Posts Tagged ‘bike’

One Year Later

May 20th, 2011

I know it’s been a bit light of late, but well… Today marks the second of two very special first anniversaries this week.

On the 20th of May 2010, along with a small group of friends, I hit Fisterra (or Finisterre). My Camino was over. My 900km trek – spanning 36 days of walking and totaling some 39 days – had come to a close.

On the 16th of May 2010, my 33rd day of walking, I entered Santiago de Compostella.

So this week I’ve been remembering so many of my wonderful experiences on the Camino and thinking of the family I made along the way. Not that a day has gone by without my thinking of the people who made it so magical.

Above, our Camino Family. Or a small part of it, at any rate.

There are many ways to enter Santiago. You can enter it on horseback, shortly after dawn:

You can enter it by bike, like these three matching ladies and their matching bikes here:

Or you could enter it on foot, which is what I did.

However you enter the city, you will be overcome with emotion. You will stop, in awe or shock or both, in the square in front of the cathedral. Perhaps you will stand in silence. Perhaps you will cry, because you can’t believe it’s over and because it is.

However after those first few moments pass, and you start meeting up with people you’ve met on the Camino, they will make way for joy.

On the 18th of May I departed Santiago and began my Camino to Finisterre. I was lucky. I walked with friends. That first night, I came across this entry written by a friend in a diary at an albergue in the town of Negreira. Brought tears to my eyes.

In the distance to the left is Cape Finisterre. The End of the World:

Our little family of pilgrims made their way to our agreed meeting point at the cliffs at the end of the cape, where we prepared for sunset.

After the sun had set, we set fire to the wooden dummy, dressed up as a pilgrim in clothes abandoned by pilgrims. We each tossed something into the fire. A symbol of our lack of attachment to material things, or of a promise to abandon a habit… As many reasons as there were people.

We have all since scattered to the four corners of the globe. And though I am quite bad at staying in touch, I have not forgotten. I miss you all.

Tonight I will be thankful, and I will celebrate.

More coming soon!

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Nice in the Sun

August 9th, 2010

Back in early April, I had the opportunity to walk around Nice, France for a few hours.

It was my first visit there since I was a child. I was lucky with the weather. The heavy rain of the previous days had made way for a day of sun. Although the sun did little to warm up the cold air, a goodly number of people were out by the beach enjoying the sun’s rays.

Here is a selection of shots from my walk along the beach.

More coming soon!

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Bangalore – Slices of Life – Part IV

December 30th, 2009

This is the final instalment in my series of shots of life on the streets of Bangalore as seen through my lens in the short time I visited it. You can check out the preceding instalments here: Part I, Part II and Part III.

This bike was seen on a side street off Commercial Street, propped up against a wall and left to its own devices:

Bangalore Bike

Cubbon Park is a beautiful, sprawling, varied and very peaceful place. Perfect for getting away from the hustle and noise of the big city. Everything seems hushed there and life seems to slow down to a more manageable pace.

Perhaps that’s why some sections of the park are lovers’ lanes. Everywhere you’d look, couples would be lying side by side in the sun, or sitting in the shade of whispering trees, enjoying each others company.

Lovers' Lane

While some relaxed in the park, others seemed to rely on it for their livelihood. Such as this group below which were collecting and bundling logs, possibly for resale:

Bundling

You can see portraits of some of the group here and here.

Below is a dragonfly seen outside the ISCON temple. The little park on the temple grounds were home to many dragonflies, which zipped haphazardly about their business over and through the throngs of faithful and the tourists who went about theirs.

Dragon? Fly!

Below is the view from the doorway to a lawyer’s office. Seen in a building on Brigade Street.

Law Books

This is a shot of the waiting area to the office of a palm reader and fortune teller. Seen in that same building on Brigade Street.

The Waiting Room

On the wall hang three religious icons. Interestingly each references a different religion Hinduism, Christianity and Islam. For some reason, Buddhism seems to have been neglected…

Tolerance

I promised you a story regarding an angry fortune teller. So here it is. I’d followed a friend of mine, who wanted her palm read, up to the fortune teller’s. Before he began his session, I asked him if he’d allow me to take a few pictures. he allowed me to, but asked that I only take the waiting area and not shots of him or the rest of his office. So far so good. He seemed agreeable enough to start with. But his attitude quickly veered. I wish I knew why he took an instant dislike to me. But I’m getting ahead of myself here.

So, I took out my camera and flash, and took a test shot and 2 others (the ones you see up top) before he there was a flare of schoolmasterly anger and he sternly demanded that I take no more pictures and it was implied that he’d prefer it if I took my business elsewhere. So I went off for a wander.

The fortune teller’s offices were on the top floor of a building. The single corridor on that floor opened onto a rooftop terrace. I had barely stepped out into the sunlight to see if I could find an interesting subject or angle for a shot, when I hear our friend the fortune teller waxing forcefully about how no-one was allowed out onto the roof by order of the management of the building. He berated me and demanded that I come back inside. His tone was quite unnecessarily gruff – he could have just explained things nicely but I didn’t wish to make a fuss and so acquiesced without comment.

