The eyes of a Wolf always see straight into your soul ...

...You can't hide the truth from them


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Saturday, 31 October 2009

Got a google page rank again!

My last domain name attained a rank of 4/10. I've been plugging away with this new name now for a couple of months and it's started coming up with 3/10 so not a bad start.

My thanks to those of you that visit my site and/or have searched for me on google. Any combination of wolf photography (eg wolf-photography and wolfphotography) seems to bring me up in the top page today.

It's all worth doing.

Thanks again and please pass the link of my site on to other people - especially businesses that maybe after art work as decor for their buildings or people that are looking for quality images home decor.


Thursday, 29 October 2009

Reflections of Taj Mahal

I remember first seeing images of the Taj Mahal when I was about 6 six years old. Sometimes I'd see miniature models of the site and I'd be there for ages, captivated by it without really comprehending what the structure represented. As I grew older I learned that it was a building that was a memorial from one man to his wife, a symbol of his undying love for her.

The romantic in me has always wanted to visit the site and to photograph it it. I've done two sets of images for the location. One is a set of 3 limited edition canvases called 'Reflections of Taj Mahal' and the other is a set of images for the stock images library of the Taj Mahal complex.

I hope you enjoy the images


Sunday, 25 October 2009

Back home - lasting impressions of India...

It feels good to be home again.  I've been thinking about what I saw and experienced in Nepal and India.  the thoughts are still formulating through the fog of jet lag as I sit at my desk.

My initial thoughts on arriving home were, 'I LOVE how clean my bathroom is!'  The hotels in Delhi were much the same.  So many of them had dirty sheets with stains on them that could have been anything.  Let your imagination run wild there a minute.  Luckily, I checked every bed and made them change the sheets if they were'n't satisfactory.

Running hot water is sooo good too.  It's great being able to have a lovely hot bath in the morning to help with pain relief.  Sleeping in my own bed is ace too.

The lasting impression that India left on me is one of a country whose infrastructure relies on child labour.  I still can't get over the filth of Delhi and the smell.  I'm sat here wondering what would happen to the economy of the country if the element of child labour was made illegal and withdrawn.  I saw children as young as 4 and 5 years old working all day, selling things like wool and trinkets.  The levels of poverty in the country make the woes of the homeless and unemployed in the UK pale by comparison.  Our people in this 'civilised' country are spoilt.  You can see the hardships individuals have faced etched on every line of their faces in India.  Some of the faces smile but they eyes don't join in and hold a secret that cannot be shared by voicing the experiences...you have to be there and witness them.  Unless you grew up poor in this country in the 60s and 70s, you won't have a clue about poverty..and even then, you'll not have an inkling of what the men, women and children of India experience with regard to poverty or how difficult their lives are in other ways.

The media pays lip service to the abolition of child labour and certain advertisements seem to challenge old attitudes and values..but that's where everything fails.  It's a bit like educating people about racism in this country; only the people that are aware will attend such courses and the souls that harbour those issues or live in ignorance of them will not be educated until such subjects are made mandatory and introduced as part of the curriculum of any educational programme.  If India wants to change, it's going to have to do a lot more than just put up the odd advert on television stations.  For families in some areas it's a matter of survival and having many mouths to feed.  So everyone tries to bring in something toward the family pot.  How do you sell education to them as an option for their children?

One of the worst aspects of the visit was having to haggle for every single thing you bought in the street.  It gets tiring and you get ripped off if you don't haggle.  There's a pricing system for locals and a different one for foreigners.

While there are cleaner places to visit than Delhi, a lot of the core problems would prevent me from going to visit India for more photography.  My advice would be to avoid Delhi if possible.  Oh, if you have any kind of breathing difficulty like asthma, please be sure to buy a filtered mask before going there?  You'll need it as the smog is tangible.  You'll be wiping it off your skin for days when you get back.



Monday, 19 October 2009

Getting ready to return

I head back to Delhi tomorrow.  I'm not looking forward to the smell of human dung that hangs in the street, the huge rubbish piles that line the streets or the high levels of carbon monoxide that hang over the city.  Yet I need to head back that way to be able to get to the airport.

I've been eating more today and my stomach is feeling a little more settled at times.  I'm more concerned about the long term effects of the pollution of Kathmandu and Delhi.  I just hope that I've got the shots I need to justify the abuse that I've put my body through.

