While I’ve posted about Wat Pho before, I wanted to share some more of these golden Buddhas at the temple. I actually took a second chance to visit the temple and take photos as the complex itself is huge. The second time, I played around with depth of field and took my time in the hallways which connect the main buildings.
Bangkok’s Erawan shrine, located at a hotel that shares its namesake, is dedicated to Phra Phrom, known in Indian culture as the Hindu creation god Brahma. Since Thai Buddhism is very much connected to India, this shrine provides an interesting look at Thai religion as it sits amidst a shopping district. It is one of the most popular shrines in Bangkok, even though shrines like this are not uncommon in the city.
I shot these with the P7000 as I decided a day with the P7000 on RAW would be good for my back, which was aching as this was near the end of the trip.
A wide angle shot from the skytrain.
Left: a flower vendor. You can use these flowers to lay at the shrine. Also common are lottery ticket vendors, as I see very often in Taiwan.
These dancers were probably hired by a wealthy benefactor. In addition to laying flowers and incense at the statue, you can get performances to show your devotion.
Left: the four-faced Brahma. Right: adherents paying respects at the front of the altar.
The statue above is not the Erawan shrine, but is nearby. It is a representation of the Hindu elephant-headed god Ganesh. This located in front of the famous Central World shopping mall.
Over the next few weeks, I’ll be processing and posting shots from my recent trip through Cambodia and Thailand, which took us from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap to Bangkok and Ko Samet. It was an exhausting yet rewarding trip, though we definitely saved time for the beaches of Thailand at Ko Samet near the end.
I’m still trying to contemplate how different the two countries are. Both are based in the same lines of cultural, religious, and historical ancestry but are bitter enemies. I will consider some of these differences in future posts, but should start off with something both countries have very much in common: Theravada Buddhism.
These monks were wandering around Angkor Wat on our third day in Cambodia. The older monk was showing about eight or nine young monks, boys around the ages of 8-10, around the temple complex. In Thailand and Cambodia, monks are not always dedicating their entire life to service in the monastery, so I’m guessing these boys may have recently entered service and will remain living the lives of monks for a few months at most.
While an obvious language barrier existed, it was interesting to see them explore the temple almost as tourists themselves. They were nice enough to stop for some photos as another tourist took a photo of the group with the eldest monk’s cameraphone.
This image is from nearly a year ago. As I’m hoping to get out of Taiwan for a few weeks this summer, I’ll have another post outside of Taiwan coming up in the near future, I hope. I’m looking at flying to Thailand in July. I would LOVE to do a Thailand-Cambodia trip, but a mix between Yuling’s preferences and the amount of time we have might constrict us. Oh, and I might be stopping in the Philippines, so I’ll wave hello to Odee!
Anyway, I was thinking about my photography when looking at this shot. It was taken with my then newly-purchased 70-300mm VR. This has been a great lens for me and got me into some bird/wildlife photography and gave me a closer look at shows. Unfortunately, the aperture is f/4.5-5.6, but it works fine for daylight shooting.
I like the image in that it’s pretty simple. The Buddha is a “giant” Buddha (see more images here) and is a massive sight to behold – yet quite touristy.
With that said, I was looking at what could’ve been done better. Processing sticks out as an issue. My shadows have little contrast and the top of the head is blown out by the sun. The sky gives an awkward range of colors and there could be more detail in the bronze of the statue.
On top of that, a giant shadow covers the face. While I can’t reshoot, it’s good to keep in mind for next time.
Perhaps I’ll retry the RAW file. It’s always good to breath new life into old photos.
Since last weekend was full of nasty weather, I don’t have much in terms of recent work, so here are some images that, for whatever reason, haven’t been posted yet. Happy Wednesday, everyone!
Mazu Festival, Changhua.
Left: Longshan Temple, Taipei. Right: Hakka Tea House, Beipu.
Temple Procession, Jhubei.
Hsinchu Train Station, Hsinchu City.
Mazu Festival, Changhua.
On Saturday, Yuling and I came across a large Buddhist temple/library which was also used as a cemetery site for Buddhist funerals. We wandered in the front gate to visit the large complex, which was quite impressive – something I hadn’t yet seen in Hsinchu.
