Topkapi Palace

Istanbul, 7 October 2018.

(Click on any image to see it in a larger size, if you are on a PC at least.)

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Altar of the Hagia Irene.

From Hagia Sophia we headed off to the Topkapi Palace.  On the way we visited the Hagia Irene, even older than Hagia Sophia.

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Inside Hagia Irene.

These days it is little more than a shell, though it does have relatively recent seating and is used for concerts.  It apparently has very good acoustics.

It was the first church built in Constantinople and was completed by Constantine before the end of his reign in 337.  It was then the prime church of Constantinople until Hagia Sophia opened in 360.  It burnt down during the Nika Revolt in 532 and was rebuilt by Justinian by 548.  It was later damaged by an earthquake in 740 and restored by Constantine V.  It wasn’t converted into a mosque during Ottoman times, but was instead used as an arsenal until the nineteenth century.

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Some faint traces of artworks, probably dating to an iconoclastic period in the eighth century.

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Ancient arches.

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A section of ceiling.

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We are now at the gateway to the Topkapi Palace.

Unfortunately, photography was not allowed in the Sultan’s residence, harem and political chambers, so I am not able to show you the most spectacular views there.

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After passing through those areas, we come out to views of the Bosphorous.

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Looking down on the Sultan’s Gardens (no doubt very different in their day) and north in the direction of the Black Sea.

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Kara Mustafa Pasha Pavilion.

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The same pavilion, looking in the opposite direction.

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Mother of pearl inlay wall decorations.

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A small viewing platform.

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Baghdad Kiosk.

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Revan Kiosk.

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Looking south, beyond the Bosphorous at the Sea of Marmara.

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Chariot relief, Cyzikus (Greek town on the south bank of the Sea of Marmara), 6th century BC.

(We are now visiting the Istanbul Archaeology Museum).

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Letter from Hittite King Hattusili III to Akkadian Emperor Kadasman-Enlil II (based in Babylon), proposing war with Egypt.

In 1274BC Hattusli’s father Muwatalli III fought the battle of Kadesh against Egyptian Pharaoh Ramases II.  This was the largest chariot battle in history with 5,000 to 6,000 chariots.  The result of it is not clear though it did head off an attempted invasion of the Hittite Empire. 

This letter would have been early in Hattusli’s reign (which started from 1267BC, though it must have been at least 1263BC, the start of Kadasman-Enlil’s reign) and he probably never went to war with Egypt.  Instead, Kadasman-Enlil restored relations with Egypt with a dynastic marriage and Hattusli negotiated the Eternal Treaty or Treaty of Kadesh with Egypt, which Rameses ratified in 1258BC.  This is the earliest known peace treaty and also survives in the versions of both sides.

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Palmyran funerary reliefs (200-273AD).

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Aphrodite removing her sandal.

(Roman 1st to 2nd century but copy of Classical Greek original).

I was impressed by the informality and realism of this statue.  Of course, in ancient times it would have been painted.

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Personal seal.

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These ring-necked parakeets are descended from recent aviary escapees.

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A surviving fragment of Roman-era construction.

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Freighter on the Bosphorous.

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Ancient walls, don’t know the provenance.

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And after dinner, it was time for some shopping….

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Hagia Sophia

Istanbul, 7 to 8 October 2018.

(Click on any image to see it in a larger size, if you are on a PC at least.)

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(This is a longer post than usual with 44 images. I was going to break it into two but here it is, as one post.  This is a very historic building so there’s also a fair amount to read.)

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Here it is, Hagia Sophia.

Istanbul was called Constantinople until 1930.  Constantine founded Constantinople in 330AD to be the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire.  Before that, there was the city of Byzantium on the site from the 7th century BC.  It was mainly a minor independent town but at various times occupied by Athens, Sparta and Persia until the Romans took over, I presume at the same time as the rest of Greece in 146BC. (Ancient Greece included all the islands and shores of the Aegean Sea, including the western edge of what is now Turkey).

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The spire and crescent atop the dome, dating from 1577.

The original church on the site, the “Great Church”, was built in 360, or possibly a decade or two earlier.  It mainly burnt down in 404 in riots resulting from the banishment of Archbishop Chrysostom by Empress Aelia Eudoxia and Emperor Arcadius.  The next church on the site was built by the Emperor Theodosius II in 415 and the name Hagia Sophia (meaning “Holy Wisdom”) came into use around 430.  That Hagia Sophia was destroyed by the Nika riots in 532, by the Blue and Green factions in the Hippodrome (chariot racing), protesting high taxation levied by Justinian in a time of war with Persia.  Much of Constantinople was also burnt.  The current Hagia Sophia was consecrated in 537 and was originally clad in white marble.

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Entering the Hagia Sophia.

Hagia Sophia has been affected by many earthquakes requiring subsequent reconstruction.  Earthquakes in 553, 557 and 558 caused the main dome to collapse and reconstruction was completed in 562.  Among similar events was a fire in 859 and earthquakes in 869, 989, 1344, 1346, 1509 and 1895.  There have been many restoration efforts over the years.

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Inside now, this is the Mihrab, the focal point of the interior of a mosque, indicating the qibla, or the direction of the Kaaba in Mecca, showing the direction to pray. 

Its final form dates from the nineteenth century.  The stained glass windows appear to have been modified or replaced since the Ottoman takeover.  In Byzantine times, this was the apse and housed the altar, so it was also the focus of the Cathedral.

