Candid Life Photography: Blog en-us (C) Candid Life Photography (Candid Life Photography) Wed, 12 Feb 2014 00:53:00 GMT Wed, 12 Feb 2014 00:53:00 GMT Candid Life Photography: Blog 120 120 2013 Activity Africa!

January 12 we flew to Cape Town, arriving early morning on the 14th.  We toured Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was jailed for 18 years.  The entrance to the island harbour was lined with thousands of cormorants, and I got some great shots of them flying as well as some of amazing gulls unlike those I'm used to.  On the 17th we flew north to Botswana to two camps, the Savuti Safari Lodge, where heavy rains had filled a dry riverbed treating us with views from our cabin of elephants watering, and then on to the Camp Okavango on the Okavango Delta, a 1,600 km sq delta where a river from Angola disburses and evaporates!  We followed this with a four day trip aboard the Zambezi Queen for river safaris, then finally to Victoria Falls, mainly to get quite wet on a warm sunny day.  This route is rich in large wildlife, and I have posted new photos to the Wildlife and Travel galleries, as well as to Candid Portraits.


In March we boarded a ship in Buenos Aires to travel north up the east coast of S. America with stops in several cities along the way.  North of Rio 150 km off the coast we were joined by a large flock of masked boobies, who were fishing for flying fish leaping out of the water to escape the ship.  they  remained all day, providing excellent opportunities for photographs.  When the ship got to the Amazon it turned left, and traveled up river 1,100 km to Manaus, Brazil.  Birds were often seen, although often the river was 50 km wide, and the water level very high, 35 feet above low. Submerged trees drew oxygen from the water, which also had a high PH level, and with a scarcity of fish there were few predators present.  Other than some wild pigs, all I got of large animals were a pair of iguana in trees, feeding on the leaves, and a pair of sloths that resembled furry hammocks between bows.

Loire Valley!

May took us to France, and a tour of the Loire Valley.  We tasted some fine wine, and photographed amazing palaces and castles.  We concluded the trip with a visit with some Swiss friends near Lausanne.  

Nordic Countries!

We spent a few days in Iceland in June, then travelled to the Faroe Islands, the Shetland Islands and Norway, before finishing in Copenhagen.  There were lots of fjords at every stop, with nesting areas for sea birds, and photographed more wildlife as well as people.  The feature for me for this trip was when we waited at the top of a cliff above nesting puffins and one of them came up onto a grassy knoll no more than 30 meters from us!  Then a second appeared, and then another couple.  The 4 of them got into a serious discussion unlike anything I had ever before witnessed.  Amazing!! 


In late July we travelled to Mongolia for a National Geographic Photography Expedition.  This trip began in Ulaanbaatar and travelled to three Ger camps, 2 of them on the Gobi.  The NGM photographic expert was Ira Block, who provided an outstanding experience.


October took us back to Venice, for an Antiquities cruise to Croatia, Sicily, Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast and on to Rome.  


]]> (Candid Life Photography) Africa Botswana South Africa Victoria Falls Zambia elephants game farm hippopotamus hippos large game wildebeests zebras Fri, 11 Jan 2013 15:23:36 GMT
Children of SE Asia In January and February of 2012 we travelled through the 4 countries France, when they had occupied them, had called IndoChina.  We started with a couple of days in Bangkok, Thailand, then flew north to Luang Prabang, the capital of Laos where I spent 5 days.  This included a boat trip up the Mekong River to a large cave where for centuries statues of The Buddha have been placed by Buddhists.  The river is lined with houses on stilts or on rafts.  The reason is that the seasonal fluctuation in river level can range up to 27 feet!  The most amazing thing to me was the character and expression in the faces of the children.   I've dedicated a gallery to photos of the children of IndoChina, representing less than 1% of photographs taken of them.  

In Cambodia we visited a hilltop temple overlooking the Mekong, whose grounds are used as a park, and it was teaming with school children and their parents, picnicking.  We visited a government sponsored school for traditional dance where classes were in progress, and in an open theatre, students were demonstrating their skills to a large group of tourists.  In villages the children came running expectantly when they heard there was a camera, and they made wonderful subjects, with expressions ranging from shyness and distrust to bursts of joy.  

We visited an orphanage and made a contribution toward its operation.  we learned the children there cannot be adopted, because of abuse of the system not too long ago.  Couples from Taiwan were adopting children at an unprecedented rate, and were putting them to work in factories at home.  The Cambodian authorities have yet to produce an effective way to prevent this, short of prohibiting adoption.  These children are trapped, and I saw them parenting each other.  You will see this in some of my photos.  Love prevails, and children adapt.  They are survivors, and the hope of their country.

The Mekong River is easily as polluted as the Ganges, although I have not seen statistics.  What I did see, and photograph in Viet Nam, were women regularly draw water to cook and wash with, while overhead a man stands urinating past her into the river.  Along one stretch of stilted houses I photographed children swimming in the river and playing under the houses.  When checking focus after downloading my photos, I zoomed in on a single child, and saw I had two consecutive shots of this possibly 4-year-old girl clinging to an angled beam while she squatted on a stout horizontal pipe, her pants down, eliminating.  She was smiling toward our passing Pandow boat, feeling no need for privacy.  Our culture is very different, but for them theirs works.  Their greatest need to improve things like infant mortality rates and general longevity is a clean water initiative.  They will not find clean water in the Mekong River!

Something I recently learned that shocked me was that, although most children are born near and spend a great deal of time in a river, the leading cause of death of people between 4 and 24 in Asia is drowning.  They do not live in a safety-concious culture, and few actually learn to swim.  A new but not well funded initiative is to provide swimming lessons to pre-school children, and to put into use small plastic swimming pools.  This program has just begun, and is at the moment sparse.

Their story is in their faces, and it is diverse.  The one constant I see is optimism and hope, which provides for them the first step in becoming contributors to the success of their society, and their growth as people of our world.


]]> (Candid Life Photography) Cambodia Laos Mekong Thailand Viet Nam children clean water drowning pollution swimming Sat, 05 Jan 2013 18:19:51 GMT
Travel - Northern India NIK_6807 Many of the photos in the Travel and Candid Portraits galleries were taken during a 3 week trip in northern India.  We spent a few days in a tiger reserve, and visited several of the major cities, from Varanasi in the east to Jodhpur in the west, starting and finishing in Delhi.

I couldn't believe the diversity in faces throughout the north of India.  People were interested to see their images if they knew I was shooting, and I wished I had a second camera to catch their delight when they saw detailed pictures of themselves on the 3 inch screen.  I wish my camera would shoot both ways, like my iPad.

The scenery was outstanding, as were the cities and towns, but by far the most interesting to my camera were the faces.  I used, almost exclusively, the Nikkor 70-200 2.8 FX, normally set at 5.6 to ensure I had lots of shutter speed, because I was working hand held, with VR in the Active mode.  In closer quarters on foot I switched to the 2,8 60mm macro, which is compact, light and very sharp.  

I found People in India to be very receptive to being photographed, to the point that when I shot a group of 20 workers manually lifting a 1,200 lb stone up a long staircase and applauded them on their success, they all wanted to be photographed.

Many of my photographs in India were taken from a moving van or bus - compelling scenes and faces just kept appearing - with the result they were taken hand held through glass, as in the example here of the mother and children.  The orange patch upper left is the softened reflection of a seat-back.  I use it as a compositional element, but let's keep that as our guilty secret.  ( ;-) 




]]> (Candid Life Photography) India faces photograph Tue, 25 Dec 2012 05:35:00 GMT