Shortly afterwards, I left the building to go for a walk. On my return, I met the building’s caretaker in the elevator. She was kind enough to grant me unrestricted access to the roof. Armed with such permission, out I went. I managed to take a shot or two at one end of the roof and no sooner had I crossed to the other side than our old friend the fortune teller became practically apoplexic. I tried to explain to him that I’d gotten express permission from the caretaker but he would hear nothing of it. Instead, he continued to rail at me. He even threatened to have me sued by the building’s owner whom he claimed was a lawyer. Seeing as he was still reading my friend’s palm, I decided it was best not to respond and took my business elsewhere, permanently…

Here is a book shop, if one can call it that, set up on a flight of stairs and against an alley wall off one of the main commercial streets in Bangalore. I passed it twice – on two separate days. The first day, I took the first shot, but the book seller objected and I quickly moved on. The second day, I joked a bit with him and eventually, although he declined my invitation for a proper portrait of himself, he allowed me to take a picture of his setup.

I Am Not

I find it interesting that on the wall above the book seller in the shot above appears a graffiti declaring: I am not a criminal. I wonder who wrote it, and why.

Bookman's Alley

It was serendipitous that this police officer wandered down the alley in the shaft of light, just as I took my shot. I feel it brought the picture together and gave it added depth.

In closing, I leave you in this last post of 2009 with this shot of a beautiful little shrine to Ganesh. Ganesh, or Ganesha, is among the most popular gods from among the Hindu Pantheon. It’s easy to see why. He is typically portrayed as good humoured and he stands for wisdom, learning and as remover of obstacles both physical and spiritual.

Ganesh

Seen on the dashboard of one of the cars which took my friends and I around Bangalore.

One last note – I unfortunately didn’t have the time to include all the pertinent information relating to the gear and settings I used to make the shots above. I’ll be aiming to add them subsequently and very soon. Do check again later! Also, do to heavy workload, and a sporadic internet connection, the next post may be a little delayed. I’ll be posting as soon as am able to!

Happy New Year to one and all! Here’s wishing you a new year filled with good humour, occasions for joy, the good company of family and friends, success in your endeavours, peace and comfort in your private lives, faith and wisdom in the face of adversity, and may you overcome all obstacles with gentle ease.

See you in 2010!

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Bangalore – Slices of Life – Part III

December 26th, 2009

Carrying on from Part I and Part II, here is the next instalment of shots stolen here and there on the streets of Bangalore.

So much of life in Bangalore happens on the streets. More so perhaps than in other places. Hopefully, Parts I and II have gone some way as to demonstrate this.

This man seems to have set up a clothes stall on a foldaway bed by a construction site. Seen on a side street off Commercial Street.

BangaloreSofLIII-2

A building seems to have been demolished recently on this plot of land. Much of the rubble has been cleared away, allowing cows and people to adopted it for somewhat similar uses. Well, perhaps not entirely similar uses. The cows just chill and do whatever it is that cows that have no demands on their time do, while the men face the wall for some more … private business. Seen on a side street off Commercial Street.

BangaloreSofLIII-4

One thing about Bangalore is that there appears to always be heavy traffic on the streets. There didn’t appear to be any time of day when it eased up.  It was either bad, or very bad.

Here, a few workers relax and joke as they sit in the back of a truck.

BangaloreSofLIII-14

Interestingly, the vast majority of vehicles on the roads were either tuk-tuks or motor bikes.

Take a look at this long line of motorbikes, stretching to the end of the street as far as the eye can see. It’s not uncommon to see sights like this, or to come across a parking lot overflowing with motorbikes.

BangaloreSofLIII-1

And here, looking like they’re about to race, a line of tuk-tuks and motorbikes.

BangaloreSofLIII-7

I wanted to get more of a sense of the noise and chaos on the streets. So I turned to night shots. I thought the longer exposures required for them would help me get the feel I was going for. Unfortunately, I only really had one opportunity for those – when in a car heading to the wedding reception on the last night of my stay in Bangalore. I was riding shotgun, so that helped.

Here are a few of the resulting shots.

Bangalore By Night-4

A motorbike swerves around a car and streaks on.

Bangalore By Night-3

Bangalore By Night-2

More pictures coming soon!

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Bangalore Portraits – Part III

December 16th, 2009

Carrying on from Part I and Part II, here are a few more portraits of the great people I met in Bangalore.

I met this family when I stood watching a Sikh procession in celebration of the birth of Guru Nanak (more on that later). I love the way this picture turned out. The son resembles the mum, and the daughter resembles the dad, and the son and mum were facing the same way, and the father and daughter a different way. And yes, they were all sat on one tiny motorbike. As is pretty much standard, only the father wore a helmet, cause that’s the minimum required by law – the driver of a bike must wear a helmet.

Family on a Bike (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 30mm, f3.5, ISO 200, 1/320secs)

This man I met outside a fruit stall on Brigade Street. He’s a retired aircraft engineer who worked 35 years building and designing aircraft for an aircraft manufacturer with operations in India (the name escapes me). He stood proudly to attention while I took this shot. I understand from conversation with him that he’s dedicated his post-retirement life to his religion.

