June 29, 2009

Traditional paddle fishing boats at Jimbaran, Bali, Indonesia

Location: Off the beach of Jimbaran, Bali, Indonesia (8° 46′ 10″ S, 115° 10′ 26″ E)
Date: 17 May 2001; 8.20pm
Camera: (analogue) Canon 500N with slides and scanned

Jimbaran has got back on its feet more than 3 years after the 2nd Bali bombing there. Tourists are returning to Bali, generally and to the luxury hotels at Jimbaran specifically. As written in a previous post before, Jimbaran beach is a popular night dining spot with fresh seafood barbeque being the specialty. The seafood is normally caught on the same morning by these fishermen. It is actually quite fun to see these boats back to shore in the morning. One can also buy fresh seafood very cheaply from them here, before they left for the markets. By the way if you planned to enjoy some seafood at Jimbaran in the evening, make sure you head for those ramshackle stalls set up along the beach rather than the nice neat ones along and facing a paved road (with their back open towards the sea). The beach ones are those frequented by locals and they served very delicious seafood at very affordable prices. The others along the paved road target tourists and generally are pure rip-offs. If you catch a cab from town, they will bring you to these ones; you can see the beach stalls coming closer- just ask your taxi to drive you there instead.


June 26, 2009

Electronic compositions from temple bells, Melbourne, Australia

Location: Birrarung Marr, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia (37° 49′ 6″ S, 144° 58′ 21″ E)
Date: 20 May 2008, 8.40pm
Camera: Canon 400D with Sigma 17-70/f2.8-4.5

Melbourne was named this year as the 3rd most livable city in the world by an annual survey done by The Economist magazine. Melbourne is quite an interesting city to wonder about at night. It is fairly lively and I believed one of the reasons for that is the large number of colleges and hence, students in the city area. There are also lots of activities along the Yarra River- with many pubs, clubs, arts and cultural centres and not forgetting, casino. The city also has a number of public parks and gardens. One of the more interesting and newer parks is Birrarung Marr. The distinguishing feature of the park is the Federation Bells- a collection of 39 inverted temple-style electronic bells of various sizes mounted on steel poles. The bells are controlled by computers and play seven different tunes composed by Australian composers, three times a day, with each tune lasting five minutes.


June 22, 2009

Gondolas of Venice, Italy

Location: Venice, Italy (45°26′N 12°19′E)
Date: 6 March 2005; 8.05am
Camera: Canon 300D with kit lens

Venice is another romantic place, though unlike Paris one feels the presence of tourists everywhere. It is quite fun to spend a couple of days walking the narrow lanes and admiring its old (crumpling in some cases) buildings. It is also a place full of photographic opportunities especially if one happens to be there during the annual Carnival of Venice in the early part of the year (normally around February). Another great photography opportunity is the islands of Burano and Murano, with their colourful houses. These can be reached easily by ferry from Venice.


June 17, 2009

Stunning panorama of Florence- free!!

Location: View from Piazzale Michelangelo, Florence, Italy (43° 46′ 13.08″ N, 11° 15′ 16.92″E)
Date: 18 March 2005; 5.45pm
Camera: Canon 300D with Sigma 70-200/f2.8

I just enjoy Florence, its history, arts and most of all, the atmosphere of the city. Accommodation is relatively cheap and food is good and rather inexpensive (Europe standard-wise). The only downside are the (sometimes quite expensive) entrance fees to museums and other attractions. Well one of the free thing one can do in Florence is to enjoy the above panorama of the city see this article for details and a photo from the same vantage point taken 30 minutes later.


June 15, 2009

The highest temple in Bagan, Myanmar

Location: Thatbyinnyu Pahto, Bagan, Myanmar (21° 10′ 0″ N, 94° 53′ 0″ E)
Date: 5 December 2000; 12.45pm:
Canon EOS 500N (analogue) on slides and scanned

Thatbyinnyu Pahto is one of the highest temples in Bagan, towering above the rest. It is also the first two-storey temple built in Bagan. Its profile is accentuated by its white exterior as well as its size. It has a seated Buddha image on the second floor- however visitors are not allowed up. These days, Bagan is a major destination in the Myanmar tourist itinerary and the town is changing in character as a result of the increased tourists flow- and is further from being a UNESCO Heritage Site (see article). There are still debates on the necessity and effectiveness of sanctions on the military regime to force political change in the country; but that is more or less rendered ineffective by the complicity of neighbouring South East Asian and other Asian countries.


