Birds Birds Birds

My wife Cathy and I bought a home in an Audubon community in Florida last year and are now spending the winters there. Through my worldwide travels, I occasionally made some bird images but they were never my primary focus. But now I’ve learned that an Audubon community is a target rich bird environment and I’ve spent a lot of my early mornings and late evenings prowling around the many ponds and watersheds learning a new photographic skill……photographing birds.

During this past winter, I’ve taken quite a few very nice images which I hope you will enjoy.

Egrets proliferate in Florida and their beautiful white feathers and lithe body structure give them a beautiful flight profile.

In Flight
Just caught a snack!

During mating season, males grow these spectacular feathers to attract a female into the mating process.

Preening

Great Blue Herons are endemic to much of North and South America and are among the largest of the Florida birds.

Great Blue in lovely evening light
Lovely Great Blue with reflection

Ospreys are the are all over the place and we are lucky to have a number of nests on the property.

Here’s looking at you!

An Osprey pair with one of them sitting on eggs while the other does a flyover!

An Osprey Flyover

Little blue herons are everywhere and establish dozens of nests on the property. I was fortunate to catch an image of this one having dinner

Dinner

Snowy Egrets get their name from the long flowing white feathers adorning their heads. They look particularly beautiful when the wind is blowing and the feathers are floating behind their heads.

Taking Off

Roseate Spoonbills are the most colorful large birds in Florida and we are fortunate to have them on the property. For this image, I’ve use a “high key” developing process to show off their spectacular color.

Coming in for a Landing

Here’s one gathering nest material and flying back to build its nest

Nesting Material I

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Thanks so much

Frank

http://www.frankbinderphotography.com

Coming of Age in Ethiopia

The members of the Hamer tribe in Southern Ethiopia live traditional pastoral lives in the same way as many past generations of their tribe. As pastoralists, cattle play a significant role in the culture and mores of the tribe. Nowhere is this more evident and central to one of the Hamer’s most well known and epic ancient rites of passage; the bull jumping ceremony.

Usually occuring in Autumn, this is an elaborate three day event in which a teenage boy whom the elders regard as a coming of age adult, undergoes the traditional test which determines whether the young man is ready to own cattle and marry the bride the elders have chosen for him.

The ceremony involves much dancing and celebration as the tribe’s women, dressed in their leather clothing and sporting the traditional butter and ochre hair treatment, dance for hours in large dancing circles.

Dancing during the Bull Jumping tradition
Accompanying Bells

To accompany their dancing the women blast horns as the bells attached to their legs ring out.

Before the ceremony, female relatives (with the exception of little girls) of the young man meet the Maza, men who have just passed the bull-jumping ceremony and who temporarily live apart from the rest of the tribe.

In what some might consider a brutal tradition, they demand to be whipped with birch branches by these men as a way of showing their dedication and loyalty towards their male relatives. The idea here is to create a strong bond – an obligation – between them.

As they have undergone such pain so stoically on his behalf, he should feel a debt to protect them in the future. This also signals their attractiveness as a future wife, and it becomes a kind of competition, with women refusing to back down and vowing to each endure the most pain.

With her Birch Stick
Scarification
Decorated for the Ceremony
A Maza

One of the young men who have already completed the bull jumping task and are supporting the current jumper

As the celebratory day passes the bulls are gathered in preparation for the ritual test.

Gathering of the Bulls

The men struggle to line up seven to ten bulls so the test can begin

Wrangling the Bulls

Both ends of the bull are used to exert leverage.

Heads or Tails?

After the bull wrangling is completed and the bulls are lined up, the backs of the bulls are slathered with dung to make them slippery and increase the difficulty of the task. The bull jumper is also slathered in dung and must make four passes across the backs of the bulls without falling. Should he fall short, he will wait a year to attempt the task again.

The First Pass

If successful, he will be eligible to marry the woman chosen by his parents. Bridal payments to the bride’s family are in the range of 30 goats and 20 cattle.

The Last Pass

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Frank Binder

“Between every two pine trees there is a door leading to a new way of life….climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine into trees” John Muir

I had been to Acadia National Park a number of times over the years, but never in autumn when New England color is ablaze. And I also knew that the visibility of the Milky Way’s galactic core would begin to wane in late October. So off we went on our five hour drive up the Maine coast to Bar Harbor, Maine.

