Tag Archives: people

At the Flower Market, Kolkata

9 Jan

If you have been following my blog, you will know that I have just returned from an amazing trip to Kolkata and Bangkok and if you missed my first blog post from the trip, you can find it here. This was my first time in Asia so the initial ‘culture shock’ was marked, even though I knew what to expect.

One of the places I visited whilst in Kolkata was the Mullik Ghat Flower Market, a vibrant and colourful place. As you would expect, this place was full of…….flowers! But for my visit I wanted to focus more on the people as there were many colourful characters there – in fact, in many ways the characters were more colourful than the flowers!

At the Flower Market

Mullik Ghat Flower Market

Mullik Ghat Flower Market has been in existence for well over 100 years and it is said to be the largest in Kolkata and one of the largest in the whole of Asia. It is a hive of activity from dawn to nightfall as the wholesalers arrive first thing in the morning to auction their flowers to the stall holders who then sell those flowers throughout the day, creating arrangements and strings at their stalls. I say stalls but in reality, most consist of just a patch of ground.

The other thing that takes place here in the early morning, and perhaps somewhat incongruously, is wrestling! A sandy area has been set aside so that local wrestlers can practice their craft. I visited in the afternoon so there was no action to photograph.

Sitting Up

Threading Strings of Flowers

Kolkata is a city that thrives on flowers, with these being a seemingly essential and major part of every temple ritual, wedding, and festival. The sellers weave flower heads into garlands, strings, bouquets and other floral displays with patience and deftness. Orange and yellow marigolds are everywhere, but there are all kinds of blooms on display. This is much more than a market though, it is a community, a way of life and for me, was much more about the people.

At the Flower Market

Happy Sellers

At the Flower Market

Standing

Many of the sellers live on site in makeshift homes, more like shacks really, and they wash themselves and their clothes in the River Hooghly which runs alongside the market. This market and the Mullik Ghat area is therefore their home and livelihood. The word Ghat, incidentally, refers to steps leading down to the river.

Tragically, it was all but destroyed in 2008 when a fire swept through the area but fortunately it was rebuilt, albeit still as makeshift shacks.

Sitting Up

Precariously Perched

It was really interesting just walking around looking at the sellers and the different way they set up their ‘stalls’, some spread on the ground, some in baskets, some on makeshift tables. Some under cover and some out in the open. Some sellers perched seemingly precariously on stools, some sat cross legged on the ground, whilst others were much more active!

Come and Buy

Come and Buy

In amongst the melee of sellers and buyers lining the busy walkways, porters weave their way in and out carrying heavy baskets of flowers and other paraphernalia on their heads. Rickshaws wind their way slowly around too. There is just so much happening constantly in this thriving and wonderfully vibrant place.

Porter

Busy Porters

At the Flower Market

A Resting Porter

Two

Two

Even in this busy place though, there has to be time for some rest, perhaps to read the paper, or maybe to just sit! In the heat of the day, people will even sleep despite the constant noise, hustle and bustle all around.

Reading

Reading

Resting!

Resting

Oh, and of course, time for a shave from one of the barber’s stalls amongst the flowers!

Shave?

Time for a Shave

The faces here are often craggy and characterful, they are faces that seem to say, ‘we’ve had it tough but we are still here, and we are still smiling’! It was a privilege to be allowed to wander amongst them and take their pictures.

At the Flower Market

Characterful Faces

All the portraits you see here were willingly given and were taken in situ, without any ‘setting up’ or posing by me, and they were all taken using available light. Any attempt at posing would in any event have failed since I was unable to communicate with any of them – they spoke no English and I spoke no Bengali, Hindi or Urdu.

At the Flower Market

Late Afternoon Light

My policy was always to ask first by simply indicating my camera – sign language tends to be universal 🙂 ! Actually, even more universal is a simple smile which breaks down any barriers quickly! For the most part, the sellers were very willing to be photographed although a few indicated either ‘no’ or that they wanted money in return. My policy always was just to respect them as individuals and to respect their wishes. And also to show them the pictures afterwards.

Come and Buy

A Lady Seller

As you will know, landscapes are much more my normal subject because I spend a lot of time in the countryside of Dorset, but I love photographing people too. In a different culture and on my first visit to Asia, I have to say that I was somewhat out of my comfort zone at first and was really glad to have a friend with me who currently lives in Kolkata. He was a great help as I found my feet in this unfamiliar environment. I discovered, though, that it actually didn’t take long to gain confidence and feel at ease and this is certainly in part down to the friendliness of the people.

At the Flower Market

Beside the Bamboo

I found this visit and the challenge of doing something different, really rewarding, and I met some great people even if I was unable to converse with them. It was fantastic to see a different culture close up and to connect with the people, albeit briefly. Their lives are very different to mine but we all live on the same earth and are all ‘fearfully and wonderfully made’.

