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Thursday, 31 December 2015

The year of ... taking pictures of creatures.

Travel has been severely curtailed over the last 12 months but we still managed a fantastic trip to Sri Lanka over our long summer break and a lounging time on a beach in Goa . There haven't been many blog updates so I'm squeezing in as many as I can in these last few days of 2015.

Here, some creatures I photographed this year, some wild, some pets, some representations and some of them, undeniably, food:

squirrel, sri lanka, giant, with jackfruit for scale

The Grizzled Giant Squirrel of Sri Lanka, it's a big squirrel as you can see from the jackfruit.

squirrel, wall, asian, cute, rodent, common

The non-grizzled normal squirrel of Sri Lanka and India.  One of the world's cutest rodents.

An elderly Tusker taking an evening stroll.

pet dogs, two, autorickshaw, tuk-tuk, pets, sri lanka
A pair of self-important dogs in a personalised Auto-rickshaw.

Naive art, advertising, eggs, chickens, painting sri lanka
 A chicken on tip-toe raining eggs

tuna, fresh, market, sri lanka,
Tuna on sale in a seaside fish market.

Wednesday, 30 December 2015

The year in which someone got his name nearly right

The Man's name is "Stephen".  He's quite specific about that, not Steve, or Stevie or Stevo, it's "Stephen".  I support that, you should be called your name of choice and not have to put up with other peoples' interpretation or preferences of it.

He likes his spelling to be right too, it's with a "ph" not a "v".  So, when he books anything he always says "Stephen with a ph" and recently he got just that.

Bloody brilliant!

The year ... of the determined pigeons

I am very fortunate.  I live on the 29th floor of a tower block and balconies only start on the 29th floor.  It's  a precious piece of private outdoor space where I have a couple of chairs, a few plants, some lanterns and some very determined squatters.

 I started hearing them, cooing and billing and saw them gathering a few twigs together in a planter.  I shooed them off, I even, around Holi, squirted them with a handy water pistol.  To no avail, within a few days these appeared:

Pigeons, it seems, have minimalistic nesting requirements.

They settled in, one during the day, the other at night.  A few days later the eggs disappeared crows I expect.

And so the cycle began, fluttering and billing, a few more leaves and a couple of eggs would appear only to be gone again.  This has happened five times to date and still they return to the same spot.

Currently, there's a pair of eggs which have been sat on for nearly two weeks , a record and I am rather hoping there will be squabs- but one of them is cracked.  They may not be the brightest birds out there but you have to hand it to them for their bloody mindedness.

This year ... was the year of the Cigar Box Guitar(s)

The Man's a pianist and he likes to play the Blues.  This year he decided he would like to play the Blues even more on a guitar made from a cigar box.   So he got one, then another one and somehow, he ended the year with four of them.

The one in front is not like the others, it's made from a wine box and is, apparently, the bass guitar.

So now when we travel, so does one of the guitars.  The best place to play them, so I've been told, is barefoot on a porch with something nice to sip.   He's happy, I'm happy and so long as he doesn't plug in the little travel amp, so are the neighbours.

This is the year ... I hosted a cat

I've been remiss in updating the blog this year, but, in a mad dash to make up for it, I'm trying to fill in the blanks.

A most beautiful cat and sweet tempered with it.  Yet every single time I tried to take a picture I got a look that would freeze your soul.

Despite the look of unalloyed hatred ... this was the year I hosted my most glamourous house guest ever.

Thursday, 24 December 2015


poverty, child, christmas, mumbai

I don't go seeking the "picturesque poverty" shots.  I usually avoid them. I don't want to invade the privacy of people who have so little of it to start with.  This was an accidental picture, I was trying to capture only the line of Christmas tat on sale but sometimes life just jumps up and slaps you in the face.

