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Day 56: Beautiful Bangkok – in black & white and color.

Three days in Bangkok is definitely not enough. Add in some serious jet-lag after a flight from Toronto (Canada) to Abu Dhabi (UAE), then onward to Bangkok.

Wow – Bangkok is absolutely amazing. We only saw a tiny part of the City, and what we saw is so diverse and sensory stimulating; sight, smell, taste, sounds and touch.

The tiny part of Bangkok that we experienced was the Pranakorn district, and we explored Khao san Road and the cultural sites in the Rattanakosin area including The Grand Palace, The Temple of The Reclining Buddha (Wat Pho), The Royal Ground,  The Democracy Monument and the Chatuchak Weekend Market.

The next post will have photos from Wat Pho, ‘Temple of the Reclining Buddha’.

All photos taken with a Fuji X-series X-Pro1 with Fuji 18-35mm, or Fuji X-series X-E1 with Fuji 14mm lens. Some of the photos are in black  & white, and some are in color,  with notes below.

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A typical food stall on a side street in Bangkok. On the original color photo, the sun was shining through a blue tarp causing the man’s skin to have a blue tinge. In color, the blue tinge was unacceptable and the image could not be used. Converted to black and white the blue tinge is gone, and the photo is quite usable.
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A small side street in Pranakorn district.
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Good luck trying to cross the Prachathipatai Road, and remember to look Right – then Left (opposite from North America).
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Authentic Pad Thai at a food stall on Khao san Road, in central Bangkok. In former times the street was a major Bangkok rice market, and had now become a “backpacker ghetto”; with cheap accommodation, tour buses depot, many pubs and bars, and small shops that sell everything from handcrafts, paintings, clothes, local fruits, pirated music on DVDs, and second-hand books. At night, the streets turn into bars and music is played, food hawkers sell barbecued fish, insects, and other exotic snacks.
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One of the many food stalls on Khao san Road
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Fish in bags at Chatuchak Weekend Market. Chatuchak Weekend Market is one of the world’s largest weekend markets and contains more than 15,000 booths selling goods ranging from Amulets, antiques, art, books, collectibles, clothes, food shops, furniture, handicrafts, home décor, household appliances, and pets. We saw many species of exotic birds, squirrels, and large turtles selling for 60,000BHT.
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Pet food ?? at the Chatuchak Weekend Market
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Delicious home-made Thai food at the Chatuchak Weekend Market. Food stalls are an orgy of color, which can sometimes look good in black in white, though how would you tell the food apart if they were all shades of grey ?.
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Boy selling ducks at Chatuchak Weekend Market. The original color version of this photo was had a overwhelming range of color, all of which was too distracting to the story – a boy selling ducks at the market.
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I am not sure what the sign says. Any one read Thai ?
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Pan fried Quail eggs at a food stall in the Chatuchak Weekend Market
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Inside view of the chaos inside the huge Chatuchak Weekend Market
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The Grand Palace is a complex of buildings at the heart of Bangkok, Thailand. The palace has been the official residence of the Kings of Siam since 1782.
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View from the ‘Bearing’ BTS station
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Above ground BTS track, and MBK Shopping Center in the distance. There wasn’t much color in the original photo – shades of bleck grey concrete. In black and white, the tones, and shades are more powerful.
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‘Old and New’. Wooden Wat (Temple) from several 100 years ago, with a modern structure (apartment building). In black and white, the orange-red-gold colors on the temple are now the same shade as the more modern, and drab colored building in the background.
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Traditional Thai show. Not sure that the show was about ??
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Boat taxi. In many ways, similar to a city bus on a scheduled route, though speeding through the canals and the fee collector wears a life jacket and a helmet.
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A busy street in Central Bangkok. I love the colors of the cars and taxis; bright pink, and bright yellow. This photo would also look Ok in black and white, showing the range of shades of gray, though in color the insane colors of the cars would be lost.
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A fancy building in downtown Bangkok – Of course, the ‘Anti-Money Laundering Office’.

