Saturday shop-window

Night in Tokyo’s Ginza. Ahead of the Golden Week, a man works on a window display featuring carps. On Children’s Day in Japan it is customary to hang floats of carps. The display was an interesting play on the open mouths of carps as they breach water looking for a feed. A person working in a lit up shop window late at night always seems to me to be the very definition of loneliness and urban alienation: like the characters in Ishiguro’s novels or in Hopper’s paintings. Maybe they are happy, maybe they are finishing a job before heading home to a happily waiting family, but that’s how it looks to me.

Saturday subsurface

KĊhaku are the most popular variety of ornamental carps in Japan, instantly recognizable because of their bright red markings on a white body. As I stood over the pond, this one must have seen me, and surfaced to look for a feed. The slanting light on the surface of the pond caught it even before its body emerged. I thought I should cut away the distracting colour and just show you the play of light.

Saturday surface

Japan is a shiny surface that reflects your own image back to your eyes. You have to let your focus slide to see the people below the surface. Just so, the lotus leaves floating on Kyoyochi pond in Kyoto’s Ryoan-ji arrested my eye while we walked around it. But when I looked at my photo, I could see the more interesting sight of the flowering trees around the pond reflected in its waters. Strangely, this was clearer in the monochrome photo than in colour. Just so, when I worked around my difficulty with the language, I could make a fleeting connect with people’s lives. Travelling is more fun when you can do that.

Saturday Snapshot

There are three rules I try to follow when photographing children. Make them understand that they have your complete attention. Choose a well-lit area large enough for them to move about and do anything they want. And be prepared to take as many photos of them as possible. This youngster had given me two hours before losing interest. That’s an incredibly long time for a shoot.

Somber Saturday

When you visit a national park you expect to see nature in all its aspects. We stopped to look at the remnants of a chital. I suppose it must have been prey to a tiger, and then smaller predators and scavengers would have had their share. The antlers are not of much use to animals. They lay in the open meadow, slowly being bleached in the sun.

Saturday Scape

This is the center of India: a flat dry land with some trees. The grasslands of central India lie on soil that was joined to today’s Antarctica 200 million years ago in a continent called Gondwanaland. That beautiful spreading canopy is of the mahua tree (Madhuca longifolia). It was sprouting new leaves in April, and will give plenty of shade by May.

This post is for Earth Day 2023.

Saturday snapshot

The Gond lady in this photo has appeared before in a post. I decided to look again at that old photo, but now in monochrome. With a portrait of a person who is as expressive as that, it does not matter whether you see it in colour. I was fortunate though that the light was good enough to catch all the details in her face. It has been through a lot.

Saturday saplings

A flooded dip in the landscape became a temporary pond in which three trees stood. Since the trees were pretty healthy, I knew that the pond was temporary. The hot April day was relieved by a little breeze which set the reflections shivering. I thought I could not let this sight pass. It has taken me seventeen years to realize that this image would be best in black and white.

Saturday’s sunbather

The scaly look of this oriental garden lizard (Calotes versicolor) was surely going to look good in black and white. You can identify the male by the stripes on its back. I was lucky in another way, the changing colour of the lizard along its body helped it to stand out against the background when viewed in shades of gray. That surely says something about its predators; they are the kind which sees more colours than humans: birds.

Saturday’s sunrise

We’d woken up and climbed uphill in the dark and found our way to the cliff overlooking Arthur Lake to wait for the sun to come up. The slightly overcast, foggy morning was bound to give a whole range of grays in a monochrome treatment, I thought. I wasn’t quite prepared for this effect though: the three bands of different shades across the picture. I’m still feeling my way through monochrome images.