Posts Tagged ‘Travel’
Whenever I visit Hong Kong, I like to stay in the Causeway Bay area for its vibrancy. From street food to street shopping, there is plenty to do in the area. This wet market is across the road from Times Square and is an great place to visit as evening shopping draws to a close. Earlier in the day, it can be crowded with people which can impede one’s chances to take photos of the market’s offerings. Just around the corner from this location are a number of high end restaurants and shops that are the modern Causeway Bay. The market is a vestige of an earlier time that will someday disappear and become the latest skyscraper. Enjoy while you can.
Photos were shots with a Nikon D700 and AF Fisheye Nikkor 16mm f/2.8 lens.
One of the best places to capture humanity in all its permutations is the area around the “Gateway to India” arch. This area, with the Taj Palace Hotel across the street, is probably the favorite of all the sightseeing destinations in Mumbai (referred to as Bombay by local inhabitants). Both foreign and Indian tourist like to walk this area spending equal times looking at the arch and the hotel.
From dawn to the wee hours of the morning, the plaza is visited by throes interested in taking photos of both sites. Many people stop and gawk at the Taj Palace Hotel. Some may do so because of the grandeur of the hundred year old building while others may have a more morbid interest as it was the locale of a 2008 terrorist attack that killed numerous guests.
Besides the sightseers, the area is frequented by vendors of every stripe, horse drawn elaborate carriages, and armies of photographers looking to make money by photographing tourists.
Photos were shot with a Nikon D700 with Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 AFS zoom lens and a Nikon D300s and Nikkor 70-300mm f/5.6 AFS VR zoom lens.
Last spring I spent a few hours in Nara, the capital of Japan over 1300 years ago and the home to many priceless temples and shrines. On this visit, I took a stroll through Deer Park and it’s adjacent temple, the Todai-Ji. This temple is a World Heritage Site and offers an opportunity to view the Daibutsu housed inside. This Buddha was cast over 1300 hundred years ago although some parts were recast due to damage several hundred years ago. However, having been here several times, I was more interested in capturing images of people and deer.
By the way, if you visit Deer Park, be very careful as they have been known to attack people on occasion. And they can be agressive if you offer them food.
Last month I spent a week in Shanghai on the Pudong side of the river near the large TV-radio tower. One night I took a long walk with my Nikon D700 and two lenses, the Nikkor – fisheye 16mm f/2.8l lens and the Nikkor 24mm f/1.4 lens. These photos are some of the results of the photo walk. I don’t know which ones I like more, the photos with the 24mm or the fisheye. They lend a different feel to the photos but I think that they are both pleasing. I happen to like the fisheye results as the severe distortion does focus attention on the center of the photo, that is, the area in the photo that has the least distortion.
One thing about Japan, there are plenty of trains to look at. From quaint narrow gauge systems that take you up into the mountains to the very latest “Bullet Trains”, one is never bored looking at and shooting trains. And people that are naturally found around train stations. These photos were taken earlier this year and are good examples of addressing perspective. By virtue of their length and narrow footprint, trains naturally draw your attention to the subject of your photos. When shooting trains, quickly figure out the subject of the shot and use the train’s vanishing point to focus attention on the subject. Of course, the same goes for any scene with strong bold lines.
All photos were shot with a Nikon D700 and Nikkor AFS 24mm f/1.4 lens or Nikkor AFS 24-70mm f/2.8 zoom lens.
Just outside Kratie, Cambodia, on the Mekong River is a very deep pool of water that is home to a “pod” of Irawaddy Dolphins. There are a couple dozen of these very rare dolphins that used to number in the hundreds before the Khmer Rouge decades back slaughtered most of them. The dolphin is not considered an endangered species as there are several thousand in Bangladesh although their numbers in Southeast Asia are very small. There is also a small pod in Laos on the Mekong just above the border crossing.
These dolphins are very shy and difficult to photograph. Combine that with a rocking boat in the river current and it makes for trying conditions.
The dolphins live in this deep pool, perhaps 800 meters deep. Its depth allows the mammals to adjust to the changing temperature of the water throughout the year. And because the pool is downstream from very shallow water, food is ample.
The river guides are attuned to the comfort of the dolphins so that they maintain a distance of 50-100 meters. And the guides drift with the current, again to not frighten the dolphins.
All photos were taken with a Nikon D700 and Nikkor AFS 24-70mm f/2.8 zoom lens or Nikon D300s and Nikkor AFS 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 VR zoom lens.
One of the most rewarding things to do when you are in Cambodia has nothing to do with sightseeing at venues like Angkor Wat or visiting the Irawaddy dolphins at Kratie. I recommend you take some time out of your busy days to visit a rural school and donate school supplies. These students are not well to do and are always short of basic supplies like pencils, paper tablets and rulers. For less than $50 US you can easily supply every student with these supplies. And you never know how you might be impacting these students. For every child attending school, there is probably another that does not attend school for one reason or another and it is near impossible to make a difference in their lives. At least with the children in school they are learning the basics although there is no telling where they may be in ten more years. The five and six year olds in these photos may be working in the fields with their parents in another 6 or 7 years.
Photos were taken with a Nikon D700 and Nikkor AFS 24-70mm f/2.8 zoom lens or a Nikon D300s and Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 VRI zoom lens.
Here are some more photos from my last trip to Delhi. As noted in my previous postings about Old Delhi, a rickshaw is a great vantage point for photos. Not only do you get a convenient means to travel this area, the perspective renders a slightly different point of view.
All photos taken with a Nikon D700 and Nikkor AFS 24-70mm f/2.8 zoom lens.
Omoide Yokocho (or Memory Lane) is an old neighborhood of small yakitori joints that harkens back to days long past. It is located within the neon-lit skyscrapers of West Shinjuku. Adjacent to the Uniqlo store near the Lumine Department Store, Omoide Yokocho’s days are numbered as it is beyond its shelf-life. The area is ramshackle and its only of matter of time before it is torn down in the name of progress. The option is to rehabilitate the area however no one except for some of the tenants is in favor of this. Some of the Yakitori is quite good as the numbers of patrons indicate.
This area dates back to the US Occupation post World War II and has always been a favorite for good relatively well-priced food.
All photos taken with a Nikon D700 and Nikkor AFS 24mm f/.4 lens.
One of the most fulfilling things one can do when visiting the rural areas of Cambodia is to set aside time to visit schools. As some of the rural schools are extremely poor, you should think about buying school supplies to donate to the children.
This particular school, which is located south of Stung Treng, had no electricity, windows and other conveniences that we take for granted in other parts of the world. In fact, the children had neither paper nor pencils. Instead they were using planks of wood and chalk during class. I purchased pencils, rulers and tablets for each of the 100 children in the three classes. (And candy and cookies to please each student’s sweet tooth.)
The children were kindergartners to second graders and were extremely bright. However as they were in a very poor rural area, their future is a bit hazy. Do what you can to help. Not only will the children benefit, so will you.