In addition to seeing its many temples, no visit to Bangkok’s Chinatown is really complete without a visit to the sprawling Pak Klong Talad Flower and Vegetable Market. Coming from Wat Arun on the other side of the Chao Phraya River, we exited our river boat at stop N6, Tha Memorial Bridge, to continue back to our hotel in Chinatown. With a small detour, we could also visit the market. In addition to the wholesalers inside the market, there are many individual proprietors selling small amounts from their personal vehicles, e.g., carts or bicycles, parked in the streets or on the sidewalks beside the large market. The owner of this bicycle is selling lemons from a basket on the handlebars.
The fishing harbor in Fort Cochi in the South Indian state of Kerala is a major source of fish for local markets and export. Here we see many of the local fishermen mending their nets in the shade of a large blue tent near the harbor.
In 2013, we visited the Meenakshi Temple in Madurai in the South India state of Tamil Nadu. The Hindu goddess Parvati and god Shiva are known here as Meenakshi and Sundareswarar, respectively. Just outside Sri Meenakshi is a large statue of Nandi, the bull that is the vahana (vehicle) of Shiva. The body of the bull is white, symbolizing purity and justice. While I could not find the reason for the blue highlighting on Nandi’s body, I think that its source is the same poison drunk by Shiva, that also turned Shiva’s throat blue during the Churning of the Cosmic Ocean.
Nandi Statue, Sri Meenakshi Temple, Madurai, India
This photo was taken on March 11, 2103. Specs are:
Olympus TG-1, ISO 100, f/4, 1/1250 sec, 7.9 mm
(With apologies for any inaccuracies in describing the Hindu religion.)
On August 12, 2017, the “Unite the Right” rally, a white nationalist (supremacist) demonstration, was held in Emancipation Park (formerly named Lee Park) in the city of Charlottesville, Virginia. This tiny park is the site of a mounted statue of Robert E. Lee, a son of Virginia and the Southern general who commanded the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia in the Civil War from 1862 until 1865. Early that morning, well before the scheduled start time of the demonstration, the white nationalists and a group of counter-protesters arrived at the park. Violence broke out in the park and the adjoining street, culminating in a vehicular attack on a group of counter-protesters, in the narrow street enclosed by buildings on each side, that resulted in the death of one counter-protester and injury to at least 19 others. This story has been covered by many news outlets and is not covered further in this post.
On August 25, we drove through the city of Charlottesville and stopped to see the site for ourselves. A few dozen other people were also there, somberly viewing the park and the few short blocks that had seen so much violence. The park was quiet and green, with a few benches where a very few people sat in the shade. The statue of General Lee on his horse was covered completely in black plastic. A few people walked into the park, looked at the large black object, took a few pictures, and left.
We walked down the street to the scene of the attack. The narrow street was completely blocked off at both ends by police barricades and squad cars.
A woman was being interviewed about the events near the top of the block. She was being careful not to step on the flower arrangements and hand-written signs laid on the sidewalk there.
Flowers and Signs
About half way down the street, the floral tributes began to appear on the pavement, just where they were laid down as fresh bouquets, but now completely dried.
At the same place, the walls of the buildings were covered with tributes to the young woman who was killed, chalked on the wall as high as a person could reach, and covering the ground where flowers had not been left.
It seemed as if time had stopped. We and a few other people moved slowly down the street, read the tributes, observed the flowers, tried to capture with photographs what had happened less than two weeks before. After a few more minutes, we walked back up the street, got in our car, and continued on our journey.
Where do flamingos go in the winter? We found a flamboyance of flamingos under a snowbank during Snowmageddon, the snowstorm that dumped 18 – 32 inches of snow on the Washington, DC, area in February 2010. Following Snowpocalypse, that also buried the region in December 2009, Snowmageddon ranks among the five largest area snow events in a century and a half.
A Flamboyance of Flamingos
This photo was taken on February 6, 2010. Specs are:
Canon PowerShot SX40 HS, ISO 200, f/4.9, 1/30 sec, 18.6 mm
Disclaimer: No plastic flamingos were harmed during the making of this image. And they seemed none the worse for wear after the storm.
We decided to photograph the partial (85%) solar eclipse near Washington, DC, on August 21, 2017. While we knew much better photos would be readily available, we like to try to improve our camera skills by attempting technically difficult tasks. This proved to be a difficult task!
We set up two cameras for the eclipse: (1) a Canon 50D with a 70-200mm f/4 lens at 200mm; and (2) an Olympus TG-4 point-and-shoot set at a wide angle. The 200mm focal length on the Canon was — at the same time — too short and too long. It was too short because the sun was relatively small in the photographs. It was too long because the sun moved rapidly across the field-of-view requiring frequent shot re-composition. The metering on the Olympus could not capture the sun without blowing out the highlights (we probably needed to spend more time reading the manual).
It was also difficult to focus the Canon using live-view because the sun impeded our vision. We tried to cover the display and our heads with a black cloth but that did not help that much and mainly caused our glasses to steam up. We finally wound up focusing using the viewfinder. Even though we used gaffer tape to attach an ISO-certified solar filter sheet in front of the lens, this seemed risky (we taped one “lens” of a pair of solar eyeglasses in front of the Olympus lens).
Since the sky was partly cloudy, we had to time our photos to avoid periods when the sun was blocked by the clouds. Given the technical difficulties and our fairly low expectations, we got several good photos. Here are a few of them.
This is a picture of our setup taken just before the start of the eclipse.
Eclipse Photography Setup
All of the photos in the video were taken with the Canon 50D.
Nimbus, a white (albino) loggerhead sea turtle, was found on a local beach in his eggshell and now lives in the North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores. We saw him first when he was just a hatchling, and he is now six years old. The double image is caused by his reflection as he swims near the top of his tank.