Colombia | March 2018
Published on: 14th March 2018
By David Noton
Arriving somewhere, anywhere, at 4am after an 11 hour flight is never ideal. We’re knackered and jet lagged; all we want is sleep. The outskirts of sprawling Bogota aren’t exactly inspiring in the dead of night, but at least there’s no traffic. As we enter La Candaleria, the Old City, the streets narrow. I know not to trust first impressions, so am trying to ignore the huge piles of rotting rubbish on every street corner and concentrate on the colourful murals that seem to adorn every wall. We turn a corner and there in the road is a patrol of heavily armed soldiers in helmets and camouflaged combat gear. Given Colombia’s reputation for internecine civil war and drug fuelled violence should we be reassured, or troubled? We’ll go for the former. But despite the hour and the travel fatigue the excitement is kicking in; we’re back in South America!
The taxi pulls up and I pay the fare of fifty thousand pesos, hopelessly unable in my befuddled state to calculate the exchange rate and unsure if we’re being ripped off. The driver pockets the notes before rapping on an innocuous door. A viewing hatch opens, and we step into a haven of peace and effusive welcomes.
A week later as the sun dips I’m with Wendy in the grounds of a monastery in the charming colonial town of Villa de Leyva, lurking behind my tilt and shift lens, waiting for the light while a delightful young girl with a magnifying glass chatters away to us. We can’t understand her, and she can’t understand us, but who cares? I’ve a polariser fitted, exposure set to manual, shift dialled in and focus checked. Just as the sun emerges from behind a cloud a group of nuns round the corner and walk through my frame as my shutter clicks. What timing! I seem to have spent the last week here in Colombia waiting for people to stroll into my compositions; this evening it worked brilliantly. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again; put yourself in the right place at the right time enough and you’ll get lucky, sooner or later. You’ll be able to read all about our adventures in Colombia in the next two issues of the f11 Photography Magazine. Oh, and by the way; the collective for a group of nuns is a superfluity.
This month, in the Issue 74 of the f11 Photography Magazine, we have on the menu for you, our loyal f11 Members, a rich mixture of features. What’s In A Picture is all about my chasing of the super blue blood moon on the last day of January; a challenging but exciting shoot which is accompanied by a postproduction video. My Opinion piece in this issue looks at how artificial intelligence is changing how images are captured and processed, and what the repercussions will be for us photographers. Stepping Back journeys to Cuba back when I was still shooting film, while the Workflow series continues deconstructing my digital workflow by highlighting how assigning applicable keywords transforms the functionality of our photo library, with an accompanying postproduction video.
This month’s f11 Spotlight tells Afghan veteran Chris Nowell’s inspirational story of how his photography is his therapy, while Ben Pipe reports from the Balkans. And this month’s Guest Feature is nothing if not topical; Canadian photographer Nathalie Daoust talks to Ailsa McWhinnie about the project that led her into one of the world’s most notorious and mystifying countries – North Korea.
You can’t say we don’t take you to some interesting places!
But let’s not forget your images in this month’s f11 Members’ Gallery, featuring dogs, ducks, and drones. And if you’re wondering, news of the f11 Member’s Your Vision 2018 Competition is coming next month. If you’re still not sure what this f11 business is all about here’s a video you can watch explaining it all.
We returned from Colombia just in time for The Beast from the East. Despite the doom and gloom in the media we loved it; for just a day Milborne Port looked like I remember childhood winters in Canada, and on the first day of spring to boot. The snow soon melted, but not before I’d exposed. What a contrast to the tropical jungles of Tayrona it was.
Now I’m deep in editing mode and preparing for my series of presentations for Adobe at The Photography Show. I’m there all four days, for my sins; Birmingham NEC doesn’t quite have the pull of Cartagena, but if you’re dropping in do come and chat. Otherwise, keep exposing.