Monthly Archives: January 2013

Travel: Bali in one day

Yup! I went all the way to Bali (not close to anything in the developing world) and only spent one day. Actually I was there for a conference 🙂 I was talking to my friend the other day who is about to move (yet again) to south-east Asia for work as I sit at home in -20 deg C weather (with windchill) and thought these photos of my trip would bring some sunshine into my world.Bali is known for many things, but top of the list are temples and rice paddies. The photo below was taken at the famous water or lake temple (tons of people around). I deliberately did not try to get the whole temple in the shot and thought it was more interesting with the water features.

The Water Temple

This was a large temple complex…which in close to 40 deg C temperatures is a daunting walk

The Long Walk in

However, this complex did give lots of lovely detailed features that make great photos. I find when taking detailed shots, getting a crisp, clear shot is best to show the detail. Also avoid harsh shadows. There were occasionally clouds which I waited for and saved both the shot and me. Also, I love just taking photos of colour. The moss green stairs had it all – colour, texture and detail

The complex temple shots were….well, complex. This temple complex has so many structures that it was hard to get a line of sight that was clear.

Temple Complex

And here are the ubiquitous rice paddies! Bali or Indonesia actually has several types of rice including red and black. Again, it was a complex, detailed shot and I didn’t quite get it right when you think of the lovely photos in travel catalogues, but you can get the idea with these.

Balinese Rice Fields with Water Bali Rice Fields

 

Lastly, Bali isn’t just about the temples and rice paddies. There are lush forests and waterfalls too!

Misty Waterfalls    Ancient ferns

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Hawaii: Favourite Fish

Ok, this took much longer to put together than I thought. There’s very little I could think to say about the fish I saw in Hawaii. It would be a pretty boring blog of “really, really, pretty!” or “ooooh, love the colours!”, or “hmmm, reminds me of so and so at work”, etc, etc. So instead, I’ve labelled the fish I have photos of, in latin AND Hawaiian AND English (brownie points for me!) and put my comments in the captions! (you have to click on them to see the comments) All photos courtesy of my uncle who wouldn’t give up his camera even thought it refused to take pictures of fish in motion….. Note that the identification would not be possible without the well worth it purchase of “The Ultimate Guide to Hawaiian Reef Fishes” by John Hoover. It really was the ultimate and I recommend it if you are even a little bit curious about what you see in the ocean. It is so ultimate that the biologists recommended it to me and the bookstore staff knew it immediately even though I couldn’t remember the title or author!


What says “Jamaica” to me?

My Jamaica is not just the beach. When I speak with fellow Jamaicans or when I am back in the homeland, the one thing that screams “I’m back ayard!!” more than the patties or oxtail or ackee is what we Jamaicans do to names. People’s names, street names, town names….anything is fair game.

When I was growing up far from the island, I always associated food with my culture. It was so different than the Canadian food – full of peppa (HOT peppers) and spicees and rich sauces and flava (flavour)!! Not to mention the exotic ingredients – cassava, oxtail (yes, real tail from real ox, not like the British toad in the hole which doesn’t involve any real toads), okra and plantain (the sweet fruit, not that leafy green medicinal plant).

The next stage was when I met my cousins and aunts and uncles who all still held onto their Jamaican accent. I still remember with some trepidation one of the first dinner parties where I could not understand a word Uncle T said. I had to find my mom and ask her if he was speaking a different language. Oh, how I wanted (still want) to speak like them! It was musical, intriguing and it was “home”.

But I realize now that more than the rum that leaks from our very pores (comes from having it poured on us every time it rains), it is the use of language that ties us together. This is what allows us to recognize each other as soon as someone walks through the door and you hear “Awhahappen?” But you know the soul of a Jamaican by how they use the language. We don’t bat an eye at names like Pretty (uncle) or nicknames like Plumby (uncle – spelling approximate as I’ve never actually seen it written – real name Ronald), Cutie (aunt), Evadne, etc.

We also use it to be a colourful descriptor. So while you can certainly find a “Main Street” (actually Avenue) in Kingston, Jamaica, you are just as likely to run across “Half Way Tree Road” or “Birdsucker Lane” or “Constant Spring road” or even “Red Hills Road”.  Each name conjuring up a visual or indicating that there must be a story behind the name. The most innocuous name I saw on my last visit was “Orange Grove” and even that makes you think of bright orange fruit with a leafy green backdrop!

However, it’s not all fun and interesting names. I was in my early 20s before I realized that one very ordinary and plain word was being used to indicate the staple of boiled yams and bananas in our diet. This, they call “food”.


How to take amazing photos in your backyard part 1

Have an ice storm.  Any sort of weather event like that brightens up a photographer’s day! In my case, it really was an ice storm and conditions on the day after were perfect for venturing out.  It was short but intense precipitation and then cold enough so everything stayed the same, yet you weren’t in danger of frostbite and could safely take your camera out.

The obvious photos are those of the damage and I did take a couple of those:

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Damage with ice

But I really wanted to capture the ice glistening in the sunshine. However, it was soooo much ice that some pictures turned into collages rather than landscapes!

 

 

 

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So, then I concentrated on isolating bits that would show the ice:

Purity of just ice

Purity of just ice

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And I found a couple of places for nice landscapes:

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Ice as the frame

But I was extra lucky that I could walk down into this little valley behind the barn and snapped these babies up:

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Not just the natural land

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A more traditional view

Pathway up

Pathway up

The fence makes a statement

The fence makes a statement

 

Don’t forget to change your point of view – even if the ice is cracking under you and you’re not sure how old those coyote prints you just saw are

Different point of view

Different point of view

Frozen winding creek landscape

Frozen winding creek landscape

Frozen winding creek portrait

Frozen winding creek portrait

Frozen hay field

Frozen hay field

Add some interest to the photo with something other than trees!

Add some interest to the photo with something other than trees!