About W Brian Duncan

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

Supertrees and The Marina Bay Sands in Singapore

Supertrees are Back!

I am not sure I will get enough of the Supertrees. From early in my travels, my friend David said…I want to see an HDR picture of the SUPERTREES! It took over two years to make it to Singapore. I ended up loving the country! There seems to be a LOT happening there!

Marina Bay Sands

The hotel looks like a giant cruise ship was delicately placed on top of three skyscrapers. I really wanted to get to the upper decks of the hotel. I understand there is an amazing cheese and chocolate buffet that happens nightly…I am not sure how I kept myself away honestly!

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Buddha Tooth Relic Shrine

Feeling

If you haven’t noticed I tend to visit quite a number of churches, temples and shrines on my travels. I love seeing how other cultures look at religion; how they react to their faith. I have a personal soft spot for Buddhism, for no particular reason, it just speaks to me in a different way than western religions. Something seems to draw me to the East, but alas my patience is poor which is no excuse. Today’s photo is where I entered the shrine. What I found inside was interesting and not unlike other Buddhist shrines. Except upstairs.

The Reliquary Room

On the upper floor of the shrine (you would miss the elevator if you weren’t looking) is a reliquary made of gold purported to contain a fragment of one of the Buddha’s canine teeth. It was rescued from his funeral pyre. I don’t know it the is true, but there is an eternal quality that surrounds the space. I sat for a long time and listened to the monk’s chants of blessings. People knelt, he blessed them. I didn’t ask for a blessing; I know not why. I pondered the place for a very long time sitting silently on a meditation cushion in full lotus. Perhaps if you are ever in the area … stop by, I would love to talk to someone else about their experience.

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The Supreme Court of the United States of America

Getting Run Off

I had just been run off from using my tripod at the US Capitol (I still took an good photo of the Back of the Capitol). I wandered around to the front of the US Capitol and crossed the street to The Supreme Court of the United States of America! There is a sidewalk out front and I know my rights! The guard seemed mostly uninterested, he even came over to chat a bit, but left me alone since my tripod was firmly on a public sidewalk! I was upset at the construction, but then I realized I have a unique slice in time that perhaps no one else had. I like that thought!

Photo Technical Info

  • Aperture: ƒ/8
  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II
  • Taken: 28 May, 2012
  • Focal length: 26mm
  • ISO: 100
  • Location: 38° 53.4358′ 0″ N 77° 0.352′ 0″ W
  • Shutter speed: 1/250s
  • Title: The Supreme Court of the United States of America

Supertree Sky Walk

Supertrees!

Since I started traveling I have wanted to visit the Supertrees in Singapore. Last month I too the very long journey to see them. The area is part of the Garden by the Bay, a park that melds into the overall Marina Bay area. The entire area is a architectural biological and technological wonderland! The Supertrees are solar powered, but that only scratches the surface of this amazing place.

Friendly Faces

All the stories I recall from the news had me a bit worried about my visit to Singapore. I take a medicine that is not allowed to enter the country and generally I don’t worry about my prescriptions (my doctor gave them to me after all), but I worried in Singapore. The thing is, as has always been my experience with travel, I found something completely different than I expected. The people in Singapore and very friendly (almost too much so) and from ALL over the world. It seemed like everywhere I went I met someone from a different country. I met people from India, China, England, Vietnam, Germany, and many more places. It truly is a melting pot!

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Strong Lines in San Francisco

Strong Lines

Today’s photo is an exploration of line. I was talking about this with a work colleague this week…sometimes things grab me and won’t let go. While I was in Singapore recently I was walking through an MRT station and I hit a hallway playing a Burburry ad. I linked it below…I hit the hall and it stopped me in my tracks. Literally. I tend to walk pretty quick for someone with really short legs and I literally just STOPPED! A lady behind me nearly ran over me and I didn’t even have the presence to apologize. I finally stepped over to the side. What got me, besides the dazzling iridescent plexiglass walls was Joss Stone. Her rendition of I Put a Spell on You with Jeff Beck grabbed me and it still hasn’t let go. I rarely buy music these days and I immediately purchased this song.

