Local and world news is peppered with tales of aggression, violence and corruption.
It’s good to see positive stories of hope and peace. Kim Jong-un’s crossing of the North and South Korean border is one of them. Optimistically, it is a precursor to the end of years of disunity and antagonism.
It is eerie to see Kim Jong-un and Moon Jae-in walking across a path that one year ago heralded gun fire.
I remember visiting the DMZ in 2016 and I recognize every angle of this video’s background. The place struck me then as a surreal setting for a Twilight Zone scene. I am hopeful now for a Disney HEA.
Photo taken in South Korea, 2016.
I may be addicted.
Lately I’ve been spending too much time huddled over my phone, checking status, entering challenges, voting and topping up my exposures. I’ve been playing Gurushots, a real-time online photo competition system.
It works by entering challenges and accumulating votes to achieve levels. The levels tip to points and the points tip to ranks. The more you vote, the more exposure your photo entries get for voting. There is no limit to the number of challenges you can enter. And that’s a problem.
At one point I had ten challenges going. I was constantly checking on my exposure meter and submitting votes to bump it up. Problem is that voting involves paging through hundreds of photos, some good, some not so good and some downright puzzling. It all depends on the wording of the challenge. Sometimes, the guidance is too vague.
Take for instance the “Starts with a K” challenge. The description was too vague. It should have qualified the language. I paged through
hundreds thousands of Kittens, Keys and Kiwis. (Question: How many interesting angles are there to a Kiwi? Answer: None. I’ve seen them all.) But then I started seeing Cakes, Coffee and Corn. Someone couldn’t spell. Wait … maybe they could spell but it was in German. Kuchen, Kaffee and Korn.
Another fun challenge was “Face in the Crowd”. There were lots of pictures of crowds but no distinctive single face. Other pictures were classic single person portraits; you had to imagine the crowd. One remarkable shot was taken on stage, of the back of a band performing to a crowd. No faces seen but they were facing the crowd. Ha ha! That one got my vote.
Anyways here are a few of my photos in recent Gurushot challenges.
Toronto, Canada. 2018
This is what I do when I’m not taking photos. I crank out calorie laden, coma inducing cakes, cookies and carbs.
I’ve just completed a course in the Baking Arts at George Brown College … to the great disappointment of my family who’ve come to rely on a steady supply of treats.
Luckily the break will not be long. My next course starts in two weeks.
Onwards with Cinnamon rolls, Croissants, Babkas, Brioche, Kugelhopfs …
Toronto, Canada. April 2018
The legend of Halong Bay is that a celestial dragon defended ancient Vietnam by breathing fire on pirate invaders and spitting out hundreds of hot emerald stones into the north sea. The gems become islands which formed an impenetrable wall to other invaders.
Today Halong Bay protected from the sea but vulnerable to a daily invasion of tourists. It is a busy thoroughfare of sailing boats and day cruise ships. By day the bay is alive with the sights and sounds of 8200 visitors daily.
Select cruises offer overnight stays and in the late evenings and early morning it’s possible to experience the quiet solitude of the bay.
On this morning I was awake at dawn. The early morning light had just broken and the only sound was the gentle slap of water against the fisherman’s oar. It was a quiet awakening to a brand new day.
Photo taken in Halong Bay, Vietnam. 2014
No need to say how this guy feels.
Taken in Saigon’s Flower Market. It explains the bundles accumulating on his lap.
Photos taken in HCMC, Vietnam. 2015
Cuba is nothing if not colorful.
Warning: Images of extreme color and machismo ahead.
Santiago de Cuba, Cuba. 2018
In the East there is an ancient man made reservoir called Srah Srang. It was built in the 10th century by the Khmer civilization in the kingdom of Angkor. For over a thousand years people have used this place for religious rituals, communal baths and water collection.
On this early morning, as dawn broke across a cloudy eastern sky, a lady collects water for another day.
In the West coast of Canada, the rain forests meet the Pacific and the sun sets in a blaze of glory.
A hoodie shrouded man walks along a jetty after bidding the day good bye.
Two worlds. One day. Twelve thousand kilometers apart. The sun rises and sets on both.
The High Line is an elevated pathway built on an old railway viaduct in west Manhattan. It’s described as a
“living system” drawing from multiple disciplines which include landscape architecture, urban design, and ecology. Since opening in 2009, the High Line has become an icon of contemporary landscape architecture.”
Along the 2.33 km walk are views of Manhattan’s urban landscapes. Towering skyscrapers, avant garde architecture, old and new buildings. Since it’s opening in 2009 real estate value for apartments abutting the park have climbed.
For $6 million dollars you can get a home ten meters away from a pathway sporting twenty thousand pedestrians a day. For even more, you can watch the pedestrians from your luxurious glass enclosed bathroom and bathtub. It is a room with a view. The question is, who’ll be viewing whom?
New York City, USA. March 2018
Have you ever had that feeling? Like you’re in a place where you’ve never been but it feels like you’ve been there many times before? Like you’re walking and standing still at the same time?
New York City, USA. March 2018.