Tuesday, August 9, 2016

July28 Fish, Tamarind and boatbuilding

 Ali, Fern and I left early to tour a fishing village and photograph the fish market as the morning's catch was hauled in off the shipping boats. A boat building cottage industry by the water fascinated us in how antiquated tools and methods continue to produce perfect sea-faring craft
 even in 2016. The  Ras Nungwi resort is amazing and the service is top class. Dad got some rest today because we are getting ready for the long cramped flights back to the US and hoping for a minimal recurrence of his sciatic nerve pain. 

Yoga, tamarind, fish and boatbuilding
Susan, Ali, Fern and I were at the meeting place an hour before sunrise. This was the much anticipated sunrise, for the capture of which we had trained much and brought along our tripods. Shooting Av mode, ISO 100, Fstop 8 or lower, 2 sec delay timer, tripod positioning and shutter speeds of 5-10 seconds…we were ready. And then a funny thing happened on the way to the sunrise shootout…clouds rolled in and the first light of day bounced not toward us but off the back of those black clouds and into a universe removed from our lenses. So we made the most of it and did dry runs. "What’s setting will make the water smokey?” asks Ali. Susan I are scramble for the technical response. “How can we use that rock or outcropping in the foreground?” challenges Fern sending Sue and I into re-positioning our tripods. 
I wade deeper into the water I inadvertently become their foreground subject. So I did want any good man would do and put on some yoga moves. A lotus squat in waist deep water, arms outstretched, fingers pointing is held for 60seconds to screams of ‘don’t move, don’t move its a long exposure" or "the shutter is open, be still”. Since I am showing off anyway like a Sports Illustrated model that controls the rapt attention of a semi-automatic photo-trigger, I follow this move with a headstand on a rock surface just below the water. Thankfully the headstand sticks and I didn’t spill backward. Later, I glanced at some of the pics from my SI photoshoot and I can’t wait to get them asap (next month or next year perhaps as soon as they process their 10000 images of this trip)! I have waited 5 years since my personally iconic yoga pose (if I may say so myself) on the Ganges with the Himalayas as the backdrop, to finally get another that can be my Facebook profile picture. In fact I've had to come to Africa to get it…such as you all know are the demands of a Facebook presence! 
After breakfast we head out to a fishing village to take pictures. Sending a mini van for this drive is a complete miscalculation by someone! It bumps its fuel tank on rocks and its midsection scrapes dirt until some of us have to alight and let it travel the last half a mile. There are so many resorts and upscale hotels on the northwest and northeast coast of the island of Zanzibar. How we wonder is it then that no one has paved the road that leads to them? I don’t have the answer to that and will reserve my criticism for another day and time.
The sights of fishing boats leaving, returning, idling or simply resting after a hard night’s work is candy to the camera! We find unusual angles, compositions, action, plays of light, agreeable subjects and uninterested people as we click our way thru the village. One old man sells little pyramid-shaped stacks of small tomatoes on one cart and fresh green tamarind on the other. I smile, he smiles and we connect. So I buy some of his tamarind and take a selfie with him. The tamarind trees of my youth were huge trees with limbs and fruit 20 or more feet up on the air. More often than not, our stone missiles missed their target and seldom if ever, broke off tamarind for hungry us.  Fishermen are bringing their fish to the market, which is a large dining-table-like slab of concrete where all the day’s catch is displayed and auctioned. Fish come in on hooks, in pails, on strings with dozens hanging from the same loop and in small fishing nets. I introduce Ali to fresh tamarind and Fern appears to know what it is. Our next stop is one known for its boat (dhow) building cottage industry. So camera in hand we set out to hunt these boatbuilders. There are several boats in a row, in various stages of completion about 100 feet away from the shoreline. One artisan is using an old violin like tool to drill a hole while 9 others sit in a ring around him and watch. No sure how that works. We got a lot of good pics and moved on…



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