Thursday, January 31, 2013

2013, Day 31 - Morning mist

On our last day of travel with Brian and Nicole we had yet another early morning so that we could photograph the sunrise from a hot air balloon.  Mr. Mony collected our groggy group and when we arrived at the balloon we were told that there were a lot of clouds and that it wouldn't be a good sunrise.  All three of us felt that because we were already there we should go up anyway and this is what we saw; the Cambodian countryside shrouded is fog.  Tall sugar palms breaking though in silhouette and the muted greens and yellows of the rice fields.  It was quite beautiful but at time passed the fog thinned and then quickly became impenetrable.  Still, it was worth it and a lot of fun!

Canon 1D X, Canon 70-200/f2.8L IS Mark II
70mm, f2.8, 1/160 sec @ 200 ISO

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

2013, Day 30 - Breaking through

This is Preah Khan, the temple of the holy sword, it was more than a temple, it was a thriving city in its day and it reputedly housed thousands of teachers, students, dancers, and of course royalty and their retainers.  Today it is one of many jungle temples, much has crumbled in nature's grip.  It is an impressive network of corridors connecting all the major structures yet one need only imagine what it might have looked like when it was new and this wonderful site because even more awe inspiring.

Canon 1D X, Canon 16-35/f2.8L Mark II
16mm, f8, merged layers of 1/15, 1/8, and 1/2 sec @ 100 ISO

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

2013, Day 29 - Mob of saffron

During one of our early mornings at Angkor Wat saw saffron colored ghosts moving in the dim light of the early.  The temples at Angkor Wat draw monks from all over the country and it is a prestigious place to receive your training.  These boys came from northern Cambodia near the Thai border.  It is early soon they would be going to pray but for the moment they were hanging out under a tree waiting for the older nuns to answer the call to prayer.

Canon 1D X, Canon 70-200/f2.8L IS Mark II
200mm, f2.8, 1/250 sec @ 500 ISO

Monday, January 28, 2013

2013, Day 28 - Parting look

This was the last shot I took at Angkor Thom on our first day in Siem Reap.  We arrived in town in the early afternoon and Mr. Mony picked us up after we settled in to buy our pass to the temples and get our first real taste of the majesty of Angkor.

Brian and Nicole arrived before us so they waited in the van while Araceli and I jumped out to get our passes.  Once that was completed to set off for Angkor Thom.  We had a couple hours there as at the end the sun was sinking low in the sky and we made our way back to the van.  As we left I stopped to take a few more shots and this was the last one, the sun had already fallen below the horizon and the temple was bathed in the cool light of evening.

Canon 1D X, Canon 16-35/f2.8L Mark II
16mm, f4, merged layers of 4 and 15 sec @ 500 ISO

Sunday, January 27, 2013

2013, Day 27 - Ghosts of Satsop

The problem with long exposures is that while you stand there nonchalantly waiting for the exposure to be completed people may accidentally walk into the frame.  It isn't always a bad thing and in this case I like the ghost of our guide.  He is well into the foreground and I like that he happens to be looking up towards the cavernous domed ceiling above, his presence was a welcome surprise.

Canon 1D X, Canon 16-35/f2.8L Mark II
16mm, f5.6, 10 sec @ 320 ISO

Saturday, January 26, 2013

2013, Day 26 - Honey

Last week when I was gripped by plague and my kitchen was torn apart in a remodel I bought an electric kettle.  That coupled with tea, lemon, and honey really helped soothe my scratchy throat.  Thank you little bees for your industrious nature and the golden nectar it yields!

Canon 1D Mark IV, Canon 100/f2.8L IS
100mm, f5.6, 1/250 sec @ 400 ISO

Friday, January 25, 2013

2013, Day 25 - Memories of sun

Winter has returned to Portland with clouds and rain; the city is in hibernation.  I walk the dogs on streets almost devoid of life.  Rarely do I pass anyone else on foot, most people bustle to and from their cars seeking the warmth and protection they afford.  The trees are bare, the leaves long since gone but signs of life are returning.  Some brave bulbs are showing little blades of green as they slice through the cold wet earth.  I cannot wait for the return of the flowers and the insects they attract.  In a few months the world will be alive and there will be times when I feel overwhelmed.  I must remember to enjoy the peace and solitude while it lasts.

