The field day was finally here! This very much-anticipated day is the one when push comes to shove. Of the instructions given for the day, the one that most stood out for me was ‘be prepared to get dirty’. I am thankful for the warning as we lay on the floor (grass, soil, and path), crawled on our knees, and even sat on places that I wouldn’t allow my kids to sit on. All in a bid to capture those perfect shots. The best 8 shots from the challenge categories would be submitted by each of us at the end of the day for critiquing.
The other instructions were equally handy: “Fully charge your cameras, free memory card space or carry large capacity cards, carry all necessary gear (lenses, flash, reflectors, etc.) so as to put them all to use, keep time to maximize on the day’s activities, wear comfortable shoes to walk around comfortably and have a written list of all gear brought along for accountability.” These were all issued ahead of the day for adequate preparation.
By 6am, we were all assembled at the school, all geared up for the day. We committed the day to God and promptly left for the first site. I cannot tell you how many times I have driven past the Ministry of Health offices and never once noticed the Uhuru Park view point right opposite the parastatal. My friends, tembea Kenya! It is here that we captured breath-taking shots of our Capital City. The KICC, Nyayo House, Times Tower and even the Rahimtulla Towers in Upperhill were some of the landmark buildings that featured in my shots. The sunrise pictures were simply amazing. I took my first silhouette picture, so proud!
Our next stop was Uhuru Park. Other than the field where political rallies, crusades and other functions take place, there exists an expansive recreation area behind the dais, unknown to many. Here is where we undertook 4 key assignments – freeze motion shots (shots of water gushing from a pipe), shots tracking a subject (shots of Francis, a classmate sprinting), macro close ups and blur motion – besides which we took many other interesting ones of ourselves and of the city with some taking those of street boys swimming in the Park J (wasn’t me)
From there, we reassembled for breakfast. It was also time to recharge our batteries. Meanwhile, we watched an interesting photography documentary by Nikon. Questions arising from it were tackled as more photography tips were shared. We also took the chance to compare notes and share our day’s experience, so farEver green along Kiambu road was our next stop. First on agenda was briefing on the rest of the day’s activities and expectations. This was followed by practical training on focusing and lighting. We had the privilege of learning how to adjust the camera settings for both cloudy & sunny scenarios as the sun kept appearing & disappearing
Later on, we were set free to experiment our gear taking as many pictures as possible – photos of birds, wasps, camels, horses, photos of ourselves as models, flowers, water, dragon flies just to name a few. Some of us, engrossed in focus, got bitten by ants and of course the photographers around them took great pictures of the scampering victims. Talk of being at the right place at the right time to capture the right moment!
A lot of challenges had been prepared for us to ensure maximum learning and great experiences. It was a great chance to try out lots of stuff and have lots of fun while at it. We were blessed to have three of our instructors with us: David Macharia (who’s also the founder & CEO of Versatile School of Photography), Gibson Maina and Oliver Mugo. A number of staff from school had also accompanied us to ensure that all students received the much-needed help.
Back to the office, we were treated to a sumptuous lunch as we watched more photography videos. We then got a chance to choose our best 8 pictures from each of the select categories and these were critiqued as promised. This was great learning for everyone since the images were projected for all to see and the feedback given directed to the respective photographer. The thorough judge, teacher Gibson said it as it is giving praise where deserved and gently pointing out areas of improvement for the not so good ones. Surprise pictures, the behind-the-scenes ones that had tactfully been taken by Macharia, were also shared (the sneers, the shrugs, the smiles, the poses and all, were all in record) …we had such a good laugh!
Two greatest take aways for me were:
- In photography, it’s not just what you shoot that matters, the way you shoot does too.
- Photography, like any other skill requires practice. The more you practice, the more confidence you gain and the better you become.
I was excited to have taken my best pictures yet. It was thoughtful of the school to have considered incorporating the field day session mid-way through class sessions. This experience gave us the opportunity to put into practice what had been studied in class and to learn much more from each other and from our teachers. It certainly provided the much needed confidence. It was a day very well spent.
The Travelling Accountant
Versatile School of Photography