On Sunday 29th March 2015 ,our Externship Project took us to the unspoiled countryside of Kinunga in Nyeri county. Well, not actually Kinunga. That’s just the last sign board I saw on the way there. The story begins when we met in Nyeri town. We went on to board a matatu hereinafter referred to as ‘Jav’ to Kinunga about 10 of us.4 photographers,3 bloggers,2 externs and the Coordinator Kairu. As we approached, the women already in the jav looked us like how you would a waiter bringing the choma ribs you ordered 30 mins ago. They were so excited that they would finally start their journey home from a Saturday ladies night out, to church or wherever they had to be, I don’t judge. The fare was 50bob which felt like we ripped the conductor off compared to the distance we had to travel. It was a long route on a tarmac road and an even longer one on a murram road. The vehicle we were in was very interesting. Beat up but interesting. It reminded me of a story every parent told their kid. Mum’s version of it was that even when she was finally allowed to wear shoes as a kid, she had been so used to walking without, that they were uncomfortable to walk in. This car came from the same lineage. On the tarmac road the jav moved like it was complaining to the driver for working on the Sabbath. It wasn’t sure whether it wanted to go anywhere that particular day. One could say it was saving energy for the dirt road ahead. Maybe it was because the minute we transitioned, it became one with the road. I suspect that when it was just a young vehicle, it was a rally car that got bewitched by some country side witch to spend the rest of its life ferrying people to and fro. “Gari mwisho!” the conductor shouted. That was as far as our donkey car-t could go but we still had to hike for a few more kilometers.
I carried out a certain routine procedure I do whenever I’m at new place. It usually involves checking for cell phone reception and the position of Mt Kenya to trace the way back home. The hike spiked conversation between me and Kairu about how much he would love to settle in the country side away from polluted air, water and mostly minds. While I would wish the ‘house on the hill’ he prefers a house on a hill. Probably with an M-Pesa agent nearby. We walked in groups trying to come to terms with the new environment. At one point, Joe Kim, Brain and Jeff took an alternative route. Maybe they though it was shorter or had to see a man about a horse. The hike took us through swamps, hills and a very dense vegetation. Sometimes we lost the footpath and had to make our own trails. Ambani doubled up as our guide so it’s no surprise. He claimed to have been there before so to maintain our friendship I’d hate to say that he had forgotten the path thus I’ll sugar coat it. He’s adventurous like that. The long walk was worth it. The view of the falls was OhSam! At this point I felt like God ought to add an update to the human race. An extra tolerance gland and a screenshot feature for our eyes. All you can depend on now is the photo from Brian’s awesome Nikon
We went into 3 groups of 3 for the externship part of the day. Team Simple, Team Mt Kenya and Team Mean Machines. Each group had a photographer, a blogger and an extern. Mean Machines had 2 photographers, Joe and Brian and Denis who also doubled up as an extern.
The lessons lined up for that day were Nature and Landscape Photography, the waterfall was a bonus. The valleys there were just superb. They reminded me of a novel I had read sometime ago called Savage Nights. While I read it I imagined this vast place with valleys looking like giant anthills. If that book was to be turned into a motion picture, this would be the perfect scene.
I learned from Brian and Joe that there are two ways you can capture water using a camera. You could make it look like everything froze in time or you can create the impression of motion. To freeze time, you need to play around with the settings. Make sure the lighting is okay and then adjust the shutter speed to the fastest level on your camera then shoot. In order to create the impression that the water is flowing, you need to adjust the shutter speed to slow so that it takes longer to take the shot. The results of both are very well illustrated below.
While we were still going about our business we were surprised to be joined by 2 fishermen who came to looking for an evening meal. I was shocked that they were able to catch any; I didn’t think there were fish in the first place. They eventually went home with two trout fish.
Time flies when you’re having fun. By the time we decided it was time to go back it was already 4:00pm. We had so much fun I didn’t even complain about hunger the whole time. We trekked back to the place we alighted the jav but by the time we got there, it was already late and we had to walk further to access some transport back.