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Archive for the ‘digital photography club excursions’ Category

DP weekly photo challenge: face

Some faces from my archives in response to the DP weekly challenge





Saray sokak Bodrum

I’ve just made up this storyboard, which I learned how to do in Kim Klassen’s online class Beyond Layers, using photos I took in Saray sokak, in part of old Bodrum, Turkey. My friend’s little girl obligingly posed with the door.

Saray Sokak copy copy_Vga

technically speaking this street isn’t open to traffic but that doesn’t prevent motorcyclists from using it as a shortcut

I love old doors

the flower (not yet fully open) of a caper plant

IMG_4365 copy-lamp
beautiful ornate lamp hanging over the front door of one of the houses

a fountain

huge rusting anchor in the front garden of a yachting company

camel wrestling

Last Sunday my Turkish digital photography companion and I went to watch one of the largest camel wrestling festivals in the area, at Yahsi-Ortakent. The New Year heralds the start of the camel-wrestling season in south west Turkey and this was the first festival of the season.   Proud owners truck their charges around the country like so many beauty queens attending  pageants, eager for fame and fortune.

Some of the contestants

Camels are bred for wrestling and they are very expensive so there is a much at stake.  One owner we talked to had six camels. Camels come from afar as Izmir, Aydin, Denizli and Antalya. There must have been about a hundred camels participating in this festival.

The bright sunny weather had brought the spectators out in their droves, in spite of the TL10 (about 5 euros) entrance fee which for Turkey is very expensive. They came with their whole families, complete with picinic tables, chairs,  barbecue grills and copious supplies of raki, the national aniseed-flavoured drink.

Two men clink raki glasses to the successful outcome of a match

Souvenir stalls were on hand to sell supporters  headscarves embroidered with the names and pictures of the contestants

and you could purchase camel sausages by the string (these are very good grilled!) or mandarin oranges by the kilo.

Orange seemed to be the colour of the day.  The terraces on the hillside were packed with families and the noise was deafening, notably added to by the “musicians” playing discordant sounding pipes and beating drums.

To get the festival going a female camel on heat is paraded around the arena so that her pheromenes will inflame the males and encourage them to wrestle. The object of the exercise is for one camel to wrestle the other down to its knees and for the defeated camel to lay its head on the sand.

Kobra defeats Kaneffe

Easier said than done and teams of camel handlers, looking much like tug-o-war teams, are on hand to separate the camels if need be. There are usually at least two sets of camels wrestling in the arena at any one time. Much (illegal) betting on the outcome takes place among the predominantly male audience.The camels have brightly coloured and highly decorated saddle cloths bearing their name and town of origin.  This is “Izmir’s son” and part of the decoration of his saddle cloth is made of cowrie shells

When not wrestling the camels are picketed in lines away from the main wrestling area and there they wait, seemingly patient, until it is their turn to be led into the arena. A young boy waits for the return of a camel from the arena

a proud winner

getting to know you

up close and personal

I’ll  just have a scratch while I’m waiting

I love this juxtaposition of the old versus the new

a driver tries to put a nose-bag on his relcitrant charge

Altogether it was a fascinating afternoon, giving a glimpse of a tradition that must be quite ancient.

last few days of December in Turkey

We have been having an extremely wet winter here with the result that it looks more like Spring at the moment as there is so much new growth and so much green everywhere.  Earlier this week I took these photos of a ruined building,

a very green field,

some tiny little arum lilies (about 6 inches tall)

and some wild clematis.

The bellshaped 4 petalled flowers are a pale creamy green and the flowers are just beginning to fade and the soft seed heads form.

I think the flower head in this next photo will open up into a tall spike of white flowers in a couple of days time

With good weather forecast for today my Turkish friend invited me for lunch. It is customary, when visiting someone’s house for the first time, to take a small gift. I bought a red ceramic pomegranate under which you can put a tea light (candle) as a gift for my friend as it was the first time I was visiting her home. It turned out that it was a very appropriate gift for this time of year. Apparently Turks smash a pomegranate on the ground in front of their house at midnight on new year’s eve to ensure prosperity for the coming year. So, after an excellent lunch of vegetable soup, calves liver cooked with onions, currants  and pine kernels served on a bed of rice, and a dessert of sweet pumpkin  eaten on her terrace in the sun, this  afternoon we,  the only two remaining members of our local digital photography club, went for a walk at Gumusluk bay, a bit further around the coast.