The Hagia Sophia was an Eastern Orthodox Cathedral from 537 to 1204, when Constantinople was conquered by a renegade army from the Fourth Crusade, then a Roman Catholic Cathedral until 1261 when the Byzantines conquered it back.  It reverted to an Eastern Orthodox Cathedral until 1453 when the Ottomans took over.  It was then a Mosque until 1935 when under Kemal Ataturk’s secular state it was converted to a museum. It was still a museum when I visited but in July 2020, Erdogan controversially converted it back to a Mosque.

Supporting buttresses were added at various times by the Byzantines, Latins and Ottomans and the Ottomans added four minarets around it.

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Islamic calligraphic ceiling art.

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An ancient passageway to the upper level.

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Looking down on the main hall and up to the main dome.

Hagia Sophia was the largest cathedral in the world for around 1,000 years and the dome was the largest in the world for around 900 years.  The floor is marble from an island in the Sea of Marmara and it dates to the post-earthquake restoration of 558 under Justinian.  As of 2020, it is now covered in carpet.

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This is the Deesis Mosaic, from the thirteenth century, showing the Virgin Mary, Christ and John the Baptist.  It is thought to have replaced an earlier mosaic.

Hagia Sophia was looted in 1203 and 1204 by the Latin army (which had already been excommunicated by the Pope) and by the Ottomans in 1453.  Some of the mosaics are incomplete due to the temptations of gold leaf.  The mosaic tiles were glass tesserae, with two small squares of glass and gold leaf between them.  Thus looters had to chisel off mosaic tiles to get to the gold leaf.  Surviving mosaics are very high up because gold leaf was valuable and surviving ones were difficult to access.

Also, there were two periods of iconoclasm, 726 to 787 and 814 to 842, when religious pictures and statues were removed from the Hagia Sophia.

In the initial period after the Ottoman takeover in 1453, at least some of the mosaics were covered in whitewash.

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Closeup of Christ Pantocrator (or the all-powerful).

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The Comnenus mosaic, dating from 1122, shows John II Comnenus (Emperor 1118 to 1143), Virgin Mary and Christ Child, and Empress Irene (from Hungary).

Forty-five years before John came to the throne, in the aftermath of the Battle of Manzikert, the Seljuk Turks took over Asian Minor from the Empire.  Then at the end of the eleventh century, John’s predecessor, Alexios I Comnenus, inadvertently summoned the First Crusade who won it most of it back for him.  John II was a competent Emperor who was able to stabilise the Empire with successful campaigns against the Normans in the Balkans and the Seljuk Turks in Asia Minor, coupled with strategic fortifications.

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The Empress Zoe mosaic, from the 11th century, shows Constantine IX Monomarchus (Emperor 1042 to 1055), Christ Pantocrator and Empress Zoe. 

Zoe had a curious history.  Her father, Constantine VIII had no sons and persuaded her to marry Romanos Agyros in 1028, who became Emperor Romanos III a day later after Constantine died.  In 1034, Romanos was found dead in his bath, though to have been murdered by either Zoe or her lover, who married on the same day and he became Emperor Michael IV on the next day. Michael died in 1041 and Zoe became co-regent with his nephew who became Michael V.  A few months later, Michael V exiled Zoe for plotting to poison him.  However, this lead to a popular revolt and Zoe returned in 1042 as co-Emperor with her sister Theodora.  That was not so comfortable so Zoe married a former lover who became Constantine IX (in the mosaic above).  Zoe died in 1050 (at the age of 72) and  Constantine died in 1055.  Although Constantine wanted someone else to succeed him, Theodora then returned as sole Empress for two years. 

The heads of Constantine IX and Zoe in the mosaic are believed to have replaced different heads from a somewhat earlier period in family history.  Apart from Theodora, this was not one of the more competent periods in Byzantine administration.

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Looking up at a Byzantine decoration remnant.

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Mysterious inscription just below a marble hand rail.

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Various decorations from periods I am unable to determine.  However, the marble facings must date to the sixth century.

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This is a seraphim or one of the “six-winged fiery angels that surround God”.  There would originally have been a face under the golden metal centre or perhaps it is still there.

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One of the round calligraphic panels on each side of the apse wall (also seen in other views of the main chamber).

They date to between 1847 and 1849 and the descriptive panel says “Allah (the God), Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), The four Caliphs:  Abu Bakr, Omar, Osman, Ali.  The descendants of the Prophet Muhhammad Hassan and Hussein.”  I presume that is the summation of the inscriptions on all the panels (which differ).

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Remarkable marble panelling.

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Graffiti on a marble hand rail.

There are various examples of graffiti.  This one is perhaps Greek, but they include examples of Viking runes from the Varangian Guards, who were originally Vikings from Kievan Rus.

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Looking up, probably above the viewing area.

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Heading down to the ground level again.

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Evidence of differing building projects in different eras.

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Back by the main chamber. 

On the right is a large marble jar from Pergamon dating to the Hellenistic Period (post Alexander the Great) and carved from a single block of marble.  Pergamon was a major Greek city on what is now the western coast of Turkey.  The jar was brought to Hagia Sophia during the reign of Murad III (1574-1585).

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Looking up at the main dome.

Although architecture of previous ancient cultures, including Persia, had included domes, none had been of the scale of Hagia Sophia.  It was a prime influence of architecture in succeeding cultures, including the Islamic World and the domes I photographed in Uzbekistan.  The Hagia Sophia of course predates the Islamic World.

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Islamic wall tiles.

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Back to near where we started, the Mihrab is in the centre distance at floor level and the Minbar, where the Imam speaks from, is on the right.  More generally, this is also the Apse, with a mosaic of the Madonna and child above the windows.  We can also see a clearer view of the now-covered marble floor (dating from the sixth century).

