Posts tagged ‘videographer’
24 Jan 2012
A Nice Morning Drive:
This morning, the sun was up and the sky was clear… well except for that damned white cloud still hanging above the mountain like a table cloth!
I joined the crew on a morning drive to the informal settlement of Red Hill located outside Cape Town. On the way there, we took a road that was the most beautiful road I’ve ever driven on by far, Chapman’s Peak drive; the road is literally cut out of the side of the mountain for over 115 curves, winding its way along the coast with the scenic Chapman’s Peak on one side and a rocky drop-off leading to the chilly Atlantic Ocean on the other. As we drove by people walking, jogging, cycling and walking their dogs along the way, I was secretly hoping that our minivan’s engine would fail so we could continue our journey on foot – I know it’s terrible! Especially since we had to drop Dan at the airport on time to kiss his bride on the following day – his wedding day!
We made our way to Red Hill and we soon were escorted by volunteers from Planeterra, a non-profit organization dedicated to community development through sustainable tourism. The settlement houses approximately 2,500 displaced Africans and refugees living in poverty in iron and wooden shacks. Many are unemployed and are unable to provide their children with food or proper education opportunities. We also visited the Red Hill Pre-School and met with the teachers and had some great time with the kids who also eventually got hold of my camera and started taking photos with it! It was all too short a time and we were really disappointed when Dan gave us the “it’s time to go” look.
We raced towards the airport and made it on time. We bid our farewells to Dan, a great videographer and travel companion, and wished him a many happy married years. For the rest of the evening, Guts recommended heading to the town of Stellenbosch in Western Cape which is famous as the home of around 200 wine and grape producers and is the primary location for viticulture research. The town also hosts a number of leading universities. We visited 4 (or was it 3?) famous wineries and cheese farms in the area, enjoying great food and sipping on some of the greatest wines the area had to offer. By the time we finished our visits, the amount of wine in my blood made me switch off my camera mind. We walked around the town lined with Dutch-style buildings across the river. Stellenbosch oddly reminded me of Europe.
Luckily, Guts didn’t drink, so we made back to the hotel in one piece. It was our last night together so we headed to a sushi restaurant for more drinks and raw seafood. Two of Guts’ colleagues from Gap Adventures joined us and although I was quite drunk, I clearly remember we had a blast!
January 18, 2012
Meeting Jason and Assessing the Challenges of the Trip:
D-Day: I arrived at Beirut International Airport to catch my afternoon flight to Abu Dhabi. Finally, after a tense 1-hour delay, I sprinted through the airport in a blur of people and hallways until I barely felt the weight of my heavy 10 kilo camera gear load on my shoulders. You could say I was overly excited about this trip!
From Abu Dhabi, the flight to Johannesburg was smooth; after 8 hours, I arrived at O.R. Tambo Airport where I was met by Simon, the taxi driver. Although I had done my research on South Africa, what I saw was way beyond what I expected. I was fascinated by the beauty of Johannesburg: the vast green open spaces, the clean roads, nice compounds and malls. All along the way I harassed Simon with questions until we made it to the Dark Chocolate hotel.
It had been raining for the past two weeks and although it was 8:00 a.m., I snuck into my bed and get some sleep to store some energy for the hectic shooting days to come. Five hours later, I was up but Jason was out for lunch, so I spent a few hours reading in the garden and surfing the internet.
I was anticipating Jason’s arrival with mixed feelings; not having met him before, I didn’t know what to expect: what if he turned out to be serious and bossy? My thoughts were interrupted when he showed up with a big smile drawn on his face. It was a good way to start. We got to know one another and I immediately liked his straightforwardness. He sure talked a lot but he was funny as heck! We talked long and well about his experiences in Africa – one of his favorite wildlife destinations – as well as his insights about photography and equipment.
Jason heard there was a cyclone coming, a big storm with heavy showers over Kruger National Park. Several areas of the park were flooded and inaccessible. I shared his remark that a photographer is always subject to such unexpected natural circumstances that make his work more challenging. But that’s also part of the fun! We might end up covering a different story such as villages affected by the floods; on the other hand, we might also have higher chances to spot and film wild animals huddled on high grounds – or not, we’d see.
Videographer Dan Freene and our Gap Adventures guide Gerhard Swanepoel, aka “Guts” arrived in the afternoon and we sat down to plan our trip. Since all but two bridges leading to Kruger were closed, Guts recommended heading east to Entabeni Game Reserve Park. We then spent the rest of the evening getting to know one another and sharing stories over a tasty BBQ of steaks, chicken wings and the famous Boerewors sausages. I reckon I refilled my plate 3 times and Jason remarked that, although I was less than half his size, I still ate quite a lot.