Just in case you didn't get the memo, our new blog is up and running and looking tasty! If you were a subscriber to the original blog, please take a moment to visit the new blog and quickly enter your email to sign up for automatic blog updates again. You can do that here:
Hi There. I'm Kevin Kubota. When we surround ourselves with amazing, inspirational people, we are driven to become amazing ourselves. We are all "Action Heroes" inside, but we may need a little encouragement to tap our super powers. While "Action Hero" is a metaphor for any Smart and Sassy Photoshop guru who uses Photoshop Actions to power through their workflow and supercharge their images – the True Action Hero is a deeper thinker. "Get Action" in all areas of your life: Love, Learn, Grow, Share, and Make the world a better place. Let's all Get Action together. Here. Now. Oh, don't forget to sign my guestbook!
What happens when an enthusiastic group of wedding and portrait photographers goes on a photo safari in Africa? You have a ton of fun, that’s what! I’m blaming my absence of blog posts over the past weeks on my spotty internet connections in Africa and being chased by wild beasts all day. Actually, we did most of the chasing, but it sounds more adventurous the other way.
Our workshop consisted of 18 people, which is as many as we could fit in the safari cruisers. Our days began at 5am, with a light breakfast then on to the vehicles at 6am. We’d explore the park until 9 ish, then find a beautiful spot on the plains somewhere free of predators and have a morning coffee break. We’d return to the lodge about 11am for brunch, have a little workshop class time, have afternoon tea at 3:30 then hop back on the Landcruisers for the evening drive at 4pm. At about 6pm we’d find another lovely spot for wine and hors d’oeuvres (consisting of traditional beef jerky, or biltong, amongst other things). At about 7:30pm we’d head back to the lodge to a large and delicious dinner around a candlelit fire pit. We did this for 8 straight days and it never got old. Visiting with the animals began to feel like visiting good friends – the initial excitement of the encounters turning to familiar anticipation. We started to relax and appreciate them even more, noticing details we didn’t catch on first sighting.
On our very first departure from the lodge, not 5 minutes in to it, we were halted by a large herd of elephant drinking from the river we needed to cross. We all knew from that first moment that this would be an incredible trip! Each outing was completely unique - some turning up new animal encounters, others bringing us closer or in to more intimate settings with animals we’d previously seen from afar. By the end of the week, nobody wanted to leave. It was truly a significant lifetime experience.
After the safari, my family and I spent time exploring Cape Town and that was beautiful in a very different way. I couldn’t help but miss the animals though. I found myself (and my kids did too) longing for the quiet sunrise drives, disturbed only by the roar of a lion or the cawing of our favorite birds. Safari has gotten under my skin like very few other experiences have. And I don’t mean in an itchy, infection sort of way.
Here are some images! I hope they can convey even a small percentage of the incredible feeling of being there.
The statistics are so overwhelming you start to think, what can I do? 1.1 billion people lack access to clean drinking water, and nearly 2.5 million people die each year due to waterborne-related disease (90% of which are children under the age of 5). From ThirstRelief.org. Thankfully there are organizations like Thirst Relief International whose mission is to overcome death and disease resulting from the consumption of contaminated water by providing safe, clean drinking water to those in need around the world. One of the ways they raise the funds to help each year is with their Mentor Auction. Industry leaders donate their time and often their products to be auctioned off. This year Kevin participated and we wanted to find out a little more about the person who won the auction and would be getting 90 minutes with Kevin to ask anything he'd like. Vijay Rakhra is a wedding photographer from the San Francisco Bay area. During college Vijay went to Africa and studied drumming in Ghana. During his senior year in Ghana studying abroad he made films about drumming and dancing. After college Vijay started freelancing and someone asked him to shoot a wedding. Instead of abandoning his first love which was video, he started incorporating both into his business. In recent years his company renamed Wedding Documentary has become well know for covering Indian weddings in both still and motion formats.
After making two more trips to West Africa and learning to play drums from the masters, Vijay began making documentaries showcasing the talented drummers, which helped raise money in the villages when students would travel there to learn. The sale of the DVD's is also helping to raise funds and several of the musicians have been able to move to the US to teach and can then support their villages back home. So Vijay said when he saw the Thirst Relief Auction he decided it was a worthy cause to support. He chose Kevin because, "I admire his business and speaking skills. He is a great presenter and has a lot of experience. I also wanted to get the actions, as well as some of the other goodies, but at the end of it all, I just wanted some money to go back to Africa because the people, the music, and the culture, has changed my life. My experiences there, make me who I am and I appreciate life more because of it. I hope that in the future even more photographers try to do what they can to give back to their communities whether they are abroad or here in the states and that we never forget Africa!" For more information on Thirst Relief International you can visit them online at ThirstRelief.org.