photography tip

Faceless

faceless

The 21st century has brought two opposite trends in image culture: a “selfie” and a trend to hide, alter or mask the face. The “selfie” has a reputation of being annoying, vain, and even addictive; the obscured face is either disturbing, or fascinating and entertaining for a viewer. Depends on the circumstances.

Literally faceless creatures (like Slender Man) can be found in Mythology of many nations around the world. A mujina is a creature with no face that can shape-shift into human form. Japanese immigrants brought this folklore to Hawaii. In 1959, a woman was reported to have seen a mujina comb her hair in the women’s restroom at a drive-in theater in Kahala, and when the witness came close enough, the mujina turned, revealing her featureless face.

That must have been scary.

There is also an assortment of the hooded and cloaked beings – Faeries, Grim reapers and others. None of them is after any good.

Whomever we meet we do want to see their face. Not because we have a phobia or something. We simply want to communicate, work, have fun and just be with someone we can relate to. And we all know that faces tell more than words.

What the obscured face means for it’s owner? Erased identity, insecurity, or inviolable privacy? All of above? What if it is not their choice?

faceless

The Doors, “I can’t see your face in my mind”.

Album  Strange Days
1967

 Here is an article about a plane crash survivor, Stephanie Nielson.  Here is her blog. If any of you are going through the hard times, read her story.

Barbra Streisand with Andrea Bocelli “I Still Can See Your Face”

Photography tip of the day: Scan your old photographs to preserve them. Visit the same places and the same people. Reenact your old images.

inesemjphotographyHave a great week!

Clockwork toys

clockwork

Happy New Year, everyone! (And I do hope it is happy, or, at least, reasonably happy, which is my personal goal for 2015).

Most of us know how important it is to work, to exercise, to drink water, to read, to thank, to radiate good vibes etc, etc. Every important thing adds to our overall well-being,  and it is good that there are quite a few of them. If, being an imperfect human, I fail in choosing the most important, the right, and the best today, I still can pick up something from the list of important things and do it before I go to bed. No one is a failure. No one is neither programmed to fail, nor to win. We will start it again tomorrow and try to do better next time.

It is so good to be alive and every day have a different tomorrow to look forward to.

I saw this guy in the street shortly before I left for the airport. Unfortunately I had no time to ask his name, and where he came from. He had a companion, a very plain looking young lady, which made me think about them as a couple of exotic birds – a colorful male and a modest female bird. I dropped a few coins in their collection box and took these pictures.

res morozov and misc 086

I was thinking about this couple all my way to the airport. I was trying to google them, but with no success. They will stay a mystery until next winter when I hope to meet them again.

Their clockwork band filled the street with some Irish music. The dolls didn’t look uniform and evenly worn, and I guessed that they didn’t perform all together on a regular basis – only on some special occasions. They were turning around, banging into each other and turning back again. When a crowd gathered to gaze at the unusual performers, the man picked up a fiddle and started to play along. I was sorry that I had to leave.

I don’t know if their intention was to cheer up the crowd. I personally felt a sad kind of fascination watching the clockwork dolls live their mechanical lives. Is there anything more helpless in the toy world than a mechanical doll?

People can end up living mechanical lives too.  Lives without remorse and joy, without compassion and prayer for help, without fight and success. Lives without a different tomorrow.

Year 2014 was supposed to be very dangerous because of the technical and electronic  failures and related accidents, which unfortunately came out to be true… Hope that 2015 gives as a break so that we can focus on our personal lists of important things to work on. This video is for you to put a big smile on your face 🙂

Happy New 2015!

Photography tip of the day: When you take pictures of your little ones and share them on social media sites, consider the content of the photograph.

inesemjphotographyHave a wonderful week!

“Don’t look with yearning at the road…”

castle

I took this photograph in 2007. Since then, I have passed the place numerous times but for some reason have never stopped for a picture again. People take beautiful images of this place from Spring to Autumn, but all I have is this one and a few more – all gloomy and joyless.

Photography is scarce in the end of November.

In Tchaikovsky Album The Seasons, the piece of music written in E major for November is very light and cheerful.  It has always surprised me, because November has never been my favorite, and nothing cheers me up when I think of November.  If you don’t mind, let’s listen first. I intentionally use this unprofessional performance: a young girl, Sophia, reminds me of myself.

