Dragons in the Garden

Chinese Gardens

They tend to wind and flow in ways that make me, as well as spirits apparently, confused. They are, however terribly beautiful in a specific way that often reminds me of China itself. That is probably because I spend so much time when I travel visiting museums and gardens. My impression of a place, tends to be shaped by the history and nature they prefer to show. Regardless, I saw these two dragons in Yu Yuan Garden in Shanghai peaking over the top of this covered walkway. The sun was low in the sky, and the view standing there was quite majestic.

Photo Technical Info

  • Aperture: ƒ/5.6
  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II
  • Taken: 2 July, 2015
  • Focal length: 30mm
  • ISO: 320
  • Shutter speed: 1/400s
  • Title: Dragons in the Garden

Tokyo Old and New

I have posted view’s of the guard towers of the Imperial Palace before, but this one is a view that really melds the old and new Tokyo in a fun way. All around the city are evidence of ancient times integrated with some great modern designs.

Photo Technical Info

  • Aperture: ƒ/8
  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II
  • Taken: 11 April, 2016
  • Focal length: 16mm
  • ISO: 250
  • Shutter speed: 1/500s
  • Title: Tokyo Old and New

Tomb Raiding in Cambodia

Temple Complex

Continuing my theme of BIG PLACES, I give you the temples of Cambodia! This one I believe is Ta Prohm, but given the maze-like winding I did at somewhat breakneck speed, I am doing good to recall where I was at all! There are throngs of tourists, but you still can’t help but sometimes seeing the place through the lens of western video games.

Photo Technical Info

  • Aperture: ƒ/5.6
  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II
  • Taken: 22 January, 2017
  • Focal length: 22mm
  • ISO: 1600
  • Shutter speed: 1/400s
  • Title: Tome Raiding in Cambodia

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

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

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

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