February 2014 Getaway Magazine Cover Shoot at Umkumbe Lodge

February 5, 2014 · 2 comments

in Lifestyle,portraiture,Scapes,Travel

In mid December last year, when I was commissioned to shoot the February 2014 cover for Getaway Magazine, I was naturally filled with unicorns and rainbows!

The three-day trip to the Sabi Private Nature Reserve was an adventure from start to end. Five crew members in two cars packed to the brim, headed through Mpumalanga in the summer heat, tunes playing and distance lapses running. Well, until the iPhone overheated, that is.


iPhone gaffa taped to the windscreen

We arrived at our destination, Umkumbe Lodge, later than expected due to a puncture and an unforeseen pit stop in Nelspruit to change hire cars. Ranger Jason welcomed us and we eagerly set out planning the shot list for the following day, followed by a scrumptious dinner and drinks with the team in the boma.

I’ve never really been a morning person, but at 04h30 when my alarm went off, I was as excited as a kid before Christmas, and literally leapt out of bed, ready to go, cameras blazing!

The first location on our list was an enormous fallen tree. Our model, Jessica Wood, and my assistant Conley van der Westhuizen armed with a studio light, were precariously balanced on the horizontal branch as I furiously fired away while monkeys played in the background.


Conley lighting the model in the tree


The final Tree image

After breakfast and a snooze, we set up to photograph Jessica at the pool. The weather Gods were obviously on our side, as the sky cleared just in time for the shot, exposing the depths of the blue Heavens with just the right amount of fluffy clouds to create a recipe for a successful summery pool scene.


After lunch, Art Director Jacqui Macgregor had a vision of an epic vista that we set out to find. Upon discovering the perfect spot, the crew spilled out the landy and set about creating their magic. Several minutes into shooting, we discovered that we were not alone… a rhino had come to investigate what all the excitement was about. At first he was just watching from about 20m away, but when he started approaching us, everyone made a quiet and slinky dash to the safety of the land rover. It was at that moment I realised just how privileged we were to experience that. Only in Africa…!


The final edited land rover image, which was used on the cover

After our friend decided to head for greener pastures, we finished shooting and explored more of the reserve. Our day’s work ended with sun downers next to a river, followed by dinner and drinks with the crew.

The following morning we packed our bags and made our way back to the bright lights of the city. It was a shoot that I will always think back on fondly, thank you to everyone involved!

Lighting and camera assistant: Conley van der Westhuizen

Art Direction and Styling: Jacqui Macgregor

Make-up and Hair: Kelly-Jean Gilbert

Model: Jessica Wood from ICE Models


View the behind the scenes video here:

For another perspective of this shoot, please visit Conley’s blog here.



The end result of our shoot, my first cover for Getaway Magazine!

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Erika van Zyl February 5, 2014 at 6:26 pm

Beautifully told. You are also a talented writer , Rikki. Xxx

rikkihibbert March 4, 2014 at 5:48 pm


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