The inside of a water mill used to grind grain into flour. These are common in Svaneti.
Saturday, 31 March 2007
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Wednesday, 28 March 2007
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.