The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus

The Turkish flag It was up sticks and off as soon as the light was right and a dash to the location the light at the end of the day drops really quickly so it was important to plan this right. The composition was to connect the flag and the message with the land. Happy is the man who is born a Turk the message in a land like this, it was obviously true.

9. The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.

where land, sky and sea meet. Worth the climb to this elevated position. The mountains stretched all along the coast to to the city of Girne. During the process of taking this a buzzard flew past its wild and eiry call just adding to the atmosphere of peace and natural beauty high in the mountains.
New dawn, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. Worth the 5pm rise andtaking the winding staircase to the roof to see a new dawn and a sky filled with dramatic cloud such as this. It was a regular occurance until I happened upon a sky as good as this. Thirty minutes later and it was all gone the sun rises so fast The foreground trees are lemons the smell was divine
For over a decade now we have been returning to The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) – very much in a holiday capacity to unwind from the stresses of busy jobs. We are really enchanted by Northern Cyprus and its people and so too have my aunt and uncle been as they bought a home in a beautiful village which is a home in the sun of peace joy and tranquillity which they generously share with the family today.

Over the years we have come to know several areas close to their home quite well so, with camera in hand I finally found a way of recording what I was seeing – an ever changing landscape and a traditional way of life that appeared to be threatened by the advancement of modernity.

You have to be up very early to catch the morning sunrise in TRNC but I don’t have far to go to see it some spectacular sunrises – 20 metres or so takes me to the roof top of my aunt and uncles villa with views along the coast and back towards the Besparmak mountains stretching down the Karpas area.

Days are long and hot in the summer months and midday temperatures mean a retreat indoors, under a parasol or to a local coffee shop to sip the local Turkish coffee or a cool beer and while away the time sharing stories with the locals – what a life! Despite the wonderful sun being constant through the summer months, its very tricky and hard work as a photographer in such heat and intense light to photograph the TRNC at its best. The contrasts at midday and several hours either side, produce really strong contrasts of deep shadows and reflective highlights which are difficult to expose for – not impossible but, considering sunrise and sunset are the best hours, why not stay in that coffee shop?

Five Finger mountain. The unmistakable curving peak and sharp artes of the Five finger mountain part of the Besparmak mountain range stretching like a backbone through TRNC, here seen bathed in early morning light.
Local landscape
Within close proximity to my aunt and uncles Turkish home are some very beautiful areas to explore and photograph.

St. Hillarion castle mountain view. Aportrait view to emphasis the height of the view and a strong diagonal in design to draw the eye to light and dark shades throughout. the exposure was tricky. I first assessed a 9point meter reading in the shadows, then the same for the high key mid tones and compensated between. Adding a Lee circular polariser witht he perfect angle to the sun ensured no banding in the sky. Happy with this.
Ozankoy village church bell tower. The warm evening sun through the village was creating a beautiful contrasting glow of light and dark on the old bell tower of the old village church using a wide angle lens to emphasise the height of the tower and leaning back sat o an old bench in front of the building tilting the lens upwards further aided the extreame angle. Ilove the simplicity of the composition and the minimal colours. A polariser helped intensify that deep inky blue of the sky.
Planning ahead I was able to capitalise on areas I’d not been to before and not photographed the previous year. We travelled much further afield in different directions to high mountain castles with fantastic aerial views, mountain drives through areas of outstanding natural beauty with ancient pines offering equally spectacular views and along the Karpas. Some of the best sites of ancient antiquity are to be found within the Karpas, many though needing you to be fully alert to find them!

The wilder side of the Karpas has its attractions too, not least, the ‘wild’ donkeys which live and roam throughout the area.

They are not so much wild as liberated, being descended from Cypriot domestic donkeys left to roam over the Karpas Peninsula National Park as many were abandoned during the 1974 ‘Intervention’ (part of the ongoing dispute between the Turkish side and Greek side of Cyprus when, Turkey intervened to protect the interests of its people when Greece tried to unify the whole island under Greek rule). And so, many domestic Greek donkeys were ‘released’ as the Greeks (for different reasons) left them behind so the donkey’s roamed freely.

