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Photos I like more then others

On board of a speedboat heading to Solovki. Pilgrims resting under protection of a local Saint.
I am not completely positive about who was the last owner of this space, probably army. People often refer to this building as abandoned artillery warehouse. This pattern of wall painting was quite typical at Soviet times. Not only in jails or army, but one can still find it in the kitchen of a communal apartment in downtown Moscow. I don't feel nostalgic though.
Geodesic Tower
One may ask, What so special about this photo? Not much besides it's very typical pattern for the White Sea shores. Not only for Solovki, but the entire Sea. You look at this photo and instantly recognize, this should be at the North, probably White Sea, most likely Solovki. Even you don't know anything about the stone dam connecting Big Island with Muksalma Island that built by monks in 1830s.
Sunset @ Muksalma
Just a sunset. Unlike Southern seas, at the North each sunset is somehow different. Here is the idea for a sucessful photo project or installation: 365 sunsets of Solovetskij Islands. Well there are white nights of course, when sun just stays up 24 hours. However I been there once during white nights, the sunsets are incredible, even sun is up.
Old bricks
I like this photo not only because it serves as a remainder about time of Gulag, Stalin's repressions, one of the last hints of what Solovki were at 1930s. The combination of low sun with old bricks and rusty metall creates colors of amazing energy. The impression is like if the wall is heated like a furnace.
Sunset Colors
Again I like this photo mostly for it pastel colors. I am amazed that digital camera could actually record the every subtlety of water and skies.
Old boat
Abandoned fishermen longboat. This kind of boats are mostly used for harvesting laminaria, which is the large seaweeds used in medicine and confectionery.
Rebalda kids
These kids spent summer with their parents in semi-abandoned village of Rebalda at Northern shores of Big Solovetskij island. They live in rusty cabin without even minor conveniences. While their parents fish or harvest seaweed, children can enjoy unrestricted freedom of sea and nature.
Father Iosif
Celebration of local saints Zosima and Savvatij. The monastery abbot Archimandrite Iosif serves mass on shore of the Svyatoje (Sacred) lake next to the monastery walls.
Faces from the past
Hundreds of pilgrims arrived to the Islands to participate in the celebration of local saints Zosima and Savvatij who believed to be patrons of the monastery and the islands. The majority of pilgrims are women. It's not a secret that all troubles and unrest of post-Soviet years hit women more severely then man. Many of them found last solace in religion. The faces you see on the photo are not average faces you see in Moscow or crowds of big cities. I feel their faces are more Russian in ancient sense, somehow this photo reminds me famous painting Boyarynia Morozova by V.I.Surikov refering to 17th century Russian Orthodox Church reform.
For the celebration of local saints Zosima and Savvatij priests and monks clad in best chasuble and cassocks participating in the mass.
Procession of monks and believers getting out of Transfiguration Cathedral after Sunday mass. Each Sunday mass is followed by spectacular procession around monastery walls.
For the the celebration of Transfiguration of Christ, the one of most important Orthodox holidays, the icon decorated with watermelon, fruits and vegetables. Blessing fruits and vegetables is an old Christian tradition dating back to times of apostles and symbolizing purification from the original sin.
At the Transfiguration Cathedral during holiday mass. Candles lit by pilgrims usually to ask saints for help, and various favors to them or their relatives or ask to rest in peace for the deceased one.
Kids playing in proximity of the Solovetskij Monastery.
This teenager girls trying to make pocket cash by selling postcards to tourists. They are quite shy and humble and never ask twice or push, quite a difference with similar situation in East-Asian countries. I remember in Vietnam several times I was surrounded by post-card girls literally tearing my clothes and bag apart forcing me to buy their merchandise.
A dog baths himself in last light of day.
Open-air shop offers not too large variety of goods to consumers of the remote island. It's better then nothing as anyone who survived empty shops of 70s and 80s would tell you.
Silhhouette of the monastery from the Sacred Lake. After 30 years of restoration the monastery finally looks close to how it used to look before all the troubles of 20s century took its heavy toll.
Lake in forest
Quiet sunset on a lake of the Big Island. There are 500 plus lakes on the Big Solovetskij island. Several large lakes connected through channels built by industrious monks in 19th century.
Kids on bike
Village kids playing with father's motorcycle.
Fishing in the sunset
Village kids fishing from the pier.
Sunset in the village
No one sunset in Solovki resembles another.
Fern forest
This photo of fern vegetation is more the test for my digital camera then anything else. The colors are authentic, unlike the sharpness. The problem is that I didn't have tripoid with me and had to use some tree stub instead. According to the EXIF info I closed aperture to F13, but with exposure of 1/15s and without tripoid it just couldn't be sharp enough.
Lighting conditions change, weather changes, season changes and monastery view never stay the same. This photo was taken just after sunset.
Silhouette in window
Pilgrim on her way to mass. This photo was taken from the gallery connecting central constructions in the monastery: Cathedral, Bell Tower and Refectory.
Holiday mass finished. Mid-day ligth falls on icon dedicated to Zosima, local saint and patron of Solovetskij monastery.
Washed children laundry and Teddy Bear hangs off the strings hold against wind by wooden clothes-pegs.
Tamarin Pier
Two huge buoys guard entrance to Tamarin pier allegedly named after wife of local captain Tamara. In clear weather one can see stone deserted islands Kuzova which dot the sea between Solovki and the west coast.
Orthodox monk on board of a boat heading towards holy island of Anzer.
Anzer. Monks walking to their hermitage.
It's maybe not so clear from this photo, but nature of Anzer is incredible. White sand beaches, lots of flowers and colors, silken mosses. It's one of the most beautiful places I ever been in my life.
One can see Big Solovetskij island accross the strait. Taken from the top of Mt. Calvary. Important Solovetskij toponymics is derived either from New Testament or from local hagiography such as e.g. Mt. Thabor in Muksalma.
Dancing tree
Anzer. Dancing tree.
Anzer. Remains of Troitskij Hermitage reflect in nearby lake.
Anzer. Near Troitskij Hermitage.
Anzer. Wooden houses next to Troitskij Hermitage. I feel there is perfect balance between green of vegetation, pink of fireweed or ivan chai and grey color of aged wood.
Troitskij Hermitage
Anzer. Troitskij Hermitage at sunset.
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