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Focus Lost, Beauty Found in Matelot


Last year, during an adventure in Matelot the worst thing happened. My camera suddenly stopped working in the middle of shooting! It was my first time photographing in the area, and I was excited to join the National Trust of Trinidad and Tobago for a day trip. Situated on Trinidad's north coast, Matelot is a three-hour drive from Port of Spain. We convened bright and early at 6:45 am at Mille Fleurs to embark on the journey. Now, I'm not exactly a morning person, but I managed to arrive punctually, equipped with food and snacks for the road. However, I realized to my horror, that I had left my phone at home! The thought of spending an entire day without my phone, especially since I love capturing videos to document my adventures, felt dreadful! I didn't go on this trip with friends, so I had to ask the guide to use a phone to inform my family that I'd be unreachable for the day.


As we hit the road, our first pit stop came two hours later at J&J Big Yard in Sangre Grande for a bathroom break. By 11 am, we finally arrived in Matelot and began a tour of John Lewis Nutmeg estate and an old dam. Despite the sweltering heat, I was eager to explore the nutmeg estate, anticipating some beautiful scenes to photograph. About half an hour into our walk, I found myself ahead of the group, happily snapping away when disaster struck – my camera malfunctioned, displaying a message that the lens was not attached. My heart began to race. I didn't even have my phone to do a Google search to see what to do! I kept trying to clean the contacts of the lens and the camera, but that didn't help. Sporadically, the camera would work. But eventually, unless I twisted the lens a bit to the side and held it, nothing would happen. I couldn’t control the exposure, the camera couldn’t focus well, and light leaked in. I was gutted!


At this point, a smaller group had formed, and we found ourselves on an impromptu detour with a guide to explore another section of the estate before rejoining the rest at the dam. As we traversed through shoulder-height grass, I couldn't help but marvel at the extraordinary experience, despite lacking both my phone and camera to capture the moment. I kept trying with my camera and only got a couple of shots now and then. When we stopped for lunch nearby at a guest house, I kept thinking as I ate about what the hell was happening. Did the camera get too hot? Would it cool down and work after this lunch break? Spoiler alert, it never worked properly again!


We finished our trip to Matelot with a visit to two more places, which were PERFECT spots to capture photographs for the calendar. Behind the site of the old RC church was a beautiful scene of small fishing boats bobbing in the water. I realized that the video on my camera was working, so even though I could not focus, I captured some videos as best as possible.


Our next stop was the river, where I gazed down from the bridge at the lively scene below. Families were enjoying their afternoon liming in the river, presenting countless opportunities for framing beautiful photographs.  My heart sank even lower. I told myself that it would be okay and that I could return sometime soon to capture all of this in the future.  Even though I knew I wanted to capture this trip for my 2024 calendar, there was nothing I could do about it, so I didn’t allow myself to be overrun by annoyance. I let my feelings of sadness and disappointment move out of my system quickly so that I could enjoy the moment and experience I was having.


Here are some of the photographs I captured on the trip. Some of the photos captured after the malfunction were salvageable, and I liked the effect the faulty lens gave them. Maybe I will keep the lens for experimentation. Luckily, it was just the lens that malfunctioned, and my camera was fine! Phew! I haven’t been able to replace that lens yet, but as soon as I do, I will plan a trip back to Matelot! Have you visited Matelot before? If so, I'd love to hear your recommendations for my next trip!




What a great title for this blog! - To my untrained eye, the photos look beautiful! I think I will go on that trip next time the National trust offers it - what a wonderful part of the country!

Ariann Mieka
Ariann Mieka

Thank you so much! I am glad you enjoyed the photographs! I liked them in the end as well! Even the ones after the malfunction have a cool effect on them! Hope you do the trip! National Trust tours are great!

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