Printing No2.

This one from 2010 – Nikon F4 on T-Max 400 and probably developed in D76 if my memory serves me well.

I have a darkroom log book somewhere in all my stuff, just haven’t come across it yet, I know I packed it because it has a lot of information about film, paper, developers etc; so rather useful and should have this image info in it.

Another for the printer, although I will probably make a conventional darkroom print as well and then make a decision which gets on the wall.

I am still working my way through computer files, but have about 3500 negatives/E6 slides which need cataloguing and either scanning or printing in the darkroom – or both.

Also reading this book, it was one I should have got when it was available from the bookshops in 2010, a copy from Amazon would now cost me £118. new and £80. used: that will teach me !
Our library in Driffield (yes we still have one) has found a copy through the Bibliographic department, so have got it on extended loan for a small administrative fee. They are so helpful and nothing seems too much trouble for them.

An Arabian Utopia: The Western Discovery of Oman: by Alastair Hamilton. (Click book for Amazon link)

From Amazon:
Even though Oman had always been familiar to travellers sailing between Europe and India or Persia, it was its coast alone that was known. Greeks and Romans had charted it, medieval merchants traded on it, and in the early sixteenth century the Portuguese conquered its main towns, yet the interior of Oman was all but entirely unknown and would remain so until the early nineteenth century. Only after the ejection of the Portuguese in 1650 and an independent Oman had built an empire of its own, stretching round the Indian Ocean from India to Zanzibar, did Muscat, the capital, start to be visited by western powers eager to obtain commercial concessions and political influence. In the nineteenth century, for the first time, a very few, mainly English, explorers ventured inland and embarked on the true discovery of Oman. But even that was sporadic. As long as there was a powerful ruler, the travellers were protected, but by the late nineteenth century the rulers in Muscat had lost control over the interior and it was not until well into the twentieth century that explorers such as Wilfred Thesiger could investigate the south and that the oil companies could begin to chart the centre and the west. Oman was the last Arab country to be fully explored by western travellers and this book examines and discusses the ways in which the emergent knowledge of Oman was propagated in the West, from the earliest times to 1970, by explorers, missionaries, diplomats, artists, geologists and naturalists, and by those scholars who gradually uncovered the manuscripts and antiquities that allowed them to piece together the history of the area.

Printing.


Testing my Canon PIXMA Pro9000 printer (with the Mk II print head – long story which is on my blog somewhere) after it had been in storage for about a year. I am pleased to say, all it needed was a single head clean function carrying out along with new inks and now works perfectly. Not bad for a printer that was boxed-up in Oman, spent five months in storage there, travelled by sea and stored here in UK for another six months. The only packing preparation it was given was a clean, remove the inks and put the print head in its original foil pack with silica-gel, press out as much air as I could and seal with tape.  I am a happy bunny  🙂

I can now work on some prints for hanging on the wall of our new house, such as the one above from October 2013.
All I need is to decide what paper I will use: always had either Premium Fine Art Smooth or Pro Premium Matte (or their older equivalents) from the Pixma Pro range by Canon. But being back here in UK, the range of papers for both traditional darkroom work & digital printing are almost limitless. Bit like film, instead of hearing “gosh you don’t still use film do you?” I am spoilt for choice. It makes up for the (forgotten) dreadfully changing weather & very expensive fuel prices.

Garden Rowan.

The Rowan (Mountain Ash) in our new garden has a profusion of berries this year.

Recalling an old folk tale that I remember from when I was knee-high to a grasshopper; it was a sign of a coming bad winter – we shall see. Especially as the two Holly trees are beginning to show the same. Autumn is well & truly on its way, the very large Ash has filled the garden with fallen leaves in the last week or so.

Although we now live in a small town, we have a number of large trees in the garden, horses pass by the house and a regular flow of farm machinery gives it a feeling of being in the country rather than a town.  Double plus good  🙂

Stand & stare.

Nikon F4: T-Max 400. Old UV filter with Vaseline.

What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.

No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.

No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.

No time to turn at Beauty’s glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance.

No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.

A poor life this is if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

William Henry Davies. (1871 – 1940)

A favourite beach.

A favourite beach at Masirah.

This beach gets big waves and a dangerous undertow during the ‘Khareef’ when the Monsoon winds hit around June to August, but for the rest of the year it’s perfect.
I loved the solitude of the area and could walk or sit for hours: never camping though. The odd time I have camped on beaches has never really filled me with enthusiasm, as the sand is not like the desert. Beach sand clings and gets everywhere, tent, boots, clothes, food & worst of all my Guinness   😉

 

Tin bowl – Jebel Harim: Musandam.

Nikon F4 with Non-Ai 135mm f/2.8 Nikkor on Kodak T-max 400.
From my negative files.

