Kathmandu Butter Candles

The light from butter candles is so amazing. I wish they were out every evening, but they only came out a few nights we were there. Women would set up tables, and cover them with unlit butter candles. People would come to the tables and pay a small fee to light them, and say a short prayer.

I found myself hanging out around these tables a lot. I would light candles sometimes, shoot sometimes, and other times just watch the people moving around and lighting candles.

The first time I saw them put out, I just started firing away. They were interesting to see, but my pictures didn’t show much interest. It wasn’t until I slowed down and was more patient did I start to see the beautiful light, and start to wait for a subject that would show off this light. Waiting for the coming together of light, subject, and moment is what I am now looking for in my images.

Agra and the Taj Mahal

So, being in Delhi, and only 3ish hours from Agra (so said Google maps) and the Taj Mahal, and I figured that I had to go. A couple of people told me not to bother, but hey, its the Taj Mahal! I figured that if I could get there about noon, with really harsh light, all the better (there was heavy sarcasm in that last sentence by the way) I found 3 Scottish nationals (who were there for the Commonwealth Games) that wanted to go, so we rented a car and driver, and left at 6 in the morning.

Well, that was a fun ride. First of all, the roads had been ripped up to put a “Metro” into Delhi, and one of the above ground lines heads out of town along the way to Agra, and the road underneath had not been put back together again yet. Slow going. We finally got out of Delhi, and hit a nightmare traffic jam. We were stopped short without moving for 1/2 hour. Turns out that Saturday was a holiday, and one in which many many people like to go to the Taj. Sigh. We were closer to 6 hours getting there.

So, I got my wish of crazy harsh bright and overbearing light. It turns out that we picked up a guide in Agra that our driver hooked us up with. Every one has an angle to get paid in India. His is to take us on a tour and then tell us that he only gets paid by our tips. Nice. What it also meant was that I didn’t get to just wander. I was always running to catch up to the other 4. Oh well, I didn’t have great expectations of images from this place.

After getting a couple of typical from a distance shots of the whole building, I put my 70-200 lens on and got pieces of the Taj, that I like a little better. Seemed the best choice. Actually, I like the shot at the top, where you see the Taj Mahal through a tunnel that goes all black and made a nice frame. It’s far from original, but I liked it still.

I did take a couple of detail shots of the inlay in the marble. It’s hard to believe the work that was required to make the small pieces of precious gems that went into the outside, the inside, and everywhere that you see a surface.

So, we kind of joked, that if didn’t go we would have always regretted going, but after going, not sure it was worth 6h there and 4h back. It meant a missed day of shooting in Delhi that I really liked, but hey, it’s the Taj Mahal!

First Day in Delhi

My First Delhi post. How about that. My first non North American post I suppose. I don’t think I have blogged from a country other than the US or Canada. I don’t think I had a blog when I was other places….

Anyway, today was a pretty cool day. I went out shooting three times. I’m beat. This is not the type of shooting I regularly do. I don’t ask people if I can take their picture. If I am shooting a wedding, I just stick a camera in their face. If I am shooting a bridge at night, the bridge doesn’t care, and I just shoot. I got a fair number of “no’s” with a finger wag, but for the most part, people were OK, or happy to have their picture taken. These were all taken in the “Old Delhi” section from my first outing.

Kathmandu Within the Frame

I am pretty excited about this. Probably more excited than I have been in a long time. I am going to Nepal for the first two weeks of October. I have wanted to get to Nepal/Tibet/N India for a long time, and one of three is a great start.

This trip is a photography workshop with 2 great cultural, humanitarian and world photographers: Jeffrey Chapman and David duChemin. I have been following David, and reading his books for some time now. It never seemed like it was a good time to go on a two week trip to the other side of the world, but the desire to go wasn’t just nagging anymore, it was calling. Fortunately for me, (but not the other poor soul) there was a participant that injured their back, and a space opened. I luckily had some early knowledge, and got to think about it for a couple of days, and when it was announced via Davids blog, I jumped.

