Mavuno Shooters’ Photowalk
November 29, 2016
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Ever prayed about something you have no control over, and are aware it could turn out either way, but still prayed anyway? That was me on the last week of October last year. What was I praying about? The weather. Yes. That unpredictable force of nature. Every day of that week I’d look out the window and pray fervently that rain wouldn’t fall on that special day.

And no, it wasn’t my wedding day. Or that of anyone close to me. October 31st was the date for our long-awaited photowalk. Why would anyone be excited about taking photos? Well, some things can only be understood if you’re a photographer. I had been waiting for that day since early September and even planning what to wear from early on! (Ladies you feel me?) With the El Nino rains making their debut that last week, things weren’t looking hopeful. Hence the frantic prayers.

Art on wheels…the ubiquitous matatu.

The Lord listens to the cries of His children. Despite gloomy skies in the morning, the afternoon was tastefully sunny. And extremely hot! Nairobi weather for you. I barely concentrated during my morning photography class- apologies to the trainer- as I visualized what the afternoon would be like. So when it ended (30 min later than scheduled), you could barely catch up with me as I ran toward the bus stage. Only to arrive at the meetup point and discover that despite being quite late, I was the second person to arrive. That always happens!

My expression when I found out the others were running late!

Thank goodness for technology. I wonder how we’d have tracked the position of the ‘latecomers’ if it wasn’t for Whatsapp…hahaa! One by one the rest began trickling in. It was a great satisfaction finally putting faces to names. You see, some of us in the Mavuno photographers group had never met. Based in different Mavuno campuses and all. Some people didn’t look like their names…the brain can conjure up some strange images I tell you!

After the necessary introductions we began shooting, under the gracious leadership of Mwarv. It was quite the exciting venture as some of us got to play model for the first time. Though I dare say being in front of the camera is a little daunting. Needless to say, we attracted curious stares from fellow Kenyans. That just added to the fun! I took maximum advantage of shooting in the CBD without fear of the Council askaris (though one of us got arrested later in the day). I also got my fellow photographers to pose for me. A cure to my perpetual shortage of models!

Wait…hold that pose!
A lil street silhouette never hurt anybody!

It’s interesting how a place that has become all too familiar to you takes on a whole new flavour- when viewing it through a lens! Textures, patterns, colours and lines pop up everywhere. Street photography is a unique experience in and of itself. There’s no shortage of backgrounds and props to use. From monuments to shop fronts to plants…anything goes.

On location!
Looks familiar? Mau Mau monument in Uhuru Park.
Jacaranda blooming season gives me life! (Nyayo House in the background).

Many photographers would agree that actualizing the ideas in their minds is a challenge. What looks amazing in the mind sometimes turns out not-so-amazing when you take a shot. Nevertheless, this photowalk gave us a chance to try out various ideas. There’s just something about being around likeminded people. It actually brought some of my ideas to life as I had envisioned them. Also, there’s so much to learn and so much inspiration from people who ‘get’ you.

I had so much fun doing things I’d been itching to try…like having my portrait taken while sitting in the middle of a street! And a busy street at that. We had to play Russian roulette with vehicles as we had only a few seconds to take the shots.

Sometimes we have to look back to make sense of the present. (My attempt at being ‘deep’. Sigh.)

Long exposure shooting was another highlight of the day. Since I like doing things different, I tried it without a tripod. And it still came out great! Okay, I used the ledge of a footbridge for support. Being with fellow shooters meant getting instant reviews and learning on the go.

Thank you makeshift tripod! (bridge)
Footbridge at UoN main campus.

We closed our shooting at 8 pm. And after 5 hours of being on my feet, I still felt like I hadn’t had enough! Plus, Nairobi looks so beautiful by night. Don’t believe me? Just go out and see for yourself. After aaaall that shooting, it was time to eat! We wound down the day with a sumptuous dinner at a Chinese restaurant in Lavington. A few (read many) servings of food and lots of stories later, it was time to say goodbye. See you soon fellow fearless influencers!

Nairobi at night.

About author

Michelle Ajema

Michelle Ajema is an artlover who is deeply fascinated by the exciting world of DSLR photography. She loves shooting nature, and can often be found stalking monkeys and birds in her backyard.

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  • Gladys Ndungu

    Its mesmerising and yeah! I feel you!