I always found the mix of photography and beach repulsive, the salty breeze, the sand that gets everywhere, hands oily with sunscreen, splashes and the odds of falling into the water,… so much things happening that you don;t want a camera, let alone your precious Leica mixed into.
Well I must say I am a bit fantasizing here, as an adult the experience of the beach is not necessarily the one I had when I grew up along the shore of the french riviera. A stroll along the water not involving leaving the camera on a beach towel or in a bag in the sun is now more common that is use to be, and if it is a day I intend to go for dip, I generally take a lesser camera (read MEDIUM FORMAT ON THE BEACH : “LE CABANON DE LA PLAGE” AND MORE)
The sea side always offer a special quality of light, that works particularly well in black and white.
Also it is an endless opportunity of activities, landscapes and man made constructions.
All shots with Leica M6 on Kodak TMAX400 (The shop ran out of TriX), the first three were taken with the Summicron 50 v5, the rest with the Summicron 28mm Asph v1. Shooting at 400 on this very bright morning means the lenses are completely stopped down and the shutter speed at 1/500s or 1/1000s, which may not be idea technically. My favorite film the TMAX100 would surely have been better, but…
As I am here, on the same roll of film were also some street shots taken in Bangkok on the say back from Hua Hin.
A young film photog with his Olympus pen, he also shoots medium format.
Below are four shots of the food hawkers around our hotel near Lumpini park.
A friendly and muscular worker along the Chao Phraya river near the Grand Palace
Finally below are two shots of worshipers inside the Grand Palace i think.
The Church of the light is Osaka, is one of the most famous designs of JapanesearchitectTadao Ando and it was the highlight of our first day is Osaka.
Built in 1989, is it located 20km from the center of Osaka. It is a quite small building the chapel which is the original building is only a bit more than 100 sq meter.
When the parish approached Tadao Ando, the most important point was the lack of funding that was available for the building. That suits the minimalist approach of the architect who also chose to use some recycling planks for instance to built the bench.
The most iconic feature of the building is the wall of the chapel at the back of the altar wit its hollowed cross from which the light pours.
Bare concrete, narrow spaces, the emptiness is expected to make room for the spirituality.
The chapel also contains an organ (with rear view mirrors)
10 years later a second building, the Sunday school, was added on the side of the chapel with similar architectural elements.
You will learn that the church is not open for visits every day and that you have to register online for the visits. (we did). The ladies there were so nice that I don’t think it is a problem if you forget to do it, but given the time to get there better be safe. The entrance is free but you are asked to make a small donation for the maintenance of the building
Accessing the church from Osaka you have to take the train to Ibaraki station (30 minutes) and then the bus the church. All in all it should take 45 minutes to an hour. At the station there are not many signs, you have to take but number two which starts on the left most bus stop outside of the station when you face outside. There is a taxi stand there, you better ask than wandering for 20 minute like me.
The are plenty of excellent resources on the web of the church itself.
Color shots Leica M262, BW Leica M6+Ultrafine Xtreme 400ISO lens – Summicron 28,35 and 50
The city is one of the most sacred places in Sikhism, it is a big hour drive from Chandigarh.
The main Gurudwara is situated on a hill, you walk up from the parking.
It is quite beautiful and offers a great view on the surrounding area.
This place receives a lot of pilgrims as it is the place where the last two Sikh Gurus lived, so it is quite interesting to see the infrastructure. Below a hall were pilgrims can rest.
And below a young Sikh guarding the guesthouse for pilgrims (we unfortunately could not visit one).
The communal kitchen of this Gurudwara is also hudge. They have big pots.
In the kitchen he lady below started singing while making chapatis.
Finally a good shot of the chapati making machine:
Next we walked to a nearby temple with a sacred well a hundred stairs below ground.
From the outside there is a beautiful view on the Virasat-e-Khalsa, the museum of Punjab and Sikhism.
This museum is very well done, interesting and didactic, although it may sound a bit propagandist or proselyte , it gives a lot of information on the history of Punjab and Sikhism. I think it is a must do, to help memorize or clarify the things we learned through our trip.
