Black and White Photography at Belen Village, Iquitos Peru

These photos were taken in the village of Belen in Iquitos, Peru.  Some of the photos formed part of an earlier blog and photo essay for Dezine Magazine.  Belen Village is part of Iquitos, the largest metropolis in the Peruvian amazon.  The entire village is flooded for several months each year by the nearby Amazon river.  The only way to get around is by boat so even the children learn to navigate and paddle in small canoes from an early age.  Click through the slideshow below for a selection of the Belen Village photos:

Belen Village in Iquitos is full of amazing photo opportunities: The local people use the river to work, travel and play.  Children sit overlooking the river selling food and produce to passing boats, Men offer taxi boat services or fish, and Women wash the family clothes in the river.  Some 65,000 people live in the Village of Belen on either moored floating houses or houses on stilts.  It is a very poor neighbourhood with many of the people living in impoverished conditions.  

More of my travel photography can be found on my website and my Facebook page.  If you are interested in purchasing any prints, using an image online or would like further information please send me an email at: geraintrowlandphotography@gmail.com.

Monkey Love, Bijilo Forest Park, The Gambia

I recently spent two months in West Africa visiting Senegal.  I have a Senegal album on my Flickr account with photos from Dakar, Lompoul, and Ziguinchor.  Whilst visiting the Casamance area in the south of the country I decided to take a trip to The Gambia.  The Gambia is the smallest country in mainland Africa and is completely surrounded by Senegal except for its coastline on the Atlantic Ocean.  It is home to the Bijilo Forest Park (aka Monkey Forest).  Click through the slideshow below for some images I took of the monkeys there:

The Bijilo Forest Park, or Monkey Forest is situated next to the coast in the Serekunda area some 11 km's west of Banjul, the capital of The Gambia.  There are various trails through the park that take you through the forest and coastal scrubland.  Many local people told me that there are no longer any monkeys left in the park but there were plenty on the day I visited.  I think the diversity of the monkey population has diminished over recent years with the Western Red Colobus monkey being pushed out of the area.  This has been blamed upon deforestation of the area as well as the practices of the park itself:  By encouraging tourists to buy nuts and feed the green monkeys, their numbers have risen massively pushing out the red monkeys.  I didn't see any red monkeys in the park whilst I was there but did see some along the main road in the mornings.  The green monkeys however are in an abundance (click through the carousel below for more monkey love):

Some major construction was taking place close to the entrance of the park when I visited with more of the park area being cleared for commercial development.  Hopefully enough forest survives for the existing monkeys but their future looks fragile. 

More of my travel photography can be found on my website and my Facebook page.  If you are interested in purchasing any prints, using an image online or would like further information please send me an email at: geraintrowlandphotography@gmail.com.  

Silhouette Photography by Geraint Rowland

I have always enjoyed taking and viewing silhouette photographs.  I think that the simplicity of silhouette images adds to their overall beauty.  And I believe the lack of detail in silhouette photography often makes the imagery more interesting by adding an element of intrigue.  I particularly like silhouette photography when there is an interesting background such as a colourful sky, dramatic cloud formation or a strong sunset.

Silhouette Surfers in Peru by Geraint Rowland

How to take silhouette photos

As with everything in photography, when taking silhouette photos, the most important thing is the lighting.  In basic terms, you want the background to be lighter than your foreground subject.  The best way therefore is to take the image at either sunrise or sunset.  At this time of the day you may also have the added bonus of colour in the sky.  The best silhouette photographs are often taken when the sun is low, for example during a dramatic sunset.  However, equally as impressive silhouette images can be taken against a blue sky.  Alternatively silhouette photos can be taken against the bright shine of a fjord in Oslo, the expanse of the ocean, or a snowcapped mountain.  Finally silhouette images can be created against the backdrop of artificial lighting such as at Lima’s Circuito Mágico del Agua, the World's largest water fountain complex.  Click through the slideshow below for more examples of silhouette photography I have taken on my travels:

Silhouettes are a great way of adding mystery and drama to an image, drawing the viewer in and letting them use their imagination.  They can transform a simple scene into one full of emotion lifting an otherwise throwaway photo into a standout shot.  There is a wealth of useful information online regarding silhouette photography and the techniques involved.  Without getting too technical here are some tips for shooting powerful silhouettes:

1.  It's all about the light: As with all photography the importance of correct lighting can not be emphasised enough.  For silhouette photography your subject (the silhouette) should be in front of the light source (sun/sky/artificial light).  You then need your camera to set the exposure on the brightest part of the image as opposed to on the subject.  This will result in your subject being under exposed and becoming a silhouette.

2.  Keep it simple: Look for locations that have a large amount of open space and are uncluttered.  The less distracting elements in the frame the better, and make use of negative space.  

3.  Don't use flash: You want as little light in front of your subject as possible, so do not use flash whilst taking silhouettes.  If shooting on automatic mode your flash may fire automatically due to the low light.  Instead switch the camera to either automatic, shutter, or aperture priority modes.

4.  Choose a strong subject: Choose subjects with a strong and recognisable shape and form for silhouette photos.  When photographing people up close, try to catch them side on so you can capture the detail in the profile.  Somethings work better than others, experiment and have fun.

More examples of my silhouette photography can be found on my Facebook or on my Flickr account.  If you are interested in purchasing any of my silhouette images or would like further information please send me an email at: geraintrowlandphotography@gmail.com.

Photographing the Countrywide Great Tour 2015

In the summer of 2015 a small group of cyclists set off from Anglesey in North Wales for a 64 day journey, circumnavigating the coastline of Great Britain.  At the start of July the cyclists began their epic journey cycling the entire coastline of Wales, Scotland and England before finally arriving back at their starting point seven weeks later.  Over the course of the 6,700 kilometre journey they were joined by hundreds of fellow cyclists for various stages of the Tour.  Always cycling in sight, sound and smell of the sea, the Countrywide Great Tour celebrated the beautiful and varied coastline of England, Scotland and Wales.

In 2010 I took part in the original Great Tour as a cyclists in which I rode the entire coastline of Wales.  In 2015 I was invited by the Sweetspot group (organisers of the Great Tour as well as the Tour of Britain and the Tour Series), to join the Countrywide Great Tour as the official photographer.  Photos were published daily on their social media accounts: Facebook, Twitter, and their Flickr account.  In addition to images created for social media, a photo was also published in the Telegraph newspaper daily.  Click through the slideshow below for a selection of cycling photographs from the Countrywide Great Tour 2015:

The Countrywide Great Tour was an amazing experience and I recommend anyone to get involved in 2018 when the Great Tour is returning.  Cyclists can join for individual days, whole weeks or for the more adventurous: the entire 64 days.  The individual day stages are around 100km and are fully supported so are suitable for the majority of people regardless of your cycling experience.  It is an amazing way to get outside and experience the beautiful coastline of Great Britain on two wheels.  

In time I will post up an additional blog containing some landscape and location photos from the Countrywide Great Tour 2015.  In the meantime for more photos of the Countrywide Tour 2015 you can check my CGT2015 Flickr Album.  

Anamorphic Photography by Geraint Rowland

I first became interested in anamorphic and cinematic photography a few years ago after stumbling across an article online on the PetaPixel blog written by the wedding photographer, Sam Hurd.  The article, titled, 'Shooting with an Anamorphic Lens on an Ordinary DSLR' explains the history behind the cinematography technique as well as how to use an anamorphic lens on a modern day DSLR camera.  In essence, using an anamorphic lens results in a photo with a wide panoramic aspect ratio whilst having the shallow depth of field of a telephoto lens.  

An anamorphic image of the Inca Trail leading to Peru in South America by Geraint Rowland.

An anamorphic image of the Inca Trail leading to Peru in South America by Geraint Rowland.

