• Article Index

  • Learn Photography

  • Family Portraits

Wheel of Law_Lhasa_Tibet

Hasselblad 503CWi camera and Hasselblad 150mm Sonnar f4 lens with Kodak Portra 160VC Professional film

The Wheel of Law represents the teachings of the Buddha and the endless cycle of death and rebirth known as Samsara. The hub represents moral discipline, which stabilizes the mind; the spokes wisdom to dispel ignorance; and the rim training in concentration to hold everything together. The wheel’s eight spokes are also a symbol of the Noble Eightfold Path from the Buddha’s teachings while the motion of the wheel is a metaphor for the rapid spiritual change possible by adherence to these teachings. The Wheel of Law is often a central element in a Mandala, which is a geometric representation of the Buddhist universe.

The wheel or chakra is a significant symbol in Buddhism. The Buddha’s teaching are referred to as the Dharma, so the term Dharmachakra, which literally translates as the wheel of law or transformation, symbolizes both the Buddha and his teachings. When flanked by two deer, as is commonly the case in Tibetan Buddhism, the wheel symbolizes the Buddha’s first sermon at the deer park in Benares, known today as Varanasi, in present day India.

Today’s image features the Wheel of Law photographed on the rooftop of the Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet. The image was made with a Hasselblad camera on medium format color negative film. After scanning the image was processed in Adobe Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop CS4.

© Copyright All Rights Reserved

Glenn Guy, Blue Sky Photography

Monk_Sri Lanka

Hasselblad 500C camera and Hasselblad 180mm f4 Sonnar lens with Kodak Ektacolor Gold 160 film

Hasselblad 500C camera and Hasselblad 180mm f4 Sonnar lens with Kodak Ektacolor Gold 160 film

I photographed this monk during a brief break while travelling with my old friend Darren Cuttler (Cutts) from Colombo to Anuradhapura in Sri Lanka.

The monk was happy to walk with me to the top of the ancient stone steps for a view of the ruins and forest below. After a few quick frames it was time to get back on the road and continue our journey.

As well as the original color image I’ve included a black-and-white version for your perusal. Which do you prefer?

Hasselblad 500C camera and Hasselblad 180mm f4 Sonnar lens with Kodak Ektacolor Gold 160 film

Hasselblad 500C camera and Hasselblad 180mm f4 Sonnar lens with Kodak Ektacolor Gold 160 film

© Copyright All Rights Reserved

Glenn Guy, Blue Sky Photography

Detail_Seated Buddha Statue_Bagan_Myanmar

Leica M6 camera and Leica 35mm f2 Summicron-M lens with Kodak Ektachrome Elite 100 Extra Color film

Leica M6 camera and Leica 35mm f2 Summicron-M Aspherical lens with Kodak Ektachrome Elite 100 Extra Color film

Myanmar (Burma) is a very special country, rich in history with a sublime natural beauty. The peaceful and deeply spiritual nature of the Bamar majority permeates everyday life. Their Buddhist beliefs have helped them cope with a range of difficulties over the years, including the devastation caused by Cyclone Nargis that ravaged the country on 2 and 3 May 2009.

This image was made in Bagan, the country’s most glorious and well-known ancient capital. It’s a wondrous place for exploration and offers photographers a wealth of subject matter including architecture and religious iconography.

The original 35mm color transparency was made with the aid of side lighting, to emphasize the shape and texture present within the statue. The scanned transparency processed in Adobe Camera RAW and Adobe Photoshop CS4.

In all of my travels Myanmar ranks up there with my best. I hope to return to soon.

© Copyright All Rights Reserved

Glenn Guy, Blue Sky Photography

Temple_Sagaing Hill_Myanmar

Hasselblad 500CM camera and Hasselblad 50mm f3.5 lens with Kodak Ektacolor Gold 160 Professional film

Hasselblad 500CM camera and Hasselblad 50mm f4 Distagon FEL T lens with Kodak Ektacolor Gold 160 Professional film

Myanmar (Burma) is an amazing country, rich in natural beauty with a long history evidenced in a plethora of marvelous Buddhist shrines and temples. The above image was made towards the end of an absolutely wonderful day photographing around the towns of Ava and Sagaing.

The scene inside this hilltop temple was somewhat surreal: a seemingly infinite line of Buddhist statues, set amongst vividly colored surroundings. To achieve the large depth of field (DOF) required from the foreground right through to the background I needed to close the aperture down all the way to f32. This, together with the low light levels, required an exposure time of 4 minutes.

The original 6x6cm color negative was scanned. The resulting digital file was processed with Adobe Photoshop CS4.

© Copyright All Rights Reserved

Glenn Guy, Blue Sky Photography

Pic of the Week_Serenity in Stone

Hasselblad 500CM camera and Hasselblad 150mm f4 Sonnar lens with Kodak Ektacolor Gold 160 Professional film

Hasselblad 500CM camera and Hasselblad 150mm f4 Sonnar lens with Kodak Ektacolor Gold 160 Professional film

Built in the 7th Century A.D., by King Agbo IV, the Medirigiriya ruins are located in a quiet, peaceful setting thirty-nine kilometres north of the famous ancient city of Polonnaruwa.

