Chameleon on a god's head

The World in Five Colours

TravelSupermarket.com has sent out a challenge to post one photograph in each of the five colours – blue, green, yellow, red and white – to be judged by a panel of photographers – and there’s even a prize!

I was bowled over when James at Plus Ultra nominated me to join Capture the Colour – and to my shame it’s taken almost a month to choose five photographs.  Dithering seems to have become my strong suit!   The only excuse I can give in defence is that the closing date of the competition –  29 August – is also the date by which I must make the final decisions about the next steps in my life.  I haven’t decided between those possibilities either.

Seriously, the looming cut off date, and a psychological need to cross something off my “to do list” has at last prompted a decision – and although my selection is totally different to the “possibles” I’ve had lined up for consideration these last several weeks – I hope you’ll enjoy them nonetheless.

Blue – The Indigo Dyer, Vientiane, Lao

After Ma died, I went with a group of weavers to Lao.  One of the great joys – other than the discovery of such a cornucopia of weaving styles and designs – was to explore the fascinating art of dye making – king among which has always been indigo, an unremarkable-looking plant which has spawned empires.  We went one day to a large enterprise in the city (the family must have had a dozen women working there) for the sole purpose of concocting our own dye from the dozens of roots, seeds, bark and other natural materials still used by these weavers, and testing it out on a small piece of hand-loomed cotton (mine turned out to be a disappointingly muted shade of rose-pink!).   But it was the indigo dyers who captured my attention – especially this young woman with the exceptional posture, working among the vats of frothing blue.

Yellow – The Yellow Chimney, Burano, Italy

In a town where colours vie for your attention, this yellow chimney stack stood out like a beacon among the rooftops, antennas and altanas of Burano.  Which goes to show that yes, yellow is the most noticeable colour.

 Green – Chameleon on a God’s Head – Kotte, Sri Lanka

Although this photograph was taken at my home here in Sri Lanka, and might not – technically – be termed a travel photograph, it is among the most exotic of lizards, and it is playing possum on a god’s head – my little greenstone Ganesha, to be exact.

Red – The Brazier Carrier, Kandy Perahera, Sri Lanka

Last year was one of the most challenging of years, and I needed a sedentary adventure.  What better adventure could one concoct for oneself than a trip to watch the Kandy Perahera –  that phantasmagorical procession which grows in grandeur each night for the ten days leading up to the Nikini full moon in August.  Now, the perahera is essentially a supplication for rain, with the elephants – as the clouds – playing the leading roles.  But nothing – elephants, drummers, dancers, fire and stilt walkers, whip crackers, temple officials, flag wavers, or avid devotees watching from the sides – could be more integral to the success of the parade than the brazier carriers, for it is their fiery baskets which light the parade, wrapping the action in clouds of red, the colour of passion and excitement.

White – Bad Hair Day with White Lotus, Mihintale, Sri Lanka

The wind was so strong I’d had trouble holding my camera still enough to focus on the scene below and was sidling, crab-like, to find a more sheltered position on the platform around the great dagoba at Mihintale when, out of the corner of my eye, I saw a monkey.  I stopped, and stood as still as I could, s l o w l y  turning to face him as he sat, raiding the urn in which faded offerings had been thrown the night before.  These macaques are accustomed to people, of course, but this fellow was so intent on battling the wind for possession of the lotus flowers he paid little attention to me.  Bad hair day and all, he perched on the rim of the urn, bracing himself with one prehensile foot, all the while holding down an escaping flower with the other, and popping crisp green lotus seeds into his mouth as quickly as his nimble little fingers could pry them from their casings in the wildly flapping flower in his other hand.

TravelSupermarket’s Capture the Colour Competition.  The rules are simple:  Publish a post with five original shots from your travels, each one representing the colours blue, green, yellow, white and red.  Tag five other bloggers and link back to TravelSupermarket on Facebook or Twitter (with the tags @travelsupermkt and #capturethecolour).  If you don’t have an account simply email your entry to capturethecolour[at]travelsupermarket.com, complete with your name, address and phone number before the closing date of 29 August, 2012.

Please note that anyone can join in – you don’t need to be nominated to take part in the competition, but I would like to acknowledge the enjoyment I get from the work of these bloggers by nominating them in any case, with my apologies for putting them under the time gun:

Good Luck to my nominees, and to everybody who’s entered – a little travel money never goes astray!

