Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Barbican: Homeland Lost

Photograph © Alan Gignoux-All Rights Reserved

The Barbican Arts Centre in the heart of the city of London is showing Homeland Lost, an exhibition consisting of 16 black and white images taken by the photojournalist Alan Gignoux. These photographs of Palestinian refugees, displaced from their homes by Israel in 1948, are an artistic slice of life from a dramatic point in Middle Eastern history.

The photographs provide "an antidote to a western media saturated with images of exiled Palestinians as either extremists or victims, whereas the majority are individuals trying to build a life for themselves in complex circumstances.

Homeland Lost shows from 18 April 2008 - 2 May 2008.

The Independent newspaper reports that "Jonathan Hoffman, of the Jewish umbrella group the Zionist Federation, has complained to the London arts venue's director Nicholas Kenyon about captions accompanying the photos, which state that the 800,000 Palestinians who left their homes were "uprooted" and "dispossessed". He accused the Barbican of "falsifying" history.

Mr Hoffman is also quoted as saying ""The exhibition contains historical distortions which have the effect of demonising Israel."

There's a word in Egyptian slang (perhaps it's no longer used) that came to mind when I read Mr Hoffman's statement...the word is "Bagaha" or effrontery. Its Yiddish approximate equivalent is "chutzpah" but in this context, it's chutzpah squared.

Updates: 1D Mark III, 1Ds Mark III

Canon has released firmware updates for the EOS-1D Mark III and v1.1.2 for the EOS-1Ds Mark III which include both feature additions and promised improvements to AI Servo autofocus.

Full information and links available from Rob Galbraith DPI

Jane Eaton Hamilton: Travel

Photograph © Jane Eaton Hamilton-All Rights Reserved

Here's the travel photography work of the multi-talented Jane Eaton Hamilton, a Canadian photographer, award-winning writer, master gardener, and poet. Her Flash travel gallery starts off with images of Bali, Japan, Mexico (the above image is of Mexican vendors), USA and Canada.

Although I haven't posted it here, my favorite image in her gallery is of two Geishas...just perfect in its composition, and blurry enough to make it just right. If you look around her website, you'll also find travel slideshows on the Himba of Namibia and the Maasai of Tanzania (you'll need to allow pop-ups to play them).

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

New iMac

Apple has announced the new iMac. The new version is slimmer, faster and more powerful. The price ranges from $1200 to $2200 or higher depending on chosen configuration.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Photog's Togs

I've been asked by a few readers to share my preferred type of clothes when traveling on my photo expeditions or on assignments. It's an important issue because weight, durability, ease of washing/drying, etc all come into play. So here are the items that usually make it into my dufflebag...there must be womens' equivalents at the same stores. (Since I don't mean this to be adverts for the companies that stock these items, I won't link to them...sorry).

1. I lost my old safari jacket in Bhutan last year, and its subsequent replacement from Orvis wasn't as comfortable. But I've recently found an alternative at Cabela's for the reasonable price of $45. It even has a cheesy map of Africa on the inside back should I travel there and get lost. Now, this is an important article of clothing because it has many pockets, which can come in handy should the check-in staff at my airline of choice decide that my hand luggage with all the photo gear is too heavy to bring in the cabin. I just stuff the jacket's pockets with lenses and stuff, and I'm waved through. Idiotic, I know...but it happened twice, so long live the safari jacket!

2. Apart from a bunch of tshirts, I also pack a few Cabela's Guidewear® GXII™ shirts. These are made for fly-fishing, and have zipper side vents in the underarms for extra ventilation, a cooling mesh liner and the UPF 40 shell fabric is great. The large chest pockets are very useful for CF cards and other stuff. Easy to wash (only when I really need to!) and fast to dry.

3. As for the trousers, I'm partial to either jeans or to lightweight cargo pants by Eastern Mountain Sports called Profile Zip-Off. They're made of a soft, quick-drying nylon with UPF 30+ protection, and have many side pockets. Again, these are easy to wash and dry very quickly. Both shirts and trousers are lightweight and take no space at all in my luggage. The trousers retail for about $50.

4. Finally, my favored footwear at the moment is the Merrell Intercept, which I bought in London. I'm not sure if mine are really the Intercept model, but in any event, they look very similar...less gaudy perhaps. They're not made for heavy trekking, but they're just right for long hard walks. I think I paid the equivalent of $120 for my pair (yes, I know...the dollar is in the pits).

5. The final must-have article of clothing is my Khmer kroma scarf. This candid admission will earn me the sneers of many, but most of us "serious" photographers have one of those in their luggage. They're invaluable for a variety of uses...lens cleaner, snot remover (not mine...those of the children I photograph), flag to attract the attention of wandering participants on my photo expeditions, fly-swatter, etc. I also carry a few bandannas, which are always useful.


The Passionate Cook is hosting this months Waiter! there's something in my....... challenge and Johanna's theme for April is "breakfast favourites".

As a rule breakfast in my house isn't a big deal, but just something to sustain you until lunch-time comes around. That is, unless my three year old grandson comes to stay, then breakfast takes on a whole new meaning and lasts about an hour!

I decided to make an indulgent breakfast of smoked salmon, scrambled eggs and toasted brioche. For this breakfast, the salmon more often than not, is added to the scrambled eggs and then spooned onto the brioche, but I prefer these ingredients to be served separately. The eggs should be made with a small amount of double cream added to them, for extra indulgence.

This is my perfect breakfast, not too filling but extremely satisfying.

Canon's EF Lenses

Canon Inc. announced the achievement of a new lens-production milestone as production of the company’s EF lenses passed the 40-million mark. The line-up of its lenses as shown in the above photograph is just er...what's the word? ah, yes...awesome! If I'm not mistaken, there are 51 black lenses and 17 white ones, for a total of 68 lenses (maybe there's an extender or two in there)...

If you're not suitably impressed, click on the image to see it in larger size

(Photo Via

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Adam Ferguson: Orissa

Photograph © Adam Ferguson-All Rights Reserved

Adam Ferguson is an Australian freelance photojournalist currently working out of Delhi. His photographs have appeared in Newsweek, Time, International Herald Tribune, New York Times, Chicago Tribune and many other publications.

I found his images depicting the destitute contract laborers in Orissa to be the most poignant of his photo galleries. Orissa has the richest ore deposits of all the states in India, yet its people are some of the poorest in the country. Naturally, this has much to do with the exploitation of the underprivileged such as the Adivasis and the lower castes, and by the corrupt practices of the mining industry, and of industrialization in general.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

NY Times: Ansel Adams' Yosemite

Courtesy of the Cedric Wright Family/All Rights Reserved

The New York Times brings us an interactive feature on Ansel Adams' iconic photographs with a narration by his former assistant Andrea G. Stillman.

The accompanying article tells us that Adams' work is the best unpaid advertising for Yosemite because many professional photographers and amateurs spend hours for the perfect minute of the moon rising over Half Dome or a shadow on a fallen tree in Siesta Lake.

Canon USA Jacks Up Prices

Canon USA is informing its US dealers that they should expect price increases on a broad range of its camera gear. Starting May 1, 2008, US dealers will pay 3-5% more to Canon for most Canon EF lenses and all Canon EOS accessories . The dealer net on Canon digital SLRs is unchanged.

I presume that these price increases will not retroactively be applied on available inventory, but for illustration purposes, the increase would cause a price jump in the range of $66 to $110 in the $2200 price of a Canon 5D. Is this why it's out of stock at two of the largest New York retailers?

The reason given for the price increase is that Canon is "not immune to the rising fuel prices or unfavorable exchange rates..."

A previous post on TTP addressed this issue here

(Via Rob Galbraith)

Friday, April 25, 2008

Camera Raw, Bridge or Lightroom?

Scott Kelby's Photoshop Insider has an interesting comparison between Camera Raw, Bridge and Lightroom, and it made my day because of what he writes at the end of the post:

"So basically, all the things that Lightroom and Photoshop have in common, Lightroom does much, much better. That’s why I spend about 70% of my time in Lightroom."

Since I started trying out Lightroom 2.0, I've been impressed by its capabilities, and found that I've used Photoshop much less since. I was never a pixel-pusher, nor will I ever while my usage of Photoshop was always minimal, Lightroom makes my image processing even simpler!

Scott Kelby is the editor and publisher of Photoshop User Magazine, Layers magazine and President of the National Association of Photoshop Professionals (NAPP).

(Via Imaging Insider)

Virginie Vican: Hola Mohalla

Photograph © Virginie Vican-All Rights Reserved

Virginie Vican is a French photojournalist specializing in culture and exotic communities. She worked on projects in Cyprus, Uzbekistan, Egypt and India, which were published in various magazines such as Le Monde, La Vie, and Le Minotaure.

She photographed the ancient Sikh festival of Hola Mohalla that is celebrated in the month of Phalguna (around March or April). This festival is for Sikhs to reaffirm their commitment to the brotherhood of man and their dedication to the Khalsa Pantha.

Colorful processions mark the festival of Hola Mohalla, when Sikhs dress up in traditional martial costumes (especially the Nihangs or the "Order of the Blue-Clad Farmer-Warriors") and celebrate the day with archery, fencing, horse riding and shooting contests.

The Nihangs are the guardians of the warrior Sikh traditions, and they literally roam across Punjab. It's a life dedicated to prayer, the practice of martial arts, and to the protection of the Sikhs.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Canon Europe: "The Assignment"

Canon Europe has set up a photo competition creatively called "The Assignment". Entries are to be submitted online, and there are four categories to choose from: Portrait, Landscape, Sport, or Macro photography. The prizes include EOS 40D cameras and various lenses, as well as other prizes.

As in all contests, it's highly recommended that interested parties read terms and conditions prior to entering. This one is no different.

Even if you're not interested (or not eligible), I suggest visiting the site. The entries are to be judged by award-winning photographer Vicki Couchman (whose work I don't know), but there's a short clip of her working in the field, and she's quite attractive...well worth a visit.

By the way, the competition's logo is of a photographer holding the camera for a vertical shot...but who holds the camera that way?

Jean-Claude Louis: Tibet

Photograph © Jean-Claude Louis

I've come across Jean-Claude Louis' work through the many photographic contests he won in 2007 and 2008. For instance, he participated and won (in specific categories) awards in National Geographic International competition, the Travel Photographer of the Year competition (two categories), and the B&W Magazine Portfolio Competition. I also recently saw his work published in Outdoor Photography. For those interested in winning photography contests, his images will certainly offer you clues as to what makes them click with judges.

His biography tells us that he's a physician and a scientist, working in biomedical research until 2007 when he pursued photography full time, specializing in documentary photography. Self taught, he is influenced by Steve McCurry, and this can be seen from his Tibet gallery in particular.

Jean-Claude Louis

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Canon 5D Mk II Rumors: Hoax or Blunder?

The latest buzz floating around is whether Canon Germany's website has blundered by briefly publishing the anticipated EOS 5D Mark II, whose screen capture seems to confirms that it will feature a 16 Megapixel sensor, a 6.5 fps shooting speed, the new Digic III processor and a weatherproof body, or was it a hoax.

Since I'm on the tenterhooks of impatience for a Canon 5D successor, all this is irritating. The screen grab is shown on Wired's website, and some people have dismissed it as being a fake...since the image of the new camera looks out of alignment with the rest of the images, and why wasn't the full web rundown page for the Canon 5D II been grabbed as well?

I'll suspend belief until I physically see the 5D Mark II at the retailers.

Bucharest Below Ground

© Bombay Flying Club-All Rights Reserved

Here's a hard hitting and gripping multimedia production by the Bombay Flying Club (BFC) on the plight of street children and youths in Bucharest, Romania. Poul Madsen, the photographer/producer of Bucharest Below Ground, describes it as a full screen feature which gives it a cinematic feel to its viewers that other multimedia producers have not exploited so far.

Romania's street children are estimated from several hundred to 10,000. These children are homeless as a result of the policies of former Communist ruler Nicolae Ceauşescu, who forbade contraception in the hopes of ruling a populous nation, or of his successors, who consider the economy of greater importance than social welfare.

This is an extremely well crafted production, incorporating all the elements of traditional photojournalism and fusing these into a cutting edge multimedia presentation.

TTP previously posted a multimedia production by BFC on the Ardh Kumbh Mela

Monday, April 21, 2008

Jan Sochor: Carnival of Barranquilla

Photograph © Jan Sochor-All Rights Reserved

Here is Jan Sochor's photo essay on the Carnival of Barranquilla which brings us an explosion of colors...pulsating rhythms and swaying (and gorgeous) dancers! I can almost hear the distinctive sound of the carnival music in this essay.

Jan Sochor is freelance photographer & web designer, who makes his base in South America and Europe. He lived and worked in Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Spain and the Czech Republic in the last five years. He focuses principally on the Latin American continent, its everyday life, social, political and cultural issues. His photographs and stories have appeared in numerous magazines, newspapers and publications, including Reflex magazine, National Geographic CZ, Instinkt, & Hospodarske Noviny.

Barranquilla's Carnival is celebrated four days before Ash Wednesday, and is generally considered as one of the world's largest carnivals, possibly second only to the carnival of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. UNESCO proclaimed the event as a "masterpiece of the oral and intangible heritage of humanity".

Albertina D'Urso: Laos, Along The Mekong

Photograph © Albertina d'Urso-All Rights Reserved

Albertina d'Urso is an Italian documentary photographer. She published two books, "Bombay Slum" and "Lifezoom", and two collections "Respiro del Mondo 5, Afghanistan" and "Km 5072, Milano-Kabul No Stop," which received the Canon Young Photographers Award in 2007.

She traveled to over 70 countries and has a special interest in Tibetan culture. She has been photographing Tibetan refugees around the world since 2004. While her work on Tibetan refugees is certainly topical at a time when world's attention is on China and its treatment of Tibet, I chose her photo gallery titled "Laos: Along the Mekong" to highlight on the pages of TTP.

Sunday, April 20, 2008


The pear and chocolate combo always seems to be popular with the foodblogging community. Take a peek at other sites, magazines and cookery books and you will always find inspiration for these two ingredients.

I saw Jamie Oliver making this dessert on television a few weeks ago, and this recipe is perfect for using up some of those egg whites that have been stored away in the freezer.

I adapted the recipe in various ways, firstly by using toasted flaked almonds instead of the hazelnuts. Also, I whipped 200ml of double cream and then stirred into this 200ml of Greek yogurt, and I only used a teaspoon or so of icing sugar to sweeten the cream, instead of the 50g suggested, because I'm not very keen on sweetened cream..

The meringue was crisp on the outside and soft and sticky inside. The topping was fragrant from the vanilla cream and the grated orange zest and the chocolate sauce was smooth and rich, with a hint of ginger.

Here is Jamie's original recipe.



