Saturday, September 27

Uganda: A Hole In The Storm Of Heartbreak?

Ida Amin's demagoguery warped the sentiment of Ugandans into their will. Tyrant's snatch power by  turning hope against fact. It's their promises of romantic hope that pummels reality with ferocious storms. 

Pedaling exhaustingly above those clouds, do Ugandans wonder now, is the tempest impending or receding? Is this a hole or an end in their storm of heartbreak?

Uganda is as close to Eden as a place might get. High up above the equator, it's climate's fixed in the range we call delightful. Uganda's green, lush, and fertile: Croesus' rich in precious minerals. Everything will grow there but prosperity. It's people have created a place between promise and performance. Perhaps when nature yields without resistance, there are fewer muscles of will to separate reason from madness?

*GEEK STUFF* The image was captured high into Uganda's south-western mountains with my Canon 7D through its EFS 17-85mm (f4-5.6). PP in PS4. The wispy/cloudy texture screens and brushes are mine. I cross processed it in part with AlienSkin's Exposure 4 and my own palette imaginings. And the details were selectively enhanced with Topaz Adjust 5.

Friday, September 26

Uganda: To The High Plain

Uganda sits atop a plateau and it's nestled within a rim of mountain ranges that feed its giant lakes and create it's potential to feed all of Africa from rich, dark, deep, moist soil. Climb the western range toward the Congo and there's a high veld… a plain dappled with grasses and tree clusters. Fifty years ago it teemed with marquee animal life. Idi Amin slaughtered much of it. 

Since his exile in the late 70s the country's worked to bring them back in protected national parks. On our fifth day in-country we climbed through the clouds to the south-eastern Queen Elizabeth park, the nation's largest. 

And along the way children gestured at our white faces.

I captured these boys and truck with my Canon 7D through its Canon EFS 17-85mm (f4-5.6). PP in PS4 painting in localized glows and textures created with multiple layers of Alien Skin's Bokeh2, and then cross processed part of the image in Alien Skin's Exposure 4.I added the gritty grain to emphasize the glowing pieces of cloud.  I finished it with a hint of vignetting and then the borders, text, and signature. 

Don't the cloudy mists paint a mysterious patina over the mountain road? 

Thursday, September 25

Amsterdam Layover: The Canals of Summer

BTW:  Between Newark New Jersey and Entebbe, Uganda - we laid over - both ways in Amsterdam. Uh-huh, two afternoons and nights in Holland's capital. Can't wait to get back for longer. But, still it is astonishing how much we packed into those Amsterdam hours. And how much there is to pack in.

These three snapshots I grabbed with my iPhone. See, to all of my, er, critical friends… I can still take pictures that look like, well, pictures. Amsterdam, like a hot woman, really doesn't take a bad picture.

Did I go to the legendary Red Light District? Heh heh… wait and see, K?

Tuesday, September 23

Uganda: It's Wealth

Uganda has Africa's highest birth rate. The population about doubles each decade. That's a problem that also makes it the youngest nation on that continent, and perhaps the world. There is apparently a law in the country. I mean, there must be. There must be legislation forbidding ugly people from leaving their homes. Here's what I mean… (click on an image to expand it, K?)

Doesn't every girl want a big brother like this?
These are farmers and families of the Village of Mytiana, Uganda.

And here's their teacher.

Sunday, September 21

Uganda: The Butcher Shop

Mityana, Uganda, a couple of weeks ago on August 9, 2014… Here's a butcher shop at mid-day on Saturday. There's something compelling about the grit… the texture… the moody aura of wispy, shimmery, hues.

The men cut hunks to order… wrapped them in banana leaves… Notice, no scales! And their body language… They're friends laughing with buddies. Social shopping. Was this a painting? Did my brushes better shape and suck at this feeling? Hmmmm…
Click on this version.
Sometimes an image is floaty, misty… You know? Poetry's always ambiguous, right? It's the nature of a poem to poke tack-clear meaning into your feelings. So do paintings, particularly oils. But pull out a tool from your logical toolkit and you just can't crack into the things. 

Over the next while, I'm going to try to tell you feelings about Uganda. We visited there between August 7-14th. People come back from Africa with photo cards crammed full of stereotypes. You know, the dancing, barefooted, scar-faced warriors in bones, furs, and piercings. Or bare-breasted, neon-skirted women, snowcapped mountains, smirking terrorists, fat-bellied, fly-eyed, starving infants… Odd foliage, rainbow birds, screeching monkeys, you know, those exotic muscles packaged inside of tough hides and pelts. Man-eaters. And yeah, those are African things. But...

Those aren't what I found either in Ugandan cities, or deep in the equatorial countryside… WHERE THERE IS NO JUNGLE! Jungles are all gone in most of this country. Nope. This butcher shop's what's there. These guys are probably cutting up goat or cows, not some sort of lion, hippo, snake, or monkey. They mostly eat what we eat coated with local spices surrounded by native veggies. 

And they dress like these men. They mostly speak the same English like once-British colonialists do all over the world, including here in the states. Lots, perhaps a majority, of adults carry cell phones, many smart phones. They watch American movies, TV, listen to American music, and read sensational tabloids. 

Me? I came back with pieces of feelings… This butcher shop… It's one. Maybe it ought to be a painting like this second image? Dunno. You think? Maybe Africa is better communicated with poems and brushes. I'm going to see as this series rolls out.