Time. Ticks. Task one.

12 Nov

4am again. Wow. This is hectic.

How do I feel? Where are we going ? Nervous ! Anticipation. Am I good enough ? will I get the shot?

We pile into the Jeeps. The anticipation and excitement reminds me of being a kid going on school camp. No idea where we are traveling, we try and guess along the way.

We pull into a fire station, South of Joburg. The mist is unbelievable. It’s almost like a blanket shrouding the place. Is it a sign? Beware. All will be revealed soon.

Our pen this morning is a gazebo at the back of the building. Noone is to move away from the covering whilst we are in “holding”. We really are all a little pensive, but the chatter continues. We are all speculating. It’s quite funny to hear everyones version of what may occur.

A helicopter hovers. We can hear it but through the mist it’s very difficult to see it. This is the film crew – they are wanting to shoot the scene and land but the mist is making this impossible. Wow the helicopter does impress us !
Once the mist lifted we started to shoot the first link in. Drive in – and out and in – and out. Eventually we get it right ! We are issued with new team shirts.
Team Exposure – White. Team optical – yellow. I say to Lola “ you look like Maya the bee”. That term stuck for her for most of the show ! Team Aperture – red.

Craig says : “ your task is heroes”. He goes into a well -rehearsed dialogue about unsung heroes. The things heroes do. But here’s the twist . “Aperture do you want Inferno, Vertigo, or backdraft as your sub-task?”
They chatter and so do we. Pierre, in his usual takeover way is almost screaming – panicked in a whisper – Vertigo Vertigo. Trying with all his might insist to Mbali that we do Vertigo through mental telepathy. Johnson chooses Inferno. Wow I would have so gone for that ! It’s our turn next. We do an on-camera chat and Vertigo is ours. (clearly the osmosis works) I can see team optical, with Ian as a leader is a bit disappointed that they didn’t get any choice in this.

So off we go back to the pen. We chatter in our teams now – wild, loudat times, whispers at times we don’t want the other teams to hear. Discussions trying to work out our strategy. What represents vertigo? Where will it be? Will they use the ladders ? or what ?

We have no idea how long we will be in the pen. I feel like a cow in a fenced in field waiting to be called for milking duty. Listening for the whistle. The only thing is the purple cows are being c alled first not the black and white cows.

People are pacing, chatting, biting their nails. Such different ways of dealing with the stress. Ian goes totally into himself. Working on his laptop. Myles is pacing up and down, like a Cheetah in a cage, Ipod earphones blasting into his head, removing all possible thoughts of the task that lies ahead . Mbali goes off with her cousin Ceya, round the side of the building. He is a crew member. Is he giving her insider info I wonder? In fact I am doing a lot of wandering about things. It is amazing how paranoid you can get in such a short space of time. However perhaps any info she may gets she may share with us, as her team members. Maybe it’s good, maybe not. Perhaps some of the “fed” info from crew is to send us off on another tack totally. Oh I dunno. Pen life is not treating me mentally well.

Judy sleeps.

Tasmin sleeps.

I chatter then pull myself away. Firstly cos it gets too much and secondly cos I want to keep up my diary.
Technically I know my stuff, but I wonder in this fast paced changing environ of photojournalism with an unknown light source etc I am wondering if auto is the way to go. I never use auto but maybe I simply should.
The equipment we have is a Nikon d5000. For me it is barely adequate. It’s like getting a 1300 no power-steering car after driving a mercedes e-class. It will still get you there but man with a lot less style. I feel jibbed.
Wow the days are long. A 4am start makes it feel like you have had a full day by 12. The pen feels like it is getting smaller. Many people in my face. Renelle’s sweet excited chatter is constant. Its amazing how nerves can make some go quiet and some louder.

I hold a few conversations with members from all teams. Vague kind of conversations. Nothing deep or meaningful. I can see some people wonder why I am chatting to memebers from the other team. I am so not gonna stick to one team. Simply cos I think some of the other people are nice, and not everyone in my team is nice ! and who knows I need to work out the others too cos we will merge one day and where will I be if I only get to know my current team.

For now I want peace and quiet. Breathe in. Breathe out. Chew the cud.

The pen is dirty. Hot. LOUD. Move away, I keep saying to myself.. But I don’t want to miss something important. Bryan, the judge comes into the pen. People surround him like bees to a honeypot. I think to make themselves known to him, but also to hear what he has to say. Pierre goes into go mode. How much do you get paid ? What are your budgets? How do I get to where you are ? He speaks lous and in a panic. Others, like Brendon really wants to learn and he sits there and listens. Absorbing the answers to the questions.

Bryan’s extensive experience is evident. He is proud of the work he produces and shows us some of the images explaining the shots. Nice to hear and I am amazed how he shares so freely. He certainly knows he is good. Which isn’t a bad thing ! I think his photography does stand for itself.

Unfortunately though I am not the type of person that idolises or places people on a pedestal simply on name or for the fact that they are famous. I like people. Real, honest, normal people. Famous or not. Therefore I would chat to Bryan as a person, whose work is great. Not as a God to be bowed to. Others shove him straight on the pedestal and look deeply into his eyes. Perhaps osmosis will work!

The jostling for a good position amongst contestants is still happening. It reminded me of a nursery school class where a group of 4 year olds stand at the teachers feet. One shoving his arm over the other to move him back to get right in front of the teacher.

Time. Ticks.

When are we going to do our task The day is hot. The pen is sweaty and anxious. Pierre sits with Tasmin. Setting up her camera into all sorts of customised modes. She sits there looking at him with a blank look. I think we all did ! We all now know Pierre is technical. Terms like Customised white balance, calibrated to the endth degree is important when you have the backlight of the sky against the fireman’s boots. Yeah . Ok !

Ticking. Time.

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