Confused in Maine

This is why they invented GPS. I thought I was on Rt. 1 South, but apparently I was in a multi-directional vortex.

Cadillac Mountain Sunrise

Cadillac Mountain is one of the iconic places in the park and very crowded at sunrise and sunset as everyone wants to experience the beauty and mystery of night turning into day or day transforming into night. Cadillac Mountain is the highest point (1,530 ft.) on Atlantic coast from Maine to Brazil and is largely composed of stunning pink hued granite. The area is famous for its’ high quality granite and it was used in many of the country’s institutional buildings, the U.S. Treasury building in Washington D.C. being a prime example.

Surveying the Scene

Even the Gulls enjoy the view from the top of the park.

Boulder’s Beach

This is Boulder Beach which, as you can see, is an apropos name. This is early in the morning just as first light is coming over the horizon. This light is very blue and it added an eerie feeling to the image. Moving across these rocks is hazardous as they can be slippery and they often move as you gingerly step on them.

Otter Point

This section of the park is popular with photographers because the sunrise is due east of here and the morning sun lights up the red granite that lines this coast. This color only lasts a few minutes and if you miss it, it’ll be back in 24 hours.

Milky Way

Photographing the Milky Way was one of my objectives in traveling to the park. The eastern coast of Northern Maine has the darkest skies in New England and is the best place in New England to do astrophotography. You might notice that the most dense and colorful section of the MW is right at the horizon. In another month, this section of the MW would no longer be visible in the night sky until Spring.

White Birches in the Meadow

The park has a section of low meadow land which is populated by these white birches. It’s challenging to find a good composition because of the haphazard tree placements.

Carriage Road

The Carriage Roads and stone bridges in Acadia National Park were financed and directed by philanthropist John D. Rockefeller, Jr., between 1913 and 1940, for hikers, bikers, horseback riders and carriages. The network includes 57 miles of woodland roads free of motor vehicles, of which 45 miles are within Acadia National Park.

These are some of the most spectacular hiking trails you will ever encounter, particularly in autumn.

Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse

The Bass Harbor Lighthouse is among the most photographed and visited in the U.S. It’s particularly popular at sunset when the sun lights up this section of the park’s coastline. On any given summer or fall day, there will be hundreds of folks climbing all over these rocks as sunset approches. I shot this image on a previous trip to the park. On the day we visited the lighthouse there was a torrential rain and windstorm, but amazingly, there were still many people walking down the short trail to this area.

Hunter’s Head

I got up each morning in the dark and went to Hunter’s Head to try and get a great sunrise view. The good sunset composition is in the opposite direction and I set my camera and tripod up to capture a golden sunrise over the little cove in that direction. But alas, each morning the hoped for sunrise glory never materialized. On the last day I turned around to go back to my car and noticed that the risen sun was lighting up the area on the other side of Hunter’s Head. This golden rust color only lasted 2 minutes and I was forunate to get this wonderful image.

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Lastly, if you are inclined, I have many of these images and more on my home web page:

http://www.frankbinderphotography.com

Frank Binder

Friends & Subscribers,

After too many years of having an inferior photographic web site, I promised myself I would spend the necessary time to develop a site that was more reflective of my work and would provide my images the care I felt they deserved.

Spending so much time at home the last few months provided the opportunity. 

So I’m pleased to reveal a newly constructed website that contains my best work over the past 15 years (you will be the judge of this). For subscribers to this blog website (www.Chasing-the-Light.net), the new website has a link to the blog which hopefully will make it easier to keep track of new blog entries.

The new website is: www.frankbinderphotography.com

Any comments or suggestions you may have will be appreciated.

All the best,

Frank

Travel Teaches Tolerance”        Benjamin Disraeli

Smile….. put your hands together, and say Namaste. That’s all you need to do to be welcomed and feel welcomed in Nepal. It’s a country of incredible physical and geological contrasts but the one constant is the earnest friendliness of it’s people. As a cultural and travel photographer I’m always looking for that one special person or face which reflects a life well lived, an inner peace, an acquaintance with life’s vicissitudes or reflects the unique traditions of a place.

These are some of Nepal’s most interesting people.

Morning Tea
Morning Tea

Morning tea is a traditional rite in Nepal. Vendors will set up a hot plate and set out a half dozen milk crates and begin their morning business. These fellows don’t know each other but are participating in the ritual together.

Nepal Portraits-7
Everything’s OK

I was able to photograph a number Hindu Holy Men, mostly around Kathmandu. As you can see this fellow gave me a routine OK sign. Nothing terribly inventive or revealing but he’s got a look with the hair and orange beard that appealed to me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bringing in the Grass

These boys are Mahouts who normally have a single elephant they care for. I took this photograph in Chitwan National Forest and these young men are bringing in a crop of grass they have just cut in the forest. The grass will be used to feed the elephants. You can’t quite see it here but the lead Mahout was reading an iphone as he ambled along.

A Kumari

Kumari, or Kumari Devi is the tradition of worshiping young prepubescent girls as manifestations of the divine female energy or devi in Hindu and Buddhist religious traditions. The word Kumari is derived from the Sanskrit Kaumarya, meaning “Young”.

In Nepal, a Kumari is a prepubescent girl selected from the Shakya caste or Bajracharya clan of the Nepalese Newari Buddhist community. The Kumari is revered and worshiped by some of the country’s Hindus. (Wikopedia)

This young girl is 8 years old, lives in a secluded fashion with several adult helpers, and will retain her title and lifestyle until she menstruates. She will then be considered unclean and unworthy of worship and will be returned to her parents. There are obviously lots of questions and commentary that could be (and are being) asked and made regarding this tradition.

Chillin Out

I love this photograph. And it speaks to the power of observation while moving in space. I was returning from a cultural celebration and was shoulder to shoulder in the street and barely able to lift my arms and all of sudden I looked to the right and saw this guy slumping against the pole. I struggled to raise my camera and get this one shot off as I was pushed along by the crowd. And as luck would have it he looked right at me as I pressed the shutter.

A Character Face

I’m proud to say this photograph was chosen to be displayed in a juried competition at the Plymouth Center for the Arts. This Holy Man is a much photographed figure and it’s not hard to discern why. He’s in his mid 80’s, hasn’t had a haircut in 50 years and has a great face.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Assisted Living in Nepal

I was privileged to visit an Assisted Living Facility in Kathmandu. Having a Mom who resided in a U.S. based Assisted Living Facility I found amazing similarties between them. These women had just received a Tikka (red dot on their forehead) from a Hindu priest visiting the facility.

Looking Beautiful

This lovely woman graciously agreed to let me take her photograph and although neither of us spoke a common language, we managed to communicate beautifully. She really enjoyed seeing her image in my LCD.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Selling Purses

I spent some time with this woman who was toiling in her small open workspace when I came upon her. She was busy sewing and immersed in her purse production when she noticed me asking to photograph her. At first she nodded no. I saw a group of people coming down her small alleyway and told her should come out and try to sell a few purses. She did and sold quite a few…I bought a couple for Christmas presents.

Riding his Moto

I don’t need to say anything about this image. It’s too cute and speaks for itself.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Selling Flowers

These Chrysanthemums are iconic and she is selling them to customers who use them to decorate their homes, cars, motorcycles or other possessions they want to give thanks for in the country’s Dashain festival.

Saying Goodbye

Hindus believe cremation on the banks of the Ganges River frees the soul from the cycle of death and rebirth and spreading the departed’s ashes in the river will allow their soul to finally achieve nirvana.

This image of the final rites being given to a dear one is at the Pashupatinath Temple in Kathmandu. Shortly after the body was cremated the ashes were spread onto the river which runs into the Ganges downstream.

 

 

 

 

 

Mother and Daughter

As with many of people I photographed on this trip, this woman could not have been more gracious in letting me take a few minutes of her time. I was taken with the beauty of her daughter and I believe the image shows the inner beauty of both of them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’d be remiss in these Nepal posts if I didn’t thank Nathan Horton and Bipin Tiwari for their help and guidance which allowed me to focus my creative abilities in the right places at the right times. I’m indebted to them.

Thank you for reading my latest blog entry. If you thought it was worthy of your time and you hadn’t already done so, please take the opportunity to subscribe by clicking the “Follow” button in the middle of the right side of this page. You will receive an email asking you to confirm your subscription. Also, you can share this blog entry on your Facebook page by clicking the share button below or you can email it to folks by clicking on the “Email” button.

