Of Mountains and Men and Misadventures, By Cyndi Mae Bandong
It was a red-eye flight from Shanghai.
The timid early morning rays bounced off the airport floor as I made my way through one gate after another. Queues upon queues of passengers, trying to shake off sleep, lined the glass wall to my right: there were rowdy children being told off by their mothers, fathers who looked exhausted to be even bothered, and then there were those who just wanted the whole ordeal to be over and done with.
I finally reached the gate where I was supposed to board my plane to Kathmandu. Bone-weary and anxious, I walked towards the wall and lightly leaned against it.
In the third week of the new year, I have crossed the Mississippi River from my home state of Arkansas and am passing slowly through little Mississippi towns like Rolling Fork and Cary under winter sunlight so pretty I wish it would never end. The Sunday streets are deserted, and the closer I get to the Louisiana border, it dawns on me that everyone is inside, glued to the Saint’s playoff game. Though not apt to follow sports closely, I appreciate high stakes and will always root for all things New Orleans, the great American city that she is. I am listening to the nail-biter on the radio and thinking of everyone I love in the Crescent City. On my approach into darkening Vicksburg: the crushing last-minute defeat just down river, a soon-to-be full moon emerging from a field in my rearview mirror. Evening is falling, and every direction I turn looks the way a Lucinda Williams song sounds.
Adventures in street photography, By Dan shallenberger
When you’re holding your newborn son, you feel like you have all the time in the world. Then you wake up the next morning and your newborn son is 18 years old and a senior in high school. I have a lot of wonderful memories of us together, especially since we have always had a lot in common. But memories related to photography will always be at the top of my list.
You see, his name is Hayden and he’s a very talented photographer. He actually makes me want to be a better photographer myself and pushes me to think outside my box. So when we had a chance to take a father/son trip to try street photography for the first time, and in Miami none the less, I knew it would be an amazing adventure!
As I close my eyes, I could still smell the aromatic chemical fumes from a typical photo development store. If you have ever walked pass one, think of it as a mixture of ammonia, noxious gases, and vinegar- like acid mixed together in a chemical lab. It is undeniable an unpleasant odor. But if you need to spend 8 hours in the store; the smell sort of becomes aromatic.
This is – The One Hour Photo, also known as my second home from the age of 11-14. As a child, growing up in Shanghai and Los Angeles, I would accompany my mom, a self-taught photographer, to her store on the weekends and spent my whole day there while completing my homework. I always looked forward to it because there was an El Pollo Loco next door, which means, my reward will be waiting for me once I have completed my homework.
We were running towards each other, we’ve been running for years, slowly becoming apart, further and further away from each other every minute. Children are screaming for their mothers, neighbors are calling “enough now, come inside” but I lay awake in the deepest of night dreading for an escape.
“Come on, wake up, you’ve been sleeping for so long” I keep repeating to myself, It’s been a few years since you’ve been stuck in that thought. “maybe you haven’t heard the message, you see, this thing you’re feeling happens to be wise and won’t leave until it’s message has been heard.” But I was stubborn and my ears had been shut for some time now, all I could hear was a voice inside my head telling me to give up, because finding myself was impossible, I was long gone.
We had a tremendous response to our essay contest and want to thank everyone who took the time to send us their essay!
All finalists will see their entries published here on the pages of Field Photographer now through the 28th, with the final selection and winner announced February 28th! Both Andrew Tonn and myself are going over all entries and selecting our favorites then comparing notes. As a bonus a special selection will be made by Gary Crickmore proprietor of World of photography in Columbus Ohio.
Travel in the 21stcentury doesn’t often feel much like exploring anymore. Just when you think you’ve had a real Indiana Jones type of experience hiking a wadi in central Oman, you run headfirst right into a Starbucks. A few years ago, my wife and I were living in and had explored much of India. We had just been to Everest Base Camp, had seen a lot of other parts of Asia, and were looking for new adventures. It was around that time that we heard of Bhutan, “the Land of the Thunder Dragon.” Everything about it called to us as travelers and explorers.
Regardless of whether you are a seasoned professional, an avid amateur, or you just got your first camera last week, an excellent way to become a better photographer is to take photo-walks. Walking, of and by itself: exploring a new city, a faraway island, a familiar old trail or a nearby neighborhood is one of life’s great pleasures with or without a camera. But this story is about photo walks and one walk in particular I took with my friend, the inimitable Sebastian John, one hot day over a year ago in Mumbai, India. It was my last long walk in that city I called home for two years and similar to the first long walk I took by myself in Mumbai during the monsoon not long after we arrived. It was not quite as long as that watery hike, because Sebastian and I took our foray into Mumbai’s mad streets in the sweltering days just before the monsoon broke. The heat in that time of year is very nearly hallucinatory. The temperature, combined with the crowds, humidity, smoke and noise, can only be completely appreciated by someone who has been there. Neither a thousand words nor a thousand photos can describe the reality of the streets of Mumbai.
When I set off to any event, I bring a camera I can trust, one that I’ve extensively used in the field and know is reliable. I’ve never used the Fuji X100F in the field as a primary, actually I’ve never done anything more than shoot a few photos and toss it back in my bag. It’s the only digital camera I took with me to cover the Muddy Buddy Jeep Jam 2018.
So you want to be an M photographer right? But it’s really expensive! And it just seems so far out of reach! Almost every M photographer has been there. We understand, and it’s not easy for anyone starting out to get into the Leica M system. And many times when you do manage to get ahold of that M body, you have to buy one that looks like it’s seen a war and sometimes… It has. Then you have to figure out how to get your hands on a lens, more often than not you won’t be buying a Leica lens as your first lens. But we have you covered. We’ve partnered with our friends at World of photography in Columbus Ohio to award one lucky young photographer a mint Leica M4-P and 50/ƒ2 Summicron lens!
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