I recently read this beautiful poetry “Invictus” by William Ernest Henley. He wrote it from his hospital bed at the age of 26. He was suffering from tuberculosis of bones since childhood and at the age of 25, his leg had to be amputated to save his life. The poetry is full of inspiration and glory in the face of adversities. I especially liked the last line – “I am the captain of my soul”. One of the most famous connections of this poetry is the one with Nelson Mandela – it inspired and helped him to persevere through his days in prison.
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.
I left office early this evening because the weather looked promising for exploring Leiden through my lenses. It was cloudy the entire day. However towards the evening, sun peeked out through the clouds and the sky began to look quite dramatic. Once in the Leiden center, several things caught my attention. One of them was the Marekerk church besides a canal. The domb of the church looked beautiful which was further enhanced by the soft light from the sun playing hide-n-seek through the clouds. I took a few pictures of the church and was walking back. I then passed by a man who was squatting by the side of the road and carefully pulling out a camera from his bag. I tried to take a look at the camera and it looked like an old camera. I wasn’t sure if it was a film camera. For a moment, I thought it’s a Leica.
As I walked pass by him, we had a brief eye contact and seeing that we belong to the photography fraternity, we exchanged smiles. All the while, I was trying to figure out his camera but couldn’t! After walking for a few more yards, I turned back to see him again. I saw him pointing his camera towards the church dome and taking pictures. This surprised me as the spot where he was standing, in my opinion, was not a good spot as it didn’t provide a clear view to the church — only the dome was visible. I myself didn’t shoot the church from this spot and had walked couple of meters further.
I then took a close look in the direction in which he was taking pictures. I then realized and rushed myself there to shoot. He was actually shooting the rainbow which beautifully curved along the church dome. Given the position of the rainbow, the spot he chose was perfect. After taking pictures, I crossed him again. This time, I stopped to thank him for the beautiful shot which I would have otherwise missed.
He then said, “I’m curious to see how the picture would come. This is a film camera”. I said, “Oh ok. Interesting! You are using a film camera”. He continued, “It’s a black-n-white roll camera”. I was surprised, “Black-n-white!!!” I asked, “Any specific reasons why you are using B-n-W”? He said, “I recently bought this camera from a flee market for about 10 euros. I often buy old cameras and try them out. I also use a Canon digital camera”. I further asked, “Did you develop any pictures from this camera until now”? “Nopes. This is my first outing with it”, he said. We then greeted each other good bye and I walked away. Before leaving him, I took a picture of him with his camera. I turned back after a while and saw him taking more pictures from the same spot in the same direction.
I wished that the man’s picture comes out well. I could sense a kid-like excitement in the man when he talked about his camera and his hope for the picture of rainbow.
As I kept walking, the thought kept me occupied – “How would the rainbow look like in B-n-W?” Still intrigued by B-n-W rainbow, I edited my picture into a B-n-W picture.