Shopping In Bhaktapur

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A lot of the shops in Bhaktapur in the Kathmandu Valley are set into the building, like here, and the shopkeepers sit back inside, relaxed on cushions.

The plank of wood at the left of the photo is to help prop up the building. A lot of buildings were damaged on destroyed in the 2015 earthquake.

Nepal: Local UK Plug Adapter

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Travel destinations

Guide books may tell you that a Continental plug adapter will fit many outlets in Nepal.

My experience is that the adapter will fit but that the thin pins sit so loosely in the socket that they don’t establish a reliable connection.

This adapter that I bought in Nepal worked well. I forget how much it cost, but I think it was the equivalent of about $0.70.

On The Phone

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Is this man a sadhu, a serious searcher after truth, or something else? Who knows?

I met a man who had been on his yatra (pilgrimage to holy places) for years and who had nothing good to say about the ‘fake’ sadhus at Pashupatinath, where I took this photograph. But that was just his take, and he could be wrong.

The man is covered in ash. Some sadhus cover themselves with ash from cremated bodies. As I said, I took this photo at Pashupatinath, by the burning ghats, so this man may have covered himself with ash from the cremations.

I would have wanted to photograph him for his appearance alone, but the fact that he is on the phone adds another dimension.

Seeing Not Looking For Photographs

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I’ve just been reviewing the photographs I took in Nepal. There are a lot and it will take me a while.

Here is a photo I took of a line of men sitting on a bench in Durbar Square in Patan. I saw the men and I wanted to photograph them and I did.

Once I got the photo up on the computer, I straightened and cropped it. I cannot go back in time to ask why I did not hold the camera even vaguely level when I took the photograph. So with that said, here is the cropped and levelled photo:

As an aside, a couple of days later I went and sat with the men and was given a friendly greeting.

BUT – and this is the point of this post – I missed the shot. Or I missed a shot. My eyes were so tightly focused on the men that I missed what I could have made of it.

It would have had an extra dimension if I had included the statue to the side, as though the statue was the last man on the bench.

Here is the full frame and you will see what I mean, I hope.

If I had just taken a bit more time to look rather than to act on what I saw, then I could have moved the camera over a bit and captured the men and the statue that was a kind of ‘extra’ body contrasting with the men.

Well it isn’t going to happen now unless I happen to be there and the men or other men are sitting there.

How To Look

When I noticed the shot I had missed, I told myself that in future I must spend more time looking for photographs. My wife Tamara is good at seeing photographs. I suffer from being focused on what catches my eye rather than looking around to see what makes a photograph.

By chance (or not) I watched I video of Sean Tucker interviewing Ondrej Vachek, a young man who is drawn to photographing conflict situations. He described how he had set up the LCD and viewfinder on his camera to black and white because it helped him see more clearly.

I am going to try it, but meanwhile here are a couple versions of a scene that I think perhaps makes more of a photograph in black and white. I say that because the way the man on the left is turned to watch whatever attracted his attention in the group photo, is clearer in the black and white version. Or so I think. What do you think?

And that interaction makes it a photograph rather than a snap.

Of course, I am not claiming this is a great photo – but I am saying it has some claim to being a photograph.