I came across this mask vending machine on a very rare errand of 2020.
Since our first days in Tahiti, I had been obsessed with getting a perfect picture of the abandoned hotel at Tahara’a. But, in the blink of an eye, our two-month stay was nearing its end, and a combination of temperamental weather and other holiday occupations limited the time I could dedicate to photography.
Eventually I got two pleasing photos of the hotel.
One is taken from the hills of Arue in the afternoon light, and the other, from Lafayette Beach on an early morning.
The hotel has had many names over the years, but I like “Hotel Tahara’a” the most.
In Tahiti you feel like you can capture a great photo by just pointing your camera in any direction and pressing the shutter button. But, for these ones, I had to climb up the steep hillside of Arue.
Yesterday morning it took us exactly fifty minutes to drive from Ārue along the northern coast and down the eastern coast to Taravao. We were headed for Faratea — situated just before the town of Taravao — where local motor clubs had organised a drag racing day event.
With forty participating drivers and many cars on display, the event promised to be interesting. But we could watch only a few runs before we had to return to Arue.
Like earlier, we drove along the eastern coast, and even at a leisurely pace, we were still able to make good time for our next engagement in Papeete.
Yesterday we walked around Papeete to see the colourful murals decorating many of the buildings in the capital. We had noticed them on a quick tour on the night when we landed in Tahiti.
Growing up in Mauritius where over half the population are of Indian descent and being used to Indo-Mauritian customs give you a sense of familiarity with India. Countless travel shows and documentaries, and the ability to google any information you need about the country further reinforce the sentiment. My trip to Hyderabad and New Delhi earlier this month taught me that India was much more than I had imagined.
When you’re there, India is about having spicy dishes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner; it is about being bewildered by the cacophony and chaotic flow of cars, motorcycles, auto-rickshaws, and pedestrians, and wondering how anyone managed to navigate that; and, it is about watching your Indian hosts use English to converse because India is so vast that they do not even speak the same language and that it will never be possible for you—a foreigner—to know India fully.
But India was not all new experiences. The hospitality, especially, was reminiscent of life in Mauritius: the casual way the hotel receptionist offered to walk three miles to the mall after her shift to make a purchase for me, the fact that our hosts kept turning up at 1.30pm when we had agreed to meet at 12.30pm, and when we became worried about missing our flight because they insisted on making a detour for us to visit Taj Mahal followed by a night tour of New Delhi and a stop at the famous Haldiram’s for aloo paratha and butter milk.
Eleven years after my last visit, I got to spend three amazing days in Rodrigues.
As I copied files off the D200 into my photos folder, I realised that I had not taken a single shot with the Nikon since January. Looking back at the keepers, I’m glad I forced myself to shoot the Farnborough Airshow 2014 fly-bys.
This picture was taken with the D200 and a vintage manual Sirius 70-210mm f/4-5.6. I had to check the metering frequently because the lighting kept changing. The trick, I found, was to spot-meter on the clouds at +2 EV — as per the zone system — and to let the exposure in the rest of the frame take care of itself.
Photo Ninja is impressive: it allowed me to fix this picture, which was under-exposed by about 2 EV. With it, I managed to remove much of the noise that was produced when recovering the exposure.
I wish you all a very Happy New Year. I hope that 2013 was a good year and that 2014 will be an even better one.
This picture reminds me of the festive atmosphere in London on the last day of 2008 as we wandered around, waiting for the NYE celebrations to begin.