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Here is a closer view of the mosaic. 

It probably dates to the late fourteenth century, though this is not certain.  It was covered towards the end of the eighteenth century and rediscovered during the renovations of 1847-48.

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This is the Angel Gabriel Mosaic (or what remains of it), from about 867.

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Islamic stained glass window.

While the Ottomans conquered Byzantium in 1453, it was really the renegade Latin crusaders of the Fourth Crusade who were more responsible for the fall after they took Constantinople in 1204.  At the death of Manuel I Comnenus in 1180, the Byzantine Empire had included the Balkans, Greece, the Aegean Islands, Cyprus and much of Asia Minor.  While the Byzantine Empire was restored in 1261 to include Northern Greece and Western Turkey, it did not remain this way for long.  For most of the next couple of centuries Constantinople was isolated with hardly any local territory and a few small outposts in Greece.  It lacked resources and by the time the Ottomans took over, the Hagia Sophia was in a state of disrepair.

Even then, in 1453 there was a Venetian relief fleet on the way that did not arrive in time.  Since it was the sea wall rather than the land walls that were breached, Constantinople would have been able to hold out for at least another few more years. 

Constantinople had massive city walls and formidable defences.  There were eighteen unsuccessful sieges by external powers prior to 1453.  One of the most significant was that of the Sassanian (Persian) Empire in 626.  But Emperor Heracles broke free and destroyed the Sassanians in their heartland in 627.  After that, both empires were exhausted and the Sassanian Empire fell to the Arabs within the next twenty-seven years.  In a different period, the rapid advance of the Arabs may not have been so easy.

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Cross faintly visible on the floor under later Islamic patterns.

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The Omphalion.  The place of East Roman coronations.  Unlike the rest of the floor, not now covered in carpet.

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Looking up and old Christian and later Islamic decorations.

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Polychrome marble revetments, or bracing structures, dating back to the original cathedral opened in 532.

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Ancient mosaic under an arch.

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Here there appears to be later plastering and painting to the same pattern as the mosaic underneath, perhaps to cover up earthquake damage.

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Looking up in the main chamber.

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The Vestibule Mosaic, from the 9th century.

The Virgin Mary and Christ Child are in the middle between Justinian I (left), holding a model of the Hagia Sophia, and Constantine (right), holding a model of the city of Constantinople. Justinian is described as “Emperor of Illustrious Memory” whereas Constantine is described as “the great Emperor amongst the saints”.

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Madonna and child closeup.

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Central part of bronze door from Hellenistic Temple of Tarsus of the second century BC, placed in Hagia Sophia by Emperor Theophilos (829-842).

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Next day, students posing outside for Istanbul Autumn Agora 2018, a kind of student conference concerned with sustainability.

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An Islamic group in front of the Hagia Sophia.

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Hagia Sophia at night.

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Monochromes from Samarkand (Part 2)

3 to 5 October 2018, Samarkand, Uzbekistan.

Links go to colour posts (with more information and historical context). If an image does not have a link, the preceding one applies.

Click on any image to see it larger (if on a PC at least).

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Architecture, Black and White, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Samarkand, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan

Here is a side mosque from the archway of the main Bibi Khanum Mosque.

Bibi Khanum Mosque, Samarkand

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The top of the dome of one of the minor mosques.

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On the left is Bibi Khanum Mosque and its pishtak; one of the side mosques is in the background.

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Side mosque.

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Ulugh Beg Pishtak, the entrance gate to Shah-i-Zinda Necropolis

Shah-i-Zinda, Samarkand.

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Inside the Qazi Zadeh Rumi Mausoleum.

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The two domes of the Qazi Zadeh Rumi Mausoleum, this image and the next, viewed from the inside.

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In the avenue of the mausolea.

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Looking back at the twin domes of the Qazi Zadeh Rumi Mausoleum.

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Looking through a chortak, or a gateway on the avenue.

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Inside the Shadi Mulk Adi Mausoleum.

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Near the far end of the avenue.

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The pishtak of Alim Nasafi Mausoleum.

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Tuman Aka Mausoleum.

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The top of Gur Emir from a distance.

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Rukhabad Mausoleum.

Ak Saray, Samarkand.

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This and following images, Ak Saray Mausoleum…

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Young woman extracting strips of bark from branches of young mulberry trees to make paper.

Ulugh Beg and Afrasiab, Samarkand

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Water mill for paper making.

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Surviving part of Ulugh Beg’s astrolabe.

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Remains of Ulugh Beg’s astrolabe.

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Country farm and mosque.

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Gur Emir at night.

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This was the last post on the ancient and modern wonders of Uzbekistan.  There have been 31 posts with 850 images and 17,000 words.  I have updated the links to the posts in the trip itinerary so you can access them from there.

Next, Istanbul….

Monochromes from Samarkand (Part 1)

3 to 5 October 2018, Samarkand, Uzbekistan.

Links go to colour posts (with more information and historical context). If an image does not have a link, the preceding one applies.

Click on any image to see it larger (if on a PC at least).

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Architecture, Black and White, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Samarkand, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan

Looking up at an archway in Gur Emir, Timur’s (Tamerlane’s) mausoleum.

(Next six images are in Gur Emir).

Gur Emir (Timur’s Mausoleum in Samarkand)

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Actually gold leaf inside the mausoleum.

. Architecture, Black and White, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Samarkand, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan .

.Architecture, Black and White, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Samarkand, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan .

.Architecture, Black and White, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Samarkand, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan

The main hall of the mausoleum.

