Monday, 2 March 2015

Raiders of the Lost Ark


Here's a group photo of the official Raiders of the Lost Ark expedition in Axum, in northern Ethiopia  -  with the emphasis on the word 'Lost".   We certainly didn't find the Ark but, according to legend, this is the city where it ended up on its journey from the Holy land and it's now hidden away in a small nondescript church at the back of the ugly 60's St Mary's Cathedral, an edifice built by no less than Ras Tafari (Haile Selassie) himself. 
Tomorrow we head off to Lalibela to continue our quest.   Stay tuned.....

Tomb of Gebre Meskel, Aksum.This is a straight shot, four seconds at f11 with a bit of torchlight on the immediate right which adds a more interesting dimension. We added a Canon flash in the back chamber, another speedlight in the mid chamber, iPhone illumination nearest the camera (the greenish tinge) and a flashlight waving quickly up and down the walls and ceiling next to the camera on the RHS.
The exercise today was how to make a standard tripod shot (in a very dark place) look more exciting.
The answer is quite simple: add your own light either by using a flash or a torch or both.
Because the tomb we were in was very dark (it had two 40w globes) the straight shot (above) was OK but it could have been better.  Because the base exposure is long (4 secs) you have plenty of time to paint additional light into the darker corners. This took us about 10 mins to arrange and produced a much more interesting result.
This tiny tarpaulin-covered chapel is supposed to be where the Ark of the Covenant is stored. One priest looks after it and never leaves the immediate environment (behind that green fence). Food is sent in by a small army of novice monks. When this guardian dies, another is appointed, and in he goes.
The job description of Ark Guard includes becoming (on your death) holier than anyone else in the country - because you get to guard the Ark while no one else in the nation is allowed to see it.
The building behind it is a new chapel being constructed - because the current housing has a leaky roof (hence the tarp).

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