Englishman in Bandung

By Vodkaman

Night watchman

Awoken by the metallic clunking of my night watchman's steel baton, as he taps it on the concrete sidewalk and steel gate posts, as he does his rounds. The idea is to warn intruders that the area is protected and at the same time, lets the paying residents know that he is doing his job.

In between rounds, he sits by his fire, lit from scraps of wood that he finds on his travels, often left out for him by the residents. If I have been doing some table saw work, I always hand over the scraps. Careful what you leave out, as it will likely end up on the fire.

A few months ago, I heard an explosion right outside. The guy had put some rubbish onto his fire, but someone had discarded a used disposable cigarette lighter in the rubbish. He was well shaken up and received a few burns on his hand and face, but refused to go to the hospital.

As you can see from his attire, he feels the chill of the night air, despite the temperature being a very comfortable 24°C (75°F). He is always amused by me just wearing a light T-shirt, but I guess it is what you are used to. The first time I took my wife back to the UK, she was curled up on the sofa in front of the fire, covered in blankets, for three days.

The photograph was difficult with the slow exposure, as he kept moving and looking at the camera. But after twenty minutes of me sat in front of him with my tripod, he tired of the camera and relaxed, only then was I able to get what I was looking for. Sometimes you need a lot of patience to out wait your subject and get the blip.

As I took this shot, he adjusted the fire wood, sending up a few embers, which made all the difference and is why I chose this particular shot for my blip. The plank shows movement, but does not detract from the image for me.


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