Retired Aircraft Engineer (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 24mm, f6.3, ISO 200, 1/125sec + flash SB900)

One of the ladies I met in Cubbon Park. She and her friends were collecting wood.

Wood Collector (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 35mm, f4, ISO 200, 1/30sec)

This is Mubashir. He’s a Muslim Indian from Kashmir who, along with his brothers, own and run a store called Asian Arts Emporium (located on 8 Cunningham Road). They sell some very fine silk (for saris and dresses), and all sorts of interesting arts and crafts. I visited their store twice with friends and made a goodly number of purchases.

We ended up having long and very interesting conversations with Mubashir. I particularly enjoyed our conversations about Islam. It’s a shame that Islam as it should be: one of peace, faith, humility, dignity in the face of adversity and enduring human kindness; does not seem to appeal to the popular media. That’s why the patience and warmth of people like Mubashir is important.

The conversations we had with Mubashir also brought the sheer breadth and variety of India to the fore – he doesn’t speak Kannada, the prevalent language in Bangalore, an requires a translator when dealing with Bangaloreans. The sheer number of languages and dialects spoken in India is staggering. You can find out more here.

Mubashir (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 56mm, f5, ISO 200, 1/60sec + flash SB900)

This man encouraged the mapseller to stand for her portrait and then happily agreed to stand for his own.

The Mapseller's Cheerleader (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 56mm, f8, ISO 200, 1/50sec + flash SB900)

This woman appeared silently while I stood at the gateway to a temple on a street off Commercial Street taking pictures of the temple grounds within. She allowed me to shoot the temple, even invited me in to do so. However, I didn’t wish to intrude and so remained at the gate to snap a few shots. I then asked her if I could take her portrait. She graciously acquiesced, but remained at distance. I was struck by the peace in her kind eyes.

The Temple Keeper (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 135mm, f5.6, ISO 1000, 1/80sec)

This here is The Park Hotel‘s one and only Raja Gopal. I thought of rendering this picture in black & white. But I liked the colour of his dastaar (Sikh headdress).

Raja! (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 65mm, f5.6, ISO 200, 1/80sec)

Meet the Liftman. This fine chap took me on a few rides up and down in the elevator of a building off Brigade Street.

Elevator Man (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 24mm, f8, ISO 200, 1/100sec + flash SB900)

More pictures coming soon!

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Bangalore Slices of Life Part II

December 12th, 2009

Carrying on from Part I, here are some more shots stolen here and there from the streets of Bangalore.

I came across this scene in a side street off Commercial Street. The woman is sitting in a pile of trash, out of the sun, while the dog lay sunning itself in the middle of the narrow street.

The Lady & the Tramp  (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 56mm, f4.8, ISO 200, 1/400secs)

A fruit stall. Taken while the fruit seller prepared the salad for the drum sellers whose portrait you can see here.

The Mobile Fruit Stall  (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 36mm, f4, ISO 200, 1/800secs)

Some places have a newspaper stand every few meters. Others have telephone boxes. Bangalore has fruit sellers. Some have stalls, others drive carts, and yet others bikes…

Fruit Selling  (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 44mm, f4.2, ISO 200, 1/1250secs)

The finest transportation known to man:

Tuk-Tuk! (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 24mm, f3.5, ISO 200, 1/640secs)

Seen in Cubbon Park.

Reaching for the Sun  (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 24mm, f5.6, ISO 200, 1/640secs)

Seen at a crossing.

MotoCross  (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 70mm, f5, ISO 200, 1/640secs - HDR)

This is High Point Tower. Not exactly very tall, is it?

High Point *cough*  (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 24mm, f3.5, ISO 200, 1/3200secs)

I liked the bright red of the sheet in front of the stall.

Snacking Red  (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 24mm, f3.5, ISO 200, 1/80secs)

This Tuk-Tuk was rolled over on its side by its driver, who lay underneath fixing it while a colleague looks on.

Tuk-Tuk Takes a Dive  (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 90mm, f5.3, ISO 200, 1/1000secs)

The very beginning of Commercial Street. Somebody seems to have forgotten to take their rubble with them once done demolishing whatever it was they were demolishing. Instead, they left the pile of rocks and dirt in the middle of the street… I waited for the bike to flit into the frame before snapping the shot.

Biker & Rubble  (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 24mm, f8, ISO 200, 1/400secs)

Seen at a fruit stand on Brigade Street:

Fruity  (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 135mm, f8, ISO 200, 1/100secs)

I was struck by the incongruity here. Trash piled up on the sidewalk and overflowing onto the street, while nearby an empty bin proudly displays an emblem of consumerism and globalisation.

Trashed  (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 48mm, f8, ISO 200, 3 exposures - HDR))

Matching Coconuts. For some reason, I don’t think the term “Matching Centre” in India has the same connotations as in the West. Of course, I could be mistaken…

Matchmaker  (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 24mm, f8, ISO 200, 1/250secs)

More pictures coming soon!

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