Juma Mosque and Toshkhovli Palace, Khiva

Khiva, Uzbekistan
28 September 2018.

(Click on any image to see it in a larger size.)

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Architecture, Art, Ceramics, History, Juma Mosque, Khiva, Landscape, Photography, Street photography, Toshkhovli Palace, Travel, Uzbekistan

We’ve just left the Kukhna Ark (previous two posts), and here is a most impressive door handle and knocker nearby.

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… also a cheerful dromedary camel, lying in sand.

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Wedding party on the road, as we walk towards Juma Mosque.  Probably Tura Murad minaret in the near background.

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We are now inside Juma (or Djuma or Friday) Mosque which has a single hall interior and was built in the late eighteenth century over the remains of the previous mosque, so that many of the pillars here are much older.  There are 213 pillars, each different.  The oldest four were salvaged in the tenth century from the declining city of Kath, which had been the capital of the Khwarezmian Empire.  Another seventeen were added a century later.  Other pillars date from the fourteenth and sixteenth centuries but most of them are from the eighteenth.  The acoustics of the hall are also impressive.

Kath (modern town: Beruniy) was the capital of Khwarazm under the Afrighids (a Persian dynasty) from 305 to 995AD.  They were Zoroastrian until the 8th century when there was a violent forced Moslem conversion.  The Ma’munids took over in 995.  The Ghaznavids (a Persian dynasty of Turkic Mamluk origin) then took over a couple of years later.

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I took quite a few macro shots of carvings on the pillars.  Unfortunately most failed but here are two.  (Technical note: I think I switched to manual for focus-bracketing the image of the hall above, and forgot to switch back to Auto ISO).

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Outside, a young bride-to-be on the street.

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… and we walked towards our next destination the Toshkhovli Palace.

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A ceiling detail from the palace.

Toshkhovli (or Tosh Hauli or Stone Courtyard) Palace was built from 1830 to 1838 by Allakuli-Khan as an updated dwelling from the Kukhna Ark.  Apparently some architects who refused to build it in two years were executed and it took eight years to build.  These days it also houses a Khorezm Handicrafts Museum.

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This is in the Harem area and the iwan we see (the recessed courtyard decorated with majolica tiles) is one of the four for each of the Khan’s wives.  Behind this exterior was her living quarters and a lounge room for her attendants.  Even courtiers were refused access here.

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A section of the ceiling of the iwan at the left or right.

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A section of the ceiling of the iwan in the middle.

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They’re clearly not wagon wheels.  Perhaps they were used for cattle to grind grain.

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This is the iwan of the Khan, and in front of it on the round platform is the framework of a yurt that would have been his summer residence.  Behind the iwan are corridors connecting to the iwans of the wives that only the Khan could use.

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

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There are two sections to see of the palace, and you have to go outside and re-enter to see the second one.  That is the exterior of the palace behind the wall.

There is an old well in the Palace, which we did not see.  However there is a more important ancient well (which we also did not see) near the north wall of the old city, which is central to the story of Khiva.  It was the original reason for merchants stopping here along their Silk Road journeys.  It is said that on tasting the clear water they would exclaim “Khey Vakh!” (“How Wonderful”) so the locals named the well Kheyvak, which led in turn to Khiva getting its name.

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Another ceiling section.

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This is the Khan’s bedroom.

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Opposite the iwans of the Khan and the wives, this is the residence for the concubines and the household staff.

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Back outside the palace again.

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An array of textiles on an open courtyard.

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Shown from a different angle, this shows where we are.  Pakhlavan Mahmud Mausoleum on the left and the base of Islam Khoja Minaret.

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Nearby, a selection of handicrafts.

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Remarkable wood carving.  Maybe a door, not sure.

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We are back near we were staying, cruising the markets for handicrafts.  Tura Murad Minaret is in the background.  The man sitting in the chair was waiting for prospective customers to don his coat and a hat and pose for a photograph.  The locals passing by don’t look that impressed.

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Markets and Kalta Minor in the background.  I did buy a hat like one of those on the right.

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The camel is still there a couple of hours later.  That must be the Muhammad Rahim-khan Madrasah in the background.  Perhaps that door is solely for camels from the madrassah.

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A young couple having wedding or engagement photos in the old city.

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Looking back at the top of the Pakhlavan Mahmud Mausoleum and the Islam Khoja Minaret.

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Not sure exactly which buildings the last two images are from.

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That is Tura Murad Minaret again in the background though.

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Kukhna Ark, Khiva, Part 2

Khiva, Uzbekistan
28 September 2018.

(Click on any image to see it in a larger size.)

After the last post, I was expecting to move on to the Juma Mosque and views of Khiva at night.  However, I was using two cameras and it turned out that the date time settings for one of the cameras was eleven hours different to the other one.  So when I finished selecting images from the Kukhna Ark, these were just from the camera with the correct date time setting and the images from the same time with the second camera were mixed up with later and night images from the first camera.

Had I realised this, there still would have been two posts but I would have divided them up differently.  Still, it’s not so bad because the lenses on each camera were quite different so the images between each post are quite different.  The first six images here are street photography with a wide angle lens and the rest are long telephotos, many very long telephotos.

For the more technically focused, both cameras were Fujifilm X-T2s.  In the first post I used six different lenses but 40% of the images were from a 10-24mm f4 lens (15mm to 36mm full frame equivalent) and another 40% from an 80mm f2.8 macro (120mm equivalent), sometimes with a 1.4x teleconverter.  In this post, the first six images are with a 23mm f2 lens (35mm equivalent) and the rest were with a 100-400mm f4.5-5.6 lens (150mm to 600mm equivalent) and about half of those were with a 1.4x teleconverter.  Most of those were at the longer end of the zoom range so could be up to 840mm full frame equivalent.

