The ruins of Angkor from across the moat

Angkor Wat was really more of a fortress than it was a temple.

There is a massive moat that encircles the complex.  I can only imagine how long it took peasants to dig a thousand years ago.  I also wonder how they all drank fresh water back then.  I know I couldn’t go more than 10 minutes walking around the area without needing a drink.  The massive heat, humidity, and standing water was a perfect recipe for cavalcade of bacteria to rise up and fight back.  I don’t suppose they all boiled their water.  Maybe everyone was just more hardy back then…  Luckily, when I was there, there were plenty of little children running around selling me bottled water.  Which, upon further reflection, I probably should not have drank.

The ruins of Angkor from across the moat

The Guardian of the Ancients

I found this daunting chap while trekking to northern India. We stopped to rest on the long road to Agra at a fairly imposing little structure on the side of the road. I was curious to see if I could find a drink or maybe a bit of food.

As I approached, this guy stood out front. I was pretty sure he didn’t speak English. We regarded one another for a bit. I tried to survey the authenticity of his weapon and the his circumspect agility. He examined at my anachronistic garb and camera for a bit. Then I gave him the international symbol for, "Can I take a photo?" He stiffened proudly in a pose. I took a quick shot, nodded, then passed by to see what he was guarding within.

A Guardian on the way to Agra

Inside the Train Station

I think, as Americans, we are over-the-top interested in European train stations. I really enjoy them. I don’t know why… they just seem like really interesting places to be. This is part of the train station in Leipzig — the part after you get off the train and go into the shopping area.

Curiously, if you look at the large or original size, you can see taxi cabs driving through the inside of the mall. I do not have a full explanation for this.

Inside the Train Station

The Point for Artists

Isn’t this just the perfect kind of place to take this sort of photo? I say it is! I almost don’t even know what to say about this place, and anything I say about it would only take away from it!

The only interesting thing about this is that I was in a tremendous hurry to take this shot and get to another destination. I think I had literally 45 seconds to take the shot. I prepared for it… got all the camera settings right, ran into what I felt was the perfect spot, ripped off some shots, then got right back on the road. Afterward, naturally, I was happy to see that everything worked out as expected.

The Point for Artists

Downtown Boston from my Hotel Room

Usually, I like to sneak up to the roof of buildings to get the best shots.  But, every now and then, my best plans are foiled by locked doors and surly security guards.  My charms fail at some point, and I am stuck shooting out of my hotel room window. The only advantage is that I don’t have to freeze in 10 degree howling wind while waiting for the light to hit its apogee of beauty.

This was just about the prettiest part of the day, especially since I had to spend the rest of it staring at morose lawyers.

Downtown Boston from my Hotel Room

Borobudur in Poetry

One thing we always ask for, as part of the deal, is for the companies to send us a copy of the final product. So we get several of these kinds of things a week, and it is always cool! I get excited and giddy to see my work used in creative ways across many mediums. Here is one we recently got of a poetry book that used on of my Indonesian pics on the cover. I put the orig below, along with a few other shots from that temple.

I end up throwing all of this stuff into these giant boxes in my office. I don’t know what I will do with them! They just kinda pile up… I should have a giveaway some day! :)

Borobudur Book

Buddha in the Jungle Highlands

The Hidden Buddhist Temple of Borobudur at Sunrise

The Dark Temple Corridor in Morning Mist at 4 AM

Another Night in Austin

Daily Photo: Another Sunset in Austin

I think many people in Austin know this place!

There is a cliff wall that can be traversed up the side on an easy trail that overlooks the 360 bridge. It’s always a beautiful place to come see the sunset over the Colorado. I walked up here a few nights ago when I had the feeling that a good sunset was coming (it’s in my bones now). There’s also this oddly-shaped tree up there all by its lonesome, and I felt like it should be included too.

Another Sunset in Austin

Descending into the Badlands

You know, I was just realizing that I spent a nice part of last summer digging up dinosaurs with Jack Horner in the badlands of Montana, and I’ve hardly posted any photos!

Well, now we are starting to get a “bit” closer to the dinosaurs… Here we are, descending down through the sandstones of time into the belly of the beast. Just a few more feet down, and we are getting into the cretaceous. Getting from the top to the bottom is a little treacherous, but I find it helps to follow a smart paleontologist when trying to figure out the best way to traverse the mudstones.

Not too far from here, I picked up a hadrosaur vertebrae, which I now keep here on my desk at home, among a panoply of other 90 million year old dinosaur fossils that I was lucky enough to find.

Descending into the Badlands

Watch out for the next step

I’ve said this to a few people while talking about this place, but I’m not sure anyone believes me. This is the slipperiest place in the world. It’s completely unbelievable. I don’t know how many people die here every year, but it’s gotta be a high number. The ice is already slick, but when the mist from the waterfall settles on top of it, there is some eerie superconductivity achieved and then all frictional bets are off.

I did slip down onto my back at one point. It was pretty jarring, since I put 99% of my effort into saving my camera! Thank goodness it was a flat part… because if it was slanted, there was only one direction I would have slid.

This is the Gulfoss waterfall in Iceland. It’s pretty intense… and I don’t really recommend getting too close in the winter, in case you could not sense the trepidation before…

Gulfoss

A Godly Dance at the Taj

I was barefoot like the rest of them.

The day must have been around 95 degrees and as stuffy as can be, but the cool marble seemed to keep me from being drenched in sweat. After a long walk, I had finally made it to the inner core of the Taj Mahal, around the main tomb structure where pilgrims from all over the country had gravitated. The faithful coiled in long lines and snaked their way around the complex, waiting patiently to reflect at the megamausoleum and communing with the god of their choice. How could a billion people be wrong?

When I travel, I actually always enjoy talking to Indians (or whoever) about their religion. Here is a little thing I do… I’m not sure it’s totally ethical since I say the same thing over and over, but I enjoy seeing people’s reaction as a probe a panoply of personalities. Inevitably, when I’m in a taxi or man-powered trike-mobile, there is some sort of deity that is jiggling about on the dashboard or handlebars. It can be anyone from Shiva to Brahma to Vishnu to Krishna to Ganesha and beyond.

So, I always ask, “Who is the god to whom you pay reverence?”

They respond quickly and directly, usually naming one from of the top ten from the pantheon of possibilities.

I respond back, in all seriousness, “Oh! He is a very powerful god!”

To this, they always turn to me and nod gravely.

My guide there was from no from one of the traditional Hindu sects — he was a Jain. The Jain don’t recognize the divine origins of the Vedas (made popular in the US from Oppenheimer’s re-quote after testing the Bomb), nor do they believe in any one supreme deity. They instead revere Tirthankaras who have raised themselves to divine perfection. So anyway, if you ever try out the little trick above, don’t bother with a Jain because they will just give you a funny look and a wobble of inconsequential solitude.

So if any of you get the chance to go, I recommend it.  The people are all nice as can be and very eager to engage in conversation about just about everything.  Or, of you’ve already been, then you know what I mean!

By the way, this comes from my new Lucis Tutorial.

A Godly Dance at the Taj

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