Chettinad, the name reminds one of tasty spicy south Indian food loaded with chilly and peppers guaranteed to set your mouth on fire. Ask most people and they will be hard pressed to point out Chettinad on a map. It does not exist. Chettinad is the name of a `group of villiages sourrounding the town of Karaikudi in the south Indian State of Tamil Nadu. Villages such as Athangudi, Devakottai, and Kanadukathan located in the heart of Chettinad have a large number of traditional homes. The Chettiar community who inhabit this region are a wealthy group of businessmen who made their money in banking, trade and business. Starting around the late 1800’s and early 1900’s their prosperity and fame grew and over time they moved out of Chettinad to larger cities such as Chennai and overseas to Singapore and Malyasia with the aim of expanding their business. Having hear so much about the lifestyle and the homes of the Chettiar community, I decided it was worth a trip to see for myself and make some photographs of a dying lifestyle. Armed with a X Pro1 and a 18~55mm Fuji f2.8 lens I set off. The Fuji X Pro has been with me a short while but I hadn’t really found my way around the various controls. Most pictures were are ISO 400 and for the dark interiors pushed to ISO 1600. I could not hav dreamed of using such high ISO on my now ancient Nikon D100…..
… more pictures by Ashok:
I thought I would share some of my experiences with using the X-T1 for 12 days in Iceland. I come from a full frame Nikon background and all the big heavy f/2.8 lenses, etc. I always shot in raw, adjusted in Capture NX and never used live view. The X-T1 has changed the way I work. I’ll outline some of the things I liked and disliked about the X-T1 and point out a few mistakes I made on the way. Hopefully this will be of interest to new X-T1 owners…….
At last count I had visited Iceland a total of three times, the first I was an amature photographer and went with a Nikon D60 + 18-105 lens, the second I had got better and went with a D90 +24/50/135 lenses, the last time was after I fell for Fuji and went with 2 XE1’s; 8mm, 18mm, 35mm, 60mm and 50-230mm lenses. I’ve blogged about my time in Iceland before but have decided to put this post together to keep it all in one place and show you some photography of this awesome place! One thing that keeps me coming back to Iceland is the quick changing nature of the weather and the raw unspoilt landscapes that greet you around every bend, as this was my third time out I was very much ready for what would be in store and some very good ideas of places I wanted to visit. All the photos here were shot on 2 Fuji XE-1’s the size and weight of these cameras make them great for travel and the image quality is just incredible, at no point did I feel the need for anything more that the gear I had and would be happy to travel anywhere in the world with just this small bag of gear…….
I haven’t blogged for a while now, but loads of things happened in the last couple of months. Couple of photo shoots, weddings, holiday, new website and a new camera… What, new camera? Oh, yeah. I finally said good bye to my Canon kit and got an X-T1 with a 56mm lens to accompany my X-Pro1 and X100s. Wasn’t an easy decision, but time will tell. So far I’m loving it, but because I have plenty of editing to do, I haven’t spent huge amount of time with it. My lovely wife and I spent a week in Tokyo in the middle of July and it was amazing. It wasn’t hard to fall in love with the city and the people in it. The following images are just a little preview from our trip. All photos were taken with the Fuji X100s and the new X-T1……
What’s a visit in India without visiting a palace? Right after the Charminar we went to see the Chowmahalla Palace which is located almost next door. There is a restriction you should be aware of: no professional cameras and tripods allowed! Good thing is that I neither had a tripod nor a professional camera with me. Just my Fuji X Pro-1. I was entitled to enter but I got a tag for my camera for whatever reason. It seems that though India is a paradise for photographers it is not the most photographer friendly country I can think of. But the people are great. I talked with this gentleman who restored the furniture of the palace. Before I walked on I asked if I could take his portrait. He agreed and luckily he did not smile into the camera but just got back to his work. A true craftsman! …..
On Saturday we went sightseeing. First station was the Charminar. A monument and a mosque, the landmark building of Hyderabad conveniently located in the middle of a crossroad. Our driver offered to play the guide. We gladly accepted. We still stood out of the crowd like pink elephants but I saw some other tourist too. A couple of young Americans. But all the other visitors were Indians. Their admission fee is 5 INR instead of the 100 INR for foreigners. There is no need to protest though 100 INR is 1,20 EUROs or USD 1,66. After I climbed some narrow stairs I enjoyed the view from above but what really caught my eyes was the beautiful color and shape of the building. I thought that it could be the perfect background for some street shots. I tried to avoid attention but of course that’s hopeless. I’m white, I’m tall and I’m one of the very view with a camera. It seems today everybody is taking photos with either a smartphone or an iPad. At least in this part of the world……
This project, which I first started shooting in May of 2006, was born from my observances of the sheer humanity, the spectacle of the beach and it’s denizens. The beach… Where else do we work so hard at enjoying ourselves? We haul half a truckload of toys, tents, chairs, blankets, fishing poles, pets, food–you name it, just to get burned by the sun, stung by a jellyfish, knocked down by a wave and scuffed by the sand. Then, we head home exhausted only to ‘wash, rinse and repeat’ the following weekend. Since I live in Florida, am a photojournalist by trade and love to photograph people, this project was a no-brainer: out here, this is where life happens. It’s a place that transcends cultures, social status, age and race. Strip a guy down, put him in a Speedo and you have no idea if he’s rich or poor. Ah, life is a beach. Correction: Life is a Florida Beach. The work below is a sample of my most recent photographs from the larger project that I hope will become a hardcover photography book in the future…..
Die Chinesischen Kollegen haben mich sehr warmherzig aufgenommen und haben mich auch immer unterstützt. Ob menschlich, oder auch fachlich. Ich kann ihnen nur ein großes Lob aussprechen. Auch wenn manche Arbeitsweisen und kulturelle Aspekte für uns doch eher fremd sind, so hat die Zusammenarbeit wirklich gut funktioniert. Und wenn man der fremden Kultur mit Toleranz begegnet, so sind auch diese Unterschiede sehr gut zu überbrücken. Ich habe das Gefühl bekommen dass beide Seiten eher Neugierig, denn Skeptisch waren. Ich muss gestehen dass ich mich im Vorfeld doch recht umfangreich über die Kulturellen unterschiede informiert habe. So ist es zum Beispiel, dass sich die Chinesen morgens nicht die Hände schütteln. Es gibt ein good morning und das war es dann auch. Beim Thema essen sind die Sitten im Land des Lächelns ebenfalls anders als bei uns. Schmatzen darf man, ebenso wie schlürfen. Es wird auch keinen Guten Appetit gewünscht, sondern einfach gegessen. Nach dem Essen wird auch nicht mehr lange gequatscht. Man steht auf, verabschiedet sich und fertig. Daran muss man sich schon erst einmal gewöhnen. Bei uns in Deutschland bleibt man doch eher noch etwas sitzen und unterhält sich über das eine oder andere Thema…….
I recently spend one week camping in the southern and south western part of Norway, on the coast line from Kristiansand to Stavanger. It’s a beautiful area of Norway I think, especially in the summer. You don’t have the nice deep fjords of western Norway, or the mountains of North Norway that goes steep into the sea – but this part of Norway has its beauty of its own I think. I could have used a lower ISO and 1/60 sec and gotten a sharp image – but the wind made the grass swayed in the wind so I bumped the ISO to 800. Also I wanted to use f/16 to get it nice and sharp from front to back. I travelled together with my wife. She is pregnant, and that made some impact of what I could and could not do. Most of my photos were taken during day time, in harsh sun light. Not the best time of the day for taking pictures. Still, I managed to get out some mornings on my own and take som shots, while she was sleeping…..