Tchaikovsky,  Les Saisons, Novembre,Troïka .

Troika is a sled drawn by three horses,  a very symbolic image for Russia. They must have had plenty of snow in Russia in November back in the 19th century. So I also heard about Ireland.

Russian publisher Nikolay Bernard, the one who commissioned Tchaikovsky to write The Seasons,  suggested a subtitle for each month’s piece. Tchaikovsky accepted all of Bernard’s subtitles. You will be surprised to learn what this cheerful, jingle-bell-ish piece of music has for a subtitle:

Don’t look with yearning at the road,

And don’t rush after the troika.

Suppress and stifle the dreary dismay in your heart for good.

This is a poem by Nikolay Nekrasov depicting a sad destiny of Russian women in the 19th century. Looks like Tchaikovsky didn’t care…

But I love his music, and want to share another sweet piece – a waltz performed by Brigitte Engerer.

Tchaikovsky – Sentimental Waltz Op. 51, No. 6 – Brigitte Engerer

This is my Tutor Edite Kampe and I, many years ago, graduating after 7 years in the Music School.

kampe

I am eternally grateful for having her in my life.

This is my Mother.

mom

I want to share another piece of music, a polka that accompanied my every birthday party until I became 12 and put a full stop on this sort of dancing… There are simply brilliant interpretations of this piece – you can look out in Youtube – but I have chosen this one, for an obvious reason… Thank you Mom

Rachmaninov – La Polka Italienne – Anna Hetmanova & Anastasia Pozdniakova.

I am grateful for my family and my music tutors who helped me make Music a part of my life forever.

I found this lonely rose in Kilkenny park. Must be the last one.  On my way home I was listening to The Seasons and smiled recalling my Music School days. I wish everybody had similar experience in their life. I am so blessed.

rose

Give your children and grand children opportunity to study music. Don’t be frustrated if you fail to raise a Mozart. It is not about career. At least, they will know what concert they really want to attend, or what music is played  when a carousel goes around 🙂

carousel

Happy Thanksgiving! Give thanks for all you have! You can always have even more.  Look for the best gifts,  create,  grow. Don’t let the life pass  by like troika in that poem 🙂 Enjoy and use your  blessings.

Photography tip of the day: Show motion, use slower shutter speed.

inesemjphotographyHave a great weekend!

Red, orange, yellow..

autumn

A good sunny day is not something we enjoy often in the end of November.  I went down to People’s Park to take pictures of my favorites, the Beech trees, generously tossing their gold at the sparse sun rays.

autumn

I don’t know how my mind wanders, but I ended up thinking about “Hunger Games”.  Must be that golden fire, and upcoming movie release this week.

Lorde – Yellow Flicker Beat (From The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1).  “Red, orange, yellow” – a good song.

I like Hunger Games. Suzanne Collins did a great, spotless job, regardless of what some critics say. The language is rich and intelligent, the plot never gets boring. I am always curious about what the future may be like, and what others think of the future. I wonder, does it matter how we picture our future.  I guess it does.

autumn

People’s Park is not flooded yet, but Kilsheelan Bridge was closed due to the flood.  Here is my summer post, and this is how the place  looks these days: all the land is flooded up to the foot of the hill. I was there early in the morning to catch the rising sun. It was so bizarre to see all those huge trees standing in the high pink water.

flood

flood

This bridge is 200 years old, and can survive many more centuries.

I so hope tomorrow will be kinder.

The Secret Sisters  – Tomorrow Will Be Kinder (From the Hunger Games)

Barrow Railway Bridge, Co. Wexford, was built  by Architect Sir Benjamin Baker in 1906 and closed to passenger traffic in 2010.

It is the longest railway bridge in Ireland  –  2,131 feet long. There was an opening section to allow ship access up the river. At the western end the  railway enters a 217 yards long tunnel almost immediately.  Magnificent construction, especially for this rural area, it is not designed for walking over – a huge gaps between the ties will make your heart sink. We went there to do the test shoots. I did feel like I was in the District 13 somewhere:)

bridge

There is another relict in the area – a sunken boat.

river

All these abandoned constructions and machinery  look like a part of a dystopian world.  Things seldom happen suddenly.  We are creating our future step by step, item by item, decision by decision.

