Thumbnails - January 2009

January 2009
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Bali Sunset Photo:  Facing west onto the majority Hindu island of Bali, the holy mountain, Gunung Agung is faintly visible. Emerald Beach Photo: An isolated beach just outside of the capitol, Dili, yet to be encroached by beach-side facilities.  Due to frequent violence in and around the capitol, tourism has not properly developed in East Timor.  However, with large stretches of beaches in the country in similar pristine condition, it's a matter of time before tourists discover the beauty of East Timor and the incredible diving opportunities just off its coast Komodo Dragon Photo:  Early morning on Komodo Island in the Komodo National Park area, one of only a few places on earth the world's largest living lizards can be seen.  In the old days, tourists were allowed to purchase a live, tethered goat and watch while the sacrifice was devoured.  As the practice has ended, my attempts to smuggle in a live chicken were thwarted before I boarded the boat that brought us to the island. Merchant & Shadow Photo:  A vendor waits for business on a busy street in Kathmandu.
Monks Only Photo: On a boat taxi that navigates the Chao Praya river, a standing area is designated exclusively for Buddhist monks.  In majority Buddhist Thailand, monks are held in high esteem and afforded such benefits including their own seating area on buses. Forest Man Photo: Feeding time at the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Center, where orangutans are trained for re-introduction into the jungle.  Semi-rehabilitated orangutans arrive from the nearby forest to shamelessly gorge on a banana lunch.  Once the food coma kicks in, they lounge around and allow tourists to fill up their memory cards with their photogenic faces. Timorese Village Photo: A small village in East Timor rendered in photoshop to recreate a tilt-shift lens effect. Sidewalk Potato Photo: A Malaysian man watches a giant television near Merdeka Square.
Muy Thai Photo: Open-air exhibition muy thai fight on the grounds of the Sanam Luang Park outside the Grand Palace.  During the Songkran festival (aka Water Festival) held around April each year, the grounds turn into a frenzy of activity to celebrate the Thai new year. Three Feet Photo: 3 people get some rest on a colorful boat from Bali to Lombok.  The sun is merciless in Indonesia, particularly while on a boat made of reflective metal surfaces.  Nearly half the passengers were sunburnt, even the ones that sought refuge in the shade. Street Food Photo: Fenghuang's nightly food market offers sizzling, steaming and boiling foodstuff options beyond belief. Plastic Bag Bicycle Seat Photo: An old bicycle that appears like it's been left to rust outside.  The fact that it remains unlocked speaks volumes of how safe it is in certain parts of China.
Hanuman:  Monkey God Photo: From the Hindu epic, the Ramayana, the monkey god, Hanuman is seen escaping a firey trap to save the princess, Sita from her kidnapper. Mosque & Sky Photo: The golden dome of the Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque is set against a backdrop of moody clouds.  This beautiful mosque represents the geographical and spiritual center of Brunei and is on the itinerary of any traveler that comes to Brunei. Island Paradise Photo: A white sand beach on a small island off the southern coast of Thailand, typical of the natural beauty all over the country.  These longtail boats are powered by used automobile engines and form a large part of the local transportation around the islands of Thailand. Evening Prayers Photo: A devout muslim breaks from her work in the rice fields to pray facing west towards Mecca.
Peephole Photo: Walking down the street, I noticed a boy's head sticking slightly out of this gigantic metal security door.  Whenever I'm walking around with my camera, I frequently pre-adjust the exposure for changing light conditions, even if no photo is present, in order to be prepared for the unexpected.  As a result, I was already dialed in to the correct exposure and grabbed a quick shot of the playful child before he shied away from the camera.  The final photo looks posed but in reality it was one of those great moments of serendipity that all photographers hope for. Alien Life Form Photo: A child unknowingly creates a shadow puppet against a large defensive wall.  The ancient city of Pingyao is surrounded by these well-preserved walls and has earned itself a place as a UNESCO world heritage site. Temple Walkway Photo: Angkor Wat at dawn and despite it being 6am, there are hundreds of people waiting for the temple gates to open.  To beat the crowds, I rush to the interior of the temple, set up my tripod and quickly snap off a few photos before the masses descend into my frame. Monorail Photo:  In futuristic Kuala Lumpur, the automated monorail local transportation system whisks people around in air-conditioned comfort.
Mongolian Square Photo: Sukhbataar Square, surrounded by boxy, Soviet-era buildings. Potala Planet Photo: Potala Palace, seat of the Dalai Lama, shown using a 360 degree panorama taken from the Potala Palace square in the evening.  The directional light present when the photo was taken made post-processing incredibly painstaking and since I have limited experience with these photos, I made a mental note to attempt this type of panorama when the sun is directly overhead... just food for thought in case you wanted to try this planet panorama. Wet Brick Photo: Facing west near the Hall of Supreme Harmony, an obscure building in the Forbidden City. Royal Enfield Photo: World War II-style Royal Enfield motorcycle.  Originally British, now made exclusively in India, the Royal Enfield brand has a strong cult following around the world.
Sandcastle Photo: On Victory Beach, a young Cambodian girl builds a sandcastle on a rock.  It's a scientifically verifiable fact that Cambodian kids are the cutest children on earth... it's science and therefore, can't be disputed. Traditional Garments Photo: At the three-day Bandipur festival with the Himalayas as a backdrop, a pair of handsomely-dressed local women graciously pose for a photo. Backside Cutback Photo: At Kuta Beach in Bali, a local beach-boy rides the waves. Bar Lighting Photo: Polish traveler, Kas, accidentally models under a harsh light at our hotel bar.  Even at ISO 1600, she looks great.
Hindu Bride Photo: A beautiful Indian bride receives blessings from the Ganges river before entering into matrimony. Jazz Singer Photo: Lone singer under the spotlight at an open-air Jazz festival. Chrome Clocks Photo: Broken clocks at a roundabout in downtown Dili.  
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