They are very beautiful animals and full of character. In the winter when hungry they have however, played havoc with the local farmers raiding their crops. So now the donkeys are ‘confined’ to a large expanse as a protected area at the end of the Karpas peninsular.

When the sun sets along the coast and over the fields of this ancient land, the light and colours are spectacular – you have to work quickly though and choose your compositions carefully – 1 hour at most and its all gone.

Karpas shepherds. The unmistakable friendly faces of Northern Cypriots taking a well earned rest from their rewarding work in the heat of the day.
Twilight soon develops into darkness after an evenings shoot along the Karpas and the roads and highways, although new and straight, are long! Emptying the car of our gear it was amazing to see just how much water we had both consumed! It had been a long day but exhilarating too – especially to see the beautiful azure seas and white sandy beaches either side of the peninsular, (especially those were the loggerhead turtles come ashore to lay their eggs). and... too see those long eared fabulous donkeys too!

Colourful boat, colourful character This Turkish gent was the proud owner of this wonderful boat he told me he sailed across the Mediterranean from Turkey each year...just for the orange juice
Ozankoy village local. Relaxing from a life of hard work, this local Northern Cypriot gent was taking his time enjoying others now at work...including me
Bellapais restaurant owner. Many of the local village men gather together at the cafe The Tree of Idelness made famous by the author Laurance durell in the morning to exchange gossip and share stories whilst drinking coffee. Awaiting his coffee gave me the perfect opportunity for a relaxed portrait. I could have syayed doing nothing in such heat was quite an intoxicating thought
The castle keeper.With breath taking views, nature all around you, a relaxed peaceful atmosphere, who wouldnt be smiling. This castel keeper at Kantaras castle along the Karpas was certainly enjoying his job. What a fabulous office

Bellapais abbey. Batherd in the late evening light the abbey realy is an Abbey of peace. Walking along one of the opposite sides to the main courtyard I could not resist the urge to frame part of the abbey between two off the tall prines growing in the well tended courtyard. Timing of my visit was essential the strength of the sun bleached all the colour until this final glowing hour. The previuos day I had walked high into the mountain you see behind the village and the Abbey to take the following image.
A constant changing land. Walking high into the mountains above Bellapais village the route wound on and on until I was rewarded with this scene a land spreading out far below me across the plain all the way to the sea. I used a 70-200 telephoto to compress the vista, pick out a section to compose the village of Bellapais and the city of Girne and its port all in the same frame a rarety indeed The true constucton of Bellapais abbey can really be judged from such an elevated position too.

Setting sun on a sun drenched earth. The sun, having done its job for the day and transfered its energy to the soil of this rich and firtile land, began to set behind the hills along the Karpas. The barn says it all man and nature in harmony.
The circle of life The Karpas, Northern Cyprus. Life within a smal rock pool...and then the bigger picture.

Mad dogs and Englishmen. The heat of the day in August in Northern Cyprus is quite staggering and quite literally too if you do not drink enough water Here at Ronas Bay down the Carpas peninsular I must admit, I was stuggling to take this shot in the intense heat but was determined to do so as the saturated colours and viewpoint selected was too interesting to forego. The desision to include just a small portion of the sky to draw the attention to the natural plant life and foreground pine tree was a consious one. The only people on the beach was the two of us the camera was almost too hot to touch and had to be protected taking this photograph through a T-shirt
The old beach pine. this old beach pine had finally given up its struggle for survival here in this beautiful wild beach. The wonderful small from the pines filled the air as i waited for the very slow moving clouds to work their way into the exact position I wanted to become three separate shapes starting at the base od the old pine. The camera was wearing the T-shirt
Karpas young donkey. Wandering freely amongst the land quite often they are to be found and tollarated amongst flocks of sheep and other far animals very beautiful and enchanting animals.
Hierarchy. Close to the end of the Karpas this strong male wandered across the road in search of water thirsty work indeed fighting to lead your own heard and for the right to mate. You can see the bite marks inflicted by other combatants on his flank and the dried mud from kicking up earth from previous encounters with rival males.