The main altar, below, is situated in the center of the complex. It was only opened a little, though I got a peak of the interior and was able to get a nice mix of light and dark.
The next three images come from a large room with statues of boddhavistas and a large “fat buddha” which makes regular appearances in Taiwan.
These are from a short visit to City God Temple, a main cultural/religious point in Hsinchu City. There’s a market right in front of the temple which has some great food and it’s always full of activity.
This shot was taken at a temple near the Taipei Artists’ Village, site of the 2010 Daniel Pearl Days of Music. I’ll be getting more shots from that concert series/arts event soon, but will first post a photo of a nun outside the temple on top of “Treasure Hill” in Taipei.
This weekend became a time of remembering Hurricane Ike, which came through my community in Texas about two years ago and devastated much of the surroundings – and in addition gave us all two weeks of unneeded “vacation” as students and teachers.
Oddly enough, I had another storm come in right about the same point that I was previously at in the school year. This time, a typhoon – called Fanapi, which is a Micronesian name for “sandy islands” was scheduled to hit in north-central Taiwan over the weekend.
It’s interesting to see how Taiwanese react to these storms. They’re a normal part of life, and if this one hadn’t been so strong, I doubt many people would’ve reacted seriously to it at all. Thankfully for my area, it mostly went south – we got very little rain but certainly did get some heavy winds.
Yuling, my girlfriend, had me join her family for a Moon Festival barbeque today. As a result of the storm, we were treated to some amazing skies – half blue and half a slightly spinning gray. One of the areas I checked out in her grandparents’ rural community of Sinwu was a statue and temple dedicated to Mazu, Chinese goddess of the sea. Photos follow.
The sheer size of this statue made it hard to capture. For this reason, I did not get a good HDR of the entire ~50ft. bronze behemoth. What you see is the goddess looking toward the sea (west – away from where the typhoon was coming) with two spirits near the bottom acting almost as assistants. You can see one of them pointing to his eyes and the other to his ears. They have these odd headdresses that look like horns…
The following is an HDR of the top part. I had to use the 70-300mm for this because of the size of this thing!
Above is the altar – which you can’t see in the first picture. It is situated at the base of the main statue and gives a place for people to offer prayers and incense to the sea goddess.
Above we have the main temple building in HDR. The temples in this rural area are very ornate – and numerous.
The temple interior had a lot of these lanterns hanging in an area that was naturally lit. You’d think I’d get sick of photographing these by now, but I was really impressed by the amount and played around a little bit with the depth of field. Check the Flickr by clicking on the photo to see the other shots of these I took.
OK – to straighten things out first, only the first three photos are new. It amazes me… whenever I have time to shoot photos outside, it rains. When I don’t (and end up not getting home until after-dark), it’s… well… dark. This has been annoying as of late.
I do have good news, though. Over the summer, I entered an HDR image of Sri Meenakshi Temple in Pearland, Texas (click on the title for that post/photo) to Harvard University’s Pluralism Project. The Pluralism Project exists to educate people about America’s growing religious diversity and I was excited when they had a call for photos. Well, I am one of the winners, but I can’t say that I got the grand prize. That’s OK – the grand prize definitely kicked everyone’s butt… it’s a beautiful shot of floating lanterns. My shot wasn’t bad, but looking back, I realize that I still need to keep working on framing. I liked the dramatic perspective this one had and will try to improve on it in the future.
Anyway, as for tonight’s shots – the first three come from a quick jaunt out for some rice and pork at a Japanese-Taiwanese restaurant. It was pretty good and cheap… nutritious, too… so no complaints here. The first shot is a nearby restaurant’s paper lantern:
After dinner, Yuling and I walked around the neighborhood. We came across this temple which was located right next to a park – the first shot includes some bokeh in the background as I was trying to get the obligatory temple incense shot:
I had mixed feelings once I was done with the following shot. Since these were taken at night, I was playing around with ISO settings on my camera. I set the ISO on the following shot a little too low/slow (OK, “a lot” too low/slow) and it came out a bit blurry. At the same time, I like the effect on the colors and think the blurriness might work for the photo…
The following photos were taken and recently re-touched. The first was on this blog earlier – I decided to lighten the photo some in order to make it “pop” out more:
…followed by a Taipei photo I dug out of the neglected batch: