I’m not much of a wild life photographer. I don’t have the patience for it. To photograph wildlife, I’d have to spend lots of time looking and waiting for something to happen. More often than not, something is nothing. Plus, I’d have to lug around my camera with a heavy zoom. Unless I’m certain of a shoot, I never tote my camera and lens.
We live near a national park reserve, so loads of wildlife abound. From our balcony, I’m occasionally gifted with the sight of a bald eagle flying across the bay. It is a glorious sight. I rarely have my camera on hand and even if I did, I’d miss the joy of just watching the bird in flight.
The best way to photograph an eagle is to find it on it’s perch. The best way to spot an eagle is to spot the spotters. They’re the folks with big lens trained upwards, standing still for inordinately long times. Sometimes when we’re driving around I’ll yell “Eagle!” It’s not because I’ve spotted an eagle. Rather, it’s because I’ve spotted someone spotting an eagle.
So what’s a girl to do with a challenge about ‘Feathers’?
I can share my best and only close-up of a carved eagle.
Or I can filch excellent photos from hubby, someone with no trepidation about toting big lens.
I’m a fan of street photography but when I’m on the street, I focus mainly on light and composition. It’s in the post-selection work that I look for finer details. For street portraits, it begins with the eyes and ends with context.
For this week’s challenge I share pictures from a trip to Santiago de Cuba.
I was tramping through the grounds of an industrial property when I noticed this fellow eating his lunch. My first instinct was to turn away – I was trespassing – but then he waved hello. Like everyone I’d met in that sleepy town, he was friendly and curious about what I was doing. He told me about his work; it had something to do with digging utility poles and hauling them around in his ’60s-era truck. My understanding was limited, I knew just enough Spanish to give an illusion of comprehension. But I nodded wisely and asked if I could take his photo.
I met this other fellow several times during the trip. He was a musician in the local band and I enjoyed his music in the town square and swanky hotel resorts. On this particular day he welcomed me to his workshop where he built and repaired guitars. Cuba is a resource poor country and musicians have a hardscrabble life. Even so, it’s clear that for some at least, their revolutionary leader is still admired.
Hubby likes bridges. When we went to Hanoi, his top place to visit was Long Biên bridge. It’s an historic bridge crossing the Sông Hồng (Red River) and connecting Hanoi to Haiphong. It was built in 1903, in what was then French Indochina. When it opened it was the longest bridge in Asia and a spectacular example of large scale cantilever bridges. It was designed by Gustav Eiffel, the engineer best known for his landmark structure in Paris.
Of course, I knew none of this when I first saw it. I was more taken by (and cautious of) the constant stream of traffic traversing the bridge. In Vietnam motorcycles and pedestrians share common pathways and walking across the bridge really meant hugging on to the sides.
While hubby photographed the bridge structure, I looked at the tidy squares of plotted land reclaimed by farmers on the river banks. Neatly staked beans grew alongside broad leafed tubers and ‘choy’-type vegetables
On the water, an itinerant fisherman tended his houseboat. In northern Vietnam this was a common enough sight, where people opted out of crowded cities to live on the water.
On the land side of the bridge I was enveloped by the heady scent of pineapples. Tons of fresh fruit were being unloaded from a cavalcade of dump trucks. This narrow strip of road was the beginning of the Long Bien market and it was clearly pineapple delivery time.
By this time, Hubby had had his fill of shooting the bridge. I’d had mine too and even though I had no pictures of the bridge itself, I had enough sights, sounds and smells to remind me of the life around it.