Patiala looks to be a very interesting place, but we had little time to hang around. We try to visit the two palaces but both were under renovation and although we were allowed to the grounds in both (many thanks to our guide), I was denied using my camera. The first palace was a residence for the maharajah and his many spouses; the buildings we could see are set around a very large pond. It is located in a residential area on the town outskirts.
The second palace, Qila Mubarak, is located in the heart if the city, it is normally hosting a museum which was closed at the time of our visit (Oct 2017) and the building also under renovation. This is an incredibly big compound to be located in a city center. There is a fort behind the main buildings and more buildings behind the fort. No pictures available unfortunately.
We then start our drive to Chandigarh through the busy city streets and then on the very good roads off Punjab. Chandigarh is only 70 km away, but with a few stops, we got there in about 4 hours.
The main stop was in Sirhind-Fategarh, the Gurdwara Fatehgarh Sahib there is famous as it is the place where younger sons of Guru Gobind Singh, who were bricked-up alive in 1704 by Wazir Khan and a place to commemorate the memory of the brave Sikhs who were killed while fighting with Mughal forces.
Outside the Gurdwara itself is a shop for religious artifacts where I finally decided to satisfy my long lasting envy to buy a Kara (a Sikh bangle). After a long debate we decided to by one each (ok my wife wanted two) and to our great surprise the shop keeper refused us to pay for them and offered them as presents. Another sign of the great Sikh hospitality and friendliness.
Next to the main Gurdwara is another one, where we met the guy in charge (below). Very happy to talk about his religion; probably on of the first guys we could exchange in English.
Not far from this site is a Mosque, which is supposed to be linked to friendly Muslim people at the time of the war with the mughals. The complex is very nice and spacious. Not all places are allowed for women to visit and photography is a bit more limited than in the Gurdwaras.
The basement of the main building above contains the tombs of some saints where people come to make offerings.
Back on the road again, our guide stopped us by one of the many places where a few men where boiling some sugar cane to make some solid sugar.
We tasted the sweets and pack-up after a little while and finally made it to Chandigarh.
Quite a different athmosphere from GURDWARA DUKH NIWARAN SAHIB when crossing the city we came upon the “Kali Mata Mandir” the “Black mother temple”.
This beautiful temple is said to be very popular and we preferred to visit it in daytime, before the crowd.
Devotees are already coming to offer they prayers and ask for the blessings of the black mother. With a bit of discussion with the priest I was allowed to take a couple of pictures of the Divine Mother Kali and the priests (The statue was brought back from Bengal in the 1900’s)
The Kali shrine opens towards the outside of the compound; through it you enter a courtyard surrounding the temple below.
At the back of Kali shrine is another shrine of what I believe being the goddess Jyoti; the Hindu goddess of light and the “Vel”. She is the daughter of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati and is closely associated with her brother Lord Murugan .
People of the temple are collecting offerings for various causes. I gave some rupees I had left for one of them, although I am not sure what it is for.
I had none for the next ones which were a bit unhappy about the fact.
The part if the temple below contains an older Shiva temple that opens once a year only, an old local gentleman told us he visited it only once in his life.
Finally we found a group playing music and singing in the temple hall; I cannot tell if they were playing for the gods or rehearsing for later ceremony, but they seemed to be very please of our short attendance.
The Gurdwara dukh Niwaran Sahib is situated in the north part of the city of Patiala in Punjab, 80 km from Chandigarh.
It is the place where Guru Tegh Bahadur came to rid the by then village of a serious and mysterious sickness which had been their bane for a long time. The place where Guru Tegh Bahadur had sat under a banyan tree by the side of a pond came to be known as Dukh Nivaran (meaning eradicator of suffering). Devotees have faith in the healing qualities of water in the sarovar (pond) attached to the shrine.
We were very lucky when arriving there late afternoon, as the Gurdwara was preparing for a celebration the next day. Plenty of people where gathering already some very colorful as the young Sikh above. Or the older gentlemen in the following pictures.
The gentlemen on the right was here with his family and used to live in what is now Pakistan before India’s partition in 1948.
I always enjoy seeing people working; here partaking in the cleaning and preparation of the next day ceremony.
We skipped visiting the kitchen this time.
All shots above Leica M262+Summicron 28/50
Below are some film shots, Leica M6, the other summicron, and Kodak TMY 400