Frank Binder

“I haven’t been everywhere……but it’s on my list”  – Susan Sontag

Nepal was on my list and I was fortunate to be able to visit the country in October. Known for being home to eight of the world’s tallest Ten mountains, it is so much more than that…..vibrant and colorful markets, villages teetering on precipitous cliffs, magnificent Buddhist Stupas, Sadhus (Hindu holy men), National Parks teeming with wildlife, an engaging cultural environment and frequent festivals.

Roughly 80% of the population are Hindus, 10% are Buddhist with the remaining population spread among eight other religions.

Nepal’s longest and most auspicious Hindu festival is Dashain. It is a celebration of good over evil and celebrated in Bhutan, parts of India and parts of Myanmar as well as Nepal. Celebratory activities include kite flying, card playing, swinging on impossibly tall bamboo swings, gambling and displaying new clothes. The local markets are bustling with sellers and buyers of food needed for the festival.

Shopping for Veggies

Early Morning Market Scene

 

Selling Garlic

Potato Man

Lastly and increasingly controversial, the festival includes substantial animal sacrifice.

Driven by the belief that offerings of fresh blood will appease the goddess Durga, scores of animals and birds are ritually slaughtered especially in the eighth and ninth day of the festival. Birds and animals that are traditionally eligible for sacrifice include goats, buffaloes, sheep, chickens, and ducks.

Selling Sacrificial Hens

Assessing Sacrificial Ducks

A number of buffalos are sacrificed in the main squares of Kathmandu and other surrounding cities. Subsequently the bodies are burned to purify the body and to rid the carcass of hair so the leather can be used. It’s important to note that the entire body is efficiently used as either food or other useful products (ie leather as an example).

Burning of the Body

Sugarcane Seller

Sugarcane is a very popular celebratory festival plant that families use in their homes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Making Offerings

During the festival Hindu women gather at local worship sites to make offerings to the goddess Durga who fought and won the battle of good over evil.

Buddhism in Nepal started spreading since the reign of Ashoka through Indian and Tibetan missionaries.  Buddha was born in Nepal and although it has not been possible to assign with certainty the year in which Prince Siddhartha, the birth name of the Buddha, was born, it is usually placed at around 563 BC. Buddhism is the second-largest religion in Nepal. According to 2001 census, 10.74% of  Nepal’s population practiced Buddhism. In Nepal’s hill and mountain regions Hinduism has absorbed Buddhist tenets to such an extent that in many cases they have shared deities as well as temples. For instance, the Muktinath Temple is sacred and a common house of worship for both Hindus and Buddhists. (Wikipedia)

Moonrise over Boudhanath

Boudhanath Stupa is the largest stupa in Nepal and the holiest Tibetan Buddhist temple outside of Tibet. Most likely built in the 14th century, it is the center of Tibetan culture in Kathmandu and rich in Buddhist symbolism.

Reading the words of Budha in the Temple

Offerings

In Buddhism, symbolic offerings such as these candles lead to the accumulation of merit, which hopefully lead to a better rebirth in the next life and progress towards the relief of suffering.

Young Monks

Preparing to Make Offerings

Lions, or lion-dog-like beasts, are among the oldest and most common temple guardians. Lions have appeared in Buddhist temple art as early as 208 BCE. The stylized lions―called shishi in China and Japan―are thought to have magical powers to repel evil spirits.

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Frank Binder

What always fascinates me is how the people always seem to step into their own time warp. Each ritual in Varanasi is almost a festival of samridhi and samigri. And the pathways with their narrow galis and steps leading to top stories as steep as ladder, the staircase is itself a story.         Raghu Rai

Varanasi has been a cultural center of northern India for several thousand years, and is closely associated with the Ganges. Hindus believe that dying here and getting cremated along the banks of the “holy” Ganges river allows one to break the cycle of rebirth and attain salvation, making it a major center for pilgrimage. The city is known worldwide for its many ghats, embankments made in steps of stone slabs along the river bank where pilgrims perform ritual ablutions. Of particular note are the Dashashwamedh Ghat, the Panchganga Ghat, the Manikarnika Ghat and the Harishchandra Ghat, the last two being where Hindus cremate their dead and the Hindu genealogy registers are kept here. (Wikipedia)

Varanasi Ghat

Varanasi is a holy destination for many Indians who revere the purification qualities of the Ganges River. On daily basis, thousands of religious pilgrims bathe in the river, believing in it’s restorative nature.