We parked the car on the top road and walked down a steep path to the shoreline where we were surprised to find the tide so high that we couldn’t walk along the beach towards the right, where we wanted to go.  One of the local cafés had part of its terrace under water.

We met a girl walking along the top of a wall (the only way to keep one’s feet dry) and she told us she had read in a local newspaper that it was the time of the sea’s gel-git (come and go), except that so far the sea hadn’t gone! We walked through some marshy ground and a couple fishing on the beach helped us over the barbed wire fence so that we could get on the beach. The man told us that there were ruins of an old village just over the headland. This was the area below the Limon café that I had been wanting to explore for ages. We walked over heathland with lots of feathery fennel sprouting for the second time this year.

The dried fennel stalks made wonderful sculputural silhouettes against some beautiful cloud formations.

a dead thistle head

We were rewarded by a very colourful sunset although we had to make our way back to the car before it got too dark to see where we were going.

It’s amazing what a difference 10 days has made since the shortest day and it now stays light until shortly after 5.

photography club visit to Yalikavak

Our most recent trip was round the fishing village of Yalikavak on a lovely warm autumn day.

Interesting pattterns and textures:

I like the way the restaurant umbrellas echo the shape of the mountains behind


Hibiscus flowers

and my favourite – hibiscus mutabilis. So called because its flowers start off white when in bud and then change to this deep pink. The tree flowers through November and December.

I don’t know what either of these next two are

Feral kittens – sadly they are unlikely to survive the winter. Life can be so hard sometimes

another photography club excursion

Our next excursion, two weeks consecutively in fact because we were so taken with the place, took us to the abandoned Greek village of Sandima. Only two houses are occupied now. One by Osman, in his eighties and in search of someone to be wife number 3 (not all at once!)

and Nuris who owns and operates the “art house”. The following are pictures taken in and of his house and garden. Both he and his wife are artists and the house is full of their colourful creations.

this figure greets all visitors

elsewhere in the garden

and a necklace of “nazar” beads for protection against the evil eye

on the roof terrace

embroidered pictures

pieces of art


specially for AM

As we drove up the valley into the hills you could see that there would be masses of wildflowers here in the spring but now in the autumn it looks distinctly dry. The houses – not so old, since they were only abandoned in the 1920’s – are now nothing more than crumbling ruins with a fantastic view.

the fountain just in front of Nuris’ house

view from one of the abandoned buildings

Further over on the hillside (we have yet to explore this far) is another abandoned village.

I thought these ruins would be perfect for experimenting with black and white or sepia pictures.

Sunset and Turgutreis market

I recently joined a digital photography club. We started with 3 of us but now we are down to 2 as the other member has left for another job. So now the 2 of us go out regularly to photograph our surroundings and to encourage each other to get the best out of our digital cameras. My partner in crime as it were has a super digital SLR and I have a small pocket sized Olympus.

Our first exercise was to take some sunset photos using a tripod (or not)

the wild fennel plants – about 5 feet tall – make wonderful silhouettes

the following week we went to Turgutreis market, one of the largest markets in the area where you can buy almost anything:  nargile water pipes

mobile telephone pouches

good luck ornaments which nearly always incorporate a blue bead for protection against the evil eye. I am not sure how Dutch clogs got to be considered good luck symbols and there’s no accounting for taste!

you can find these blue beads everywhere – on houses, in cars, as jewellery, etc.

hand crocheted edging for headscarves

handmade dolls. The expression “where did you get that hat” springs to mind

bubble machines

a glass of tea from the tea man

homemade jams and marmelades with their proud producer

dried red chillies by the stringfull

nuts and raisins

sweets galore – that weekend signalled the end of Ramadan and was going to be celebrated by the “sugar holiday” when children go round collecting sweets from the neighbours

Turkish delight

strings of cinammon, cloves and a few nazar beads for good luck. I think the other spice is dried ginger.

old turkmen beaded decorations

dried sunflower seed heads

and zucchini flowers

altogether a feast for the senses.