peru

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.

Day of the Dead at the Cementerio Nueva Esperanza in Lima

In 2015 I spent a fascinating day experiencing the Day of the Dead at Cementerio Nueva Esperanza in Lima, Peru.  This huge sprawling cemetery is the second largest in the World and on the 1st of November thousands of Peruvians visit to pay respect to their departed.  Very much a family affair, the Day of the Dead is a celebration of happiness and remembrance of the deceased as opposed to one of sadness.  A day where musicians play music to the dead, traditional Peruvian Dancers (Danza de las tijeras) perform, couples share beer by the graves and children embrace and play.  Click through the slideshow below to view the Día de Muertos images taken in Cementerio Nueva Esperanza in Lima, Peru:

Day of the Dead, also known as All Souls Day is a holiday celebrated in Mexico and other parts of Latin America on October 31st, November 1st, and November 2nd.  In Spanish, the Day of the Dead is called Día de Muertos, or Día de los Muertos.  Click through the carousel below for more images from the day of the dead in Lima:

A photo blog of the Mexican day of the dead can be found here.  More of my travel photos can be found on my website, my Facebook page 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.

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, my Instagram, 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 photography by Geraint Rowland, two surfers at sunset in Peru

Silhouette photography by Geraint Rowland, two surfers at sunset in Peru

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.

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.