ISBN 9780718152437 - Page 39

Serves: 6 to 8 people

You will need:

4 large egg whites, 200g unrefined golden caster sugar, a pinch of sea salt, 100g hazelnuts with skins removed, 2 x 400g tins of halved pears in syrup, 2 pieces of stem ginger thinly sliced (optional), 200g dark chocolate (minimum 70% cocoa solids), 400ml double cream, 50g sifted icing sugar, 1 vanilla pod halved and seeds scraped out, zest of 1 orange.

1. Preheat the oven to 150°C/300°F/Gas 2 and line a 40 x 25cm baking tray with a sheet of greaseproof paper.
2. Put your egg whites into a clean bowl, whisk on medium until the whites form firm peaks. With your mixer still running, gradually add the sugar and the pinch of salt. Turn the mixer up to the highest setting and whisk for about 7 or 8 minutes, until the meringue mixture is white and glossy.
3. Dot each corner of the greaseproof paper with a blob of meringue, then turn it over and stick it to the baking tray. Spoon the meringue out on to the paper. Using the back of a spoon, shape and swirl it into an A4 size rectangle. Place in the preheated oven and bake for an hour or until crisp on the outside and a little soft and sticky inside. At the same time, bake the hazelnuts on a separate tray in the oven for an hour or until golden brown.
4. Drain the tins of pears, reserving the syrup from one tin. Cut each pear half into three slices. Pour the pear syrup into a saucepan with the ginger and warm gently over a medium heat until it starts to simmer. Take off the heat and snap the chocolate into the saucepan, stirring with a spoon until it's all melted.
5. Take the meringue and hazelnuts out of the oven and leave to cool. Place the meringue on a board or platter.
6. Whip the cream with the sifted icing sugar and the vanilla seeds until it forms smooth, soft peaks. Smash the toasted hazelnuts (in a tea towel) and sprinkle half of them over the top of the meringue. Spoon half the whipped cream over the top and drizzle with some of the chocolate sauce (if the sauce has firmed up, melt it slightly by holding the saucepan over a large pan of boiling water).
7. Divide most of the the pear pieces evenly over the top. Pile over the rest of the whipped cream and pears. Drizzle with some more chocolate sauce, then sprinkle over the remaining toasted hazelnuts with some grated orange zest.
8. Serve straight away. If you're making this in advance, get everything ready and assemble at the last minute.

The Cobbler of South Williamsburg

Photograph © James Angelos-All Rights Reserved

One of the perks of living in NYC is to get The City, part of the New York Times' Sunday supplements, which is also available in its web edition. This week, in a nod to Passover, it published an article titled The Kibitzer of Cobblers’ Row (for those not familiar with the Yiddish term, a kibitzer is 'a meddler who offers unwanted advice to others'), along with a slideshow of photographs of the Hasidic cobbler, peppered with Dovid Miyerov's voice.

The accompanying article tells us that the Hasidic enclave of South Williamsburg is where cobblers can make a good living. In this community, males wear long, double-breasted coats with matching felt hats while females wear pleated skirts and pearl earrings...there are no sneakers here.

It is here that Bukharan Jews from Central Asian countries like Uzbekistan and Tajikistan have brought their long cobbling heritage, and Dovid Miyerov is one of those.

On the slideshow's audio we can hear him say: " good health, good customers...and life....that's it".

That's it indeed.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Boots for the Iraqi Army?

Photograph © Michael Kamber/NY Times-All Rights Reserved

This has nothing to do with the mission of TTP, but I can't resist.

Iraqi army units are complaining about their inadequate supplies and lack of sophisticated weaponry. The above photograph by Michael Kamber in today's New York Times of an Iraqi soldier wearing plastic sandals (albeit new) is indicative of this seemingly widespread problem.

In comparison, the American soldier is equipped with a sniper scope, helmet, rugged boots and perhaps body armor. So this begs the question: where do the funds to equip the Iraqi army go, and why aren't its soldiers properly equipped?

I guess we all know the answer.

Tattooing Monks of Thailand

Photograph © Tewfic El-Sawy-All Rights Reserved

I recently updated a photo essay entitled The Tattooing Monks of Wat Bang Phra, and revamped the photo gallery by using Adobe Lightroom's Flash gallery capabilities. Nothing could have been simpler.

The National Geographic's All Terrain blog has a new post on Thailand's tattooing monks, and I wrote on the same subject a few months ago on TTP, and linked to an identical project which had appeared on NPR

The monks at Wat Bang Phro near Bangkok are reputed to be among the best tattooists in Asia. They use a long metal rod, sharpened to a fine point, and have uncanny precision in their work. Here, antiseptics range from regular rubbing alcohol to a local rice wine, and toilet paper paper to blot any blood. I was told that the ink is made from snake venom, herbs, and cigarette ashes. The monks' talents as tattoo artists are available for little remuneration: an offering of orchids, a carton of Thai cigarettes (preferably menthol-flavored) or a few Bhats towards the upkeep of the Wat.

Friday, April 18, 2008

PopPhoto: Journeys of a Lifetime

Photograph © Jim Lo Scalzo-All Rights Reserved

Popular Photography magazine has published the article "Journeys of a Lifetime" describing how four very different trips change the lives of four very different photographers. The four photographers are Greg Bleakney, Fiona Aboud, Doug Menuez, and Jim Lo Scalzo.

