Fun in Pretoria

In an attempt to take some great drone footage and a few shots over a part of Pretoria, my friend and I stumbled into a few interesting obstacles and had some fun in Pretoria.

A Semi-Professional Photo Opportunity

My day started off with a phone call requesting me to come and take photos of a fun day that was happening at a business park in Johannesburg. I had already made plans with a friend but I quickly rescheduled for later the same day, jumped in my car and off I went, speeding on the highway to catch the start of the event.

The event went quite smoothly and I took about 650 photos in a few hours. During the final stretch of the event I realized my memory card was full and reluctantly deleted my video I had made a few nights earlier for YouTube, only to discover my other memory cards in my camera bag.

The event drew to an end and I made my way back to Pretoria, rescheduled with my friend for an earlier time, picked him up and off we went to Waterkloof Nature Reserve.

Malfunctioning Drone and Dodgy Policemen

We made our way along the winding road to the top of the mountain, if that is what we can call it, and pulled over to get the first part of the drone footage and photos. My drone wasn’t connecting and then I remembered the settings were all on my old phone (check out my post on when my phone was stolen –>> Joburg Day – Bass Beats and Pick-Pockets). I quickly setup my new-old phone and finally the drone was in the air. Even though it was flying the video feed wasn’t being displayed so I landed and restarted the drone, the controller and my phone. By then we had been there for a good 15 minutes and it was getting hot. Suddenly a police car pulls up and stops next to my car.

Two very dodgy policemen climb out and stroll over to stand on either side of my friend. I stood with my back against the open back door and quickly obstructed their view of my drone.

They continued to ask very ambiguous questions about whether we are okay and if something was stolen. My heart was racing at this stage and they asked what my camera was for. I attempted to ease the tension and said I was busy with footage for my YouTube channel. The next moment one of them asks whether we are clean.

In my mind I think back to the shower I had that morning but I doubt that was what he meant. With confusion on both our faces they clarify what they are asking and want to know if we have any drugs. Shocked, I immediately say no and then they want to search us. By now I am freaking out because this may be some sort of a distraction to see what we have in the car. My friend reluctantly says yes but they don’t continue with their informal interrogation. The return to their car and leave. We leave only minutes later.

Relief spills over me and my nerves settle. That was a very scary situation and I am suddenly even more grateful that I had brought a friend along.

With my drone out of service, I take a few photos and we leave.

Wide shot of Pretoria
Another view of Pretoria
Pretoria view
View over a part of Pretoria

We decide to head to the Union Buildings to see what we can take a few shots of there.

Union Buildings Wedding Photos

People stroll up and down the many stairs as we find a parking at the Union Buildings. There is usually a lot of people but today it seems like there is much more. I notice small crowds of people gather as a few brides and grooms pose for photos.

Union Building in Pretoria
View of the Union Building

We wander around and I take a few photos of the area. There really are a lot of people and we cut the visit short.

Jewelry sold at Union Buildings
Union Building Stalls selling jewelry

I would like to return to both the locations to use my drone to capture some aerial shots.

The day ended up being a lot different than I had planned. I was able to get a few photos in before having to leave.

Things to Remember

After such an eventful day I have come up with a few things that I think is important to remember;

  1. Invite a friend/s – Now I know the situation could have turned out exactly the same if I had been alone but it is still not a risk I would take. If you are going to a place that is rather quiet with little to no people around, take a friend along and be safe. Besides, it’s always better with friends.
  2. Do some planning – If I had thought things through I could have taken the drone footage. I realize things happen but to drive up a mountain on a summer’s day in South Africa is not the best time have a photos session. Temperature really messes with your equipment and could potentially damage it permanently. Luckily my drone is working and has not suffered any damage. I had also chosen a bad day to go to the Union Buildings. Weekends are usually busy and popular tourist attractions even more so.
  3. Explore – there are actually so many places that could make for amazing photos, I honestly did not look into this. In any town or city there is an abundance of interesting places to visit to snap a few amazing shots. So next time I will do my research before driving up some mountain.

When was the last time police approached you?

Let me know in the comments below.

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