A post from my motherland - Belarus. It's personal and it focuses on my family and friends in the country of my birth.
A few years ago I created an eBook on working with photographs in Lightroom and Photoshop. I called it Understanding Post-processing and to my surprise, it was a huge success. But, perhaps I shouldn’t have been so surprised...
I just got back from leading a Within the Frame Workshop to India. We went to some of my favorite places–Old Delhi, Jodhpur, Bundi, but, a personal highlight was returning to the sacred and ancient city of Varanasi.
Vast desert landscapes, nomads with weathered faces and blue robes, who fit the very definition of exotic, lots of sand and lots of camels! These describe my past week or so in Oulatta, a small desert town and home to this year’s cultural festival of Mauritania. As has often been the case through my African journeys so far, the last few days have been overfilled with excitement and awe, but also disappointment and frustration.
It didn’t take long for me to be back to this fascinating country. It’s winter here and, everything looks much more lively. I talked about how much I loved the Fuji x100s in Istanbul and I was serious, so, I took it with me to Mauritania. This’ll be a very quick post, since, so far I’ve only had a total of 2 days of actual shooting anywhere. We’re off for a fairly big trip into the desert tomorrow though.
Istanbul is the city of one hundred names, incredible historical importance and, a heaven for street photographers. Fujifilm X100S is the next amazing thing that the photo-world seems to be raving about these days. I found myself lucky enough to be in Istanbul, with that very camera and, here are my impressions of both, the city and, the gadget.
There is a high threat from terrorism, including kidnapping. Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places frequented by foreigners. If you do decide to travel to Mauritania, you should exercise extreme caution. If you are in Mauritania, you should avoid unnecessary local travel.
It’s been a long time since I wanted to share this, and, today I finally can! I’ve got a new eBook out and even more exciting is the fact that I’m launching it through my new website Eyevoyage (created with a friend of mine). The name, I hope evokes thoughts of a journey with your eyes. I also hope that it’ll become the go-to place for aspiring travel photographers and anyone interested in travel and great photography in general.
A month in Morocco and I feel that I am only scratching the surface, but finally starting to understand how some things work here. After being greeted by pleasantly easy going places free of hassle and annoying characters in the early goings, we eventually made it to the "other" part of the country.
It seems that with time I am getting worse at this blogging thing. Life has been a bit of a roller-coaster ride over the past few months, so, that's my excuse. Anyhow, no time to dwell on the past. Moving on...
Ladies and Gentlemen! I hereby declare that I am a complete disaster and one of the biggest dumbasses on the planet. In case you've been wondering how I've been doing on my around-the-world-journey in my Landrover, well, here's the story, in pictures, as usual, though, they are not mine, they are courtesy of a talented young French photographer Julie Higelin.
I'm trying something different today. I've always considered that one of the best ways to learn photography is through looking at images and deconstructing them, or if possible, finding out the story behind them from the photographer. It is not so often that a photographer goes "behind the scenes" but I know that there should be some curious folks out there, who like me would love to see that kind of stuff.
Ethiopia is vast, it’s diverse and it is strikingly beautiful. Despite all the difficulties and the challenges that independent travel in Ethiopia brings, the country is an absolutely ideal place for motorcycle riding. I figured from the beginning that to truly explore this fascinating land over a longer period of time, a motorcycle would be the best, most convenient and most affordable mode of transportation. The only problem - a total lack of information anywhere on how to go about doing this, unless you’re not coming with your own motorbike. For this reason I have decided to dedicate a blog post to the very topic of riding around Ethiopia, from acquiring a motorcycle to what’s in store once you hit the road.
Natural light is the most powerful tool that we as photographers have at our disposal. The best thing about it is that it's free and available to absolutely everyone. The other great thing is that we don't need a boatload of expensive gear to take powerful images, once we understand how to use this tool, some of the images I've included as examples in this ebook were taken with my iPhone 4S (not the most powerful or expensive camera to say the least). No matter what camera you use - you can benefit from having a better understanding of natural light.
The fascinating cultures, the breathtaking landscapes, the ever present feeling that you are in a different time, a different dimension—this is what I absolutely love about Ethiopia. The constant feeling of being a human piggy-bank, the challenges in doing the simplest of things, the often occurring feeling that your new “friends” are measuring you up to see what they can extract from you—this is what I’ve come to hate beyond words about the country. I’ve been in Ethiopia for a bit over four months now. I know that many of the readers of this blog are photographers and travelers, some of whom have aspirations to come here. For this reason, I feel that I should write an account of sorts. One that is fairly uncensored and touches on the good, the not so good and the plain ugly sides of this incredible and incredibly challenging country.
In today’s world of technology and modernization it doesn’t make sense that there’s a place which lives virtually oblivious to that world. A place where ancient customs are still upheld strictly and where people walk around half-naked, with the little clothes that they wear being mostly those, which they designed hundreds of years ago. A place like that does exist and it’s called the Omo Valley. I had the opportunity to visit the area and to have a glimpse into the lives of the Hamer people by spending a few days in their village.
When you drink four chocolate milkshakes at a Western cafe, when you would rather chat to other travelers than take photos, when you arrive at a camel market, but don’t care about shooting anything and just want to catch up on sleep—that’s when you know you’re getting tired, getting close to burning out.
Dramatic landscapes, kind, warm people and photographic inspiration at every corner - this was my romanticized vision of Ethiopia. Perhaps this vision was what made me all the more disappointed and emotionally deflated, when for over a month I came across more rudeness, dishonesty and overall strange treatment than anywhere else I had traveled. It took time and a lot of luck to meet the right people, to finally find the Ethiopia I dreamt of, but I have found it and, it is A-m-a-z-i-ng! I'll give you a bit of a background story to put things in perspective and then, to the photos.
The climb takes around forty-five minutes and it is literally a climb using your hands and feet for the last part of the journey. Holes in the vertical rock surface are what you use to keep yourself from falling off and to get to the top. As The "Lonely Planet" guidebook says, if you're scared of heights, "Don't look down!" Having a panic attack or"freezing" here would not be a good idea.
Heat, huge crowds, continuous pushing and shoving, religious chants accompanied by war cries and the never ending tooting noise produced by vuvuzela-like instruments (those annoying things you heard at matches during the last world cup). This is Timkat (celebration of the Ephiphany) in Gondar. If you don't like any of the mentioned, this isn't the place for you. I didn't know any better, so I went.