. Architecture, Black and White, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Samarkand, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan .

. Architecture, Black and White, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Samarkand, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan .

. Architecture, Black and White, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Samarkand, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan

Wedding party in front of the Registan.

The Registan, Samarkand

. Architecture, Black and White, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Samarkand, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan

The Registan.

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Architecture, Black and White, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Samarkand, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan

The dome of the mosque that is incorporated into the Ulugh Beg Madrassah..

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One of the domes of the Shir Dor Madrassah.

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Ulugh Beg Madrassah is on the left, Tillya-Kari Madrassah on the right.

. Architecture, Black and White, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Samarkand, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan

Tillya-Kari Madrassah.

. Architecture, Black and White, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Samarkand, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan

Markets inside the courtyard of the Ulugh Beg Madrassah.

. Architecture, Black and White, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Samarkand, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan .

. Architecture, Black and White, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Samarkand, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan

Entrance steps of the Ulugh Beg Madrassah.

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Architecture, Black and White, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Samarkand, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan

Outside the mosque in the interior courtyard of the Ulugh Beg Madrassah

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Heading into the mosque.

. Architecture, Black and White, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Samarkand, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan .

. Architecture, Black and White, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Samarkand, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan

The interior of the mosque (and following images).

. Architecture, Black and White, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Samarkand, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan .

.Architecture, Black and White, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Samarkand, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan .

.Architecture, Black and White, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Samarkand, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan .

.Architecture, Black and White, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Samarkand, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan .

. Architecture, Black and White, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Samarkand, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan

Not sure whether this is inside the mosque or the madrassah.

Architecture, Black and White, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Samarkand, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan

Ulugh Beg Madrassah.

. Architecture, Black and White, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Samarkand, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan

One of the domes of the Shir Dor Madrassah.

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 Architecture, Black and White, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Samarkand, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan

Inside the Shir Dor Madrassah.

. Architecture, Black and White, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Samarkand, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan

The pishtak (or portal) (viewed from the side) of the Bibi Khanum Mosque.

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Architecture, Black and White, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Samarkand, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan

Detail of earthquake damage.

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 Architecture, Black and White, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Samarkand, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan

Pishtak, minaret and wall.

. Architecture, Black and White, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Samarkand, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan

The dome of one of the side mosques, seen from its rear. .

. Architecture, Black and White, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Samarkand, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan

The top of one of the minarets.

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Looking up at the dome of the one of the minor mosques at the sides.

. Architecture, Black and White, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Samarkand, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan

The interior of the Bibi Khanum Mosque.

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Monochromes from Shakhrisabz

2 October 2018, Shakrizabz, Uzbekistan.

Links go to colour posts (with more information and historical context, including Sogdia). If an image does not have a link, the preceding one applies.

Click on any image to see it larger (if on a PC at least).

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Architecture, Black and White, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Shakhrisabz, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan, Wildlife

Walking though the gardens of Dor-us Siyodat.

Kesh, Sogdia, Timur and a Sufi.

. Architecture, Black and White, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Shakhrisabz, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan, Wildlife .

.Architecture, Black and White, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Shakhrisabz, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan, Wildlife

Eurasian magpie.

. Architecture, Black and White, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Shakhrisabz, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan, Wildlife

A corner of Dor-us Siyodat.

. Architecture, Black and White, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Shakhrisabz, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan, Wildlife

Architecture, Black and White, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Shakhrisabz, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan, Wildlife

Dor-us Siyodat.

. Architecture, Black and White, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Shakhrisabz, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan, Wildlife

Inside Dor-us Siyodat.

. Architecture, Black and White, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Shakhrisabz, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan, Wildlife .

. Architecture, Black and White, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Shakhrisabz, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan, Wildlife .

.Architecture, Black and White, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Shakhrisabz, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan, Wildlife

Timur’s modest intended tomb.

. Architecture, Black and White, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Shakhrisabz, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan, Wildlife

Dor-us Siyodat.

. Architecture, Black and White, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Shakhrisabz, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan, Wildlife .

Architecture, Black and White, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Shakhrisabz, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan, Wildlife

Dor-ut Tilovat ensemble.

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Architecture, Black and White, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Shakhrisabz, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan, Wildlife

Inside the mausoleum of Shamsidden Kulol.

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. Architecture, Black and White, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Shakhrisabz, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan, Wildlife .

. Architecture, Black and White, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Shakhrisabz, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan, Wildlife .

. Architecture, Black and White, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Shakhrisabz, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan, Wildlife

Inside the other cupola, built by Ulugbek for his descendants.

. Architecture, Black and White, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Shakhrisabz, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan, Wildlife .

.Architecture, Black and White, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Shakhrisabz, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan, Wildlife .

.Architecture, Black and White, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Shakhrisabz, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan, Wildlife .

.Architecture, Black and White, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Shakhrisabz, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan, Wildlife

Arches in a corridor inside the mosque..

. Architecture, Black and White, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Shakhrisabz, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan, Wildlife

Kok-Gumbaz (Blue Dome) Mosque.

. Architecture, Black and White, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Shakhrisabz, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan, Wildlife .

.Architecture, Black and White, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Shakhrisabz, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan, Wildlife

In the distance, about a kilometre away, is what is left of Timur’s Ak Saray Palace.

Ak Seray Palace

.Architecture, Black and White, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Shakhrisabz, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan, Wildlife

Remaining tiles on the sides of the entrance arch.

. Architecture, Black and White, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Shakhrisabz, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan, Wildlife .

