The Waiting Sea
Talalla Bay, Sri Lanka.

• 24mm • f/2.8 • 1/640 • ISO100 • 600D & EF-S24/2.8• circular polariser •

December 26th 2022 marks eighteen years since the devastating Boxing Day Tsunami of 2004, when the Indian Ocean rose up and killed over 35,000 Sri Lankans in two massive waves (the second measured as high as 11m, in places). The country suffered the second highest number of deaths in the Indian Ocean (after Indonesia which, being proximate to the epicentre of the underwater quake that caused the tsunami, lost almost 200,000 dead and missing). Over half a million people were displaced in Sri Lanka, as almost 90,000 coastal homes and buildings were destroyed by the waves. Over 250,000 people are estimated to have died in minutes, in fifteen countries, from Southeast Asia to East Africa. In island nations like Sri Lanka, the sea would never be looked at quite the same again.


Beach Morning Glory
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 •

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Many Emotions, One Demand
Young protestors, in Colombo, call for the resignation of Sri Lankan President Gotabhaya Rajapakse and his government, which is blamed for the country’s worst economic crisis in modern history. Accused of corruption, nepotism, and ineptitude, Rajapakse has refused to step down in spite of a month of public demonstrations against him. In contrast to the largely peaceful middle class protests in the capital, civil disobedience in other areas by rural working and farming communities have been marked by increasingly desperate clashes with the police who, yesterday, shot several protestors in Rambukkana, 97km northeast of Colombo, killing at least one. Sri Lanka, April 2022.

We Are Risen
As the Sinhalese and Tamil New Year holiday week faded into Good Friday and the dawn of Easter Sunday (the latter itself a poignant and bloody reminder of how the current Sri Lankan regime stormed its way into power), the protesters stayed on at Galle Face Green, in Colombo, unrelenting in their demand that President Gotabhaya Rajapakse and his government resign. 17th April 2022. But ‘Gota’ has been equally stubborn in his refusal to quit, keeping his powerful older brother (former President Mahinda Rajapakse) in the PM slot, and merely reshuffling and reappointing his cabinet in what is a clear middle finger to the dissidents. The crippling economic crisis in Sri Lanka, the worst in its modern history, in which the country is suffering widespread shortages in electricity, fuel, cooking gas, medicine, and even food, has been felt most clearly by the middle and working classes, who have turned out at Galle Face in unprecedented numbers, with all ethnicities represented in a show of unity that has loudly voiced its accusations of government ineptitude and corruption. However, with the holidays ending today, and the president deadlocked with the protestors, the battle will return to parliament where, til now, the opposition parties have displayed little more than impotence and a distinct lack of leadership in reflecting the voice of the people in the legislature.
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Thank You, Sri Lanka, and Subha Aluth Avurudhak Wewa
On the eve of the Sinhalese and Tamil New Year, protestors on Galle Face Green, Colombo, continue to call for the resignation of Sri Lankan President Gotabhaya Rajapakse and his entire cabinet. 13th April 2022. Traditionally, a time of hope and new beginnings, this Avurudhu has been blighted by an economic crisis that sees many families struggling to put food on the table. Rampant inflation, and shortages in electricity, cooking gas, fuel, and medicine, has been blamed on an inept and corrupt government led by Rajapakse and his brothers. Even as Sri Lanka declared it was defaulting on its debts, Tuesday, officially announcing bankruptcy, the thousands of protestors gathered in Colombo for the fifth consecutive day will, no doubt, be hoping for some brightness on what is a decidedly dark future.

Patriotic Flavour
In the rain and dark of what is now being called ‘Gotagogama‘, the settlement of tents, field kitchens, and mobile toilets thrown up by the protestors on Galle Face Green, Colombo, a betel seller moves through the crowd, his cry of “Saaaaara-vita!” punctuating the ‘Gota go home!’ chants of the dissidents. 11th April 2022. National flags and colours have been prominent in the demonstrations calling for Sri Lankan President Gotabhaya Rajapakse and his entire cabinet to resign, accused of corruption and ineptitude, and blamed for a crippling foreign exchange and energy crisis that has seen Sri Lankans suffer rampant inflation and long powercuts, as well as critical shortages of cooking gas, fuel, food, and medicine. Protests that began spontaneously and sporadically in March have grown steadily, culminating in a massive 9th April demonstration in downtown Colombo that claimed as many as a million protestors. After futile cabinet reshuffles and opposition posturing in parliament, the legislature went into recession for the traditional mid-April Sinhalese and Tamil new year holidays. The protestors, however, have vowed to stay, turning what was planned as a 24-hour protest into something set to go on through this holiday week.

Peacock Dancer, Mt Lavinia Beach #25
Rusini Gunawardena of ‘Thiwarna’, shot for Canon/Metropolitan Sri Lanka‘s launch of the R5 and R6 mirrorless cameras in August 2020.

Travel Photography on Assignment

My presentation last week to the Photographic Society of Sri Lanka‘s Street & Travel Group, conducted live on Zoom. Thank you, Nilan Herath and the PSSL for inviting me, and to everyone who turned up for it. For those of you who couldn’t, here’s the full presentation, minus the subsequent discussion.

Calling in for a Book
In the age of the mobile phone, a better use for old pay phone booths; converted into little corner public libraries by the local Rotary Club. Simmern, Germany. Summer, 2015.
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Boating on the Moselle
In spite of the steep sides of the Moselle Valley, the river’s loop around the Barl neck, which divides the Hunsrück Mountains from the Eifel Range, is slow and calm, and a popular stretch for boating. Kaimt, Germany. Summer 2016.