Saturday, March 26, 2011
I've been getting photos ready for kolga.ge 's annual competition, and uploading them, which was quite a feat given slow internet speed from Mestia. All finished now, time to start more regular blogging. First, a link to my latest Letter from Svaneti, here.
Posted by Tony Hanmer at 5:46 PM
Friday, March 4, 2011
Letter No. 2, meanwhile, is also now in print as of today, and available online here!
Monday, February 28, 2011
Top 2 - minimalist snow and fence.
Bottom - yes, this overhang of snow and ice is high enough, and heavy enough, to kill if you're standing under it when it falls. One of many in Mestia.
Friday, February 25, 2011
Thursday, February 24, 2011
This ormotsi was for our host lady's aunt, who had raised her and her siblings when their mother died young. I should have been outside with the men, but was asked by our hostess to stay indoors with my wife and the other women, to be joined by other men, who never came. So I was an honourary woman for the occasion, and glad enough to escape the cold and araqi - Svan moonshine.
The tables are planks of wood on sawn wood legs, covered with a roll of paper bound with a long spiral of thread. If you're a VIP you get a real metal fork, and maybe a knife; lucky, and you have a plastic fork; the most usual utensil is a piece of bread with which you pick up everything your fingers can't put straight into your mouth from your plate, the more fiddly salads or thick soups, etc. The food will never run out, and neither will the drink, as there are countless toasts to be made, and a feast can last hours upon hours in certain situations and conditions. Crockery is a set kept by each village for common use, plates stored in wooden boxes for every wedding or funeral.
The middle shot is the village of Lenjeri, where my wife teaches English, its school half an hour's walk from where we're staying in Mestia. The school is so close to the Mestia sign that it almost merges with Mestia, and the location of this ormotsi is about twice as far from our house.
Monday, February 21, 2011
Top: our hosts, father (l) and son (r) cutting wood, from the 2nd story window just outside our room. I regularly chop wood for Lali's & my little stove as well. It's nice and dry, so it burns like a rocket.
Middle: roster for supper...
Bottom: A watchtower near our house, and icicles.
Saturday, February 19, 2011
Thursday, February 17, 2011
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Saturday, February 12, 2011
Middle, another vertical panorama of a view I love, the river and towers, all garbage blissfully snow-covered.
Bottom, view of the barn and town from our upper windows, a several-minute exposure on a tripod during fairly heavy snowfall. Where's the falling snow, then?! Magically vanished by the long exposure, its only remaining effects a slight changing of the light in the distance and an overall softening of things.
Wednesday, February 9, 2011
The 2-storey house at right in the top photo, with 2 sets of lower windows lit and 4 sets of dark windows above, is where Lali & I are staying (in an upper-floor room) with a super host family, our new friends in Mestia.
The lower shot is of most of the eastern side of Mestia as twilight fell, that magical time again. I was shooting on a tripod, exposures of up to a minute or 2 in length, bare fingers getting numb as the evening deepened and the wind rose a bit on our high perch. But nothing too serious, and the frames I came away with made the whole thing 100% worth it. At extreme right, the white building is the new gamgeoba, or town hall, and left of that blazing away with light is the central sqiare and its park and hotel. Mt. Tetnuldi with its pyramidal peak in the central background obligingly came clear of clouds during the shooting, a relative rarity at the moment.
Sunday, February 6, 2011
Friday, February 4, 2011
Top, the area where Lali & I live, just right of the towers, shot from my school..Middle, a view of the town as you enter it from the west,
Bottom, towers through a frosty window in the house where we live.
What's not to love about this place?! Landscape wise, at least.
Wednesday, February 2, 2011
Monday, January 31, 2011
Friday, January 28, 2011
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Sunday, January 16, 2011
New Year's Day 2011 at my niece & nephew's place, near Edmonton, Canada - their husky dogs, rarin' to go with snowboarders attached. A new sport is born?! Slow shutter speeds and panning to blur the background but stay with the action as much as possible.
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
The story: I lived in Ushguli, Svaneti, Georgia, Europe's highest village, for the winters of 2007-8 and 2008-9, teaching English to all of its 50 schoolchildren for free in exchange for room and board. My first TV event from there was the photos of a set of avalanches which closed the village off for about a month in total. I took the photos, uploaded them to my blog, had a phone interview with Rusiavi 2 TV Channel, and saw it all put together on the next morning's news - very satisfying. The TV people were also interested in how I came to live in Ushguli - not a common occurrance for a foreigner. So they had to come up and film me, and eventually told me that they were on their way "for a couple of days". I jokingly told the villagers, "A couple of days?! It takes a couple of days just to get here and back from Tbilisi! I hope the guys get stuck for a week!" Well, 1 metre of snow later, that's exactly what happened. Once they surrendered themselves to the inevitable, they were able to make such a good little documentary that it was chosen as one of the channel's 10 best programmes of the year! So, at the end of 2008, newly married (civil ceremony, at least), Lali & I were called back to the studio to receive our prize, again on TV. People STILL recognize me in the street in Georgia - "Say, you're that guy who was taking a bath on TV, aren't you?" Well, everyone should be famous for something. Lasha and Levan - great work, still reaping fruit. Keep up the good work!
Tuesday, January 4, 2011
Thursday, December 30, 2010
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Below, us at the restaurant of Mestia's Tetnuldi Hotel, 24/11/10, our civil wedding's 2nd anniversary, a shot hand-held by me. We look happy because we ARE.
Sunday, December 26, 2010
Friday, December 24, 2010
Mt Ushba again, top centre, with part of the village of K'ala below, and the Enguri River. Also taken on Kvirikoba day, also a panorama assembled from several photos. Clouds coming would soon obscure the mountain as usual, but until then all they did was add more interest to the sky.
As for this day being Christmas Eve... no apologies for refusing to wish you a mere "Happy Holidays". No, this season is called Christmas, like it or not. Have a Merry Christmas. Or don't take it off at all, if you're serious about protesting a Christian holiday. Grinch, grumble, &c.