The Balancing Act

With so many astonishing things in India (at least from an American viewpoint), it is still strange to see how people carry their groceries. After visiting the Flower Market in Bangalore, we passed through a very crowded street market while walking back to our car.

We could barely walk without tripping over produce, dogs, cables, sellers, or ourselves, but dozens of shoppers casually strolled with the day’s groceries aloft.

 

 

Tipu Sultan Palace

Bangalore seems to be more interested in the future than the past. However, they do keep a few relics from ancient times to satisfy tourists.  One is the Tipu Sultan Palace.

The Tipu Sultan is honored for resisting the East India Company whose main purpose seems to have been to steal anything they could in India. The Tipu Sultan resisted but was killed by an army including Arthur Wellesley, later made the Duke of Wellington after defeating Napoleon at Waterloo. In any case, the Tipu Sultan had a summer palace in Bangalore and we visited it on the first day of our trip this February.

From outside, the palace doesn’t look like much, but it has a very nice palm tree. We at first thought the Tipu Sultan drove a small Toyota, but learned that was a later addition.

Inside, however, the palace is small but beautiful. The palace is largely made of teak with Islamic arches. At a good angle, the light reflected from the arches is stunning. The center photo of the triptych below shows the balcony where the Tipu Sultan held court.

The final photo again shows the light on the arches with tourists — almost entirely local — enjoying the beautiful architecture. One thing we like about this photo is the combination of a young woman in traditional dress with another in western style jeans engaging in a traditional tourist pastime.

The Flower Seller

One of the byproducts of religion in India is the use of beautiful flowers. Our favorite stop in our first day in Bangalore was at the Flower Market. There is a sense of real life there that seems missing in places oriented towards tourists. It is beautiful, squalid, chaotic, and organized all at the same time. The people are there to live their lives and they are fascinating.

The typical photo of the market is this one, taken from a second floor balcony. It is beautiful but every tourist takes it.

We prefer this one showing an individual seller in an instant of time going about her life.

Segways on a Lunch Break — Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: Wheels

This is our entry in Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: Wheels.

Just like the men on the steps behind them, these Segways in Lisbon, Portugal, appear to be on a lunch break.

This photo was taken on September 15, 2017. Specs are:

Olympus TG-5, ISO 100, f/2.8, 1/500 sec, 4.5 mm.

Kote Venkataramana Temple

It has been hard to get back to regular posting. To break our mental block, we decided to go through each day in our last trip to South India and find a picture from that day to post.

It took us a full day to get from our home in the US to Bangalore, our first stop in India. Bangalore seems like it might be a good place to live but — from a tourist perspective — the most interesting location seems to be the modern international airport.  Bangalore was a capital city in times past which has been renamed Bengaluru to help confuse visitors. Today, it is a modern place known as the “Silicon Valley of India.” If you have ever called customer service in the evening for help with an electronic device, it is likely you have spoken to someone in Bangalore.

The first day of our trip was a drive around to see the few remaining historical sites in Bangalore. Being driven in Bangalore is like riding in an amusement park thrill ride. Two or three inches separate cars, trucks, motorcycles, and pedestrians that are bobbing and weaving while constantly blowing their horns (except for the pedestrians, but they would if they had them).

One site we stopped at, which is really atypical of modern Bangalore, was the Kote Venkataramana Temple. The guide said we’d be seeing a lot of temples in India (he was right) so we saw this one from outside only. It is part of the Tipu Sultan Fort complex. According to an eBook we bought on Amazon, the tower in the left of the photo represents a mountain where gods live. A god comes down the mountain to a sanctuary, representing a cave, that is reached after passing through the tower. In this “cave” there is an idol of a deity that the god inhabits during worship. The worshiper gazes at the idol; the god, through the eyes of the idol, gazes back at the worshiper. In this way, each benefits. (Note: This is probably 100% wrong, but it is enough to get past American tourists.)

Lisbon Shadows — Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Shadows

This is our entry in Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Shadows.

Walking through the Alfama in Lisbon, Portugal, we came across this double-shadowed building. In an area famous for its street art, the wall featured a simple shadow of a girl surrounded by flying birds. We were struck by the juxtaposition of the faux shadows  with the real shadows thrown by the bush and window shutters.

This photo was taken on September 8, 2017. Specs are:

Canon 100D, ISO 100, f/16, 1/50 sec, 18 mm.

Visiting Huntley Meadows: Spring Fever

It was in the 70’s yesterday (20 degrees colder today) and we had spring fever. We normally take a walk on Fridays so we decided to take ours at Huntley Meadows Park in Fairfax County, VA. We go there two or three times a year. Only a few of the birds have returned, but we did see a hawk from years past.

We hand-held our cameras and used a mediocre (but versatile) Sigma 18-250mm lens on a Canon SL/2 to catch this shot. We have been trying this combination to get weight down when we travel. In our last trip to India, our luggage was overweight for a regional flight and the fee for the excess weight was almost equal to the fare.

As an aside, we processed this in Lightroom and tried the new “Enhance Details” option. Aside from taking a couple of minutes to process (the CPU was at 100% utilization), we couldn’t see any improvement in the enhanced image. Lightroom seems to be getting slower and slower without perceptible benefits.