bookmark_borderEaster photoblogging: Port Louis

Our road-trip cut short by downpours, we stopped at Albion Public Beach to buy rotis. After eating, we drove to another beach, hoping that the clouds would clear. I got lucky and snapped this picture of the lighthouse just before it rained again.

We then went to Pointe-aux-Sables where the weather was nicer and people were actually celebrating Easter on the beach — not the usual large crowd, but the mood was there. I walked onto the jetty and took some more pictures of ships and of the port.

I tried a long exposure of the Container Terminal and realised that 30 seconds with a 10-stop filter was overkill for rendering smooth waters.

bookmark_borderHow hard could it be?

Managing a house renovation project is hard work. We keep rushing from place to place, making phone calls to and meeting tradesmen for cost estimates, and pleading – if not begging – for our work to be started in priority. This back-and-forth has been our bane for the last three months. Yet, I am told that we have made good progress – relatively to others’ experiences.

Perhaps, having the masonry done, and doors and windows installed within a month give that impression. But out of fourteen big items in our project plan, we’ve marked only four as green. A couple of them – CWA water supply and CEB electricity supply – are marked amber, given the dependence on other tasks to be completed first. And, we have yet to choose light fixtures and sanitary ware to be able to advance work on electrics and plumbing – the reds.

My brother is convinced that we can complete the renovation within our three-week stay in Mauritius. I am not, given how much remains to be done and the slow pace at which things move.


Since “I am not working” on this trip, I thought I would spend my afternoons doing more photography. But the activities related to our renovation project are more tiring than I expected, especially combined with the heat, and my motivation remains low. With some encouragement from P, I looked for and found a picture without having to drive anywhere.

bookmark_border“I write about photography and programming”

Today, someone from an online tool store with which I had placed a rather large order called to verify that I was not a fraudster. They thought my email address, which has the same domain name as this blog, was odd and wanted to check if it was genuine. I said that it had been my personal domain since around 2003 and that it pointed to my personal blog.

“So what do you write about?”

“I write about photography and programming.”

“Oh, you are one of the Mauritian bloggers…”

Obviously, they had searched for the domain and had been redirected to but still wanted to be certain that I was the rightful owner.

They were reassured by our conversation and promised that my order would be processed.


After work, I rigged a 35mm film holder and an LED panel so that I could try DSLR film-scanning. It took a few attempts to get an adequate set-up that fits within the tiny space on my desk.

Until now I have avoided this method of converting negative images to digital, for no reason other than wanting to remain a scanner purist and to justify my purchase of VueScan.

Well, I must admit that I am impressed by the results. Even when “scanned” with an ancient Nikon D200, the photos from this process are much better than those from my flatbed film scanner.

Here are some images for comparison.

bookmark_borderAm I turning into a Luddite?

This YouTube video reminds me that my newest personal computer, a Lenovo ThinkPad T440s, is already 10 years old. My other personal computer, a Lenovo ThinkCentre desktop, is 12 years old.

There was a time when users had to keep upgrading their computers in order to run the latest operating system or software. For example, if a new version of Windows was released, it was guaranteed that one’s current computer would not be powerful enough to run it properly. One had to upgrade either the RAM or the CPU – or both – if not buy a new machine altogether.

Between 1991 and 2001, I owned three different computers: a Sanyo MBC-16LX 8088 PC, a no-brand 486DX33 PC, and a custom-built Pentium II PC. On the first one, Windows 3.0 barely ran, and when I asked about the possibility to upgrade it, I was told that I would be “fitting a combustion engine onto a wooden cart”. Shortly after, I was given the 486DX33 PC, which was used for playing an unhealthy amount of Aces of the Pacific and Indiana Jones games. When I started working, I built my own Pentium II-based computer and ran Windows 2000 on it. I foolishly thought that Windows 2000 was the endgame and I wouldn’t need to upgrade again.

After 2001, I mostly used a second-hand Compaq workstation that I won on eBay. In 2003, I bought an iBook G4 (or maybe G3) as I went through an Apple phase. I also built a PC with an AMD Athlon around that time. In 2006, I replaced the iBook with the first MacBook Pro that had an Intel CPU inside. The problems with that computer (and the previous iBook G4) ended my fascination with Apple. In 2009, when the AMD Athlon PC stopped working, I bought a Sony Vaio laptop.

Sometime in 2014, I saw a deal for a Lenovo desktop, which I could not pass on. I bought one, despite the model being two years old already, and sold the Sony Vaio. I succumbed to the hype of the time and bought a Samsung netbook too. However, the user experience was so bad that I sold it and bought the Lenovo ThinkPad T440s in 2015.


