Say yes when people offer you to do something you’ve never done. Even if they’re asking you to do them a favour and help them out. You still become an experience richer. This was what I did while I was staying at the Karen Blixen Camp in Mara doing fieldwork.
Last week I was asked if I wanted to take photos of some dishes that was going to be used for an article about Kenyan food by FoodRepublic. My first response was that I am not a photographer, let alone a food photographer. It didn’t take long before I was convinced and said yes. I just made a point of clearing that I would do my best, but I had never done it before.
I spent 3-4h in a kitchen watching the 10 dishes be made and taking photos, as they got ready. Okay, not that much of the time in the kitchen. We couldn’t get hold of a light, to light the dishes probably. So what do you do? You improvise. So since the sun was out, that became our light source. Of course, you can’t control the sun, so sometimes I would be standing in the baking sun and other times I’d be waiting for it to appear from behind a cloud. At some point, they needed a pair of extra hands with preparing the dishes that I had to step in for a moment.
It was fun trying my skills at food photography, though I was of course nervous about how they would turn out. I wasn’t just taking the photos for my own amusement, which made me very aware about what I was doing. However, I am glad that I said yes, because I got to try doing something new. Something slightly outside my comfort zone.
Only a day after having been a food photographer, I was approached again. This time to ask if I would help in the kitchen, since the camp would be full. They could really use some extra hands, so of course I said yes. It would also be a fun experience, what it would be like working in the kitchen. At least I had a bit more experience in this departure than food photography, as I do cook food for myself at home.
This time we were two who had been asked and said yes. Therefore, after having done some fieldwork early in the morning, I got back and had lunch. Then I changed into the uniforms that we had been given. Most of the things I did was preparation work. Chopping vegetables and fruit, and making dough for desserts. It was hard work and very warm working in the kitchen, yet it was a fun thing to try.
Take the opportunities you are presented with.