Saturday, March 5, 2011

Almost Monotone Jade Belt Bridge

Beijing, China; Summer Palace (頤和園) is one of my favorite places in Beijing. If you find your way there my advice is to wander around the lake. Tour groups won't take that route and it's mostly traversed by locals. The main palace grounds and sites are indeed amazing but at times so crowded you won't appreciate the surroundings. The site encompasses a large lake, canals, and lotus ponds. Overlooking the compound is a majestic hill with a distinct pagoda known as longevity hill; and throughout are temples, shrines, and pavilions. When one pictures exotic Asia, this place is the quintessential embodiment of that mystique. This shot along the route is of a marble bridge known as "Jade Belt Bridge" or "Camel Back Bridge." It arcs high over a channel with a large circular clearing that was designed so that it gave clearance to an imperial dragon boat. I shot this towards the end of the day when I was one of the last people there. What makes this scene striking to me is that although shot in color, the imagery are shades of grays. Other than a blush of color from the setting sun, this is nearly a monotone.
Beijing and Shanghai (Eyewitness Travel Guides)Global Treasures PUTUO ZONGSHENG MIAO Qing Dynasty's Summer Palace Outer Temple Chengde, ChinaGlobal Treasures XUMI-FUSHOU-MIAO Qing Dynasty Summer Palace Outer Temple Chengde, China

Friday, March 4, 2011

Bali Flower Picker in the Mist

Bali, Indonesia. I like this place, it's tropical, the people are nice, and the food is slightly different than other areas in Asia. It's damp,  green, lush and with great effort, tourist-ed areas can be avoided. I made my way to the terrace farms in the hilly mountains between the volcano Mt. Batur and Ubud. My driver hated the fact that I did not want to remain at scenic spots. When we stopped, I'd just get my stuff, tell him he better wait for me, then just wandered off deep into the wet terrace fields. The tiers grooved the hills like a contour map. The tracks were narrow, the fields soaked with water, and mist clouded most of the vista views.  In the early morning drizzle, I saw a group of ladies picking flowers for an upcoming Hindu festival. Temples and shrines throughout the following week would be brilliantly adorned by these bright yellow/orange blooms. Through the cool humid morning green, I shot this lady walking through the fields.
Lonely Planet Bali & Lombok (Regional Guide)Experience Bali: A travel guide (2011)Bali: A Travel Adventure (Travel Adventure Series)

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Steppe's Rainbow

The route bounced my UAZ Russian jeep on unpaved roadways through the grassy steppes and hills. The weather in early autumn here is unpredictable. Strong winds tear in from Siberia and with it the elements. During this particular time all was clear. Then dark rolling clouds fingered over the hill tops moving against the direction we were traveling. When we met, the sky opened up with rain and hail which pelted and pinged the jeep's skin and canvas roof. Through the blurred windows I could see stray herds of horses and livestock running towards each other instinctively to gather and brave the challenge together. Water collected in an unforgiving manner on the roads as dry brooks swelled and splashed. What was once a dry dusty trail consisting of two tracks formed from the tires of sporadic passing vehicles was now mud. We slipped and slid, getting stuck a few times. Then as fast as the weather came, it passed. The clouds rolled and tumbled away. The darkness of the sky returned to blue and then with the regaining sunlight this full spectrum rainbow appeared. It arched brilliantly.
Habitat use and spatial dynamics of takhi introduced to Hustai National Park, Mongolia [An article from: Biological Conservation]UAZ Racing 4x4 [Game Download]UAZ-469B (Topshots)

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

25 minutes before Sunset

25 minutes before sunset is the best light. That's what I believe. Within the last half hour of the day the colors seem to glow in soft warm manner. Early morning I see cold blues, but in the iteration just before it all goes away; the daylight catches colors and contrast like no other point of the day. 25 minutes before the sunset at times photos can take themselves as this one does. It's slightly out of focus, there's movement broken by stillness, it's slanted, and subjects are cropped. But somehow because of the way the light plays here it works.
Lonely Planet Vietnam (Country Guide)The Rough Guide to Vietnam (Rough Guides)Vietnam and Angkor Wat (Eyewitness Travel Guides)

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

When Land looks like Undersea

Death Valley California; it's hot it's dry and my temperature gauge in my car indicated about 120 degrees Fahrenheit (48C). Just across from a sinister looking brushy sandy field called "Devil's Cornfield" are a range of sand dunes known as "Mesquite Flats Sand Dunes."  The sand mounds into 100ft tall hills and are carved with an elaborate finger print of waves cut by wind. The dry arid terrain with sweeping ridges and crests resembles that of an opposing undersea environment. Dry twisted trees bent and creak like corals and shandy notches are homes to life forms as well as catch debris tumbling in the current of wind. This wind hisses slightly and sounds travel so distant to reach you; you can't discern which direction they originated. I hiked here and found this mix of shade and light. The clouds above looked torn and pulled apart by the heat. This scene shot with infrared 35mm and an early model Nikon captured the presence that sensed about this place.
The Explorer's Guide to Death Valley National Park, Second EditionDeath Valley: National Parks CollectionRoad Guide to Death Valley National Park, Updated Edition

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Jonah and the Sea

This taken just a little north of Malibu, California. The boy's name is Jonah and he's the son of Tom and Donna. They are very close to me and are like family. Tom's a master at traditional Hawaiian Massage called Sacred Lomi; I shot this during our photo shoot for his website. This image was captured with infrared 35mm film and a very old Nikon. I really enjoy the contrasting tones of light here where you can hear the sea and the sunlight.
Lonely Planet Coastal California (Regional Guide)Sacred Lomi DVD Volume 1: The Back of the Body Sacred Lomi DVD Volume 2: The Front of the Body

Waves of distortion in the Valley

Shot this after climbing a very high rocky hill on the edge of Hustai Valley, Mongolia. What's especially interesting is that in a 360 degree sweep around there's not a man made object to be seen. Cascades of soft sounds sweep through the valley. The air is full of windy wisps of grasses and a hollow sound that's much like listen for the ocean in a shell. At this time of year in the cold of late march there were no insects. An occasional eagle and hawk can be heard echoing through the valley. The wind that sporadically picks up speed leaves the imprint of it's path with waves of distortion that twists and vibrates the vegetation.
Moleskine Ruled Notebook LargeMoleskine Sketchbook Large