Friday, March 11, 2011

Shadows Move Erratically

The shadows moved erratically in a near comical manner as did their source. Camels are  funny creatures. They move in a motion much like an inch worm however they have legs. This same wavy motion is also shared by the rider. In a huge desert with more open space than imaginable camels seem to want to walk as close together as possible even rubbing up against each other as the pack moves. Perhaps they are just clingy. Sitting up on one takes getting used to as you are sitting between the humps which flop side to side. You are higher up and have a greater few than the view from a horse. It's a nice vantage point and you are on the desert transport of choice, but every once in a while you'll find out that camel's neck is snake like. They can turn their neck and head around to stare you down as you sit on the saddle. It's intimidating to see a huge head on a dinosaur like neck just look at you. Then there's the breath, which is indescribable other than something like hot grass clippings. The eyes of camel are however beautiful. Big and dark with what's likely the longest eyelashes I've ever seen on an animal. They seem very aware of their place in the desert and more so that they are needed. It's hard to imagine that in such a desolate place they survive. Here in the Gobi it can be lush in a few places, but it's also very barren and unforgiving. The desert here is hot in the summer and -30 degrees in the winter. Through it all nature has found an likely place for an unlikely creature. I like this photo as it seems to capture motions and shapes of that day's journey...
Walking the Gobi: A 1,600 -mile Trek Across a Desert of Hope and DespairThe Story of the Weeping CamelWebkinz Camel

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Something like a Dream

Something like a dream. That was my first thought when I saw infrared photography as child. I could not figure out how images could look so illuminated. How the leaves became so washed in whites and how soft things appeared. Within infrared there's an atmosphere that filled with stillness. There's timeless sense which is much as how we recall dreams when we awake. Thus is the case with this image that I shot with infrared film. It's of the North Kleang which are set of structures in the ancient Cambodian capital of Angkor Thom. It's not known what purpose these buildings once served, but they are built in a way that they intersect a grand avenue that ran from the royal palace to the a gate that's known as the Vctory Gate. The ruins sit with scattered stones blocks and are fragmented; however they still have not lost their majestic essence. Even now I can still look at this photo and am drawn with my imagination to wander within its surreal dream-scape.
Lonely Planet Angkor Wat & Siem Reap Encounter (Best Of)Churning the Sea of Time: A Journey Up the Mekong to AngkorAngkor: Celestial Temples of the Khmer

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Dragon in the clouds

Real busy day, long night ahead with an early morning technical presentation. So, I'm as I've promised myself to write something into my blog each day. Today's is not as wordy as yesterday's. Here's a shot taken at an old temple in Mongolia. It's a tiled roof corner decoration with a dragon clawing and snarling at the sky. The moving mass of clouds that spiraled and turned just above this ceramic sculpture to me; was also much like a dragon.
Outlaws of Moonshadow Marsh, The: The Sign of Qin - Book #1 (Outlaws of Moonshadow Marsh, 1)Lonely Planet Mongolia (Country Guide)The Book of Clouds

Monday, March 7, 2011

Something Almost Regrettable...

Sea of Flores, Indonesia; a boat off the coast of West Flores
 Ever do something and look back and say, holy *#@! I can't believe I was that stupid, not a good idea at all. Well, here in the tranquil waters between Indonesia and Australia are thousands of islands. They peak out as rolling green hills from a crystal clear sea. Below the reefs are brilliant. My 35ft wooden boat had a crew of 4 purred up along this spot and we dropped anchor. The cook had been trawling a fish line and had caught some small tuna so we stopped here to for a while. The crew needed a break, food needed to be cooked, and why not stop here at our own island. As I often do, I swam out with fins and snorkeled. Spots like this one, you have to yourself. Dive tours don't go here and for the most part the reef is undisturbed. The depths on this side of the island was band of shallows. Sunlight shone through the surface and lit up the colors of the corals, fish, urchins, and sands. I've dove the Great Barrier Reef and what I can say is that reefs here in Flores are just as beautiful. I followed the reef and shallows away from the island. Then what was before me looked like a wall of blackness. The shallows dropped into deep cobalt blue water. I could feel the cold of the blackness ahead. Standing on the ledge, it's a wonderful while terrifying sensation. I then proceeded to follow along the track of ledge which wrapped around the island. A while later feeling a current, I kicked back along towards the island. I had now swam about 1/3 around the island and the shallows and reefs did not merge as gently on this side of it. On this side the island had a cliff face and sharp rocks jolted from the sea. The waves splashed more violently and I worked with full effort to keep moving. I could not see the boat, nor they me. I believe I was halfway around and the way back was not something I wanted to go through again. Below, I could see that I was floating over the edge of undersea cliffs. As the waves moved I could be floating a few feet over the rocks, then as they withdrew I could be hovering100 ft over a ledge that was a deep undersea ravine. Sometimes in these notches I noticed unusually big angel fish and other large fish. They too were moved by the tide.Breathing to calm myself, with the adrenaline I could hear my pulse. I eased, stopping to drift and calm. Relaxed and now with a more natural way of kicking and efficient effort; I found that I was able to move, but slowly. "I'm moving, keep moving, stay away from rocks. As long as I can move, I'm in control" I said to myself. It felt endless. Each kick seemed to stand still. It was like this again and again. Eventually, I came around the back of this island. The ledge was farther out and the cliffs over looking the water was not here. Below was again shallows. Bright white shallow sands with a few rays and schools of colorful electric blue fish. Just ahead I could see my small boat again. I was not close but I eventually made my way back. It took all my strength to pull up the dive ladder. When I clambered on, they asked me what happened and where was I for the last hour or so. Coughing, I pointed to the island and said "Around, round, around I go, swimming." Laughing, shocked, and surprised, they thought I was crazy and said I'm likely the first person to ever swim around that thing.  I was completely sapped, promising myself never to do anything that risky or stupid again; at least not alone. I sat looking miserable. When I could get up. I snapped this shot. It's the island, it towers from the sea and below it reflects colors into blackness.
Indonesia Travel Pack, 6th (Globetrotter Travel Packs)Lonely Planet Indonesia (Country Guide)The Rough Guide to Indonesia, Second Edition

Blinding Sun

Death Valley gets so hot the road seems like it can start to melt. Here the winding asphalt road bends and turns tortuously through gritty terrain. The road smells fresh and its blackness of tar feels sticky. Everything cooks in the midday heat. Plants look bleached and the sun is blinding. Holding up my camera I could feel some relief from the shade behind my Nikon. Clicked this shot with infrared black and white film with a high red filter. When I look at this shot as part of me seems cultured and sees amazing compositions, tones, and contrast. Then the inner child in me hears "Beep Beep" as I imagine Road Runner turbulently roaring by evading near death from faulty "ACME" devices.
Death Valley: National Parks CollectionRoad Guide to Death Valley National Park, Updated EditionBest Easy Day Hikes Death Valley National Park, 2nd (Best Easy Day Hikes Series) 

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Stairs in Dalat

These stairs lead downwards to the Central Market in Dalat City. At times these steps are packed full of vendors selling soups, exotic fruits, dried squid, and other fast foods. Today, they are calm as can be. I like this photo. It captures a nice progression of steps. Each level stained with grime and remnants other passers by. A woman sits and eats a bowl of pho as another walks on by.
Imperial Heights: Dalat and the Making and Undoing of French IndochinaTravel Vietnam 2011 Illustrated Guide, Phrasebook & Maps. Includes Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Sapa, Dalat, Hoi An, the Imperial City in Hue, Ha Long Bay ... Moonstone" by Wilkie Collins (Mobi Travel)The Rough Guide to Vietnam (Rough Guides)