Preparing to Bathe

Devout Hindus

You’ll notice the man in the white shirt offering to sell small candle/flower offerings that the bathers can float on the river to offer blessings to their Gods and to the sacred river.

Snake Charmer

I watched this interesting looking fellow amble along the ghat one morning. He was carrying a pillow case size sack over his shoulder along with his flute. He gradually came to a stop on a small platform on one of the mid level ghat platforms, sat down and started to play his flute while swaying slightly. So far….. nothing unusual in a place where dozens of photogenic activities are occuring on a constant basis. Then he used one hand (while still playing the flute) to open up the sack and allow these two very large cobras to emerge and rise up to the music and the swaying. Wow!

Working the Water

Vendors and boatsmen and boatswomen offer services all along the river; mostly taking pilgrims out on the river to view the city from the water.

Colorful Boats

As a result of its religious heritage, the city has a significant population of religious holy men (Sadhus). Some portion of these men are just donning costumes and playing the part to make a living selling portraits to photographers, but most (probably) are living ascetic lives honoring the Gods.

A Sadhu

This Sadhu was certainly colorful and photogenic but also a little testy at times.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Making Dinner

Baba Gi

There are 4 to 5 million sadhus in India today and they are widely respected for their holiness. It is also thought that the austere practices of the sadhus help to burn off their karma and that of the community at large. Thus seen as benefiting society, sadhus are supported by donations from many people.

This fellow was my personal favorite of the dozen or so Sadhus I photographed. With an easy going personality and sense of humor, he was a pleasure to work with. He also demonstrated a remarkable level of physical flexibility with an easy ability to rise up and sit down without any support. His body was a pretzel!

 

 

Early Morning on the Ganges

Ganga Aarti

The Ganga Aarti is held each evening on one of the most prominent ghats along the Ganges. Lasting approximatley an hour and drawing hundreds and sometimes thousands of spectators, it celebrates the centrality of the river in Hinduism. But let me turn the description over to an expert:

“Ganga is not only a river. She is truly a Divine Mother. She rushes forth from the Himalayas as the giver of life, carrying purity, bliss and liberation in Her waters. Ganga is not only water. She is nectar – the nectar of life, the nectar of liberation. She is a source of inspiration to all who lay eyes on her ceaseless, boundless, rushing current. She irrigates not only our farms, but also our hearts, minds and souls. She is the Mother Goddess – giving freely to all with no discrimination, hesitation or expectation. Her waters purify all who bathe in them, all who drink from them. In fact, She is the remover of contamination.”

“Each evening as the sun’s last rays reflect off the boundless waters of Mother Ganga, we gather for Ganga Aarti. This divine light ceremony is filled with song, prayer, ritual and a palpable sense of the divine. Aarti is the beautiful ceremony in which dias (oil lamps) are offered to God.      Parmarth.Org

Ladies at the Aarti

These ladies were undoubtedly the most decked out ladies I have ever seen. The clothing, the jewelry, the tatoos, the various piercings ……. it all worked. They were amazing and gathered astonished looks from others who without these women, would have been outfit leaders by themselves.

Pilgrim Tour Boat

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Frank Binder

A few weeks ago I went to the Ansel Adams exhibition at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts. The exhibition had been drawing large crowds and my Saturday visit reinforced the reports…lots of people crowding around the photographs. The work was mostly drawn from a private collection lent to the museum and the curators added photographs from other photographers who claim to have been influenced by Adams and exhibited them sometimes side-by-side. Several of my favorite Adams’ images were in the show and for that reason alone the visit was worthwhile, but I have to say on balance the exhibition was disappointing. Most of the Adams images, and there were a lot of them, were printed in small formats and the accompanying photographs from other influenced artists were mediocre at best.

