Monday, January 28, 2013

750 Consecutive days.

On December 31, 2010 I began a journey to take a photo a day.  At the time I did not know that I would stretch it out over more then 2 years to reach a total of 750 days that I have taken at least one photo.  Yes there were days when I felt like packing it in, days where the struggle to be creative seamed insurmountable, days when the photo was taken in the last 1/2 hour of the day.  Through it all I managed to make an image and on the whole I feel I have been fairly artistic in my efforts.

Through the journey I have not only explored the world immediately around me, but also became very familiar with the iPhone and it's many apps as well as rediscovering joys of photography once forgotten. In some ways it seems that this shot of St. Mary's Cathedral marks 750 days.  It is through gods grace and his gift of photography that I have been given some talent to use it.  I hope that you have enjoyed my work so far and will continue to follow as I move ahead towards 1000 days.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

A spot of Jet Lag.

Anyone who has ever traveled knows that Jet Lag can play havoc with ones return in many ways. For me it has been being exhausted by early evening and thus falling a sleep well before 10:00 pm.  As this is the case I find myself up early and taking care of my boy's and their needs as well as the various other duties I have.  I continue to shoot at least one photo a day, although not as prolific as I was during my time in India,  There, however, I had few responsibilities and was able to wander and take photo's at the best times of the day.

Here at home I know am trying to get back into the routine of Canadian life and winter.  I share with you my images from the past week as I try to get my internal clock reset and back to local time.

January 27.  I met with some of the members of the STP meet up group who completed last years 366 day project.  It was nice to get out and be with fellow photographers if only for a couple of an hours.  These two shots I took a long 17th Avenue here in Calgary as we met at one of the restaurants located there.
January 26.  I started teaching the current session of my Wedding Photography class at SAIT today.  Afterwards I went for a quick walk on campus and shot a photo of Heritage Hall using the iPhone with the Fisheye Pro app.
January 25.  Market Mall Professional Building, I liked the way the sun was skimming along the building and lighting the sign.
January 24.  Luke was learning to in-line skate at his school.  After a lot of practice he was finally able to let go of my hand so I could take his photograph.
January 23.  A big difference from India where we had flowers in bloom.  Here I found these three frosted berries in our front yard.
January 22.  Though we left the warmth of India behind we will still have some flowers soon.  Our Orchid has started to sprout some new buds while we were gone.

Monday, January 21, 2013

A 36 1/2 hour long day.

So many time's you hear people say, "If only I could have more hours in a day".  Today, January 21, 2013 my family and I experienced a day that when complete will end up being 36 1/2 hours long.  It started at midnight in the Bengaluru airport and will end tonight at midnight here in Calgary.  During this day we experienced a four hour wait in Bengaluru for our delayed flight to Frankfurt.  Once on the plane we had a 10 hour flight which was only complicated by a snow storm that hit Europe that night.

We sat for another hour on the tarmac before they could get us a gate to park the plane.  Our arrival time coincided with our next flight to Calgary.  Hoping that it to was delayed we raced from terminal 1 to terminal 2 having to clear two passport control areas and security.  We were very fortunate to reach the gate as they were getting set to close the doors as the de-icing trucks were about to arrive.  Once they did 1/2 hour after we got on the plane it took an hour to remove the snow and ice from the wings, tail and fuselage.  Then we embarked on a 10 hour flight home.

This is one of the joys of travel and I write this having arrived home safely with 41/2 hours left before the 22nd.  In all we have been in transit since 4:00 am on the 20th as we had to drive to Cochin to catch our flight and then had a 19 hour layover in Bengaluru.

I leave you with these final images from our trip created from the plane or at the airport.  I have included the final image created using Snapseed and the original iPhone photo for the first two shots taken on the first flight out of Cochin on the 20th.
These last three were taken in Frankfurt on the 21st.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

An International Affair.

Today's post is a long one full of photo's and stories.  This is due to the fact that we were traveling and attending my wife's nieces wedding.  We also had another festival and a few stops along the way.

But first to the wedding.  It was truly an international affair as Ammu married Bruno on January 17.  Both of them now live in Melbourne, Australia although Ammu's root's are here in India, while Bruno's family is of Chinese decent from Malaysia.  Ammu's mom is Catholic while her dad is Hindu and thus a Hindu celebration was had.  This is the second type ceremony that I attended as her brother Ammu had a similar wedding in the summer of 2011 although he married a girl with local roots.

However there were a number of different touches this yea that helped make the ceremony easier to follow and understand.  First was a lovely little booklet was produced that explained the various rituals and their meanings.  Second I think the photographer's this year took a bit of a lesson from me as they stayed to the side and kept low which is my style of inconspicuous shooting for weddings.  This allowed everyone a chance to view the proceedings. 

