A lazy afternoon in India

untitled-11

After a bit of a hiatus I’m back! I’ve had a few distractions since being back in London, but here’s hoping that I’ll get into the rhythm of posting again, as I have a vast archive of pictures still to get through that should really see the light of day, otherwise what’s the point of taking them?

I’m honoured that people have still been visiting my blog over the past few months, in spite of the absence of new posts. According to my stats I had nearly 500 viewings yesterday alone. So I figured that if people could be bothered to visit the site even when there wasn’t anything new to see, well then I should really start re-earning this attention by posting some fresh material!

So, I’m starting with an Indian picture. There is a nice serenity to this scene, shot in Madhya Pradesh I think. I feel at peace whenever I look at it. I remember it was late-afternoon at the time and still very hot. So everyone’s pace, including the dog’s, was very relaxed. I’m not sure why it seems to work in black and white – maybe because the cow was white, but it just does, for me anyhow.

My top 20 from 2013

As we prepare to say goodbye to another year I reflect on what has been generally a great blogging year for me. I’ve made some nice virtual friends; had some very encouraging feedback from people (thank you so much for taking the time to do so –  it DOES mean a lot); shared many photographs – some of which I am admit I am proud of; and I’ve ended the year with a revamp of the site which I think is a change for the better.

One of the positives of the new style website is that I’m now able to include more than one photo in a post. So, I have chosen some of my favourite photographs that have featured in the past year.

Here are some interesting observations I’ve made about them:

  • The majority were taken in India, 2 were taken in Nepal and 1 in Italy – which is about right when I consider how much time I spent in each country in the past year.
  • My favourite type of photography is of people and animals.

  • I don’t generally want the subject to be smiling, or even looking at the camera, but i don’t want them to be miserable either – contemplative, or peaceful is a common theme, or even asleep (especially with animals).  I somehow managed to catch a monkey looking pensive and a huge bull looking quite fragile.

  • I’m equally happy with vibrant colours or soft muted ones, but I like harmony of colours and an element of texture.

I hadn’t realised that there were these common threads so this has been an educational experience. I’m still undecided regarding my overall favourite but I’ve included my top three first (of the sadhu; the woman and child wrapped in yellow; and the woman in the doorway).

Enjoy them – and feel free to let me know which are your favourites!

(Just click on the first photo to scroll through them all at full size)

Bangles and horns

IMG_7696a

There is something quite endearing for me about the random pair of horns sneaking into this photograph. As if the sari and bangles and lady carrying things on her head isn’t enough to tell you this is a photo of India, I’ve included a glimpse of a cow – just to make the message loud and clear!

Happy woman in Madhya Pradesh

IMG_0513

This lady was busy making upala – cow dung patties – when I asked if could take her photo. As you can see from her face, she didn’t mind at all!

Incidentally, upala are are used in abundance as cooking fuel in India, and also to cover the walls of adobe houses. (The more I learn about the many uses of the produce of cow in this country the more I realise why these animals are considered so sacred – after all even their poo is a very useful product!)

 

Weekly photo challenge (theme of the week): Nostalgic

untitled-9a

This scene is one of my favourite pictures that I have taken on my regular treks while working as a photographer and trek leader at Banjara Camp in Himachal Pradessh, India, for the past month. Tomorrow I move on to pastures new, so naturally I am feeling nostalgic about the wonderful time that I have spent living and working here.

I think the solitary cow also represents how I feel right now too: I’m having a moment’s pause for reflection on what a wonderful few weeks it has been here, but also feeling a little bit alone in that gap before I make new friends at my next destination.

(Posted for the weekly photo challenge on wordpress)

One of many cows, Varanasi

IMG_8727a

What a strange experience it is when you first arrive in India and find yourself walking down a busy street with a cow walking towards you! I’m getting used to it now but it does feel very strange that these beasts just wander about doing what they want and eating the scraps that people throw out like some kind of portable compost system.

If you’re not playing dodge the cow it’s dodge the cow pat. And just to take the recycling process further, the locals turn these into patties that ironically look like beefburgers (as that is one thing you won’t find yourself eating in India seeing as though cows are considered holy and therefore not to be eaten). The little brown patties are then used as fuel, that cooks the food, the waste of which is given to the cows. Maybe the Indians are onto something…