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.
Critiques | Translate
asanak (1972) 2006-05-26 12:07
Very nice capture my friend.I love it.
Interesting POV, excellent colors . I like also the details.
Thanks and have a nice weekend
saamb (1008) 2006-05-26 15:16
Welcome to iran! you have gone to a beautiful village in iran. i'm glad that you know beauties of iran. your note about masuleh is thorough and useful. i like this nice shot from nice angle, nice colors and well composition. clouds are very nice too. tnx
stranger (726) 2006-05-27 5:13
I like this shot so much, the fog has given the shot great effect while photographer's widsom is obvious from his angel :)
P.S. Welcome to Iran David. I recommend you to visit some other places like Esphahan, Shiraz, Ardebil, Pasargad, Kashan,Kerman, ... Don't forget Carpet Musuem & Iran Bastan Musuem (Ancient Iran Musuem) in Tehran too :)
PJE (20758) 2006-05-27 11:23
David after reading you article on this photo I must confess to being really impressed with this place. You know what its like to see a remote place and after you leave something inside stays with you. I hope you still have that wool waistcoat you purchased. Your photo is a real eye opener to the rest of the world of this town. There are so many preconcieved ideas about what this country is like from the media. Thanks for providing the insight about this place. A real treat indeed to learn more about our world. I do hope you have more from this place. The clouds and fog add to the mystery of this town. A fine photo indeed!
gaby (19819) 2006-05-28 3:06
David bonjour and thank you very much to publy unknown places in TE - I prefer this one than the WS (the foreground is too important in this misty atmosphere) - This village is a little sad (maybe is this the atmosphere) but I like the architecture and your interesting note -
well done with all these details
feather (51130) 2006-05-28 5:16
I like both images David, but I think this one is better for showing us the detail of the place and how cramped together the houses are. Amazing how the road is built on top of the roofs. What patience too with the clone tool.
Polonaise (5802) 2006-05-28 15:53
As 100% journalistic as any other of your posts David, yet...This is different. It has that romantic touch of mysticism and only your excellent, and very informative note brought me back to earth.
I'll go there with my wife for second honeymoon rather than Las Vegas or Niagara Falls.
I believe I have to hurry up before the 'nukee' politics get really nasty.
rbcy1974 (20758) 2006-05-29 7:29
the view is really nice and definelty a place I am thinking about visiting soon, however I think it is missing a bit of contrast, you should try to up the levels and contrast a bit.
capthaddock (28790) 2006-05-29 15:35
Hi David - another fascianting insight into a laess accessible terrain, very moody, this type of weather is quite unexpected from my preperceptions of this region, s scene that could just as well be in Bosnia, excellent informative note as usual and the clone work also perfectly done.
Amirsun (2122) 2006-05-31 15:40
Salaam, David ;)
Very nice shot with a good note attached, The composition and quality are very good and I like the up side of your shot faded behind fogs.
Tanks for posting.
oochappan (22043) 2006-06-11 2:50
Tha's beautiful all the gradiant mist here in this view of the town, well captured David.
Stepan (27210) 2006-07-17 17:14
I like this kinf of atmosphere, silent, humide, mystic, mysterious... You captured that well, with the mist calling for us on the hill... Great pov. TFS.
fserajian (2295) 2006-09-30 13:57
An excellent composition, love the fog has covered some of the buildings. TFS
- Copyright: David Astley (banyanman) (7789)
- Genre: Places
- Medium: Color
- Date Taken: 2006-05-17
- Categories: Architecture
- Camera: Nikon D100, Nikkor AF-S 24-120/3.5-5.6G ED
- Exposure: f/4, 1/60 seconds
- Photo Version: Original Version, Workshop
- Date Submitted: 2006-05-26 11:43