Cuba has light. Cuba has shadow. Cuba has decaying colonial grandeur. But what really matters is that Cuba has Cubans. Almost any place in the Caribbean contains the strains of African, Spanish and Anglo tradition that come together on its largest island. But nowhere else do they come together to such effect. Maybe it’s the land—after the Revolution uprooted the capitalists half a century ago, tobacco growers packed up seeds on their way out to plant them in Central America, but it turned out it wasn’t the seeds that made a cigar Cuban. It was the soil of Pinar del Rio, on the island’s western reaches. Apparently there is no place on earth like it…..
Im ersten Teil meines Reiseberichts hatte ich schon einiges zu den ersten Stationen meines Trips durch die Toskana geschrieben. Weiter geht’s! Nach einem wunderschönen Abend in Cortona, geprägt von leckerer Pizza auf einem zentralen Platz, kam der nächste Morgen und die tägliche Frage, wohin wir als nächstes fahren wollen. Wir wollten grob in Richtung Pienza, so dass die Wahl auf einen Stop in Montepulciano fiel. Richtige Entscheidung, wie sich im Nachhinein herausstellen sollte. Denn Montepulciano ist nicht nur schön, sondern hat wohl auch die beste Osteria ganz Italiens. Wie wir sie gefunden haben? Nun, nachdem wir den Ort einigermaßen erkundet hatten, vor allem die Weingewölbe der Deutschen Musikschule vor Ort, bekamen wir Hunger und gingen in das erstbeste Lokal… DIE Osteria! Wer konnte schon ahnen, dass wir so einen Glücksgriff landen werden? Wir wurden direkt auf eine Bank neben andere Leute gesetzt, und unser Versuch, einen etwas intimeren Platz im Lokal zu bekommen, wurden klar abgewiesen. Andere Länder, andere Sitten, dachten wir uns, und bestellten Pasta und Gnocchi……..
Es gibt Phasen im Leben, da muss man abschalten, runterkommen, alles sortieren und sich neu ausrichten. Ground Control ist der sichere Hafen, aber in diesen Lebensabschnitten kann es helfen aus seiner gewohnten Umgebung auszubrechen, um den Kopf frei zu bekommen. Grenzenlose Freiheit und der Drang sich selbst zu entdecken führte Major Tom und seinen besten Astronautenfreund in die Toskana. In genau jene Region in Italien, die wohl die malerischste ist. Voller Ruhe. Inspiration. Freundschaft. Und viel Kraft und Orientierung, die man nur tanken muss. Die nachfolgenden Bilder zeigen die fotografischen Ergebnisse eines Soul Trips durch die Toskana. Die Bildsprache ist sicher anders und entspricht nicht den gewohnten Fotografien aus der Region. Aber sehe es als Chance, die Toskana mit komplett neuen Augen zu sehen. Mit meinen…..
Unlike Jaipur (The Pink City – that is actually orange), Jaipur truly lives up to its name and is, from above and inside, mainly blue. It is stunning. Established as a colour, the mix of which was initially adopted by the Brahman Caste as an auspicious colour, was used to keep houses cool and repel termites. The entire city is not blue though but only the main part around the Palace Fort as this is where most of the Brahmans were concentrated.We arrived by train from Jaisalmer and headed straight up to the Fort as the town’s main attraction. It is without doubt, the most fascinating one we have done so far and the audio-guide is absolutely fantastic. The Palace Fort stands well above the blue area of town and is truly imposing. It has been used as an impressive backdrop in many films, most recently, in one of Christian Bale’s portrayals of Batman as he climbs from a pit to find himself at the base of the fort……
Heads-up X100-series fans, the popular fixed-lens APS-C X-series camera from Fuji now has a younger sibling in the X70, and while the sensor size and resolution remain the same, much is certainly different about the Fuji X70. For starters, it’s a wider lens at 28mm eq, and the camera is much smaller and lighter. But of perhaps equal or even greater significance to many is that the X70 costs just a little over half the price of the X100T, and yet it still retains the characteristic wealth of vintage external controls that fans of X-series cameras tend to crave. The first question from us at IR with a new camera line is virtually always the same: „How’s the image quality?“ Our First Shots from our test laboratory Still Life target are generally the best place to begin………
Delhi is an enormous city – probably why it is in its own state. The size of it is mind-boggling, with 16.3 million inhabitants (London has 8.1 according to versus.com). It’s smoky, rammed with cars and people and extremely noisy, 24/7. Both Sarah and I were advised to get to India, adjust and then return to Delhi having experienced a bit of the country, acclimatising a little, as it can be quite a culture-shock. So, other than one night on arrival, that is what we did. In fact, we visited Varanasi before returning to Delhi so by then, Delhi was a walk in the park! On return to Delhi, we were keen to get into Old Delhi. We had been to Hanoi in Vietnam a few years earlier and I had a similar image in my mind. This was reasonably accurate but Hanoi has more motorbikes. Old Delhi is, well… old, hot, smelly and dirty. But we really loved it……..
Only three days in any major city is not enough – but that’s especially true for Tokyo. This city has always been on my „bucket list“ so I was fortunate that circumstances brought me here, if only for a short time. I limited my gear to my Fuji X-T1 and probably my favorite lens,the excellent Fujifilm XF 23mm f/1.4 R, which is perfect for travel. Tokyo is such an interesting place, it’s almost overwhelming – there was always something interesting to catch my eye. The X-T1, as always, proved to be a worthy camera in some challenging conditions. I will always remember Tokyo as the city I first used my Pano mode! Lol. Here are some of my favorite shots……..
Jaisalmer is a living fort in the Thar Desert, in north-west India, relatively close to the border with Pakistan. Ideal given my dislike of both heat, sand and the sun! It is one of the places in India that should be seen but is a bit of a slog to get to and out of the way of virtually everything else. Once there, it’s easy to see why people should and are encouraged to go and see it. Peppering the desert around the fort are old derelict ruins of entire villages, the fort stands high on its walled foundations and can be seen for miles around.The village shown below was abandoned (according to the events we were told by our guide, shown cooking) following a King’s forced marriage with a very young girl who he then maltreated, leading to the entire village vacating one night in protest of him and in support of her. We visited this old village on our way out into the desert for the most uncomfortable 45 minutes I have ever experienced – aboard a camel……..
So, I have a habit of being naturally argumentative when it comes the things that are described as a ‘must see‘ but given the Taj‘s status as one of the wonders of the world, there was no way we were going to miss it. However, I had said to Sarah already that I had a suspicion it‘ll be no more impressive than the Golden Temple. Once again, allowing my preconceptions to cloud my judgement on something I had only seen online and I was proved wrong. Very wrong. The Taj Mahal is simply astonishing. Words and photos cannot do it justice. In this information age, where with a keyboard and screen, anyone can find out about and ‘see‘ almost anything on the planet – it’s easy to assume that some things don’t need visiting……
Thing young lady made my day, she rode her uni cycle up and down the beach for me and helped create this fantastic black and white photograph. It is moments like these that I am glad I took the camera with me (we were actually at the beach to scout for a upcoming wedding in Piha). I am looking forward to when the family gets in touch and I can share the image with them. Piha is not our local iron sand beach (we usually visit Muriwai instead) and were pleasantly surprised with the photographic opportunities on offer desite the flat lighting. We prefer a harsher and more directional form of lighting for dramatic scenes such as this surf beach…….