Tag Archives: travel

Looking Back and Ahead

Another year has come and gone, like it does every year at this time. And at this time, it’s often recommended that people take some time to stop and reflect on what they’ve accomplished over the past year and to consider what plans and goals they might wants to pursue in the coming year. Obviously that first part assume that goals were actually set the previous year. In reality, I think when the end of the year rolls around most of us are kinda caught off guard. We look at the calendar and kinda freak out about how fast the year went by. At the beginning of the year many of us may have good intentions about setting goals, but those good intentions get lost in the hustle and bustle of our daily lives, exemplified by all the February canceled gym memberships.

Into the Light

Into the Light – Nightcliff, Darwin, Australia

I don’t claim to be much better than the average Joe when it comes to setting goals and planning. I wish I were better at it because I do think it’s an important and useful tool in moving forward and achieving longer-term goals. So with that in mind, this post will be a look back over the past year of photographic non-goal-set accomplishments and a look ahead with some objectives for the upcoming year, interspersed with some of my favorite photos from the past year.

This past year saw a number of photographic accomplishments that I was quite happy about. I had my first article and set of photos published in a magazine, the Southeast Asia Backpacker. Although not exactly a high-profile publication, it was still exciting to see my words and images of the Thaipusam Festival in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, printed in an actual magazine. The travel blog FoXnoMad published a tutorial I wrote on why you should consider shooting more black and white. An article on shooting sunsets that I also originally wrote for FoXnoMad was republished on the high-profile website Lifehacker.com. I was interviewed about my experience being a photographer for the PicsArt blog. The website HDROne.com asked me to become a contributor, writing occasional tutorials on HDR photography. I had three articles (here, here, and here) published there before the site decided to go on hiatus. And, although not directly related to photography, I also had a travel story published on the budget travel website Bootsnall.com.

Fishing off the pier - San Nicolas, Philippines

Fishing off the pier – San Nicolas, Philippines

Traveling, I didn’t make it to a huge number of destinations this past year, but I did manage to check off one of my bucket list items which was to go on a week-long photography workshop with one of my favorite photographers, David DuChemin. For this trip, I went with Within the Frame Photographic Adventures and spent a week with David, cultural photographer Jeffrey Chapman, and nine other ‘students’ in Oaxaca, Mexico, for the Day of the Dead festival. For me, one of the great things about this trip was being able to spend time with other photographers talking about the craft and just sharing the experience of photographing together, something I don’t seem to get to do very often.

Mitla, Oaxaca, Mexico

Mitla, Oaxaca, Mexico

Remembrance - Oaxaca, Mexico

Remembrance – Oaxaca, Mexico

For this coming year, I have a number of things I’m looking to accomplish. In a vague, ambiguous sense, my goals are to take more pictures, write more, travel and get outdoors more. More specifically, one of the things I’m looking to do is to change the direction of this blog. Over the past few years, this blog has been somewhat of a mish-mash of various topics but primarily a place for me to post pictures. That’s been fine, and I’ll still post the occasional photo essay and I’ll regularly post images to my Facebook page and to Google+, but my goal now is to transition the blog to something more educational by providing more photography tips and tutorials, some related to getting out and shooting and other geared toward post-processing. While much of this will likely be geared more to the beginner level, I hope that more experienced photographers will find some useful information as well.

Balinese boy at a funeral - Ubud, Indonesia

Balinese boy at a funeral – Ubud, Indonesia

Does the world really need another photographer telling everyone else how it’s done? Probably not, although I hope to avoid falling into the trap of saying This is how it’s done. But everyone has a different voice, different experiences, and a different vision. Hopefully how I see the world and express what I see will resonate with some people. Yet, I don’t even consider myself a Pro, so who am I to be instructing others? Well, I think too much emphasis can be placed on how much money someone makes, how many clients they have, how published they are, how much they’ve read, or how many places they’ve traveled to. Experience does count for something. I have a long way to go to get where I’d like to be on my photographic journey. But we’re all at different places along our path traveling at a different pace, different stages of whatever photographic journey we happen to be on, and there will always be someone ahead of you. That doesn’t devalue where you’re at now. I’d like to think that I have something valuable to share and I hope you’ll continue along this journey with me.

