(Over)tourism in the Udawalawe National Park

This is our entry in the FRIENDLY FRIDAY PHOTO CHALLENGE: TOURISM.

In February 2018, we were taken on a Udawalawe National Park Elephant Safari in Sri Lanka. Our transport was a 4×4 safari jeep with a capacity of six tourists, although there were only the two of us, accompanied by the driver and a guide.  They sat in the cab, while we sat in elevated seats in the back.  Our tour was only for a half day, and so we sped through the preserve from sight to sight (birds and beasts).  We were not alone.  There were many other jeeps also jockeying to see the sights.  As jeeps passed each other, guides shared what was available to be seen, and all jeeps in the area converged to the latest find.  In between the big finds, we enjoyed seeing birds and other smaller creatures at a more leisurely pace.  Here is a typical view: the tourists outnumber the elephants.

This photo was taken on February 5, 2018. Specs are:

Canon 100D, ISO 320, f/16, 1/80 sec, 55 mm.

 

 

 

Burning Man at the Renwick Gallery

This is our entry in Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: Things Made From Wood.

No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man was an exhibition at the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum (SAAM) in Washington, D.C. from March 30, 2018 to January 21, 2019.  This traveling exhibit brings to life (as much as is possible inside a museum space) the annual Burning Man nine-day event that occurs in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert with 70,000 participant-spectators.  We found the exhibit by accident while wandering around D.C. and just decided to walk in.

The Burning Man sculpture is always made of wood and burned at the end of the event. The first Burning Man was constructed in San Francisco in 1987 and was eight feet tall (or nine feet, depending on the source). Each year the sculpture has been taller, rising to 75 feet in 2018.  The Burning Man in the photo is about eight feet tall, including the outstretched arms.

Of the “Ten Principles of  Burning Man,” “Participation” appears to be the principle behind the naming of the Renwick exhibit: No Spectators.

Burning Man 2019 will occur from August 25 to September 2 this year.

This photo was taken on October 1, 2018. It is a selective color image with only orange, black, and white. Specs are:

Canon 200D, ISO 400, f/3.5, 1/30 sec, 18 mm.

Head of Franz Kafka

This is our entry in Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #59 – Angles.  The challenge is to photograph something from different angles. While the photographer in our case was standing in the same place, the object being photographed was changing angles.

David Černý’s Head of Franz Kafka stands behind the Quadrio shopping center in Prague, Czech Republic.  The head plus base stands almost 36 feet tall.  The head is composed of 42 stacked stainless steel “slices” that can rotate independently, but are choreographed to deform and reform the face repeatedly.  The slide show below shows the state of the head at 5 second intervals; a complete reforming takes 45 seconds.

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The ten images in the slide show were taken on April 14, 2019. Specs are:

Fuji X100T, ISO 800, f/16, 1/30 sec, 23 mm

Locks on the Canal Saint Martin

This is our entry in Dutch goes the Photo!’s Tuesday Photo Challenge – Lock.

This past April in Paris, France, we cruised  The Canal Saint Martin from the Port de l’Arsenal to the Bassin de la Villette, passing through four double locks and two swing bridges. The photo below shows the first of a double lock fully open as our Canauxrama boat passes through on the way to the second lock.  From the water pouring over the top, we can see that that lock has begun to open for our boat. One of the six pedestrian bridges over the canal provides an excellent viewing point for two passers-by, while other viewers stand behind a railing at the side of the canal.

For some very good photos of the locks and cruise boats from a pedestrian viewpoint, please visit Bushboy’s post Negotiating the Lock.

Holocaust Tree of Life Memorial

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

The Raul Wallenberg Memorial Garden, behind the Great Synagogue (Dohany Street Synagogue) in Budapest, Hungary, is the site of the Holocaust Tree of Life Memorial.   We visited it in April on a dreary, rainy day, which seemed appropriate for this emotional memorial.

Created in the form of a weeping willow tree, the memorial records the names of thousands of Holocaust victims on its stainless steel leaves.

The Memorial Garden is located at the World War II entrance to the Budapest Ghetto, where 6000 Jews were buried in a mass grave.  That huge number is only 1% of the 600,000 Hungarian Jews who perished during the Holocaust.

 

 

Old, New, Borrowed, Blue

This is our entry in Lens-Artists Challenge #58 – Something Old, Something New…...

In June, we visited the  America’s Presidents exhibit in the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C.  Here we found the extraordinary portrait of William Jefferson Clinton,  the 42nd U.S. President (1993 – 2001), created by the artist Chuck Close in 2006.  From a distance, this portrait looks like any other traditional portrait, but up close it is quite different.

 

 

According to the plaque beside the portrait,

“Chuck Close begins all of his paintings by taking a photograph of his subject, in this case an image made during a photo session in August 2005 for a New York magazine cover. He then creates grids on both the canvas and the photograph to replicate the information contained in the photograph with a series of abstract modules.”

In describing Chuck Close’s unique painting technique, Jessica Backus says in The Art Genome Project,

“Over the years, Close’s grid got looser, the squares larger and filled with more intuitive shapes. Close has compared them to Byzantine mosaics, ‘where an image is built out of discrete incremental marks – chunks of stone or glass – that fit together. I want people to see what made the image. I like dropping crumbs along the trail like Hansel and Gretel.'”

We believe that this portrait fits the theme “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue” perfectly:

  • Something old: Portraits have been painted since ancient times.
  • Something new: The technique used in this painting has evolved to its current form during this century.
  • Something borrowed: The portrait is on loan to the Gallery by Ian and Annette Cumming.
  • Something blue:  Close’s most frequently-used colors are red, yellow and blue.  The color blue is especially apparent in the portrait in Clinton’s eyes and hair.

This photo was taken on June 14, 2019. Specs are:

Olympus TG-5, ISO 500, f/2.3, 1/30 sec, 5.5mm.

 

Fake Fear

This is our entry in THE SNOW MELTS SOMEWHERE’s FRIENDLY FRIDAY: FAKE challenge.

We had wanted to visit Chiang Mai in northern Thailand for years. In 2017, we were finally able to do so.  One of our best experiences there was Art in Paradise, the Chiang Mai 3D Art Museum.  Along with many other tourists having fun, we inserted ourselves into works of art and posed for ridiculous photos.  The family in the photo below are using a dangerous swinging bridge to cross a terrifying gorge (but they don’t really  appear to be afraid).

According to their website, there are also Art in Paradise museums in Pattaya and Bangkok, which we will be sure to visit given the opportunity.