I guess we should all check out the roots of our ancestors.  I can't see myself returning to India though.  Give me snow and ice anyday!  You can wrap up and keep warm against it...if it's 30c, you're screwed if you don't like the heat.  Air conditioning just makes things worse.

Time to turn in..



Sunday, 18 October 2009

Udaipur - cleanest location visited in India & Delhi Belly in Pushkar...

It seems that the further west you go in India, the cleaner the air gets and the cleaner the towns and cities.  Udaipur was lovely.  I could actually smell the local flowers growing on bushes in the streets!  Jasmine was the only one I recognised, it being a personal favourite, but there were many others.

The streets were clean too and I saw people cleaning up any waste they found at all on the streets at all times of the day.  The place is a positive example of a clean City.  I'd highly recomend visiting there.  If you're driving up, you'll see lots of village life on the way: local people tending herds of goats and cattle, families working fileds and carrying various produce balanced on thier heads.

The downside of this leg of the visit so far has been a dose of food poisonhing in Pushkar last night.  I'm not sure which dish of the day caused it but the symptoms have been vomitting and dysentry.  It took quite an effort to get to Jaipur.  I'm staying here for two nights now and eating only fruit that I've cleaned and cut up and I'm drinking some fizzy stuff and mineral water (treated with chlorine).   I'm very sensetive to the odours and temprature right now and think that the High Altitude Sickness I experienced in Nepal has left me more vulnerable to certain things.  I'm pretty sure that I'm dehydrated but my system can't hack a lot of fluids right now, so fruit seems to be the best way forward for the next couple of days.

I've photographed people and children in many of the towns and villages that we've driven past and every time I saw a little girl alone my mind went to pondering about my own sister and how she would look now and what she'd be doing had she survived the road accident so many years ago.  There's a lot of love and affection in this country.  It makes the affection I see in the UK pale by comparison.  Its simply given with no expectations in return.  Much like the way a gift should be given.  Pure and clean..a moment between friends, lovers, family or a community.  It highlights the solitude that I feel when at home, as I seem to have fallen between the cracks of the asian and english communities..but there's hope for me yet.

Time for more napping and resting ..and some refueling of my body with fruit and water. 

I hope to be able to get an earlier flight back to the UK.  I'm being nagged by my driver and the hotel staff to see a doctor tomorrow, so I probably will.  I'll spend another day and night here resting and then head back for a flight.

Bye for now


Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Facing Limitations

I got to Lukla on 05 Oct 09 and met my guide/porter, Dil.  Dil means 'heart' in hindi.  He seemed very eager to please and shouldered my camera bag, weighing about 15KG while I carried his, much lighter, day sack.  The first night stop was at a place four hours away.  It was a simple lodge with shared rooms.  My clothes were soaked with sweat when I arrived and I had no spare outer clothing as I needed to keep my pack as light as possible, knowing that a porter or guide would be carrying it because of my reduced capabilities at high altitude.

We met two canadians and a brit at the place who were all very friendly and we sat around drying our clothes as our host had kindly lit the fire for us.  I taught the others how to play pontoon and we shared some local whisky which we diluted into some nescafe that the hotel owner had lying around.

The next morning we set off at about 07:30 and hit the trail.  It was the hardet walk that I have ever had and I used up all of my reserves to reach Namche Bazaar.  I didn't stop for lunch as I knew that I wouldn't be able to start again if I stopped and just kept going in 'drongo' mode - count to 4, time your breaths and just watch your feet instead of the grueling terrain.  By the time we reached the outskirts of Namche,  my guide suggested we stop at a tea house on the outskirts, where I had 2 cups of tea, a twix and a snickers.

Again, my clothes were completely soaked with sweat and our host at the the new place wouldn't light the fire in the evening to help dry them.  The only was to partially dry them was to use a spare t-shirt and then drape the wet tops over my thighs and hope that the heat being generated would be enough to do the job.  As it happens, it did on the first day but not the others.  The result was having to sleep in a damp room wearing damp clothes.

To make things worse worse, the weather had closed in and we now had very little visibility of the surrounding area and a lot of rain.  We were trapped there for 3 days in theis way.  On the evening of the 4th day I saw the mountain over looking Namche Bazaar and took a couple of night shots.  The indications were good, weather wise, so after a conflab with Dil, we decided that we'd check the weather ourselves from 4am onwards.

