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    As you might have guessed from the title of this blog – the start of this week was purely dedicated to learning all about photography, photographic techniques and how to guide guests who are photographers. Sean Patrick, co-author of “Game Ranger in your Backpack”, conducted the two day workshop for our Grietjie Campus, whilst well know photographic guide, Albie Venter of Africa-Unlocked, conducted the course for the Mahlahla Campus.

    Both well-known photographers provided invaluable lessons to our students about all the tricks of the trade to get ‘that special shot’ (mainly by making use of all those lesser known settings & buttons on everyone’s camera!).  They also covered the importance of understanding how to guide photographers in today’s day and age. After everything from aperture, ISO, Shutter speed, exposure compensation to composition and lighting was explained – our students quickly moved away from that simple auto option and their latest batch of photos are certainly demonstrating this!

    Having spent time in the lecture room discussing the various techniques it was time to go out there and try and get some photos. Everything from Kite spiders and blades of grass to elephants, grumpy lions and hyenas were photographed during the practical sessions. Comparisons were made afterwards, with some more helpful hints from the experts. All in in all, a fantastic photographic workshop, which we were all sad to see come to an end.

    On Wednesday it was business as usual with various lectures covered, including Taxonomy & Ecology. Later on in the day, the Mahlahla Group headed out on their first bush sleepout, which also had a planned Survival & Navigation lecture and practical. Although most people are on edge on their first sleepout on a Big 5 reserve – the only visitor was a curious spotted hyena who quickly moved off when he was spotted (excuse the pun)!

    Meanwhile, back at the Grietjie campus, Thursday morning started off with a walk. Tracking and spoor identification was on the agenda and the walk began with tracks of 2 buffalo as well as a male lion that had been drinking at the waterhole sometime during the night. The highlight came with Sunil spotting a honey badger, but unfortunately it moved off too quickly and no-one else got to see it.

    Whilst the Mahlahla group headed back from their sleepout and got ready for their afternoon drive, the Grietjie group left for the Amarula Lapa for a light lunch and tour of the factory where the underrated Marula fruit is processed, before being shipped to the Cape to turn into one of South Africa’s most famous alcoholic liqueurs….Amarula Cream. The students had the opportunity to try out various cocktails and food dishes which had been made with Amarula cream. The fruit is such a versatile item in the bush and there are so many products which can be made from it, it was interesting to watch the process for just one of its many uses.

    Tomorrow marks the last set of tests for the first Semester! Our students then head off on a well-deserved week off, with plans which include visits Kruger, Cape Town and Mozambique! Enjoy ladies and gents, see you soon!

    Until Next Time,

    The Bushwise Team

    (Thanks to Jacques Briam and Adam Mohr for use of your pics!)