Amanda joined us on our Wildlife Photography and Conservation Project in South Africa so if you're interested in finding out more click HERE! Alternatively, check out our Wildlife Photography and Conservation Project in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe instead!
It’s truly amazing to see that your work here really does have an impact.
Coming into this project I didn’t really understand too much about how my photos would make a difference and during my first week here I was more focused on making the best photos, not really knowing they could have other uses other than looking ‘artsy’.
However, I really do want my photos to make a difference and to be used for something greater than an ‘epic’ Instagram post. With there being three different programs run here (Community, Photography and Research), it can get pretty hectic, but I am completely okay with. Growing up with seven siblings, you learn to love all different types of personalities and energy levels.
It was in our second week that we started really interacting with the community. We were taken to the local trash shoot where women dig through rubbish all day. Some of them don’t have shoes and there is shattered glass everywhere!
What made me smile though was the fact that were women were surrounded by trash but they were smiling and singing and seemed genuinely happy. It was also shocking, that being our first experience with the local culture. During the next two weeks after that we got to go to the local community’s school three times. Our objective was to take pictures that could be used to promote this amazing school and the children that attend it. The really incredible part was when we were helping to create lessons for the kids about water conservation; we got to use our own photos in the presentation. We did that to really bring back the message to the kids that droughts are happening all around them, and that even they can have their own impact in the local community.
Photography is very important when it comes the Research project here. It is important for ID kits, educational purposes, documents, and making specific sightings. So when Taylor, our main researcher, came to Thijs (my fellow photographer) and I asking for help in identifying which of the two Ross Breakaway Pride girls was pregnant, we were quick to get as many picture as we could find. Within a half an hour we were able to identify that KF1 was in fact pregnant.
Since then I have taken my pictures with a different perspective. It was really rewarding to see that every day we contribute to the different teams here at Dumela. Even the other day we had amazing leopard sighting in Klaserie. We were able to use these photos to add to ID Kits, observe health conditions of the leopards since their last sightings, and just display them. These cats are absolutely magnificent; it’s hard not to stare sometimes.
Coming into this project I was scared out of my mind. I had never been out of my comfort zone let alone put of the USA. I was scared that I didn’t have a fancy-enough camera, or that my beginner level in the passion would get in the way of others. This couldn’t have been more false. I have been able to take photos and get very creative with a different side of art I hadn’t really had the opportunity to explore before. Tim is absolutely amazing and is always able to take something good out of a photo. He and his assistant Diana were able to give me a confidence in my work that I don’t think I would have found anywhere else.
Let’s just say that I definitely caught the bug here and will, hopefully, be back soon.