The goal with this trip is not just to take some pretty pictures. It is a workshop, and with a small group and two instructors, there should be lots of learning opportunities. It should be a good deal different than the previous landscape workshop (DLWS) that I was on, and the weddings I have been shooting, and that is a good thing.

The last time I was halfway around the world, it was Indonesia, and I was a teenager. That was a long time ago. I’ve been to England with Annie in there, but this is different. Indonesia was where I first shot slides on a manual 35mm film camera. Haven’t done that since. Been meaning to look for those and grimace a bit đŸ™‚

Well, I can’t wait. I have three weddings and other stuff in there before that, but it seems both soon and far away. I guess that’s what looking forward to something does for you.

Slideshows on my return.

Seattle Skyline

This is one from the archives. It has nothing to do with Memorial Day, other than the sky looks like this here right now.

I just like this picture. Nothing special, plain sky, skyline almost centered, but somehow I like it. I still think your eye travels around the image, from the down town to the Space Needle, to the little red boat in the middle (that would be easier to see without my signature in the way!).

Hwy I29 Flooded at Harwood

I was traveling from Winnipeg to Minneapolis on March 21 when I ran into a long traffic line. Right in the middle of I29, I came to a stop. I knew that there was flooding issues. I had seen lots of water on the sides of the highway for quite awhile. Most of the flooding was occurring when there was a tributary flowing into the Red River. So when we came to a stop, I had an idea that it was water related.

I figured that there was a problem on the road and we were getting diverted. Maybe one side of the road was higher than the other and we were needing to have traffic from both directions merge onto one side of the divided highway. But I couldn’t see what the issue was yet. All I knew was that the water was getting higher and higher in my lane!

By this time the road had been narrowed to one lane, and there was less than an inch flowing across the road. Well, this isn’t too bad I thought. They wouldn’t keep the road open if there was a lot of water, would they? But the water kept getting deeper and deeper. There were shorter sections where it dipped at bit, and the truck in front of me was making pretty big splashes, especially considering we were going so slow.

I figure that the most water we went through was about  6 in. That was enough for me. I was expecting my hybrid to get swept away!

I took some video with the D90 too, but don’t have that processed yet. I had it resting on the steering wheel, which turns out not to be the most stable place. Seem like you have to turn it a little bit! Made it back safe. That looks to be where the worst of the flooding was on I29.

I am pretty sure that it was the Sheyenne river trying to make it’s way to the Red river.

Made it to Traverse City for DLWS

Woo hoo. I made it to Traverse City in Michigan for the Digital Landscape Workshop Series. I drove from Minneapolis with my father. After some consideration, we decided to take the “northern” route over Lake Michigan:

View Larger Map

When we first looked at the map, Google said it would be 11 hours to go through Chicago. Been there, done what, wanted a different way. Checked out the route above. Google said 14+ hours. What? It’s shorter! Well, just like when reading a topo map, the shortest route up that path with the gradient lines really close together isn’t always a good idea. The twisty turny single lane highways of Michigan at night with zero light from the sky and people doing 35mph in front of you, can throw off your time estimates off as well.

Well, we made it, and it was fun. Will probably take the same route home, this time when there is light while heading up through the pretty sections of Michigan.

Anyway, only 5 hours left until DLWS starts!

Where to Photograph in Seattle

I am going to Seattle in few weeks, and I have been trying to figure out what to shoot while I am there. I wanted to go check out Pikes Place Market, but wasn’t sure what else to do. On that same site, I saw Snoqualmie Falls. Hard to know how much I want to rent a car. Could get expensive.

I found a couple of sites that could help in the research. The Photographers Guide to Seattleblog looks interresting.

There is a flickr map of Seattle to check out.

I also found this Google map of one guys Seattle photos. Some of these night shots would be really neat to take. Once again, not sure how easy to get to these by bus. A scooter maybe?