Temple of the Water God

I believe that water is the closest thing to a god we have here on Earth.”

— Alex Z Moores Living in Water

The Randenigala Reservoir, surrounded by the jungles of the Rantembe Reserve. December 2018. If water is the one true god of our planet, then the reservoirs we’ve built over millennia must be its greatest temples.

• 24mm • f/8 • 1/1600 • ISO800 • 5DMkIII & EF24-105/4L •


The Doomed Giants of Anuradhapura

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 •

Twilight of the Kings

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 •

Victorian Gloom

An uncharacteristically different angle (for me) of the Victoria Reservoir; looking northwest from Mahadoraliyadda, on an overcast afternoon in June 2017. Just out of sight, around the headland to the left, is the dam itself, harnessing the mighty Mahaweli whose valley this lake once was.

Morning Over the Victoria #2

Looking south from the Teldeniya Rest House. A view I have never tired of since I first saw it, twenty-five years ago. Below the broad expanse of water lie the ruins of the old town of Teldeniya, drowned when the Hulu and, neighbouring, Mahaweli river valleys were flooded in 1985 to create the Victoria Reservoir. This photograph was shot as part of a road trip piece, ‘The Temple of War, that appeared in the April 2016 issue of Explore Sri Lanka.

Climate Crisis in the Highlands #10

The 372-square kilometre Samanalawewa, close to Belihuloya, in Sri Lanka, seen here in January 2017. The reservoir was created in 1992, with the construction of the Samanala Dam, and is one of the largest and deepest in the country, providing irrigation and hydro-electricity. But drought and climate change in recent years has dropped water levels dramatically in the Central Highland catchment areas. Normally, this valley would be far underwater. In 2015 and 2016, Sri Lanka suffered one of the worst droughts in 40 years.

Tank & Temple #5

Dawn touches with its first light the sky over the Basawakkulama tank and the floodlit Ruwanwelisaya.
Continue reading “Tank & Temple #5”

Climate Crisis in the Highlands

Climate Crisis in the Highlands by Son of the Morning Light on 500px.com
The Samanalawewa Reservoir, close to Belihuloya, in the Central Highlands of Sri Lanka. Shot in January 2016.

The 372-square kilometre Samanalawewa, was created in 1992, with the construction of the Samanala Dam. The reservoir is one of the largest and deepest in the country, providing irrigation and hydro-electricity, but long periods of drought regularly drop its water level dramatically. Normally, this valley would be far underwater, and I would be standing at the edge of the water. In 2015 and 2016, Sri Lanka suffered one of the worst droughts in 40 years. 

#landscapephotography #blackandwhitephotography #photojournalism #climatecrisis #climatechange #drought #srilanka #600D #18_200mm #hoya_polariser

The Kaludiya Pokuna Forest, Sri Lanka #26

The Kaludiya Pokuna Forest, Sri Lanka #26 by Son of the Morning Light on 500px.com
Shot for my March 2018 Serendib cover feature, “A Mountain Monastery Forgotten by Time, on the Dakkinagiri Viharaya, and the Kaludiya Pokuna Forest that surrounds it.