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Adventure Photography – Motorbiking in South Africa

By julietlemon August 24 2017 - 07.19 AM

Great light, superb scenery, speedy subjects, an abundance of adventure and challenging shooting conditions – these are just a handful of ​aspects​ ​in​ this South African adventure that made me one very happy photographer indeed.

Welcome to Wavolt Adventures’ epic Cederberg Explorer Skaapkop Tour, a challenging off-road motorbike tour in the south​-​west of South Africa that I was honoured to be photographing. A truly wonderful world where bikes, speed, adventure and fun were the only things that seemed to matter.

We set off at dawn to rendezvous with the rest the bikers at the city limits of Cape Town. Before long there was quite a gathering, 23 avid bikers on their hardy mean​-​machines and a support crew equipped to cater for every mechanical and medical need imaginable (thankfully none of the latter was needed).  Once the pre-ride briefing was done it was time for the squadron of riders and their bikes to hit the road.  As the adventure beckoned, the majestic Table Mountain was​ soon​ but a spec in our rearview mirrors.

The tarred road quickly turned to ​the ​dirt tracks and winding, undulating mountain passes of the Cederberg Conservancy. ​ This is a​ remote and untouched part of the world with such incredible breathtaking natural beauty.

The terrain was tough, challenging and exhilarating to traverse​ and​ involved p​​​assing the fynbos​ vegetation​ at high speed, riding over the majestic Cederberg Mountains and the rocky​,​ open desert plains of the Tankwa Karoo.

The demands of the topography required skilled riding techniques and seeing the motorbikes being navigated over boulders, up rocky escarpments​,​ through river crossings, over loose rocks and big​ boulders​, and ​through deep sandy sections with such expertise and precision was incredible.  The capabilities of the bikes were also phenomenal – KTMs and BMWs all being pushed to their extreme limits and all rising to the challenge and delivering was delight to witness and capture.

From a photographic point of view I’m sure it comes as no surprise that I was in my absolute ​technical​element ​during​ this incredible tour.  The action, the dust, the speed, the breathtaking vistas and of course that glorious African light really are the stuff that​ a​ photographer’s dreams are made of.

All the bikers, organisers and support crew were absolute legends​.​ ​W​e did not stop laughing and when off the bikes I thoroughly enjoyed capturing the ​cama​raderie​, moments and memories th​r​ough reportage and documentary style photography.

The ride had been planned to coincide with a big Afrikaans annual celebration, the Skaapkop Festival.  A wild night at the foot some rocks, under the African night sky ​lit​ by hurricane lanterns and firelight and ​a ​raucous night of boozing, braaing (aka BBQ-ing) was had.

There are many brilliant parts of the tour that still make me giggle, especially the one where I was photographing all the riders as they set off.  Positioned in the middle of the dusty track all 23 bikes did a ‘drive by’ and I was right in the midst of the commotion​.  As you can see from the little video clip and hear from my screaming​,​ it was a tad too close for comfort – but it resulted in superb shots and I came out in one piece so all was well!  It was tough trying to direct all the bikes and I could hardly be heard over their roaring engines but I did succeed and as you can see I was thrilled with the action that was happening right around and in front of me!

I’ve been fortunate to travel a lot throughout much of Africa over the years by plane, train, helicopter, car, boat and biycyle but this was my first time on a motorbike there and boy oh boy, what a wonderful way to see the country!

If you are keen to go on one Wavolt Adventures​’​ ​wonderful trips do say you’re a friend of Lemon and they’ll certainly look after you and I PROMISE you will have an adventure of a lifetime! x

 

                   

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A big HELLO and thanks for having a peek at the blog! So a little bit about me.........well I absolutely love the wonderful world of photography. I'm lucky enough to work with great people and at each shoot make sure that we have fun whilst getting great photos. I'm based in the UK where I photograph a lot of weddings and lifestyle shoots but also get to travel to far flung destination for a spot of travel, wildlife and car photography. I'm a Licentiate of the Society of Wedding and Portrait Photographers as well as a Licentiate of International Nature & Wildlife Photographers and have won awards for my photography. My work has been published in national newspapers, wedding magazines, travel guide books, blogs and wildlife publications. My favourite colour is orange!
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