Occasionally the images need a few words to put them in context. This is what this blog is for.

Using my 50mm Lens for Landscapes

Whenever I download the contents of my memory card, the first thing I do is delete all the images that are out of focus. I try all sorts of tricks to get images sharp. Underexposure and bumped up ISO settings help. I am not a happy user of tripods and pay the price, despite having remote switches and wifi adaptors. So, there are many images lost to this disease. There are others that work, being tolerably in focus. But they would be infinitely better if the focus was flawless.

So last Sunday, when I was invited on a friend's catamaran, I gave myself a challenge. I took just one lens with me, my Nikkor 50mm AF 1:1.8D, attached to my Nikon D7100 with the ISO set on 200. It was a bright day, and this further helped my shutter speed.

This lens is at its best with portraits, and I found that the discipline of shooting landscapes without a zoom for composition a bit of a challenge. 

Below are some of the images shot that day. I think the crispness helped, although a slow shutter speed would have softened the water.

Click on the images to get a full screen version.

Coin de Mire, iconic islet north of Mauritius.

Islets north of Mauritius, including Sugar Loaf (small on the left) Flat Island, and Gunner's Quoin (Coin de Mire) closest to the camera.



Heading home after a lazy Sunday with good friends. Grand Bay, with the mountains of Mauritius in the distance.

Abandoned Orphanage - Mauritius

Some months ago, my daughter (Katherine) gave me a book of photographs of Mauritius, titled Mauritius The Stone Age, by Jano Couacoud. In it are two photographs of an orphanage, and a short description, quoted below:

"The Government Orphan Asylum in Pamplemousses opened in 1859. The orphanage's role was to provide shelter and education for orphans so that they would be useful to the community. Orphans, following the epidemics that struck their parents, were collected at the Asylum. The majority were of Indian origin. There were also children of African and European descent."

In the 1850's cholera killed 3 500 people and in the 1860's malaria killed 32 000, a ninth of the population. 

People barely had time to bury their dead, large numbers of funerals were proceeding at the same time all over the island between 1866 and 1868.

In 1865 floods killed 21 people. There was a terrible cyclone in 1868 that caused havoc in the impoverished villages. In 1892, one of the worst cyclones in the history of Mauritius killed 1 100, injured 2000 and made another 80 000 homeless. The country with a population of near 300 000 was brought to its knees.

The above information was obtained from an internet version of Sydney Selvons 2012 book,  A New Comprehensive History of Mauritius, Volume 2.

On 2 January 2014, we had a close but harmless brush with Cyclone Bejisa. My wife, daughter (Jacqui) and I took a drive to Point Aux Piments to see and photograph the beach affected by this storm, which turned out to be unremarkable. On our way home to Piton, we passed the entrance to this abandoned orphanage, and we took a closer look at these buildings, that bear the dates 1864 and 1865. To put these dates into context, gold was discovered in Johannesburg in 1886.

We visited the site a total of three times in improving weather.  The photographs displayed below are a selection of these images.  Click on the image to advance to the next one.