Me and hubby (Conroy) arrived just before 8am (dress for the winter chills) to get me set up in the conference room. We were quite disappointed, that after more than an hour’s fiddling, the slideshow relayed through the venue’s proxima showed the slideshow images at a much lower resolution compared to that on the laptop. We enjoyed a tranquil breakfast before the girls arrived. By the way -Makaranga’s MUFFINS is a MUST! The weekend officially kicked off at 10:00am with a 2-hour theory session (accompanied by a slideshow) in Makaranga’s small and intimate conference room called ‘Imbizo’. On completion of the theory session each delegate received their practical worksheet for the rest of the weekend which had everyone frantically searching for settings like, ‘macro’, ‘sports mode’, ‘scenery mode’, ‘flash functions’ and ‘portrait mode’ on their cameras. Needless to say, the practical worksheet had everyone in a serious FLAT spin!. Everyone checked into their rooms and sat down for ‘LUNCH WITH A VIEW’ onto the breathtaking gardens! The spirits were high and the girls couldn’t wait to start exploring the gardens through their lenses. The MACRO and SPORTS MODE settings were truly discovered during the afternoon’s shooting of flowers and of which there were an abundance of colours, sizes and species. With numerous ponds and streams capturing of reflections was also experimented with as well as shooting the numerous interesting statues and figurines. A wedding was in full swing in the gardens during the Saturday afternoon practical and the guests couldn’t ask for better entertainment with women of ‘various ages’, shapes and sizes lying on their backs, leopard crawling through bushes, staring through their lenses at ‘don’t know what’ and bending over forwards and backwards and huddling together inspecting each others cameras!
Beverley who at one stage said that she thought she was just coming to the weekend for the ride – was taking the lead in not only entertaining the wedding guests but more so the rest of the photography party!! She had us all in stitches with ‘o koek’ and ‘ag shame’, wet bum and all!! At 5:30 everyone hurried back into the conference room anxiously awaiting sight of their newly found composition skills on the big screen. Images were frantically downloaded from cameras and memory sticks onto laptops, flash disks and CD’s with cabling flying everywhere (so much for a cordless era). I was amazed at how fast the girls have learned. There was no need for me to even crit their shots. They ‘sommer’ critted each other’s images and instantly knew what was ‘bad’ composition and what was ‘excellent’ composition. They could not believe that they have taken the photos themselves!! Time flew and at 8pm we placed an order for dinner at the Bangkok Wok in Hillcrest. Mr Delivery alias Conroy delivered our sumptuous morsels at 9:00pm, fishing for a tip. After dinner the ‘hyped up’ but tired girls scrapbooked for an hour and were off to bed at about 11pm agreeing to meet at 7am for a pre-breakfast shooting session in the gardens. Braving a freezing Sunday morning the girls ventured off into the gardens at 7am. They were briefed to concentrate on people, portraits and scenery utilizing the soft and forgiving early morning light. Needless to say the SELF TIMER was Sunday’s discovery! The girls shot off into different directions, some even commissioning themselves for self-portraits! After breakfast the early morning shots were once again downloaded and critted. The girls discovered that they had wrinkles in places where they never even imagined they had. Hair and noses also got critted and facelifts were given serious consideration. The group ventured for the last time into the gardens before lunch with the aim to capture the ‘crazy daisies’ as a group in various locations in the garden. Getting nine women to pose and smile at a self timer was a serious mission – imagine attempting this with nine men? Notice, I am not answering this question. For in case you have wondered what a photographic shooting party do without a model – the group were very fortunate to have Nicole Fisher (professional model), Stella’s daughter amongst our midst for the whole weekend. If you have every wondered what true natural beauty looks like – here it is! Thank you so much Nicole for letting the ladies take advantage of you!
We had a PILGRIM in our midst, Rayna. She and four other friends are walking from the Alps to Rome. Rayna is sure to capture their adventure with stunning photos. Read all about their adventure on http://vfpilgrims.blogspot.com/ . They will be keeping their blog updated along the route via internet cafe's.
Another adventurous soul in our midst was Retha. She and her husband are on their way to conquer Kilimanjaro (a Kili climb) in July. Retha is very concerned about the cold. Don’t stress Retha just concentrate on the composition of great photos and the cold will be forgotten.
So girls, when are we having our next photographic weekend away and where? Perhaps the other halves could join us! We also need to catch up on Rayna's and Retha's adventures! - Makaranga Blues Signing off