It's always interesting to read how other photographers started their careers, what makes them click, what are their passions and how their styles evolved over time. Fiona Aboud's story details how a documentary portrait photographer found her signature style amid the chaos of her native country's Carnival, while Jim Lo Scalzo's story tells us how a travel-addicted photojournalist learned to stop moving and embrace the calm.

Siddharth Jain: Holi Festival

Photograph © Siddharth Jain-All Rights Reserved

This is TTP's second post on Siddharth Jain, a photographer residing in Delhi but who frequently travels around India to capture color and movement. Siddharth's color affinity and the festival of Holi brings us Holi in Braj, a photo essay that pulsates with super saturated color and dazzling movement.

As Siddharth informs us, the people of Braj (Uttar Pradesh) come together to celebrate Holi, the festival of colors. It is believed that it was here that the festive tradition started. Braj consists of Mathura (where Krishna was born), Vrinadavan (where he was raised), Nandgaon (his natal village) and Barsana (Radha’s village). It is also here where the women reenact the scenes of the mythology where they try to beat up men with long bamboo sticks.

Siddharth's work is also distributed by Zuma Press (USA) and OnAsia Images (Singapore).

Thursday, April 17, 2008

National Geographic: CHINA

I just received the May issue of the National Geographic magazine, which is entirely devoted to China. The photography and articles on the new super-power are just superb, and it's a must-have even if you are not a subscriber.

In the magazine, there are photo essays by Fritz Hoffmann, Randy Olson, Lynn Johnson, and Greg Girard as well as by aerial photographer George Steinmeitz. On the web, short videos narrated by the photographers are available. NGM has added photographs from a 2002 issue on Tibetans by Steve McCurry, as well as an interesting article originally published in the July 1955 National Geographic by Heinrich Harrer, along with vintage photographs, both color and B&W.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Bilal Hussein Free At Last

The Washington Post reports that the U.S. military has now released Associated Press photographer Bilal Hussein after holding him for more than two years. Bilal was handed over to AP colleagues today in Baghdad.

The U.S. military accused Hussein of links to insurgents, and was detained by U.S. Marines on April 12, 2006 in Ramadi. An Iraqi judicial panel this month dismissed all allegations against Hussein and ordered his release. Hussein and the AP strongly denied any improper contacts by the 36-year-old photographer, saying he was doing the normal work of a photographer in a war zone.

The Washington Post's Bilal Freed

(AP Photo/Jim MacMillan)

Brent Stirton: Omo Valley

Photograph © Brent Stirton-All Rights Reserved

Brent Stirton is a photojournalist based out of New York, where he's a senior staff photographer at Getty Images. He specializes in documentary work and travels an average of 9 months of the year on assignment in his work for Getty Images, working exclusively on commissioned assignment.

Brent holds a degree in Journalism from his native South Africa and often works in tandem with journalists from the world’s leading publications. He is a multiple award winning photographer, receiving 5 awards from the World Press Photo Foundation and 3 awards from the UN for his humanitarian work, including Awards from the Global fund for his work in the field of HIV. Brent’s work has appeared in Newsweek, National Geographic, CNN traveler/, The New York Times Magazine, The Washington Post Magazine, The Sunday Times magazine, Le Monde 2, GQ, Geo and many others.

Richard Holbrooke, President of Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GBC), said this: "No one can argue with a Brent Stirton photograph.

It was difficult to choose a photograph to feature here out of the many excellent available of Brent's website, but I ended up choosing one of an Omo Valley tribesman from his Travel gallery to showcase his lighting style, and use of flash/strobes.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Luang Prabang: A Zoo?!

Photograph © David Longstreath/Associated Press-All Rights Reserved

This photograph appeared in the New York Times this morning with the article "Tourism Saves a Laotian City but Saps Its Buddhist Spirit", and is of tourists jostling each other to take photographs of Buddhist monks during their alms gathering in Luang Prabang. What a disgraceful spectacle!!! I realize that Laos is in dire need of the jobs and money that such tourism brings, but the damage that this does to its traditions and ways of life is irreversible. Many other South East Asian cities have degenerated into touristic zoos...Siem Reap and its fabulous Angkor temples is one of them.

I visited Luang Prabang 3 years ago, and I recall seeing tourists photographing the monks early morning, but they were not as aggressive and so 'in-their-face". In fact, they stood at a respectful distance from the monks, some even standing on the other side of the road (as I did), to show respect for this age-old ritual.

This is from the article: “Now we see the safari,” said Nithakhong Somsanith, an artist and embroiderer who works to preserve traditional arts. “They come in buses. They look at the monks the same as a monkey, a buffalo. It is theater.”

How would these tourists feel if the roles were reversed? Haven't these monks the same feelings and sensitivities we all do?

I see this shameful behavior time and time again wherever I go from tourists who are clueless -or are uncaring- as to their reprehensible behavior. Some nationalities are worse than others, and I (as participants in my photo expeditions only know too well) have no second thoughts in directly confronting such tactless people.

