Street Photography You’ve been on my mind too long

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What's normal

For a long time, I have been interested in street photography. One of the most exciting things is the jungle we live in, Vancouver. This place has many extremes, which are reflected on the streets, literally the streets. You can tell a good area from a bad one from the look or smell of the streets and sidewalks you are on. So, I am going to get into that and document some cool shit! I can’t wait.

Starting here with this photo I got today. What is Normal to You? I can do better than this photo, but I like what I see here. There is a foundation to start learning. The picture shows a guy on the right who is not concerned about the open drug use or users but does seem to have something else on his mind. The drug users are continuing to use their illicit street drugs openly. They don’t seem to mind the public exposure. The use of heroin or meth is entirely every day for them.

I will often go out to find images like this and others that will be grittier. I will look for the difficult. I am attracted to the dark. But, like Vancouver, I am also extreme. I love beautiful things like love, fashion, art, culture, travel & adventure. However, I also like the dark and decayed. I like the reality of a situation as well as the fantasy.

I am not against hard drug use. I will not be engaging in it, but a person’s choice is their choice, and they have the right to engage in that type of destructive behaviour if they want. We need to legalize all hard drugs and work to provide a significant and wide-ranging level of addiction services. We also need to promote personal responsibility where that is appropriate. I’m also not into the world is at fault, not me!

The last word I will say on all this tonight is that I understand the consequences of all this. My brother died in February of 2022 from an overdose. He was using alone in his SRO and was not found for ten days. From start to finish, his is a dark tale. I will right about him sometime later.

Gastown Last-night with the VSO

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Gastown Last night with the VSO Vancouver Symphony Orchestra

I haven’t got a lot of time here because I need to run to the gym before it gets crazy busy! But I will take a second and get a few photos out from last night in Gastown when the VSO (Vancouver Symphony Orchestra) came out to play. It sounded beautiful, and there were tables set up with many people showing up and enjoying themselves. Unfortunately, we did not get there early, so we could not see the VSO musicians we could only hear them.

It was then that I noticed the light show they were painting the old brick building with. I set my camera on the building and got some cool shots of strong light on brick.

The photos taken from this event are in the Free to Download section of my site. Here is a link to play a full-screen gallery of all the photos available in that gallery.

Time to go to the GYM!

The Sri Lankan leopard (Panthera pardus kotiya)

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The Sri Lankan leopard (Panthera pardus kotiya)
Large male leopard cub photographed in Yala National Park, Sri Lanka, March 2022. You can buy this and many other of my photographs for stock or print photography on my site. Explore the links above or click on this image.

I will never forget this day. However, I could say that about every day I have spent in Sri Lanka. But this day, in particular, was a day that stands out because sightings of leopards had seemingly dried up. The previous day started with a sighting in the park and again later that day. This was a delight to us all for more than just the obvious. When we got to camp, our tracker told us that recent leopard sightings had become extremely rare. He had gone a whole week without seeing one! In Yala, that is very uncommon. It was considered the best place in the world to photograph leopards and still is. However, the population is in decline, and sightings are getting harder. So our luck was uncommon.

This morning and for hours, we had no luck at all—signs in the form of tracks and alarm calls but no sightings. Our tracker, Indika Nettigama, from Cylon Wild Safaris is among the best on the island, so if anyone could track and find the leopard, it was him. Hours and hours go by, and no sightings! Then as we are about to pack it in, our luck turns. We turn a corner, and BAM! A mother leopard and her two large male cubs. They are over a year and about to leave momma. The most stunning sight I have ever been treated to.

A mother leopard and her cubs All life forms accepted the power the mother exuded without question. She only needed to move one step, and tons of metal would be forced to move. It was awe-inspiring. You never know what is just around the corner.

This photo is of one of her large male cubs. You can see he is well cared for and not hurting for resources. Mom must be a fantastic hunter to have raised two cubs, both in magnificent shape. They are over a year old and will be leaving her soon.

Mother leopard and cub (Panthera pardus kotiya), Yala Sri Lanka 2022
The Mother Leopard and one of her near-adult cubs. This and several other photographs are for sale on my site. Just click on the image or in the menu above.

In Yala, it is common to go on safari twice a day. You wake up before the sun, have breakfast, and get out in the jeep. There will be a lineup when the park first opens at 6:30 am. The best trackers will have you there at the front of the line and will have your permits prepaid. Cylon Wild always had this for us, and I will post a photo later that shows exactly how important that is. The second trip out will be in the evening, just before the sun starts to go down. These are your best times to photograph a leopard and the only times you are allowed to be in Yala Nation Park.

Villagers bathing in a lake, Sri Lanka, March 2022

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Villagers bathing in a lake, Sri Lanka, 2022
Three young men from the local village bathing in a lake. They thought I was an American LOL.

Continuing on the theme of the day…. Change. The site’s look has changed, and I will now focus on my photography. I’ve chosen this design because it allows one stunning photo to be displayed and celebrated. The first photo I chose for that is this photo of three young men bathing in a lake in Sri Lanka in 2022.

Why this photo? It doesn’t reference change, so it’s not my first photo for the rebrand of for that reason. If anything, it shows a version of Sri Lanka that has existed forever. Trust me; if you have never been, it is a literal paradise and paradox. Sri Lanka is a part of me. I am Sri Lankan in my soul. I am not lucky enough to have been born Singhala, but my husband is. I’ve chosen this photo to be the first because I love it and the memory of that day—no better reason.

So what was that day? Picture it… Sri Lanka March 2022, finally a return after our last trip in 2017. COVID, I hate you! Anyways I digress… I was finally back in Sri Lanka and having a great time. That day my nephew, not nephew, hooked me up with some Sri Lankan weed. It is costly there. So expensive that no one smokes just marijuana; they always mix it with tobacco. That is something I wouldn’t do. Tabaco is the line. So I paid about $30 Canadian for 1 gram and smoked the whole thing.

Stoned and in the mood to take some photos, my nephew, not nephew, set out on a walk to the local tank (lake) to get some photographs of birds. It was said that there were lots of Egyptian Ibises. Seeing only a few, we didn’t take long to walk the lake and headed home. At this point, a kid yelled at me, “American!”. Or one young man and two older boys from the local village were bathing in the lake. This is early in 2022, so the sight of tourists is new again. Yelling something else at me this time in Singhala, my nephew, not nephew, tells me he’s asking me to take their picture. So I obliged.

This has become one of my favourite pictures from Sri Lanka. That is how warm and friendly this paradise of an island is. I have no idea how such a small place can contain the mulitude of energies, people, nature, religions, corruptions, wars and harms, love, and beauty. It would do your head in trying to understand what that island has been through and continues to go through, but the average person is so warm, wonderful and friendly. Sri Lanka keeps turning the other cheek.

Sri Lanka is my paradise and my love. My last day on earth should be there.

Time for a change

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I’m 49 years old. Something I hope doesn’t show itself too much in my physical appearance. Not that 49 is old. In fact, I’m feeling fabulous, and I think the best in life is yet to come. I am looking forward to some epic shit. However, for far too long, I have not allowed the creative parts of my soul to shine as much as they could, and I have not allowed myself to explore it in the way only a creative does. It’s time to change what I think of as my profession. I am a photographer.

I know I have a lot to learn and ropes to climb. That is exciting to me. I’m going to start with street photography and study that for a while. The concept intrigues me, and there is a ton of excellent subject matter around Vancouver.

For now, I have established a photography site that will sell my work and serve my clients. You can find it here: Kian Gray Photography. Also, I have an Alamy page for stock photos.

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