.Architecture, Black and White, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Shakhrisabz, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan, Wildlife

Walking towards the entrance arch.

. Architecture, Black and White, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Shakhrisabz, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan, Wildlife

Timur.

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The entrance arch from the other side.

. Architecture, Black and White, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Shakhrisabz, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan, Wildlife .

.Architecture, Black and White, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Shakhrisabz, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan, Wildlife .

.Architecture, Black and White, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Shakhrisabz, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan, Wildlife

The entrance arch from the side.

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A remaining section of the palace walls.

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Monochromes from Bukhara (Part 2)

30 September to 1 October 2018, Bukhara, Uzbekistan.

Links go to colour posts (with more information and context). If an image does not have a link, the preceding one applies.

Click on any image to see it larger (if on a PC at least).

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Architecture, Black and White, Bukhara, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan

The Ark, Bukhara.

.Architecture, Black and White, Bukhara, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan .

. Architecture, Black and White, Bukhara, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan .

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Architecture, Black and White, Bukhara, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan .

. Architecture, Black and White, Bukhara, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan

The Emir?

. Architecture, Black and White, Bukhara, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan

Camel ride below the Ark.

. Architecture, Black and White, Bukhara, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan

Bolo-Khauz Mosque.

. Architecture, Black and White, Bukhara, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan .

,Architecture, Black and White, Bukhara, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan

Chasma-Ayub Mausoleum.

. Architecture, Black and White, Bukhara, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan

Israel Samani Mausoleum.

.Architecture, Black and White, Bukhara, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan

Inside Israel Samani Mausoleum.

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Architecture, Black and White, Bukhara, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan

Kalyan Minaret.

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Architecture, Black and White, Bukhara, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan

Pool reflection.

Sitorai Mokhi-Khosa Palace, Bukhara.

. Architecture, Black and White, Bukhara, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan

Outside Sitorai Mohkli-Khosa Palace.

. Architecture, Black and White, Bukhara, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan

 

Wall niches…

. Architecture, Black and White, Bukhara, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan .

.Architecture, Black and White, Bukhara, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan .

.Architecture, Black and White, Bukhara, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan .

. Architecture, Black and White, Bukhara, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan

Room with outfits of the Emir.

. Architecture, Black and White, Bukhara, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan

Inside the Harem, now a textile museum.

. Architecture, Black and White, Bukhara, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan .

. Architecture, Black and White, Bukhara, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan .

. Architecture, Black and White, Bukhara, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan .

. Architecture, Black and White, Bukhara, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan

Chor Minor Madrassah.

Last Night in Bukhara.

. Architecture, Black and White, Bukhara, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan .

. Architecture, Black and White, Bukhara, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan

Ancient door on the street.

. Architecture, Black and White, Bukhara, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan

Passing through one of the bazaars, probably Tok-i-Sarraton.

. Architecture, Black and White, Bukhara, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan

Under the entrance arch of Abdulazizkhan Madrassah.

. Architecture, Black and White, Bukhara, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan

A door in the street.

. Architecture, Black and White, Bukhara, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan

Probably the roof of a trading dome.  The storks are the national symbol, but not real.

. Architecture, Black and White, Bukhara, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan

Restoration workman on the roof of the Kalan Mosque.

. Architecture, Black and White, Bukhara, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan

View with minaret.

. Architecture, Black and White, Bukhara, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan

Sun going down…

. Architecture, Black and White, Bukhara, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan

Kalyan Minaret.

. Architecture, Black and White, Bukhara, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan .

.Architecture, Black and White, Bukhara, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan

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Monochromes from Bukhara (Part 1)

29  to 30 September 2018, Bukhara, Uzbekistan.

Links go to colour posts (with more information and context). If an image does not have a link, the preceding one applies.

Click on any image to see it larger (if on a PC at least).

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Architecture, Black and White, Bukhara, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan

A truck on the road between Khiva and Bukhara.

Arrival, Bukhara.

. Architecture, Black and White, Bukhara, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan

Sunset in Bukhara.

. Architecture, Black and White, Bukhara, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan

Bridal couple on the street in the evening.

. Architecture, Black and White, Bukhara, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan

Above the main portal of the Nadir Divan-begi Madrasa.

. Architecture, Black and White, Bukhara, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan

Wall and ceiling details, Nadir Divan-begi Madrassah.

. Architecture, Black and White, Bukhara, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan

A silk weaver

. Architecture, Black and White, Bukhara, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan

Markets ceiling (under a dome).

. Architecture, Black and White, Bukhara, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan

A variety of textile wonders on offer….

. Architecture, Black and White, Bukhara, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan

The ancient Magoki-Attori Mosque.

. Architecture, Black and White, Bukhara, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan

Mosque entrance.

. Architecture, Black and White, Bukhara, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan

Mosque door.

. Architecture, Black and White, Bukhara, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan

Looking up in the top level, from the 1930s.

. Architecture, Black and White, Bukhara, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan

Under the largest dome of the Toqi Telpak Furushon Trading Dome.

Trading Domes and Madrassahs, Bukhara

. Architecture, Black and White, Bukhara, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan

A knife making workshop.

. Architecture, Black and White, Bukhara, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan

Ulugbek Madrassah.

. Architecture, Black and White, Bukhara, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan

Top of the arch at the entrance to Abdulaziz-Khan Madrassah.

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Architecture, Black and White, Bukhara, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan

Scholars’ bookcase, Abdulaziz-Khan Madrassah.

. Architecture, Black and White, Bukhara, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan

This and next four images from Abdulaziz-Khan Madrassah.