4am, cloudy.  5am, cloudy.  6am...CLEAR! 'Lets go!'  We headed up to Shyangboche.  I forgot to say that  by the time I reached Namche I was experiencing some symptoms of altitude sickness.  By the time we reached the first Everest view point, the situation had gottent a bit more serious as I was now having trouble walking even one step up hill.  I think that the exhaustion had pushed me over my limits.  I felt elation when I first viewed Everest and setup the kit to take some shots.  It was good to get my head into 'photo mode' and off my ailments.  we went on a bit further, watching clouds that were racing in from the East all the time.  I kept wondering if we'd beat them to the panaromic view location, as Nepal was experincing a late monsoon.  We got there though and I got all the shots of Everest and the surrounding peaks that I wanted.  We started heading back then and I took shots of some of the local fauna and flora.  The altitude sickness got worse and kept me in its clutches until I got back to Kathmandu. 

I arrived back in Delhi today and I am now in Jaipur, having met my driver from the Agra leg of the journey.  I've hired him to drive me around parts of Rajeshtan and he's doing great.  His name's Dunveer.  I photographed a stunning hotel tonight.  Tomorrow I photograph the Amber Fort. I need some sleep now.



Saturday, 3 October 2009

Queued up at Kathmandu Airport

Just some reflections as I sit in Kathmandu Airport:

I arrived at Delhi on 30 Sep and headed straight over to Agra to photograph the Taj Mahal. I hadn't slept for about 24 hours at that point. I'm not sure which location won the award for the noisiest place out of the two. What has been consistent in both locations has been the lack of a quiet, clean hotel.

The depths of poverty that I have witnessed in India rivals that of Pakistan with the same sorts of stunts pulled by beggars off the streets. The man I saw in Delhi yesterday went one worse. As we were stationary in traffic waiting to cross a junction, he appeared with a lifeless child aged about two years old in his arms. One of her arms had been amputated below the elbow, a blood crusted bandage covering the stump. In his other hand a child's milk bottle that appeared to have been dried for days with various substances crusted on the inside of the bottle that made me feel that the bottle hadn't been used in days. I felt anger as the thought emerged that the child was in all probability dead and was just being used as a begging tool and sadness in the knowledge that life is worth close to nothing in such places. She probably never even got her foot in the doorway to innocence, let alone experienced it in some way. Born into poverty.

By contrast, I found myself thinking about the beggar girl that I had met in Agra. I photographed her and gave her some rupees. She looked to be the same age as my daughter but her eyes looked older. I sat in my room reviewing the photo of her and compared her life and the possible outcomes to that of my Laila. My paternal instinct made me want to take her away from there as it seemed that her eyes have probably already seen and experienced much that would disturb, or even traumatise westerners. I sit here wondering whether she will be able to break free from the chains of her current karma or whether she will sold into child prostitution or purposely disfigured in some way to make passers by feel more sorry for her and turn her into a more effective begging asset for those who control her life.

I face my own limitations in this situation, knowing that I don't have the financial resources or any political contacts that could help me do anything about the situation of this girl. I'm reminded of the press giving celebreties a hard time over adopting such children. I say good on them, every child they manage to adopt and rescue is spared a life unimaginable by the majority of westerners.

If you go to see the Taj Mahal, you'll see her near the entrance way. You will also see a young man who is approximately 6 feet tall that walks with an unsteady gait. I have a feeling that he has severe MS as his speech is also impaired. He tried to sell me something but I didn't want it. I offered him some rupees though and he wouldn't accept them. He isn't a begger..just a guy trying to make a few rupees to get by with some dignity. I bought one of his keyrings and attached it to my camera bag and there it will stay.

I arrived in Nepal yesterdy and I was hoping to photograph Mount Everest from the air today but the flights are all grounded owing to poor visibility.

I still can't seem to be able to get any sleep at all. I don't think I've had any in the last 72 hours and can feel my body begin to shake when I lift my baggage. I was in a lovely hotel last night with a good energy about the place. It's called the Ambassador Garden Home and well worth a visit. The food is also excellent there; I had spaghetti bolognaise made with buffalo meat..YUM! It's also lovely and CLEAN! They have no vacancies today though and I'm now in a place that doesn't even have clean bed sheets. It might be sensible to use the sleeping bag tonight.

Have a good one whatever you're doing.


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