Sunday, May 25, 2008

Lion Down On The Job Again

It's Time To Dance A Simba Samba

Photographs copyright: DAVID McMAHON


It was late evening, the light had begun to fade, and there was no colour in the sky at all, so it was a bit of a challenge to make these photographs work. It was September 2005 and I was in Montreal, halfway through a ten-day photography assignment for the Canadian Tourism Commission.

These lions are at the entrace to Chinatown and because the light wasn't great, I decided to work with unusual angles instead. I had to work quickly, because the light was degenerating swiftly. As you can see at the mid-point of the first frame (above) a lot of the restaurants already had their streetside lighting on.

I shot these with a Canon EOS 3000, using multi-purpose 400 ASA Kodak film. Lions play such an important part in Chinese culture and as soon as I saw these white concrete lions, I was reminded of the similar ones that guard Chinatown in my home city of Melbourne, which suddenly seemed very far away.

In the second frame (below) I was practically flat on my face trying to get the lion into the frame with a generous view of the overhead archway. I guess it must have been worth all the effort, because if you look carefully, you can see the "twin" lion on the other side of the street.

Like the Eagles used to sing, ya just can't hide your lion eyes!

Check out the rules at Camera Critters or go to Misty Dawn.

32 comments:

Tammy said...

We can always count of you for an unusual CC post, I LOVE IT!!!

Sue said...

Beautiful statuary!

This is my first week playing along, if you have a moment please do stop by :)

Texas Travelers said...

Great photos. You made it look so easy. ;o)

Our CC is on the move,
Come visit,
Troy

Misty Dawn said...

Scary lions there David. I'm sincerely thankful you weren't injured taking such risky photos ;-)

Betsy said...

Beautiful!

Michele (Rocky Mtn.Girl) said...

Great post, excellent photo and now I just KNOW I'm gonna be humming that Eagles tune all day long... *sigh*
The Rocky Mountain Retreat

SandyCarlson said...

These are might gatekeepers. This post is a wonderful reminder that cultures don't stand still or stay home.

Charles Gramlich said...

I always wondered about the history of the Chinese lion in art and architecture. It's so stylized but I wonder if it's because of some contact with an extinct subspecies.

Sharon said...

Great shots, love the last one.

Me & my puppies said...

Nice shots ~ thanks for sharing a bit of the Chinese culture.

Indrani said...

Unique take on the 'critters'. :)
We have similar ones here in Bangalore.

Jennifer H said...

I should be singing that song in my neighborhood (except my latest post was about mountain lions)!

Clever, as always. Great shots, and your effort to capture the shot always seems to pay off. Lucky us.

Sandi McBride said...

As soon as I saw those fat clownish lions I knew you had to be in Chinatown somewhere! They have a look of the dragon head, but not fierce, fun...great photographs David!
Sandi

ratmammy said...

This photo would have fooled me if not for your blog.. i would have thought it was in China!

Juliana RW said...

I miss going to China Town :D Nice shot

My CC in here Thanks

Carletta said...

I agree with Tammy about the unusual - but it is unique! I'm laughing at Misty's comment :)
Great post.

Maggie May said...

Glad they didn't pounce on you when you took the pictures! I really think picture two is brilliant! The echo of the second lion& the slanting arch makes it a dramatic picture!

Merisi said...

Great lion!
The archway above Simba was worth being pratically flat on your face, I'd say. *g*

How bout asking your fellow readers/photographers about the most peculiar position they have ever gotten into to get a shot just right?
I can honestly say it was not flat on my face where I once landed, much to the entertainment of onlookers. ;-)

babooshka said...

Lateral thinking is another winner.

fishing guy said...

David: Very funny lion and he has a partner.

i beati said...

roar

storyteller said...

I enjoyed your ‘lions’ and the info about how you decided to ‘capture’ them. I appreciate your feedback about the ‘angles’ in the rainy day photos I shared yesterday at Small Reflections. My Camera Critters is up there today. I’ll give some thought to your ‘Weekend Wandering’ question and perhaps respond later when I post BYBS on my other blog, Sacred Ruminations … linking back here if I do so ;--)
Hugs and blessings,

Hilary said...

Wonderful shots. If I didn't already know that this was located on St. Laurent, I'd have guessed Mane Street. ;)

the teach said...

David, love this CC post! Your contortions to get the shots were worth it! I've joined for the first time this week. I don't have critters in my life so I went out and found some. :D

Daryl said...

I had a bit of deja vu ... my mother had two small carved lions just like that .. someone who traveled to somewhere brought them back for her .. I wonder what happened to them .. this could have been their mother or father.. hard to tell from that POV .. heh heh

:-Daryl

Heart of Rachel said...

Those shots turned out really great. I think lions are considered auspicious beings.

backpakker said...

great angles..interesting that oriental culture borrows a lot of inspiration from animals ..
Lakshmi

Rhea said...

Cool lions! You are determined to stand out and be unique, I see, once again. I like the lions though, very nice.

polona said...

amazing detail in these lions.
you did very well given the conditions

CrazyCath said...

Great critters! You do the Eagles (another critter eh?) a disservice there! lion eyes indeed. Hmph!

Great shots though - especially that 2nd one. Well worth the effort.

I'm a day behind you as usual so mine are just up in the last few hours - come over and meet my family of critters! My odd shots won't be up for at least 16 hours... lol

I'll check out your interview with Lime in a bit too - she has a great blog - but for now, more urgent things. Like trying to learn how to beat the boy at Mario Kart...
(Just snuck a quick look at the blog in a break!)

AppleDebbie said...

David... If I said I didn't like your photos I'd be LION. Great shots as usual!

andrée said...

Beautiful photos, David! Next time I'm up there (which may be soon because my son is coming up from Washington DC to visit this summer but always goes to Montreal soon) . . . I'll be sure to look these up.