DANGER (!)

I have still not quite become accustomed to the fact that the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge has switched from Wednesday to Friday (or even, more correctly, from Friday to Wednesday!).

I had become (more or less) settled into checking the site each Friday evening, and firing off a quick riposte to the challenge. Now it seems I’m always late to the party.

Oddly enough, this week, I did check the WordPress site at the appropriate time but have still managed to delay my response to this week’s challenge DANGER! until now.

In her challenge, Michelle spoke about ‘injecting this unexpected frisson of Danger! into an otherwise uneventful afternoon’.

Often, in Nigeria, it is not the unexpected frisson of danger, but merely the unexpected direction from which the, expected, danger might come that makes many a day anything but uneventful. That’s not to say that Nigeria is dangerous all the time, it isn’t, and I’ve made some good friends here, and you should all come and visit!

But, danger lurks everywhere, or so it seems.

I took this shot just at the entrance to the block of the building in which I am (temporarily and from time to time) living. It seems to fit the bill, no?

The building itself lies within a razor-wire fenced compound with permanent security. To gain entrance to the compound my driver (I’m rarely allowed out alone and certainly not expected to take the wheel myself) honks his horn (this is actually pretty much mandatory for any driving operation here, including driving in a straight line on an open road). That honk permits the outer gate to be opened. The boot / truck is then flipped and the security guys have a quick look inside, a mirror is used for a cursory check of the underside of the car, then the inner gate is swung open. And home sweet home.

On my journey to work, I thought I would keep a weather eye out for other signs of certain danger.

A fire, stoked by a stack of old tyres sending a thick black plume of acrid smoke into the (now mercifully dust free) sky. An abandoned mansion daubed with a black painted warning of dire consequences ‘EFCC Keep Off’. A herd of cattle being led by two young boys meandering along the margin between the half constructed buildings and the partially built road. The road-sweeper with a stick broom diligently dusting the edge of the roads as cars hurtled past with no obvious attention to lane discipline. The guy on a motor cycle happily heading against the traffic on the wrong side of the road (and of course he wasn’t wearing a helmet, no one does). The swarm of three wheel ‘Keke’ (rickshaw) taxis, weaving between the battered green taxis, blacked out government SUVs, and the ubiquitous road side sellers. And of course the frequent road blocks.

So, no danger here, just an ordinary every day ride on nigeriastreets

*Shot with Fujifilm X100F at f/2.1, 1/1000s, 23mm (35mm equivalent, no other choice) and ISO200*

Earth

‘This planet has – or rather had – a problem, which was this: most of the people living on it were unhappy for pretty much of the time. Many solutions were suggested for this problem, but most of these were largely concerned with the movement of small green pieces of paper, which was odd because on the whole it wasn’t the small green pieces of paper that were unhappy’
― Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

I took this shot through a dusty and dirty emergency exit window on a British Airways Boeing 777, en route to Abuja from London, whilst standing in line to use the toilet. The image, taken on my iPhone, is, I believe, of part of the Sahara desert, and does not do justice to the grandeur of the site nor the feeling of isolation the view conveyed.

I read an article in flight on design plans for aircraft without windows, this would apparently save cost as the inclusion of windows requires additional strengthening of the fuselage. The windows would be replaced by cameras and clever screens. I wonder how often, when people look out the window on long haul flights, they reflect on what is passing by so far below. How different that world is, that earth, from the bubble in which we flash across the sky?

Anyway, I thought it worth sharing for this week’s WordPress challenge – Earth

iPhone 6s shot at 4.15mm, 1/1600s, f/2.2 and ISO25

Surprise 

This week, I wasn’t sure how to respond to the WordPress weekly challenge ‘surprise‘.

Then, surprisingly, the road caught fire in the middle of the night.

The fire continues to perplex the gas and electricity utility companies, although thankfully, the firemen appear remarkably relaxed as the electric company dig a hole in order to isolate the electric cables.

There may be more ‘surprises’ to come.

locked in

We all live in a house on fire, no fire department to call; no way out, just the upstairs window to look out of while the fire burns the house down with us trapped, locked in it
― Tennessee Williams, The Milk Train Doesn’t Stop Here Anymore

This post was inspired by a few things.

For starters, I’ve been working too hard and neglecting almost everything, and everyone, else. Apart from the obvious social clues, my Fitbit sits on my wrist admonishing me with a digital iciness of tone, pointing out that I am not exercising enough, and it has facts, and they are not Spicerian alternative facts, but hard, cold evidence. And, not so long ago, whilst walking in the street, I felt decidedly odd, numb fingers, a sense of unreality, dizziness and a general feeling of fading vision. Trust me, that is the universe speaking to me. I think.

Also, I have been using the theft of my beloved X100T as an excuse for not shooting enough, or writing about it.

In conversation today, someone made some kind remarks about my photography. I took this as a challenge, and so set about capturing my environment. This in turn was an act of rebellion about an environment that feels like it has captured me. Shielded from the world outside by double locked gates, security guards, razor wire and faithful drivers.

I’m not complaining. I’m lucky. I’m just rebelling, a little.

These shots were captured (there’s that meme again) with my iPhone. I used Analog Efex Pro 2 (Toy Camera 3) because the effect seemed to capture the way reality bends when in a certain frame of mind.

As for my camera, at least my Nikon is safe at home, and there’s always the X100F to look forward to.

A glass half full?

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belgradestreets in china

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Delighted to report that an image from belgradestreets was recently featured in the January 2017 edition of Condé Nast Travel Magazine in China.

My book belgradestreets featuring a series of my photographs of Belgrade, Serbia is on sale in bookshops and online.

Each year, royalties from the sale of belgradestreets are donated to charitable organisations caring for children in need in Serbia.