Isolating a Subject

When something grabs you it can be helpful to understand it by breaking it down and isolating the element that most strikes you. I have been doing this with the Stone/Beck song. For me, these stairs in from the of the Grand Hyatt in San Francisco are all about line. The color is nearly removed, all other distractions are removed…you are left with the line. The geometry of this common piece or art.

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Victoria Memorial, London, England

Sun in London!

We had a pretty lucky trip to London, England. In the midst of September, somehow we found sun! We didn’t have much in the way of the stariotypical cold, cloudy, foggy weather just a bunch wonderfully crisp fall sunny days.

Visit Early

We ended up at Buckingham Palace sometime in the early afternoon. The sun was strong and the tourists were out in full force on the plaza to gawk at the Queen’s Guard in all their sternness. I don’t like it when people mess with the guard…it’s so terribly disrespectful (plus I am pretty sure those guys can break pretty much anyone they needed to in half). I made my way to the Victoria Memorial and it was covered with tourists soaking all the strong sun. I looked up and thought what a better backlight for Victoria then the Sun itself.

Happy Ground Hog Day everyone! Let’s hope for a cloudy day in PA today!

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High Key Ramp

White Ramp

How much of your vacations do you end up leaving to chance?

I found MACBA Museu D’Art Contemporani De Barcelona within walking distance of my hotel in Barcelona. I just wandered to it the first day I was visiting. It was there and I just went in. The space is all gleaming white, I can’t imagine a better blank canvas to display art, but what caught me was the space itself.

When you travel have a plan, but don’t be afraid to abandon it on a whim. Your plan will be there when you return back from your mystical journey in the clouds.

There is a joy in discovery. There is surprise and wonder just waiting for you out there. It’s worth leaving flexibility in your travels. Serendipity is a wonderful muse!

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Fiery Sunset on Waikiki

Worth the Time

I know when I come back from trips, I have a huge number of photos and a good swath of them I label in my head as unusable for publication. Maybe you do too and I want to challenge you to think differently about those photos. Something originally grabbed your attention and caused you to snap the picture. It was worth taking and recently I have begun to believe there is value in working on these less than stellar gems. Experimenting in processing allows for a world of new results.

Today’s Photo

I was originally drawn to this fiery sunset on Waikiki, a subject I have looked at numerous times, but much differently today. I discounted this shot because there were so many people and so much clutter. Instead, I upped the contrast and rendered the bulk of the foreground in silhouette, all the while creating a surreal sunset giving everything an unworldly red/orange hue. The great thing is this was processed entirely in Lightroom 5! Try taking a fresh look at your unusable images. Focus on what drew you to take the shot in the first place, then find the photo!

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Red Telephone Box London, England

London Calling

When Pamela and I decided to go to London, I will admin, I was specifically excited to get a photo of two things. The first was Big Ben and Parliament at sunset. The second was this photo of one of the red telephone boxes that are all over London. I have no idea who uses these today with the ubiquity of mobile communication devices, but I am glad this icon is still around!

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Remembering You

Beauty and Tragedy

One of my favorite things about Hawaii is the freedom. It exists deeply in the place. All of the beaches are public and free for everyone to enjoy. Often access to these places are difficult and people tend to look the other way when you go someplace you shouldn’t. Signs give warning, but often these are ignored on the islands.

I love this section of cliff in Oahu. I have been several times…I like to sit and take it all in. I also know this is a place of tragedy. The ocean below is treacherous and a fall from the cliffs would be all too easy. There are a few memorials like this and I have always put off processing them, but I think perhaps the danger, the beauty, the harsh reality of this place is what draws me to it and to ignore the tragedy is to ignore part of the freedom that live gives.

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