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Day 55: Wat Pho (‘Temple of the Reclining Buddha’)

The Wat Pho or “Temple of the Reclining Buddha” is the largest and oldest wat (temple) complex in Bangkok, and it houses more than 1,000 Buddha images that were moved from abandoned temples in Ayutthaya and Sukhothai by order of King Rama I. Wat Pho, officially named Wat Phra Chetuphon Wimonmangkhalaram is one of the six temples in Thailand that are of the highest grade of the first class Royal temples.

The temple is renowned for the enormous gold plated Reclining Buddha image that was built during the reign of King Rama III (1824 – 51) and represents the passing of the Buddha into final Nirvana after death. The Reclining Buddha, is 46 meters long and 15 meters high and is the largest Buddha image in Thailand. Constructed out of plaster around a brick core, the reclining Buddha is decorated with gold leaf and his eyes and foot soles are inlaid with mother-of-pearl.

The Buddha’s feet are 5 metres long and are divided into 108 arranged panels, each exquisitely decorated in mother-of-pearl illustrations of symbols by which Buddha can be identified like flowers, dancers, white elephants, tigers and altar accessories.

There are 108 bronze bowls in the corridor indicating the 108 auspicious characters of Buddha. Visitors drop coins in to each of these bowls in belief that this will bring good fortune, and to help the monks maintain the wat. The sound of these falling coins is quite distinctive and can be heard throughout the temple.

Now – on to the photos.

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Side view of the Reclining Buddha

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Yes, All the photos are in black & white. Why ?

1) The color versions of the photos do not show the stark beauty of the gold plated Reclining Buddha image or the intricate paintings on the walls. You simply have to go there yourself, and don’t simply look at on-line photos. In black and white – you have to use your imagination.

2) The photo are also in black and white because there were so many jack-asses inside the temple, photographing the Buddha  using the flash on their cameras. Flash-Flash-Flash…..and more Flash, Flash, Flash…..on and on. This is really disturbing – and for me really the flash really destroys the moment of appreciating the Reclining Buddha.  How can appreciate the beauty, when the other tourists beside are taking a bunch of photos, and each time the flash reflects off the golden Buddha and blinds you !.

So – end of my Rant. Other tourists, don’t be a jack-ass, and try to be considerate of others !.

Leaving it Behind

So – We are on a long trip and like everyone else, there is the debate on what to bring – and what to leave behind. Some folks say – “If it doesn’t have more than one use – leave it behind”. For most of our stuff, it is easy to decide – leave it behind. It seemed so easy, until it got down and dirty, real dirty.

My beloved Nikon D700 is the latest item to hit the leave it behind pile.

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Of all the things I can leave behind – why my favorite camera ?. Simply, it is too heavy.

Heavy, yes too heavy. Add on a couple of lenses (17-35mm, 70-200mm), and it all adds up to a heavy lead.

Heavy, and also hard to keep safe. At least my neck strap doesn’t say Canon 5D Mark iii, or 6D on it – letting every thief (or robber) within 100 yards that you got the goods.

 

So…My Nikon and all the extra lenses are now being shipped home, in water proof boxes, to wait until I get back from travelling in another 10 months.

 

I’ll miss you ol’Nikon. We’ve been good friends these past few years.

Lake Superior

The shoreline of Lake Superior is my playground. In this area, the beach is mine – mine to discover and mine to let my mind be creative. There are people camped at the far end, and they too also seem to be in their own mind space. There are no radios, no barking dogs, or loud voices. Even better, we are in a cell phone and internet dead-zone (at least for Bell customers) so we are essentially disconnected from the rest of the world. No need to check Facebook, Gmail or Twitter for the latest update. How awesome is that !.

In this small area of rock and pebbles on the northern shore of Lake Superior I have taken 100’s, maybe even a 1000 photos. Some better, some worse – all photos are unique. With digital cameras, who’s counting !

My eyes feel alive with the scenery; taking in all the shapes, tones and hues. Also my ears feel alive, picking up the faint chirp-chirp of a small shorebird around the corner, and the sound of small feet on the pebbles on the shore.

My hands, automatically adjusting the dials on the camera, and feeling the smooth wave polished rocks.

Click on a photo to view is larger.

