Breakfast in Pettah #5

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In spite of my interrupting his breakfast service, the owner of this little tea kadé refused to take payment for the glass I had when I was done snapping. New Moor Street, Hultsfdorp. October 2022.

• 35mm • f/2.8 • 1/1000 • ISO200 • R6 & RF 35/1.8 courtesy Canon/Metropolitan

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Stripes that Wound

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Detail of the heavy, scarred wooden doors of the Wolvendaalse Kerk, in Hulftsdorp. October 2022. They first opened in 1757, and the church behind them is the oldest continuously used Christian worship site in Sri Lanka.

• 24mm • f/2.8 • 1/1000 • ISO100 • R6 & RF24-70/2.8L •

Restoring the Balance #2

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A cleared hillside close to Haputale, in the Central Highlands of Sri Lanka. September 2017. The island has lost huge areas of jungle and forest to the plantation and timber industries over the last two centuries. Many areas in the Central Highlands are now being removed of environmentally harmful pine trees that were introduced by paper manufacturers in the 1970s; replacing them with endemic trees in a government-initiated reforestation programme which will encourage the return of undergrowth.

• 110mm • f/8 • 1/200 • ISO400 • 600D & EF-S18-200/3.5-5.6 • circular polariser •

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Tropical sub-montane forest in the mountains above Belihul Oya. Shot on assignment for Serendib, the inflight magazine of Sri Lankan Airlines, in September 2017.

• 40mm • f/4.5 • 1/60 • ISO400 • 600D & EF-S18-200/3.5-5.6 • circular polariser •

Morning Tea in Pettah #2

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Years ago, in a piece for Outlook India, I wrote, ‘Everything in Sri Lanka is either sweet or spicy. Often both. Our people; our tea.’ And that’s exactly what Rasa’s tea is like; lip-burning hot, tongue-stinging gingery, and so thick with sugar that my spit makes the filter of my Gold Leaf sticky. Prince Street, Pettah. September 2022.

• 35mm • f/1.8 • 1/320 • ISO200 • Canon R6 & RF 35/1.8 courtesy Canon/Metropolitan.

When Covid wasn’t the Only Disease #2

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Dr WCJK Jayakody interviews an out patient from behind an anti-COVID barrier at the National STD/AIDS Control Programme, De Saram Place, Maradana. Shot on assignment for Panos Pictures and The Global Fund, in January 2022.

• 24mm • f/4 • 1/125 • ISO1600 • Canon 5DMkIV & EF 24-105/f4L, courtesy Canon/Metropolitan

• 50mm • f/1.4 • 1/320 • ISO200 • Canon 5DMkIV & EF 50/1.4, courtesy Canon/Metropolitan

The Death of Prabhāsvaratā*

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A dying frangipani tree (known locally as a temple tree) stands before the ruined stupa of the 9th century Dakkinagiri Viharaya, deep in the Kaludiya Pokuna Forest, east of Dambulla. February 2018. The smaller of the guardstones flanking the steps is inscribed with writing attributing this Buddhist pabbata monastery to King Sena II of Anuradhapura. The other houses the carving of a Hindu Nagaraja deity.

• 18mm • f/7.1 • 1/160 • ISO400 • 600D & EF-S18-200/3.5-5.6 • circular polariser •

*Sanskrit term for the Buddhist concept of luminosity or light

The Workday Begins

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Packed breakfast in hand, an elderly resident of Hussainiya Street, in Hulftsdorp, heads out for the day. Colombo, October 2022.

• 35mm • f/2.8 • 1/800 • ISO200 • R6 with RF35/1.8 courtesy Canon/Metropolitan

Bring Me Back the Thought of You

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Wheat fields in the Hunsrück, Germany. Midsummer 2016.

• 18mm • f/3.5 • 1/1000 • ISO100 • 600D & EF-S18-200/3.5-5.6 • circular polariser •

“You see the grain-fields down yonder? I do not eat bread. Wheat is of no use to me. The wheat fields have nothing to say to me. And that is sad. But you have hair that is the color of gold. Think how wonderful that will be when you have tamed me! The grain, which is also golden, will bring me back the thought of you. And I shall love to listen to the wind in the wheat…”

— Antoine de Saint-Exupéry The Little Prince

Blue Door

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No 35, Hussainiya Street, Hulftsdorp. October 2022.

• 35mm • f/2.8 • 1/1600 • ISO200 • R6 & RF35/1.8 courtesy Canon/Metropolitan

How to Win a Booker: Step One

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Get yourself a cool place to write. Shehan Karunatilaka, winner of the Booker Prize 2022, back at his desk in Colombo, Sri Lanka, exactly a month after grabbing one of the world’s most prestigious awards in writing.

• 14mm • f/4 • 1/40 • ISO1600 • R6 & RF14-35/4L •

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• 50mm • f/2 • 1/50 • ISO500 • R6 & EF50/1.8 •