Canon 1D X, Canon 100/f2.8L IS
100mm, f5.6, 1/800 sec @ 320 ISO

Thursday, January 24, 2013

2013, Day 24 - Grinding

This is the historic Cedar Creek Grist Mill.  It was built in 1876 and managed to change hands a number of times in the first few decades after it was built.  Fortunately the mill provided a much needed service and quickly became the heart of the local community.  Dances and musical performances were frequently held at the mill.  As time passed and needs changes a machine shop was added in the basement and later a smithy on the main level.  The upper level was even converted to an apartment for the owner's bachelor son.  Still, it was the site of many community events until purchased in the 1950s by the Washington State Fisheries Department and would later be added to the National Historic Register.  It is a beautiful site and the fall color only serves to highlight the amazing location.

Canon 1D X, Canon 24-70/f2.8L Mark II
28mm, f16, merged layers of 2.5, 5, and 10 sec @ 100 ISO

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

2013, Day 23 - Pining

Today it was cold, windy, and wet.  That isn't a great combination and I tend not to like it when my fingers burn with cold.  Fortunately the dogs are all being good sports and keeping our walks short so we aren't out in the cold longer than necessary.  Still, I can tell Frankie would like to get out and run a bit.  He's been extra playful recently and we really should make an effort to find a nice safe place for him to go wild.  Really, it shouldn't take long, he will exhaust himself in about ten minutes.  Until then we are going to think back fondly on racing and racing practice last year...

Canon 1D X, Canon 70-200/f2.8L IS Mark II
200mm, f4, 1/800 sec @ 640 ISO

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

2013, Day 22 - River cowboy

When your home floats on the river you tend to build a close community.  It may take close to an hour with a motorboat to make it to a village so your collection of buildings evolves and quickly becomes its own village.  Soon there is less and less need to leave your people; those of this particular community are ethnic Vietnamese.  They fish and raise crocodiles in floating enclosures for their valuable hides.  Most subsist off what they can catch and collect selling what little extra they have in order to purchase the things they cannot make for themselves.  I suspect that this gentleman's attire would suggest that he is, in this community, a wealthy man.

Canon 1D X, Canon 70-200/f2.8L IS Mark II
200mm, f4, 1/400 sec @ 400 ISO

Monday, January 21, 2013

2013, Day 21 - Archetype

This is Baphuon, and it is the embodiment of the Angkorian style that bears the same name.  Built in the 11th century by Udayadityavarman II it was constructed to honor Shiva.  Later the temple was rededicated to the Buddha and a large reclining Buddha was carved into the back of the temple wall although today the same can barely be discerned.  The condition of this mountain temple is rather poor but the causeway leading to it is very impressive and I imagine it would have been even more so if the reflecting pool still held water as the temple would have been in the middle of a relatively large lake.  Records of a visit during the 13th century by a Chinese diplomat notes the incredible wonder inspired by Baphuon and in 2011 renewed efforts began to piece together the history and original design of this site in order to restore it to its storied glory.

Canon 1D X, Canon 16-35/f2.8L Mark II
35mm, f11, merged layers of 1/100, 1/50, 1/25, and 1/13 sec @ 100 ISO

Sunday, January 20, 2013

2013, Day 20 - Luscious rain

This is the exterior wall of Ta Nei.  It is a small temple built in the Buddhist style in the 12th century and may have been used as a hospital.  What makes it remarkable is its lack of exceptional qualities; it isn't the best example of anything but the upshot is that Ta Nei is rarely visited.  When we went it was really quiet having just rained and I think there might have been two other people the whole time were explored.

Canon 1D X, Canon 16-35/f2.8L Mark II
22mm, f11, merged layers of 1/5, 0.4, and 0.8 sec @ 100 ISO

Saturday, January 19, 2013

2013, Day 19 - Trimming the fat

One morning during our return trip to Phnom Penh Francene, Araceli, and I went to the Boeng Keng Kang Market.  The two of them went off in search of a tradition Khmer breakfast, something distinctly non-vegetarian friendly so I wandered.  I bought some jack fruit, a few mangosteens, and some bananas before heading deeper into the market.  Then I spotted the gentleman pictured below with pig skin on his cutting board.  He would deftly change the angle of his cleaver to cut away the fat leaving large whole pieces of skin.  I was amazed how quickly he worked and how precisely he maneuvered that large blade but in his hands it look almost effortless.