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77 thoughts on “The World in Five Colours

  1. What an interesting post and concept for a comp. I think my fave of yours (not that it is relevant) is the blue one. I’m now of course thinking, have I got five decent colour pix for this? :D

  2. CONGRATULATIONS on your nomination! I love your five color choices taken from cities around the world. I especially like the lady in blue from Lao. Good luck.

    BE ENCOURAGED! BE BLESSED!

  3. each photo is sensational, what great choices! i love the red, and the blue, and the green, oh yes, i love them all! it is a good idea, i don’t think i can do it, too much to do before we go on the next trip :(

    • Thank you so much, Christine. I agree, it’s a great idea for a competition, or even just as a way of making a theme for a post, I think. Oh dear I’m sorry you won’t have time for competitions before you leave because I’ve got you slated for my next way way overdue competition – the Seven Super Shots – but there’s no deadline that I noticed, so perhaps it’ll keep till you get back.

      When do you leave – I thought it was in the fall? Have a fantastic time! I know it’ll be bliss for you to see your son, but Paris, darling in the fall … :)

    • Thanks, Viv! Silly how we obsess over decisions sometimes – though I think I was trying to come up with a more coherent theme, with grander, more substantive subjects and it just wasn’t coming together!

  4. Beautiful choices, Meredith! I especially love that one of the chameleon… I would never have guessed that it was taken in your back garden! The brazier carrier too has a real intensity about him – his eyes seem to pierce right through the screen.

    • Thanks James. The chameleon is one of my favourite shots – it’s been my screen shot for years, now – and the drama of that guy, staring at me through the red haze of the braziers … I was ecstatic when I saw that I’d actually captured him. :)

  5. I added your indigo dyer to my Pinterest board titled, The Color Blue. My hopes are you will get a few more followers your way :) I of course added your blog name and title of the work. The link Pinterest uses brings people right to WP.

  6. Oh, these are all gorgeous TWLG! Love the light on the indigo dyer ….almost like a painting and the intense stare of the brazier carrier is very powerful and evocative! Like the yellow too and the white……well done! And good luck to you and all your nominees :-)

    • The light was fantastic, wasn’t it? But just a secondary consideration, when I was taking the shot – i just couldn’t get over her posture, and how effortlessly she was working, sitting so straight and still. Thank you for your support, and wishes – i’ll need them competing with pictures like yours … :)

  7. The others of us who have entered the contest are doomed! What exceptional photos you chose for your entry. Each and every one is incredible! And thank you, James, for finally revealing to me TWLG’s name! I never knew it.

    • Angeline, you are such a gorgeous, supportive soul – how silly to think my snaps can compete against people like James and Madhu, or Nicole – or the other hundreds of thousands of travel bloggers out there who’ve submitted – but thank you dear!
      m :)

  8. I’m joining the others who say how incredible your photos are—all of them, and I can’t imagine competing with them. And yes, your home can be considered “travel” because most of us would love to travel there.

    • Thank you for the vote of confidence, Writecrotes – and for voicing my feelings about the Chameleon shot – I still pinch myself with glee about how marvellous it is to be living here in Sri Lanka!

  9. This is a wonderful competition. Hopefully, there is one location to go where we could see all the entries. Personally, you get my vote. Your set of pictures as always is amazing. Each time I pick a fav I look at another and change my mind. Good luck with your entry.

  10. What incredible photos and lovely stories to go with them. Since I am partial to blue, I think I like the blue picture best. The posture of the woman is poetic and the lighting iswonderful.

  11. Wow, what a wonderful and vibrant collection of colours – I love them all! And thank you so much for the invite but I agree with @Angeline M in feeling personally doomed!

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  14. This is a really excellent post! :) I feel quite inspired to have a shot at this (obviously not for competition purposes, but it would be fun!). Great work and a wonderful read, Wanderlust! :) Good luck with the next part of your adventure (I am sharing this anticipation/fear with you!).

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  16. These photos are wonderful. I especially like ‘red’. Can’t give a reason, just do. What a terrific collection must lie behind those you are able to show us, so much travel and observation. Thanks

    • I’m so glad you liked the brazier carrier shot Elspeth. I caught his eye after shooting him – it was a bit like a challenge and I remember holding my breath and figuratively crossing my fingers that the shot would indeed come out! Luckily the intensity of his gaze makes up for the rather grainy texture and red haze!

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