It was amazing to be in the presence of some phenomenal photographers in the industry Felix Kuniz, Pratik Naik, and Bella Kotak. They were the three hosts welcoming us to this wonderful adventure that is Cape Town in the summer months.
It was my first time going to Africa and I’m so glad I got to kick off my first adventure on the continent here in Cape Town. It’s such a wonderful city very similar to my home in North Carolina. North Carolina is known for having mountains five hours away from the oceanic coast. However, Cape Town has taken North Carolina and squeezed it into one city with the gorgeous Table Mountain at the back of this amazing city sandwiched with a mesmerizing oceanfront view.
During my first days there I made sure to try the local brews and different cuisines. I hadn’t had one bad meal my entire time in the city and various wineries. Dare I say Cape Town is just as much of A food paradise as Tokyo is?
But the opportunities to break bread and get to know each photographer their journeys their strategies, their hopes, their visions, and see where I stand in the world of photography. It was nice to know that maybe I am a bit too hard on myself and it was great to have permission from some of the wonderful amazing talent to create an environment not just for my clients but an environment for myself to thrive in my work.
One of the things that I loved was taking advantage of the environments we were in we had lovely models and each of us lovingly modeled for the photographers to get the shot that we wanted to achieve on beaches and gardens in backyard pools and on outdoor day beds no surface was untouched by our creativity and our longing to kick off the new year on a creative foot.
I absolutely can’t wait to do this again with a new cohort of amazing photographers who have yet to or have already experienced this wonderful, nice-paced journey. Many thank yous to Felix, Pratik, and Bella for hosting all of us in this amazing environment and this amazing city. We absolutely can’t wait to show you what we create in the year ahead.
Take a look at some of our many adventures taken below:
Kirstenhof Botanical Garden
After a relaxing brunch, we sat by the cactus garden area admiring Table Mountain and listening to legends of centuries past of certain areas of the peak. While we were relaxing I noticed how flowy Bella’s dress was and it reminded me of a Valentino ad of Zendaya in Italy. She graciously allowed me to capture an interpretation of the ad.
Also, what an amazing conversation to have smack dab in the middle of Kirstenhof Botanical Gardens with cute little pheasants running around us and trying to nip at our toes.
Le Petite Winery
We had a lovely wine tasting at the La Petite and our server, Valentine was as quick as she was hilarious. Here is where I discovered my favorite new white wine, Viognier.
Bo Kaap & The Waterfront
My first two days in Cape Town found me in Bo Kaap which is the most colorful neighborhood I’ve ever been to. Housing a traditional Islamic community along with some pretty liberal artists, the neighborhood operates in harmony as tourists come to photograph themselves among the colors.
Speaking of colors, we met a very colorful girl and her family where we spent our first few days in Cape Town. Having run into them a second time, Angie and I were determined to photograph their magic and uniqueness among the crowds on the Waterfront, opposite Bo Kaap where we were ultimately headed.
This mountain is a large mountain that looks like a plateau yet spreads north of South Africa covered with its own peaks and valleys within it. Conquering the cable car up the mountain was my biggest feat as I’m not the best with heights.
Cape Town is known for its windy weather but we underestimated its winds on this particular day. The sand smacking our legs and backs was agonizing. I can’t imagine what our model, Bee, was going through in her delicate costume!
Chef’s Warehouse @ Maison
Picture your favorite restaurant. Good service. Great food. Nice decor. Now take that restaurant and put it outside, with the beautiful view of the restaurant’s vineyard, Table Mountain, and all the other farms around you. And just throw in a chicken coop while you’re at it. Great experience, right? Being a city girl, a restaurant with a view often means a spot on the 50th+ floor looking down on all the doll houses and ants, but to be immersed in the nature and space around you was breathtaking!
The Sunset Rock
It was this evening I realized that people chasing sunsets is a thing! As a photographer, I’m always chasing the light that comes before the sunset, or Golden Hour. I’m usually too busy to sit, relax and just look at the sunset. Little did I know that we would be chasing some beautiful sunsets each night of our creative retreat and I was completely all for it!
Zoos don’t do observing animals justice (in more ways than one) than to be among them in their natural habitat peacefully. These penguins were looking at us, looking at them and kept on keeping on. I’m just beside myself that I don’t have to go all the way to Antarctica to see penguins!
Cape Point Vineyards
The second to last night of our time together. We spent it looking at gorgeous bays overlooking the city and sat at a cozy table overlooking the sunset.
Color Grading & Retouching
It was so wonderful working with the married photo team Pratik and Bella. Pratik, the expert retoucher, and Bella the phenomenal color theorist and fine art photographer. We got our laptops and tablets out to see how we can use small changes to enhance our images for our art and our clients for a more cohesive look!
The end of the road. Felix and Keoni were telling me about Lion’s Head and the length of time it takes to climb it. I wanted it to be one of the last things I did while I was in Cape Town. Tina joined me and we both walked up talking about ideas for making TikTok videos and holding space for one another to share our thoughts on our work.