Weekly Photo Challenge – Fleeting Moment II

To my mind, the archetypal “fleeting moment” photography comes from  the gritty streets of New York, or Berlin, or some other uber-cool urban location.  But I’m deeply into the exotic (as if you hadn’t  noticed) and have never been one of the cool crowd.  So here are some of the more exotic fleeting moments I’ve stumbled across, out and about in Sri Lanka.

The main feature comes after the shorts, because I think the shorts are always delicious too:

Kandy – the city gets back to normal after the final, day, perahera.  (Sorry about the quality – it’s a scan of a degraded print from the ’90s.)

No.  Not Sri Lanka circa 1950, more like 2oo0, though becoming a less and less familiar sight on our country roads.  So proud of his magnificent animals, the cartman enjoyed his leisurely lifestyle, but was resigned his son will likely drive a truck.

But they haven’t disappeared  yet …  outside the old market, Galle, 2010.

Ok, here’s the main event.  My friend Mo and I were driving back from visiting friends upcountry just before Wesak (the weekend of the Comments meltdown) and had just settled ourselves back into the car after risking life and limb taking pictures of a hidden valley way down below the level of the road.  We rounded a bend and whoa – look who was coming down the road toward us, in that quiet, economical pace an elephant has when she has a perahera to get to.

An elephant’s progress (if one stops to take as many pictures as one can while she’s in one’s vicinity) isn’t quite fleeting, but click on the first thumbnail to take a look at a few fleeting moments as this lovely lady and her mahouts passed through an unknown settlement on the Kegale-Avisavella Road at the beginning of May.    Like the bullock carts – once so representative of Sri Lanka country life – the days of seeing literally hundreds of elephants on the move to peraheras around the country have become rare – now mostly they take a truck.  (This one’s for Kate Shrewsday – she said she’d like to see an elephant walking down the road.)

I hope you’ve enjoyed another glimpse of paradise!

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51 thoughts on “Weekly Photo Challenge – Fleeting Moment II

    • It’s quite something, being there with them on the road. They’re so well trained and so accustomed to the traffic and the attention that you feel no fear, and yet they are indisputably masters of us all and we follow, scurrying to keep up, to somehow imbibe some of the magic that surrounds them.

      If you’ve got time, quickly pop into A Village in the Forest – that’s another magic place.

    • Well, yea, in your town, it would cause a bit of a stir, I should think! But you know, even here, everybody stopped as she came through. The smallholder gave her bananas and we all followed a little way … They’re amazing creatures and seem to bring out our childlike awe and glee that they can walk among us.

    • Well, I’ve been thinking – now I’ve come to accept the inevitable, that I should spend the next few months doing some travelling, taking pictures with a modern camera, talking to people away from the cities … It might help me transition and give me something to focus on when I settle back in Oz.

    • … and recording for me too, Anne, for when my time in paradise must come to an end. Writing about them in the blog, and maybe, if I can eventually get it together, in a book of photos and essays, might keep me company when I can no longer remember things … So glad you’re enjoying the photos:)

  1. Your paradise is a fantasy land to me. It truly is magical the things you are able to share with us through your words and photos. Thank you.

    • It’s phantasmagorical to me too, Michelle. Even after all these years, I’m amazed, each day I leave my home there’s always something that makes me go “Wow, I live here in this place”. It has been a great gift. I’m so glad you’re enjoying a little taste of the things i see around me.

  2. Oh my…another wonderful set of photos to dream about. The elephant is such a beautiful animal…it makes me kind of sad to see all those chains around her neck. I love the photo where she is holding up traffic…it looks like she’s sitting in the front seat of that little car.

    • I wouldn’t worry too much about the chain, Angeline. It’s mostly there so the mahout doesn’t have to carry it, and he only holds onto it to let her know he’s there – the bus must have frightened her a little, or he may even have taken hold of the chain when he saw it approaching, I didn’t see when he did reach up for it.

      Isn’t that the most marvellous picture? The first time I saw an elephant on a city street was a rear view from inside a three wheeler – this great grey mass hove into view above the traffic and I just couldn’t believe it! Little did I know then that within less than a couple of decades sightings like that would be so rare.

      In fact it was because I didn’t have a camera with me when I saw an elephant on the road into town just a while ago (the first time I’d seen one walking in the city since I’ve been back this time), that prompted me to get this little pocket camera. (I had thought I’d hang in there till I could justify buying a new iPhone – yes, you’d persuaded me!). Thank goodness I did, otherwise I’d have missed this girl too!

    • Yes, walking beside an elephant is amazing, JM. Silent feet. Economical stride. One almost has to jog to keep up. And the sense of dispensation you get … I’m smitten, each time, and feel so lucky, and grateful.

      I do love donkeys – does one ever see them in herds, like other animals, or are they all doomed to lead solitary lives of servitude?

  3. Looking at these photo’s was like watching a video from National Geographic or looking at its’ magazine. This is an outstanding entry for this weeks challenge. You get a gold star for uniqueness of photo’s. I love the elephants walking down the road and the very small men guiding them. I could look at this over and over again.
    GREAT …!!!!!

    • I have an unfair advantage in the unique stakes, Isadora, when I post scenes from Sri Lanka!

      I’m so glad you enjoyed watchig the lady pass through – it was a wonderful few minutes. 🙂

    • Oh yes, you can be sure they are – pampered and revered. Some of them are more famous than any of the politicians that have misruled this country over the decades, and have names, and one even had a stamp to commemorate his life.

  4. Pingback: Weekly Photo Challenge – Fleeting Moment III « The Wanderlust Gene

  5. Great captures, TWLG! I like that you presented photos back from the 90s and now. And an elephant, how cool is that? I surely have not expected to see one of those animals for that challenge! Well done!

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