To Africa and Back
I’ve gotten a decent amount of planning work done in the past 24 hours, so I’m feeling pretty good about the progress of this trip.
I went in to YM Camera for a quick tutorial on using my camera, and I am shocked to find that this SLR is a trillion times easier to use than the quick snapshot style digital cameras (think Coolpix.) At first, I felt a bit overwhelmed, but once I realized most of the settings have a very practical purpose (like white balance and exposure,) all that art school education kicked in and it made perfect sense. The employee made me an awesome preset for auto-shooting that was set to the correct ISO, and it’s really fun to use. Then he showed me how (and told me why) to adjust the ISO for the night safari I’m planning on doing the second day in Port Elizabeth. He explained that the flash won’t really light things up in the distance, so my best bet was to set the camera at a 3200 or 6400 ISO to increase the amount of light it was taking in. It might be a bit grainy, but it’s the best option for getting some light while it’s dark out.
The whole lesson just got me really excited for everything. We practiced manual focusing for shooting video, and he suggested I go to the park and shoot flying geese to get comfortable with adjusting the focus as I move. It’s incredible how in-tune he is with adjusting focus like that – when I got the camera and shot video, I was all over the place with blurry then sharp and back to blurry!
In addition to a photo lesson, I went up to AAA to apply for my international driving permit. Unfortunately, the permit expires when my license does, so I can’t actually obtain the permit until I’ve gotten my new North Carolina driver’s license. Otherwise, my driving permit would expire on my birthday, sometime in Victoria Bay. But all was not lost – I got my photo taken for the license, and I got the application to fill out in advance. Hopefully that will make things go more smoothly.
Another quick item marked off of my to-do list – at least halfway – was buying some clothing for the conservation work. I’ve been a bit worried because I don’t have much in the way of natural-colored clothing, so I picked up some $8 shirts at H&M that are soft, comfortable and neutral. I got T-shirts so I can always layer a hoodie or a jacket overtop if necessary, but it will be day while I’m doing the majority of the volunteer work. Now that it’s less than a month away, I can finally check the weather with some accuracy. The current temperatures are in the range of 75º for the high and about 55º for the low. It’s only going to change by about 5 degrees by the time I arrive, and I think mid 60s will be very comfortable to be out doing work. I still have yet to get some pants, but I’ll see to that as soon as I’m back in North Carolina.
Everything is falling into place, and I couldn’t be more pleased. I’m looking into hotels and travel insurance tonight (and hopefully making a decision!) as well as emailing Igna. Happy travels, and hopefully I will have some photos to show soon to mark my progress on the new cam!