We all go through life on our own unique journey and create our own story, each of us having experienced a variety of challenges and successes. How we deal with these situations builds us as individuals and has molded us into the people we are today.
My story is no different.
As for many bush lovers I come from a family that is crazy about wildlife. From as young as I can remember we shared in our love and enjoyment for the outdoors and made a lifetime of memories during our adventures in nature.
Growing up in what was then a small town called White River, I had ample opportunities to spend weekends and school holidays exploring the areas around where we lived. If it wasn’t cycling to a near by dam to fish with my brothers, I was out on the golf coarse. Being just a stone throw away from the Kruger National Park, my family and I would regularly wake up before the sun rose, pack a basket and cooler box and head into the park for the day. There was always such excitement around these trips and that’s definitely where my passion for the bush kicked off.
I was also exposed to different aspects of life in the bush in other ways, my mother has worked in the industry for a number of years which meant weekends at different lodges, being fortunate enough to go along on drives and just enjoying being out in the bush. My brother pursued a career in guiding and being older than me I got to see him in action, which inspired me and was just further confirmation to me that guiding was what I wanted to do.
Once I had finished up with my schooling I completed my FGASA level one through a company called Eco Training and was fortunate to stay on for a couple of months to continue building my knowledge, gain some experience and grow my confidence…
Not really knowing what my next step should be, I took a 10-day holiday to Cape Town to visit my mother and found myself staying in the area for almost four years. Whilst down in the Cape I was presented with an opportunity to work in a Fyn Bos Reserve, an entirely different landscape to what I was used to, where I worked as a guide and learnt a completely new skill set, from land management to introducing endemic species back into the area after being absent for many years. This is also roughly the time I purchased my first Camera. I still remember being so excited, having saved up and finally buying my own camera. However, my joy quickly turned to bewilderment as I realize I had no idea of how to operate it. Feeling quite despondent, having invested so much in my new purchase, I committed to making the effort to learn step by step. The more I read, the more I understood and the more it drew me in, before long I was hooked!!!
Although I really enjoyed my time in the Cape, I really wanted to get back to the Lowveld. There is just something special about the Lowveld bush and I wanted desperately to return. As fate would have it there was a vacancy at the lodge my brother was managing and I jumped at the opportunity.
The lodge was situated on the banks of the Olifants river and open to the Kruger National Park. I still remember my first night at the lodge, sitting outside listening to distant sound of the resident Pels Fishing owl and then suddenly … a leopard rasping right in-front of camp as it set about patrolling its territory, still to this day one of my favorite memories. Having guided in the area for almost two years I felt a need to continue on my journey and seek new opportunities to learn and improve as a guide and photographer.
I applied for a position at Londolozi Game Reserve. Two days later the head ranger called me, we set up an interview and in little over a month I was on the Ranger selection course.
As a boy I would watch John Varty’s documentaries over and over, to be a guide at Londolozi truly was a dream come true for me.
I am extremely thankful for my time at Londolozi and for all that I learnt in my 4-year chapter. It was here where I realized that my passion lay with my photography and that I wanted to pursue it as a career.
Having followed Wild Eye over the past few years, the very thought of being part of the Wild Eye team and having the immense privilege of learning from and working alongside such influential photographers is one of great excitement and I look forward to what I know will be one of the most incredible adventures of my life.
My first Podcast is up!
Click on the link below to listen to the introductory talk I had with Gerry where we discussed my story and past experiences leading up to this new adventure.
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