To find out more about anamorphic photography I found an excellent group on Flickr called Anamorphic Lens which is frequented by some experts in this field.  Following some conversations online with the extremely talented, friendly and helpful Shuji Moriwaki I went on to buy one of his old lenses and give it a go myself.  In addition to the wide aspect whilst retaining the shallow depth of field, anamorphic lenses also bend the incoming light in a beautiful way.  Anamorphic lenses also produce very unique bokeh, finally this style of lens can produce a very cool cinematic style flare.  

Using an anamorphic lens on a DSLR is a bit of a fiddle, especially with regards to focus.  You need to first focus your normal prime lens, attach the anamorphic lens with a mount and then focus the second lens to the same distance.  Like everything, practice makes perfect and the technique gets easier with time.  Despite the focus issues an anamorphic lens can produce some stunning and unique images.  I found that they emphasis the scale in landscape photography and can add emotion with the particular way they bend the light.  Here are some landscape photos I took using the anamorphic lens in and around Machu Picchu in Peru.  Note the cinematic style borders at the top and the bottom of the image are added in post production.  

Click on the image below to scroll through the slide show.

With portrait photography they provide an alternative approach, producing images with a unique look and style.  You can make use of the shallow depth of field offered by the telephoto lens as well as playing with the unique lighting, flare and bokeh.  Click on the image below to scroll through the view the slide show.

More examples of my anamorphic photography can be found on my website or on my Flickr account.  If you are interested in purchasing any of my anamorphic prints or would like further information please send me an email at: geraintrowlandphotography@gmail.com.  

Abstract Ocean Art Photography by Geraint Rowland

I am a big fan of this kind of abstract artwork, both in paintings and photography itself.  I think I first saw the technique being used by Surf photographer Morgan Maasen.  So, how do you make abstract style photographs?  Producing these abstract photographs is fairly easy, you simply take a photo of the ocean with a long exposure (up to a second or more depending on the light) whilst moving the camera from left to right (or right to left depending on you preference).  It's often a good way to create interesting and often beautiful shots at an often bland location.  In addition it is a technique which doesn't require a tripod, which I often can not be bothered to carry about with me.  Meaning you can still have fun, and produce some nice images whist others are carrying out long exposures with a tripod.  The end result being a painterly type of image often more similar to a painting, or piece of art than that of a photograph.  

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The same technique can be used for trees, for example in a forest or jungle.  The trick is to move the camera in the same direction as the main lines within the frame.  For example, with the Ocean or Sea you go from left to right, following the horizon and the swell lines.  In a forest or woodland you would move the camera vertically from bottom to top, or top to bottom.  Click through the slideshow below for more examples of abstract ocean photography.  These photos were taken in Peru, England, Spain and West Africa.

I was involved in an 'Emerging Artists Exhibition' in Lima in 2013 in which I exhibited and sold several large abstract ocean art pieces which were printed on to canvas.  They were 1 metre by 1 metre in size and looked excellent hung on the wall.  More examples of my abstract ocean and surf art can be found here on my website.  

If you are interested in purchasing some of my abstract ocean photography or would like further information please send me an email at: geraintrowlandphotography@gmail.com.  

Geraint Rowland published in Professional Photographer Magazine

Happy to be published in this month's Professional Photographer Magazine, following a competition I won through PhotoVoice.

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The photo will be part of an upcoming photography exhibition in London which I hope to intend.  Always nice to have work published, especially in a magazine of such high quality.  The photograph which one the competition was taken at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, A Roman Catholic Church in the North of Mexico City.  Here is a version of the image on my Flickr site.

Street Art Around the World (Photo Essay for the Fifth Issue of Dezine Magazine)

One of the first things I do when I arrive in a new country is search for the local street art and graffiti.  I love the different styles around the World and the way the paintings provide colour and life to the streets.  