Now Southern Hindu weddings are a little different then there northern counter parts with the most notable being that it is over two days and not three.  The first three photo's are from that evening where it is all about the bride as her family prepares her for the marriage.  There are some simple rituals in which she gets the blessings from her parents and family and then there is an entertainment program for the rest of the evening.
Day two it is about the groom and his being welcomed to the family and joining his bride.  After her brother brings the groom in and washes his feet, the brides parents walk her in.  She then greets him and a variety of garland and items are exchanged.  They also circle the alter three times and there is a ritual fire which burns from wicks that were made the evening before during the entertainment by the single and married ladies.  At one point they pour rice in to the flames. It is a Kerala custom then for the groom to tie a Talley around the brides neck after which they are married.  Then becomes a long stretch as the family and guest come up to greet and bless the couple and have their photo taken with them. Below are some of the photo;s I took on the second day.
Now prior to the ceremony as the groom arrives he is greeted by music and celebration.  While I did shoot photo's with my DSLR, I felt there was a good opportunity here to create some artsy shots with the iPhone and the Hipstamatic app and tintype film.  I did use a different lens then the one that comes with the pak which I think worked better for this set of images.
Finally I waited until the end where I quickly asked Bruno and Ammu to indulge me in creating an individual iPhone Hipstamatic portrait of both of them.
On our way down we stopped at a church dedicated to St. Sebastian in Allapply.  My father-in-law walked in and knelt down and there was this one beam of sunlight coming in behind him which I really liked and gave a spiritual feel to the photo.
The next four images are from our time in Trivandrum.  We stayed at the Windsor Rajadhani Hotel which was very nice and at a very reasonable price.  The staff were friendly and the doorman below allowed me to snap a photo of him.
This was a view from the 9th floor restaurant at sunset.  One of the coolest things is that from this height you see only a few other buildings where all the smaller buildings and homes are obscured by all the palm trees that grow in the city.  It was very beautiful.
These two photo's were taken at the Trivandrum Zoo.  It is one of the nicer one's in Kerala, but it still has many of it's animals behind heavy iron bars.
On the way home we stopped at the boy's favourite Indian restaurant, U.S. pizza.  We discovered this indian owned pizza chain on previous visits and the boys loved the pizza they made.  We tried to visit the one we normally do in Thrissur but found that they had closed it down a month previous.  Luke was devastated and even though we got pizza at a Domino's it was not the same.  I promised him that when we did find one he could have two chocolate milkshakes to make up for it.  I knew there was one just outside of Cochin so we stopped on our way home and Luke belted back his two shakes at the same time.

Now we are in our final day and my next blog post won't be until we return home next Monday.  While looking for something to photograph I found this flower which had bloomed while we were away.  As I shot my wife told me that we had to prepare for the arrival of the arrow for St. Sebastian's Feast that takes place at our local parish this weekend.
Here are some photo's of some of the proceedings as the arrow arrives surrounded by these colourful umbrellas.  It then stays at the home until later in the afternoon when a procession makes it's way from house to house until they reach the church.  We were fortunate to have a chance to witness and participate in this event.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

A bit of a climate change.

Yesterday we took an 18 hour, 500 km journey around part of Kerala and Tamil Nadu.  We went high in to the hills where the temperature was much different from the 34C temperatures around Thrissur.  There was a good 10 degrees difference so it was very pleasant and a welcome change.  As we headed up we entered the area around Munnar where the hills are covered in nothing but tea leaves.  I would say we traveled at least 100 kilometers where you could see nothing but tea bushes and eucalyptus trees.  The top photo shows one of the views.  I can only imagine the army of people it takes at harvest time to cover this vast territory and pick all these leaves by hand.  
The only problem with such a long trip is not the distance but the fact that the roads twisted and turned for 90% of the drive.  This and the fact that the roads were narrow meant for speeds on average of 25 km an hour.  This limited our stopping and enjoying time as my brother in-law and the driver were not as familiar with this region and planned a trip that really should have been spaced over two or three days.  As such though, I discovered a new region and will come back to explore it more thoroughly when we visit the family in the future and we have no obligations (ie. weddings) that fill our agenda.  Below are a few more shots from the day.

Today was more of a rest and recovery day from yesterday so I documented a bit around our house and area.  The first is a composite of our house on the hill showing views from all four corners.  It's a nice cosy place and very quiet being surrounded by trees and farther from the road.
 Even though we spend some time at our home on the hill, we have stayed at our brother-in-laws house where Lysa's parents and younger brother live.  This has afforded her more time with them as well provided the internet access for me and the boys.  Though neither of the properties could be classified as farms, there are a great variety of produce gown as well as animals around.  So it is very fascinating when you have fine landscaping such as this waterfall which Luke is sitting on and then cows and other animals running around.  Some of these animals became my subjects for today.