Saturday, February 26, 2011

A night with Kazakhs

It's a windy cold night tonight in Tokyo. Reminded me of a night I had in the far remote western most Mongolian province of Bayan Olgi. This area in the Altai Mountains range and is nestled between Russia and a narrow stretch of China that sits between Mongolia and Kazakhstan. The Mongols of this region are of Kazakh Suni Islamic descent. Very friendly and warm. This was taken during a night of folk songs around a bound fire. It was a gathering of Kazakh Eagle Hunters. These hunters hunt while mounted on horses with eagles.
Camelbak M.U.L.E. Hydration Pack, BlackNikon D300s 12.3MP CMOS Digital SLR Camera with AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR II Lens 

Friday, February 25, 2011

Off the Beaten Path

This road is almost as off the beaten path in Vietnam as it gets. I took my motorbike through here and the ride was amazing. The way was dusty, rough, and the foliage at times encompassed the pathways. Alongside this route through the mountains were scattered rustic old farm homes. Straw roofs, mud walls, and humble assortments of crops and livestock. The locals were very friendly and eagerly greeted me. In many cases they they offered help as they thought I was lost; which I was but on purpose...
Zen & The Art of Motorcycle MaintenanceThe Rough Guide to Vietnam (Rough Guides)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

My Ger at Night

I'm posting this photo of a Ger (yurt) roof at night. The chimney stack peers through an ominous moonlit night. The white felt covering wraps around the center roof sprocket revealing the light from within. In the cold and dark there's always a warm lit shelter from the gloom that reminds me that at times home is where you are. I'm really lucky that I've got a lot good friends out there while I'm out here. It sincerely means a lot. This photo was shot in the old capital city of Kharakhorim. At one time it was the center of the Mongolian Empire that reached from the Pacific to the edges of Eastern Europe and through the Arabian peninsula. Today it's a small hamlet with only ruins and one Tibetan Buddhist Temple standing called Erdene Zu. It's a special place that's far on the map. This night was an especially cold and windy night.
Encyclopedia of Mongolia and the Mongol EmpireGenghis Khan - Mongol Empire Genghis Khan's Mongolian Empire (Lost Civilizations)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Where I was born

I was born here somewhere in this valley on Feb 23, 1968 during the Tet Offensive. I'm thankful and I'm lucky that my grandmother took care of me during all those years. Every year on my birthday, I can only say I owe so much to my Ba Ngai (grandma). She took me in when no one wanted an Amerasian baby. It's a long, long way from then and I feel lucky and blessed. At 95 she's still amazing.
It's my birthday so I'm putting up this panoramic photo that I shot of Pongoor Falls in the province where I was born. This place is one of my favorite places in this region. The Province is called Lam Dong and the city is Dalat. It's in the mountainous Central Highlands region which in its day was famous for tiger hunting. It's also at the lower edge of the Ho Chi Minh Trial. Today some of the best coffee in the world comes from here. Surrounding this area still exists remnants of the indigenous hill tribes know as Montagnards. It's getting developed but even today it's still wild here. These falls are very high and in rainy season the entire face is a curtain of white. However in any season it's worth a trek to.
Battle for the Central Highlands: A Special Forces StoryVietnam and Angkor Wat (Eyewitness Travel Guides)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

My Grand Canyon

As most of my photos were from Asia, someone asked me if I ever liked to or took photos of the States. Of course. Well, here's my shot of the grand canyon during the evening. I like the way the shadows appear in layers and the darks and lights move into a brighter middle ground. Just minutes before the scene were a draw of many colors and earthen tones. Then the slowly fade to dark.
Grand Canyon Guide: Your Complete Guide to the Grand CanyonGrand Canyon, The Complete Guide: Grand Canyon National Park

Monday, February 21, 2011

Wind Swept and Standing

Today I found this photo in my archive that I took during an expedition across Mongolia along the northern provinces. This was snapped for a moving Landcruiser. The day was mixed with squalls of rains, clearing, and then overcasts with drizzle. The sun would peer through the edge of cloud fronts and at times lighting the bottom of the overcast from across the horizon. This made for a very mixed colored sky with nice contrasting details and shadows. Unlike other shots recently posted this one is 35mm film taken with an old school Nikon and Sigma lens. In this view I especially like the turbulent blue and gray skies and how the tree looks almost like it's aflame amid the scattering clouds. The terrain is craggy with rocks and this pace is wind swept.
Lonely Planet Mongolia (Country Guide) Genghis Khan: Life, Death, and Resurrection