Saturday, March 26, 2011

....the irony that is life..

I hate funerals. I really do. They are the most depressing jobs I get. Its funny though, I was sharing with someone one once and told her that I have done more funerals than any other jobs. Her reaction was nothing short of  a mixture of shock and disbelief, that we Kenyans take “photos” at funerals. Huh..irony. but why do we do that.. take photos at funerals I mean. A reminder of how the day was, a contestant ingrained recollection of the moment our loved ones were buried…sad.

But this one funeral I did, to me was about the unforgiving cycle of the human life. You were born in this world and you will leave this world…along with everything you worked so hard and tirelessly to gain. Fame and fortune, friends and foes..all of it. So this funeral, the deceased, a prominent figure in government, substantial resources he had…but all that, to be buried in a 3 by 6  grave next to an unmarked grave at the public cemetery..with a wooden cross as tomb stone. Irony. Even our beloved government spokesperson was there with his annoying shrilly voice. I think I reached another level of indignation for him when he out right talked down at me for driving in front of the funeral convey at 100 km/h…which quite honestly I didn’ front of all present…oooh, I know how malignant my anger is…so just apologized through clenched teeth and went away. Dush.

But nothing compared the pomp at the monthly floetry poetry and urban shing at Dass, the Ethopian restaurant at Westlands in Nairobi. Underground. That’s the genre. Had an opportunity to mingle with these gifted individuals as they did what they do best. Their lyrical and rymical lines and analogies are at there own level. You can tell they do what they do for the passion of it. Blown away I was. But the crown of the evening was chatting with this free spirited flower who had an interesting outlook on life.

Bob Marley’s music  has always been my comfort music, and my other inspiration reservoir. It takes you to that “happy place”. So yesterday I cranked it up and polished up on my reggae dance secret there…I sucked. But syk was gained, and tomorrow, all roads lead to the annual Quattro charge in Athi River, machine against nature, and nature always triumphs. The “Hammer” even got a special invite from the wonderful people of Robs’ Magic…for an opportunity to win shock absorbers. Awesome. So guys, keep it here and I’ll give you all the moments from the event. Errant photographer out.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Where it all began..

As promised…thus far I have come…2009, I held my first digital camera, not a point-and-shoot, but a state of the art professional camera. Though a lower model, to me it was a combination of dreams and aspiration bound carefully into this nifty machine..a Nikon D40X, which I still use along side other SLRs. I took my first photograph with it, a cow, I think. Picturesqueness of where I live fueled my passion for capturing moments in all eternity. I think to date, when someone asks me where my motivation or what my drive to taking photos is..I always say, the ability to freeze time, for all eternity..the stillness of a cold smile, the steady gaze of a subject, the mid-air flight of the bouncing hair of a pony-tailed Indian girl running from my shot, or the rain drop that almost seems to defy gravity, the conventional toss of a bouquet of flowers by a newly wed bride to the clamoring single ladies behind her…as a photographer, live for such never a constant in my book. So far, I have taken over 40,000 photos…believe it.

So without any special training and trial and error…maybe a million errors, I slowly molded myself to who I am and what I do today. But I thank my Father in heaven really,,for providing everything I see before me. I am just an admirer of his mighty canvas, in his masterpiece called “Creation”. But hey, who is to say that photography is just taking a camera and start shooting. You have to find your style and own it. The way I take my photos may not be synonymous to yours, be spontaneous and most importantly,,,and what I have learnt to accept just recently…is always take criticism…however harsh or misplaced,,,sure you feel like summoning thunder and lightning and striking the person from the face of the earth, but if you are to get any where as a photographer…take it like a man. Choose a novice level camera or go all out commando and get a sophisticated slr digital camera, like a Canon EOS 50D or a Nikon D90..and if you wanna go all out “skinny dippy” in the pool of uncertainty, get a Canon 5D Mark II.

Start from there. So I got an unexpected visit yesterday from two of my favorite pals. These two ladies always put a smile on my face, they are just awesome!! So anyway, they come over and what was supposed to be a quiet photo-shoot,, escalated to a trip to Ngong hills. 

If you have never been, get your butt out here and marvel, loose a few calories and get some fresh air. We get on top of one of the hills, they are about seven, and the view is simply majestic..if you have any doubts to God’s existance..this will cast it all. Now we are walking down-hill, we choose a spot and set out for a picnic. Fog everywhere, and the knowledge that this parts is untamed and teaming with wildlife, oddly didn’t frighten this two “Joans’ of Ark”. We get settled down, and the fog slowly lifts, like a curtains at a much anticipated production..and just for a second…the Rift Valley is in view below…”dude…”. That’s all I could say. A few minutes later we are running past these bohemian wind-vanes and back in the car. Safe, from the rain. Its about an hour later and the rain is not letting, and I know the road is muddy and there is absolutely no way we can bet back down the same way. All this I kept to myself, not wanting to have two panicked ladies in a confined space. But I decide to use my razor sharp, James Bond like wit and drive for it.

We slid down, almost sideways on some parts of the road, tires caked with mud. But we made it out. Lesson learnt. Awesome.

So guys, take out your camera phones, your point-and-shoots’ and you high end digital camera and freeze time.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

...Nairobi Baby..

Nairobi, that’s my area code. City under the sun. the clean, paved streets, maintained by hawk eyed council askaris (officers) who would tow you by your trousers for dropping any minuscule piece of trash or for picking your nose in public and those not so gentlemen who are constantly adjusting their peripherals. Nairobi.

But most of you who reside here know it by a name that is ached in our minds for oh so many wrong reasons. “NAIROBBERY” . but hey, the majority of you guys haven’t fallen prey to the unforgiving thugs of Nairobbery. Not to stir fear amongst you, but for enlightenment sake. Watch your backs.

Recently I my ancient mobile phone did the unforgivable and died with all my contacts, so I had to take it to this mobile techi in town. It was taking seemingly long so I left the phone, to return later for it. At the door, I was greeted by the acrid stench of excrement and the unmistakable piles of it everywhere on the street. As the story goes, this fashionable gentleman entered on of the exhibition stalls and demanded money, at first the attendant was seemingly easy, thinking it a jest. But the guy suddenly brandished…..wait….for it….a pile of feces in a plastic bag..and the quantity suggested it was not from one donor. The attendant shouted for help and the ruffian took off swinging the now perforated bag wildly….flinging it’s content everywhere, a few unlucky by standers unfortunately got hit. The thug got away scot-free. The security of the city center stinks!! Literally.

But not to tarnish the name of Nairobi, our capital city, the jewel of Africa…or was it Yvonne Chaka Chaka back in the day…no matter…Nairobi still rocks. I took these lovely shots of Nairobi in the morning. Simply beautiful.

Thanks again for all ya’all who gave me critic on my website. I really appreciated it, and please join this blog….oohh top right..yes, there…just click on the “follow” button. Next blog, I shall give you a few photography tips I picked up on the way to where I am today. You guys rock. Till next time..