Tag Archives: photography

Weekly Photo Challenge: Motion

September 20, 2014 – Indonesia:Day003

Motion is the theme this week from WordPress’s photo challenge and my entry is on fire.

On the night the family and I went to the zoo in Bali, Indonesia, we were also treated to a performance of African dancing.

In addition to people in costume as giraffes and elephants, the troupe also played with fire. Courtesy of the low light and the long time the lens of my camera stayed open, this is what I caught when I snapped of photo of this flammable spectacle in motion.

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Pile of Rocks

March 15, 2015 – Cambodia: Day 002

Okay, we’re back to the crankiness when it comes to my reflections on Angkor, the UNESCO World Heritage Site and place that once stood as the seat of the Khmer Empire for seven centuries.

There is no doubt that this site is impressive.

There is no doubt that this site is massive.

There is no doubt that this site is awe-inspiring.

There is no doubt that this site requires a guide if you ever go (and a dress code also).

There is also no doubt that this site is in ruins.

Trust me, I know it sounds odd to lament the fact that a ruin looks…well, ruined…and that a collection of buildings built over a millenia ago looks like the cleaners haven’t come by in about three hundred years, but it’s true about this Cambodian treasure.

The fact that there were piles of rocks strewn about and that there were piles of rocks stacked up in aesthetic manners, for me, took a bit of shine off this place.

Maybe I’m just an archaeological snob. Maybe I’ve been ruined by our Peruvian experience to Machu Picchu and Ollantayambo where those locations looked like the place had been taken care of. Or at least cared about.

Below are just a sample of images of what I saw to explain what I mean…

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For the rubble that is stacked neatly on the ground, I should point out that each rock has a number on it. Our guide informed us that this is done so that – at some point in the future – the material can be placed back in its original location. Preservationists and other scholarly type folk came through Angkor and dismantled parts of the complex that were in danger of collapsing. The removed material is cataloged and stored (usually on the ground) with the intention of returning the structure to its original grandeur.

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For the rocks lying in a pell-mell manner, I saw no classification.

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I did snap this shot below of someone’s handiwork who decided to take some of the rubble and make their own structure. It’s not part of the original Khmer plan, but it still looked good.

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Travel Theme: Mischievous

January 6, 2015 – New Zealand:Day 001

From the website Where’s My Backpack, the weekly photo theme is mischievous.

My entry for this week takes us to Auckland, New Zealand.

While walking around the city on our way to the Sky Tower, our traveling vacationing family came across a bus, advertising the local aquarium, that was shaped a tad differently.

Oh, when the shark bites...

Oh, when the shark bites…

Okay, let’s rev up the Pun-O-Matic and see what it spits out….

a) Here’s a ride that will cost you an arm and a leg.

b) This is a bus where all the passengers are chum-my

c) It’s form of public transportation that takes a bite out of your commute

Please feel free to add you own.

The Nighttime Zoo

September 20, 2014 – Indonesia:Day003

In our mini-vacation to the island of Bali in the country of Indonesia, we took the opportunity to experience the local zoo at night.

An advantage to attending a zoo is the chance to see all sorts of animals that one (especially a city-dweller like myself) does not have the chance to see in everyday life. The downside to plunking down your money and buying a ticket to walk around a zoo during the day is that you are not able to see those animals that are mainly nocturnal. The nighttime zoo gives us the opportunity to see those creatures that are active from dusk until dawn.

The downside to attending a nighttime zoo is that it is at night. This makes taking pictures rather difficult since nighttime, ipso facto, means “dark” and my camera (a 16 megapixel Nikon Coolpix S1600) does not do well in dim light and creatures of the night tend to spook at flashes (which were prohibited during our journey).

Be that as it may, here is what we saw on our trip to the nighttime zoo at the Bali Safari and and Marine Park.

First – and trust me, it is there – a Komodo dragon.

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Here’s an elephant in real life…

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…and here’s an elephant in stone which is a representation of the Hindu deity, Ganesh.

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The highlight of the nighttime safari is when we were able to move through the animal enclosures. We were able to do this safely because we were loaded into the back of a pickup truck that was surrounded by a steel cage. This was sort of like being in a shark cage, except we were not in the water and we were going through the feline carnivore section, such as the lions…

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…and the tiger, which actually jumps onto the top of the cage (and again, trust me, it’s there).

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We also saw zebras.

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To finish up, nighttime safaris are a wonderful way to see animals you normally don’t get to see be active in a zoo during the day, but they are darn difficult to make a decent photo album out of.

Yes, We Have Young Bananas

October 7, 2014 – Day 391

Have you ever wondered what unripe bananas growing on their trees look like?

Neither have I.

Yet, right outside our house we have a banana tree and it is in the process of producing its fruit.

So here you go. A picture of a banana tree in bloom.

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That’s something you won’t find in your standard Bangkok guidebook.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Signs

January 5, 2014 – Singapore:Day 002

The theme this week from WordPress regarding their Weekly Photo Challenge is signs.

Right about now, you are humming to yourself that song about signs, but depending on your age you are either reliving the version from the Five Man Electrical Band or Tesla.

Either way, my response to this week’s challenge takes us once again to Singapore during our family’s vacation to that small nation. One thing you need to know before viewing my photo is that there is a popular fruit in Southeast Asia that tastes divine but smells hellish.

Known as the durian, I have heard that dining on this custardy treat is akin to “eating a slice of heaven in an uncleaned public restroom.”

The taste may be wonderful, but it is quite obvious that the odor emanating from this spiky fruit is not a thing of beauty. How obvious is it that the durian’s stench is an experience to be avoided? My answer is this sign proscribing the things not to do while on the subway in Singapore.

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The durian ranks right up there with flammable goods.

I did notice that there is no monetary fine amount if you are indeed caught with durians on the Singaporean subway. I wonder why.

When You See It : Indonesia

September 19, 2014 – Indonesia:Day 002

There is an activity on the Internet (and I first discovered it on the image sharing site, imgur) where people post pictures that look, at first glance, to be completely benign. However, the poster of the picture will provide the caption of “When You See It”. Those four words are the clue that there is something rather amiss with the photograph.

For a better (and more visual) explanation of the WYSI gag, jump on over to this link for sixteen examples.

In that vein, I offer you my own version of the WYSI game. The picture below comes from our family’s mini vacation to the beachy area of Kuta identified on most maps belonging to the city of Bali, Indonesia. So, here you go – – when you see it…

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This picture was taken outside of a temple right in downtown Kuta. Okay, so I admit that the item in this picture that caused me to do a double take and spit take all at the same time is not that well hidden in this image. But, that is the point. The symbol known as the swastika is a symbol of good luck here in Southeast Asia and so it is not hidden or kept behind closed doors. According to the Wikipedia entry on this symbol,

In Chinese Taoism, the swastika is a symbol of eternity. For Tibetan Buddhism, it is emblematic of the element of Earth. It is a common practice for Hindus to draw Swastika symbols on the doors and entrances to their houses during festivals, which is believed to symbolize an invitation to goddess Lakshmi.

The symbol has a long history in Europe reaching back to antiquity. In modern times, following a brief surge of popularity as a good luck symbol in Western culture…

The above definition being what it is, it was still disconcerting to open up the bathroom door in our hotel room and see the following decoration hanging above the porcelain throne:

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In my travels around Bangkok, I have also encountered this symbol. The last time I saw it was a few weeks ago when I was at a local grocery store. As the cashier was scanning my milk and broccoli, I saw the swastika tattooed on his right hand in between his thumb and forefinger.

I know it means good luck and has other religious significance, but my gut always ties itself into a knot reflexively whenever I see that symbol displayed so openly.