Exploring Angkor Wat

Tomb Raider

Technically Tomb Raider was shot at Ta Prohm and this is Angkor Wat temple, but being American, I can’t help but tell you how much I felt like I was in a movie! Sure there were hoards of tourists and guides, but there is something amazing (and terrible) being able to freely explore this ancient temple complex!

Photo Technical Info

  • Aperture: ƒ/8
  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II
  • Taken: 21 January, 2017
  • Focal length: 16mm
  • ISO: 100
  • Shutter speed: 1/200s
  • Title: Exploring Angkor Wat

Inside Musée Jacquemart-André, Paris, France

Parisian Opulence

A quick photo today from Paris. Pamela and I made a rendezvous while I was on a trip around the world. She didn’t want to go on the entire jaunt, but when I said I was ending in Paris, she cashed in some award miles (January in Europe tends to be cheap as mileage awards go)! This is one of the many museums in Paris and is housed in a gorgeous mansion. I absolutely LOVE opulent home tours and this was absolutely beautiful!

Photo Technical Info

  • Aperture: ƒ/4
  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II
  • Taken: 26 January, 2017
  • Focal length: 16mm
  • ISO: 1600
  • Shutter speed: 1/320s
  • Title: Inside Musée Jacquemart-André, Paris, France

Angkor Wat Temple Carvings

Churning of the Ocean of Milk

This is one of the most famous carvings in Angkor Wat temple and perhaps all of Cambodia. The Churning of the Ocean of Milk tells the story of a battle between Devas (gods) and Asuras (demons) to gain supremacy on the Earth. The two sides battled in a great tug-of-war struggling while pulling on the Naga (a mythical snake creature) thus causing the great churning of the ocean of milk and things to be revealed in the turmoil of the ocean including the Amrita (the elixir of immortality). In the process they numerous times petitioned the help of Vishnu who aided the Devas. In several ways the Devas tricked the Asuras and gained supremacy in the world, sending the demons to hell.

This is of course my rendition from what my guide at Ankor Wat shared of the story. I am still trying to work my way through how this story relates to modern times. Perhaps this is further complicated as this is a Hindu sculpture inside a Buddhist temple.

Photo Technical Info

  • Aperture: ƒ/3.5
  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II
  • Taken: 21 January, 2017
  • Focal length: 18mm
  • ISO: 640
  • Shutter speed: 1/160s
  • Title: Angkor Wat Temple Carvings

Neon in the Air

Flying in Style

I admit it, I am spoiled. So many people don’t get to travel. So many people don’t take the time to travel. So many people can’t afford to travel. So many people are too afraid to travel. The list is endless, some are very legitimate reasons others are less so, but if you can go and experience a place very different than where you are from, it is impossible to look at the world with the same eyes. If you dream of going someplace, get your passport today (if you don’t already have one). Start saving! GO!

This photo was taken aboard a Qatar Airbus A380 where I recently took two trips (BKK-DOH, DOH-CDG) in First Class. I am going to call it Doha, Qatar, but really its somewhere over the Middle East. This is the stairs leading into the first class cabin from the lower deck. I told you I was spoiled!

Photo Technical Info

  • Aperture: ƒ/2.8
  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II
  • Taken: 25 January, 2017
  • Focal length: 16mm
  • ISO: 3200
  • Shutter speed: 1/60s
  • Title: Neon in the Air

Begijnhof, Amsterdam

Perfect Timing

I have this theory of travel. I believe trips come to us, sometimes in unexpected ways, just when we need them. That is probably less metaphysical that it first sounds. We are often drawn on some subconscious level to the things we need, real or perceived. Amsterdam has been a city high on my list for years but I had yet to visit until last week. I was drawn there (though largely by an airline fare sale) but it fed my soul all the same.

There is a constant question that plagues many and it can take many forms. Why am I here? What is my purpose? Who am I? These essential musings on our very nature are often lost in the wanderings of day to day existence. Travel helps us see though the daily haze and wonder at the incredible beauty in the world. It helps us question our place and seek new possibilities. It helps us see the universality of pain and see our own pain through the lens of others suffering. It helps remind us of the amazing talent and beauty people share every day, and the genius of artists of the past that still make us cry in joy that such a thing of beauty could even exist.

