Blustery Winter Walk

Oak Bay Zeke

If I could do complex line drawings, this is what a blustery winter walk by Oak Bay beach would look like.

Digital photo editing is so cool. It panders to my delusions of talent.

Oak Bay, Victoria. British Columbia. 2017

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Yet Another Gorgeous Sunset

I have to apologize.

I apologize for taking so many pictures of sunsets.

I apologize for calling them fabulous! gorgeous! stupendous!  I apologize for doing the hysterical equivalent of SHOUTING in caps.

I just cannot help myself. When faced with the spectacular splendor of a setting sun, I am overcome with sappy alliteration and I take pictures.  I take hundreds of pictures. More pictures than I can use. More pictures than I dare to share.

Forgive me as I share one more.

Davis Bay, Sechelt. British Columbia, Canada. 2017

Walking the dog in Tofino

LongBeach Couple--9

After years of living in China and South East Asia it was time to come home.

But after a few weeks in Toronto, hubby and I realized we still had the whole of Canada to explore.

Starting with Vancouver Island in beautiful British Columbia. The island is off the Pacific coast line of Canada and USA.  It has an unprotected face to the Pacific and is characterized by extreme weather, rugged coastlines and awe inspiring views of mountains, sea and sky.

These pictures were taken at Long Beach in Tofino.  It was an unusually warm (12 degrees!) and sunny day in November.  Normal weather is cold with constant rain and intermittent periods of more rain. With a dour scowl a local resident told me that “last year it rained every day for four months.” This summer though was a good one. It was a dry and sunny. Lucky for me, a bit of summer hung around.

There are two types of people in Tofino.

Those who walk and those who surf.

Surfing
Photo credit to Luc Charpentier

I fall in the category of walkers.

One day I might even get a dog.

LongBeach Couple--2

Tofino, Vancouver Island. British Columbia. 2017

Tokyo Noir

Hidden away from the glittery lights of Shinjuku is a warren of  bars and pubs called Golden Gai.  Like Omoide Yokocho the bars are tiny, eclectic and cater to only  a handful of customers.  Walking through the narrow alleys, it feels like old noir Tokyo – dark, moody, a little seedy and very mysterious.

Here are a few peeks into doorways and staircases …

… and always intriguing are the glimpses of people hidden in bars.

Tokyo, Japan. July 2017

Playing with Light in Black & White

 

I don’t usually shoot in black & white but in my last photo walk I decided to set my LCD to monochrome.  What a difference.  I saw scenes I wouldn’t normally have seen. The absence of color forced me to look at the shadows and light.

Some pictures, like the play on reflections below, I would have missed.  In fact, when I loaded the RAW files in Lightroom, I was startled at the display of color.

These are the pictures that I took in monochrome:

 

These are the pictures that Lightroom showed:

 

Color or monochrome, they both have their appeal.

But without the monochrome LCD, I would never have seen the view.

 

Singapore. June 2017

Focus in Yerba Buena

SAM_5784
This week’s Photo Challenge is Focus

The Daily Post says to choose a favorite photo of a moment in-focus or out. 
I have many pictures which  are blurry and out of focus but none of them are a favorite. Instead, I  choose this one.

focus  ˈfəʊkəs’
noun
  • A center of interest or activity. An act of concentrating interest or activity on something.

“He was focused on a thought, on something within himself.”

  • The state or quality of having or producing clear visual definition
“The clarity of color, grass and stone brought visual focus to his form.”

Photo taken in San Francisco, California. 2015

Photo Challenge: Order

I’m going to try this.

Once.

The Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge: Order


I took this shot at Chow Kit Market in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.  It’s part of a series on local markets where I try to capture their look and feel.  I had a simple intent of showing a dry goods shop, different from the standard shots of vegetables and meat.

What caught my eye about this photo?