While the above image is an old one, recently emerging from my film-based archive and given a new life on the desktop, it brings back memories of the day and the very act of making the image. I remember wandering around the site with my best friend Cutts (Darren Cuttler) and the trouble I took to compose the image with my camera, firmly fixed to a Manfrotto 055 tripod, with one of those silly three-lever heads. These days I find the ball head to be a smaller, faster, more flexible, and superior alternative.

The site itself seems to possess a haunting power. It’s off the beaten path and, therefore, somewhat isolated. I remember being taken by the quiet solitude of the site. It was as though its history, spoken through the ages, somehow remained in the present. I hope that the grim textured surface of the stone Buddha statue, contrasting with the lush green of the surrounding lake and trees, provides a sense of the underlying power of the site.

Sri Lanka is a very beautiful country. Despite a turbulent recent history, the people of this island nation remain true to their Buddhist beliefs. They are kind, gentle and compassionate. I look forward to re-visiting this marvellous country again.

© Copyright All Rights Reserved

Glenn Guy, Blue Sky Photography

Pic of the Week_Gompa and Pangong Tso_Ladakh

 

Hasselblad 500C camera and Hasselblad 150mm f4 Sonnar lens with Kodak Ektacolor Gold 160 Professional film

Hasselblad 500C camera and Hasselblad 150mm f4 Sonnar lens with Kodak Ektacolor Gold 160 Professional film

Here’s a favourite image from years past. After a breathless climb up a steep hillside I paused, with laboured breathing in the rarefied air, to look down onto this glorious scene. I was on my third trip to Ladakh in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, India and had undergone a gruelling 4-wheel drive drip to Pangong Tso (Pangon Lake) at 4,250 meters (13,900 feet) above sea level. The lake is 134km long and 5 km across at its widest point. Despite being salt water the entire lake freezes over in winter.

I exhibited this image as part of a Masters in Photography I completed at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) in the mid 90’s. Many of the images from that exhibition were displayed with accompanying text. The text for the above image read as follows: 

She was his first great love

He thought on his life

And wondered what he would do when she was gone

Juxtaposing the image and text together was designed to produce a somewhat ambiguous result. I believe that the function of Art is not so much to provide answers, but to ask questions and provoke thoughtful response. My purpose here was for viewers to extract their own meanings and interpretations and for the text to take them on a journey somewhat different to the one they would otherwise expect to undertake by looking at the image in isolation.

For those seeking understanding the ‘he’ in text is me, while the ‘she’ refers to my dear old mum.

It’s amazing how our mind is often concentrated on the most important aspects of life by emersion in foreign cultures, extreme activity, stress, exhilaration, exhaustion and beauty. I guess I was experiencing all of the above and that’s what brought my sub-conscious to the fore. What a wonderful thing to be amidst such awesome natural beauty and to be reminded of what is most important in one’s life: love and family. And amazing experience and a resulting image with which I’m very happy.

© Copyright All Rights Reserved

Glenn Guy, Blue Sky Photography

Quiet Amidst the Turmoil_Sri Lanka

 

Hasselblad 503CW camera and Hasselblad 150mm Sonnar lens with Kodak Ektacolor Gold 160 film

Hasselblad 503CW camera and Hasselblad 150mm Sonnar lens with Kodak Ektacolor Gold 160 film

Situated on a rocky outcrop, just 11km north east of Anuradhapura, Mihintale is of enormous spiritual significance to the Sinhalese as the place where Buddhism originated in Sri Lanka. It is here where, in 247 B.C., King Devanampiya Tissa was converted to Buddhism after an encounter with Mahinda, the son of an Indian King and the first missionary of the Dharma. Apparently Mahinda appeared to Devanampiya Tissa in the place of a deer the King had been hunting.

Today, the feeling of seclusion and tranquillity still exist in this lovely, relatively isolated location.

The stupa or dagoba, an architectural innovation imported from northern India, usually enshrines relics of the Buddha and other celebrated illuminati associated with early Buddhism. These solid hemispherical domes, which blend simplicity and serenity, provide a subdued but effective expression of the essence of Buddhism.

The above image features the 1st Century B.C. dagoba, situated on the summit of Mihintale Kanda, which is said to contain a single hair of the Buddha. The site offers magnificent views of the surrounding country‑side, including a superb view toward the great dagobas of Anuradhapura.

Due to years of civil strike Sri Lanka is somewhat off the tourist map for most travellers. It is, however, rich in history and natural beauty. It remains one of my favourite photography destinations.

© Copyright All Rights Reserved

Glenn Guy, Blue Sky Photography   

%d bloggers like this: