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Photographer's Note

My trip to Iran this month was not my first to that country, but the first where I have been outside of Tehran. One of the most interesting places that I visited was the village of Masuleh, tucked away up a valley in the Alborz Mountains, to the west of Rasht – the capital of Gilan Province in north-eastern Iran, about 150 km from the border with Azerbaijan. Masuleh is a very old farming village which hugs the side of the valley, with its narrow streets being built on the top of the roofs of the houses below.

Cars can only drive up to the base of the village – after that the streets are only wide enough for walking – and anyway the weight of cars on the roofs of the houses would probably make them collapse. Provisions are carted up to the shops and houses by old men using wheel barrows (who look incredibly fit despite some of them being 60-70 years of age).

Masuleh is at 1,050 metres so is often shrouded in cloud – as it was on the day I was there. However, I was lucky in that not long after I arrived, the cloud lifted somewhat which gave me a little more light for photography around the village. I was told that it is bitterly cold there in the winter with up to 2-3 metres of snow sitting on the ground for many months. (I suppose the roofs of the houses would have to be quite strong to carry that weight of snow).

After having spent the morning in warm weather on the Caspian Sea, I didn’t realise how cold it was going to be when I reached Masuleh. So I went to a local shop and bought a thick farmer’s waistcoat – made of 100% wool – for 14,000 tomans (about US$15) and that kept me warm for the time I was in Masuleh.

The blue tarpaulin in the top left is part of a small bazaar for tourists, but the great thing about this place was that prices were very reasonable and it was all good quality merchandise – not a T-shirt in sight and none of the usual cheap quality tourist junk.

The building with the green dome and two minarets on the left is the local mosque. I spent over an hour with the clone tool carefully removing an ugly electricity pylon and wires from the foreground of this photograph. Other than that there was no PP except sharpening.

I have posted another view to the workshop which was taken a little further up the valley from a bridge over the river. In that one the electricity pylon and wires are mostly covered by trees in the foreground (so I didn’t bother cloning them out in that shot). I was undecided which one I liked the best to post as the original. I liked the framing with the trees in the workshop post, but I thought this one looked better in the thumbnail and showed a bit more detail of the houses – so I went with this one.

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Additional Photos by David Astley (banyanman) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1237 W: 108 N: 2568] (7789)
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