About W Brian Duncan

HDR Photographer, techie, vegetarian, fitness enthusiast, dreamer, creative and all around nice guy. Lover of wine.

End of the Awa’awapuhi Trail, Kauai, Hawaii

Extraordinary Beauty

There are places in this world that have taken by breath from me. Na Pali coast is one. I started as I often do with a great hiking guide on the Awa’awapuhi Trail from Unreal Hawaii (I can’t tell you how much I appreciate these guys). The trail was a bit wet (expected) and slightly uneventful, but fantastic exercise.

I can’t describe how high I am taking this photo, or how close to the edge I was hiking out on the ridge line. The photo does no justice to nature’s splendor, but I wanted you to see what I can convey.

As a side bit of trivia, this photo is the 400th I have processes for the blog!

Photo Technical Info

Dreamy Tower in La Domaine de Marie Antoinette

Dreamy New Year

Happy New Year! The following scene is from La Domaine de Marie Antoniette on the furthest corner of the Palace of Versailles. My hope for you all (and for me) is a year full of happiness, excitement and wonder. Dare to dream…you never know what might come to pass!

Photo Technical Info

  • Aperture: ƒ/4
  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II
  • Taken: 12 October, 2011
  • Focal length: 50mm
  • ISO: 100
  • Location: 48° 49.1563′ 0″ N 2° 6.7855′ 0″ E
  • Shutter speed: 1/500s
  • Title: Dreamy Tower in La Domaine de Marie-Antoinette

Wrought Iron Window in an Ancient Brick Wall, Venice, Italy

Mundane Beauty in Venice

Here is the thing about Venice, Italy…even the most ordinary scenes take on some of the magic that is all around this city of the sea. Just take a look at this wrought iron window lodged in a brick wall in one of the many narrow walkways throughout the city. The bricks are interestingly worn down by time and touch. The iron is abused by the salt air. There is a beauty in the etching of time and sea and this is a part of the wonder of Venice.

Photo Technical Info

  • Aperture: ƒ/8
  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II
  • Taken: 25 January, 2014
  • Focal length: 16mm
  • ISO: 100
  • Location: 45° 26.4187′ 0″ N 12° 19.4135′ 0″ E
  • Shutter speed: 1s
  • Title: Wrought Iron Windown in an Ancient Brick Wall, Venice, Italy

A Rockefeller Center Christmas

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas Eve to be exact. I just visited NYC a few weeks ago for business and I had never been at Christmas time. I visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and walked down the east side of the Park by Bergdorf Goodman’s Window Displays, but one stop was really in my head…The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree! I of course have mixed feelings about this New York tradition. I hate to see such an old being killed, but perhaps as my wife said, its purpose is to bring millions of people joy this season.

The crowd was maddening, but not as bad as I had expected, and truth be told…you can’t help but smile. It’s raw size makes you feel like a tiny child staring up in awe of perhaps the biggest and brightest tree you will ever in your life see. Not because of its size, but because of your smallness in a crazy big world. You are again a child standing under an enormous beautiful and bright beacon of hope, brought to life by sacrifice. Merry Christmas everyone!

Photo Technical Info

Buddhist Wall in China

Haunting Sculptures

There are so many great artistic works created in the name of religion. I don’t know the significance of this sculpture, but it is almost as maddening a work as La Sagrada Familia‘s Nativity Facade. There are so many carvings within carvings and around carvings it’s hard to know what is happening.

I took a HUGE bit of creative license as the room was dimly lit in places. There colors are all mine, but the madness is all Buddhist artists!

Photo Technical Info

Fox Prayer Card

Shinto Fox Prayer Cards

The major Shinto shrine in Kyoto, Japan is Fushimi Inari Taisha. It is one of the most amazing religious places I have see first hand (up there with Notre Dame and La Sagrada Familia). The Tori Gates go on and on and on, winding through the adjacent mountains and forests. The builders of this place must have loved nature or they wanted to get away from the THRONGS of people at the main entrance.

I have seen prayer cards before in Japan, but Fushimi Inari Taisha had several including these great fox faces. The fox is a messenger in Shinto (I am NO Shinto expert) and who better to carry your prayers! Many of the people drawing were quite good artists! This anime girl caught my attention among the row and rows of prayers.

Photo Technical Info

Behold! The Monkey Fortune Teller Sees All

Come! Monkey Fortune Teller See the Future!

I visited New York last week for work and had a bit of time one day to go into the city to see a few sights. I have been to NYC a number of times in the past, but this was my first visit during the Christmas season. I have long known large city’s stores, New York City’s in particular, have HUGE competition in window displays…I grew up watching Mannequin after all! I was ill prepared for what that really meant.

This was but one of the super elaborate crystal encrusted window displays at Bergdorf Goodman. The first one I gaped at was a monkey fortune teller in a swami wrap, gazing into his crystal ball to foretell some damsel’s future! If you are in Midtown Manhattan before the end of the year, do yourself a favor and stop by to see the window art these fantastic sculptors have created this year!

Photo Technical Info

Red Japanese Maple Leaves Over a Zen Garden

Zen Rock Gardens

In my short time in Kyoto, I saw SO many gardens. You literally run into them everywhere. I am one who has no patience for gardening, but I love the artistry OF gardening. This latest trip to Japan gave me a appreciation for imperfection. You can make something perfect, but in some things, say a handcrafted tea cup…the Japanese prize the imperfect. These leave are as I found them…imperfect. The pebbles in the karesansui are not uniform in color. My control of depth of field in the photograph was not how I saw it.

These imperfections are, but an illusion for all are perfection.

Photo Technical Info

Buddha Statue in Kyoto, Japan

Temples and Shrines, and Buddha’s OH MY!

Everywhere you go in Kyoto, there are shrines, temples and gardens. I can’t think of a place I went that didn’t have at least one or more of the three…sometimes all three at the same time! It is said Kyoto has over 2000 shrines and temples from small to exquisitely grand (in a zen way of course). Just walking down the sidewalk, I found this little temple. I said Buddha in my title, but perhaps a Bodhisattva or some other early divine person. With so many places to pray, it is sometimes hard for a western walker to know where they stand, but I think that is perfectly Japanese.

Photo Technical Info

Neat Rows of Buddhist Monk Slippers, Kyoto, Japan

Taking Off Your Shoes in Japan

The Japanese are a trusting lot! Before entering a Buddhist temple, you remove your shoes. Sometimes you carry them around in a little plastic bag, but generally you just leave them on a shoe rack by the entrance. The same is often expected if you are carrying an umbrella…best to not track water all over a temple or store. Of course, my shoes (not that anyone would want my traveling shoes) and my umbrella were always exactly where I left them. Not only are the Japanese trusting, they are also trustworthy!

I just loved these neat rows of slippers the monks wear. They were lined up outside what is functioning currently as the primary temple at Chion-in.

Photo Technical Info

  • Aperture: ƒ/3.2
  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II
  • Taken: 13 November, 2015
  • Focal length: 31mm
  • ISO: 2000
  • Location: 35° 0.3708′ 0″ N 135° 46.99′ 0″ E
  • Shutter speed: 1/400s
  • Title: Neat Rows of Buddhist Monk Slippers, Kyoto, Japan