The pool that taunted me in Jogjakarta

Can you believe that I looked at that pool every day and I never got in? It was there day after day… alluring and perfect… looking warm and fun… I would walk around it, admire it, take photos of it, pass it on the way to the spa… I did just about everything to that pool but get in. I thought about it a lot, for whatever that’s worth (a lot, actually, I have an active imagination). But next time I get there, I’m goin’ in… I think about what those little tiles will feel like slippin’ around under my toes… It’s gonna be great!

The pool that taunted me in Jogjakarta (by Stuck in Customs)

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The Dark Temple Corridor in Morning Mist at 4 AM

I arrived at the temple of Borobudur a little after 4 AM. I had a tiny disposable flashlight, and, other than my driver idling about a mile away, I was the only person here. In fact, it was my second day in a row to do this, since I had so much fun the first. I was there with my friend Will, and he decided to sleep in the second day… but I had a few shots in mind I wanted to grab before the sun came up.

There were these strange argon lights around the temple to light up areas of excavation. They cast a gloomy and surreal light on the Buddhist reliefs that make concentric circles up to the top. I was able to get about 45 minutes of nice darkness with unexpected light until the sun started to appear over the nearby volcanoes and jungle mist.

The Dark Temple Corridor in Morning Mist at 4 AM (by Stuck in Customs)

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The Mysteries and Adventures of the New Year

I look forward to many more adventures with you this year and in coming years. We have a lot of things to do, don’t we? Mais oui!

Change and tumult and highs and lows will come and go with the winds, but I will always be here, ready to take you on fun new adventures with unexpected discoveries. This year has had a lot of unexpected things happen in all corners of life, and I don’t expect the next to be any different. In the end, I’ll do my best to keep pushing forward and exploring the world and the world of ideas with you.

If life gets kind of confusing or you get down, come visit to take your mind where it would rather be anyway. At best, it will be a deep experience, and at worst, it will be a pleasant distraction. I’ll take the worst if that’s the best I can get!

For the last photo of the year, I hope I have selected a great one to set the tone for the next year. I’ve been in artful concert with this one for what seems like ages. This happenstance scene is from a remote Hindu temple in the Indonesian jungle. It was a horribly stormy day and I could have easily found myself quite miserable… but I had seen this before, seen these patterns, and I knew I’d have the chance to see the sun again. Just for a few moments, the sun appeared there, and it was timeless. I didn’t think about the future, I just sat there, unconsciously moving around the temple and capturing the moment forever.

Okay, so… moving into left-brain mode now (getting practical logistical things done…), there have been a number of changes to the site!

1) I updated my HDR Tutorial ! It has become almost completely revamped… I have a few minor things to fix – let me know if you see any typos, because, as you know, I am horrible at catching my own… (anyone want to be my editor out there?)

2) A new Header Photo and CSS Background! Hit Refresh on your browser in case you don’t see it

3) A new “Reviews” section. You can see that over on the right.

4) A new “Popular Articles” section to catch some of the cool stuff that is now buried deep in the blog

5) Minor fixes: Comment font sizes, Comment entry box streamlining, Safari problem where the fonts were huge for single posts…

6) Enabled comments on “Pages” – things like the “About Me” and “Camera Equipment” pages did not allow comments before

The Mysteries and Adventures of the New Year

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Family Errands

I am sure cramming three or more people on a motorcycle looks surprising, but, surprisingly, my surprise began to subside after just a few days. I think the MOST I saw on a motorcycle was 6 people… a mom and dad and 4 kids squnched in between. I never got a great shot of that…

…as I was walking around Jogjakarta, I did find this young mom and her two kids off on their daily errands.

Family Errands

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Turning a Blind Eye

I must have walked 10 miles in Jogjakarta that day. There were so many things to see… interesting people, clothes, etc etc. I saw this guy a few times, and I decided to take a shot on the third time. He regarded me with a cool one-eyed stare and didn’t give much reaction one way or the other. I’m pretty good at getting the vibe if someone does not want their photo taken… I got no vibe from him. Actually, I got no vibe at all.

Turning a Blind Eye

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The caged Buddhas look outward towards the sunrise

Each of these “bells” is really a stone cage that houses a seated Buddha statue, facing outwards. At this time in the morning, you can take little flashlights and peer inside the cages. It’s all very eerie and fun…

In the distance, you can see a few volcanoes poking through the mist.

The caged Buddhas look outward towards the sunrise

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The Lightning Temple

This was one scary place in a storm. I can’t overstate that. The whole place felt alien and ancient… there was hardly anyone at this remote temple, and then pretty much everyone left when the storm hit. Between squalls, I took some quick shots as the sun went down, using a rainsleeve over my camera to try to keep it as dry as possible.

The Lightning Temple

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As the light changes in Indonesia

I have been working on a new batch of shots from Indonesia which will be coming up soon, but in the meantime I was looking at how dramatically the light changed on one day I was there in particular. These two shots below are from different parts of the country… One was taken around 3 PM and the second was taken around 7 PM.

Buddha in the Jungle Highlands

The Lost Hindu Temple in the Jungle Mist

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A Delicate Morning

The morning in Indonesia seemed to change every 5 minutes from blue to pink to purple then back to blue again. I could hardly figure out where to point… Framing these Buddhas in the bells at Borobudur was a fun exercise in composition and patterns.

A Delicate Morning

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Indonesian Girl with Hat

This girl had traveled from a remote part of Indonesia to visit Borobudur. She had never seen a white guy in person before… I told her that I might be kind of a disappointment since I am a fairly average white guy. She saw the freckles on my arm and asked if I had a disease…

Indonesian Girl with Hat

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