There are brief comments on many of the images below but for more information on Khiva and its history, go back and view the previous post if you have not already done so.
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Street markets in the old city.  They must be somewhere near where we were staying but I can’t work out exactly where for the first two images.

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The car in the distance puzzles me because the map shows only three gates into the Old City and it’s not one of them.

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This is the Tura Murad Minaret.

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We are now further in the distance from the previous image.

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Now we have turned around and are heading back towards the Kalta Minor.  The young boy is riding a modern contraption that I believe is called a bicycle.  An early traveller in the nineteenth century rode through Uzbekistan en route from England to India.  Locals who saw this strange unnatural apparition were either convulsed with laughter or recoiled in fear.

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We are now on the roof of the Kukhna Ark.  See previous post for more info.  From left to right, Tura Murad Minaret, Islam Khoja Minaret & the Pakhlavan Mahmud Mausoleum, Kalta Minor and Amin Khan Madrassah.

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Islam Khoja Minaret & the Pakhlavan Mahmud Mausoleum.  (I mislabelled an image of this in the previous post, since corrected).

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Ceramic tiles near the top of the Kalta Minor.

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The wooden structure is the Terrassa Restaurant, where we have dinner that night and I produce night images from there in the next post.

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Detail of Amin Khan Madrassah.

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A corner of the Muhammad Rahim-khan Madrasah, next door to the Tura Murad Minaret.

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No idea of the name of this minaret.

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I think we are looking south at the west wall of the Amin Khan Madrassah and the old city walls.

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Muhammad Rahim-khan Madrasah and the Tura Murad Minaret.

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Many of these images are not possible to place.

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However, this must be the dome of the Amin Khan Madrassah.

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Down below me, a workman was sawing away at something in a reconstruction area.

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I turned away to photograph this old madrassah (?).  You can see how many of the tiles have fallen off.  Then I heard a loud crash.

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The workman had sawn away a supporting beam and demolished a wall.

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With these long telephoto shots, I can’t identify exactly where it is….

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Two young women below, maybe walking home after shopping, one wearing a dress with a wonderful traditional design.

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Kukhna Ark, Khiva

Khiva, Uzbekistan
28 September 2018.

(Click on any image to see it in a larger size.)
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Here we are arriving at the city walls of Khiva.

Khiva was built close to the Amu Darya River though the river now flows elsewhere.  It is also close to the border with Turkmenistan and on the other side of the border there is desert.  It is part of the Khorezm, a fertile area surrounded by deserts that has been a centre of civilisations for about four thousand years.  From 1077 until 1231 (when the Mongols turned up after their emissaries were executed) the Khorezm was the centre of the Kwarazmian Empire, including Persia, Afghanistan and much of central Asia.  The Amu Darya was known as the Oxus to the Greeks and Romans, for example in the time of Alexander the Great.

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There has been a settlement at Khiva, a depot on the silk road, for two thousand years or more and parts of the city walls are thought to date from the fifth century, but it has only been a significant city since the sixteenth century.  That century saw the foundation of the Khanate of Khorezm and the shift of the capital from Kunya Urgench (now in Turkmenistan) to Khiva.  For some centuries it was a regional powerhouse.
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The Russians first turned up in 1717 with 4,000 troops who were welcomed, ushered to quarters and then slaughtered.  In 1839-40, another army of 5,000 (with 10,000 camels) set out to achieve revenge but perished in the desert.  The Russians finally turned up in 1873.  After the Revolution in 1920 there was briefly the Khorezm People’s Republic until it was incorporated into the Soviet Union in 1924 and divided between the Uzbek and Turkmen SSRs.  Uzbekistan became independent in 1991.
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Street markets, on the other side of the West Gate.

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Some goods in the street.

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A map of the old city.  We entered from the gate at the bottom.

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This is the door to our accommodation, the Mohammed Amin Khan Madrassah (or the Orient Star Khiva Hotel).

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… and here is the interior courtyard.

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This is the top of the Kalta Minor (or Short Minaret).

It was commissioned by Mohammed Amin Khan (or Medamin) in 1852 and was intended to be 70 meters high but was abandoned at 26 metres after his death in 1856.
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A couple of partly corrected views using a fisheye lens which remain distorted but show something of the sense of scale.

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Across an open courtyard with the Kalta Minor in the distance.  The open doorway in the middle distance is I think the Information Centre, the small rectangular building at the right is the Zindan or jail and we are heading through the doorway at the right, into the Kuhkna Ark, or the Museum of Ancient Khorezm.
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… and in we go,,,

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This is not the main door to the Ark, it must be another one just inside.

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The Khans of Khiva had several residences but this is the original one and since it is fortified, it was a place of refuge in times of uncertainty.

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This is the Summer Mosque (1838) with tiles by Ibadullah and Abdullah Jin.

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Here is a closeup of some of the tiles.  My partner Jools who graduated in ceramics, tells me the glazing shows a high level of proficiency.

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Architecture, Art, Ceramics, History, Khiva, Kukhna Ark, Landscape, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan .
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A section of the ceiling.

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Opportunity missed.  These caps look more interesting than some of the ones I purchased in Bukhara and Samarkand.

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From the Summer Mosque, we move on through the doorway at the right.

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On the other side are a few guards or policemen.  Three different uniforms and the ones one the right say “Milliy Gvardia” on the back meaning Uzbekistan National Guard so they are soldiers.  Probably all of them are.

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This is the Khurinish Khana or Throne room. There used to be a wooden throne gilded in silver but that was carried off to St Petersberg by the Russians and never returned.  Receptions were either in the (open three-sided) iwan in summer or in a warm yurt in winter, erected where the circular stonework is.

Uzbekistan these days is very safe and friendly but in the nineteenth century Khiva wasn’t a democracy and there could be savage penalties for minor infractions of religious rules.
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The top of a section of the walls.

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People from nearby areas come to the historic sites for wedding photos.  In this case a conjuring trick – the bride floating in the air.

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Behind them we see the crenulated outer wall of Khiva, potentially giving covering fire from a variety of angles.

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A view to the south west.

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Islam Khoja Minaret & the Pakhlavan Mahmud Mausoleum.

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Kalta Minor and Amin Khan Madrassah (where we were staying).

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The Chinese New Silk Road is arriving in Uzbekistan, it seems.

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Crenulated city walls again.

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Tower and walls in the Ark.

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Part of an ancient door inside the Ark.

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… which we have now left.

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Looking back at the entrance to the Ark.

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(More on Khiva in the next post).

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(Technical note:  I processed these images in both Lightroom and Capture One.  About half are from each and three were processed in Lightroom and Photoshop.  Capture One has an advantage over Lightroom with selections and masks (so for processing regions), where colour is an issue, or with clarity.  Most of these images just received overall processing though.  If anyone wants to see whether they can detect any difference, images 1, 5, 8, 9, 13, 19, 20, 22, 23, 24, 25, 27, 28, 29,32, 33 36 and 37 were processed in Capture One, while images 10, 11 and 30 were processed in Lightroom and Photoshop.)

Tashkent to Urgench

28 September 2018.
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We flew from Tashkent to Urgench, a Soviet-era city near the ancient city of Khiva, our destination for the day.

So the first images are the outskirts of Tashkent, then we fly over desert, then we approach Urgench.

The river you see in some of the later images is the Amu Darya.  Urgench is built around the remains of a river, so that must be a previous course of the Amu Darya, and I presume that hundreds of years earlier, the Amu Darya flowed past Khiva.

The technical quality is not that good in many of these images so there’s not much fine detail to be seen.  The shutter speeds were OK so I suspect the problem was smeared windows.  Not much you can do about that as a passenger on a plane. (It may still be worthwhile clicking on some of the images for a larger size).

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Aerial Photography, Desert, Landscape, Photography, Tashkent, Travel, Urgench, Uzbekistan .
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Aerial Photography, Desert, Landscape, Photography, Tashkent, Travel, Urgench, Uzbekistan .
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Aerial Photography, Desert, Landscape, Photography, Tashkent, Travel, Urgench, Uzbekistan .
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Aerial Photography, Desert, Landscape, Photography, Tashkent, Travel, Urgench, Uzbekistan .
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Aerial Photography, Desert, Landscape, Photography, Tashkent, Travel, Urgench, Uzbekistan

In the foreground is probably Adya Lake in Uzbekistan but it may be Shardara Reservoir in Kazakhstan.
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Aerial Photography, Desert, Landscape, Photography, Tashkent, Travel, Urgench, Uzbekistan .
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Aerial Photography, Desert, Landscape, Photography, Tashkent, Travel, Urgench, Uzbekistan .
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Aerial Photography, Desert, Landscape, Photography, Tashkent, Travel, Urgench, Uzbekistan .
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Aerial Photography, Desert, Landscape, Photography, Tashkent, Travel, Urgench, Uzbekistan

Smoke in the desert at top right?.
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It turns out to be from twin chimneys.  Probably a mining processing plant..
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Aerial Photography, Desert, Landscape, Photography, Tashkent, Travel, Urgench, Uzbekistan .
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Aerial Photography, Desert, Landscape, Photography, Tashkent, Travel, Urgench, Uzbekistan .
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Aerial Photography, Desert, Landscape, Photography, Tashkent, Travel, Urgench, Uzbekistan .
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Aerial Photography, Desert, Landscape, Photography, Tashkent, Travel, Urgench, Uzbekistan .
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Aerial Photography, Desert, Landscape, Photography, Tashkent, Travel, Urgench, Uzbekistan .
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Aerial Photography, Desert, Landscape, Photography, Tashkent, Travel, Urgench, Uzbekistan .
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Aerial Photography, Desert, Landscape, Photography, Tashkent, Travel, Urgench, Uzbekistan .
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Aerial Photography, Desert, Landscape, Photography, Tashkent, Travel, Urgench, Uzbekistan .
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Aerial Photography, Desert, Landscape, Photography, Tashkent, Travel, Urgench, Uzbekistan .
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Aerial Photography, Desert, Landscape, Photography, Tashkent, Travel, Urgench, Uzbekistan .
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Aerial Photography, Desert, Landscape, Photography, Tashkent, Travel, Urgench, Uzbekistan .

Tashkent

27 September 2018.
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Andalusia, Athens, Barcelona, Crete, Greece, Istanbul, Oregon, Photography, Spain, Thira, Travel, USA, Uzbekistan, Uzbekistan Crete Spain and Oregon Itinerary, Washington .

This is the first of my final posts on my trip to Uzbekistan, Istanbul, Athens, Thira, Crete, Andalusia, Barcelona, Washington and Oregon in 2018.  I made a few temporary posts at the time with some images and no commentary.  I will update the list of posts in the Itinerary Post as I make new posts.

I have been slow in posting this due to moving office within my home and disk storage issues for backup.  My posts may be slow for a while.