At the Flower Market

Packing

Mullik Ghat Flower Market is just an amazing place. Colourful, vibrant and bustling, so much to see and take in, and so many characters to photograph. I would love to have gone back for a second visit but unfortunately time did not allow, but one day……!

I hope you have enjoyed walking through the market with me today and meeting some of the characters there.

Thanks for stopping by.

Until next time,
Your friend
The Dorset Rambler

If you would like to contact me, my email address is terry.yarrow@gmail.com – comments and feedback are always welcomed.

All words and pictures in this blog are the copyright of The Dorset Rambler and may not be reproduced without permission.

 

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The Footprints of Life

22 Jul

– – – Exploring The Countryside and Lanes of Dorset – – –

Footprints to the Sea

When we walk, we always leave an imprint behind, whether it is footprints in the sand, bent over blades of grass, deep impressions in the mud, a tiny bit of wear on a tarmac path, a little rubber off our soles. We never walk anywhere without leaving something of ourselves behind. Sometimes these imprints are permanent such as when we walk across wet concrete and some times they are very short lived such as footprints in the sand on a dry, windy day when the breeze soon ensures that all traces of our passing are obliterated. But however long lasting, we always leave a trace behind.

Isn’t life like that? As we ‘walk’ through each day, do we not similarly leave traces behind as we touch other people’s lives? Whether it be family or friends who we spend time with, or people we touch more fleetingly such as the girl behind the checkout desk, the person we beeped our horn at, the postman who delivered our mail, the comment left on someone’s Facebook page, a smile and ‘hello’ exchanged on the coast path, the list is endless and varies each day. Some of these interactions will have a long lasting effect and some will be soon forgotten, some will be positive, and some may be negative, but there will always be something of ourselves left behind with each personal contact. We all affect each other in a web of relationships, fleeting or forever, as we pass through life.

Today we will have many such interactions, whether we run or stroll through our day, so lets make the footprints positive ones. Lets leave something good behind to enrich the lives of others. The world will then be a better place.

Thanks for stopping by.

Until next time,
Your friend The Dorset Rambler

If you would like to contact me, my email address is terry.yarrow@gmail.com – comments and feedback are always welcomed.

Theme for the Week – Quirky Dorset Part 4

24 Mar

– – – EXPLORING THE COUNTRYSIDE AND LANES OF DORSET – – –

Our theme for the week is ‘Quirky Dorset’, which is all about unusual things that you might find as you are ‘exploring the countryside and lanes of Dorset’, and I could not possibly let this week go with out including these – the Dorset Holloways.

The Dorset Holloways

The Magical, Mystery of Dorset's Holloways

In a Dorset Holloway

I have written a number of blogs on these somewhat unusual occurrences which although not exclusive to Dorset, are found there aplenty. Holloways are ancient byways that have become sunken tracks after centuries of use has eroded the ground. They started life as normal footpaths but millions of feet, cart wheels, animal hooves, and water running off the land have gradually worn away the soft bedrock so that the paths have sunk deeper and deeper below the level of the surrounding land. By their very nature, they occur only where the bedrock is soft such as in the sandstone of West Dorset.

For me, these are just the most amazing places to walk and you can almost sense the different generations of people who used them over hundreds of years. The trees that once lined the path and marked its route now hang over the edge with their roots exposed. You almost feel that you are walking underground in a giant rabbit burrow as the trees arch overhead creating a tunnel effect. The depth varies but some go down as much as 30 feet with sheer sides making them more like gorges. Some, such as Hell Lane, have names that seem to suit them perfectly 🙂 !

 

Holloway

Hell Lane

Such is the effect of these paths on me, that I was inspired to write a poem about them, and I have repeated it below:

A world of mystery down below,
A place of doom where all fear to go,
Dark by night, eerie by day,
This is the Dorset Holloway.

A path that once was above the ground,
Foot, hoof and wheel has worn it down,
For centuries man has come this way,
Creating the Dorset Holloway.

The walls each side show heritage clear,
Etched in their faces, year on year,
Through diff’rent ages the path worn away
The ancient Dorset Holloway.

With roots either side and branch overhead,
Trees arch above their arms outspread,
Creating a darkness, to keep out the day,
The shadowy Dorset Holloway.

Stuff of fiction as well as fact,
At times overgrown, with brambles packed,
A haven for nature’s pleasant bouquet,
The nature filled Dorset Holloway.

An underground warren of time worn ways,
A lab’rinth where birds, bugs, bats play,
With damp plants aplenty growing from clay,
The musty Dorset Holloway.