Made at an abandoned (?) village on Jebel Harim Musandam: I question the abandoned because the owners would leave their Jebel accommodation and move to the coast for a couple of months each year, for fishing and general trade, so I was never sure.
The people of this area of Oman are very interesting in many ways, according to recent research the ‘Shihuh’ who occupy most of the mountainous area are a mystery.
Paolo Costa, former head of Oman’s Department of Antiquities say  “Ethnically, we don’t know who they are, there is speculation that they are the original inhabitants of Arabia, pushed back into the mountains by successive Muslim and Portuguese invasionsThe Shihuh are semi-nomadic – farming their hillside terraces in the winter and living by the coast in summer to fish and harvest dates – their summer homes palm frond huts, their winter ones low stone houses that blend almost invisibly into the mountainsides. Another of the Shihuh’s peculiarities is that the men carry a long-handled axe (called a jerz) rather than the traditional curved Arab dagger, or khanjar. “The remains of some prehistoric weapon?”  (From Aramco World. Vol:34)
I have one of these axes from my time in the Musandam.

Other than arriving by sea, getting into the Musandam was very difficult and in some ways dangerous for outsiders; not only because of the lack of access (mountainous with precipitous cliffs) but also because the locals had a fearsome reputation. Whether justified or not, it did dissuade outsiders which achieved the result they wanted.
They speak a dialect of Arabic (A mixture of Arabic, Farsi and Urdu) which has probably evolved through several hundred years of isolation. Another area on the coast called Kumzar has a language very similar; a mix of Farsi, Arabic, Baluchi, Portuguese and English.
Since the mid – 1970’s there has been a development programme that is modernising the Musandam but still maintaining its culture and traditions. It welcomes tourists with modern hotels, 4×4 adventure camping, Dhow cruises and I have enjoyed some of the best diving in the Gulf. (Large Sharks, whale sharks & tropical reef fish)

Bukha Fort.

Bukha Fort – Nikon F4 / Nikkor 50mm f1.8D and Ilford Hp5 Plus film.
There has been substantial renovation since this image was made.

This fort may have been built in the 16th century by the Portuguese although doing a search for its history seems to show conflicting information. It was certainly used in the 17th century by Saif bin Sultan Al Ya’rubi. The distinctively shaped tower was constructed to deflect cannonballs; the fort was a lot closer to the sea than it is today and it had a ditch on at least three sides, that would fill with sea water.

Some interesting history from the book: The Ya’rubi dynasty of Oman. Raymond Denis Bathurst.

Sultan bin Saif Al Ya’rubi defeated Portuguese troops, who had been occupying certain coastal dominions. This liberated Omani trade and ushered in nearly a century of relative wealth and progress, until the death of Sultan ibn Sayf II and resultant break out of civil war in 1718.
The Al-Ya’ariba trace their descent from Ya’arab bin Kahtan, whom some date to about 800 BC. The family originated in Yemen and belonged to the Ghafiri faction. Nasir bin Murshid bin Sultan al Ya’Aruba (r. 1624-1649) was the first Imam of the Yaruba dynasty, elected in 1624. He moved the capital to Nizwa, the former capital of the Ibadhi Imamate. Nasir bin Murshid was able to unify the tribes with a common goal of expelling the Portuguese. He built up the Omani army and took the main towns as well as the forts of Rustaq and Nakhal. His forces threw the Portuguese out of Julfar (now Ras al-Khaimah) in 1633. In 1643 they took the fort at Sohar.
Nasir bin Murshid was succeeded by Sultan bin Saif (r. 1649-1688), his cousin. Sultan bin Saif completed the task of expelling the Portuguese. He captured Sur, Qurayyat and Muscat, expanded the fleet and attacked the Portuguese on the Gujarat coast. Under Sultan bin Seif and his successors Oman developed into a strong maritime power.The Omanis took many of the Portuguese possessions in East Africa. The first attack on Zanzibar, then held by the Portuguese, was in 1652. In 1660 Omani forces attacked Mombasa, forcing the Portuguese to take refuge in Fort Jesus. There was continued fighting between the forces of Portugal and Oman in the East African coast in the years that followed.
Bil’arab bin Sultan (r. 1679-1692) succeeded as Imam in 1679 after the death of his father, Sultan bin Saif. This confirmed that the succession was now hereditary, since his father had also succeeded dynastically, while in the Ibadi tradition the Imam was elected. Most of his reign was occupied in a struggle with his brother, Saif bin Sultan, who succeeded Bil’arab bin Sultan when he died at Jabrin in 1692.

Door latch with stud.

Nikon F4 / Nikkor 50mm f1.8 D AF on Ilford HP5 Plus.

Another from my negative files.
The building where this was made no longer exists: water erosion and general neglect took its toll.
Mud brick buildings at some of the ruins in Oman have suffered with the last two major cyclonic storms Gonu & Phet. Mud brick is very strong but needs constant attention if it is not to erode during heavy rain storms.

Rocks in wadi.


This sort of choke point is quite common in most of the major wadis in Oman. Finding a way around or over can be a challenge, especially in the summer months when the rock is warm (hot) and covered in fine dust.
Accumulation of rock like this one is the result of the many Cyclones Oman has endured over the centuries; well trodden paths and even Falaj get blocked. There are several instances were a whole village has moved because of the loss of water when a Falaj gets blocked or damaged beyond repair.