It’s easy to forget that you’re always learning in life, especially in the environment we live and work in here at Dumela Lodge. Whether it’s about wildlife, ecosystems, local languages or data collection, there’s a constant fountain of knowledge that’s streaming that anyone would be a fool not to take advantage of. The greatest thing that we’re able to do here, in my opinion, is not just to educate and inform new volunteers every month but also help the staff grow and develop as professional and passionate individuals.
As such, it’s been an important task to me to ensure that photography tuition has been available to those that want it, and to include it into the development of our trainee guides. After all, the guiding industry is rapidly developing and photography knowledge has very naturally been incorporated into this growth. It’s essential then our guides learn with us so that they’re better prepared and qualified to take the next step into their careers once they leave our doors.
Of course, the trick is a balancing act. Their first priority is to guide; learn and navigate reserves and infuse our volunteers with excitement and passion through their own knowledge and experiences with nature. However, if a guide knows the ins-and-outs of photography, how light works and affects our imagery, composition techniques and the differences between aperture and ISO, then the better position they’re going to be in to guide for photographers or any future camera-holding guest. It’s a win-win scenario for everyone and it’s been fantastic this year to see all the guides get on board with this new opportunity for learning.
Some may not have had any interest or knowledge in photography beforehand, but they all recognize its importance and so have really stepped up to the plate to take on as much as they can in a way that I didn’t initially expect or even hope for.
Through specifically designed presentations, tuition in the field and editing exercises, our guides have a significant advantage now than they did before. After all, the relationship we have with our guides here at Dumela is special and they deliver so much that it’s impossible not to want to give back and hopefully make an impact on the advancement in their future.