09 Aug Nicole Eddy
Sapmok supports powerful women behind the scenes who dedicate their lives to sustainable change. We have chosen these Goddesses Of Today to celebrate Women’s Day and all our goddess’ magnificent achievements. Nicole Eddy is our last (but not least) Goddess from this series. She is an adventure driven photographer and documentarian. You will learn a little more about her by reading her answers below.
1. What inspired you to start wildlife photography?
I’ve always been interested in both photography and video, as both my dad and brother are in the industry full-time so many of our family discussions revolved around cameras and filming. Over the last few years, I took my own path down the film and photography road and have built a following on social media by documenting and sharing my outdoor adventures, wherever that might be. As both my husband and I have an (un)healthy obsession with spending as much as we possibly can in the Kruger National Park, it seemed only natural to start documenting our trips to the bush. I definitely do not consider myself close to being an expert in wildlife photography or photography in general and rather do it more for the fun of it, but it adds a whole new dimension to a trip.
2. What is your favorite photo ever taken and why (please send it)?
Hmm, tricky one! I don’t think I have a favourite photo ever taken, it’s more about the memories associated with it – but for some reason I loved the moodiness of this image of a red-collared widowbird (which was also a lifer for me). We were driving up to a beautiful spot called Mariepskop in the Blyde River Canyon and the a heavy layer of fog was sitting in the valley below which happened to be where we were driving, so visibility was really bad.
Every now and then the fog would lift for a second and we were able to see a little further past the roadside trees and bushes. As the fog cleared, I got a glimpse of this widowbird flitting about but before I could whip my camera out, the fog had rolled back in and we lost all visibility again. I positioned my camera to the spot where I had last seen him, hoping for a small miracle that he would still be in the same place when the fog cleared again and I could snap a picture. Thankfully, as the fog cleared the bird was still where my camera was focused and I managed to get a quick snap before he flitted off and the next batch of fog rolled through.
3. Where is the most interesting place you have travelled to and why?
The most interesting place I’ve ever travelled to was probably India, just because it was such a contrast of scenery. As soon as I landed, I was overwhelmed with new smells, vibrant colours, loud noises, new food and of course a very different culture. It really captured the essence of travel for me and I was lucky to explore everywhere from big cities to the forests to the incredible views of the snow-capped Himalayas in a small mountain town completely off the beaten track! We also managed to spot a leopard walking along the banks of the Ganges River for a couple of seconds while we were driving – a real pinch-me moment and something I’d never have dreamt of seeing on this trip!
4. What is the most enlightening thing wildlife photography has taught you?
Patience! Patience is one of the most important things needed when photographing wildlife. Often, it requires sitting around at watering holes waiting for wildlife to make their way down for a drink, or driving around for hours hoping to see something unique, but I think more importantly, it takes having patience with yourself. Photography in general requires that you take A LOT of out of focus, poor composition and pretty terrible shots to get that one good shot, to learn and to progress. It’s too easy to look on Instagram and bookmark images taken from professional wildlife photographers and say ‘I want to replicate that’ and when you look at your own photos after a trip, feel horribly disappointed as you realise that your photos are nothing like the ones that you set out to get – so have patience with yourself and give yourself time to develop. It’s a constant work-in-progress.
5. Have you ever gotten lost on one of your day trips?
I can’t actually recall any time that we have got properly lost. We like to do things on a whim, but typically always have a rough idea of route and make sure to do a little bit of homework beforehand on routes and roads.
6. What would you say to other woman to inspire them to go into conservation?
Conservation starts with us as individuals, being aware of and protecting nature in whatever capacity we can, wherever we can. It is an incredibly rewarding space where the work that you do, no matter how little, makes a direct contribution to the health of the ecosystem, so the more conservationists that the world has, the better 🙂 There are also so many badass women dominating in this space, inspiring so many other women like myself to do more in my everyday life!
7. What is your honest opinion about your Sapmoks?
Honestly…I love them! Like, really really love them! My Sapmok vellies were the first ever pair of veldskoene that I have owned and there’s something sentimental about that. I also love how comfortable and durable the shoes are – every pair of shoe has been built for function and thankfully they look pretty amazing too 🙂
My new slippers have forever changed the slipper game. Never in my life have I ever put anything so warm on my feet (and that’s a lot coming from me as I suffer with cold hands and feet) but the best part is that you can walk outside with them, walk in the sand or gravel knowing that the dirt will rinse straight off the bottom and be ready for indoor use again in a second 🙂
If you enjoyed this interview, stay tuned for the other Goddesses Of Today posts!
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Written and interviewed by Annabelle Cloete