With these motives I decided to spend all of yesterday, which was a public holiday, indoors.
Friday, April 29, 2011
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
Me: I have a six-day holiday next week.Friend: Nice! Are you going somewhere?Me: Probably Kyoto.Friend: Ah. The protocol place.
Sunday, April 17, 2011
Climbing always makes me think of a beekeeper and a song.
We met the beekeeper in Wales. Four of us – friends from university – were mountain-biking near the town of Machynlleth when we went off the trail and got lost. After going miles without seeing another human soul, we came upon a bee farm and next to it, a cottage.
The cottage was inhabited by a ginger-haired young man who ran the farm, commercially producing honey and at the same time studying bee biology and behaviour. Saha and I told him we were lost, and he explained how to find the bike trail. But before that, in a five-minute conversation, we told each other the story of our lives.
Saha and I are from similar backgrounds – we went to school and university in Calcutta, and joined law firms in London. The beekeeper grew up in Machynlleth, which has a population of just over 2,000. He went to university in Cardiff and now, in a beautiful and remote valley, he observes bees and harvests honey. And helps lost bikers find their way.
We told the beekeeper we were planning to climb Cadair Idris. It is not far from Machynlleth and quite a popular climb, so we were surprised when he said he had never climbed it himself. We asked him why, and he said, “I like being at the farm.”
And it made me think of a Kimya Dawson song, and that is why I will forever associate climbing, beekeepers, and these lines from Hadlock Padlock: I wonder if this climbing that you city people do / Ever leads you to a place with such a pretty view.
Saturday, April 9, 2011
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
Sunday, April 3, 2011
I had never seen a Hasselblad before, but I knew about the marque. It was my father who first told me about Hasselblad, before I was even old enough to use a camera, and he spoke of it in hushed, reverential tones. Not everyone is a fan of the waist-level finder which is a standard feature of the Hasselblad medium-format (the inimitable Cartier-Bresson, a lifelong Leica devotee, once said, “If the good Lord had wanted us to take photographs with a 6 by 6, he would have put eyes in our belly.”) But for many photographers, Hasselblad is the Rolls-Royce, the Moët & Chandon of medium-format cameras.
So I asked her if I could look through the viewfinder. She agreed immediately, and extended the camera towards me.
Now my Japanese, while good for asking for directions and ordering at restaurants, is not yet good enough to convey what, to me, the Hasselblad stands for. Still, what I saw at first did not impress me much – the image looked blurred, and the contrast wasn’t great. But then she adjusted the focus ring. The branches which I had been trying to photograph, dark and crisp against the orange sky, swam into focus. The world became a more beautiful place. And at that point, words became unnecessary.