A tufted gray or Hanuman langur (Semnopithecus priam ), supremely comfortable in his myth-straddling status, enjoys a floral tribute on the perimeter wall of the 2,100-year-old Mirisavetiya, in Anuradhapura. Shot on assignment ‘ for , the inflight magazine of Sri Lankan Airlines, in December 2016. My piece, Serendib The First Kingdom of Lanka‘ , ran in February, the next year.
• 200mm • f/5.6 • 1/200 • ISO400 • 600D & EF-S18-200/3.5-5.6 • polariser •
Sunrise over the Basawakkulama Tank, believed to be Sri Lanka’s oldest reservoir, built in 400BC, against the backdrop of the Ruwanwelisaya and, faintly in the distance, the massive broken Jetawanaramaya, both over 2,000 years old. The tree silhouetted against the morning is one of many that line the tank’s retaining bund. For perhaps a century or more, these broadly spread giants have sheltered farmers, workers, schoolchildren, and the occasional photographer, using the bund as a footpath into Anuradhapura. When I took this picture in January 2017, while on assignment for Serendib magazine, the trees were also home to rock squirrels, numerous nesting birds, and families of grey langurs. But sadly, it has now been reported that the government has begun felling these ancient trees because they are believed to be damaging the bund with their great roots. The perspective they have given to one of the most iconic views of Anuradhapura will be the least of the losses their deaths will bring.
• 18mm • f/3.5 • 1/250 • ISO100 • 600D & EF-S18-200/3.5-5.6 •
Last light over the almost completely dry bed of the Habarana Lake, in northern Sri Lanka. One of the country’s oldest historical reservoirs, the lake is believed to be the ancient Aggivaddhamanaka Tank, built by King Vasabha of Anuradhapura at the end of the 1st century AD. Shot on assignment in January 2016, for Explore Sri Lanka magazine.
• 18mm • f/3.5 • 1/40 • ISO400 • 600D & EF-S18-200/3.5-5.6 •
In a small shrine on the edge of the jungle below Ritigala, the Hindu god, Ganesh, shared space with something I couldn’t identify. But the crude outline, in white paint on a dark stone, showed it had a skull for a head, sharp teeth, long hair, and claws. This was in January 2016, on the first of a number of visits I made to Ritigala, during which I wrote two articles for Explore Sri Lanka. I took a lot of photos here (and missed a crucial one), but I never submitted this picture, and I doubt the magazine would have published it. Standing above the northern plains, Ritigala, and its jungle, has its own unique climate; with its two-thousand five-hundred-year-old ruins, it certainly has its own atmosphere.
• 18mm • f/3.5 • 1/30 • ISO100 • 600D & EF-S18-200/3.5-5.6 •
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 •
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 •
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
Also known as bayhops and goat’s foot, Ipomoea pes-caprae sprawls across the sunlit morning beaches of Waikkal, north of Colombo. These are recent re-edits of pictures I shot for my very first Explore Sri Lanka assignment, in November 2015. My piece, Waterworld Waikkal , ran in the December issue that year.
• 24mm • f/2.8 • 1/400 • ISO100 • 600D & EF-S24/2.8 • circular polariser • Continue reading
“Beach Morning Glory” →
Traditional Sri Lankan veranda in late 19th century style, incorporates some European touches (the latter most obvious in the Tuscan pillars), with some recent restoration. Kosgoda, December 2019.
• 24mm • f/4 • 1/160 • ISO800 • 5DMkIV & EF24-70/2.8L • Continue reading
“In the Vernacular” →