The two images that I have always loved were in the show: “Moonrise over Hernandez New Mexico” and “Clearing Winter Storm” and both were printed in a large format. And I learned something valuable from the backstory of Moonrise. The image as viewed by so many appears to be taken at night as the moon is shown rising in a dark sky. But in fact it was shot late in the afternoon with the sun lighting up all the cemetary crosses in the image and with the moon set in a bright afternoon sky. Adams printed this negative many times and over time gradually incremented burning in the light sky so that the sky became completly dark thereby leaving the moon much more prominent in the image that we are all familiar with.

I also came away from the exhibit determined to look for and shoot more black & white images. While I do so, here are a number of images either recently shot or re-imagined with a black & white treatment.

b&w
Late Afternoon Clouds over Wachusett Reservoir

I was looking for a great sunset this afternoon. It eluded me but I did get this shot of a great cloud formation.

b&w-4
Stripes

Is there a better black & white subject than a zebra?

bw-2.jpg
Strolling under the cumulus clouds

b&w-8
A Cormorant Watch

Waves were pounding the South African coast and I took at least a hundred photographs trying to get just the right wave explosion. During the last few minutes of shooting, this cormorant flew in and added himself to my frame.

b&w-3
On the March

This group of elephants ambled across the Amboseli National Park plains and I was lucky that they all fit into the composition perfectly. I later turned this into a B&W image which I like much better than the color version.

b&w-11
Elephants at Play

Also taken at Amboseli National Park in Kenya and also originally shot in color. I also like this image better in B&W.

Tribal Woman

I originally photographed this woman in Ethiopia’s Omo Valley in color. I think it looks equally good in B&W.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Resting Leopard

Sabi Sands, a private reserve adjacent to Kruger National Park in South Africa is one of the great wildlife areas for seeing and photographing Leopards.

Indian Camel Herder

I shot this at the Nagaur Cattle Fair in Nagaur, India. Doesn’t this fellow have a great face?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Newfoundland Village at Sunset

Love the way the sun lights up the whitewashed houses in this image.

Moon over local Shell Station

And finally a shot of a local gas station a mile from my house. This was a night of a full moon and I was out with my camera and tripod looking for something interesting to shoot with the full moon as a backdrop. I couldn’t find anything that looked any good. On my way home I passed through this intersection and voila!  this scene presented itself.

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Frank Binder

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“In religion, India is the only millionaire….The one land that all men desire to see and having seen once, by even a glimpse, would not give that glimpse for all the shows of all the rest of the globe combined.”      Mark Twain

Blog-10
Racing at sunset

From the jungles to the Himalayas India boasts such geographic diversity. The Thar Desert is in the north/north-western section of the country….not so far from the Pakistani border. Not as large as its African desert counterparts, but still steeped in the soulfulness that large desert expanses present, it is a playground for young Indians who delight in getting into 4-wheel vehicles and careening up and down the dunes to loud pulsating music. But somehow after the day is done and the jeeps return to their overnight stations, the quiet returns and camels and their drivers can enjoy the solitude.

Walking the Dunes

In Line

Getting Ready to Ride

These jockeys differentiate themselves sartorially from their brethren at Churchill Downs or Pimlico….but they are just as skilled. We witnessed several heats of camel racing and I can tell you the rides are hair-raising!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trimming your Camel

Nagaur, one of Rajasthan’s most charming desert towns, comes alive during the Nagaur Cattle Fair. Held in February, the Fair is one of the biggest events on the desert calendar and attracts people from rural communities all over the region. Although a quieter and more local event the famous Pushkar Fair, it attracts more participants and livestock than it’s more prominent cousin.

Camel Art

The Fair is a delight for photographers.  Everywhere you turn there are striking looking owners sprucing up their camels with haircuts, jewelry and colorful adornment.

No part of the camel is left unadorned……as is demonstrated by this handsome rear end.

 

 

 

 

 

For Sale

Early Morning Tea

Mornings come early at the Fair. Participants and campers arise before dawn to light their campfires and make their morning tea. And even though the daytime temperatures can be quite warm, the mornings are cool and it’s always nice to warm your hands by the fire.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Warming Hands

Warming Up

 

Looking Fierce

This guy would be a stern Father!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saddling Up

 

Looking to Sell

This owner was selling two camels and having no luck attracting buyers, but seemed of good spirits anyway.

