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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

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Glenn Guy, Blue Sky Photography

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Inner Courtyard_Angkor Wat_Cambodia

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

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

Here’s another old image, this time from a photographic adventure I undertook in 1992. The above mage is a detail from an inner courtyard at Angkor Wat near Siem Reap in Cambodia. The variations in tone and the repetition of horizontal lines drew my attention to this particular architectural element and determined the composition.

From memory I spent around 5 days exploring the area, including some remote sites 20 or so kilometers out from the main tourist area. I understand that today hundreds of thousands of overseas tourists visit Angkor Wat every year. During my visit the numbers were substantially less and I was able to wander through the various sites and, on most days, would have been lucky to see more than a hand full of other western tourists. The peace and quiet of these ancient ruins and the hot, humid conditions seemed to embed the locations with somewhat of an eerie presence. The fact that, while very much a diminished force, the Khmer Rouge were still active in the area only added to the intensity of the moment.

The original color image, made on 120 color negative film, was scanned prior to rendering into black-and-white in Adobe Camera RAW and Adobe Photoshop CS4.

For those undertaking a trip to southeast Asia including Cambodia, particularly Angkor Wat, in your travel itinerary is well worth considering. I eagerly await my next visit.

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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.

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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.

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Glenn Guy, Blue Sky Photography

Pic of the Week_Serpentine Gorge_Central Australia

 

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

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

Here’s a favourite image that I made a number of years ago and, except for one exhibition, has remained relatively unseen until this post. I came across it while hunting through images for a recent talk I gave on my life, thus far, in photography.

It’s great to think that the talk, and the work associated with putting the presentation together, re-introduced me to this and other images.

The image in question was shot at the end of a full day of photographing along the West MacDonnell Ranges near Alice Springs in Central Australia. I arrived at Serpentine Gorge, 100 km west of Alice Springs, late afternoon and climbed atop a rocky outcrop just in time for the sunset. As you can see the view was spectacular and a privilege to behold.

Important to indigenous people as a resting place for the Rainbow Serpent, the gorge seemed imbued with power. I descended and followed the path, framed by Red River Gums and ancient rock, back to the car in the eyrie near dark. The sense of pervading quiet was intense and stayed with me for some time after I’d left the Gorge.

Central Australia remains one of my favourite places and is rich in photographic opportunities. I recommend it to anyone interested in landscape photography and a taste of the ‘Other Australia’.

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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.

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Glenn Guy, Blue Sky Photography   

Buddha Statue_Mihintale_Sri Lanka

 

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

Hasselblad 500CM camera and Hasselblad 80mm f2.8 Plannar lens with Kodak Ektacolor Gold 160 film

Situated on a rocky outcrop, just 11 km north east of Anuradhapura, Mihintale is of enormous spiritual significance to the Sinhalese as the place where Buddhism originated in Sri Lanka.

The route to the top follows a 1,500 year-old paved road to a terrace, half way up the 311-meter hill. From there a climb up many, many steps awaits. Finally the visitor is rewarded with wonderful views and inspiring monuments.

This image was made with a Hasselblad 500C camera and Hasselblad 80mm f 2.8 Plannar lens with Kodak Ektacolor Gold 160 film. I used a Polarising filter to dramatically darken the blue sky. The result was quite intense with the near White Buddha statue standing out against the deep blue sky. I’ve previously sold the original color print, which I’d hand printed in the darkroom to 16″x16″ (40x40cm) in size, through exhibitions. Today I decided to revisit the image and explore other forms of representation.

I employed Adobe Photoshop CS3 to convert the original color image into black-and-white. I wanted to increase the graphic nature of the image and enhance the luminance of the statue. The outcome is similar to what would have been achieved with black-and-white film and a deep red filter. The red filter passes (lightens) its own color and blocks (darkens) the other primary (blue and green) colors. As a result the already deep blue sky is rendered almost black.

Travel can be  seen as an attempt to escape from the difficulties associated with one’s own life. From my experience this is not always the case. Nothing induces concentration or inspires memory like an alien landscape or a foreign culture.

Romantics believe that it is possible to lose yourself in an exotic place. My experience, possibly brought on be the stresses of an alien environment or the repetitive physical effort associated with a climb, is somewhat different. I feel an intense nostalgia, a harkening back to an earlier stage in life. But this does not happen at the exclusion of the exotic present. What makes the whole experience vivid, and sometimes thrilling, is the juxtaposition of the present and the past: a particularly happy childhood memory re-visited from a mountaintop, or in those moments of intense quiet between the madness of a local train or bus ride.

To really live is to be engrossed in the moment. Do we travel to learn and, thereafter, contribute, or to shop duty free?

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Glenn Guy, Blue Sky Photography

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