Entering the Gate at Meiji Jingū

Always a Stop

I have been to Meiji Jingū every time I have visited Tokyo. There is a peacefulness to the place that I love taking in, its also suffused with Japanese spiritual practice. Shinto is fascinating to me, and I love to watch all the comings and goings…especially the marriage ceremonies. This is one of the outer torii gates on the east side of the expansive park the Shrine is built on.

Photo Technical Info

  • Aperture: ƒ/5
  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II
  • Taken: 11 April, 2016
  • Focal length: 18mm
  • ISO: 800
  • Shutter speed: 1/320s
  • Title: Entering the Gate at Meiji Jingū

555 in Amsterdam

Bicycles and Row Houses

This scene caught my eye walking back “home” (hotel) while in Amsterdam from Anne Frank Huis. The yellow bicycle against the mostly monochrome row homes really stood out in my mind in this way. It was only later that I noticed how fun the most prominent home number is here. I also saw my first Banksy in the wild nearby. Amsterdam is a wonderful city for cycling and walking, you can’t get away from the general humanness of the place…which I just adore.

Photo Technical Info

  • Aperture: ƒ/2.8
  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II
  • Taken: 19 February, 2017
  • Focal length: 20mm
  • ISO: 320
  • Shutter speed: 1/1000s
  • Title: 555 in Amsterdam

Ghosts of Gondolas in Venice

Ghosts

You know that feeling you get…only sometimes, in the absence of the light. I have tried to explain how Venice changes once the sun goes down. I never explain it right. I always make it seem sinister, or like some corny spook house. Boo! That’s not it at all. It is more like the veil between realms is…more delicate there. Maybe it’s just the history. Often the oldest of places have more…personality. I love taking these long exposures at night. Despite my near von Aschenbach respiratory malady I stayed out past sunset. Even the January cold (and rain) could not keep me from the Venetian Night.

Photo Technical Info

  • Aperture: ƒ/3.5
  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II
  • Taken: 25 January, 2014
  • Focal length: 23mm
  • ISO: 100
  • Shutter speed: 10s
  • Title: Ghosts of Gondolas in Venice

Dark Canal in Amsterdam

Stepping Out of the Conventional

People who know me would likely never call me conventional. It’s almost a laughable notion, one in which I happily participate. I have been reminded of this over and over again trying to “find myself” (as if I really went anywhere other than where I am currently). In honor of these notions, I decided to dedicate the month of May to experimental work. The odd stuff I assume nobody but me with enjoy. I always seem drawn to the mistakes of the world. Somehow there is an purity most miss when all that can be seen is the difference. This photo is out of focus. It’s too highly contrasted. It lacks color. These are things you could say…but I see honest feeling, beauty and hope.

Photo Technical Info

  • Aperture: ƒ/5.6
  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II
  • Taken: 17 February, 2017
  • Focal length: 35mm
  • ISO: 1600
  • Shutter speed: 1s
  • Title: Dark Canal in Amsterdam

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

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

Inside Brunelleschi’s Dome, Florence

Way Up There

Its funny how things scale. When I went to Florence, Italy I HAD to see the Cathedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore. I have read WAY too many Dan Brown novels to pass this treat up. I like active trips and climbing the stirs to the top of the Cathedral’s dome is quite an active day. The dome is a marvel of its time (honestly of today as well) and getting through the ever narrowing and sideways passages around the dome to the top is a tad spooky!

Photo Technical Info

  • Aperture: ƒ/2.8
  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II
  • Taken: 14 January, 2016
  • Focal length: 16mm
  • ISO: 1600
  • Shutter speed: 1/25s
  • Title: Inside Brunelleschi's Dome, Florence

Temple of Heaven Fire Baskets

Favorite Historical Sites

If I had to pick between the big three UNESCO sites in and around Beijing my preference, BY FAR would likely be with the Temple of Heaven. While in antiquity this was a temple for the Emperor of China, today its is an expansive and exquisitely beautiful park near the heart of Beijing. There is a majesty in walking up the path reserved for only the emperor. There is a grandeur and elegance that masks (along with modern perception) the religous rites preformed here to bring a good harvest. If for some reason you have to choose between The Temple of Heaven, The Forbidden City and The Great Wall, I would chose in that order.

Photo Technical Info

  • Aperture: ƒ/8
  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II
  • Taken: 6 September, 2016
  • Focal length: 31mm
  • ISO: 640
  • Shutter speed: 1/1000s
  • Title: Temple of Heaven Fire Baskets

The Forbidden City Roof Details

Plans Already Defined

When you visit Beijing for the first time, or go with someone who is going for the first time, your itinerary is almost designated for you by the historical and cultural significance of the region. You have to see:

  1. The Great Wall
  2. The Temple of Heaven
  3. The Forbidden City

All three are UNESCO World Heritage sites and all three are AMAZING! It’s honestly a wonder The Forbidden City wasn’t destroyed during the cultural revolution in China, but lucky for all the world, it is still very much waiting for your visit!

Photo Technical Info

  • Aperture: ƒ/8
  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II
  • Taken: 5 September, 2016
  • Focal length: 35mm
  • ISO: 100
  • Shutter speed: 1/400s
  • Title: The Forbidden City Roof Details

Badaling Section of The Great Wall

7 Wonders

With our most recent trip to China, I realize I have now seen three of the New 7 Wonders of the World. Here is the completely list:

  • Christ Redeemer: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  • Great Wall of China: China
  • Machu Picchu: Peru
  • Petra: Jordan
  • Pyramid at Chichén Itzá: Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico
  • Roman Colosseum: Rome, Italy
  • Taj Mahal: Agra, India

Of course technically the wall is really multiple walls, and I only saw one very touristy section. It was very well restored, but personally I think I tend to like the less populated and more rugged hiking that might be involved in visiting one of the less visited sections. Here are a few tips, bring a hat, sunscreen, water and snacks! If you plan on going to Badaling (one of the “easier” sections to get to from Beijing) bring patience. There are over 1.35 billion people in china and I think about 1 billion visit the Badaling section of the wall each day (this maybe an exaggeration). Keep in mind despite not being “rugged hiking” it is a VERY steep climb!

Photo Technical Info

  • Aperture: ƒ/8
  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II
  • Taken: 5 September, 2016
  • Focal length: 16mm
  • ISO: 250
  • Shutter speed: 1/320s
  • Title: Badaling Section of The Great Wall