travel

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

Street Portraits of India

I am currently travelling around India taking photos and experiencing this amazing country. One of the aspects of photography that I am focussing on whilst here is portraiture. I am trying to improve my portrait photography by asking strangers if I can take their photo whilst I travel around India. Half of the battle for me is approaching people in the first place. Fortunately the majority of Indian people seem to be very friendly and don’t mind having their photo taken. In fact you often have to turn people away as a lot of people start asking for a photo… In addition to ‘environmental portraits’, which are often taken candidly without the subject knowing I have also been taking more ‘head shot’ style portraits, in which I normally ask for their permission first. Click through the slideshow below to view some of the street portraits I have taken so far on my trip through India:


All of the portraits were taken using a Canon 5D (Mark 4) with a Canon 50mm 1.4 lens. 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.  I use a single point to focus whilst doing these close up head shot portraits and focus on the closer eye if the head is at an angle. Images of people from around the world fascinate me, I think that they are especially important to build up a picture of a place in travel photography. My travels in India started in Bangalore in the state of Karnataka before flying to Kochi for the Kochi Art Biennale 2018. I then made my way South down the beautiful Kerala coast through the backwaters of Alleppy and Munroe Island in Kollam. Next I stopped for a relaxing week in Varkala before taking the train to the very southern tip of mainland India, Kanyakumari. After witnessing the sunrise at the bottom of the World I travelled to Madurai, the City of Temples. Next up was Chennai before flying to Calcutta where I currently am. It has been a fantastic trip so far, the people are extremely friendly and the country is fantastic for photography with something going on all the time to capture.

More of my travel photography from India 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.

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.

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.  

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.

Panning Photography by Geraint Rowland

What is panning?  Panning is a technique used when photographing moving subjects.  The basic idea behind panning photography is that you pan your camera along in time with the moving subject.  Once perfected it can produce images with a relatively sharp subject and a blurred background.  This blurring of the background adds to the overall feeling of speed and movement and can be used effectively with any fast moving subject such as cars, animals, cyclists etc.  Click through the slideshow below for some panning photography examples that I have taken on my travels:

How to master the photographic technique of panning

Panning photography requires a lot of practice and often some luck.  For successful panning your camera should follow the subject's movement whilst matching it's speed and direction. Panning is easiest with subjects that are moving in a relatively straight line so that you can predict where they will be moving to.  A recent famous example of this is the photo of Usian Bolt winning the 100 metre race at the Rio 2016 Olympics.  The photographer talks about taking the photo here.  

Some tips for taking successful panning photographs:

Use a slow shutter speed.  Experiment depending on the light and speed of the subject but start with 1/60 or lower.  Bear in mind that the faster your shutter speed the easier it will be to keep the subject crisp.  The faster the subject, the more difficult it will be to pan, meaning cyclists and skateboarders will be easier to pan than motorcycles and racing cars.

Track your subject.  Follow the subject before during and after the shot in a smooth and continuous motion.

Set the Shooting mode to Continuous.  This will allow for more opportunity to capture the best moment as well as minimising camera shake from pressing the shutter.

Choose an interesting background.  Although the background will be blurred it will form an important part of the photo so choose a background that is interesting and colourful.

Keep your camera as stable as possible.  Due to the slower shutter speed there is an increased chance of motion blur.  I recommend using the viewfinder as opposed to an LCD screen when panning. 

Practice makes perfect.  As with everything in photography, practice is required.  Try panning with different moving subjects and in different locations until you master this difficult technique.  I had some time recently to give the technique a revisit in Havana with all of its colourful vintage cars.

More of my 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.  

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.

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.  

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.