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

Saturday, 3 May 2008

My most important photograph so far

A blast from my past.

When I was 11 years old, newly returned from Rhodesia to Canada, my family took a camping vacation from Thunder Bay, ON all the way to Vancouver Island, BC on the West coast, a long journey and a spectaular holiday.
There, I was given the opportunity to shoot a roll of film on a Kodak Instamatic camera of my parents'. The rest is certainly history. I'm not sure if that particular 126 roll of film still exists somewhere in Canada, but this is the only surviving frame from it that I'm aware of. 2 prints were made: a 4x4" and a framed 16x20" in my parents' house. I recently scanned the small print here in Georgia at 2400 dpi and cleaned it up; here is a copy of it full-frame, my earliest photograph, thus priceless to me.

Thursday, 1 May 2008

The 4th week of March saw intrepid Lasha and Levan from Rustavi 2 TV arrive in Ushguli, driven by their man Dato. But their car, despite being a Niva, didn't make it all the way to the village at all, prevented by a metre of snow which fell over 2 days. Instead it died about 7 km below, along with the car of the village's gamgebeli, or governor, who had met them en route. Both parties slept in their cars, then the next day a number of villagers went out to meet and help them. I joined the last such group, feeling very much like someone needed to quip, "Dr Livingstone, I presume?"

Back in Ushguli after the arrival, TV Week, top to bottom:

Dato (my host) shovelling snow off a barn roof to prevent its collapse. I did some of this too - hard work but one can see one's progress in a most satisfying way

Lasha and Levan, reporter and camerman, left & right; between them, Simba the champion Caucasus Shepherd dog of my host family

My boot for scale showing the thickness of the ice canal (up to 1 m thick elsewhere) which had accumulated from a small stream outside our house

Head of a horse which died

Lasha and Levan examining recent footage

They thought they'd stay for a couple of days, but in the end it was a week, with a 10-day power outage. Eventually I'll post a link here to the great little 6-minute national TV feature which resulted from their visit, but first I must add English subtitles to it. Lasha and Levan became my new friends, and I seem to have become a somewhat more recognisable face across the country, judging by people's reactions to me now.

A few more from the last couple of months. Top to bottom:

The festival of "making a big tower out of snow" - but it also has major religious and drinking elements

Wonderful folk art on a door, made of sheet metal

Doors made from threshing boards with stones embedded in them, on an abandoned house

My Group 3 (oldest) English students compiling the lists of words they'd found from one of the longest words in the language

Yes, we DID have this much snow fall - a metre in 2 days - while 2 journalists from Rustavi 2 TV were making the long trip from Tbilisi to Ushguli to interview me. More from their trip in the nest posting.

Wednesday, 30 April 2008

another w()rd: edge Go there, too. Fascinating.

the w()rd: Kevin Kelly

Check out his website, Amazing, enthralling, loads to take in. Just GO there.

Sunday, 27 April 2008

More recent photos from Ushguli, top to bottom:

Barbaroba (St Barbara's Day) in one of the village's 7 tiny churches

Where I took my bath roughly once a week

Having the bath (self-timer shot)

Tiny icicles in a strange place obeying their own rules of gravity, etc

Goats in a strange place obeying their own rules of gravity, etc