. Architecture, Black and White, Bukhara, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan .

.Architecture, Black and White, Bukhara, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan .

.Architecture, Black and White, Bukhara, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan .

.Architecture, Black and White, Bukhara, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan .

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Architecture, Black and White, Bukhara, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan

Trading dome Toqi Zaragon.

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Architecture, Black and White, Bukhara, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan

Carpet weaver inside the trading dome.

. Architecture, Black and White, Bukhara, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan

The Kok Gumbaz (or Blue Dome) of the Kalan Mosque.

Kalan Mosque, Bukhara

. Architecture, Black and White, Bukhara, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan

Kalan Mosque doorway.

. Architecture, Black and White, Bukhara, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan

Under one of the 288 domes of the mosque.

. Architecture, Black and White, Bukhara, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan

In the great rectangle of the mosque, looking west.

.Architecture, Black and White, Bukhara, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan

Looking south.

.Architecture, Black and White, Bukhara, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan

Looking east.

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Near the west end of the rectangle.

. Architecture, Black and White, Bukhara, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan

Looking back through the main portal of the west end of the mosque rectangle.

. Architecture, Black and White, Bukhara, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan

(as above).

.Architecture, Black and White, Bukhara, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan

Looking up at the dome.

. Architecture, Black and White, Bukhara, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan

Down a long corridor, probably on the south side.

. Architecture, Black and White, Bukhara, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan .

.Architecture, Black and White, Bukhara, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan

Walking back out to the portal behind the tree.

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Architecture, Black and White, Bukhara, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan

Poi-Kalyan Ensemble (the Kalan Mosque is on the right).

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This post is the third of a short series of monochromes from Uzbekistan. They are interspersed with local posts. The previous one is here, two posts back ..

Locked Down in Canberra (Floriade)

28 September to 9 October 2021, Canberra, ACT.

Click on any image to see it larger (if you’re on a PC at least).

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While in lockdown we are still allowed out to visit open places in our immediate area.  Usually I’ve just been going for walks in the reserve out the back but I have also made some visits to Floriade.  This is an annual flower festival in Canberra.  Usually it is jam-packed with tourists and visitors from other Australian states but because of lockdown it was not publicised and no-one can come into Canberra from outside.  Usually I don’t attend because of the crowds and because other than in small very occasional doses I find it all a bit twee, but it does have some interesting potential for photographs.

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Australia, Canberra, Floriade, Flowers, Focus stacking, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

I visited Floriade three times.  The first time I was interested in trying focus stacking, taking lots of images and assembling them later to get arrays of all the flowers with all of them in focus.

I found it didn’t work as well as I was expecting.  We don’t see detailed arrays in perfect focus like that and I found that the detail was overwhelming the composition.  This first image is cropped in considerably for that reason.

I was using a Fujifilm X-E4 (for which you can specify start and end focus points for photo stacked images) and an 80mm f2.8 macro (and processing in Zerene Stacker) though as it turned out, most of the images didn’t really need a macro lens.

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Australia, Canberra, Floriade, Flowers, Focus stacking, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

In the original version of this image, there were too many flowers in focus for the eye to know where to rest.  I had to crop the image in considerably and also reprocess it so that fewer flowers were in focus.

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Australia, Canberra, Floriade, Flowers, Focus stacking, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

This isn’t cropped in, it is as composed but the wind was blowing around so that the flowers were moving with respect to each other.  The camera took around 150 images but there was no way I could use all those.  So I selected 12 and combined those for essential detail, leaving the background out of focus.

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Australia, Canberra, Floriade, Flowers, Focus stacking, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

This image didn’t require cropping and isn’t really part of Floriade.  These are flowers on reeds growing on a small swampy island and I got down low to take them against the light.

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This image is also not cropped, and works OK as a focus stack, with varying layers of white, green, red and purple.

Most of the images from this series I ended up discarding though.

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Australia, Canberra, Floriade, Flowers, Focus stacking, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

The second time I visited I had a very different approach.  I used a long telephoto with a very fast lens to get a flower or part of a flower in detail, with most everything else completely out of focus.

(A fast lens is one that opens very wide at maximum aperture and lets in lots of light with a small depth of field. To be precise, I used a Nikon D850 and 300mm f2.8 lens with a 1.4x teleconverter, all taking at maximum aperture of f4.  The Fuji equivalent would be a 200mm f2 + 1.4x TC, but I do not have that lens.)

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Australia, Canberra, Floriade, Flowers, Focus stacking, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

Using a long lens with a shallow depth of field like this brings out subject isolation and for the most part worked much better than trying to get everything in focus.

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Australia, Canberra, Floriade, Flowers, Focus stacking, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

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Australia, Canberra, Floriade, Flowers, Focus stacking, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

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Australia, Canberra, Floriade, Flowers, Focus stacking, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

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Australia, Canberra, Floriade, Flowers, Focus stacking, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

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Australia, Canberra, Floriade, Flowers, Focus stacking, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

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Australia, Canberra, Floriade, Flowers, Focus stacking, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

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Australia, Canberra, Floriade, Flowers, Focus stacking, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

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Australia, Canberra, Floriade, Flowers, Focus stacking, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

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Australia, Canberra, Floriade, Flowers, Focus stacking, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

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Australia, Canberra, Floriade, Flowers, Focus stacking, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

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Australia, Canberra, Floriade, Flowers, Focus stacking, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

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Australia, Canberra, Floriade, Flowers, Focus stacking, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

There were also some ducklings in the park.

