Talk about the united nations of photographers (small caps as a semblance of respect for that esteemed but often misguided organisation). There were 7 guests along with myself and Sean from African Impact in the Drakensberg over the weekend for the Amphitheatre. Some of the photographers couldn’t even decide which nation they belonged to. Take Kenji who is Hawaiian with a German father and a Japanese mother, or Aliona who is Spanish (we think, although she seems to hold enough passports to have at least 6 doppelgangers) with a Russian mother, Spanish father, a house in Italy and who visits Bogota regularly as her dentist resides there! Then of course there was the usual mix of Brits, Canadians and Americans who were all convinced that their version of English is the correct one...ay?
Unlike last month’s photography workshop in the Drakensberg, we were blessed with a full weekend of cloudless skies and balmy sun. Admittedly a few puffs of cloud add a little oomph to a landscape (to which I am most gracious to the weather gods for allowing at least a few balls of white cotton-candy on Friday), but I for one was more than happy to have a few days in the mountains without fear of drowning in my own waterlogged clothing (see the last couple of blog posts about the Berg).
The earliest rise so far for the photography workshop ensured that we even managed to make it to the Witches below Sentinel before the sun had even graced us with its presence. Despite it being late May we were even relatively warm – heaven forbid – building up a bit of a sweat as we slogged up the zigzags that mark the beginning of the trail, laden, as usual with far too much in the way of camera equipment.
To mix things up a little we also made our way down Sentinel Gully rather than the chain ladder. Fear of heights and a desire to be different might have mingled together on this one. I have to say that I personally dislike this route. It’s a tight boulder strewn gully that sits just behind the northen face of Beacon Buttress. The rocks are treacherously loose under foot, continuously threatening to topple the unwary. Broken knees and groans follow as you descend rather more rapidly than one would expect. But it makes for a different way off the mountain and an interesting diversion from the more commonly beaten path.
A fantastic bunch of students made for an excellent weekend of hiking and photography. It’s groups like this one that remind me why I love my job...oh and of course the having a camera at hand 24/7 and calling it work ;)