portraits

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.

Cuba and Cigars

Cuba is famous for it's cigars, and in Havana they are everywhere.  People smoking them, or posing for photographs with them, or trying to sell you them.  Cuban cigars are rolled from tobacco leaves found throughout the country of Cuba and are said to be among the best in the world.  Despite American trade sanctions against Cuban products, cigars remain one of the country's biggest exports.  In 2016 Cuba exported $445 million worth of cigars worldwide.  Here are some portraits I took in La Habana, the Capital of Cuba of Cubans with cigars, click through the slide show below:

All of the above photos were taken with a Canon 5D IV using natural light.  The lenses used were the Canon 50mm 1.4 prime lens and the Sigma Art lens at 135mm.  Some of the people I captured in Havana were there for the tourism and received money in exchange for photos, but a couple were strangers in the street whom I asked if I could photograph.  I like the additional prop of the cigar in these head shot portraits, it adds a particular Cuban feel to the images.  

More of my travel photography from Cuba can be found on my website, my Facebook 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.  

Day of the Dead, Mexico City by Geraint Rowland

Last year (2016) I travelled to Mexico City to experience and photograph the Day of the Dead Festivities.  It was my third visit to Mexico City or Distrito Federal (DF) as the locals call it, but the first time for the Day of the Dead celebrations.  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 slideshow below to view the Día de Muertos images taken in Distrito federal: 

In 2017 Mexico City held it's first Day of the Dead/Día de Muertos parade.  With life imitating art, they took the idea from the Bond movie (Spectre) and created the event. Over 100,000 people attended the event every day with various parades throughout the city.  I took the following photos candidly during the Day of the Dead events in and around the streets of Mexico City.  

The days leading up to and following the festival are a great opportunity to get some interesting and unusual photos.  All across the city there are exhibitions, events, street parties and people in costume.  If you plan on going, make sure you book accommodation well in advance.  The whole of Mexico City sells out with people travelling from all over Mexico and the World to experience Day of the Dead.   

The previous year (2015) I had 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.  A photo blog about the Day of the Dead in Lima, Peru can be viewed 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.

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, 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.