It is time to take a breather and reflect on the year gone by. 2016 was a very busy time with 15 international trips to all corners of the globe including Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Romania, Sardinia, & Botswana. I thank everyone who has been a part of these photographic adventures, and I hope that we will have an equally fulfilling time in 2017. Here is a selection of 15 of some of my favorite images, one from each trip.
Rajasthani Mystics Running through Hot Coals, India
Receding Wave and Calved Ice on Black Beach, Iceland
Woman in a Chador Walking Past a Mural of Ayatollah Khomeini, Iran
Man Walking over Puddle During Easter Procession, Guatemala
Plaza de España at Dusk, Spain
Portrait of Alessia in Traditional Dress of the Village of Tresnuraghes, Sardinia
Elderly Woman Cutting Grass with a Sickle for Animal Food, Romania
Travel Photographer of the Year Competition
I am happy to say that, after 6 years as a Finalist, the image above, from one of our 2016 tours to Romania, was chosen as the Best Single image in a Portfolio "Mankind" in the 2016 Travel Photographer of the Year (TPOTY) (see above). Another, photographed in a bakery in Viñales, Cuba was Highly Commended in the One Shot Category, "Shaped by Light" (see at the end of this post).
Farm Workers Loading Fresh-cut Hay on to a Horse-drawn Cart, Romania
Gelati Monastery Interior Showing Medieval Frescoes, Georgia
St Blaise’s Church and the Cathedral at Dusk, Croatia
Young Golden Eagle Hunter Holding his Bird, Mongolia
Man Grinding Millet to Make Flour for Chapatis, India
A Bride Leaves and a Bride Exits from the Pahlavon Mahmud Mausoleum, Uzbekistan
Male Cheetah Using a Tree as a Lookout, Botswana
Bathing Huts at St James Reflected in a Tidal Pool, South Africa
The Cake Decorator, Cuba
Travel Photographer of the Year Competition
"The Cake Decorator" - 2016 Travel Photographer of the Year (TPOTY), Highly Commended One Shot, "Shaped by Light"
You know sometimes you find an image that you really love…at the time, then, when you go back and look at your files a year or two later, you see something else that really jumps out, that trumps your initial selection. Well, for me this is one of those times. Initially I had chosen the image above as my "hero". It was the expression of intense devotion on the woman's face that got me. I ignored the rest…until now more that 2 years later.
Below are my edits from that particular shoot and now there is only one image that stands out amongst all of them. My initial selection is too cluttered and the people in the back merge with the subject. Can you guess which image is my new champion? My choice is below.
This image shows more of the setting, there is still a lot of emotion in the face of the woman who is performing her bathing ritual, but it is the apparent dispassion of the two ladies in conversation behind her that seals it for me — I wish the guy in the back had not raised his arm but I can live with it. What do you think?
I was going through my files looking for an image from the 2013 Maha Kumbh Mela when I came across this one. I liked the chaos of the hands and arms, as well as the bold colors, but what was it all about? What was going on? Does the image work on its own as a graphic treatment of a moment in time? I don't think so.
Recalling that moment during the first of 8 days that we spent in Allahabad, while there to witness the world's largest gathering of humanity during the Maha Kumbh Mela, I went back and looked at the set of images I had taken. They showed a group of women, one who seemed to be the center of attention in her role as a "seer", performing a ritual puja on the banks of the Ganges. From time to time the woman in the red sari would go into a trance state and start shaking her head while the others attended to her. Seen in the context of the story, this image makes more sense.
I spent 15 minutes watching and photographing this whole session. I had gained their approval before taking one picture so was able to move in fairly close and record the whole event with a wide angle lens. After a minute or so I was invisible to them. From the 80 images that I shot I have narrowed the results down to 16.
We have become obsessively preoccupied with sharpness! With digital cameras coming out with 50 megapixel sensors, where is it going to end? How sharp does an image really need to be? When is an image acceptably sharp?
Just go to your filing cabinets and remove a couple of slide sheets of images and look at them under a 10x loupe and you will see what I mean. These days we are used to scrutinizing our images on the screen at 100% or 200% (for the more obsessive) and, well, sometimes they do not look "perfectly" sharp. Guess what, if you print out a digital image as an 8 x 10, an 11 x 14, or even a 16 x 20, chances are that you will not really notice the softness.
The image above was made in a mix of pre-dawn daylight, artificial street light, and a cigarette lighter. I had the fellow move into the best possible position so that his body would block some ugly electrical poles, and then I had him light his cigarette. Photographed at ISO 2500 at f2.8 at 1/25sec chances were that it was not going to turn out perfectly sharp, and, combined with movement, that's the way it was, a little soft. The main thing is that I like the image and I will probably never use it larger than a full page in a book.
So be careful before you toss that image in the trash because it does not look sharp enough — it may well be acceptably sharp.
This article was given to me by a client, a GP practicing outside Melbourne. It is from Australian Family Physician Vol 44, No 1–2, January–February, 2015
It is off to Sicily again next Tuesday. Our tour will take us along the north coast, across to Stromboli, then around a snow-covered Mt Etna. We will be in Enna for the Easter Parade.
I just bought Mark Knopfler's new album, "Tracker" and I was delighted to see that there was a track called Lights of Taormina. We will be back in Taormina on March 30 for 3 nights so that seemed very serendipitous.
I have embedded the track in this post for you to enjoy.
Extract from the Pantone website…
Much like the fortified wine that gives Marsala its name, this tasteful hue embodies the satisfying richness of a fulfilling meal while its grounding red-brown roots emanate a sophisticated, natural earthiness. This hearty, yet stylish tone is universally appealing and translates easily to fashion, beauty, industrial design, home furnishings and interiors.
The Versatility of Marsala
Jeremy Woodhouse is a professional photographer and traveller. He leads photography trips to all corners of the globe