Canon 1D X, Canon 50/f1.2L
50mm, f2, 1/160 sec @ 500 ISO

Friday, January 18, 2013

2013, Day 18 - Dumb prince

Johan has always been my cuddliest boy.  All the other dogs are affectionate but he is the one who insists on snuggling up with me every night.  The poor boy isn't the brightest bulb but he is incredibly sweet and loves to make new friends so it is easy to forgive his limited intellect.

For the photo nerds, check out the EXIF information.  I was pretty impressed...

Olympus OM-D E-M5, Olympus 9-18/f4-5.6
15mm, f5.6, 1/4 sec @ 400 ISO

Thursday, January 17, 2013

2013, Day 17 - Rusted sky

Cambodia was good to me in so many ways; the generous people, the beautiful countryside, the delicious food, and the amazing sunsets.  Almost every night we had a spectacular display and our last night in Kampot was particularly impressive.  As the sky faded to a rich orange our surroundings reflected the light and the city seemed to turn to gold all around us.

Canon 1D X, Canon 24-70/f2.8L Mark II
24mm, f4, 1/400 sec @ 100 ISO

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

2013, Day 16 - Lonely fisher

I spent most of the day in and out of bed trying to will myself into wellness.  My daydreams took my to warm weather, blue skies, and good food so this image seemed an appropriate one to share this evening.  This was taken in the coastal town of Kep, formerly Kep-sur-mer under the French.  It is a peaceful community famous for their crab and our visit there was quite relaxing.  A little off the beaten tourist path, it was really tranquil and a shady place along the waterfront would be an ideal place to spend a day.

Canon 1D X, Canon 70-200/f2.8L Mark II
130mm, f5.6, 1/2000 sec @ 100 ISO

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

2013, Day 15 - Delivered fresh

One of the things I will always miss about Asia is how fresh the food is.  It is brought to the market daily and the produce is picked ripe so the flavors a richer than what we are accustomed to.  While in Kampot in our rather remote lodgings we happened upon this woman loading up her boat to head into town.  The temperature was climbing but there was a little air movement along the river that seemed almost refreshing.

Canon 1D X, Canon 24-70/f2.8L Mark II
38mm, f4, 1/250 sec @ 200 ISO

Monday, January 14, 2013

2013, Day 14 - Benevolence

Angkor Thom is famous for the smiling faces of the Buddha that adorn the towers.  The expression on his face makes you feel welcome, like an invitation to explore, relax, and reflect.  This was the first temple we visited in the Angkor complex and I cannot think of a better way to start.

Canon 1D X, Canon 16-35/f2.8L Mark II
32mm, f5.6, 1/2 sec @ 320 ISO

Sunday, January 13, 2013

2013, Day 13 - Frosted flower

For the past few days frost has covered the city overnight.  Plants and flowers are kissed by the crystalline deposits and this poor confused rose has been fighting winter's grip and usher in the warmth of spring.  Unfortunately optimism has little influence over the weather and we are expected to have lows near freezing for days to come.

Canon 5D Mark III, Canon 100/f2.8L IS
100mm, f5.6, 1/160 sec @ 320 ISO

Saturday, January 12, 2013

2013, Day 12 - Hidden

There are so many hidden gems in Portland.  The city is dotted with parks and a ten minute walk up the trail and you feel like you are removed from the world when it is really just behind a screen of trees.  It is so refreshing to walk among the trees, to hear the breeze sighing through the branches, to watch the ferns bob as the air passes over them, and to be regaled by bird song.  The closeness of nature while living in the city is one of the biggest advantages to life in the Pacific NW.

Canon 5D Mark III, Canon 24/f3.5L TSE Mark II
24mm, f5.6, 1/6 sec @ 200 ISO

Friday, January 11, 2013

2013, Day 11 - Fatal fall

This is the memorial nestled inside the killing caves at Phnom Sampeau.  During the reign of the Khmer Rouge people were brought to the mouth of this mountain cave and either killed or dumped inside or were thrown their deaths.  At night an army of bats departs the subterranean complex in a cloud and add to the ill aspected feel of the site.  We came to pay our respects and honor the memory of all those senselessly slaughtered under the Khmer Rouge.