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Architecture, Landscape, Photography, Street photography, Tashkent, Travel, Uzbekistan .

This is a map of our itinerary in Uzbekistan.  We were on a custom tour with Adventour, who we found to be an excellent tour company.  The first post is for Tashkent, where we flew in from Australia, via Kuala Lumpur.

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Tashkent is 2,000 years old it was sacked several times and not as much has survived as in some of the other cities of Uzbekistan.  However, we are in the Khast-Imam complex in the Old City part of Tashkent.  The complex is named after Khasrati Imam, one of the first imams of Taskent, born in 909.  Above is the ceramic decoration atop a huge doorway, but I’m not sure exactly which building in the complex.

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Architecture, Landscape, Photography, Street photography, Tashkent, Travel, Uzbekistan

Based on the date-time on the images, this is the ancient ceiling of a cupola beyond that doorway.

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Architecture, Landscape, Photography, Street photography, Tashkent, Travel, Uzbekistan

This is a wooden ceiling close by.

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Architecture, Landscape, Photography, Street photography, Tashkent, Travel, Uzbekistan

Out again, a nearby dome though I can’t tell which building.

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Architecture, Landscape, Photography, Street photography, Tashkent, Travel, Uzbekistan

Muyi Muborak Madrasah on the right and Abdulla Murodxo’jayev Mosque behind.

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Architecture, Landscape, Photography, Street photography, Tashkent, Travel, Uzbekistan

The paintings show the derelict state of some of the mosques and madrassas in the nineteenth century, no doubt based on historic photographs.  These are not necessarily Tashkent, though.

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Architecture, Landscape, Photography, Street photography, Tashkent, Travel, Uzbekistan

This is one of the domes of Barakh-khan Madrasah.  This houses one of the oldest Korans in the world, created for Caliph Osman.  He was assassinated in 656 in Medina and the Koran is said to be stained with his blood as he was reading it at the time.  We saw this Koran but photographs are not permitted. It is very large, with calligraphic Arabic script.

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Architecture, Landscape, Photography, Street photography, Tashkent, Travel, Uzbekistan

Muyi Muborak Madrasah.

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Architecture, Landscape, Photography, Street photography, Tashkent, Travel, Uzbekistan

Abdulla Murodxo’jayev Mosque.

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Architecture, Landscape, Photography, Street photography, Tashkent, Travel, Uzbekistan .

Architecture, Landscape, Photography, Street photography, Tashkent, Travel, Uzbekistan

This must be at the side of the Abdulla Murodxo’jayev Mosque.

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Architecture, Landscape, Photography, Street photography, Tashkent, Travel, Uzbekistan

We are now at the nearby Chor-Su Bazaar.  The apricots look inviting.

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Architecture, Landscape, Photography, Street photography, Tashkent, Travel, Uzbekistan

It is quite massive, as you can see, and the poster at the far left is for horse meat.

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Architecture, Landscape, Photography, Street photography, Tashkent, Travel, Uzbekistan .

Architecture, Landscape, Photography, Street photography, Tashkent, Travel, Uzbekistan

This is one of the stations of Tashkent’s metro, a heritage from the Soviet era.

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Architecture, Landscape, Photography, Street photography, Tashkent, Travel, Uzbekistan .

Architecture, Landscape, Photography, Street photography, Tashkent, Travel, Uzbekistan .

Architecture, Landscape, Photography, Street photography, Tashkent, Travel, Uzbekistan

Our guide is waiting for use as we walk out of the destination metro station.

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Architecture, Landscape, Photography, Street photography, Tashkent, Travel, Uzbekistan

The crane is the emblem of Uzbekistan.

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Architecture, Landscape, Photography, Street photography, Tashkent, Travel, Uzbekistan

We are now in the Museum of Applied Arts, originally the home of Imperial Russian diplomat Alexander Polovtsev.

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Architecture, Landscape, Photography, Street photography, Tashkent, Travel, Uzbekistan .

Architecture, Landscape, Photography, Street photography, Tashkent, Travel, Uzbekistan .

Architecture, Landscape, Photography, Street photography, Tashkent, Travel, Uzbekistan .

Architecture, Landscape, Photography, Street photography, Tashkent, Travel, Uzbekistan .

Architecture, Landscape, Photography, Street photography, Tashkent, Travel, Uzbekistan

I think we are out of the museum now, in just a kind of shopping arcade.

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Architecture, Landscape, Photography, Street photography, Tashkent, Travel, Uzbekistan .

Keeping quiet in Canberra

February 2020 to January 2021, Canberra, ACT

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My last local post in January 2020 was Australia Burning, which included images taken in Canberra on one of two days when bushfire smoke meant Canberra had the worst air quality of any city in the world.  Then COVID struck.

There was lockdown in Canberra for a month or two but there have been no local cases since last April, just a handful of incoming people in quarantine hotels.  There are currently no locally-sourced cases in Australia, just a few incoming travellers.  Though many criticisms can be made, State and Federal Governments did fairly well, supporting many people (though with glaring holes) and following medical advice.  State Governments have been prepared to engage lockdowns where necessary and from time to time closing off State borders and isolating localities.  People arriving from overseas have to stay for a fortnight in a quarantine hotel.

Unfortunately, while the Federal Government has been prepared to follow medical advice, it shows no signs of being willing to follow scientific advice on climate change.  Huge areas burned in January and a significant majority of the population want effective action on climate change. If nothing continues to be done, temperatures will continue to rise, fires will become larger and more prevalent, the ecology and wildlife of the country will be devastated and the capacity for agricultural production will greatly decline.

In the meantime though, I have made no overseas trips since 2019 due to COVID and have been keeping fairly quiet.

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Architecture, Australia, Canberra, Focus stacking, Kangaroos, Landscape, Macro, Nature, New South Wales, Photography, seascape, Table Tennis, Travel, Wildlife

Buoys in a small canal at Kingston Foreshore.

In March I joined a Fuji event that allowed you to use various new cameras and lenses. I tried some of these but this image and the next were taken with my X-T2 and 100-400mm lens.

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Architecture, Australia, Canberra, Focus stacking, Kangaroos, Landscape, Macro, Nature, New South Wales, Photography, seascape, Table Tennis, Travel, Wildlife

Reflections in the same canal.

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Architecture, Australia, Canberra, Focus stacking, Kangaroos, Landscape, Macro, Nature, New South Wales, Photography, seascape, Table Tennis, Travel, Wildlife

Roots of a bonsai tree at the National Arboretum.

In June I visited the Bonsai Garden at the Arboretum and took this photo with my Fuji 80mm macro lens.  It is focus-stacked, which means I have taken many images at different points of focus and later combined them with software.

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Architecture, Australia, Canberra, Focus stacking, Kangaroos, Landscape, Macro, Nature, New South Wales, Photography, seascape, Table Tennis, Travel, Wildlife

Succulent in the front garden.

In August I had purchased a Fuji 8-16mm zoom and took some test shots in the front garden, this one and the next one.  The succulents are quite small so it’s almost macro because the lens can focus quite close.  These are also focus-stacked but because I was using a very wide angle lens, that required only a few exposures.

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Architecture, Australia, Canberra, Focus stacking, Kangaroos, Landscape, Macro, Nature, New South Wales, Photography, seascape, Table Tennis, Travel, Wildlife

Small flowers in the front garden.

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Architecture, Australia, Canberra, Focus stacking, Kangaroos, Landscape, Macro, Nature, New South Wales, Photography, seascape, Table Tennis, Travel, Wildlife

Grevillea Macleayana.

I also visited the Australian National Botanic Gardens from time to time, this image and the next four.  The first three were taken in September and the last two in October.

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Architecture, Australia, Canberra, Focus stacking, Kangaroos, Landscape, Macro, Nature, New South Wales, Photography, seascape, Table Tennis, Travel, Wildlife

Telopea Speciosissima.

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Architecture, Australia, Canberra, Focus stacking, Kangaroos, Landscape, Macro, Nature, New South Wales, Photography, seascape, Table Tennis, Travel, Wildlife

Banksia Spinulosa.

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Architecture, Australia, Canberra, Focus stacking, Kangaroos, Landscape, Macro, Nature, New South Wales, Photography, seascape, Table Tennis, Travel, Wildlife

Pimilea Physodes and panorama near the Visitor’s Centrte.

I took this with a circular fisheye lens and it is also focus-stacked, with just two exposures.  The depth of field is amazing, but not quite enough to go from the stamens of the flower (0.1 metres) to infinity in one exposure.

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Architecture, Australia, Canberra, Focus stacking, Kangaroos, Landscape, Macro, Nature, New South Wales, Photography, seascape, Table Tennis, Travel, Wildlife

Grevillea Macleayana.

Another focus-stacked exposure with the Fuji 80mm macro lens.  This one took 70 exposures and I had to wait for it to be still and retake it several times when a breeze came up during the exposure.

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Architecture, Australia, Canberra, Focus stacking, Kangaroos, Landscape, Macro, Nature, New South Wales, Photography, seascape, Table Tennis, Travel, Wildlife

Archie Webb in the Top 12 Challenge.

I have also gone back to table tennis, both socially and competition and this is an image I took in October at the Top 12 Challenge, with the top 12 Canberra players competing for prizes.  Archie is the leading competition player but he did not win this challenge.  Here he is gearing up for a forehand loop.

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Architecture, Australia, Canberra, Focus stacking, Kangaroos, Landscape, Macro, Nature, New South Wales, Photography, seascape, Table Tennis, Travel, Wildlife

ACT Table Tennis Open.

I also took photographs at the ACT Open in November.  Table Tennis is remarkable in that players of very different ages can compete equally.  The far player is Faisal Pirwani and he is returning the ball with his backhand,  He is one of Canberra’s leading players; I do not know the name of the youngster but from his shirt he probably comes from Melbourne.  Some young players can be very good.  We had a couple of players as old as 93 in the Social Seniors Group prior to COVID though they have not returned since.

(The two table tennis shots were taken with a Nikon D850 and 85mm f1.4 and 50mm f1.4 lenses respectively).

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Architecture, Australia, Canberra, Focus stacking, Kangaroos, Landscape, Macro, Nature, New South Wales, Photography, seascape, Table Tennis, Travel, Wildlife

Malua Bay rock pool.

In early January we went for a trip “down the coast” (which means to the south coast of New South Wales, near Canberra).  This image and the next two were taken on that trip.

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Architecture, Australia, Canberra, Focus stacking, Kangaroos, Landscape, Macro, Nature, New South Wales, Photography, seascape, Table Tennis, Travel, Wildlife

Glasshouse Rocks, Narooma.

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Architecture, Australia, Canberra, Focus stacking, Kangaroos, Landscape, Macro, Nature, New South Wales, Photography, seascape, Table Tennis, Travel, Wildlife

At Glasshouse Rocks looking through to Montague Island Lighthouse.

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Architecture, Australia, Canberra, Focus stacking, Kangaroos, Landscape, Macro, Nature, New South Wales, Photography, seascape, Table Tennis, Travel, Wildlife

Kangaroos at an Ainslie pond.

I live backing on to a reserve and a week or so later, we had a long walk to a couple of ponds in that reserve.

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Architecture, Australia, Canberra, Focus stacking, Kangaroos, Landscape, Macro, Nature, New South Wales, Photography, seascape, Table Tennis, Travel, Wildlife

Pond reflections.

Since I am mentioning equipment in this post, the Malua Bay rock pool was taken with the Fuji 80mm macro and the last four with the Fuji 100-400mm.

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Joshua Tree National Park Monochromes

5 October 2016, Joshua Tree National Park, California, USA.

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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Black and White, Desert, Infrared, Joshua Tree National Park, Landscape, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Salton Sea, Travel, Wildlife

Agriculture in the desert to the north of the Salton Sea.

Cottonwood Spring and Teddybear Chollas.

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Black and White, Desert, Infrared, Joshua Tree National Park, Landscape, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Salton Sea, Travel, Wildlife .

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Black and White, Desert, Infrared, Joshua Tree National Park, Landscape, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Salton Sea, Travel, Wildlife .

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Black and White, Desert, Infrared, Joshua Tree National Park, Landscape, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Salton Sea, Travel, Wildlife

Cottonwood Spring.

Joshua Tree National Park (IR).

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Black and White, Desert, Infrared, Joshua Tree National Park, Landscape, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Salton Sea, Travel, Wildlife .

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Black and White, Desert, Infrared, Joshua Tree National Park, Landscape, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Salton Sea, Travel, Wildlife

Mountains and desert.

Cottonwood Spring and Teddybear Chollas.

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Black and White, Desert, Infrared, Joshua Tree National Park, Landscape, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Salton Sea, Travel, Wildlife

Ocotillo and desert landscape.

Joshua Tree National Park (IR).

.Black and White, Desert, Infrared, Joshua Tree National Park, Landscape, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Salton Sea, Travel, Wildlife

Desert landscape.

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Black and White, Desert, Infrared, Joshua Tree National Park, Landscape, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Salton Sea, Travel, Wildlife
Teddy-bear Cholla.

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Black and White, Desert, Infrared, Joshua Tree National Park, Landscape, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Salton Sea, Travel, Wildlife

Chollas.

Cottonwood Spring and Teddybear Chollas..

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Black and White, Desert, Infrared, Joshua Tree National Park, Landscape, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Salton Sea, Travel, Wildlife

Desert landscape, possibly with Triffids.

Joshua Tree National Park (IR).

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Black and White, Desert, Infrared, Joshua Tree National Park, Landscape, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Salton Sea, Travel, Wildlife

Jumbo Rocks.

Jumbo Rocks and Hidden Valley.

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Black and White, Desert, Infrared, Joshua Tree National Park, Landscape, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Salton Sea, Travel, Wildlife .

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Black and White, Desert, Infrared, Joshua Tree National Park, Landscape, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Salton Sea, Travel, Wildlife .

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Black and White, Desert, Infrared, Joshua Tree National Park, Landscape, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Salton Sea, Travel, Wildlife .

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Black and White, Desert, Infrared, Joshua Tree National Park, Landscape, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Salton Sea, Travel, Wildlife .

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Black and White, Desert, Infrared, Joshua Tree National Park, Landscape, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Salton Sea, Travel, Wildlife

Joshua Tree.

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Black and White, Desert, Infrared, Joshua Tree National Park, Landscape, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Salton Sea, Travel, Wildlife .

.Black and White, Desert, Infrared, Joshua Tree National Park, Landscape, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Salton Sea, Travel, Wildlife

Hidden Valley.

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Black and White, Desert, Infrared, Joshua Tree National Park, Landscape, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Salton Sea, Travel, Wildlife

Coyote.

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Black and White, Desert, Infrared, Joshua Tree National Park, Landscape, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Salton Sea, Travel, Wildlife

Rock climber.

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Black and White, Desert, Infrared, Joshua Tree National Park, Landscape, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Salton Sea, Travel, Wildlife .

Joshua Tree National Park (IR).

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Black and White, Desert, Infrared, Joshua Tree National Park, Landscape, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Salton Sea, Travel, Wildlife .

 

Black and White, Desert, Infrared, Joshua Tree National Park, Landscape, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Salton Sea, Travel, Wildlife

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This was the last post of my expedition to Cuba & the Caribbean (Mexico, Guatemala, Cuba, Dominican Republic, St Martin, Antigua, Jamaica, California).  This has included over 2,500 images and more than 52,000 words.  I have updated the index of all posts on this expedition which you can find here.

Next I will make a couple of local posts and then I will start on the final posts for my trip to Uzbekistan, Istanbul, Athens, Santorini, Crete, Andalusia, Washington and Oregon.  That is the last trip for which I have not made final posts.  I may not make any overseas trips until 2022 so those posts should keep me occupied for a while.

 

Salton Sea Monochromes

1 to 5 October 2016, Salton Sea, California, USA.

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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Art, Black and White, Ecology, Infrared, Landscape, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Salton Sea, Sculpture, Slab City, Travel, Wildlife

This car may be going cheap, though also not going at all.

Salton Sea (IR).

 

Art, Black and White, Ecology, Infrared, Landscape, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Salton Sea, Sculpture, Slab City, Travel, Wildlife .

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Art, Black and White, Ecology, Infrared, Landscape, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Salton Sea, Sculpture, Slab City, Travel, Wildlife

North shore palms.

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Art, Black and White, Ecology, Infrared, Landscape, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Salton Sea, Sculpture, Slab City, Travel, Wildlife

Dead fish by an endangered sea.

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Art, Black and White, Ecology, Infrared, Landscape, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Salton Sea, Sculpture, Slab City, Travel, Wildlife

Bombay Beach.

Salton Sea

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Art, Black and White, Ecology, Infrared, Landscape, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Salton Sea, Sculpture, Slab City, Travel, Wildlife .

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Art, Black and White, Ecology, Infrared, Landscape, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Salton Sea, Sculpture, Slab City, Travel, Wildlife .

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Art, Black and White, Ecology, Infrared, Landscape, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Salton Sea, Sculpture, Slab City, Travel, Wildlife

Slab City.

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Art, Black and White, Ecology, Infrared, Landscape, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Salton Sea, Sculpture, Slab City, Travel, Wildlife .

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Art, Black and White, Ecology, Infrared, Landscape, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Salton Sea, Sculpture, Slab City, Travel, Wildlife .

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Art, Black and White, Ecology, Infrared, Landscape, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Salton Sea, Sculpture, Slab City, Travel, Wildlife .

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Art, Black and White, Ecology, Infrared, Landscape, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Salton Sea, Sculpture, Slab City, Travel, Wildlife .

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Art, Black and White, Ecology, Infrared, Landscape, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Salton Sea, Sculpture, Slab City, Travel, Wildlife .

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Art, Black and White, Ecology, Infrared, Landscape, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Salton Sea, Sculpture, Slab City, Travel, Wildlife .

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Art, Black and White, Ecology, Infrared, Landscape, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Salton Sea, Sculpture, Slab City, Travel, Wildlife

Slab City.

Salton Sea (IR).

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Art, Black and White, Ecology, Infrared, Landscape, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Salton Sea, Sculpture, Slab City, Travel, Wildlife

Salton Sea.

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Art, Black and White, Ecology, Infrared, Landscape, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Salton Sea, Sculpture, Slab City, Travel, Wildlife .

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Art, Black and White, Ecology, Infrared, Landscape, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Salton Sea, Sculpture, Slab City, Travel, Wildlife

Mud Volcano.

Birds and Mud Volcanoes.

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Art, Black and White, Ecology, Infrared, Landscape, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Salton Sea, Sculpture, Slab City, Travel, Wildlife

Hummingbird.

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L.A. and Salton Sea Monochromes

1 to 5 October 2016, Los Angeles and Salton Sea, USA.

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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Art, Black and White, Infrared, Landscape, Los Angeles, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Salton Sea, Sculpture, Travel, Wilderness

Colombian Mammoth (Mammathus Columbi)

La Brea Tar Pits.

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Art, Black and White, Infrared, Landscape, Los Angeles, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Salton Sea, Sculpture, Travel, Wilderness

Chest of drawers from the 18th century Japan.

Netsuke Gallery, LACMA.

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Art, Black and White, Infrared, Landscape, Los Angeles, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Salton Sea, Sculpture, Travel, Wilderness

Netsuke.

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Art, Black and White, Infrared, Landscape, Los Angeles, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Salton Sea, Sculpture, Travel, Wilderness

Buddha Shakyamuni, Sukothai, Thailand, 14th-15th century.

Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA).

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Art, Black and White, Infrared, Landscape, Los Angeles, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Salton Sea, Sculpture, Travel, Wilderness

Eagle-headed demon (Assyria).

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Art, Black and White, Infrared, Landscape, Los Angeles, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Salton Sea, Sculpture, Travel, Wilderness

Borrego Palm Canyon.

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Art, Black and White, Infrared, Landscape, Los Angeles, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Salton Sea, Sculpture, Travel, Wilderness

Desert cacti, perhaps clavellina cholla.

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Art, Black and White, Infrared, Landscape, Los Angeles, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Salton Sea, Sculpture, Travel, Wilderness

Gomphothere.

Encounters with Megafauna.

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Art, Black and White, Infrared, Landscape, Los Angeles, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Salton Sea, Sculpture, Travel, Wilderness

A locust or grasshopper and a scorpion.

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Art, Black and White, Infrared, Landscape, Los Angeles, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Salton Sea, Sculpture, Travel, Wilderness

Ground sloths.

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Art, Black and White, Infrared, Landscape, Los Angeles, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Salton Sea, Sculpture, Travel, Wilderness

Chinese dragon.

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Art, Black and White, Infrared, Landscape, Los Angeles, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Salton Sea, Sculpture, Travel, Wilderness

Humans in vehicle.

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Art, Black and White, Infrared, Landscape, Los Angeles, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Salton Sea, Sculpture, Travel, Wilderness

Salton Sea.

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Art, Black and White, Infrared, Landscape, Los Angeles, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Salton Sea, Sculpture, Travel, Wilderness

Dead fish on the salt.

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Art, Black and White, Infrared, Landscape, Los Angeles, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Salton Sea, Sculpture, Travel, Wilderness

The end, but of what?

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Art, Black and White, Infrared, Landscape, Los Angeles, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Salton Sea, Sculpture, Travel, Wilderness

Near Salton City.

Salton Sea (IR).

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Art, Black and White, Infrared, Landscape, Los Angeles, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Salton Sea, Sculpture, Travel, Wilderness

Probably at Desert Shores.

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Art, Black and White, Infrared, Landscape, Los Angeles, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Salton Sea, Sculpture, Travel, Wilderness

Trees in the desert.

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Joshua Tree National Park (IR)

California USA, 3 October 2016

(Click on any image for a larger view).

