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

Wednesday, 2 May 2007

A Few Days' Break

Dear viewers,
I depart for Svaneti tomorrow (May 3) for Giorgoba, one of the two great feasts celebrating Tsminda Giorgi (St George). Not yet having got it together with a new, bloggable cellphone, I will be unable to post to the blog (except possibly text, but that too is unsure) until May 8.

Stick with me! More to follow.


[Typo of the Day] Berber [Barber shop sign] - If I go there to have a haircut, will I be made over to look like a North African?
St George and the Dragon, by Zurab Tsereteli, Freedom Square, Tbilisi, December 2006

A replacement for the main figure of former Lenin Square - he was pulled down along with the Soviet Union. Some say we have just repalced one idol with another. I walked around the sculpture and shot it from many different angles. My opinion is that it IS beautiful, but perhaps it would look more dignified in bronze.
Sameba reflection, Tbilisi, November 2006

Tsminda Sameba means Holy Trinity, the name of the massive new Orthodox cathedral of Tbilisi, one of the largest churches in the world. It really is overwhelming and magnificent, especially as the work of a small country. I had to find a unique viewpoint for at least some of my shots; this particular angle is a reference point for a future photograph, once the scaffolding on the cupola is removed.
Local lad, Etseri, March 2007

The truck seemed as good a backdrop as any for his portrait.
Caucasus views, nr Etseri, August 2005

A couple more shots from the crazy across-Inguri, over-mountain trek which Sergo and I made a couple of summers ago. The whole experience - terror, wonder and insanity - is bound up together in my memories, resulting in some very mixed feelings.

Another pair, Dizi, August 2004

Tough old patriarchs with very different personalities. Both sets of horns could be destined to become pairs of drinking vessels.
Wormwood, Etseri, February 2004

Even worms, it seems, have their creative days. Either that, or this is a message warning about the end of the world, which unfortunately we will not decipher in time to save ourselves.

Tuesday, 1 May 2007


[Typo of the Day] Well, not really a typo, along with some other posts in this series. Another example of multilingual chaos, this one: A clothing shop called NNN in English. Problem is, those 3 Ns, transliterated into the Georgian alphabet, look remarkably like 666. Numerologically superstitious foreigners, beware! Do you want to dress like you're in or from hell?!

The posts start at the top and go down in this section.

It's Fractal Day 1 on the blog!

(Oh noooooo, he's discovered fractals...
Wot's a fractal?
From the Latin fractus, meaning broken, coined by the champion of the science, Benoit B Mandelbrot in 1975. Forms - in nature and mathematics - which display self-similarity on many scales. The best examples in nature are clouds. But fractals also occur in many other places, such as the human body's maximally packed venous, arterial and respiratory systems, and anyplace where branching forms are called for. The most widely explored example in mathematics is the Mandelbrot Set, pieces of which have been rendered on computers such that if the entire Set were at such a scale, it would be larger than the entire universe. Literally.
The seminal book on the subject has to be Mandelbrot's own The Fractal Geometry of Nature, which has had several editions.

I was delving into fractals in the mid-1980s: instantly fascinated with their forms (lavishly illustrated in the scientific literature), which must have spoken to my personality as an artist. Fractals are nature's structures. My own simplest definition of the word fractal is "made of itself". Mathematical fractals have the addictive quality of being calculable as large as your computing power and patience allows. I will describe several types on these pages, with some examples. And someday maybe I'll get to photographing some real-world ones as well...

(Now is perhaps a good time to point out that ALL of the pictures I post in the main part of my blog will reopen in a larger size (usually 1000 pixels on the long side) when you click on them once. They can then be saved to your computer as wallpaper or whatever. Enjoy.)

The aforementioned Mandelbrot Set, most famous fractal of them all, calculated from z->z^2+c on the complex plane. Enough of formulae: enjoy the pretty pictures. The complete critter in white (top), and 2 small details of the infinity to be found along its border (below). Made in Fractint.

Iterated Function Systems (IFS)

Another type of fractal. Some finds of mine: these are fractals which fill a square (Brazil and Fractint).

Monday, 30 April 2007


[Typo of the Day] Criminal Police [sign on their jackets] - In the past, it would have explained a lot. But now, in these battling-corruption years? The funny thing is, this one's an accurate translation of the Georgian. So there's another kind of miscommunication going on here.
Twins again, Ushguli, August 2004

Two more shots of the Dastardly Duo, in contemplation of mischief and in serious one-on-one combat.

Painful duty, Etseri, August 2001

Painful for whom? Well, the three injections he gave the patient didn't take, which is why he's gripping the chair as a tooth comes out under the gentle influence of a pair of pliers. At home, Nodar does it all.
Woodcutting, Etseri, August 2001

Nodar's brother Sergo making sure there's wood for the family stove, without which he won't eat. The family farm is behind him.
Off to work, Etseri, August 2001

A couple of Nodar's neighbours setting off to the fields, here under the local walnut tree.
View from Etseri, August 2001

Sometimes weather MAKES the scene; sometimes less is more.

Sunday, 29 April 2007


[Typo of the Day] Clot end Poker [Slot and Poker] - a cryptic enough sign to lure in the curious foreigner; the Georgian version seems to be correct
Mighty Hunter, Etseri, May 2001

Actually the prey was mineral water, and we walked alongside the donkey. But it makes an interesting shot.

Behind me is the sad ruined house which has provided me with so many natural frames for the Caucasus mountains through its door and windows.
Rooster, Etseri, May 2001

The famous bird of earlier posted photos, with a backdrop of the old part of Nodar's village house.
Milking, Samegrelo, October 2002

Nodar's aunt hard at work at home in her small village. We would often stop here on our way to Svaneti, arriving late from Tbilisi and staying the night with her and her son.

A close look wil reveal the all-important detail, a jet of milk. I also like the way that we get a complete cow only from parts of several.
Panoramas, nr Tqibuli, Imereti, October 2006

Views after we had left the main highway and begun climbing up to the town, looking out across the Caucasus.

I made these the hard way - separate photos lined up by hand in my computer's photo editor. Not easy, but it gets the job done.

Roadside vehicle repair stop, central Georgia, June 2003

On our way to Svaneti, a break for some extra car parts. Lunch, wine and song.