Canon 1D X, Canon 16-35/f2.8L Mark II
35mm, f2.8, 1/250 sec @ 1000 ISO

Thursday, January 10, 2013

2013, Day 10 - Mending

After an ass-numbing morning riding the bamboo train with Brian, Nicole, Araceli, and Francene we went to Wat Ek Phnom.  It is a small temple mostly in ruins with a modern counterpart in front.  The sun was viciously hot and after exploring the ground Francene, Araceli, and I wandered out of the complex.  I had seen a boy fishing in the stream adjacent to the temple complex and thought it might be worth a picture.  Sadly he was untangling his net but I liked the look of concentration on his face and took this picture instead.

Even now I can feel the heat when I look at this image, even feel the sweat trickling down my face.  Given that it was snowing this morning it is nice to reminisce.

Canon 1D X, Canon 70-200/f2.8L IS Mark II
200mm, f4, 1/200 sec @ 100 ISO

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

2013, Day 9 - Concrete crew

More cooling tower love tonight.  I took this photo of the finished tower right as we were getting ready to leave.  Everyone else is shuffling to the little door you can see in the distance I lingered for that one last photo.  I couldn't help it, the scale and stark beauty of Satsop is intoxicating.  If you squint the concrete almost looks like a crew neck sweater...

Canon 1D X, Canon 16-35/f2.8L Mark II
16mm, f11, merged layers of 1/20, 1/10, and 1/5 sec @ 320 ISO

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

2013, Day 8 - Mechanical moon

This is what it looks like to be swallowed by a whale.  Satsop Nuclear Power Plant is a behemoth who belches fire born of the atomic age, or it would have were it ever completed.  We return tonight for a change of pace and this is an image I wasn't especially happy with at the time, I retook it many times hoping for the rain the let up even a little bit but it didn't.  The droplets on the filter first looked distracting and it may to some but I have grown to like the effect, it adds little points of interest.

Canon 1D X, Canon 16-35/f2.8L Mark II
16mm, f11, merged layers of 1/160 and 1/80 sec @ 320 ISO

Monday, January 7, 2013

2013, Day 7 - Buzz

On our way to Battambang we stopped in a small town to stretch our legs.  Always up for a little market exploration we walked along the dusty road looking at all the different shops.  We stopped with Mr. Mony to chat with this fine lady who red-stained lips, teeth, and gums indicate that she chews betel nuts.

With Mr. Mony translating we were told that the dried pieces of sliced nut are wrapped in betel leaves and flavored before chewing.  Apparently they use a mixture of "snail slime" and boiled cow manure as the basis for the flavoring.  It ends up looking like a white liquid not entirely dissimilar to whiteout.  I didn't smell it to see if the aroma is at all similar because the list of ingredients was deterrent enough.

Smoking cigarettes was traditionally a vice left to men and the betel nut the choice of women.  Today I understand that it is considered old fashioned but it still provides a stimulant effect coupled with a peppery taste.  It certainly isn't as offensive to the people around you as smoking so to my way of thinking it is a preferable vice.

Canon 1D X, Canon 24-70/f2.8L Mark II
53mm, f4, 1/80 sec @ 100 ISO

Sunday, January 6, 2013

2013, Day 6 - Play date

This had to be the highlight of the weekend, a puppy play date.  Frankie and I took my friend Hailey and her French bulldog Fiona to play with Kodak, Brian and Nicole's puppy.  They romped through the yard and Fiona, despite being two months older, was an almost ideal match for Kodak.  She was so good, very patient with little Kodak.  Frankie had a lot of fun bounding through the yard and showing off for the kids.  He was like a white blur leaping up steps, over walls, through shrubs, and eventually ornamenting my lap because he tuckered himself out early.

Kodak was beginning to show signs of fatigue and Fiona, the little tank, seemed to have endless energy.  Fortunately Frankie found a brief second wind and returned to play for a little bit.  After almost an hour and a half I think everyone had enough and the play date ended.  That left everyone with tired puppies all afternoon.