A secret world of hobgoblins rare,
Tricks of mind and raising of hair,
Such the effect, you fear to stray
In the spectral Dorset Holloway.

But explore these paths with open mind,
Follow the route wherever they wind,
Be amazed at the things that there lay,
The evocative Dorset Holloway.

(Copyright The Dorset Rambler)

I just love walking these quirky paths, there is always something new to find and photograph. It is the whole air of mystery and intrigue that makes them special and as I walk them, I often wonder who used them centuries ago and what their lives were like, as well as what the purpose of their journey was. These are special places indeed!

If you would like to read more about these ancient paths, just type ‘Holloways’ into the search bar and my other blog entries will come up.

Thanks for stopping by.

Until tomorrow,
Your friend The Dorset Rambler

If you would like to contact me, my email address is terry.yarrow@gmail.com – comments and feedback are always welcomed.

All photographs, poems and words in this blog are the copyright of The Dorset Rambler and must not be reproduced without permission.

Theme for the Week – Walking the Streets Part 4

17 Mar

– – – EXPLORING THE COUNTRYSIDE AND LANES OF DORSET – – –

So, continuing our theme of ‘Walking the Streets’, you might think that day time and sunny weather would be the best time to be out walking with your camera, but this is definitely not the case.

Wet pavements

This shot, as you can see, was taken on a very wet evening as I walked the city streets……and I loved it! There were lots of wet pavements to reflect the city lights, and the heavy rain really added to the wintry feel, creating a great atmosphere. Every photograph has two dimensions, a height and a depth, and you create the third dimension by using perspective to create a feeling of depth. But atmosphere is what I call the fourth dimension, and it really lifts a picture out of the ‘record shot’ category into something much more.

Interestingly, this shot dates back to the time when I was considering selling my pictures through a stock photography library and this one was rejected because there were too many copyrighted signs in it. You see, not only do people have rights but so do property owners which is why you may need property release forms as well as model release forms.

The night I took this picture, I got so many good pictures with lots of bright colours from reflected lights and umbrellas, and lots of movement created by using a slow shutter speed. It was a night to remember……even though I got soaked 🙂 !

Thanks for stopping by.

Until tomorrow,
Your friend The Dorset Rambler

If you would like to contact me, my email address is terry.yarrow@gmail.com – comments and feedback are always welcomed.

All photographs, poems and words in this blog are the copyright of The Dorset Rambler and must not be reproduced without permission.

Theme for the Week – Walking the Streets Part 3

16 Mar

– – – EXPLORING THE COUNTRYSIDE AND LANES OF DORSET – – –

So this week, we are on the theme of ‘Walking the Streets’ which apart from walking is also about the genre of photography known as ‘Street Photography’.

Youth

The moral dilemma is of course, is it an invasion of privacy to take candid pictures of people just going about their business in a public place? Well, I have to say that although this is a genre of photography I enjoy, partly because it totally contrasts with my usual landscapes and therefore provides a new set of challenges, I am not completely comfortable about taking pictures of people without their knowledge.

Now, of course, one way around this moral dilemma is to actually ask if they mind you taking their picture but street photography is all about capturing the critical moment, and this moment might be lost if you stop to ask first. Having said that, I do often ask first, although that in itself is not easy because it involves approaching a complete stranger and that takes a certain amount of courage in itself. How paparazzi photographers do what they do, I am not sure, but it seems to me to be street photography in the extreme! Apart of course from the fact that their subjects are celebrities who in many ways benefit from the publicity.

There are though, occasions when things work the other way round. In the case of the picture above, these three youngsters passed me in the street, and seeing my camera, they asked me to take their picture and then proceeded to pose for me. Naturally, I obliged and they then went on their way. I have no idea who they were and they never saw the picture. But to me, this sums up ‘capturing the moment’ as it was completely spontaneous and done in fun, and that is what street photography is about.

Thanks for stopping by.

Until tomorrow,
Your friend The Dorset Rambler

If you would like to contact me, my email address is terry.yarrow@gmail.com – comments and feedback are always welcomed.

All photographs, poems and words in this blog are the copyright of The Dorset Rambler and must not be reproduced without permission.

Theme for the Week – Walking the Streets

14 Mar

– – – EXPLORING THE COUNTRYSIDE AND LANES OF DORSET – – –

I thought I would try something new on my blog to see how it might work, and that is to post an entry a day on a theme which will last for the week. It is partly because it is sometimes difficult to find enough time to write a full blog post with 15 or so photos which means that my blog entries can be quite sparse at times. It is much quicker of course to just post one picture with some words, so spreading my posts over the week.

I will still put up my walk descriptions with lots of pictures but they will be interspersed with these shorter posts for a time, just to see how it works.