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Cholla, Cottonwood Spring, Desert, Hidden Valley, Infrared, Joshua Tree National Park, Jumbo Rocks, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wilderness

We are in Cottonwood Spring in Joshua Tree National Park.

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Cholla, Cottonwood Spring, Desert, Hidden Valley, Infrared, Joshua Tree National Park, Jumbo Rocks, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wilderness

We see the autumnal yellow of the leaves and sometimes white leaves protesting against environmental indignities.

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Cholla, Cottonwood Spring, Desert, Hidden Valley, Infrared, Joshua Tree National Park, Jumbo Rocks, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wilderness

Deep in the grove is a fiery furnace of localised volcanic activity.

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Cholla, Cottonwood Spring, Desert, Hidden Valley, Infrared, Joshua Tree National Park, Jumbo Rocks, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wilderness

You can tell the person at bottom left comes from Colorado because he is turning yellow in sympathy with the leaves of the trees.  This is due to long-term deciduous exposure.

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Cholla, Cottonwood Spring, Desert, Hidden Valley, Infrared, Joshua Tree National Park, Jumbo Rocks, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wilderness

The leaves become more orange as the day warms up.

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Cholla, Cottonwood Spring, Desert, Hidden Valley, Infrared, Joshua Tree National Park, Jumbo Rocks, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wilderness

… then more yellow due to a sudden cool breeze.

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Cholla, Cottonwood Spring, Desert, Hidden Valley, Infrared, Joshua Tree National Park, Jumbo Rocks, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wilderness

We’re now in the desert with the ocotillos..

Cholla, Cottonwood Spring, Desert, Hidden Valley, Infrared, Joshua Tree National Park, Jumbo Rocks, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wilderness

The ancient spirit of a sky snake hangs in the sky.

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Cholla, Cottonwood Spring, Desert, Hidden Valley, Infrared, Joshua Tree National Park, Jumbo Rocks, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wilderness

The local authorities have helpfully planted a sign showing which way is up.  This is puzzling for some.

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Cholla, Cottonwood Spring, Desert, Hidden Valley, Infrared, Joshua Tree National Park, Jumbo Rocks, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wilderness

You might have noticed it’s a desert and quite dry.

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Cholla, Cottonwood Spring, Desert, Hidden Valley, Infrared, Joshua Tree National Park, Jumbo Rocks, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wilderness

One day many years ago, triffids rained down.

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Cholla, Cottonwood Spring, Desert, Hidden Valley, Infrared, Joshua Tree National Park, Jumbo Rocks, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wilderness

But it was a desert and no good for them so they turned into teddybear chollas.

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Cholla, Cottonwood Spring, Desert, Hidden Valley, Infrared, Joshua Tree National Park, Jumbo Rocks, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wilderness

Because it’s so arid they usually don’t move much at all, except sometimes a little in the wind.

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Cholla, Cottonwood Spring, Desert, Hidden Valley, Infrared, Joshua Tree National Park, Jumbo Rocks, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wilderness

You might be tempted to cuddle up in bed with a nice teddybear cholla but beware, it might turn into a triffid.

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Cholla, Cottonwood Spring, Desert, Hidden Valley, Infrared, Joshua Tree National Park, Jumbo Rocks, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wilderness

We are now approaching Jumbo Rocks.

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Cholla, Cottonwood Spring, Desert, Hidden Valley, Infrared, Joshua Tree National Park, Jumbo Rocks, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wilderness

It’s much safer to cuddle up with a rock.

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Cholla, Cottonwood Spring, Desert, Hidden Valley, Infrared, Joshua Tree National Park, Jumbo Rocks, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wilderness

And here we have a Joshua Tree in full autumn colours.

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Cholla, Cottonwood Spring, Desert, Hidden Valley, Infrared, Joshua Tree National Park, Jumbo Rocks, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wilderness

in the foreground we have a Joshua Tree with an identity crisis, trying to be a palm.

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Cholla, Cottonwood Spring, Desert, Hidden Valley, Infrared, Joshua Tree National Park, Jumbo Rocks, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wilderness

The rocks are actually ancient fossilised Mojave Indian spirits.

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Cholla, Cottonwood Spring, Desert, Hidden Valley, Infrared, Joshua Tree National Park, Jumbo Rocks, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wilderness

We are now in Hidden Valley and this may be the headquarters of the Mojave spirits.  They provide psychiatric assistance to Joshua Trees with identity crises

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Cholla, Cottonwood Spring, Desert, Hidden Valley, Infrared, Joshua Tree National Park, Jumbo Rocks, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wilderness

The plants here are all Joshua Trees.  Some of them are very confused.

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Cholla, Cottonwood Spring, Desert, Hidden Valley, Infrared, Joshua Tree National Park, Jumbo Rocks, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Travel, Wilderness

The spirit snakes are also very active in the sky in this area.

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OK, these are all infrared images.  So what does that mean?  Well, human eyes have a range of visible colours that can be expressed as combinations of red, green and blue.  Below that is infrared and above that is ultraviolet.  Many animals see outside our spectral range.  One of my cameras has a modified sensor that records infrared, red and green but not blue.  (You can also do this with most normal digital cameras but it requires using an R72 filter and a tripod).

The image out of the camera is basically orange but this hides the potential for other colours.  I then use software to hit the image with a virtual firehose to assign and modify colours.  My last infrared post I processed using complex processes in Photoshop and I processed each image quite differently.  Since the images in this post are more homogeneous, I decided to apply similar processing to them all.  I used a more simple process just in Lightroom, though using channel-swap profiles I had created in Photoshop.