Looking Back: adventures, road trips and my last roll of film…

I love these photos for too many reasons to fully explain. The memories they carry make me nostalgic for the “old days” but also make me laugh at how silly and inexperienced we were, and how much dumb stuff we got up to…

In 2006, home from my second contract as a cruise ship photographer, my good friend Tara and I decided to go on a “Thelma and Louise” road trip… except we didn’t plan on killing anyone, blowing up petrol trucks or driving off a cliff at the end… but I digress. We borrowed my dad’s 4 wheel drive and headed off into the Karoo with the specific intention of finding the last surviving inbred families of the Gamkaskloof. (Gamkaskloof being a small valley deep within the Swartberg mountain range that a few families had discovered during the Boer war while fleeing the British soldiers and decided to stay, hidden from the rest of the world until the 1960’s)

Unfortunately for us (or maybe fortunately) the inbreeding was apparently just rumours, and even if there had been, the descendants have pretty much all moved out of the valley by now, leaving it for the tourists and the baboons (in no particular order…) By the time we actually made it down the treacherous pass into the valley we had already ridden ostriches, camped illegally at the top of the Swartberg Pass, terrified ourselves out of our wits by imagining a baboon attack while asleep, gotten the 4×4 stuck and had to be pulled out by a Landrover (oh the embarrassment…) So we really didn’t feel cheated out of adventure by the absence of anything interesting at our destination…

This was also the last roll of film I ever shot, it was a slide film that I cross-processed and scanned. It’s a bit messy and grainy, but there’s something there that all the Photoshop and effects in the world just can’t touch.


  1. Nice shots and a hearty Happy Saint Patrick’s Day to ya!

  2. For me the “Plus points” and “Minus points” of film are one and the same…

    It’s the magic and mystery of not knowing how the shot actually turned out until you opened the paper folder with the developed photos in it, and also the weird and wonderful results that were sometimes ( on my part, usually accidentally) produced.

    Great photos, WONDERFUL story to go with it!

    1. there is definitely a certain amount of uncertainty with film, definitely much more than with digital… and it requires a whole lot more patience, you forget how much faster digital is, the results are immediate. But shooting film (and the learning experience that comes with it) is always worth it…
      Thanks for your comments kiwidutch, i always love to hear from you! xxx

  3. Vibe Photography

    Love it Kerry!

  4. Carla Bekker

    I grew up about 45 mins away from the Gamka area and that will always be my home. I also worked on board as a ships photographer and the travel bug is luring me to Portugal! What a small world. These shots are great, makes me a little homesick! There is no place a amazingly beautiful as the Little Karoo on a thunder weather day!

    1. there will always be a piece of my heart in the Karoo, its one of the most starkly beautiful places in the world… i miss it too. thank you for your comment, if you make it to portugal drop me a line!

  5. chrisefranklin

    Absolutely stunning shots! Its my first time on your blog… wasn’t expecting to see South African scenes as well!

    The third one from the top is my favourite. These shots inspire me to start experimenting with film again sometime soon.

    Look forward to more great images!

    1. Thanks for visiting! film is great if you have the patience, I must admit I have gotten very used to the immediacy of digital, but film forces you to slow down and think things through before taking your shot, which is never a bad thing…

  6. […] over for a week to visit and we went on a road trip, as we do when we get together (you can see the second last one here). Plus we also got to go to the Azores recently, for work… that place is AMAZING!! So ya, […]

  7. […] the road… it’s our thing, and we’re getting pretty good at it. The first time we “Thelma and Louise’d” was in 2006 and since then we’ve road-tripped a few more times, the most recent being in March this […]

  8. […] town of Prince Albert, right at the foot of the Swartberg Mountains. Our plan had been to drive the Swartberg Pass from the Klein Karoo over to Prince Albert, but the thunderstorms persisted and there was constant […]

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