Archive for the 'Mozambique' Category

Waiting for a train

Maputo Railway Station, Mozambique

 

Maputo Station, Mozambique

I’m quite perplexed about immigration procedures into Mozambique. I’ve been a couple of times now and it’s been the usual drill of passports and visas, but this time was a little different. By ‘a little different’, I mean non-existent. We were cruising in the MSC Sinfonia en-route to Inhambane, when a cyclone in the Mozambique Channel caused us to reconsider and to dock in Maputo harbour. So we ended up with a free day in Maputo. I was hoping for another stamp in my passport, but we were just turned loose with not a single official or formality (or form) in sight. I immediately started planning my anonymous life of crime in Maputo, but eventually all I got round to was taking a lot of photos and eating a very delicious lunch of grilled prawns and calamari at the fish market. And of course drinking the legendary local beer, 2M, pronounced doj-em! Wish I could find it in Cape Town.

We avoided the laid on and rip off tourist buses and set out to explore on foot. The first place we stopped at was the main Maputo Railway Station, a beautiful structure in the Victorian transportation style. It’s just shy of 100 years old and still looking good, with just a lick or two of paint needed. For a country once very tetchy about having pictures taken of anything vaguely like a target, no one seemed the least concerned about me and my camera.

The building is sometimes erroneously credited to Gustave Eiffel (of the tower in Paris and the Statue of Liberty), but was actually designed by architects of the names of Alfredo Augusto Lisboa de Lima, Mario Veiga and Ferreira da Costa. It recently had a moment of fame when it was turned into a hotel for the Leonardo diCaprio movie, Blood Diamond. I haven’t seen it yet, so it will be added to the already-too-long list.

 

Before and After

This is a typical 3 shot handheld HDR, at an exposure compensation of -2, 0 and +2. In retrospect, I would like to have had an extra shot at the lower end, a -4 or so, to help get more detail in the sky. Alternatively, a set of -3 to +3, with 1 stop increments would have worked well too. But I’m reasonably happy with what I shot anyway, and I think the final image turned out well. More shots would have meant tripods and more fuss, and I would have distracted the people on the bench, who make this photo for me.

After the HDR treatment in Photomatix Pro, I aged the photo with a fair bit of contrast, texture and sepia tones in post-production.

Maputo Railway Station, MozambiqueMaputo Railway Station, Mozambique

 

The tourists have landed

Tourists invade the beach on Portuguese Island, Mozambique

 

Portuguese Island, Mozambique

I’ve landed back home after my shipboard adventure!

It was certainly interesting. We travelled on the MSC Sinfonia for 4 days out of Durban and into Mozambican waters. I learned quite a few things. Like how to say ship instead of boat (still hard to remember, that one). That bingo is actually quite fun. That most cruise passengers prefer to lie around the pool all day, drinking from breakfast time and turning bright pink in the sun. And that I prefer to find a quiet, people-free spot on the stern and read geeky books.

The ship was a fun environment for HDR photography, and my tripod provided some humour for my nonplussed fellow passengers. We disembarked twice during the cruise for some exploration and great photo ops. The first stop was at Portuguese Island near Maputo. The second was to be at Inhambane, further up the Mozambican coast, but a cyclone the size of Madagascar put paid to that, so we docked in Maputo for the day.

Today’s HDR is taken at Portuguese Island in Mozambique. It’s a tiny island very close to Inhaca Island, in fact you can cross over via sand banks when the tide is low. It’s also pretty close to Maputo, probably 90 minutes or so by ferry. I gather that cruise ships stop here about twice a week, and transform this quiet and usually uninhabited island into Party Island. See the tourist hordes fanning out over the sands, with alcohol tents and beach barbecues in the background. It gets so busy that a permanent structure is being built, also visible in the background.

This shot was taken while fleeing from the crowds and setting out on a 7km circumnavigation of the island. I think we were the only passengers who did this, and we were rewarded with solitude, a close-up fish eagle sighting, and the spotting of many other curious sea creatures.

The people in the picture are investigating strange sand castings in the intertidal zone, that seem to have been made by some kind of lugworm. They looked like this close up, and you could see the sand being extruded out of the middle. Very weird.

Lugworm casting on Portuguese Island, Mozambique

 

We also spotted intact sand dollars that were the size of dinner plates.

Sand dollar shells at Portuguese Island, Mozambique

 

 

Before and After

Today’s beach shot was a handheld snapshot, bracketed at -2, 0 and +2. I liked the way the people were fanning out over the beach, so I grabbed it as quickly as I could. I’m finding that Photoshop’s layer aligning feature does a very good job of putting together these handheld HDRs. The clouds were beautiful that day, so I wanted to bring them out as much as possible in the post-processing. They were building up higher and higher all day, threatening a thunderstorm that never came.

Tourists invade the beach at Portuguese Island, Mozambique (0 image)Tourists invade the beach on Portuguese Island, Mozambique



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