No 13A in Tamil Town
A busy Friday evening in Pettah, Colombo’s main shopping and market district. January 2023. Interestingly, while the city of Colombo is mostly Tamil-speaking (over 60% of the residents are Tamil or Tamil-speaking Moors), the sign in the foreground prohibiting parking is only in Sinhalese (the majority language of Sri Lanka), reflecting decades of Sinhalese-dominated governance that many believe has contributed to ethnic conflict. The controversial 13th Amendment to the Constitution, passed by Parliament in 1987, legislated that, amongst other things, Tamil be elevated to the status of an official language, alongside Sinhalese, and that all official communications be in both languages. However, more than thirty-five years later, many clauses of the amendment remain unenforced, despite Tamil demands for equal treatment.

• 35mm • f/4 • 1/100 • ISO2000 • Canon R6 & RF14-35/4L •


Surviving on Main Street #2
I asked him if I could take his picture, and he asked me if I would pay him for it. I said I would not, and he said it didn’t matter. But I know it did. Main Street, Pettah. September 2022.

• 35mm • f/1.8 • 1/1600 • ISO200 • Canon R6 & RF 35/1.8 courtesy Canon/Metropolitan.

Timeless Pettah
A naattami hauls his heavily laden cart across Gas Works Junction, in September 2020. Centre left is the Old Town Hall, built in the neo-Gothic style by the British colonial government in 1873. It is now used by the Colombo Fire Brigade. In the distance are the minarets of the Jami Ul-Alfar Masjid, or Red Mosque, towering over Main Street.

*shot on an M6MkII & EFM15-45mm/3.5-5.6, courtesy Canon/Metropolitan.

Pleasantly Surprising First Thoughts*on the M6MkII

Canon M6MkII camera and lenses.
The baby of the Canon mirrorless family, the EOS M6MkII.

First off, this isn’t a full on technical review of this camera. There are plenty of those online, and they’re quite comprehensive. This is just my limited experience with it, as a street photographer. All photos here were shot with the M6MkII & 15-45mm/3.5-6.3 STM lens (except for the header image, which was shot on an iPhone).

The mirrorless APS-C M6MkII camera’s been around since September 2019; arriving a year and a half after the more traditional-looking M50; but I’ve never seriously considered trying one out, even for fun. Focused on the ‘enthusiast’ photographer, it hadn’t really enthused me up to now. I’ve long been sold on full frame as first choice for my professional work, and now only use cropped sensor cameras for my hobby — street photography, where a smaller-bodied camera has distinct advantages in avoiding attention. My weapon of choice for the streets is an old 600D with a pancake 24mm/2.8 lens. Don’t get me wrong; I’ve shot on the streets with hulking full frame 5Ds and 6Ds fitted with 24-105mm lenses, but that’s not ideal. Leica and Fuji rangefinders with their retro looks always seem tempting but unjustifiably expensive personal indulgences.

The M6MkII certainly fits the bill on size. It feels tiny (12.0cm × 7cm × 4.9 cm); smaller in length and height than many modern mobile phones (though obviously fatter and heavier). It’s still so light (408g) that it convinced me its much smaller than my 600D, though it isn’t by much (except for the depth, which is half of the 600D). One of its major drawbacks, however, is its lack of a built in viewfinder, something that I’ve always felt is essential for good street photography. But Canon offers a separate electronic viewfinder that can be slotted into the hot shoe. So, never mind, you say? Well, it does a bit. The EVF is almost a third the price of the camera body. So when Canon Metropolitan offered me an M6MkII to play with for a few days, I was hoping it would come with the EVF. Sadly, no such luck.

Continue reading “Pleasantly Surprising First Thoughts*on the M6MkII”

Surviving on Main Street

Surviving on Main Street by Son of the Morning Light on
“This and that to survive,” he says, when I return his question to me on what I’m doing in Pettah at night with a camera. “When we were young we didn’t think ahead,” he explains, but I already know that. Colombo, Sri Lanka. September 2018.

Shopkeeper, Main Street, Pettah #2

Shopkeeper, Main Street, Pettah #2 by Son of the Morning Light on
Colombo, Sri Lanka. September 2018.

The Dutch Canal in the Afternoon #2

Fishing and sightseeing boats moored outside their owners’ homes on the Dutch Canal in Negombo, Sri Lanka. While the canal predates the arrival of the Dutch East India Company, and is part of what once was a wide network of canals first mentioned in the 8th Century, the so-called Dutch Canal was repaired and deepened by the Dutch in the 17th Century. It is sometimes mistakenly called the Hamilton Canal, though the latter was built in 1804 by Garvin Hamilton, during the British period, and only connects the city of Colombo to the Negombo Lagoon, whereas the modern Dutch Canal connects the Negombo Lagoon to the Maha Oya further north.

This was shot from the Customs House Road bridge in May 2015. In the distance is the Main Street bridge.

About bridges; a part of my childhood was spent in Hendala, which lies between Colombo and Negombo, and I remember trips to the beach required crossing the Hamilton Canal on a floating footbridge of loosely connected wooden pallets. It was a precarious undertaking for a small boy, and I still remember falling in, and my father fishing me out by the scruff of my neck.

  • 600D+EFS18-200/3.5-5.6+polariser@40mm+1/500+f/4.5+ISO100