africa

Natural Light Portraits in Senegal

Some natural light portraits I took of a friend in Dakar, Senegal. The portraits were all taken with a Canon 5D2 and a 50mm 1.4 lens in and around Dakar. The model, Fatima is a photographer and model from Dakar, she is available for photos shoots and collaborations. Click through the slideshow for some of the natural light portraits of Fatima taken in Dakar:

All of the portraits of Fatima were taken in Dakar, either on the Northern coast of the peninsula or on the island of Ngor. The colourful braids seemed to be the fashion trend in West Africa at the time of my visit with Fatima’s pink ones only available from Ghana.

I have written several other photography blogs about my trip to Senegal including:

More of my travel photography from Senegal can be found on my website, my Instagram, and my Flickr account.  Fatima, the Senegalese model in the portrait images can be found via her instagram at @fatou.gueye.bello. 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

Island of Gorée, Dakar, Senegal

On my first day in Senegal I took a ferry from the capital of Dakar to the infamous Island of Gorée.  Located two kilometres from the main harbour of Dakar this beautiful but haunting island is one of the must see destinations when visiting Senegal.  From the 15th to the 19th century, the island of Gorée was the largest slave-trading centre on the African coast.  Click through the slideshow below to view some of the photographs I took on the island:  

Between the 15th and 19th century Gorée Island was ruled in succession by the Portuguese, Dutch, English and French.  Gorée is a small island 900 metres (3,000 ft) in length and 350 metres (1,150 ft) in width sheltered by the Cap-Vert peninsula.  You can easily walk around the island in half a day exploring the small streets, viewing African arts and crafts and learning about the horrors of the slave trade that existed on the island.

The architecture on the island is characterized by the contrast between the grim slave-quarters and the elegant houses of the slave traders.  One of the oldest houses on the island is the House of Slaves built around 1780 - 1784.  The house is now a museum and tourist destination used to serve as a reminder of the human exploitation that occurred there and as a sanctuary for reconciliation.

All of my photographs from Gorée island were taken using a Canon 5D Mark 2 and a Canon 50mm 1.4 lens.  I have written previous travel blogs from Senegal on: 'Street Photography in Dakar', 'Sunsets of Senegal', and about the 'Beach at Yoff in Dakar.'  More of my travel photography from Senegal can be found on my website, my Instagram, and my Flickr account.  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.  

Travel Portraits by Geraint Rowland

During my travels I often capture people around the world in a candid manner in their natural environment.  As my confidence has grown and my photographic skills have improved I have begun taking more portrait photographs.  These are often what are called 'environmental portraits', a portrait taken in the subject's usual environment and which normally include the surroundings as well as the person.  More recently I have also started taking 'head shot' style portraits, a tighter cropped image where the focus is on the persons face only.  For my head shots I normally ask the person for their permission first.  Click through the slideshow below to view some of my travel portraits:

With the majority of travel portraits above I asked for permission for the image to be taken. Often in touristy areas you are required or asked to pay for such portraits as was the case in Cusco, Peru, and Havana, Cuba.  The image of the Mexican girl in the Day of the Dead makeup and the final image of the Bolivian lady were the exceptions as both were caught candidly.  The beauty of head shots and or tightly cropped portraits is that you minimise the clutter in the background of the image.

All of the portraits were taken using a Canon 5D (Mark 2 or 4) and the majority were with the Canon 50mm 1.4.  Other lenses used were the Canon 85mm 1.8 and the Sigma Art Lens 135mm 1.8.  All of the images were taken using natural light and without the use of a flash.  The images were often taken with a shallow depth of field to create a pleasing background and draw attention to the persons face.  Images of people from around the world fascinate me, I think that they tell you more about a place than a landscape ever can.  In the future I want to focus more on portraits and improve my skills in this area of photography.  

More of my travel photography can be found on my websiteInstagramFacebook Page and my Flickr account.  If you would like any more information about any of my images please send an email to: geraintrowlandphotography@gmail.com.

Sunsets of Senegal by Geraint Rowland Photography

Last year I spent a couple of months in Senegal where I experienced some beautiful sunsets.  I spent the majority of the time in the capital city of Dakar, but also traveled to Lompoul in the north of the country and Zinguinchor in the southern region.  Along with capturing a lot of travel and street photography style shots I also captured some stunning sunsets especially at Yoff beach close to the Airport in Dakar.  Click through the slide show below to view some sunsets from Senegal:

Senegal, like the rest of West Africa I have visited is fantastic for photography.  With so many people around there is always something interesting and or unusual to capture.  Whilst I was in Dakar they were celebrating the Tabaski Festival.  Tabaski is based on Islamic beliefs and culminates with each family sacrificing a sheep and then eating it.  There are sheep everywhere in Dakar, tied up on the roadsides, being washed in the Ocean or being sold at markets.  Here is a previous blog I wrote on the fascinating beach area of Yoff in Dakar.