Many of the residential areas in Amsterdam contain a wonderful courtyard called a hof. Begijnhof is perhaps one of the most famous, but hidden from view behind a door. It’s a beautiful and peaceful place away from the hustle and bustle of the city. It is one of the great lessons Amsterdam taught me.

Photo Technical Info

  • Aperture: ƒ/8
  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II
  • Taken: 18 February, 2017
  • Focal length: 25mm
  • ISO: 1000
  • Shutter speed: 1/2000s
  • Title: Begijnhof, Amsterdam

The Ethereal Essence of Sakura

Magic in the Air

Magic is probably the wrong word to use. I feel like Sakura is must more of an Eastern philosophical festival than my Western mind completely grasps. There is so much beauty in the blossoms of the cherry trees. The burst forth to the enjoyment of all and fill the previously cold world wrapped in winter with color and life and the most glorious fragrance. Their time here is so short, only about 10 days, then the blossoms fall (die?). When this happens, a cool breeze come through and the petals of these one beautiful flowers rain down to the ground. I can most compare it to snow, but at the same time, nothing like snow. In that moment, for me at least, is perhaps their most beautiful expression. They leave the world in a gracefully chaotic fall that I can only call magical.

Photo Technical Info

  • Aperture: ƒ/8
  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II
  • Taken: 9 April, 2016
  • Focal length: 35mm
  • ISO: 100
  • Shutter speed: 1/320s
  • Title: The Ethereal Essence of Sakura

Zen Seclusion

Taking a Moment

Tokyo isn’t exactly a place for quiet. It’s hustle and bustle non-stop and packet to the gills with people. This is almost doubly so during Sakura! I have found though, even in the most densely populated places you can find moments of zen.

Photo Technical Info

  • Aperture: ƒ/8
  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II
  • Taken: 9 April, 2016
  • Focal length: 17mm
  • ISO: 640
  • Shutter speed: 1/640s
  • Title: Zen Seclusion

Flowering Bush in Tokyo, Japan

Spring is Around the Corner

Believe it or not, Spring is not far around the corner! Personally I can’t wait for winter to be over, but this realization got me thinking about Sakura. I am not traveling quite as much as in years past. Part of me is really sad about this, but it also makes me thing about the Buddhist meaning of this time in Japan. The cherry blossoms live only for around 10 days and they are a reminder of impermanence. Nothing can last forever, but despite inevitable mortality, spring will come again.

I found this flowering bush (or maybe tree) while viewing Sakura. The closer brighter blossom was nearly perfect, it too made me thing while circumambulating the Shinobazu Pond that while the Sakura gets all the attention, there is beauty all around.

Photo Technical Info

  • Aperture: ƒ/8
  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II
  • Taken: 9 April, 2016
  • Focal length: 35mm
  • ISO: 640
  • Shutter speed: 1/160s
  • Title: Flowering Bush in Tokyo, Japan

In the Courtyard of the Basilica of Santa Maria della Salute

Up Early

I got up early this day to walk across the Ponte dell’Accademia in Venice, Italy. I was hoping to catch the sunrise on the bridge and since I was so close I figured I would go to the Basilica of Santa Maria della Salute. You probably recognize this church from photos shot from St Mark’s Square at sunset. The Basilica dominates the view in the West from the main square, but because you have to cross the Grand Canal, its out of the way nature makes it seem almost an after thought. I was lucky to be the only person at the Basilica that morning (another couple was leaving as I was entering) and I absolutely LOVE to catch birds in flight on a wet morning!

Photo Technical Info

  • Aperture: ƒ/8
  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II
  • Taken: 26 January, 2014
  • Focal length: 16mm
  • ISO: 100
  • Shutter speed: 1/100s
  • Title: In the Courtyard of the Basilica of Santa Maria della Salute

Entering the Medersa

Unending Beauty

It’s difficult to describe just how beautiful I find Islamic art. I was first introduced to infinite repetitions in Hawaii of all places. I am come to find it’s geometry, repetition and message somehow soothing. Entering the Ben Youssef Medersa in Marrakesh, Morocco you immediately know you are entering another world. The craftsmanship in this school is beautiful beyond most anything I have ever seen. I sat in this place for hours mesmerized.

Photo Technical Info

  • Aperture: ƒ/4
  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II
  • Taken: 25 April, 2015
  • Focal length: 16mm
  • ISO: 1250
  • Shutter speed: 1/800s
  • Title: Entering the Medersa