“Some people become cops because they want to make the world a better place.  Some people become vandals because they want to make the world a better looking place.”
– Banksy (Wall and Piece)

I try to combine street photography with street art in a complementary way.  By adding a human element into the frame you can often enhance the artwork that already exists.  Through timing and placement you can end up with an image in which life imitates the art itself.  Here is a selection of street art photography from various places I have travelled around the World.  Due to the bright and vivid colours of the street art I prefer to present the images in colour as opposed to black and white:

1.  Taken in the multicultural neighbourhood of Raval in Barcelona, Spain.  The art on this wall is constantly changing, I like this fleeting moment of life mimicking the art.

2.  Long faces in the historic centre of Mexico City.

3.  Synchronisation on the streets in Santiago, Chile.

4.  The dog and his double, Valparaíso, Chile.  

5.  A Day of the Dead reveller walks past some crude but poignant graffiti in Mexico City.  'La Historia es Nuestra Venceremos/History is ours, we will overcome'. 

6.  A street performer practises amongst the graffiti in Barcelona, Spain.

7.  A Storm Trooper attacks in the Condesa neighbourhood in Mexico City.  

Travel in Black and White (Photo Essay for the Fourth Issue of Dezine Magazine)

I believe that by converting an image to black and white one adds an extra element that is often lost with colour photography.  With landscape photography, converting to black and white can add to the sense of scale and vastness of a scene.  With documentary photography, converting to black and white can make the scene more powerful and alive.  And with people photography, converting to black and white can add to and increase the captured emotion, whether that be happy or sad, lost or lonely.  Photographer, Ted Grant's quote on black and white photography sums this up beautifully:

“When you photograph people in color, you photograph their clothes. But when you photograph people in black and white, you photograph their souls!”

I rarely take a photograph thinking I will convert it into black and white, instead it happens later in the editing stage.  The reason for converting to black and white normally depends on the light in which the photo was taken, but it can also be due to the atmosphere or mood of the image.  Click through the slideshow below, descriptions of each shot can be found beneath:

1.  For a brief moment the light under the pier in Santa Monica was amazing yet it didn't quite work in colour.  Converting to black and white exaggerated the amazing light show and the addition of a photographer in the frame added to the image.

2.  Taken through the window on a road trip through West Africa I captured this boy as we passed through the border between Mauritania and Mali.  His eyes show a lot of emotion which the black and white conversion helps bring out.

3.  Taken during the Day of the Dead Carnival in Mexico City.   Here the black and white conversion adds to the atmosphere and spirit of the carnival.

4.  This confrontation between a shop owner and the Police in Downtown Mexico City is brought to life by the black and whiteconversion.  One can almost feel the tension.

5.  I love how the black and white conversion to this rural scene captured in Cusco, Peru, gives the image a dated and atmospheric feel.

6.  The genuine happiness and innocence of these children in Belen Market, Iquitos, Peru is magnified by the conversion into black and white.  The beauty of the light on the water is also accentuated by this process.

Photo Exhibition - New Partnership – The London Photo Show

One of my photos will be included in an upcoming exhibition in London following a competition I won held by PhotoVoice in partnership with Professional Photography magazine.  Information below:  

We are delighted to announce that PhotoVoice is the official charity partner of the London Photo Show.

Organised by the people behind the 36exp Photographers’ School, The London Photo Show is a celebration of photography in central London. Prizes, feedback and appraisal will be awarded to the exhibitors with the best images and the private view is set to be an exciting evening, with over 100 people expected and drinks included.

We will be exhibiting the winning images from our bi-monthly photography competition in partnership with Professional Photography magazine and the PhotoVoice images that have inspired each competition theme. We are excited to be exhibiting our projects and the outstanding winning images from our competition.  Full information and website:

https://photovoice.org/new-partnership-the-london-photo-show

Where:

The Strand Gallery 32 John Adam st London WC2N 6BP

Key Dates:

Exhibition – 18 – 22 October

Invitation only Private View – 18 October 6:30 – 8:30