A Delicate Waterdrop Umbrella

This is our entry in Lens-Artists Weekly Photo Challenge #46 – Delicate.

Colliding waterdrops create a delicate umbrella — here for a brief instant, then gone forever.   The photo below was created using our tripod-mounted Canon 50D and an ancient 100 mm macro lens in front of a paper background. The shutter was opened for two seconds while two drops of water were released into a martini glass filled with water. A flash, perpendicular to the camera, was triggered when the waterdrops collided. It illuminated the scene for 1/8000 of a second.  In the “umbrella” shape seen in the photo, the “shaft” is created as the first drop plunges into the water in the glass and then rebounds into the air. The “canopy” is created when the second drop collides with the rebounding first drop. (Technical note: It doesn’t really matter how long the shutter remains open as long as an image taken without the flash is black).

This photo was taken on March 29, 2017. Specs are:

Canon 50D, ISO 100, f/22, 2.0 sec, 100 mm.


The Kodak Duaflex II — Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Any kind of camera or photographer

This is our entry in Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Any kind of camera or photographer.

When the photography department in our local college was moved to a new building, the staff naturally did some housecleaning first, getting rid of extraneous and/or outdated books, equipment, and supplies. The really good stuff was left in a hallway, where students and staff could take whatever caught their interest. Among other items, we picked up a Kodak Duaflex II camera.  Dating from the early 1950s, it has a mirror reflector viewfinder, three aperture selections (f/8, f/11, and f/16), and two shutter speeds (I and L).   While the camera appears to be in very good condition, we have not been able to test it: it uses 620 roll film, which is actually 120 film respooled onto a smaller 620 spool. We have neither 120 film nor a 620 spool. What we have done is use it as a subject for a photography project about low key minimalism.

This photo was taken on November 25, 2017, using a small LED flashlight for illumination in a dark room. Specs are:

Canon SL1, ISO 100, f/11, 30.0 sec, 50 mm.


On our recent trip to Southeast Asia, we observed many types of connections. Here are four examples.

Bridge in Luang Say Lodge, Luang Say, Laos

The first example is a bridge (physical connection) between the main reception area and our cabin at the Luang Say Lodge beside the Mekong River in Laos.

Wedding on the Thu Bon River near the Japanese Covered Bridge in Hoi An, Vietnam

During our stay in Hoi An, Vietnam, we observed this wedding ceremony (human  connection) on a boat on the Thu Bon river just below the Japanese Covered Bridge in the Ancient Town.

Fisherman casting his net, Thu Bon River, Hoi An, Vietnam

Also on the Thu Bon River in Hoi An, Vietnam, we saw a fisherman casting his net for fish (a food connection).

Incense coils in the Chinese Assembly Hall, Hoi An, Vietnam, connecting wishes to heaven

Finally, in the Chinese Assembly Hall in Hoi An, Vietnam, we saw giant coils of incense that send wishes to heaven (a spiritual connection).



Day 22: Nha Trang – City Tour


This morning Pati and BeeBee got up in time to see the sunrise (meaning that they got up at the usual time but opened the curtains). A large black cloud over Cam Ranh Bay kept the sunrise from being truly spectacular, but they have a few more nice photos now.

Spoiler Alert: Today was much better than yesterday.

Their met their guide at 9 am. Their first stop was the Vietnam Oceanographic Institute and Oceanography Museum, built by France in 1920, with a large collection of live sea creatures and preserved specimens. Here they saw some fish species that they had never seen before.

Next they visited the Long Son Pagoda, a Buddist temple.


Next came the French colonial Nha Trang Cathedral, a Catholic church. Pati and BeeBee were able to explain some parts of Christianity to their guide here.

After this, they drove to the Hon Chong Promontory Rocks. Inside one of the buidings was a group of musicians who demonstrated several unusual instruments by playing three short pieces (including “We Wish You a Merry Christmas”).

They then walked down sets of  stairs to reach the Bay, where there was a group of large rocks forming a promontory into the Bay. They all scrambled out on the rocks and climbed as high as they safely could. The breeze was cooling and the scenery was beautiful. This was the favorite stop of the day for Pati and BeeBee.


Next they visited the Po Nagar Temple, built by the Cham people, one of the 54 ethnic groups in Vietnam. This temple looks like a very small version of Angkor Wat in Cambodia.


The next stop was to the Dam Market, where the locals shop for foods and goods, to experience the culture. The guide explained that only a very few items in the market were produced in Vietnam; the rest come from China. Several fruit sellers were offering durian fruit; Pati and BeeBee were not interested (they have smelled them now).

After that, they drove to the Chopsticks Restaurant for a set Vietnamese lunch. The menu was very similar to yesterday’s (minus the soup) and was quite tasty.

After that, they were delivered back to their hotel.

Their guide promised to check on a cooking class for them, at the Chopsticks Restaurant. This has been arranged for tomorrow morning. They will learn how to cook a five course Vietnamese meal.

They picked up a map from the front desk on their way out again. Apparently the “boardwalk” (brick-paved path) begins directly in front of their hotel  (across the street) and runs left along the beach.

After a short walk, they stopped at the Ponagar Restaurant for dessert and coffee. (They were still too full from lunch to eat dinner.)  As they sat there, they watched a pick-up volleyball game on the beach that lasted until sunset. Then the full moon appeared, playing peekaboo with the dark clouds. Even behind the clouds, it cast a fine sliver at the edge of the water and the sky. As the moon reappeared, its shimmering light on the water crashed ashore with the waves. And along with this perfect moon-sky-water imagery was the perfect service of Ponagar. The perfect counterpoint to yesterday.