Four Entry Level DSLRs

Courtesy Gizmodo

For those who are interested in entry-level digital SLRs, Gizmodo has a comparison of four popular choices: Canon Digital Rebel XSi, Sony Alpha a350, Nikon D60 and Olympus E-420.

The comparison makes an interesting read; perhaps too simple for technophiles, but it is a great starting point for anyone seeking to either buy an entry-level DSLR or a back-up body. According to the reviewer, the Canon XSi is first choice.

Holy Week (Spain)

Photograph © Leslie Mazoch/Chico Sanchez-All Rights Reserved

Here's a Soundslides feature produced by Leslie Mazoch and Chico Sanchez on the Holy Week in Cadiz, Andalucia in Spain.

First, a brief intro on the photographers: Leslie Mazoch began her career as a photojournalist at the Daily Texan at the University of Texas at Austin. She worked in Venezuela photographing for the Associated Press. In 2007 she joined an editing team that oversees AP's Latin America and Caribbean report from Mexico City.

Chico Sanchez is a freelance photographer based in Mexico City since 2007. For the last six years, he lived in Venezuela collaborating with Reuters, European Pressphoto Agency, Agencia EFE, and others.

Throughout seven days, Andalucia celebrates Semana Santa, a tradition which joins the devout and the curious in street processions and parades. The organization behind the parades rests with the religious fraternities and brotherhoods, which have the responsibility of maintaining the statues as well as co-ordinating the penitents and musicians.

The "costaleros" carry the weight of the floats and their sculptured representations of biblical scenes. The floats are followed by "nazarenos" dressed in tunics, hoods and masks, and women dressed in traditional costumes.

The high point of each procession is when the float exits and enters the respective church. The best floats date back to the 16th and 17th centuries, and are carefully preserved.

Monday, April 14, 2008


Is there still orange marmalade left in the jar after making Jamie Oliver's Hot Cross Pudding? Perhaps now would be a good time to use some of it up, that is, unless you have already had the rest of it on toast.

This cake comes about from Nigel Slater's love of marmalade and to quote him 'I use more of this amber jelly in my kitchen than ever touches a piece of toast'.

This is a very homely and comforting cake, with a wonderful light texture. If you leave it for a couple of days before icing then the cake becomes really sticky.

Nigel says after cooking, the cake will sink slightly, mine didn't though, perhaps he used too much marmalade!!

I made a couple of these and cooked them in small loaf tins, then I iced one of the cakes and popped the other in the freezer.

In the past I have made marmalade cake but have never been very impressed with the results and if you too have found this to be the case, here is the recipe that we have been waiting for.


Serves: 8 people

You will need: a loaf tin 10 x 25.5cm, 7.5cm deep or 2 smaller loaf tins, lined with baking parchment.

175g soft butter, 75g light muscovado sugar, 100g golden caster sugar, 3 large eggs, finely grated zest of 1 large orange, 100g orange marmalade, 175g self-raising flour.

For the frosting:

100g unrefined icing sugar, 1 teaspoon orange flower water, 1 tablespoon orange juice.

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/170°C fan/Gas 4.
2. Put the butter and sugars into the bowl of a food mixer and beat until pale and fluffy. The mixture should be the colour of milky coffee.
3. Beat the eggs lightly with a whisk and add to the butter and sugar mixture, just a little at a time. Scrape down the sides of the bowl regularly with a rubber spatula. If the mixture shows any sign of curdling add a tablespoon of the flour to bring it back together.
4. With the machine turning at moderate speed, add the grated orange zest and the marmalade. Stop as soon as they are incorporated. Remove the bowl from the machine, then fold in the flour with a large metal spoon. Do this firmly but carefully, until there is no sign of any flour.
5. Spoon the mixture into the lined cake tin or tins, lightly smoothing the top. Bake for 40 minutes if making one large cake, or 35 minutes if making two smaller ones. Check the cake is cooked with a metal skewer. (It should come out clean if the cake is ready). Leave to cool in the tin or tins - it will naturally sink slightly - then remove and cool on a wire rack.

To make the frosting:

1. Sieve the icing sugar and mix it to a smooth, slightly runny consistency with the orange flower water and as much of the orange juice as it takes, probably the whole tablespoon. Drizzle the frosting over the cake, letting it run down the sides, and leave to set.

I used the full quantity of frosting to ice one small loaf.

Adobe TV

Many of us will find Adobe TV very useful as it features 4 channels, each targeting a specific audience. Naturally, the one that is of most interest to us is the Photographers channel.

Each channel features tutorials and commentary from Adobe experts, and more than 200 videos are currently available on Adobe TV: the first of which offers secrets about Photoshop software, podcasts and design tips for Creative Suite, techniques for Photoshop Lightroom, and many others that will be useful to other disciplines as well.

Atlantic Monthly: Kolkata

Photograph © Atul Loke-All Rights Reserved

Here's a Soundslides feature from The Atlantic Monthly of Kolkata photographs by Atul Loke. The one above is of street barbers in the Kalighat neighborhood of the city. The slideshow is accompanied by a lovely piece of sitar by Ravi Shankar, but I'm not sure why the magazine's website insists in opening a small window for the slideshow. It's annoying.

