Photowalk(s) Jun’16

Welcome back.  I’ve been offline since my Macbook Pro experienced a “black screen” eventually resolved with an internal SSD hard drive reformat and reinstall from my Apple’s Time Machine.  Worked slick as a whistle, nothing lost.

I thought I’d share images from recent June photowalks in Chennai (2) and Koblenz, Germany (1 along the Rhine).

Note: Red-Colored words are hot links for you to gain further information on a particular topic, person, website, ...


DaShanSheYing-1545Faces of Chennai – Marina BeachDaShanSheYing-1537 Red Flower: From a Cannonball TreeDaShanSheYing-1547Marina Beach – CruisingDaShanSheYing-1552Wall Art – Multiple posters over the yearsDaShanSheYing-1551IR B&W Portrait


DaShanSheYing-1542 IR Monochrome: Bicycle at rest.DaShanSheYing-1544 IR B&W along the Rhine River in KoblenzDaShanSheYing-1540 IR Faux Color along the Rhine River.  Look at the height of this evergreen.
DaShanSheYing-1541Home of Leica Camera in Wetzlar, Germany


Salt Farming in Tamil Nadu, India

Welcome to my latest photoblog post on “Salt Farming“, a livelihood over many of 100s of years, maybe 1000s.  Hope you enjoy these images and the story behind the scenes.

Please “Follow” along as the journey continues down roads yet untraveled.

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From the little information I gathered, here’s a short explanation behind the scenes of Salt Farming in Tamil Nadu.

  • The sea flows inland where the salt waters are pumped into a very large (acres) holding area raising the water temperatures for a salt brine formation over 25 days .
  • This brine water flows into small paddies for the salt to crystallize over three days with various valves and channels.
  • At this point, the men who work from 7:00am-1:30pm rake the salt crystals from the bottom of the water and onto the edge where it drains for a day.
  • The women (who do the heavily lifting everywhere in India) lift and carry the salt in a woven basket weighing 25-30 kgs creating the large piles of unrefined, coarse salt.  Back and forth they go, from 7:00am to 10:00am Mon-Sat.
  • The salt is later bagged (~80-100kg bags) and loaded on a lorry (truck).
  • A state government sales agent purchases the salt at Rs100-200 ($1.50-$3.00 USD) per bag.
  • The land is leased from the state for the farmer’s use all-year long with the hotter months (Apr-Oct) being most productive.

Salt PaddiesDaShanSheYing-1532DaShanSheYing-1533

Salt RakingDaShanSheYing-1535Yes slanted down to the left, can’t you feel his lean.DaShanSheYing-1529

Salt HaulingDaShanSheYing-1531

Salt PileDaShanSheYing-1528DaShanSheYing-1530


Arcanum Follow-Up – Sphere 1 Challenge 20

Thanks for visiting my photoblog, hope you “Follow” as the best is yet to come.

Previously, I provided some background on my learnings in The Arcanum ahead my final Sphere 1 image critique in Challenge 20.  Here are my final five (5) images for you the “Viewer”.

Thanks to my cohort members who provided which five (5) images held their interest and “Told a Story” and held their attention as “The Viewer”.  More importantly right up to the last minute they shared what if anything bothered them in the image which I’ve attempted to correct.

My Critique is set for 5/24 then on to Sphere 2.

Image 1

Arcanum S1-C20-1

Image 2

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Images 3

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Images 4

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Images 5

Arcanum S1-C20-5

PS  Interesting that my initial focus was on portraits yet I only present just one (1) today.  Secondly, four (4) of five (5) images are Infrared Photography from my Nikon D300S converted camera at 720nm.  Maybe this is an indication of transiting to some level of a visual artist.

Reaching The End of Sphere 1 – What?

Dear Viewers,

I have been in “The Arcanum” since August 2015 as an eager Apprentice in Les Saucier‘s Cohort.  Les is a fine Master teaching us how to visualize the final image first in camera and through the image processing workflow.

Red Colored words are hot links for you to gain further information on a particular topic, person, website...

Although the Cohort specializes in Landscape Photography, we cover Macro, Infrared, Gear, Software Processing… you name it.

I’ve learned a lot, a lot and feel I’ve notched it up in the images I present to you.  Of course, my bus doesn’t stop here given I have so much more to learn and experience.

During “Image Critiques”, Les wears two hats seamlessly:

One hat he wears is that of the “Viewer” to state
  • what he sees.
  • what holds his attention.
  • what's the perceived subject.
  • where his eye goes.
  • what may be distracting him from the subject and why?
A second hat he wears is one of a “Teacher
  • On what he would do differently in holding the viewer's attention, i.e. add to it or take it away.
As Visual Artists, we use our cameras, skills and craft to emphasis what we want the viewer to see and in the end be entertained.

In our Cohort, there are many talented photographers where we share and learn together via on-line Cohort Hangouts courtesy of Google+.  Take a look at their amazing images.

