Göltur (445 metres) lies at the mouth of Súgandafjörður in the Westfjords of Iceland. Telltale birthmarks betray its glacial past – a flat top and abrasion bands on its sides. A full appreciation of the mountain’s majesty can only be had from the air.


5D Mark II, Zeiss ZE 50 f/2 Makro Planar

Göltur, seen from Staður í Vatnadal farm

Göltur, seen from Staður í Vatnadal farm
5D Mark II, TS-E 24L II

  • Borkur - November 10, 2011 - 6:22 am

    Nice !, didn´t notice the colors until now. Good work.ReplyCancel

With its fields, hills, and a lovely beach, the historic village of Candolim in Goa was once a picture of serenity and beauty. The beach has now vanished through erosion and encroachment, and the fields & hills scarred by ugly concrete.

The Church of Our Lady of Hope (Nossa Senhora da Esperança) was built in 1667 in what is referred to as a Neo-Mannerist style. (For details, see The Parish Churches of Goa by José Lourenço, Amazing Goa Publications, 2005.)

This kind of photograph – where the vertical lines are held vertical – is made possible by Tilt-Shift lenses.

Our Lady of Hope, Candolim

Our Lady of Hope, Candolim (1667)
5D Mark II, TS-E 24L II


This image of the same church, from across the Nerul river, was taken on a murky monsoon morning. [Added: If you look carefully at the image below, the church appears slightly tilted. That is because the towers are not both exactly parallel, and furthermore, there is a small divergence in the facets of each tower as well. Therefore, I had to make a choice while leveling the image. One easy fix would have been to use the Puppet Warp tool in Photoshop.]

Church of Our Lady of Hope in Candolim, Goa

A monsoon morning in Candolim, Goa
5D Mark II, Zeiss ZE 100 f/2 Makro Planar

  • Anu - November 15, 2011 - 5:16 pm

    Beautiful pictures. The lush greenery, the serenity of the church and the speck of the white cross higher up on the slopes is well-captured!ReplyCancel

  • Agustin - November 9, 2011 - 12:38 pm

    Most Beautiful ChurchReplyCancel

  • Sanjeev - November 9, 2011 - 12:22 pm

    You notice the awfully ugly aluminium windows that have marred the facade of the otherwise beautiful church.

    Without any guidelines and regulations, several monuments in Goa are getting defaced.ReplyCancel

Centrum is a new hotel (2005) in the heart of Reykjavík, located on Aðalstræti, the oldest street in town. Its buildings are modeled after a style prevalent here around 1900. Viking ruins discovered during its construction are now featured in a museum housed in the basement. A very short stroll brings us to Borg, the city’s iconic hotel overlooking the central square Austurvöllur. It was built in 1930 in the Art Deco style.

These photographs were taken around midnight in summer.

Hotel Reykjavík Centrum

Hótel Reykjavík Centrum
5D Mark II, TS-E 17L

Hótel Borg

Hótel Borg
5D Mark II, TS-E 17L

  • Sanjeev - November 7, 2011 - 4:17 am

    Text book material for TS lens !!ReplyCancel

  • S.Suresh - November 5, 2011 - 6:19 am

    Wow. Nice buildings and nice wide angle. And the light is lovely.ReplyCancel

This is the launch of a new series – the photographic documentation of the ancient Vetal idols of Goa. A few images have been included in earlier posts; those and the ones to follow are now consolidated at this link.

In the village of Amona, the idol is fitted with a gleaming shell and wrapped in colourful vestments.

Vetal-bab of Amona, Goa

Vetal of Amona, Goa
5D, 24-105L


The ancient deity of Vetal, its iconography and associated rituals, are important elements of, and unique to, Goa‘s Hindu tradition. The deity was most likely worshipped by the Austric Gauda tribe, Goa‘s earliest settlers, and later embraced by the Nath Panthis between the 10th & 13th C. Eventually it came to be absorbed into the larger Hindu pantheon. Details of the Vetal mythos are here.

A mere 50 or so out of the hundreds of ancient Vetal sites in Goa survived the iconoclasm by the Portuguese. Every single site in the Bardez and Tiswadi talukas was destroyed. For instance, before the foreign invasion, the village of Taleigao was a strong centre of Vetal worship, but I doubt you will find a single current resident of the area with any memory of this past.

The Vetal praxis serves to define the circumference of Goa‘s cultural influence which extends beyond its current geographic borders. Vetal worship is prevalent in the Sindhudurg district of southern Maharashthra and unsurprisingly, the people there have strong emotional and cultural bonds to Goa.

Traditionally the images of Vetal were cast out in the open with provision for a simple roof overhead. After all, as the village protector, he was expected to be out on his nightly patrol. To this day, offerings of footwear are made at his temples. Buffalo sacrifice was once common but is now far less so. Fowl and goat are still routinely offered (but don’t tell that to the malcontents from PETA).

The evolution of the depiction of the Vetal image itself is interesting. Traditionally, he preferred to go au naturel, and so the idols were displayed that way. But nowadays the ‘naked truth’ makes people somewhat uncomfortable, and therefore in several temples he has reluctantly taken to wearing the dhoti. (Reminds me of Bertrand Russell who wrote that whoever coined the phrase “the naked truth” must have perceived the connection that nakedness is shocking to most people, and so is truth.)

During the years 2006-2008, I set off on Vetal‘s spoor and checked off 45 of the surviving old sites in Goa (around 5 still to go). I scored many delightful images, confirming the televangelical geezer Pat Robertson‘s view that we Hindus are indeed worshippers of the devil (nothing gives me more pleasure than spending quality time with the devil).

Vetal temple at Amona

Vetal temple at Amona
5D, 24-105L


A weathered farmhouse in the Eyjafjöll region of south Iceland, interpreted in black-and-white and colour.

Steinar farm in Eyjafjöll, south Iceland

Steinar farm in Eyjafjöll, Iceland
5D Mark II, TS-E 24L II

Steinar in colour

Steinar farm in colour
5D Mark II, TS-E 24L II

  • Anu - November 15, 2011 - 5:48 pm

    It’s almost a day and night difference between the two pictures :) The same hills look so menacing in the black and white picture; a bit more mellow in the colored one. Colors are captured beautifully in the second one…the house looks so striking in the lush green dotted with yellow. The tire marks define the pathway leading straight to the cottage….nice perspectiveReplyCancel

  • Jon - November 3, 2011 - 2:16 pm

    I agree with Thomas. The black and white is very dramatic.ReplyCancel

  • Thomas Pindelski - November 2, 2011 - 10:15 pm

    There must be something about Iceland which lends itself to monochrome, and while I believe black and white is too often an excuse to make a poor color picture interesting (not the case here, I hasten to add, as both work) the black and white version just seems so brooding and powerful compared to the color one.ReplyCancel