It is also the accompanying feature to Robert Kaplan's article about this teeming city. Kaplan is an author and an editor for the magazine. His writings have also been nationally featured, and while he's viewed as controversial because of his support for the Iraq war (his biography is revealing as to why), he captures Kolkata very well.

This is one of the paragraphs of the article which I found to be spot-on:

"Calcutta is, frankly, obscene. I walked out of a tony espresso bar—its windows cluttered with credit-card stickers—that offered an eclectic Indian-cum-cosmopolitan cuisine of extravagant mocha cocktails and paneer-tikka sandwiches. As I left the air-conditioning for the broiling street, I was careful not to stumble over families sleeping on cardboard along a sidewalk where men and women urinated."

It's exactly the feeling I had when I visited this city a few years ago. I was struck by the overpowering poverty the moment I stepped out of my hotel's doors. It was a jarring experience that remains with me to this day, and it doesn't seem it has changed since then.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Email Newsletters

I don't usually plug products much, but I found Campaign Monitor to be one of the better ones I've used so far. The thing I like best about it is its pricing structure. There are no setup fees, no monthly fees and no hidden fees. For each campaign sent with more than 5 recipients, it's a flat delivery fee of $5 plus 1 cent/recipient. So it's a purely pay-as-you-go product.

Sending newsletters by email is one of the most effective way to reach one's clients/audience, whether your mailing list is in the tens or in the thousands. You have to realize that some will not reach their mailbox destination, but that's a function of anti-spam filters in email providers.

Using Campaign Monitor is not difficult, but because it's built for designers, it gives its users complete creative control over the design and structure of their emails. You can use their templates or you can create your own to send in HTML, plain text or both.

I use my own newsletter design (the link to my latest newsletter is on the right of this post, under "My Other Websites". My mailing list, which is expanding every day, is all permission-based (as it should be) and I'm ruthless in weeding out those names who signed on to the list just to get details of my photo-expeditions' itineraries for their own purposes...a bunch of those have already been removed!

It's one thing for photographers to keep track of what others are doing (some view it as 'industrial espionage'...but I don't) and quite another to essentially 'steal' photo itineraries which have taken me effort and time to put together, and just walk away. So I'm very selective as to whom I send itinerary details to.

Inside Guantanamo: Louie Palu

Photograph © Louie Palu-All Rights Reserved

Frank Rich of the New York Times authored an insightful Op-Ed today, which he titled The Petraeus-Crocker Show Gets the Hook . It's an extremely well-written and well-thought out opinion piece, especially when he writes: "Most Americans don’t want to hear, see or feel anything about Iraq, whether they support the war or oppose it. They want to look away, period, and have been doing so for some time."

Coincidentally, I found The Atlantic Monthly's Inside Guatanamo, a Soundslides feature by photojournalist Louie Palu, who visited the facility where the U.S. government is holding some 340 “enemy combatants”.

From the accompanying article, we read that "fewer than 20 percent of Guantánamo inmates have been members of al-Qaeda, a National Journal study suggested. The same survey concluded that a high percentage, perhaps the majority, of inmates were not captured on any battlefield, but were handed over by Afghan warlords or Pakistanis in return for rewards."

The slideshow is narrated by Palu, who could only photograph what the authorities allowed him to.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Remi Benali: The Khampa Horsemen

Photograph © Remi Benali-All Rights Reserved

Here's a presentation of photographs by Remi Benali, a photojournalist and travel photographer from France, on The Khampa Horsemen of Tibet.

The Khampas are the inhabitants of the Kham region,the eastern third of Tibet. Marco Polo described the Kham as "thieves and caravan raiders practicing all sorts of magic". Many of them adhere to their religious and cultural traditions. The Khampas' spectacular Yagi Summer Festival is held in Litang, in China's western Sichuan province, one county over from Tibet proper. Tibetans make up 90 percent of the people who live in Litang. The NPR website has further background (including some audio) on the Khampa Horsemen and the festival.

Remi Benali worked with the photo agency Gamma for twelve years and has been working independently since 2002 and currently lives in Provence. His journeys have led him to 70 countries--from the North Pole to the Sahara Desert and the remote jungles of Sumatra to Indian rituals in the Andes mountains. Specialized in travel photography, his personal work celebrates the living remnants of a vanishing past, with a focus on rituals and traditions, tribal cultures and UNESCO World Heritage sites.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Lightroom Beta 2.0: Sample

© Tewfic El-Sawy - All Rights Reserved

As reported in an earlier post this week, I've been test-driving Lightroom 2.0 in its Beta form. I found it to be intuitive and simple to use so far, and I'm very pleased to have downloaded it. I'm far from being a "pixel-pusher", so I keep my usage very basic and the photograph above (village elders in Jojawar, Rajasthan) is the result of just a couple of clicks.

A photojournalist friend recommended that I try the recently updated Aperture as well, predominantly for its capability to seamlessly integrate with all of Apple's applications. I shall do so shortly.