Mary Presson Roberts     Douglas Sandquist

Richard Barrow     Ron Santini

The initial foundation is Sphere 0 with ten challenges (C1-10) followed by another 10 challenges in Sphere 1 (C11-20).   I’m now nearing the end.

For Sphere 1 - Challenge 19, I present to you ten (10) images from which I need to whittle down to the final five (5) images which Les will formally critique in Sphere 1 - Challenge 20.

Critiques in The Arcanum are a painless event – no worries mate.

Really – painless?

  • If you did something not quite correct – you learn.
  • If you did something correct but could do it better – you learn.
  • If you’re way off, you’ll be pulled back in – you learn.

In the end it’s all about learning to level-up your skills, techniques with a personal artistic expression.

Here are my ten (10) images which I’d like you the viewer to tell me which ones hold your attention and tell you a story in the comments.  Feedback is a gift so thank you.

Image 1

Arcanum S1-C19-1

Image 2

Arcanum S1-C19-2

Image 3

Arcanum S1-C19-3

Image 4

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Image 5

Arcanum S1-C19-5

Image 6

Arcanum S1-C19-6

Image 7

Arcanum S1-C19-7

Image 8

Arcanum S1-C19-8

Image 9

Arcanum S1-C19-9

Image 10

Arcanum S1-C19-10

If all goes well, I move on to Sphere 2 in the Arcanum with a new Master and Cohort taking me to the next level.


Rail-Fanning in India

Welcome to my latest  post on Rail-Fanning and “Follow” my photoblog to keep abreast of the latest postings.

Last Sunday I headed south of Chennai to Kolavai Lake at 4:00am for a sunrise shot over the lake at 5:30am.  We parked the car near a temple where already at 5:15am they were getting ready for a wedding event – auspicious time driven.

We headed for the lake first walking under the flyover (elevated roadway) then over an abandoned railroad track and headed towards a (manual) railway crossing including a local crossing guard who gave us our set of final directions.  We turned left down the track for 300m to reach an opening on the lakeside.  We kept to the left most set of three tracks given it’s used for switching, i.e. non-active.  All this was in the pitch dark with a little flashlight showing the path.  An interesting walk to say the least while maneuvering around meadow muffins.

After taking images of the sunrise (see below) we hung out watching the trains pass by, first at a slow speed around the bend then accelerating in the straight.  Took the chance to do some rail-watching (rail-fanning) with people living on the edge, or actually hanging out over the edge of the train.


There is something special about rail watching as even with what we consider today as low-tech makes us slowdown and enjoy old-time travel the way is should be.  Who doesn't love a steam engine.

The US has no real rail service worth mentioning other than the Amtrak northern route with adventures like this one to Yosemite National Park.  In Australia, I took the rail for travel to and from work then into Sydney on the weekends.  Of course we know European and British railways are efficient / effective yet here in India it has a flavor of its own.  Love it.

Here are some images in IR, Non-IR, Color and B&W processed with the previous mentioned Digital / Color Zone system plus seasoned to taste with Topaz Lab.

DaShanSheYing-1480 DaShanSheYing-1482 DaShanSheYing-1470 DaShanSheYing-1483

Rice Paddies With an IR Faux Color Mix

Thank you for stopping to view my latest post and hope you begin to "Follow" me on my photographic journey of discovery.

Yesterday we headed 2.5 hours north to “Tada Waterfalls” in AP in hope of shooting long exposure photography.

No luck as of course given 42 deg one should know it’s not winter anymore and waterfalls are most likely waterless.  Well, we did have water but it wasn’t falling – see you again in the monsoon season (Nov-Dec).

All was not lost as photographic opportunities often present themselves during the journey and not at the destination.

In my case, it was the 3x per year planting of rice that presented itself.  I took off my shoes and walked in mud calf-deep having the time of my life take photos.  I’m sure the farmers, men harvesting rice seedlings and the women planting the paddies thought these photographers were nuts.

Here are some IR images in Faux Colors..  What do you think, let me know.DaShanSheYing-1454
DaShanSheYing-1460 DaShanSheYing-1463 DaShanSheYing-1467

Here’s another one thrown in for Tada Waterfalls.


Still many images left to process using my newly learned Digital and Color  Zone System following the teachings of Ansel Adams, courtesy of Blake Rudis.  I will cover this in detail for my next post.

Thank you and keep stopping by to visit.

Confluence 2016 Photo Exhibition – 5/30-6/6

Dear Viewers,

As you may be aware from previous posts, I’m a member of Photographic Society of Madras, PSM in Chennai, India.  I really enjoy the camaraderie, learning workshops, new photography genres (Macro)… offered by PSM.  A great bunch of guys and gals to associate with.

I’m very please to announce that five photos have been selected for the annual PSM members 2016 photo exhibition.  This is a very humbling honor to have been selected for the exhibition as the professionalism and competency of my peers is well-known.

First, I owe a big thank you to my wife for having the patience with my photography deep dives and the tolerance to be woken up at 5:50am every other Sunday for Chennai photowalk (see Facebook group).

