Travel Photography 101 7.5/18

19 12 2008

Confessions, tips and musings from a snap-happy wanderer.




Never let yourself regret not taking a photograph.


When travelling between Nairobi and the Masai Mara Reserve in Kenya, the road winds precipitously down the escarpment of the Great Rift Valley. On one side there is the steep cliff side of the valley wall, whilst on the other a dramatic drop to the plains below. The view itself is spectacular as it sweeps away to the Mara and the Serengeti beyond. Towards the bottom of the steep road there is a small chapel tucked against the side of the cliff. With such a gripping view on the opposite side, it’s not surprising that it often goes unnoticed. The chapel had been constructed by Italian Prisoners of War during the Second World War while building the road that now carries hundreds of thousands of tourists each year on their way to the great game parks in the south.


I had passed the chapel while travelling back to Nairobi. The road is narrow with no opportunity to stop until you reach a lookout close to the top. With my camera tucked in the bag at my feet, I could do nothing but watch it disappear behind us. It was such an incongruous sight that I kicked myself for months afterwards that I hadn’t had my camera ready to snap a quick pic as we drove by. I assumed the opportunity was lost forever.


Fortunately, a few years later I found myself travelling the same road to again reach the Masai Mara. With my camera now ready and loaded beside me, as everyone else gazed at the great view to the left, I watched for the chapel on my right. The photo I snapped is not particularly good and means nothing to anyone else, but for me, it’s as good as any I took on that entire trip.


And more importantly, my list of ‘missed photos’ had become one shorter.



Photo and post by: Simon Vaughan