Sunday, January 28, 2007

Dead Chickens

Do you like to look at dead animals? Dead chickens for instance? They make good eating. Hmmm! :-) In many countries you will find chickens, pigs, goats, and many other animals in the markets. These dead chickens are in a market in Chiang-Mai, Thailand early in the morning. The markets in most countries are a wonderful place for taking photos. They are often crowded, full of many strange sights and sounds, and you can wander around the large ones for hours.

It is often best to get there early in the morning when most of the activity is going on. Usually a wide to normal focal length lens is most useful and since you normally don't want to use flash you will usually need to use ISO 400 or higher and sometimes a fairly fast lens, at least f4, but f2.8 or faster is often better.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Image Stabilization

On this cold Austin day with a bit of ice and forecasts of more I am mostly staying inside today.

Here are a couple of photos that illustrate the advantages of having image stabilization. The first one is the Marktplatz in Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany and I was able to do it handheld at only 1/3 second! I was wondering around the beautiful little medieval town for several hours in the evening after dinner and this photo was made about 11:00 PM. The second one is the Koutoubia Mosque in Marrakech, Morocco and I used 1/8 second. Those speeds are just too slow for handholding unless you have image stabilization. When I travel image stabilization is a great benefit! I highly recommend it as a very worthwhile feature for just about anyone.

Monday, January 8, 2007

Paris in Black & White

It's a beautiful, sunny, fairly warm day so I *must* get outside! I went downtown yesterday and walked around for a couple of hours with my camera. Only took one photo though. :-) This morning I got up and heard that the downtown area was closed off because over night about 60 dead birds had been found. They are still investigating the cause.

This is a photo I made a few years ago in Paris when I was still using film. As you can probably tell, I used a very wide angle lens (20mm lens on a 35mm SLR) and got very close to the sculpture in order to get as much perspective distortion as I could. Looking through my viewfinder I tried several different angles and locations to stand until I found the one I liked the best, this one. I wanted to make sure I got the Eiffel Tower in the background since that is iconic for Paris. Without it in the frame it would not be clear where this photo was taken and I wanted it to say Paris. With it, there is no doubt. I carefully chose the point I focused on and then selected a very small aperture so that I could be sure both the sculpture in the foreground and the Eiffel Tower in the background would be in focus. I then waited several minutes until a boat came by in just the right position with none of its edges overlapping any other edges in the photo. Snap!

Friday, January 5, 2007

After Trip Letdown

I am now in that period after a big trip where I feel a big letdown. The trip was so interesting and, often, exciting, but now I am back to a more normal life -- and it is boring! :-) For awhile I expect to hang around here, but I have to tell you that I am sure feeling restless!

Doesn't she have a friendly face? She is a hilltribe woman in northern Thailand. Although we didn't speak the same language we kidded each other and smiled and bargained while I bought a handmade bag from her. Afterwards I pointed to my camera and indicated that I would like to take her photo. I took a couple and this is one.

Thursday, January 4, 2007

Ghost Elephants

Are these elephants real, ghosts, are in a dream? This is a photo I made several years ago in the Serengeti in Tanzania. Africa is a primal place where our imaginations can truly wander afar. At least it is for me. In Sub-Saharan Africa I have travelled in Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia, and South Africa. And I long to go again.

Everytime I want to travel I face the dilemma of where to go. Of course, I want to go somewhere new, but previous favorite destinations also always call to me. And, of course, there are times when I want to meet some of my old friends in Japan so I regularly go back there. Japan always calls to me. :-)

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Hanoi Hoan Kiem Lake

A few years ago I travelled for almost a month in Vietnam going to Saigon, the Mekong Delta, Chau Doc, Cu Chi Caves, Nha Trang, Hoi An, Hue, Hanoi, Haiphong, Halong Bay, Cat Ba Island, and trekking for several days in the northern hilltribe area. Vietnam was a fascinating country with few, at that time, tourists and I want to go again! Sure, there was some communist propaganda aimed at visitors, but you often had to go out of your way to be exposed to it.

Here's a photo of Hoan Kiem Lake in Hanoi with a pagoda on a small island. I recall that it was a foggy morning when I was walking along the lake shore. The quiet of early morning, the mirrored surface of the lake, and the reflection of the beautiful tree just captivated me.

Monday, January 1, 2007

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! I hope 2007 will be a very happy, prosperous year for all of you!


By the way, I have a trip report for my trek in West Papua New Guinea (also known as Irian Jaya) on my website. West Papua New Guinea is one of the most primitive places left on earth and it was like time travel trekking there among the highlands people and staying in their villages each night. The trek was 2 weeks long and very difficult, but an experience I will never forget. It was the most amazing, spectacular adventure I have ever been on! I was there for almost a month and still have warm memories of some of the Lani people I met like Gupy and Amius. Click on the Trip Reports button:

Here's a photo of me with some Lani people. Penis gourds are all the rage there! :-)