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Australia, Canberra, Floriade, Flowers, Focus stacking, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

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Australia, Canberra, Floriade, Flowers, Focus stacking, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

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Australia, Canberra, Floriade, Flowers, Focus stacking, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

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Australia, Canberra, Floriade, Flowers, Focus stacking, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

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Australia, Canberra, Floriade, Flowers, Focus stacking, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

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Australia, Canberra, Floriade, Flowers, Focus stacking, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

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Australia, Canberra, Floriade, Flowers, Focus stacking, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

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The third time I visited I had in mind a variation of the approach.  I still used the same long telephoto and this time I focus stacked, but only a small number of images.  The images could be dramatic with a single shot but only part of a flower might be in focus.  I wanted to see how it would work with a bit more depth of field to get the whole flower in focus. (Starting with the image above)

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Australia, Canberra, Floriade, Flowers, Focus stacking, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

This worked well but there was too much wind on this day (it doesn’t take much when focus stacking) so I had to be patient and wait for lulls..

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Australia, Canberra, Floriade, Flowers, Focus stacking, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

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Australia, Canberra, Floriade, Flowers, Focus stacking, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

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Australia, Canberra, Floriade, Flowers, Focus stacking, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

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Australia, Canberra, Floriade, Flowers, Focus stacking, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

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Australia, Canberra, Floriade, Flowers, Focus stacking, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

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Monochromes from Khiva (Part 2)

28 to 29 September 2018, Khiva, Uzbekistan.

Links go to colour posts (for more information and context). If an image does not have a link, the preceding one applies.

Click on any image to see it larger.

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Architecture, Black and White, Khiva, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan

This image and the next ten were taken from the roof of the Kukhna Ark.  This one doesn’t appear to have been posted previously as a colour image though.

. Architecture, Black and White, Khiva, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan

Roof of the Kukhna Ark.

Kukhna Ark, Khiva.

. Architecture, Black and White, Khiva, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan

Kalta Minor and Amin Khan Madrassah.

. Architecture, Black and White, Khiva, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan

Dome of the Amin Khan Madrassah.

Kukhna Ark, Khiva, Part 2.

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Architecture, Black and White, Khiva, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan

Part of an ancient door inside the Ark.

Kukhna Ark, Khiva.

. Architecture, Black and White, Khiva, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan

Workman sawing a supporting beam to demolish a wall.

Kukhna Ark, Khiva, Part 2.

. Architecture, Black and White, Khiva, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan

Old madrassah (?).

. Architecture, Black and White, Khiva, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan

Some of these images were taken with a long telephoto lens and I can’t precisely identify the subject.

. Architecture, Black and White, Khiva, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan .

.Architecture, Black and White, Khiva, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan .

.Architecture, Black and White, Khiva, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan

Two young women on the street below, perhaps returning from shopping.

. Architecture, Black and White, Khiva, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan

Door handle and knocker near Kukhna Ark.

Juma Mosque and Toshkhovli Palace, Khiva

. Architecture, Black and White, Khiva, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan

Looking back at entrance to Kukhna Ark.

Kukhna Ark, Khiva.

(The order of images is chronological but quite different from the colour posts.  I think seem to recall there were differences in time settings of my cameras which I only realised part way through making the colour posts.)

. Architecture, Black and White, Khiva, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan

Cheerful dromedary camel, lying in sand.

Juma Mosque and Toshkhovli Palace, Khiva.

. Architecture, Black and White, Khiva, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan

Wedding party in the street and Tura Murad minaret in the near background.

. Architecture, Black and White, Khiva, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan

Inside Juma (or Djuma or Friday) Mosque.

. Architecture, Black and White, Khiva, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan

Carving on wooden pillar.

. Architecture, Black and White, Khiva, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan

Presumably a recent or prospective bride.

. Architecture, Black and White, Khiva, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan

Ceiling detail, Toshkhovli (or Tosh Hauli or Stone Courtyard) Palace.

. Architecture, Black and White, Khiva, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan

Yurt and Khan’s iwan, Toshkhovli Palace.

. Architecture, Black and White, Khiva, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan

An impressive door, possibly of greater antiquity than the palace.

. Architecture, Black and White, Khiva, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan

Ceiling section.

. Architecture, Black and White, Khiva, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan

The Khan’s bedroom.

. Architecture, Black and White, Khiva, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan

Street wares outside.

. Architecture, Black and White, Khiva, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan

Street scene, Tura Murad Minaret in the background.

. Architecture, Black and White, Khiva, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan

Markets and Kalta Minor in the background.

. Architecture, Black and White, Khiva, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan

Wedding couple.

. Architecture, Black and White, Khiva, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan

Kalta Minor and the Amin Khan Madrassah.

Khiva at Night

. Architecture, Black and White, Khiva, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan

Unidentified minaret.

. Architecture, Black and White, Khiva, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan

Action atop Kukhna Ark.

. Architecture, Black and White, Khiva, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan

A detail from the Amin Khan Madrassah.

. Architecture, Black and White, Khiva, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan

Small minaret behind Kuhkna Ark.

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Architecture, Black and White, Khiva, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan

People walking towards Kalta Minor.

. Architecture, Black and White, Khiva, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan

Kalta Minor.

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This post is the third of a short series of monochromes from Uzbekistan.  They are interspersed with local posts.  The previous one is here, two posts back.  The next one is here, two posts on.

Locked Down in Canberra (Macro Landscapes in the Rain)

4 September to 5 October 2021, Canberra, ACT

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Australia, Canberra, Focus stacking, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

Small worlds in rain.

. Australia, Canberra, Focus stacking, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

(Acacia in bloom).