Monday, 14 December 2015

Seeing sights

There's a lot to see in Mumbai and here's a picture of someone doing their best to see a lot of it.

mumbai, sightseeing, boy, goods carrier, green

Sunday, 13 December 2015

Faces on Oriental Buildings

#flora fountain #mumbai #gothic architecture "fort

I was taking a wander around the Fort area of Mumbai, one of my favourite spots for Gothic architecture.  I stopped off to say "hello" to the Flora Fountain.

Oriental Buildings, MG Road, Fort, Mumbai, Bombay, India

Nearby, sits the impressive Oriental Buildings, originally a school and fully armed with spires, intricate carved borders and arched windows,

It has three carvings of Dead White Men which I zoomed in on to get a closer look.

three carved portraits, Oriental Buildings, Mumbai

The centre one looks Shakespearean but I have no idea, and can't find out, who the other two are.  Any ideas out there?

Thursday, 12 November 2015

Camera experiment

I'm spending Diwali on a beach, relaxing and enjoying the break.  I still wake ridiculously early, 5am is the norm.  I decided to spend some of this time experimenting with slow shutter release and low light.  This is what I ended up with:

I'm quite pleased with the effect.

Monday, 9 November 2015

Beach Party Animals

Indian beaches are working beaches.

You'll find fisherfolk landing catches, cows grazing or just wandering and the local dogs marking out their territory. On the more tourist developed beaches you'll find hawker selling bedsheets, bangles and clothes.  Almost everywhere you'll find food and drinks on offer.

it's less likely that you'll find horses, but my beach of choice for Diwali has seven of them that happily mingle with the tourists and make the effort to appear at sunset for photo opportunities.

Monday, 2 November 2015

Cow Donation Box

At my local pharmacy this wonderful thing has appeared.  It's a cow and calf in a perspex box.  The cow is strewn with Gods and Sages and sporting a delightful earring and the best eyelashes I've ever seen.
cow holy india collecting donation box

I pushed aside the pouch of prunes and the jar of energy supplement, to add a few notes by way of a modeling fee.  I'm not entirely sure what I've donated to, cow care I think.  I couldn't read the script and was too bedazzled by the bovine beauty to think about photographing the words for later translation.

It's the prettiest cash cow I've ever seen.

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

On Three Wheeled Mobile Temples and Colourful Feet

temple mumbai mobile wheels travelling

On a quiet side street I heard music, chanting and tinkling bells and caught the aroma of incense.  Nothing unusual in India, but this time it was coming from a mobile, motorised shrine.  I hadn't been up close and personal to one before, it was delightful.

I dropped a few rupees in by way of thanks for a cheering sight, sound and smell.

It was only after looking at the picture closely, that I fully realised how striking the sari on the woman was.  I've finally become accustomed to Indian colours as evidenced by my feet:

They've got a lot brighter since I moved to Mumbai.

Sunday, 18 October 2015


I like markets, I like the busy buzz of them, the smells and sounds and of course, the sights.  I particularly like that I can usually wander around markets and be largely ignored because people are too busy going about their business to pay any attention to a strange foreigner with a camera.

Here's a recent market picture.  There's a lot I like about it.  The dark interior full of fancy dress materials, a rack of sari blouses hanging up ready for collection.  Meera's beauty salon being given a little corner of the shop sign and a nice bit of greenery being given a table all to itself.  The two tailors taking in the sights and entirely oblivious of me and the arrow and label pointing to the hub of the tailoring business just in case you couldn't work out who did the sewing.

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Return to the stamping ground

I was horrified to realise it was more than a year since I updated this blog.  I've not been out and about taking pictures as often as before for a variety of reasons but this weekend I charged up the camera and headed down to Colaba.

It took a bit of time to get back into the swing of things but, I'm glad to report, Mumbai is still as photogenic as ever.

Colaba Causway, home to stalls selling all kinds of touristic and fashion items.  I seldom buy but there are very few times I wander through here without seeing something I want to photograph.  In this case; wooden fabric stamps.