They headed back to their hotel for internetting in their square meter of 4-bar service before bedtime.

Day 5: Chiang Mai – Chiang Rai – Golden Triangle – Mae Sai – Akha

This morning, Pati and BeeBee left their hotel in Chiang Mai at 7:15 am for a very long day of sightseeing.. Their first stop was at a hot spring, where they soaked their feet in one non-boiling part of the springs. This stop is very popular with tourists, and many shops and food stalls surround the main attraction. Then they continued their drive through the countryside, passing rice paddy fields and mountains.

White Temple

Next they visited Wat Rong Khun, known as the White Temple, a unique Buddist temple designed and built by a local artist, Ajarn Chalermchai Kositpipat,  with his own money. It is no exaggeration to say that he is a modern-day Gaudi. The most emotionally-charged parts of the temple are the murals in the monastery, where cameras are prohibited. Most of the murals illustrate the peace of Buddha, but the most striking wall of murals depicts the demon and the evil in the world. The artist decided what to paint on that wall only after 9/11, and the depiction of two planes flying into the Twin Towers is prominent, along with a hose and nozzle dripping oil. The eyes of the demon have George Bush and Bin Laden inside them, in order to caution them both. The mouth of the demon encircles the door, so that people leave the demon behind when they walk out. BeeBee regrets that they could not take pictures to capture the stunning murals. Readers of this blog may want to Google the White Temple. (BeeBee has not had sufficient internet access to do so.)

While walking around the temple grounds, they saw a young couple carrying a very realistic doll. The guide described the odd behavior. The doll is a haunted doll that brings its owners good luck if they treat it well. They feed it well, buy it airline seats when they travel, and do everything for it that they would do for a real child. They claim that it is their religious belief. This has become a very real problem for restaurants, because the “parents” of the doll take advantage of children-eat-free policies to raid the buffet for piles of food for the doll; this food is, of course, not eaten, but wasted. Restaurants have begun to implement policies that require people to pay for what they have not eaten.

As they were about to leave the temple, their guide spotted the owner/artist of the temple and asked for his picture with Pati and BeeBee. He graciously agreed (other people were doing the same) and said “Have a nice day” in perfect English as he walked away.

Leaving the temple, they drove to visit Mae Sai Border, an international border with Myanmar (Burma). Pati, BeeBee, and their guide crossed the bridge into Burma and shopped at the market there..  Current movies, such as The Martian, were selling for around 100 Baht for 4 movies ($3 USD).

Returning to Thailand, they stopped at the Golden Triangle in Chiang Sean, where the three borders of Myanmar, Laos, and Thailand meet, separated by the Mekong river. A casino was visible on the Laotian side of the river; this casino is popular with Thai people and also the Chinese. China is only a few hundred kilometers to the north.


Beautiful Yao Villager

Finally, they visited the Akha and Yao hilltribe villages. The Akha villagers came from Burma originally, while the Yao came from China.  The Yao lady pictured above is 80 years young, about 4 1/2 feet tall, and deaf but spry. The other ladies of the village are trying to teach her not to beg for money while they are trying to sell their hand-made products to visitors, but it doesn’t seem to be working. Pati and BeeBee were enchanted by her.

After that, they drove to their next hotel in Chiang Rai, which they checked into at about 7:45 pm.



Day 2 extra: Sparks fly in Chiang Mai, or, don’t hire this electrician


As described in the Day 2 post, Pati and BeeBee were present at the kiddie fairgrounds in the Night Market periphery when power failed to the ferris wheel and blow-up slide. Pati had hoped to take some night pictures of the lights of the turning ferris wheel, but had just managed to adjust the camera settings when the lights went out.

They decided to wait for a few minutes to see whether the ferris wheel would be restarted. After a few flickering mis-starts, a man with a few tools began to work on the thick power line running along the ground from (somewhere?) to the ferris wheel. Taking a large wire stripping tool, he began to work on the end of the power line nearest the ferris wheel. That appeared to be unsuccessful. A second man began pulling power lines from the merry-go-round to the ferris wheel. No one was riding the merry-go-round, and the ferris wheel was attractive and visible from farther away. Now all the rides were dark and disfunctional. This tactic didn’t work, or perhaps it was a precurser to the next step. The “electrician” then carried a tall stepladder across to a pole carrying a thick bundle of power lines about 12 feet above the ground. Taking the end of the line that he had just stripped and a tool, he climbed the ladder and calmly connected his line to something in the bundle. Meanwhile, a child climbed into the ferris wheel bucket nearest the ground and waited.

A few minutes later, and success! The ferris wheel began to turn. Propping himself and the camera cautiously against a metal pole, Pati got the shots he wanted.

(For the faint-of-heart: the photo above is a time-lapse shot. The buckets and child did not go spinning out into the night.)

Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: Lines and Angles

Here are four entries for Cee’s Black & White Lines & Angles Photo Challenge.

Before the Tasting (Mexican winery)
La Sagrada Familia Basilica (Barcelona, Spain)
Clock face, interior of Musée d’Orsay (Paris, France)
Pillar of La Tour Eiffel (Paris, France)