My first foray into both going off of auto and night photography, came from a desire to capture the Takae Lantern Festival in Nara Japan in 2007. These were taken with my trusty old Canon A510, using ISO 400 and a walking stick mono-pod.
Stairway to a small shrine.
Fields of lanterns.
Festival go-ers in yukata (summer kimono).
Elaborate lantern assembly.
Since then I’ve moved up, a bit, in both camera and skill, but I continue to use a walking stick/monopod and do not use a tripod. It just doesn’t work for me to carry one around. I am still quite challenged by dark pictures, in part because I don’t use a tripod and in part because I use a “bridge” camera, Nikon P610, which has a relatively small sensor so it wants longer shutter speeds and it gets grainy pretty fast at higher ISO settings.
I keep trying because I think night pictures often give you a better feel for the atmosphere of a place than day shots. People are off work and going about their business.
A few night street scenes in China and Japan:
Street vendor in Weifang China
Street and pedestrian traffic in Tai’an China
Beihai Lu in Weifang China.
Street scene in Takayama Japan.
Street scene in Takayama Japan.
I am often disappointed by the moon. My eye sees it bigger than my camera lens does:
The darkness of the night and motion of the boats in these pictures of cormorant fishing in Gifu, Japan, meant that all the pictures were blurry. I tried a “painterly” effect to make it seem like art instead of just a blurry picture.
I’m not a morning person so I only have sunrise pictures from far away places (where I have jet lag). Here are a few from Kenya.
Four years ago I was in Africa, celebrating the birthday of this dynamic girl named Faith:
I wonder what she is doing now…
That trip was part of a leap in my own life…in some ways more than one and, typical of me, I landed kind of funny. Nothing broken but a little wrenched out of shape with a pulled muscle here and there.
The trip was an impulse…I had visited the village in 2011 and intended to go back in 2013 or 2014 in order to space out our visits. My son and I were part of an organization, somewhat connected to our parish, doing “mission” work in the village. We had visited in the spring of 2011 and James, my son, had spent the fall of 2011, after his college graduation, volunteering as a teacher at the very new Secondary School and managing several projects related to starting a community library and procuring books and supplies for the school and library, related to the Millennium Development Goals.
Going back so soon was not in our game plan, however, some folks in the group, most notably the woman from that village and her husband were going to attend a harambee she had arranged to support “girl child education”. I was not particularly interested in the harambee, although I support the idea of funding education for girls and doing so within the community instead of outsiders coming in and dictating outcomes, the politics that were involved left me frigidly cold.
However, the library was desired by the community and needed a boost at that point in time if it was to continue to exist. So I went, along with books and money to buy books selected by young adults from the community. (I sometimes think that fiction is the only way to tell the truth…someday, if I ever get things figured out enough in my own mind, I may try to write a novella about that “ministry”.)
Since 2012 was my fiftieth birthday year I decided to give myself a short safari as part of the trip. It was only three days, but they were the most incredible days of my life. It was also the reason why I bought my Nikon L120…and subsequently decided to learn more about taking better pictures.
If only I knew then what I know now about using the camera and composition…
The safari was time apart. I went on it alone. While my son accompanied me to Africa he went straight to the village with a hundred pounds of children’s books we had brought from the States, the books purchased and the librarian who had come to Nairobi to help select books.
The return to Nairobi was to get caught back up in the tangle of confusion that seemed to always be a feature of doing what we did in Kenya. The “jam” is a good metaphor for it. That is what they call the traffic there. The whole city seemed to be near stand-still as people inch along. Vendors walk in among the cars selling newspapers, fruit, etc. We once saw a hand drawn cart passing all the motor cars as it wove in and out of the lanes.
When we got to the village things slowed down, okay “speed” isn’t quite what was happening in Nairobi. Maybe it would be better to say “the stress eased up”. A very few images of “typical” village experiences:
Cows coming home.
Again, I really wish I had known then what I know now about photography and composition.
One thing I had hoped to do when I started this blog was to explore my African experiences and play with the pictures from that trip. To try and digest the raw experiences and find meaning. I did not plan on that being my last trip, but I have now drifted into other responsibilities and projects.
When you take a leap sometimes you don’t wind up where you expect.
The first wildlife I saw at Kichwa Tembo was these elephants:
I got really excited going through my pictures that evening to find that these same elephants were in the top photo, one that I took as the plane was descending. These photos are a few years old, but I thought the difference in point of view was interesting. I seem to have Africa on the brain lately, this is my third post in a week from that trip.