A Zen Moment Above the Fog

This is from an awesome monument in Indonesia called Borobudur. There are about five ways to spell this temple, at least when I spell it. But, you get the general idea.

I’ve re-mastered this one by using the textures from the Textures Tutorial. This one is actually featured in the video. I have a non-textured version of this which is also interesting… and I think I explain in the video that the use of these textures doesn’t necessarily make something “better”, but what it does do is make something else that is equally satisfying in a different way. So then, at the end, you have two photos, rather than one, each one different and nice in its own way (if that makes sense!).

A Zen Moment above the Fog

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The Ruins of Prambanan in Yogyakarta (and two new reviews)

Just outside of Yogyakarta in Indonesia are the ruins of Prambanan. Getting to this place is a long way from home, so we tried to take advantage of everything in and around the city. Prambanan is a Hindu temple that was first built in 850 CE.  It began a painstaking reconstruction in 1918.  I can’t imagine what difficult work that must be.

Actually, it was quite nice to get out of the crowded city.  Will and I had spent a long night walking around down near the markets.  The streets were so crowded in the busy night streets that it was unbelievable.  I had always known that Indonesia had hundreds of millions of people, but when stuck in the throngs, you can really feel it.  Also, that was a disconcerting night because it was the first time I stepped over a dead body.

I have a few new reviews for you too! These were mentioned in the most recent newsletter that went out a few days ago.  Both of these are short and sweet, since they are simple but great products.   The first one is for sharing large files with others and moving files around between computers easily. It’s called DropBox and you can read a short DropBox Review here.

The second tool I’ve been using is for backing my files up onto the Internet (the cloud). This gives me peace of mind in case there is a fire and my local backups are also destroyed. Even if you don’t have a ton of photos and just want to back up your family digital photos, it’s a smart idea. And it’s super-cheap. You can read more at the Backblaze Review page.

The Ruins of Prambanan in Yogyakarta (and two new reviews) (by Stuck in Customs)

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The Beating Hearts of the Buddhas

The morning fog coming off the top of the jungle trees was not like anything I had seen before. There was just enough morning light to give everything a twilight blue and paint the mountains in the distance a deeper color.

I tried something a little bit different with this photo. I was holding two flashlights to help me climb the temple in the morning. I think I got there about 5:30 AM when it was still pitch black, so the flashlights helped me find the right footholds and whatnot. Anyway, this was an extremely long exposure, so I used some of that time to “paint” the inside of the bell cages with the beams of my flashlights. Each of those bell cages held a solitary outward-facing Buddha. I’m glad I was there alone, because I’m sure I looked like a loon running around shining the flashlights in patterns to illuminate the Buddhas inside.

The Beating Hearts of the Buddhas (by Stuck in Customs)

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Going Outside to Play

Although Indonesia was quite a beautiful place, it was also incredibly poor. Every country has its Hans Rosling (see his amazing TED video here) predictable bell curve of wealth distribution, and Indonesia has so many people in it (almost as many people as the US), that a lot of people end up over on the left-hand side of the curve.

While walking around one of the cities there, I went off-track and ended up in a small settlement underneath a bridge. This family had set up here, found old couches and bits of refuse to build their home. This little girl was outside playing, arranging scraps of trash on the ground in interesting patterns.

I stopped and talked to the family for a short time. They were nice and didn’t mind me taking photos. The mom seemed a little suspicious but then calmed down when she saw I was good with kids. The dad did not speak a lot of English, and I indicated to him that his house looked pretty sturdy compared to some of the others. He pointed to one across the river, which you can see in the upper part of the photo, an, in broken words, said that part of it had recently washed away. The dad was pretty happy with what he had built. He motioned to the little fence and then motioned to his little girl.

Going Outside to Play

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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

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