Marc Dozier: Papua New Guinea

Photograph © Marc Dozier-All Rights Reserved

Marc Dozier is a French photojournalist, who describes himself as a tireless globetrotter. He traveled to the four corners of the world, reporting and photographing for Grands Reportages, the French travel magazine. He studied graphic arts at the University of Moresby, in Papua New Guinea.

He regularly travels to Papua New Guinea, and considers it his second home. His portfolio consists of travel photographs from PNG, Benin, Zanzibar, Thailand, Burma and Taiwan among others.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Rubin Museum of Art: Kevin Bubriski

Photograph © Kevin Bubriski-All Rights Reserved

From March 14 to October 13, 2008, the Rubin Museum of Art in New York is featuring "Nepal in Black and White", an exhibition of photographs made by Kevin Bubriski.

The photographer arrived in Nepal as a Peace Corps volunteer in 1975, and spent about 4 years working in remote villages. He returned in 1984 as a photographer, and with a 4” x 5” view camera, a Nepalese photographic assistant, and two porters, he traveled the length and breadth of the country for the better part of three years.

“The realization that not only my camera but also the modern world was making ever-increasing intrusions into even the most remote areas of Nepal compelled me to document a time and way of life slipping inexorably into the past.” — Kevin Bubriski 1993.

I intend to go to the Rubin to see the exhibit, and will report on it when I do. From the little I've seen of Bubriski's work, his photographs of Nepal are extraordinary.

The exhibition is well-timed, as Nepal is currently in the news with its first election taking place since 1999. The landmark election is for an assembly which will re-write the constitution, and the new body is likely to abolish the 240 years-old Nepali monarchy (which pleases me enormously!).

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Bruno Morandi: Guatemala

Here's a two for one post; I already featured Bruno Morandi on TTP about a year ago with a post on his work with the Hijras of Pakistan. Bruno is a globe trotting French photographer blessed with an excellent 'eye', and who relies on all-inclusive framing and the power of colors.

I also posted about Issuu, an online conversion system that converts PDF files so that they can be read on the internet via web browsers. One can create a digital magazine or book with its pages flipped just like the real thing.

Bruno has published his colorful Guatemala: A Symphony of Colours photographs as an Issuu digital book, and it's really lovely. I don't know what it is, but having one's photographs in digital book form seems aesthetically more pleasing to the eye than a regular ho-hum photo gallery on the it because we are used to seeing photographs in book format?

If you're tempted to use Issuu service, make sure you read its terms and conditions, and consider downloading Combine PDFs 3.0. It's a Mac-only shareware that allows you to convert and put all your photographs unto one document, which is then easily uploaded to Issuu. There must be similar shareware for PCs.

The Magnum Workshop East London

The Magnum Workshop East London will be held 14th - 20th June 2008 is a seven day event organized for advanced photographers wishing to take the next logical step in their career. Led by Magnum photographers Chris Steele-Perkins and Simon Wheatley, this workshop is an opportunity to build a body of work focusing on the topical regeneration of East London.

For Further information: The Magnum Workshop East London

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Sony World Photography Awards

© Arup Ghosh, courtesy of Sony World Photography Awards

Arup Ghosh's image of an Indian barber shaving a customer has won him top honors as Amateur Photographer of the Year in the Sony World Photography Awards.

The inaugural Sony World Photography Awards will be held in Cannes, France, between April 21 and 25. Professional photographers nominated in the 11 categories will find out in Cannes who has been named Photographer of the Year.

There are many terrific photographs among the World Photography Awards Finalists (via Spiegel Online) gallery.

Amy Thompson: Cambodia

Photograph © Amy Thompson-All Rights Reserved

Amy Thompson is a talented photojournalist who recently completed her masters in documentary photography from Ohio University and is currently teaching at the Massachusetts College of Art. Amy worked as a freelance and staff photographer for The New York Times (Washington D.C. bureau) and was a featured photographer in National Geographic Magazine.

Supported by a grant from the Center for Southeast Asia Studies, she created and produced an essay Peace, Violence and Visitors, which is chosen for this post. Her photographs captioned "Hunting for frogs" and "Selling bok-shoy" in the photo essay amply demonstrate her talent.

To me, Amy's photograph of a lay nun (aka doan-chi) in the Bayon Temple in Angkor Wat, with the smoke of the incense sticks obscuring her face, is a "decisive moment" photograph.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Pulitzer Prize: Breaking News Photography

Photograph © Adrees Latif -All Rights Reserved

The 2008 Pulitzer Prize winners were announced a short while ago, and Adrees Latif of Reuters was awarded the $10,000 2008 Pulitzer Prize in the Breaking News Photography for his photograph of a Japanese videographer, fatally wounded during a street demonstration in Myanmar.

Mahmud Hams of Agence France-Presse was also nominated as finalist in this category for his picture of a missile, caught in mid-air, as it falls on a target in the Gaza Strip while young Palestinians scramble for safety.

2008 Pulitzer Prizes

TTP Recap of the Week

For your convenience, here's the past week's (March 31-April 6, 2008) most popular posts on TTP:

Karen Huntt: PNG.
Adobe Lightroom 2.0 Beta
Edirol R-09HR