geraint rowland

Photography in and around Fort Kochi

Last year I set off on a six month journey around India. I didn't really have a plan aside exploring and taking lots of photos on my travels. After a couple of weeks settling into the Indian way of life in Bangalore (also known as Bengaluru) I decided to fly to Kochi. Kochi (also known as Cochin) is a coastal city in India’s southwest state of Kerala. I always prefer being near the coast and the area had been recommended to me by both tourists and Indians alike. As a bonus, India’s largest arts event was being held in the city whilst I would be there, the Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2018.

I spent a few days on the mainland of Kochi in the Ernakulam area before moving to the coastal area of Fort Kochi. Whilst in Ernakulam I experienced one of the elephant festivals which are popular throughout the state of Kerala. The festivals contain a large number of decorated elephants, elephant handlers, music and dance. Scroll through the slideshow below to view photos from the Elephant Festival:

Fort Kochi is a fascinating area by the sea, rich in history and well known for its Portuguese, British and Dutch architecture. Another attraction of Fort Kochi are the large Chinese fishing nets positioned along the beach. The Nets look picture perfect on the right day but I didn’t see a good sunset in the four days that I was staying there. I did however manage to capture some minimalist style silhouette photos above Kochi beach one evening.

As part of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale being held during my stay, there was an excellent photography workshop that I attended in the Jew Town area of Fort Kochi. The full day event was presented by Nick Ut And Mark Harris. This pair of world renowned photographers told us their incredible life stories and guided us with concepts, ideas and techniques to help guide our photographic goals. Both of the presenters were extremely helpful and motivational in their delivery. At the end of the event, inspired by the masters, I joined another photographer on the course to explore the area and take some photos. Sri Harsha Pamu (Instagram: shellzero) from Hyderabad but now living and working in California is a big fan of street photography and made the visit to Kochi purely for the workshop.

Fort Kochi is an excellent place for photography. It is a small area which can easily be explored on foot. We wandered around for a few hours following the coastline and explored the many streets and alleyways within the town. Due to the Biennale there was a lot of art work around which when combined with people can make for some interesting street photography. The area has some beautiful old buildings as well as an interesting mix of Churches, Temples, Mosques and a Synagogue. The small town is still a place of work for the people who live there so there is plenty of authentic photographic opportunities to capture. The people are also very friendly and open to having their picture taken. Click through the slideshow below to view some of my street photography and street portraits taken in Fort Kochi:

I enjoyed my time in Fort Kochi but it was time to move on so I took a taxi a couple of hours south to my next destination, Alappuzha (also known as Alleppey) in the south of Kerala. Alappuzha (or Alleppey) is a coastal city who’s area is best known for it’s rustic backwaters, a network of tranquil and picturesque lagoons and canals. More of my travel photography from India can be found on my website, my Instagram, my Facebook and my Flickr account. If you are interested in purchasing any prints, using an image online or collaborating in any way please email at: geraintrowlandphotography@gmail.com.

Travels Around Morocco (Photo Essay for Dezine Magazine)

Morocco is one of my favourite places to visit and is excellent for photography.  It has a variety of landscapes from the rocky coastline, empty deserts, snow capped mountains, and bustling towns & cities.  The people are friendly, the food delicious and the travel is cheap.  For people in the UK I always think of Morocco as being the closest place that you can fly to that has the biggest cultural differences to home. This blog was published as a photojournal for the online magazine Dezine.  Click through the slideshow below to view my travel photographs taken around Morocco:

The first time arriving in Morroco can be a bit of a culture shock!  Marrakech for example is an ambush on the senses: street performers approach you with snakes and monkeys, dark twisting alleyways entice you until you get lost and a constant buzz seems to radiate throughout the city.  However, it is good fun, safe and always makes for interesting experiences.  A few years ago I returned to Morocco for a couple of weeks with a friend.  Starting in Marrakech we moved on to the Atlas Mountains for some solitude before heading to the coastline and visiting the cities of Casablanca, Rabat, Kenitra and Meknes. Below is a description of the photos in the slideshow above in the order they are seen with links to the individual images on my Flickr account:

1.  Golden hour at Jemaa el-Fnaa, the main square and market place in Marrakesh's medina quarter.

2.  Berbers, are an ethnic group indigenous to North Africa.  Three locals enjoying the view from their backyard in the Atlas Mountains.

3.  Locals play on the beach at Casablanca while the sun sets.

4.  The Hassan II Mosque or Grande Mosquée Hassan II is on the coastline of Casablanca and is the largest mosque in Morocco.  

