Travel Blog Part One: Unawatuna, Sri Lanka
Welcome to my Travel Blog!
Having struggled for the past few years with the old “why are we here?” question and the feeling that there must be more to life than the hum-drum 9 to 5 routine, I decided to take some serious time off to really think about it without the irritating distractions of work.
Oh, and also to take some pictures.
My blog is a record of our travels (me and my husband, Rich) across the Indian Subcontinent. Each blog entry is split into 2 parts: ‘The Place’ and ‘The Picture’, the first hopefully being self-explanatory and the second being an image from the location with some background and information on how it was taken. To illustrate my ramblings in ‘The Place’ section you will find some snaps taken with my Canon Ixus 105; ‘The Picture’ images are all taken with my beloved Canon 5D Mark II.
First stop: Unawatuna. As our flight into Colombo arrived in the wee small hours of Tuesday morning (11 Sep) we decided to throw in our lot with sleep deprivation and continue onto Unawatuna rather than spend a night in Colombo. Following the inevitable and nail reducing ‘ride of death’ by taxi from the airport to Fort Station, tickets to Galle were bought with boggling, and verging on suspicious, ease – when compared to the experience of buying tickets at the average Indian ticket office, that is.
The train takes around 3 hours (not as slow as you may think) and is perfectly comfortable in second class (see image above left). Hugging the coast most of the way, it’s a very pleasant journey – what I can remember of it, as after around an hour my head was seriously lolling onto my chest and Rich’s shoulder was increasingly covered in dribble.
Described by Lonely Planet as ‘a place of dreams: a banana shaped bend of golden sand massaged by a gentle sea of moonstone blue’ (who writes this stuff?!), Unawatuna is just a few minutes rickshaw ride from Galle. We are here a little off season which might account for the slightly less than ‘gentle sea’ – in fact I thought they were blasting behind the town until I realised it was the sound of the surf pounding on the rocks just around the headland… The beach is truly beautiful however and after the summer we’ve had in the UK I am NOT hard to please. There is a temple and pagoda on the headland at the west end of the beach – a great spot for views down over the bay. Lazy days of swimming, Kindle appreciation and the odd dawn photographic foray ensue…
For this trip I purchased a new Canon lens – the EF 24-105L, which is the only lens I’m carrying. Photo purists may scoà at this amateurish lack of kit but on a long duration backpacking trip, when all my gear has to be carried by one sweaty person – me! – the luxury of a wide choice of focal lengths has to be offset against practicality.
This image of Unawatuna was taken from a pagoda on the headland at the west end of the beach, just after dawn.The conditions were quite windy so to create some blur in the vegetation and sea I used an aperture of f/16 to generate a shutter speed of 6 seconds. A 2-stop ND grad Õlter was used to even up the exposure of the sky with the foreground and a 3-stop ND filter to further slow the shutter speed.
Conditions on that morning were far from perfect – I was hoping for some golden light on the trees and perhaps some pink in the sky but the sunrise was obscured by clouds. Following efforts were hindered by a combination of uncooperative weather conditions and a savage pack of beach dogs which seemed determined to keep me out of the temple – they were particularly vicious at dawn (possibly got out of bed on the wrong side?) and seemed to have a real dislike for my tripod…!