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Ronbulk Gompa_Tibet

Canon F1 camera and 50mm f1.8 lens with Agfachrome 100 CTi Precisa film

Regular followers of this site will no doubt remember several articles I posted recently regarding my first overseas trip in 1988. During the research for those articles I discovered a number of images that would otherwise have remained unpublished. I’ve decided to bring those images back to life and share the results through this blog.

The above image was made at Ronbulk Gompa (monastery) in sight of Chomolungma (Mt. Everest). My travelling friends and l made a quick visit to the Gompa, prior to taking the short drive on to Base Camp, where we camped overnight.

During processing I employed a bit of Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop hocus pocus to add extra depth and sharpness to the image that, together with most of the photos made during the trip, had been adversely affected by a camera fault resulting in significant overexposure. I also applied a sepia-like tone to add a sense of old world nostalgia to the final image.

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Glenn Guy, Blue Sky Photography

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Two Kids_New Year Celebrations_Lhasa_Tibet

Leica M6 camera and Leica 35mm f2 Summicron 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

This image was made during my second trip to Tibet in January 2000. I photographed these two kids in front of a professional photography studio where they’d just left after participating in a family portrait sitting. I made a couple of images of the kids and of the larger family group prior to being shoed away, with a broom, by the woman who ran the photography studio.

The original image was made on 35mm transparency (slide) film, prior to being scanned and processed with Adobe Camera RAW and Adobe Photoshop CS4.

I love children and very much enjoy the way they wear their heart on their sleeve. You know where you stand with kids, they either warm to you or they don’t. But if you treat them with respect and show a genuine interest in their lives you will be rewarded with honesty and raw emotions, the like so often held in check by adults dealing with each other.

The two kids in this image where a little unsure of me. And that’s fair enough, given that the entire process of meeting and photographing the family took only around 2 minutes. Add to that appearance, language and behavioral differences and I glad to have ended up with such a good image. It just proves that, as long as your motivation is pure, it’s worth grabbing opportunities when they present themselves. I’d also add that in photography, as in life, we make our own opportunities.

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Glenn Guy, Blue Sky Photography

Market Scene_Yangon_Myanmar

 

Leica M6 camera and Leica 35mm f2 Summicron-M Aspherical lens with Kodak Ektachrome Professional E100VS film

Leica M6 camera and Leica 35mm f2 Summicron-M Aspherical lens with Kodak Professional Ektachrome E100VS film

I made this shot at a local market in Yangon, Myanmar. The variety, color and texture of the goods caught my attention, as did the circular and triangular shapes formed by the baskets and the produce on display.

While I wanted to include the store operator in the image, she wasn’t too keen on being directed, or standing closer to the camera. Knowing I wasn’t going to be able to make a really interactive environmental portrait I was happy to make the shot, thank the lady and move on. While not a great result, I had successfully interacted with a local and made an image. My confidence received a boost and, as a result, I wanted to make more pictures of a higher standard. It wasn’t too much longer before I was well and truly in the zone making good images.

Look out for an upcoming article on how to approach strangers. This is particularly important for those folks interested in travel, photojournalism and documentary photography.

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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   

Golden Rock_Kyaiktiyo Pagoda_Myanmar

 

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

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

At just 5 1/2 meters high the tiny Kyaiktiyo Pagoda may not sound that significant. But, given its position atop a large gold-leaf covered boulder (known as the golden rock) and perched, delicately, on the edge of a cliff on the top of the mountain, you may begin to appreciate this truly splendid Buddhist icon.

The 10 km hike up the mountain ascends over 1,000 meters and is quite arduous, particularly when you’re loaded down with camera gear. I managed to get some of the way up in the back of an incredibly crowed pickup truck. It was exciting and I would gladly have taken the ride all the way if allowed. Maybe the experience that followed was meant to be earned, as in all pilgrimages.

Arriving just before sunset on my second last day in Myanmar and, despite the rush and associated fatigue of the trip, the site of the golden rock and the atmosphere that surrounded it made that day a highlight of my time in Myanmar (Burma). It is a most serene location and, despite the fairly large crowds, the beauty of the location and the devotion of the pilgrims was an experience I will long savour.

I was fortunate to be able to photograph the golden rock at sunset and, again the next morning, at sunrise before driving back to Yangon and my flight to Bangkok. After a short rest I travelled onto Laos and more adventures.

The above image is actually made well after sunset and illumination was provided by a series of artificial lights, such as those on the bottom left of the frame. The warm color cast by these lights further emphasized the golden color of the rock and pagoda. The exposure was quite long, in excess of 30 seconds. Naturally a tripod and a cable release was required to reduce camera movement during the long exposure.

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Glenn Guy, Blue Sky Photography

River Transport_U-Beins Bridge_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 lens with Kodak Ektachrome Elite 100 Extra Color film

I made this image from U-Beins Bridge in Myanmar (Burma) with the aid of warm, early morning light skimming over the cart and water. The texture in the water and the triangular shape, formed between the two white oxen and the driver’s hat, add a sense of direction and movement through the frame.

It’s certainly an unusual scene for someone from a relatively affluent country, like Australia, to have had the privilege to witness. I think what interests me most about this image is its capacity to examine dualities (opposites), both seen and unseen. Notions of rich and poor, traditional and contemporary, old and new, fast and slow, rural and urban, etc. An image talks to us by what is outside of the frame as much as it does by what’s included within.

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Glenn Guy, Blue Sky Photography 

Mantra_Lhasa_Tibet

 

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

Hasselblad 500CW camera and Hasselblad 150mm f4 Sonnar lens with Kodak Professional Portra 160VC film

I discovered this mantra carved onto a rock on a hill overlooking the Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet. Often carved as a kind of meditation, I believe the process combines religious and artistic practices. It is for this reason that I consider such pieces to be art rather than craft.

I cropped the original medium format (square) color negative into landscape format prior to rendering in black-and-white. I feel the resulting image better conveys the significance of the mantra as well as the dramatic beauty of the country’s harsh climate and terrain. I employed Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop CS3 to process the image. Subtle split toning was applied to warm the highlights and cool the shadows.

I’ve been fortunate enough to travel to Tibet on two occasions. In 1988 I travelled from Lhasa to Kathmandu, Nepal including a side trip to Everest Base Camp on the Tibetan side. In 2000 I further explored Lhasa and visited the recently restored Ganden Gompa (Monastery) at 5,000 meters above sea level. I look forward to my next trip, which I expect will include the new train journey from Beijing to Lhasa. I can’t wait.

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Glenn Guy, Blue Sky Photography  

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