5.  A man enjoys nature and solitude in front of the Atlantic Ocean on the coastline close to the city of Rabat.

6.  A bodyboarder heads to the beach for a surf in Kenitra in the North of Morocco.

7.  A local enjoys the view of the coastline from the colourful cliffs of Rabat.

I have written several previous travel photo essays for Dezine which can be found on their website. More of my travel photography can be found on my website, my Instagram, my Facebook and my Flickr account. If you are interested in purchasing any prints, using an image online or collaborating in any way please email: geraintrowlandphotography@gmail.com

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

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.

Photojournal - Streets of Havana (Photo Essay for the Sixth Issue of Dezine Magazine)

I recently spent a week photographing the streets of Havana, the Capital of Cuba.  It is an amazing city for photography: full of colourful vintage cars, beautiful people who are full of character, and interesting ramshackle architecture.  This blog was published as a photojournal for the online magazine Dezine.  Click through the slideshow below to view my Cuban travel images from the capital:

Cuba is a country located in the Caribbean, south of the US state of Florida, west of Haiti and north of Jamaica.  Cuba is the largest island in the Caribbean, and has over 11 million inhabitants.  Havana is the capital city and leading commercial centre of Cuba.  Below is a description of the photos in the slideshow above in the order they are seen with links to the individual images on my Flickr account:

1.  Havana is full of colourful old classic cars.  Here one causes a splash after a rainfall in front of an Orthodox Russian Church along the seafront.  

2.  The city of Havana attracts over a million tourists annually, subsequently the entrepreneurial locals have figured out ways to cash in such as posing for photographs with the local cigars.

3.  The streets of Havana are full of energy and life.  Here a taxi driver stops to buy some fresh fruit, while a man on his bicycle sells freshly cut flowers.

4.  You hear music everywhere in Havana, here some street musicians play the classic Cuban song, 'Guantanamera'.

5.  Along with classic cars you will find many other forms of transport in Havana including the Horse & Cart which is used an an alternative form of taxi for the locals.

6.  Evidence of Cuban's communist past still exist throughout Havana.  Here a local poses as Che Guevara for the benefit of the tourists.  

7.  Havana is full of beautiful, colourful, old colonial buildings, many of which have fallen into ruin including these along the seafront.

I have written two previous photography blog posts from my trip to Cuba, the first being, 'Street Portraits in Havana, Cuba', and the second, 'Cuba and Cigars'.  More of my travel photography from Havana can be found on my website, my Facebook and my Flickr account.  This photo journal, 'Streets of Havana' can be viewed in full here in the sixth issue of Dezine magazine.  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

A Frame within a Frame: A useful composition technique in photography.

What is a 'Frame within a Frame'?

In photography, a frame within a frame is when the photographer uses something within the scene in front of them to frame the main subject.  Therefore a second frame is created within the image hence: a frame within a frame.  This compositional technique can improve your image in several ways: Firstly it draws attention to the subject helping to isolate it from any distraction and clutter within the image.  Secondly it can add depth and layers to an otherwise flat and boring image.  Finally a frame within a frame can create mystery and intrigue within a photo resulting in the viewer exploring the picture for longer.  Click through the slideshow below to view some of my travel images which use the 'frame within a frame' method of composition:

Why should you use a 'Frame within a Frame'?

Composition is one of the most important aspects of photography.  Correct composition can transform an ordinary scene into a great picture.  Unlike certain elements of photography such as lighting, no technical knowledge is required for successful composition.  Finally, anyone with a camera can take images using this technique.  Regardless of price, make or model, anyone with a camera or mobile phone can go and try today.

Opportunities for Framing

Opportunities for framing a scene are endless but often go unnoticed.  For example, nature often provides a vast number of natural frames such as trees, clouds or flowers.  In addition there are many man made objects which can be used equally well.  These can include: windows, archways, bridges, buildings and so on.  The more of this kind of image you take, the more potential you will see in everyday situations.  In the slide show above, framing examples have included: modern art in Havana, car window frames in West Africa, a boat in Peru, shadows in a street shot in Cuba, bananas at a market stall in Lima, and an archway of a palace in Madrid.  Wedding, travel, and street photographers all regularly take photos using this compositional method of a frame within a frame.  

More of my travel photography can be found on my websiteInstagramFacebook Page and my Flickr account.  If you are interested in purchasing any prints, or are interested in collaborating please send me an email at: geraintrowlandphotography@gmail.com.  

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)

Street Photography in Mexico City during the Day of the Dead Parade.

Street Photography in Mexico City during the Day of the Dead Parade.

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.  

More of my street & travel photography 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.