“Take a photo of your hand. Post it untouched, without any digital enhancements. Then, tell us about your settings (and shooting conditions) and what you would do to enhance… post capture. For those of you that like to run enhancements – post that too, as a before and after.”
When I read what the challenge was, I didn’t even have to think about what I’d do. I immediately knew just what pictures I’d be posting. I already had them in my files! My pictures were taken simply using the point and shoot setting. And the auto flash. My conditions? The night cold was still hanging in the air. The lighting? Bright African morning sun diffused by the plastic and nylon of a greenish tent.
This is my right hand.
And, for good measure, this is my left hand.
I am in my tent in Chiwala, Zambia. I took these picture this past July 19th at 0810. I had just finished cleaning up after breakfast. We’d been in Chiwala (and in Zambia for that matter) for just a few days, but already my hands were a mess. You see, I cooked all of our meals over charcoal braziers. That charcoal had to get out of the bags and into those braziers somehow, and the only really workable method for that was by good old-fashioned digging in and pulling it out by hand. We tried it with plastic bags on our hands, but the charcoal was sharp and made short work of the plastic. The charcoal still got into every pore and every crease. It got down into your cuticles and under your nails. And it didn’t come off or out. Well, on laundry day, some of the stuff came out of the pores and creases, but my cuticles and nails were perma-coaled. Remember, the charcoal was sharp! Trying to scrape it out from under your nails was like forcing slivers of wood down into your nail beds! After cooking like that for six weeks, I was still getting charcoal out from under my nails for days after I got home. I took the pictures because I couldn’t believe I was cooking food with hands that looked like that! And me, a nurse! I got over it. Charcoal just looks bad…you can eat it with impunity. (You might find it interesting to know that the charcoal the Zambians make burns nearly completely clean. It leaves practically zero residue on the bottoms of pots and there is no blowing ash. Quite an amazing fuel source for open fire cooking! The complicated process was explained to me in part, but other than lighting the wood on fire and burying it in pits for weeks until it burned into charcoal, I don’t remember much of the details!)
Here’s a couple of “background” photos (also taken in Chiwala) to go along with my charcoaled hands:
On the left: digging charcoal out of its bag. On the right, scrambling eggs over a charcoal brazier for breakfast. (See that metal box sitting atop another brazier to the far right of the picture on the right? That was my oven! It had bisquits in it that morning.)
Click here to see my other Round Robin entries.
Please visit the other Robins to see what they’ve done with this challenge! The linking list can be found at the Round Robin website: Click to GO THERE!