Photographer's Note

As I sit here in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, choking on the smoke haze that is drifting across from Indonesia*, I can look through my watery eyes at this photograph taken in Spain last month and remind myself of what an unpolluted sky looks like.

This was a glorious late summerís Sunday afternoon in the Spanish capital. The young couple in the bottom right had taken up a position right in the middle of Madridís Plaza Mayor to take advantage of the sunbathing opportunity that the hot afternoon provided.

Plaza Mayor, at 300 ft x 360 ft (my photograph shows a little over a quarter of this Castilian Baroque plaza), is one of the largest public squares in Europe. Since the 16th century, it has been used for bullfights, executions, royal marriages, canonization of saints and many other significant events. I wonder if the young couple realised what history they were sleeping on?

PP: As I took this with an ultra wide angle lens, I did a perspective adjustment in PSE, resampled the image to bring it back to its original dimensions, and then USM at 250%. The apparent halo effect on the roofline is not due to PP Ė it was there in the original, possibly light reflecting off some roof capping.

[*Indonesian farmers use the slash and burn method to clear forests for agriculture. In the first dry season of the year, the smoke usually blows out into the Indian Ocean, but in the August to October period, before the second monsoon, the wind changes direction and it blows across to Singapore and Malaysia, polluting the air in those countries to unhealthy or hazardous levels for weeks on end. If you want to see what smoke haze looks like on film, here is a link to a photograph of the haze that I posted about this time last year. Spaniards are so lucky that they donít have such inconsiderate neighbours!]

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Additional Photos by David Astley (banyanman) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1231 W: 108 N: 2568] (7797)
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