Top: World's first 360-degree Panorama of Ushguli, Svaneti, Georgia, Feb 24/2009, from 12 separate photos...

Saturday, 31 March 2007

Mill, Etseri, Svaneti, December 2000

The inside of a water mill used to grind grain into flour. These are common in Svaneti.

Sun through trees, central Svaneti, Georgia, December 2000

This is one of many pictures which I had rejected years ago when all I had to go by was a print from the negative. A SCAN from the negative, however, is a different story.

Gooseberries on watermelon, Samegrelo, October 2002

A watermelon seemed the natural choice of background for these delicate objects, which I found in the same garden as the dates. Again, minimal focus but enough to show the structural details.

Dates drying, Samegrelo, Georgia, October 2002

I'd never seen undried dates until this greenhouse in rural Samegrelo. So THIS is what they look like! So soft and squishy they could almost fall apart. They'll soon turn dark brown with a natural sugar coating and be magnificently ready to consume.

Peacock feathers closeup, Stony Plain, July 2006

How to capture something different in such a potentially cliched subject? Go for the macro shot again, and get some of the rich detail, not worrying about getting great depth of field. This allows me to concentrate myself and the viewer on what I feel is important in the picture.

Sweet pea closeup, Stony Plain, Alberta, Canada, July 2006

Tendrils finding their own way through space.

Flower closeups, Stony Plain, Alberta, June 2006

Two more of the minimally focused closeup. Sometimes soft is best. (G&L, these are from your deck.)

Backlit dew, nr Stony Plain, Alberta, September 2005

A seed head caught in a spiderweb, dew, sunlight. One could hardly ask for more. Never mind that 2 feet away cars were passing occasionally on a rural gravel road - I was oblivious to them anyway.

Flower and dew, nr Stony Plain, Alberta, September 2005

More of the minimally-focused macro idea, with dew as a bonus, a personal favourite of mine in the genre.

"Masquerade": Canada Goose, Edmonton, September 2005

This bird was AT the Edmonton zoo, but not OF it, in other words, free to fly away. I wanted to get as close as I could and still retain enough of its identity for eventual recognition.

Detail, Cold Lake, Alberta, Canada, July 2006

This extreme closeup is a good example of my philosophy in macro work. Hand-held; aperture wide open for a fast enough shutter speed; minimal depth of field thus; and careful choice of what will be in focus, because most of the photo won't. I'm subconsciously asking myself, How little of a frame needs to be in focus for a successful picture to result? Very little, possibly.

Canoeist, Cold Lake, Alberta, Canada, July 2006

Just a nice sunset jaunt on the lake.

Wednesday, 28 March 2007

St George (l) and Mother Georgia (r)monuments, Tbilisi Old City, Georgia, December 2006

The former is a new work of Georgia's patron saint by Zurab Tsereteli, replacing the banished Lenin statue in what is now Freedom Square. The latter is a Communist-era piece higher over the city, holding a wine bowl for guests and a sword for enemies. The joke is that she's saying to her guests, "Drink this all or I'll cut your throat!" - welcome to the subtleties of Georgian hospitality...
Ice fishing on the Neva River, St Petersburg, Russia, January 1993

They used to build winter trams across the river, in the 19th century. Can't do that anymore, I think, but it'll still hold people in mid-winter. Left, the Hermitage; moving right, the Admiralty, followed by St. Isaac's Cathedral dominating. Magical city - but you can't feel the cold, which was likely -20 C.
Kazan Cathedral, St Petersburg, Russia, April 1993

Living in St P from 1992-99 was a real adventure. A beautiful city, but the weather was typical of a far northern swamp. Countless visits to the Hermitage. Footsteps of Dostoyevsky's "Crime and Punishment". Architecture to dwarf the soul and then exalt it. Beyond that, soul-destroying concrete jungle, only the interiors of apartments betraying their inhabitants' personalities. I loved it and was prepared to stay for much more than the 7 years I had - but all the time the Caucasus was pulling my attention south as well.

Moscow, August 19, 1991

My first visit to the USSR coincided with the beginning of its end. Having gone into the centre of Moscow to finish a roll of film on this day, I found myself scrambling for more film as history unfolded itself around me. I didn't speak any Russian then, and had to ask others in the crowd what was going on. "Gorbachev's been taken ill," I was told.

I don't consider myself a strong journalist, but this was an event which required the role, so I photographed what I could. More to follow from these frames later.

"Gossip Columns", Vienna, Austria, May 1992

What have the decades passing under these figures given them to talk about? Plenty, I'l bet. From Freud to Fuehrer...

Mt. Kazbegi, Caucasus, on the Georgian Military Highway, just south of Russia - December 2006. I had been there several times and the peak - one of the most famous in Georgia - was hidden; but this time made up for those. The little Orthodox church is called Sameba (Trinity).

Once the initial flood of my new postings is past, I'll be trying to make a new post - of at least text, but hopefully with a photo - daily. This partially depends on Internet access, easy in Tbilisi but less so elsewhere. But once I get mobile internet I'll be able to post from anywhere. The photos, too, will be from many different places.
(See what I mean about Middle-Earth?)

This is Mestia, capital town of Svaneti province, an area famous for its many ancient watchtowers. From my first visit there, in August 1999. At the end of that year I moved to Georgia, and have since travelled to Svaneti many more times, becoming somewhat a Svan fanatic in the process.