Originally it was the orange color of his shirt. The eye-catch which connected the passer-by to the shelves in the shop. But then the color became lines and my eye followed the network of lines within lines, the boxes within boxes. Unconsciously, my eye was drawn to the pattern within the picture, the order imposed on this chaos of small things. But then my eye grew tired of straight lines. It pulled back to follow the curves. The dark slope of the shopkeeper hunched over the counter. The blurred profile of the passer-by. The orange color of his shirt.

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.  2017


So that’s it then.

My first response to a Photo Challenge. 

But this program is Weekly. 

Maybe I’ll have the discipline to try it again.

Later. 

Familiar Faces in Saigon

It’s hot in Saigon. At 10 o’clock in the morning it’s already thirty degrees with a mounting noon day sun. Rivers of sweat stream down my chest and my t-shirt is wet against my skin. We’re in the market area of old Cholon, the Chinese quarter of  Ho Chi Minh City.  I avoid a passing motorcycle and hug a shade on the sidewalk.

Up ahead Arnaud our photo guide,  is telling us to use f3.5 for close-up portrait shots.

“You muss go in cloze,” he says.

Arnaud is a Frenchman living in Vietnam and enjoying the life of full time street photography.   His enthusiasm is passionate and relentless. We’ve spent three hours walking  and he hasn’t stopped talking once. Lucky for me, he latches on to my Paris born husband and lapses into French.

Two street vendors set-up stalls across a narrow pathway; one selling food, the other selling flowers.  I take a quick shot of the flower vendor. She seems familiar. The set of her mouth, the curve of her nose, the slant of her eyes. She reminds me of my grandmother.

Her friend across the street calls out, laughing and a little jealous of her attention.  I take her picture too. I’m rewarded with a bright mischievous grin

Up ahead Luc and Arnaud are circling a bemused old man. He’s been caught waiting for his wife. Arnaud’s behemoth Nikon hovers near the man’s face. He catches my eye and I shake my head apologetically. After they’ve moved on, I take my shot from a respectable f5.6 and 35mm distance.

“Are you Japanese?” he says in perfect English.

I shake my head and un-mindfuly say “Chinese.”

“Wo shi hua ren,” he says. He holds his hand three feet off the ground. “Wo li kai zhong guo shi, hai shi ge xiao nan hai.”

I catch the words ‘zhong guo’ for China. I gather that he’s originally from China and that he left for Vietnam when he was very small.

Later when I look at the map of Vietnam, I realize how close it is to China. It shares a border with Guangxi, the southern most province and homeland of my great great grandfather.  Looking closer at the old man’s photo, I see the familiar Han nose and hooded almond shaped eyes. Clumps of stiff white hair bristle from his cheek.

It reminds me of my father, who at eighty three years doesn’t see or shave as well as he used to. In fact this man has an uncanny resemblance to my father’s friend, Uncle Louie. I call him uncle not because he’s a relative but because it’s the traditional term of respect for Chinese elders. When I was little I used to think that I had the biggest family in the world. Maybe I wasn’t half wrong.

Photos taken in HCMC, Vietnam. 2015

Myanmar Portraits

Cheroot Smoker (Bagan)

Whenever I travel I take lots of pictures.  After the trip, it takes me a while to sift through them all.   I discard the (many!) uninteresting and bad shots; select the context and story shots  and choose the ones that I just plain like.

I  always prefer pictures with people in them.   Inevitably my favorites are portraits. For me, the sense of place is best captured in the expressions and character of its people.

Here are a few from my trip to Myanmar.

For whatever reason, I almost never take pictures of children and cats.  Don’t get me wrong, I love children and cats. Some of my favorite people were children once. Cats even.  But as photo ops? Not so much.

Except for this one.   This little monk had just gobbled up a special treat.  He’d claimed a small cake included with the rice in the daily alms collection.   I love the expression on his face and the overall delight in his posture.

bagan-2364
Little Monk (Bagan)

My absolute favorite portrait from Myanmar?

That would be of the Cheroot smoker. It was taken on our first day in Bagan. We’d visited the early morning market and she was setup right at entrance.  Over the next eight days I took hundreds of photos but this one, taken in the first hour, is my favorite.

Myanmar. December 2016