Let me know what you think.

So my first theme is:

Walking the Streets

Dog Walking

Those of you who follow me will know that I love to walk in the wild countryside, surrounded by nature. However, I also like to include a village or two in my walks because there is so much to be seen in our ancient villages and hamlets which can tell us much about the way people lived……and people are interesting.

Taking that a bit further, I also enjoy town and city walks and taking pictures there is a lovely contrast to my more usual landscapes. So this week’s theme is about a field of photography known as ‘street photography’ and this is all about capturing the moment. These are mainly candid pictures and I will say straight away that I would never post pictures of children or anyone doing anything embarrassing or stupid. I will also say that if anyone ever saw any pictures of themselves and wanted them taken down, I would do so immediately.

Now English law is somewhat vague on this subject but generally it is perfectly legal to take pictures of anyone doing anything in a public place, with some exceptions. However, is there a moral dilemma here? Well, maybe that is something we will discuss in a future post.

This picture was taken along the sea front and what caught my eye was the couple’s characterful faces and the way they were walking together with their lovely little dog. I held the camera near to the ground in order to set them off against the sky, and then I toned the picture to suit the mood. To me, this picture just sums up the sea front in winter, and people ‘taking the air’ and isn’t that something to encourage?

Thanks for stopping by.

Until next tomorrow,
Your friend The Dorset Rambler

If you would like to contact me, my email address is terry.yarrow@gmail.com – comments and feedback are always welcomed.

All photographs, poems and words in this blog are the copyright of The Dorset Rambler and must not be reproduced without permission.

At the Seaside

27 Jul

Anyone who regularly reads my blog will know that I love to walk in the countryside with the grass under my feet and greenery all around, or in the mountains or coast where there are rocks, ruggedness and remoteness. There are times though when I love to walk the more ‘cultivated’ parts of our coast, the seaside, where there are characters and much to occupy my camera.

This is just a selection of alternative seaside shots and these are my attempt to capture something of a different view.

Most of these shots have been taken with the same lens, a very old Tamron SP 500mm Cat Lens. This manual focus, fixed aperture lens has the effect of separating the subject from the background because of its shallow depth of field and also throws some ‘marmite’ doughnut shaped highlights – ‘marmite’ because you either love them or hate them :)!

Focus on Blue

Focus on Blue

A simple shot of a row of beach huts.

Gormley

Gormley

I called this ‘Gormley’ because this paddler just reminded me of the Gormley statues that were placed at the seaside.

Ducks and Drakes

Ducks and Drakes

An action shot grabbed just as the stone was about to fly.

On a Lonely Shore

On a Lonely Shore

I felt this shot needed a romantic feel so processed it appropriately.

Through the Fence

Through the Fence

A different view, using the fence as an unusual frame.

On Board!

On Board!

Another action shot although the action didn’t last long as the surfer ended up in the water shortly after.

Forever

Forever

A beach wedding.

Watching

Watching

Just a watcher watching waves.

The Bench

The Bench

I tried a different approach by focussing on the bench and also by using some different processing.

Sitting Pretty

Sitting Pretty

What caught my eye with this one was the lovely rust colour of the groyne top.

Wheee!

Wheee!

I would have normally got the kite in as well but it was way too high so I just focussed on the surfer silhouetted against the sea.

Rocks 'n' surf in the sun

Rocks ‘n’ Surf in the Sun

An abstract shot that illustrates well the doughnut shaped highlights. I was trying to create a very summer sunshine feel with this.

Resting

Resting

Two young runners take a break whilst people walk by on the promenade.

Waiting!

Waiting

A young bather watches the waves. I felt this had an air of threat about it with the young girl picked out by the late afternoon sun against the darkness of the waves.

Journey to the Unknown

Journey to the Unknown

A tall ship rounds Old Harry Rocks having just left Poole Harbour.

A Helping Hand

A Helping Hand

A young cyclist gets a helping hand as they cycle into a stiff wind.

Thanks for stopping by and I hope you have enjoyed this little trip to the beach.

Until next time,
Your friend The Dorset Rambler

I HAVE NOW SET UP A FACEBOOK PAGE FOR THE DORSET RAMBLER AND THERE IS A LINK ABOVE. THIS IS TO BRING TOGETHER MY THREE PASSIONS OF DORSET, WALKING/THE OUTDOORS, AND PHOTOGRAPHY. IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN THESE OR YOU ENJOY MY BLOG, PLEASE DO ‘LIKE’ MY FACEBOOK PAGE.

If you would like to contact me, my email address is terry.yarrow@gmail.com – comments and feedback are welcomed.

All photographs, poems and words in this blog are the copyright of The Dorset Rambler and must not be reproduced without permission.