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Vitosha Sunset

We went for a walk with some friends on Wednesday evening on Vitosha Mountain which lies just south of Sofia. On the way back down we were just in time to catch the last rays of the sun through a gap in the trees.

Granularity 12

Chinatown, Washington DC / Nikon FM2n, Nikkor 50 mm f1.8 AI, Kodak Portra 400


Manila Street Portraits 2

Continuing with the theme of street portraits from yesterday’s post, here is a second set of pictures taken on the streets of Manila.

The junction of Taft Avenue and EDSA is a busy spot even by Manila standards and the streets are lined with small sh0ps and stallholders selling everything you can imagine. This guy sold bananas. Nothing else; just bananas. I bought a few from time to time as an energy booster. I assume once his stock for the day was sold he went home.

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Manila Street Portraits 1

I had to relearn photography when I lived in Manila. My practice over the years on the streets was to linger discreetly and look for opportunities for candid shots. Often, I ignored the people and focused instead on the design, architecture and infrastructure of the city.

None of this was possible in Manila. With my pasty white Irish skin and ginger hair blending in wasn’t an option, and in a densely packed city of 13 million people candid shots were a challenge. Of course one of the reasons for trying to be unobtrusive and take candid shots is that people often don’t like having their picture taken. In Manila, many of the people I met were delighted to be photographed, thanking me for taking the picture before I had opportunity to thank them for letting me.

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Manila American Cemetery

Manila American Cemetery is the largest American battle monument from World War II. There are more than 17,000 graves and the names of a further 36,000 missing in action are inscribed on the memorial. Despite its brutal origins the cemetery is one of the most peaceful places in the city stretching across over 150 acres of immaculately maintained land.

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On Harrison Street

Harrison Street is named for Francis Burton Harrison, former Governor General of the Philippines when it was an American colony and advisor to four of the country’s presidents following Independence. Harrison Street was home for a year when I lived in the Philippines and I walked it many times. It was once known as Calle Real – Royal Street – during the Spanish period but these days it is a typically slow moving, busy and congested Manila street. I say Manila, but the street starts at the edge of Manila City and the greater part runs through Pasay before briefly entering Paranaque where it becomes Quirino Avenue.

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Paranaque Fish Port

I had heard of the Paranaque Fish Port and market and seen photographs of it but never made it there myself until the 2016 Scott Kelby Worldwide Photowalk when this was the venue for one of a dozen or more photowalks around Metro Manila. Local street photographer Joel Mataro was leading this one and he invited me to join. So at 6AM a group of around forty photographers descended on the good people of Paranaque.

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Urban Life – Munich

Odeonsplatz, Munich

Granularity 11

Chinatown, Washington DC / Nikon FM2n, Nikkor 50 mm f1.8 AI, Kodak Portra 400

The Rule of Fifths

There appears to be no end to books, DVD’s, training courses and much else besides on the subject of photographic composition. I’ve read or watched a few of these works and, up to a point, they can be valuable. Perhaps they have their greatest value when starting out, offering beginning photographers or those wanting to further their photography a helpful set of guidelines to build on. One of the most commonly recommended guidelines is the ‘rule of thirds’. The shot below, taken in the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC, illustrates the rule of thirds, with the main elements placed on vertical and horizontal lines marking the ‘thirds’ of the image and the key element – the man’s head in his hands – at a point where vertical and horizontal intersect.

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