June 12, 2009

Migratory birds on the banks of Yamuna River, Agra, India

Location: Yamuna River, Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India(27° 10′ 48″ N, 78° 1′ 12″ E)
Date: 7 Jan 2009; 4.50pm
Camera: Canon 400D with Canon EF 70-200/f4 IS L

Yamuna River is the largest tributary of the Ganges River. Together with Ganges, they are considered tw0 of the holiest rivers in India. Yamuna's source is the Yamunotri Glacier in the Uttarakhand Himalaya and flows through various states, passing just behind the Taj Mahal in Agra. The river is also on of the most polluted river in India especially around and after Delhi. There are many migratory birds from as far as Russia and Africa that rest, feed and breed along the banks of the river principally around Delhi and Agra. One can easily spot these birds in the evenings during different seasons of the year. Unfortunately severe pollution has now endangered such migratory grounds and birds.


June 10, 2009

Traditional Tibetan Opera masks at Shoton Festival, Tibet, China

Location: Norbulingka Palace, Lhasa, Tibet, China (29° 39′ 14″ N, 91° 5′ 30″ E)
Date: 12 August 2007, 2.20pm
Camera: Canon 400D with
Sigma 17-70/f2.8-4.5

Norbulingka was the summer palace for Tibet's Dalai Lama until "liberation" by China. Part of it is now converted into a museum and venue for traditional theatres and dances. The grounds contain fountains, pools and gardens. The gardens are popular with families especially during the Shoton Festival every August when they picnic and camp for days. The grounds are colourful during this period, adorned with makeshift windbreak of colourful rugs and Tibetans in their best and colourful costumes. Traditional operas have now become a major part of the Shoton celebration. These operas normally go on for days and can continue with a few episodes. However most, if not all of them are old stories, mainly of good against evil and some are family comedies. Nearly all of the actors/actresses wear masks during such performances.


June 8, 2009

Sunset at Tanah Lot, Bali, Indonesia

Location: Pura Tanah lot, Bali, Indonesia (8.640°S 115.100°E)
Date: 25 May 2001; 7.10pm
Camera: Canon EOS 500N (analogue) on slides and scanned

Pura Tanah Lot is a Balinese- style temple built on an offshore natural rock on the south coast of Bali. It has various mythologies/legends associated with it including presence of poisonous snakes at the bottom of the rock to guard the temple etc. In any case it was built in the 15th century and is popular with tourists. It is one of the 7 sea temples around the south-western coast of Bali; the sea temples were established within eyesight of the next, forming a chain around the coast. The temple itself is only accessible by foot during low tide. Sunset at Tanah Lot has long been one of Bali's most endearing images.


June 5, 2009

Slideshow for Jun photos


June 4, 2009

Adoring pandas in a row, Chengdu, Sichuan, China

Location: Panda Breeding & Research Center, Chengdu, Sichuan, China (30°44'22.40"N 104° 8'32.13"E)
Date: 9 October 2008, 10.15am

Camera: Canon 400D with Sigma 17-70/f2.8-4.5

Most people who went to Sichuan in China would love to at least see the adoring pandas; and they would likely go to the Giant Panda Sanctuaries, part of a UNESCO Heritage Site which is about one hour outside of Chengdu. This sanctuary is very close to the epicentre of the devastating earthquake last year. However a better place to see the pandas as well as appreciating the works involved in preserving these marvelous animals is at the Panda Breeding & Research Center (renamed Chengdu Panda Base) right within Chengdu itself. It is situated in the northern suburbs and can be visited easily by taking city buses. This is a non-profit organisation engaged in wildlife research, captive breeding and conservation education. There are apparently around 100 pandas including cubs (yes- you can see the cubs through the glass windows) within the base. These pandas are released into the wild once they are deemed independent enough to survive in the forests. At the base one can see the pandas up-close-and-personal- more personal by paying a small fee to touch and be photographed with the pandas- these fees go towards the running costs of the Base. Good time to visit the Base is in the morning- around 9-10am when they are fed and active. At other times, these lazy guys just lazed around and fall asleep. Visiting the Base can be one of your most memorable and enjoyable experience in China.


June 2, 2009

Meeting the Goddess, Aphrodite of Milos in Paris

Location: Venus de Milo at the Louvre Museum, Paris, France (48°51′39″N 2°20′09″E)
Date: 26 February 2006; 1.25pm
Camera: Canon 300D with kit kens

Aphrodite of Milos, better known as the Venus de Milo, is an ancient Greek statue. It is one of the most famous works of ancient Greek sculpture. It was discovered on the Aegean island of Milos and was purchased by the French and brought to the Louvre Museum in 1820. The statue had captured people's imagination; from its emotionless and mysterious expression, the sensuality and style of her carelessly held drapery and the feminine quality of the Goddess's back. Its beauty is controversial and is dependent on the viewer's interpretations. Often it is difficult if not impossible to appreciate the original cultural context of a piece of artwork as time changes its contextual meaning and messages- it can only be assumed as is the case with the Aphrodite of Milos. The statue was one of the must-see for me on my visit to Paris as I have been intrigued by the statue ever since seeing it as the Venus Pencil logo (stylised form) as a kid.