 

Terry Fox – A Canadian Hero

For those that can remember seeing Terry Fox and “Marathon of Hope” come running through town – it was an unbelievable and awe-inspiring sight. Unfortunately, it wasn’t always like that. In many towns in eastern Canada Terry passed through virtually unnoticed. He pushed on, and continued, and eventually became a house hold name. Unfortunately Terry was not able complete his goal of running across Canada, he did however raise the awareness of a cancer and raise millions of dollars for cancer research so that others with cancer have a better future.

 

While in remission from cancer, Terry Fox set out to run across Canada in 1980 to raise money for cancer research. Despite having lost his right leg to the disease, this determined athlete ran 5,373 kilometers – nearly a marathon a day for 143 straight days – before being forced to stop east of this spot in the community of Shuniah when his cancer returned. His “Marathon of Hope” captivated Canadians with its bold humanitananism, transformed out vocabulary about personal courage, and revolutionized fund-raising. To date, hundreds of millions of dollars have been raised by Fox and in his name to the benefit of cancer suffers around the world. The heroic nature and tragic interruption of his run have made Terry Fox an enduring Canadian icon.
Government of Canada

 

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Terry Fox – still on his Marathon of Hope, running into the sunset on a hilltop over looking the ‘Sleeping Giant’ in Thunder Bay Ontario.

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Oh Alberta – I miss your old-style Grain Elevators

The old wood build grain elevators in Alberta are slowly rotting and fading away. Compared to the more modern corrugated galvanised steel grain elevators, the wooden elevators have so much more photographic appeal.

These grain elevators were photographed in Alberta in September 2014. Who knows when they will be torn down.

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Not far from East Coolee in the badlands of Alberta. This grain elevator is long abandoned, and the railway tracks to provide grain have been long since torn up.

 

 

 

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In Bentley Alberta, this tin-clad grain elevator is still in use, though the its days are numbered. There is a large galvanized steel elevator a few 100 meters away.

 

 

Whitehorse, Yukon (August 2013)

Photos from Whitehorse and surroundings, from August 2013.

Alaska Highway – Muncho Lake, British Columbia

Muncho Lake, part of the Muncho Lake Provincial Park is located at kilometre 681 (mile 423) of the Alaska Highway in northern British Columbia, Canada.

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Even on a cloudy day day, the views are still incredible.

The distinctly jade green colored lake, tinted green by minerals is about 12 km (7.5 mi) long and between 1 and 6 km wide, and is home to lake trout, arctic grayling, bull trout and whitefish. Muncho Lake is surrounded by Terminal Mountain Range to the west and the Sentinel Mountain Range to the east. The tallest mountains reach heights of more than 2,000 m (6,600 ft), and lake level is at an elevation of 820 m (2,690 ft). Many of the mountains were formed by folded layers of limestone and have broad alluvial fans created by powerful floods.

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Watching the sun go down from the dock at Muncho Lake. That water is Cold !

 

We camped at Strawberry Flats campground, August 4th 2013, and during the night, the northern lights put on a show !.

 

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Northern Lights over the dock at Muncho Lake; jade colored sky over a jade colored Muncho Lake. Nikon D700 with Nikon 17-35mm lens; 30 second exposure, f/2.8, ISO 1250.
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Northern Lights a glassy Muncho Lake. Nikon D700 with Nikon 17-35mm lens; 25 second exposure, f/2.8, ISO 800.

 

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Red and blue lights from the interior of the RV contrast with the green of the northern lights over Muncho Lake, August 4th, 2013. Nikon D700 with Nikon 17-35mm lens; 30 second exposure, f/2.8, ISO 1250.
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Northern Lights lighting up the the sky over a RV camper at Strawberry Flats campground, Muncho Lake, August 4th, 2013. Nikon D700 with Nikon 17-35mm lens; 20 second exposure, f/2.8, ISO 1600.
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Northern lights dance across the sky above a motor boat on the shore of Muncho Lake, August 4th, 2013. Nikon D700 with Nikon 17-35mm lens; 25 second exposure, f/2.8, ISO 1000.
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Northern lights over Strawberry Flats campground, Muncho Lake, August 4th 2013. Nikon D700 with Nikon 17-35mm lens; 25 second exposure, f/2.8, ISO 1600.

 

 

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Watching for Stone sheep !
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Who is watching who ?.
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Stone sheep crossing the Alaska highway.

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