Looking Out

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Colombo, Sri Lanka, November 2015 A bisected inside-outside view from the train, as it pulled into Colombo Fort Station. There was no light in Colombo I found as beautiful as that inside trains. Gentled by carriage surfaces, the tropical sun brushed faces, bodies, hands, cloud like. Fujifilm X-Pro 2, XF 27mm F2.8

Carriage

Charlene journal 12 Comments

November 2015, Sri Lanka “Those carriages are from Romania,” said the little old man next to me. “They are fifty years old.” I’d scooted over on the long station bench to make room when he shuffled by. He sat between me and a man on the other side, birdlike, ancient, watching with interest while I took pictures of the carriages. There was a long scar that ran from just under his jaw, into his shirt. I found out later that he survived the rail disaster of 2004. The coastal train line that runs from Colombo to Galle that I am so charmed by, is at utter mercy of the ocean. “Where are you from?” he wanted to know. Singapore and Denmark, we said. He lit up at mention of the latter, bifocaled eyes magnifying the pleasure, eyebrows and ears lifting with …

Fujifilm X-Pro 2: She’s got it where it counts, kid

Charlene gear, journal 68 Comments

It was exquisite. I spent a whole day in late October last year, doing nothing but hitting “refresh” on DHL’s tracking site, willing the courier to make it to my door in under 12 parsecs. So lifting the pre-production model of the new X-Pro 2 out of its packing was a hotly anticipated moment. Picking up the X-Pro 2 for the first time felt like returning to some kind of photographic home. I got its predecessor – the X-Pro 1 – in 2012. It was my first X-series camera, and with the old XF 35mm f1.4, the only thing I had to make photos with for 2 years. It had been a while since I’ve held an X-Pro body. The first time this one sank into my palm, I had that feeling. The one …

Captures from Colombo

Charlene vagabonding 8 Comments

November 2015 Colombo was white hot and turbulent slate by turns. We picked Sri Lanka on a whim. It was somewhere neither Flemming nor I had been before, and didn’t cost a fortune to get to from Singapore, where we were at the time. I was looking forward to my habitual approach to anywhere new: walk around the city everyday, get to know its rhythms, and learn something about it. Hopefully make a few decent pictures along the way. While I generally do a fair bit of walking everywhere I can, two things slowed the frequency of daily peregrination: first, the weather. Colombo in its cool season scorches the way Singapore does in July, the height of tropical heat. The ceaseless wet heat sucks the energy from your bones with every step that you take. I was …

The Fujinon XF 35mm F2 | A Lens With A Certain Flare

Charlene gear 71 Comments

I’ve had the new XF 35mm F2 lens from Fujifilm on loan for the last month, while Flemming and I were in Colombo, Sri Lanka. There’s nothing quite like taking new gear (to say nothing of the mind) for a spin in a fresh destination. I wasn’t sure what to expect from this lens. Plenty has been written about what a great lens the new 35 is, but new gear is usually met with a certain level of frenzy. I’m not a nit picker when it comes to gear, particularly since Fuji X-series gear is never bad. I already own the XF 35mm f1.4, which was for 2 years, the only lens I had to put on a camera. It’s endured some questionable treatment, and still works fine.  So I wasn’t …

It never rains…

Charlene journal 3 Comments

This is our last day in Colombo, and the weather gods are unhappy. It’s been pouring over the couple of days, owing an atmospheric disturbance off the western coast. “The highest reported rainfall since 2005 brings a cascade of rain causing many areas in the Colombo city to come to a standstill. The havoc caused with the flash floods, strong winds and the lightning has temporary rendered many roads and suburbs to be impassable on Tuesday Morning. Though the several feet of water that arose in the morning gradually declined during the mid day, public are warned of more heavy showers and sever attacks of lightning. – Monday, 07 December 2015 | Sri Lanka Watch Walking earlier in the afternoon, we discovered that the laneway to the apartment had turned …

Train | Colombo, Sri Lanka

Charlene journal 24 Comments

I daresay that when I finally had the dosh to get myself a real camera, all those years ago, I wanted to make pictures like this: of someone drawing the light around herself with such magnetism that mundane objects are lifted on that glamour, time stops, and I find myself wanting to go and ask her what she’s thinking about (I didn’t though; repose is so rare in public spaces). I may have made two, including this one, in all the years I’ve been shooting, and both have been on trains. Like it is in a lot of the world, it’s harder to shoot pictures of women than men here in Colombo. Many of the younger men have courted the attention of this photographer by posing and …