the Course

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I’ve mentioned that I had to complete a 3 week course in Stellenbosch to become a qualified Photog. What you don’t know is how jam-packed, in-depth and crazy fun it was! Driving down to Stellies (about a 900km trip) I was super apprehensive and slightly worried about how well I was going to do and what the other people would be like.

Oh silly me! I had nothing to fear! The course (although fricking hectic) was great, and the people are fabulous!

The first week was all about the basics and our brains became addled with words such as aperture, shutter speed, exposure, focus, spot metering, filters, etc. The trip to Butterfly World (which randomly also has birds, iguana’s, a blue duiker, fish, monkeys, meercats, tortoises and guinea pigs!) was a highlight as we really got to use these new tools in creative ways. By the end of the week we all felt like Pros and to celebrate we had a braai together in Somerset West. It got pretty raucous, but I won’t go into detail, mainly because if I start pointing fingers at least 3 will be pointed straight back to me! As the tequila supply dwindled, conversations flowed (and were sometimes repeated…), we all bonded and many first impressions were thrown out the window!

The next two weeks were more “Cruise Ship” orientated with us learning how to put together a rig (camera and external flash), use a light meter, set-up a studio in record breaking time, good smudging techniques, the standard composition for different events, how much cropping space to include for various print sizes, how to handle different shooting events, standard portrait poses, safety & environmental guidelines, lab basics, employment rules & regulations, Photoshop basics and how to handle props. Not much hey? Oh, and we also got our visa’s sorted and played dress up!

Dress up? As Photogs, part of our job is to make people eager to have their photo taken and want to buy it. One way that we do this is to dress up as a character for them to have their photo taken with. Different ports/areas will have different costumes to be used. So in the Caribbean, I will be dressing up as a Pirate, in Norway I will be dressing up as a Viking, in the Caymen Islands I will be wearing a full Turtle costume and in Alaska I will be wearing a full Moose costume. Besides the heat, I find this exercise hilariously fun!

On our last day, after our final exam and interviews, we were allowed to take creative shots again. Yay! We took turns posing each other to practice taking lifestyle portraits. Poor Jana, being the lightest, was made to balance precariously on the boys’ shoulders and backs to create interesting shots. We actually took a bunch of really lovely, professional looking photos. Yay us!

To the lecturers and organizers, Corianna, Fransien and Georg, a big thank you for an amazing course.

To my fellow Photogs, Chanan, Jana, Melissa, Pierre, Rafe, Riana and Stef-Mari, thank you all so much for making the course so much fun! I wish you all incredible adventures and hope we meet up again on the high seas!

Last, but definitely not least! To my second family, Diana, Jurie and Zanelle, thank you so much for the fantastic food, irresistible wine, my own personal butler and for truly making me feel a part of the family. I definitely had the best accommodation!

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