Beam me up, Gaudi! (An Old & New Beginning)

 

Beam me up(1/200, F9, ISO100, 50mm)

This is a remake of a very old photo I made on top of the Casa Milà in Barcelona. Gaudi did an amazing job on these roof guardians and it was a pleasure to spent a magical hour at sunrise alone on the roof before the big tourist groups came.

It´s also my 40th photo on Instagram and as I will spent the next 3 weeks roadtrippin´ on the South island of New Zealand, it would be nice if those of you (and easier for my lazy self) who are on Instagram to connect there too…

Tomb Raider

 

tomb raider 666
(1/400, F5, ISO800, 15mm)

 Last year we visited the ruined city of Angkor and its famous temples in Cambodia. I never met anyone who had been there and wasn´t enthusiastic about it and we were also totally mesmerized by this magical place.

My personal favorite of all the temples was the Preah Khan complex, which we saw on the second morning of our 3-day visit.
At sunrise we had breakfast on its steps and spent hours alone wandering the corridors with all its statues and crumbling walls before the next visitors arrived.

The photo above was taken near the Eastern entrance of the Buddhist temple where one tree was still standing on top of the ruined wall.

PS. The Tomb Raider movie was actually shot at the Ta Prohm temple.

Chiaroscuro

 I revisited these photos and turned them into monochrome to add to Paula´s blog Black and White Sunday with the subject negative space!

These photos were taken in an abandoned sanatorium in the Sierra de Guadarrama just north of Madrid.
These photos are best viewed with a black background to make the negative space (black parts) disappear and make them entrances into nowhere…
So please click the photos to see the best effect of the negative space!

Here are the original (more) color versions!

(both 1/25, F5.6, ISO400, 10mm)

The Boatman´s Call

The Boatman´s Call I

(1/640, F9, ISO200, 10mm)

First of all Happy New Year to all that read this and still come to this little place of mine.
End of last year we made a trip to the Northern part of Laos and a lot of traveling was done on the many rivers.
My guess is that half of the Laotian people are a boatman and we are very thankful for all the safe and beautiful passages they guided us through.

The Boatman´s Call II

(1/500, F7.1, ISO200, 17mm)

The first 3 photos are from a daytrip that brought us from the village of Nong Khiaw up north to a roadless weaving village and the old hippie town of Muang Ngoi. When we left early morning the river was shrouded in mist and low clouds.
After spending a day there we took the boat back at sunset to see everything in full splendour we ´missed´ in the morning.

The Boatman´s Call III

(1/640, F6.3, ISO400, 34mm)

A couple of days later we made a boattrip from the Buddhist capital Luang Prabang to the Pak Ou caves on the banks of the Mekong river. These caves are very busy during the day with boats full of tourists arriving at this small cave.

The Boatman´s Call IV
(1/640, F6.3, ISO400, 34mm)

We decided to rent our own boat and use the last light of day to make the 3 hour return trip. This meant we had the cave to ourselves and a glorious sunset on the way back.

The Boatman´s Call
(1/800, F8, ISO400, 17mm)

Have a creative, adventurous and healthy 2016 y´all!

The Weaving Song

Weave on

(1/60, F5, ISO1600, 116mm)

During the last 2 weeks we´ve been traveling trough the Northern parts of Laos and every village we visited the women were engaged in weaving their tribal textiles. While in Luang Prabang we made a visit to the Ock Pok Tok living crafts centre, where some of the best weaving ladies from all around Laos are gathered to make some amazing art.

The Weaving Song

(1/160, F5, ISO1600, 123mm)

It was intriguing to see the whole process and especially to see these women showing their talented skills.

The Weaving Song II

(1/60, F5, ISO1600, 60mm)

Besides enjoying this craft centre, traveling in (the Northern half of) Laos was one jaw-dropping accumulation of dramatic sceneries, rivers, valleys and beautiful people; a definite must go if you ever get the chance!

Mission of Burma

Boy walking along railway path in Myanmar

A boy walking along the tracks, taken from the train between Yangon and Bago.
(1/125, F2.8, ISO800, 17mm)

Of the travels I made the last 2 years around Southeast Asia the one that was probably dearest to me was the week I spent off-the-beaten path in Myanmar.

I know the term ´off-the-beaten´ is used way too often nowadays and even when reading articles about Myanmar all of them point to Bagan, Mandalay, Inle Lake and Yangon, which are already flooding with tourists. That´s why me and my friend opted to go by train from Yangon to Bago, an unexplored transport hub. Bago was indeed an amazing little town and an afternoon bike ride thru its surroundings took us to various immense reclining buddhas, beautiful temples, cheering kids and the highest stupa in Myanmar, where we spent sunset all alone.
After sundown we decided to do a bar-hopping return to the only guesthouse in town. Where the Lonely planet stated there was no nightlife what so ever in this town we spent half the night in local bars on a weekday, only to leave the locals to it at around 4am.

Sunset opposite the river from Hpa-an

A burmese farmers hat on a fence opposite the river from Hpa-an
(1/125, F2.8, ISO800, 17mm)

After Bago we jumped in a cab to Hpa-an surrounded by its beautiful limestone mountains, caves and paddy fields.

The oasis behind Saddar cave near Hpa-an, Myanmar

The oasis we found after going thru the Saddar cave near Hpa-an.
This canoe brought us back via an underground river and rice fields full of water lilies to the cave´s entrance.
(1/50, F5.6, ISO400, 30mm)

A 2 hour boat ride from Hpa-an took us to Mawlamyine, the first Britsh colonial capital in Burma between 1826 and 1852, also hardly visited, although the views over the sea, the islands around, the nightmarket on the boulevard and its friendly locals made it unforgettable.

Looking inside an old colonial house in Yangon, Myanmar

A peak inside an old colonial house in Yangon.
(1/50, F5.6, ISO400, 30mm)

Here´s to hoping I meet these beautiful people and their country again…

The Hands of Angkor

Hands of Angkor Wat I

(1/125, F2.8, ISO800, 17mm)

 It is about time some of my travel photos turn up here and although it´s been almost 4 months (and several other travels) since visiting the ruined city of Angkor and its famous temples I recall every minute of visiting this magical place.

Apart from the unbelievable atrocities the Khmer Rouge regime brought upon the people of Cambodia, it was also responsible for destroying all images and statues of Buddha they encountered around these temples.
This meant there was hardly a head left on the statues and wall carvings around Angkor. Most hands were also ´cut off´, but I was able to compile some of them that survived and thought they were symbolic for the way the Cambodian people were still surviving their recent history.

Hands of Angkor Wat II

(1/50, F5.6, ISO400, 30mm)

The widespread area of Angkor´s UNESCO site covers about 400 square meters and therefore makes it easy to skip the crowds and spend some alone time in these amazing structures. We enjoyed sunset on the Terrace of the Elephants on our own the first day and second day we spent hours wandering the magic corridors of Preah Khan before the next visitors arrived.
Those were by far my most special moments in Angkor!

Hands of Angkor Wat III

(1/50, F5.6, ISO400, 30mm)

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