He’s got quite the look!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Smoking Man

Thank you for reading my latest blog entry. If you thought it was worthy of your time and you hadn’t already done so, please take the opportunity to subscribe by clicking the “Follow” button in the middle of the right side of this page. You will receive an email asking you to confirm your subscription. Also, you can share this blog entry on your Facebook page by clicking the share button below or you can email it to folks by clicking on the “Email” button.

Frank Binder

Shrewsbury, MA

“When I first visited India, I was stunned by its ability to overload the senses with the pure, concentrated intensity of its colors, smells, tastes, and sounds… I had been seeing the world in black & white and, when brought face-to-face with India, experienced everything re-rendered in brilliant Technicolor.” (Keith Bellows; National Geographic Society)

I made my first photographic visit to Rajasthan earlier this year and Keith Bellows’ quote above says it all. It’s a sensation a minute….women in bright saris, men with long beards and lined faces, colorful turbans, cattle roaming freely (and depositing freely!), camel herders, street urchins, Sadhus, snake charmers, local markets, massive cities, quaint villages, scooters, tuk-tuks, street vendors…..and the list goes on and on.

India
Yellow Saris

 

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Color Splash

Sometimes I felt I was walking around inside a Van Gogh painting….splashes of color were everywhere. These two windows on this large wall were painted green and then surrounded by an outline of blue with the remainder of the wall left unpainted. Did they run out of blue?

Chasing the Light-9
Need some Cauliflower?

Not sure why….but I was surprised by the variety and voluminous offerings of vegetables in local markets. Meat based meals were a much larger part of local diets than I anticipated but vegetables were still central to much of Indian cuisine. 30% of Indians are vegetarians with the remaining 70% consuming fish or meat as a normal part of their everyday diet.

A morning cigarette

We came across this man smoking a cigarette while he was waiting for a local bus. He noticed us raising our cameras towards him and was eager to be photographed. He smoked continuously while we all intensely snapped away trying to get the smoke “just right”.

Everything works here…..the background is sufficiently blurred, the colors pop because of the foggy soft light and the smoke adds a lot of character to the portrait.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chasing

As a developing country, India’s level of sophistication in many infrastructure arenas is wildly eclectic. In some places you’ll find the latest in computerized transportation technology and in others a way station or midpoint on the way. This man is loading his cargo from a donkey cart to a bus and somehow the juxtaposition of using a transportation mode that is at least 2,000 years old in conjunction with a modern motor vehicle informs much about India’s developing economy.

A Man and His House

On a wandering around visit to a small village, this man invited us to his home for some tea and some Indian hospitality. This is really the raison d’être for travel. It’s always thrilling to see legendary landmarks wherever you go but connecting on a person to person basis changes your relationship to the country and its people and allows you to rise above all of the formal government to government folderol.

Jumping for Joy

These kids were in the same village and it’s a common tale among photographers that if you walk down the street with a camera in a developing foreign land you will soon be followed by children wanting their photo taken. One of my favorite gimmicks is to get them all to jump up at the same time which releases any inhibitions they may have and I am able to capture a “true” moment. And of course you always get the one kid who can’t follow directions! The payoff comes when you show them the LCD image in back of the camera and they break out giggling.

Going Places

I enjoy wandering around the streets or back alleys of new places and waiting for a scene, a person or moment that captures the essence of the place I’m visiting. It’s almost the opposite of a normal tourist experience where one wanders around appreciating the “big picture” and the entire landscape; where one looks for an integrated experience with a new place. I’m usually focusing on something smaller and narrower…details and scenes within the scene.

This woman was with a few friends getting into a local Tuk-Tuk. Her friends were unremarkable but she had an exotic interesting look and when she stared right back at me I snapped the shutter.

 

 

Knife Sharpening

Indian cities and towns are filled with local shopkeepers and craftsmen who offer their goods and services in open air shops and small cubbies. This fellow was sharpening knives for his customers.

Heena Anybody?

These ladies were available to apply a traditional Indian skin tattoo practice for their customers. It’s actually probably not a tattoo but more of a skin painting technique.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hanging the Laundry

Looking closely, this clothes line contains both traditional Indian saris and shawls plus jeans and other clothing familiar to all western developed countries.

Standing Guard

This fellow is a greeter at a local hotel and I persuaded him to pose in this scene which needed some local color.

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Frank Binder

Shrewsbury, MA

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