SHOOT! Adventures Wild!

Words and Photos: Jacques Marais | |

Adventure Racing

A gap year should be all about learning new skills, for sure, but where is the fun in that ? Right here, buddy … all you have to do is join the iALA crew!

SHOOT! Adventures Wild!

If you’ve been wondering what to do with your life before starting your studies or launching yourself full-time into the dog-eat-dog world of 9-to-5 work, here’s a plan. The International Academy for Leadership through Adventure (iALA) offers you the opportunity to have fun and develop to your full potential in preparation for your career.


This tried-and-tested organisation operates from the southern Cape, but young adults from around the country (and the world!) join them annually to get outside and have fun, while honing their leadership skills. They are consistently guided and evaluated by a team of professionally qualified tutors, who focus on fine-tuning a range of physical, intellectual, mental and interpersonal attributes.


I joined the iALA on an overnight survival hike along the rugged southern Cape coast with a view to documenting their adventure. Walking through the night, along a slippery and tempestuous coastline, and with a storm thrown in for good measure, made for exhilarating photography. Yet again, my NIKON gear withstood the harsh conditions, making for a rewarding shoot.


Image 1: Cowabunga!

The Action: iALA students launch themselves off the Stilbaai Harbour pier during one of the marine activities. Ocean skills such as scuba diving, seafood harvesting and open-water swimming are taught as part of the syllabus.
The Shot: I was in neck-deep water with my camera, and composed and pre-focused the shot in anticipation of the jump.
The Technique: My on-camera flash was zoomed to focus the light on the jumpers, and I shot on high-speed motor drive to capture a range of jump poses.
The Specifications: 1/400th sec @ f5.6; Nikon D600
+ 20 mm lens; ISO 100; WB Setting (Sunlight); AE Setting (0 EV); Polarising filter on lens.
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Image 2: Fire and Nice

The Action: Building shelters and cooking your own food over an open fire was just part of the learning fun to be had during the iALA survival hike
The Shot: I set up my wi-fi remote flashes while the students were tucking in, using my fish eye lens to capture the full extent of the action and landscape.
The Technique: Low-light shots work best if you blend your naturally available light with the artificial light from the flash units.
The Specifications: 1/25th sec @ f2.8; Nikon D800 + 16 mm fish eye lens; ISO 400; WB Setting (Auto); AE Setting (-1 EV); 2 x SB-910 units on wi-fi Pocket Wizard transceivers.
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Image 3: A Beach too Far

The Action: It’s been a hard day’s hike for the iALA crew as they carry the flag from beyond Blombos towards Jongensfontein.
The Shot: I was keen to show the natural grandeur of the southern Cape coastline, and how small we humans really are within the context of the environment.
The Technique: To try and keep as much of the image as possible in focus, it was necessary to shoot at a small aperture, thus increasing the depth of field (DOF).
The Specifications: 1/60th sec @ f11; Nikon D800 + 20 mm prime lens; ISO -1.0; WB Setting (Sunlight); AE Setting (-1 EV); on-camera
SB-910 diffused to light up foreground pools.
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Issue 24 Apr'13
Jacques Marais