I so hope our grandchildren will be safe.

autumn

sunset

Taylor Swift – Safe and Sound ( Hunger games)

Do you ever think about the distant future?  Is there anything you still can change?

Photography tip of the day: For the editing software users. Make yourself collections of interesting backgrounds, sky and clouds, textures, and also a color-picker resources, like different human faces, etc.

inesemjphotographyHave a great day!

The lion and the lamb

fota

Fota Wildlife Park – the most amazing place in Ireland! It opened its gates in 1983, and since then it remains one of Ireland’s top ten visitor attractions, and a perfect place to spend a day for visitors of all ages.  Most of the animals who inhabit the park are allowed to roam throughout more than 50 acres of  grassland, with the exception of the cheetahs and other predators.  Almost “The Lion and the Lamb” settings 🙂

King Julien XIII and his people together with many other animals  are free ranging in the Park and mingle with the visitors.  I just couldn’t help taking their portraits ( hundreds).

fota

fota

fota

We were lucky to come across a whole Ring-tailed Lemur gang sitting in the tree. In the beginning I thought there were only two animals, but all of a sudden they started falling off the tree like ripe pears.

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fota

fota

fota

fota

Six or seven Lemurs jumped from the tree, one after another, and run away. We met two of them again. They were perching within a stretched arm distance, pretending to ignore us. I didn’t see the others,  but  I knew that they were hiding somewhere near.

fota

fota

fota

There is a pond surrounding the Monkey Island.  All the water fowl are free ranging, but the edge of the pond  is surprisingly clean.

fota

fota

fota

fota

Many animals In Fota Wildlife Park are allowed to roam free, while mixed with other species.  A tiny barrier stops the human visitors from trespassing. Rothschild Giraffe is another beautiful species living in the Park together with Zebras and female Ostriches.

fota

fota

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Foggy Irish countryside in background.

fota

The Monkey Island is a home for monkeys, of course.  In Fota Wildlife Park they have chosen the species that can be allowed  to roam in a free range environment, and are not aggressive to each other.

This is an Agile Gibbon – an old one, and a mother with a baby.

fota

fota

This is a Howler monkey female.

fota

Fota Wildlife Park is home to the Scarlet, Green winged and Blue & Gold Macaws. The birds roost high up in trees, and while the species have bred at Fota in the past, there haven’t been any young hatched in recent years.

fota

fota

Over 200 Cheetah cubs have been born in Fota since 1985.  Fota also has Ireland’s only Cheetah Run. The device keeps the Cheetahs active, while maintaining their wild instincts.  The food is suspended on a wire that travels 10 feet off the ground, at approximately 65km/h.  Hundreds of spectators gather to watch the Cheetahs feeding  at 3pm every day. Cheetahs and a few other species live in fenced enclosures.

fota

fota

fota

fota

The weather wasn’t good, it was raining. We thought we would have the island for ourselves. Well, we had to go around to find a parking spot. Always busy in Fota.

fota

I share my birthday with Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.  I am very proud of that – I loved his books before I found out when his birthday was. His most-read novella, The Little Prince, is translated into more than 250 languages, and selling two millions copies every year. I have a copy like this one.

little prince

There are two the most cited quotes in the novella:   On ne voit bien qu’avec le cœur. L’essentiel est invisible pour les yeux – “One sees clearly only with the heart. What is essential is invisible to the eye.”  And the other: Tu deviens responsable pour toujours de ce que tu as apprivoisé  – “You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed.” I thought about both of them in Fota, watching young children reverently feed the waterfowl. For them, this trip was looked forward to with a great deal of excitement, discussions and research.  New names were learned,  new discoveries made, but the greatest of all the experiences they got here is that change in heart that can become a prelude to many other beautiful experiences.

Thank you for visiting Fota Island with me!

Photography tip of the day: When taking photographs of animals definitely change your focus to a “Single point”  and focus on the eye, otherwise your camera will automatically focus on the point closest to the lens –  which is animal’s nose.

inese_mj_photographyHave a great weekend!