.Australia, Canberra, Focus stacking, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

I live backing onto a nature reserve.  The first five images are on the path at the back of the houses, no more than fifty yards or so from the back gate.

. Australia, Canberra, Focus stacking, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

I decided to get some practice going out and shooting in heavy rain.  Some places you travel to you may well encounter it and not want to waste too much time sitting around.  I found it has interesting potential.

. Australia, Canberra, Focus stacking, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife .

. Australia, Canberra, Focus stacking, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

Almost all the rest are further out in the bush, no longer in heavy rain, and within about twenty minutes’ walk if I’m not stopping to take photographs.

. Australia, Canberra, Focus stacking, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

There’s no real need to describe most of these images (though feel free to ask questions).  I’ll add notes on how I took them at the end.

. Australia, Canberra, Focus stacking, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife .

. Australia, Canberra, Focus stacking, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

As you may have noticed at the top, they were taken over a period of about a month.

. Australia, Canberra, Focus stacking, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife .

t. Australia, Canberra, Focus stacking, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife .

. Australia, Canberra, Focus stacking, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife .

s. Australia, Canberra, Focus stacking, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife .

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These two were at a different location, at the Jerrabombera Wetlands.

s. Australia, Canberra, Focus stacking, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife .

s.Australia, Canberra, Focus stacking, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

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. Australia, Canberra, Focus stacking, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

These are on a young eucalypt just outside the back gate.  They look like caterpillars but they are actually spitfire bugs or sawfly larvae and are harmless to people and animals.  Sawflies are a kind of stingless wasp.  They are closest to the ancestral form of all hymenopterans (ants, wasps, bees and sawflies) and survive as fossils from the Jurassic.

. Australia, Canberra, Focus stacking, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

On the back path by the fence again.

. Australia, Canberra, Focus stacking, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife

Back in the bush.

Though I didn’t encounter the heavy rain again, many of these images are taken during or after lighter rain, which brings out colours and changes the feeling.

. Australia, Canberra, Focus stacking, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife .

. Australia, Canberra, Focus stacking, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife .

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Australia, Canberra, Focus stacking, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife .

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. Australia, Canberra, Focus stacking, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife .

. Australia, Canberra, Focus stacking, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife .

. Australia, Canberra, Focus stacking, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife .

. Australia, Canberra, Focus stacking, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife .

. Australia, Canberra, Focus stacking, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife .

. Australia, Canberra, Focus stacking, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wildlife .

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There are thirty-seven images here and only five were taken as a single image (marked with an “s” below them).  The rest were focus stacked.  Macro images have a very small depth of field, but to increase that you can take images at slightly different points of focus.  Then you need to combine them later in post-production using Photoshop or a dedicated program such as Zerene Stacker or Helicon Focus.  That’s focus stacking.

Focus stacking doesn’t require a macro lens or subject.  With a wide angle lens in a landscape you may not need many exposures.  At the extreme, using a 4mm circular fisheye lens, it required just two exposures to be in focus from around three inches to infinity (that’s the Pimilea Physodes image in this earlier post).  Conversely, macro depth of field is very small and I took as many as 600 exposures for some images in this post.

Anyone can focus stack, provided you have appropriate software to combine the images.  It’s good to stop down to f11 or so (to reduce the number of exposures) and useful to use manual focus, preferably with focus peak highlighting if you have it.

At the most basic level, you have the camera on a tripod, take separate exposures and carefully adjust the focus for each shot.  Alternatively, you can set the shutter going on fast burst and slowly move the focus through your desired range.  In both cases you need to be careful not to leave focus holes where you moved the focus too much between exposures.

It’s easier if your camera automates the process.  I have Nikon D850, Fujifilm X-T2 and Fujifilm X-E4 cameras that do that.  They all operate a bit differently.  The D850 and the X-T2 fire away from a starting focus point for a set number of exposures.  You also have to set the delay between exposures (usually 0) and the focus adjustment between exposures (usually a middling value in the range).

With the D850, when you finish a burst, the focus stays on the last exposure so if you haven’t specified enough frames, you just set it going again for the rest.  With the X-T2, it goes back to initial focus so if you didn’t specify enough frames, you need to increase the number and start again.  But it does make it easier to make a panorama in the same focus range.  Three of the images above were also panoramas, combining two or three focus stacks.

The X-E4 can operate like the X-T2 but it also has an Auto option where you can specify the start and end points, so you don’t end up shooting lots of autofocus frames.

In all cases, it is better to start a little before what you see as the initial focus point because you can easily miss what that really is.  When taking macro focus stacks, you need to carefully look through at different points of focus before taking the shot and even then it is easy to miss debris and extraneous elements that can disturb your composition.

It’s not necessary to use a tripod, though it definitely helps.  The second acacia image, that I have marked with a “t” was hand held (with a long telephoto lens).  There was some wind too and I was impressed how well Zerene Stacker dealt with that.  It did have a clean background against the tree though.  It would not have worked had there been other plants also blowing around further back.  The previous three images (from the previous day) may also have been hand-held.

The six images at the back of the houses were all taken with the D850 and a Sigma 180mm macro lens.  All the others were taken with Fuji, mainly the X-E4.  Most of those were taken with the 80mm macro (sometimes with 1.4x teleconverter) and I also used 8-16mm, 14mm and 100-400mm lenses.

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This post is the second of a short series of images from Lockdown in Canberra.  The previous one is here, two posts back.  The next one is (insert link when available).  They are interspersed with Uzbek monochrome posts.

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