In Lompoul in the north there are beautiful remote beaches, interesting fishing towns and a small desert with orange sand dunes where you can camp and take camel rides.  To the south lies Ziguinchor, the second largest city of Senegal lying at the mouth of the Casamance river and largely separated from the rest of the country by The Gambia.

Throughout the country I witnessed some beautiful sunsets.  Sunsets always seem to be amongst my most liked photos.  I think there is something instantly enjoyable about an image of the setting sun, it is something that everyone can relate to.  I especially like sunset images that contain an additional element, be it a person or an animal.  My favourite sunset image I capture in Senegal was of a fisherman feeding his two pet Pelicans at Yoff beach.  I love the composition, the lighting and the added comic nature of these peculiar birds.  Whilst in Senegal was travelling without a tripod so had to rely on taking hand held shots or creating abstract images when I ran out of light.  Here is a blog I wrote with some tips about taking sunset photos.

More of my travel photography from Senegal can be found on my website, my Instagram, and my Flickr account.  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.

Down by the Sea, Senegal

I recently spent a couple of months in Senegal, a country in West Africa.  I spent the majority of that time in the capital Dakar, mainly at the beach town of Yoff.  The town is built along the broad beach at Yoff Bay which faces the Atlantic Ocean, directly north of the city centre of Dakar.  In West Africa the beach is much more than a place to relax and soak up the sun.  Click through the slideshow below for some of my travel photos taken at Yoff Beach in Dakar:

The beach at Yoff is used as a means of transportation with Horse & Cart transporting people and produce along the beach.  In the afternoons the beach becomes a huge gym with hundreds of Sengalese coming to exercise in groups or alone.  Several football games take place along the stretch of sand and men practice the Sengalese form of wrestling by the shore.  Yoff is also a place to pray with one of the biggest Mosques in Dakar situated overlooking the beach.  

The most important function of the beach however is access to the ocean for it's fish.  At the far end of the beach lies the fishing centre where many colourful fishing boats line the sand.  On the shore women wash and prepare the fish, old fridges lie around storing the catch of the day and locals visit to make a purchase.  Everyone here seems to be involved in some way with fishing, be it transporting, cleaning, cooking, catching or selling the daily catch.  A very lively and colourful place it was great for photography.  The beach also has regular and consistent surf, another good reason to visit and spend a few days there...

More of my travel photography from Senegal can be found on my website, my Instagram, and my Flickr account.  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.

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.  

An abstract water photo at sunset by Geraint Rowland Photography.

An abstract water photo at sunset by Geraint Rowland Photography.

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.  

My abstract photography can now be bought on Etsy via LindaWisdomPhotoCo. The Red Lima sunset above for example can be purchased here.  More of my abstract photography can be found on my website, my Instagram, my Twitter and my Flickr account. 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.

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!”

Black and White Photography by Geraint Rowland.

Black and White Photography by Geraint Rowland.

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.

More of my black and white photography can be found on my website, my Instagram, my Twitter, and my Flickr account. 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.

Window on Africa, Road Trip Photograph Published by Sunday Times

One of my African road trip photos that was published in the Sunday Times in 2011.  The actual photo was taken as we were leaving Nouakchott, the Capital of Mauritania.  I took it with my Canon 50mm lens through the car window of this beautiful tall women in her amazing clothing.

Published by the Sunday Times in 2011. From a road trip I carried out with some friends driving from the North of Morocco to Bamako, the Capital of Mali.  The trip took us seven days of constant driving, only stopping in the evenings for sleep.

Window on Africa by Geraint Rowland, published by the Sunday Times

Window on Africa by Geraint Rowland, published by the Sunday Times

Window on Africa by Geraint Rowland 

On a road trip from Morocco to Mali, Geraint was always going to come across plenty of local colour. Here’s his highlight, from Nouakchott, Mauritania. Looks a bit breezy, but the desert city’s name does mean “the place of winds” in Berber.

Full article and photo on the Sunday Times website here.

More of the photos from that West African road trip can be found on my website, my Instagram, and my Flickr account.  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.