Second, to my experience in The Acranum and Les Saucier as my Master for his patient teaching which over the last 8 months has leveled me up in photography.

“Confluence 2016”

May 30th thru June 6th at the

Lalilt Kala Academy on Greams Road in Chennai

from 11am – 7pm each day.

I’d appreciate those in Chennai marking their calendars and take time to visit the photo exhibition.  Given PSM has many talented photographers from all the genres,  you wouldn’t be disappointed.

Here are my chosen five images to be printed 12″ by 18″ (or 5400 x 3587 pixels):

A Black&White Infrared image of hard-working women planting rice north of Chennai.

Back-Breaking Work_StuartKinkade_01

Faux Color Infrared image of a Chennai temple tank with the ideal IR recipe: Green foliage to reflect IR, blue skies, white wispy clouds, water and reflections.

Reflections in IR_StuartKinkade_02

A Chennai photowalk street portrait from my “Faces of Chennai” collection – Grandma.

Faces of Chennai_StuartKinkade_04

A second Chennai photowalk street portrait from my “Faces of Chennai” collection – Grandpa.

Faces of Chennai_StuartKinkade_03

A misty morning landscape image from my visit to a Tamil Nadu Bird Sanctuary.

Misty Morning_StuartKinkade_05



Salalah, Oman In Infrared – B&W, Faux Color and Platinum

Just returned from a business trip to Salalah, Oman and as always I carry my camera.  Well actually I carried two this time.  Here are some images from my IR converted Nikon D300S @ 720nm.

As usual, one is always amazed at what the IR filter captures as looking thru the lens provides no preview of things to come.  All you can do is get the composition, lighting, subject,… right.


DaShanSheYing-1405 DaShanSheYing-1404 DaShanSheYing-1402 DaShanSheYing-1403 DaShanSheYing-1407 DaShanSheYing-1406

Next up images from the D810 with my new Laowa 15mm f/4 macro lens.

I Like This Platinum Emulsion Look

No “blog” in the photoblog today, just photos – 2.



Live from Salalah, Oman.

Golden Triangle – Day in Agra, Uttar Pradesh – Part II: A Guided Tour of the Taj Mahal

In Part II, I’d like to take you along for our morning tour of the Taj Mahal.

Starting out, we stopped ~1.5 km away from the entrance to purchase tickets, Rs1000/person (the foreigner price is always 10x higher) and took an electric cart to the East Gate entrance.  Arriving at 6:40am the security line was short even though it opened earlier around 6:00am for sunrise.  Entry time varies with the sunrise.

Security was thorough and no issues given I had read ahead of time the long list of what you can’t bring in.  I entered with my two cameras and three lenses without issue.  Note for Photographers: No tripod (or any size), monopod, batteries, paper, pens, cords (of any kind)…

This is the view looking back at the East Gate and 2+ hours later to be our exit point.  You can see the sun trying to pop through the clouds and it did to reveal striking cloud formations.


Walking straight ahead to the right is the main entrance and your first impression of the exquisite craftsmanship with no expense barred and years of meticulous labor required.


Here we are ready to enter the main entrance, what a sight to behold.


Getting closer.


Now the main attraction.  The crowds were light given the 46C (114F) yesterday, i.e. the off season.  Normally, they get 30k tourists/day.  Walking past the small crowd at the entrance and over to the reflection pools where JDR struck her pose.


The infamous, obligatory bench shot.


Now to get down and low for the reflection pool shot. Need to work the water color and stain later.



Took the left hand path towards the Taj putting on our shoe covers to enter the mausoleum.


Every Friday the Taj Mahal is closed to the public with worshipers visiting this active Mosque to the left (west side pointing towards Mecca).


Now we enter the mausoleum where no photos are allowed.  Walking around the two replicate crypts (actuals located directly below and not visible to the public), we get a close-up look at the intricate details carved into the marble.

Notice the symmetry geometric designs carved in the white marble with inlaid gems / precious stones imported from all over the world back in the 17th century.  Still to this day the craft continues for restoration.


As you exit the inner mausoleum area, the light rays entering from the marble carved lattice windows are a sight to behold.

DaShanSheYIng-1322 DaShanSheYIng-1323 DaShanSheYIng-1324 DaShanSheYIng-1326 DaShanSheYIng-1330 DaShanSheYIng-1327

Now we exit the backside on the river side.  Three of four minarets are undergoing restoration to remove air-borne pollutants and reveal the white marble to it’s original color.  I understand that a local mud is used to cover and pull out the white color.  The one minaret looks beautiful afters its restoration.


Around to the right for a great sunrise shining on the marble structure.



Down the stairs for another view of the Taj Mahal’s various structures.




Here we exit the main area from this simple door, turn left and exit the Taj Mahal.



Oh yes, one day late and a dollar short.


Still to complete Part II of the Jaipur to Agra road trip, coming soon.