“I go by Moses Obanda, a landscape and travel photographer with six years of experience. I enjoy reading books and obviously traveling. I’m a bit socially awkward but once I’m behind the camera, I can conquer the world. I have a bachelor’s degree in communication from Africa Nazarene University, graduated in 2014.”
Zuru Kenya: When did your love for Travel photography crop up and what exactly sparked it?
Obanda: When I was a second year student in campus. That’s when I realized my heart was in Travel Photography. Before that I was into a lot of pencil drawing but once I picked up the camera, I fell in love and was amazed by the fact that I could visually illustrate what I had in my mind.
How often do you travel?
I try to travel at least once a month. Worst case scenario, once every two months dependent on whether I have the money to travel.
Since getting into travel photography, are there any hurdles that you have encountered along the way?
I personally think that there are more hurdles in Travel Photography than in any other form of photography. For starters, it’s quite expensive. So there’s that. Then you might find yourself treading in dangerous and unsafe places just to get the perfect shot. There’s also the issue of security when travelling to remote areas and then of course the weather is always unpredictable! All that aside, when your heart is fully in it, these obstacles become just but miner details that make your journey and the outcome even more adventurous.
What kind of DSLR do you shoot with and do you always have a camera with you?
When am not shooting with a Nikon D5300, I have with me a Canon 6D. Yes, I always have a camera with me. It’s the most essential item for me; especially when I leave town.
Which of your photographs is your personal favorite and why (what’s the story behind the making of it?
I took this photo a while back when a couple of my friends and I had gone camping in Maasai Land. We stayed there for a week and on our last day while walking back from our hike; I spotted from a distance, a Maasai herding his cows on a hill. As I wanted to capture him and the hundreds of cows by his side, I started running towards him trying to get as close as I could for the perfect shot. Unfortunately, by the time I got a clear shot, only two cows were left standing beside him. Nonetheless I was lucky to have captured it the way I did; a perfectly balanced-out piece of art. I consider it one of my most priced images.
Your 3 favorite places to photograph so far and why?
My favorite places to photograph are Maasai land, Watamu and Amsterdam. These places not only have rich histories but also conducive environments to photograph. Locals here are also always welcome to a photograph or two.
The one place in Kenya you’d go back to over and over again?
The one place in Kenya that I would go again, is Maasai Land, I have actually gone there twice and am going again next year for another expedition.
Which photographers influenced you, and how did they influence your thinking, photographing, and career path?
My inspiration is drawn from ‘creatives’ in general, not just photographers. Writers, poets, singers; people who chose to pursue their passion and are excelling at it. When it comes to photography however, I’m mostly inspired by fellow young budding photographers.
Individuals like Philip Kisia of Pelz photography & Annemiek Van Der Kuil to name a few, big names in their own right, successfully paving their own path in photography. I’m very appreciative of the fact that they are always at my disposal when it comes to feedback on my work and I can certainly attribute my growth to them.
My family and friends also inspire me a lot by way of their support. My sister Doreen makes a point to like every picture that I post and that gives me life.
What do you look out for as a result when taking your photos and how do you get your photos to speak that?
I always try to capture the mood of the situation and of the people in my focus. Portraying that moment to my audience – be it a moment engulfed in sadness, happiness or despair, that very instance in time, just how I see it, is what I strive to showcase.
What are a few tips you would give someone who wants to pursue travel photography?
Make certain that this is the path you truly want to follow; it will be quite a thrill – obstacles and all. Keep in mind that you also need to be open minded. Learn about other people’s cultures every chance you get and don’t worry about money too much. As cliché as it may sound, it’s not always about the money, when you want to do something and your intentions are right then it will all fall in place eventually.
Obanga standing in front of his Landscape and Travel Photography Exhibition at CUEA.
What does your next year look like in terms of places you plan to visit, and why have you picked those as the first destinations?
I’m looking to visit more African countries, probably start with Zambia. Before that though, I intend on travelling to Turkana and the North Eastern part of Kenya; those are the only places in the country that I am yet to visit hence why they top my ‘places to go’ list for next year ( God willing of course!). I’m very much into African history and would love to simply explore the continent and learn more from its history.