Paper Type: Fine Art - Cotton 215gsm

    Print Size: 60cm x 22.5cm

    Print Boarder: None

    Card Mount: Single White 5cm

    Frame Profile: 33mm x 30mm - S2 Charcoal

    Overall Size: 75cm x 37.5cm

  • Bespoke Sizes & Specification

    CLICK here - for altenative sizes or specification please contact us.

  • Product Guides

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  • "Shadows Over Stone" Collection

    CLICK here - to see other photographs in this collection.

PriceFrom £222.50
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