Canon 1D X, Canon 24-70/f2.8L Mark II
70mm, f2.8, 1/640 sec @ 640 ISO

Saturday, January 5, 2013

2013, Day 5 - Lonely cloud

On our second evening in Cambodia we met up with Francene and Tim at their apartment in Phnom Penh's swanky BKK district.  The rooftop afforded us an amazing view of another stunning Cambodian sunset.  I loved this single cloud in the foreground that drifted through lazily.  To me it looked a bit like George Jetson's car with an exhaust trail left in its wake.

Canon 1D X, Canon 24-70/f2.8L Mark II
70mm, f5.6, 1/500 sec @ 320 ISO

Friday, January 4, 2013

2013, Day 4 - Down

I took this picture on my retreat from Lower South Falls at Silver Falls State Park.  It was a desperate attempt to find a little fall color before leaving for Cambodia and it was raining lightly for most of my visit but as I was leaving it started to come down properly so I took shelter under a rocky outcropping.  While waiting for the rain to pass I noticed that the underside of the rocks were covered in ferns.  It reminded me of downy feathers trying to keep the earth warm so I took a few pictures until the downpour returned to a heavy mist and I booked it for the trail head.

Canon 5D Mark III, Canon 24-70/f2.8L Mark II
70mm, f4, 1/50 sec @ 640 ISO

Thursday, January 3, 2013

2013, Day 3 - Echoes

Banteay Samre is one of the most complete and intact temples in the Angkor complex.  The jungle was thoroughly removed from the site and thus it stands denuded of nature.  Built in the 12th century and dedicated to Vishnu the most unique feature of this temple is the now dry internal moat.  Carvings of lotus buds and blossoms adorn the surrounding stones and it must have been a magnificent sight when it was filled.  I can imagine the moon and the stars reflected in the water's surface while the breezes would cause reflected light to flicker across the abundant carvings.

One detail common to many temples that has gone unmentioned in my previous posts is the presence of echo chambers.  These are small rooms at the start of a hallway that have special acoustic properties.  If you stand with your back pressed to the wall and use your chest as a drum the sound reverberates from the walls and ceilings.  Even the partially collapsed rooms still function, it is as if the temples still live like some sleeping giant not full awakened.  Perhaps we should let them get their rest...

Canon 1D X, Canon 24-70/f2.8L Mark II
28mm, f5.6, merged layers of 1/500, 1/125, and 1/60 sec @ 160 ISO

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

2013, Day 2 - Passage to nowhere

I'm back in Beng Mealea tonight.  It is quite cold here, near freezing with the wind chill taking it into the upper teens.  So instead of dwelling on the terrible weather outside I am sitting at my desk wrapped in a blanket and trying to recall the heat and humidity of Cambodia.

I can't help but be enchanted by the juxtaposition of man and nature at this temple.  It is like the lily pond that Beng Mealea was named for took offense at the structure and called the jungle to reclaim what was rightfully their land.  It might be a slow process but the plants have been winning.  For better or worse the rediscovery of this ancient site has halted all progress and the battle between temple and jungle is once again being held in check by man.

Canon 1D X, Canon 16-35/f2.8L Mark II
16mm, f8, merged layers of 1/30, 1/15, 1/8, and 1/4 sec @ 100 ISO

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2013, Day 1 - Breaking the rules

Another photograph from Angkor Wat's second terrace.  If you regularly read what I post then you will know the area is swarmed with people so I pulled out an old trick, a long exposure.  It was a bright day and even with ten stops of density in front of my lens I had to stop it down completely to get a sixty second exposure.  For the non-photographers, the longer the exposure the more blurred moving objects become and with a sixty second exposure if people walk through but don't stop they won't show up at all.

Why the title?  Because, strictly speaking, you aren't supposed to use a tripod in this part of the temple complex.  There are too many people about and they become a tripping hazard.  Fortunately I had Mr. Mony, Araceli, and Francene flanking me in a corner against the wall so there was little chance of that happening.  Plus the Big Stopper is so dense that it will cause autofocus to act up so I got everything ready ahead of time and was able to quickly, relatively speaking, set up and take a few shots.

Rules are meant to be broken but there is a time and place.  Most exist to protect us or others and we should be mindful of that before we decide that our needs are the most important.  So get out there are break a few rules but do it safely :)

Canon 1D X, Canon 16-35/f2.8L Mark II
16mm, f22, 61 sec @ 100 ISO with Lee Big Stopper Filter