I know, you've been waiting awhile, but when you have over 5,000 images to go through after an epic trip... it takes some time to go through everything. This is just a small sample of what we saw. When we booked our trip to Africa we knew the travel photography opportunities would be amazing, but we had no idea it would be this awesome. We were able to get so close to the wildlife it was like they were practically in the truck with us. When we woke up every morning to go out on our game drives there were often zebra munching on grass right outside of our tent. There were elephants basking in the sunlight throwing water on each other and little babies everywhere. I feel like I can almost liken it to Jurassic Park seeing these animals wandering around free. It was pretty surreal. Stay tuned, another blog will be coming up soon about the people we met and the portraits they gave us the opportunity us to take. We were extremely grateful, such beautiful people.
When we showed up to the "parent school" on one of our last days in Africa, we were overwhelmed with how happy they were to go to school. Parent schools are exactly that, they are run by a group of educated parents in the village who really believe in teaching the local kids. Most of the population doesn't have a chance to go to school. These kids actually want to go to school, they are proud to wear their uniforms and learn. That's a big change from some American kids. The students couldn't wait to show us their learning skills and even their dancing skills when we arrived. We even (tried) to dance with them. We felt so welcome and so grateful that as professional photographers we actually got to be there to experience it.
Within a few minutes of arriving, we were already wanting to find a way to help. They don't even have floors in their classrooms. Most of the rooms are built out of whatever wood they can put together on top of dirt floors and not a lot of the kids even have shoes to wear, which can lead to chiggers. They're doing the best they can and have started this school from nothing. It's pretty cool that they've made such a huge effort to educate Ugandan kids. More education means better job options and more money to support your families.
We spoke with one of the head masters and they said they could use some help getting solar power for the school so they could have light to work at night. We donated the solar panels to get things going. Within a few days they had everything in and installed! They keep in touch and send us some picture updates of the progress they are making. We were so excited about donating, we told family members and they wanted to donate also. They helped to purchase the school three laptop computers and a printer which they can now use with the power from their solar system. Donations and other help from here in Florida allowed them also to get the internet, a rare treat. Giving is contagious - find a group you're passionate about and help. Even if it's just a little, every little bit counts. This is a great example - In the matter of days they went from no power and no electronics to having a free renewable power source, 3 computers, a printer and the internet. If you want to get involved, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll get you filled in on how to help! Check out the pictures they sent us below.
From the moment we stepped onto Ugandan soil we felt a connection to the local people. As we drove 2hrs down a dirt track, towards the Bwindi National park, the local children ran towards the car smiling and waving. We passed people walking their pigs (as you do), hanging out in the lush green forests, and washing their motorbikes in the stream.
The aim of our trip to Uganda was to see and photograph the endangered Mountain Gorilla, but we decided to take a cultural walk the day after. We met some amazing people, a local medicine man who spoke local dialect (and French) showed us his natural remedies and how he made them. He also explained how he now has a doctors coat (which he's very proud of) because they hire him to work in the local hospital alongside the western medicine. We met a lady who brews banana gin, brick makers, and local carvers. We also spent some time with a local Pigmy group. This group used to live on the mountains but were competing with the endangered Gorillas. The local government had to move them from the mountain to help maintain Gorilla population, and offered them some smaller areas of land. They try to maintain their history even though they have been displaced and seem like happy people, one guy even taught us how to fire his bow and arrow, which Kellie nailed... I however did not :)
The last stop was at a local "parent school". The people working here and the kids we met were amazing. We felt an immediate connection, and wanted so badly to help them. Soon we will have more photos to share from locals in the school showing how easy it is to change lives if you get involved.
We did a blog post few few weeks ago about our work with Valencia College in the Orlando area. In our lifestyle photography work we try and make people feel as though they're experiencing the real deal of that type of lifestyle. In this case, we're working with real students plus models to create a journey over of all the campuses. We want to show how the students work with the teachers, one another and showcase the architecture of each campus at the same time. The goal is always to keep things as natural as possible to create that "slice of life" story our clients are looking for when they hire us. Check out the Osceola Campus!