Sunday, October 7, 2007

Negombo -- City of Trash and Photos

So your finger crossing worked; it did not rain. There were a few minutes where it looked imminent forcing me to actually put away the camera, but the extremely dark cumulus cloud veered to the left and we narrowly escaped the downfall.

It is very, very weird to go into a small town with 25 people yielding expensive camera equipment in Sri Lanka. I did this with my class in DC (we went to Adams Morgan), but there were fewer of us and I guess fancy camera equipment isn't that special in the U.S. Anyway, we were quite the spectacle. When we arrived I wasn't very inspired. I was tired; extremely tired. I got up at 4 a.m. to bike into Colombo. Much too early to eat and biking for 45 minutes can really take a lot out of you. Then we arrived and, how to be polite about this, Negombo is really just one giant dump yard. Seriously, I've never in my life seen so much rubbish. Every turn produced a new pile of garbage. More evidence that plastic will be the death of us. I worked really hard to not take ugly photos of trash piles and in the end this is all I got of the rubbish (and oddly, in my opinion, it is a pretty image):So I guess we actually came to Negombo to get a photo of the guys throwing their fishing nets because we spent a very, very long time waiting to capture this image. I have to admit this photo (below) is very similar to one I've seen, so I feel like I've cheated in my capture. I got other net photos, but because we were all standing there trying to get the same image I don't really believe any of them are impressive (since I'm fairly certain a great many of my classmates now have the exact same image).We did go to the market, so I got some nice shots of women. I just think the older women here have such interesting faces and great expressions. Plus, they are happy models and never say no when I ask if it is o.k. to take a photo. Negombo is known as the Rome of Sri Lanka because of the enormous Roman Catholic population and, supposedly, beautiful churches. We went to one church, but I didn't find the architecture very impressive (remember, I wasn't feeling very inspired). There was a school group there, I guess also looking at the building and taking photos of each other near the alter, etc. They must have been from Colombo because the kids were not interested in having their photos taken. So the instructors from my class made various students stand in places to have their photos taken. It was pretty funny that we got up early and came out to Negombo just to take photos of each other. I'm not posting these photos as I don't find them especially engaging (they are on Flickr).

After lunch we went to Dr. Weerakoon's house. He is the father of one of our instructors and a renown photographer in Sri Lanka. He does have some amazing landscapes. He is also a dirty old man. He kept going on and on about naked women (he has a lot of nudes in his collection, some very beautiful and some, frankly, pornographic, which I know is debatable). I really wish I had taken a photo of him as he did have a very interesting face with enormous soda bottle glasses (I'm sure why he doesn't take photographs anymore). Unfortunately it was quite dark and a if I used a flash the photo would have just been light reflected. So I had to be happy with just taking photos of his garden, which was incredible.
So my favorite shots? Well I really like my photo of the market lady under her red umbrella. I can't say why, but I think it does have something to do with the color.And strangely, as I'm a vegetarian, I love my crab shot. I really like the colors. These crabs were alive, in case you are wondering about their freshness.And I like this market lady, again because of the colors. I wonder where she found the Indonesian batik in Sri Lanka (could be from Thailand)?I'm very happy this photo turned out as she walked by as a truck drove by and I was really worried I didn't have enough time to actually focus. I've been dying for a lady carrying something on her head. Pretty stereotypical photo of Sri Lanka, but I go for those a lot.But my favorite, I think, is the silhouette of the fisherman. This was an accident. I was not going for a silhouette, but it worked out that way.Overall, not as good of a day for photography as my Poya day at the temple. I think I took far more engaging photos that day. Still, I came away with some nice pictures -- some actual tourist photos -- and I was able to bond with my class more.

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