Between 1991 and 2001, I owned three PCs; between 2001 and 2014, six; and from 2014 to now, only two. The interesting thing about this progression is the usefulness of each computer kept increasing. My first computers were almost obsolete by the time I got them, and the 2001-2009 computers needed replacing to keep up with the requirements for the software that was being released. But since 2014, the baseline for computer performance has remained relatively high, making any gains from upgrades only marginal.

My personal computers are now noticeably slower than my work laptop issued in 2023. However, the difference in speed is not convincing enough to replace them. I believe they will remain useful for at least another five years, especially since they both run Linux, which does not have the demands of Windows (or Mac OS on Apple hardware).

I was recently asked by a colleague whether it was by choice that I was still using my 2017 Samsung S8+ phone, and last Christmas, my nephew and his friends made jokes about this same phone.

So, maybe not a Luddite yet, but definitely behind the times.

bookmark_borderChristmas Day photoblogging: Mauritius Bulk Sugar Terminal

Merry Christmas!

After a lunch with my mum and two of her sisters in Quatre-Bornes, P and I drove to Les Salines. P had submitted to my plea to go out and shoot the massive COSCO container ship holding position at sea outside Port-Louis. Her terms were that I should leave the aircon running in the car where she would wait for me. Eco be damned, I agreed.

Unfortunately, the ship was hidden behind the reclaimed land that extends out to sea at Les Salines, blocking the view to the west. Making the best out of a bad situation, I took pictures of the bulk sugar terminal instead. (Here are exact coordinates: -20.153906, 57.488283.)

After Les Salines, we went to Bain-des-Dames public beach, on the other side of the reclaimed land, hoping to spot the COSCO ship from there. But we had no such luck. As it was now getting dark, we headed back home, I reflecting that Pointe-aux-Sables and Albion would have been better viewpoints.

From home in Coromandel, the ship could no longer be seen. It had either left Port-Louis or had docked. In any case, I was not getting my photo.

Here are the views from where we’re staying, which explain why I’m getting obsessed with photographing ships. And mountains.

bookmark_borderA few memories of Tahiti

From November 2019 to January 2020, P and I holidayed in Tahiti. When COVID locked down England a couple of months later, the experience of our trip was quickly effaced and replaced by the anxieties of the day.

Since then, viewing the pictures that I had taken in Tahiti reminded me of COVID instead of the joy of visiting these beautiful places. But now we have reached the point of normalcy where I can appreciate them again.

I hope you like them too.

bookmark_borderMore pictures from expired Ferrania Solaris 100 film

I developed a third roll of Ferrania Solaris 100 today, and the pictures are meh, consistent with the previous two experiments.

Also, the grain in these pictures, and in the ones from previous posts, could be either because the film is old or because of over-development. The second reason is more likely, given this is the 11th roll with this batch of chemicals and the development time has been increased from 3 minutes 30 seconds to 3 minutes 45 seconds.

bookmark_borderA brief appearance of the Nikon FG-20

Previously I wrote that the Nikon FG-20 is not a suitable camera for practising photography. I argued that its flawed ergonomics did not make for a pleasant shooting experience and could even be the cause of exposure mistakes. And yet I found myself pulling it out of storage, fitting it with two fresh LR44 batteries, loading a roll of expired Ferrania Solaris 100 into its back, and taking it out to the garden for more pictures of flowers.

I have to say that using the camera was not as bad as expected, perhaps because with the camera fixed on a tripod, I did not have to fiddle its controls, thus avoiding spoilt exposures from accidental changes of settings. But the experience remained underwhelming, mainly due to the small viewfinder, which makes the exposure meter difficult to read.

In retrospect, I think that I needed to be convinced of the FG-20’s shortcomings one last time before putting it away for good, given my particular fondness for its looks and its size.

The pictures from the roll are not great. I was impatient and did not allow the temperature of the chemicals to stabilise before starting the development process. I am also conscious of over-agitating the film tank and potentially causing the negative to be overly developed by doing so. The final images are more grainy than they ought to be from ISO 100 film.

Some people say that the grain gives these photos the “film look”. But a well-exposed negative actually produces very clean images – such as the one below, shot on ISO 400 film.

Several factors must be considered in judging the quality of final pictures: age of the film, age of the development chemicals, accuracy of the exposure, development process, scanning process, and editing. Given my inconsistent results from consistent use of expired film, I think it is right to blame my amateurish development process for any quality shortfall.