Biking through Divisoria - Manila, Philippines

Biking through Divisoria – Manila, Philippines

Rustic - San Francisco, California

Rustic – San Francisco, California

Yaquina Bay Bridge, Newport, Oregon

Yaquina Bay Bridge, Newport, Oregon

Yaquina Head Lighthouse - Newport, Oregon

Yaquina Head Lighthouse – Newport, Oregon

Posted in Darwin, Indonesia, Oregon, Philippines, Photography, San Francisco

Support Super Typhoon Haiyan Relief

Friends and family: As you are all aware, Super Typhoon Haiyan, one of the most powerful storms in recorded history, struck the Philippines two weeks ago causing indescribable destruction, loss of life, and leaving 10s of thousands without food, shelter, or livelihoods. While this story has already largely dropped on the news radar, replaced by the latest political scandal or celebrity sighting, the rebuilding of people’s homes, lives, and communities will go on for years. In an effort to provides some small gesture of help, I have put together a calendar of cultural and travel images from around the Philippines. 100% of the proceeds from the sales of this calendar will go to Mercy Corps Haiyan relief efforts. I’m asking for your support in helping the people of the Philippines, through purchase of one of these calendars, and/or by sharing this post with your friends. Thanks y’all.

Incidentally, the church shown on the front cover of the calendar is the San Pedro Church in Loboc, Bohol. This church was seriously damaged by the earthquake this past October.

PH Haiyan Calendar

Posted in Calendar, Cultural, Humanitarian, Philippines Also tagged , , |

A Festival of Contrasts

In my previous post, I briefly mentioned some of the visual contrasts surrounding the Day of the Dead (Dia de Los Muertos) in Oaxaca, Mexico; how what one might generally consider to be a rather solemn occasion can also contain so much good-natured fun and frivolity. One of the best examples of this contrast was at the Panteon General, a large cemetery and mausoleum dramatically lit by thousands of candles set in wall niches, outside of which a small carnival was set up with food stalls, games, and kiddie rides. It’s probably safe to assume that a certain amount of gayety has always been a part of Dia de Los Muertos but, like many cultural events around the world, commercialism has begun to creep in. Still, it does make for some fun photos.

Carnival Fishing - Oaxaca, Mexico

Carnival Fishing – Oaxaca, Mexico

Only $10 - Oaxaca, Mexico

Only $10 – Oaxaca, Mexico

Pizza - Oaxaca, Mexico

Pizza – Oaxaca, Mexico

Treats - Oaxaca, Mexico

Treats – Oaxaca, Mexico

Watching over lost souls - Oaxaca, Mexico

Watching over lost souls – Oaxaca, Mexico

Speaking of commercialism of holidays, the Christmas shopping season is now upon us. How about giving the gift of photography this year? My 2014 wall calendar The Nature of the Abstract would make a fine gift for family and friends.

The Nature of the Abstract

Posted in Cultural, Mexico, Travel Also tagged , |

Graveside Contemplations

While Mexico’s Day of the Dead festival (Dia de Los Muertos) includes a significant amount of crazy costumes, parades, parties, and street revelry, the primary focus for many is the late-night gathering of families at the graveside of loved-ones to reflect on those that have passed on. These cemetery gatherings themselves are often an odd mix of frivolity and solemnity.

Although in a broad sense it could at times feel like a bit party walking through the large cemetery gatherings (at one cemetery there was a stage set up with a live band playing), at a more intimate level it could also feel rather intrusive. Although not intended to be an occasion of mourning, but rather a time of celebration, one couldn’t help feeling that you were walking through people’s private gatherings. Some families preferred to be left alone, but many were quite welcoming. If you took the time to at least give them a smile you generally received one in return, and possibly even conversation or mezcal.

Conditions for photography were difficult. It was quite dark with candlelight often being the only source of light. The intimacy of the occasion also required a high level of respect and courtesy (sadly ignored by some photographers). Most folks didn’t mind being photographed if you at least gave them a few moments of your time.

Remembrance - Oaxaca, Mexico

Remembrance – Oaxaca, Mexico

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Posted in Cultural, Mexico, Travel Also tagged , |

Briefly, in Baguio

Baguio is located in a mountainous region about six hours north of metro Manila. Known for its cool, fresh, mountain air and nature areas full of pine trees, Baguio is a popular escape for Filipinos looking for a respite from the hot and humid low-lands. During a recent trip there we were able to, well, not do much of anything since it rained continuously for almost the entire three days we were there, sometimes quite ferociously. However, during a break in the weather we were able to get out briefly and walk around the main town center and market. Here’s a few images from that short outing.

Through the Market - Baguio, Philippines

Through the Market – Baguio, Philippines

Brooms of Baguio - Baguio, Philippines

Brooms of Baguio – Baguio, Philippines

Transit Center - Baguio, Philippines

Transit Center – Baguio, Philippines

The Empire - Baguio, Philippines

The Empire – Baguio, Philippines

Parked - Baguio, Philippines

Parked – Baguio, Philippines

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Posted in Philippines, Photography, Travel Also tagged , |