(mostly) daily photoblog

Posts tagged “Landscape


Holiday Sunset (yes, I’m back)

lombok sunset2

Summer holidays have begun and I’ve had time to get my camera out and take some photos again.

This was taken a couple of nights ago while on holiday in Lombok. We stayed in Batu Bolong in Lombok Barat (West Lombok, just south of Senggigi).

Rice fields…again?


I’m on my way to Sulawesi, but I’m posting photos from my last trip to the Yogyakarta area.  I think this is the last rice field photo I’ll post for a while, but I hope you don’t mind.  I find them so beautiful.

What I also find beautiful is the very traditional way so many Indonesian farmers work their fields.  Giant fields are worked with small shovels and hoes.  Pretty amazing.

Weird Geometry…the WordPress Photo Challenge


Just a quick one…second photo posted today…for the WordPress Photo Challenge:  Geometry.

I think it’s the strange geometric shapes of rice fields that appeal to those of us foreign to Asia.  The idea that someone took the initiative to re-carve the landscape to fit their needs is impressive, but it’s a little like seeing the Canadian prairies for the first time from the air in miniature.

Very visually stimulating.


My family and I were away for four days this week.  Our school gives us a week off in conjunction with the Indonesian observance of Idul Adha, a day of significance for Muslims.  We chose to head to another part of the island of Java, to Yogyakarta.  Yogyakarta is in Central Java and it’s famous for its batik, its nearness to Mt. Merapi (the volcano that blows its top every couple of years), and two important historical and religious sites.

Borobudur and Prambanan, Buddhist and Hindu temples, respectively, are both located very nearby the city of Yogyakarta.  We stayed in a villa in the shadow of Mt. Sumbing, another volcano, and traveled between the two temple sites before returning home.  The villa is decidedly rustic and offered beautiful vistas of surrounding rice fields and farms, as shown above, and is surrounded by masjids (mosques) that open the day with prayer at 4:00 am.  There is nothing like waking up to someone praying/singing in Arabic before the sun even rises.

On Tuesday, our last day at the villa, I woke up with the call to prayer and snapped some photos as the sun came up.  The light was great and the proximity to Mt. Sumbing meant that the air was actually cool.  A beautiful experience, to say the least.

10 days to go…

It won’t be long, now, until I leave Canada for two years.  Ten days until the airplane takes off from the tarmac and my family and I go.  We’re at that stage where every day has more “good-byes” and “farewells” and “until we see you agains”.  It’s weird, and emotionally raw.

I think that the farewells would be easier if I didn’t care, but that’s the point – meaning comes from caring.  What I need to remember right now is to have perspective.  We’re saying farewell here, but we’ll be meeting and getting to know a whole lot of new people.

For every sunset, there is a sunrise.


I’m three weeks away from leaving the country.  Three weeks less a day, actually.  It seems a little surreal, actually, that I will no longer drive home past this.

There were two inspirations for this:  one, this is what home looks like.  I love where I live and I don’t want to forget it.  Two, we said good-bye to my wife’s family this last weekend and my brother-in-law paid me a great compliment – he said, “I miss your photos.”  That’s it, but I love approval, so…thanks Ryan.  I appreciate the nice words.

Oh, and for those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about when I write “leaving the country”, I’m moving to Jakarta, Indonesia for two years.  My whole family is.  Cool, but it’s getting really close now.

WordPress Photo Challenge: Contrast

Welcome to Spring (or almost) in the Fraser Valley.

I know it’s Sunday, but here’s the Photo Friday challenge: Cloudy

The snow that fell on Friday and Saturday has some very nice side effects.  The fields are full of snow (in Chilliwack, anyway).  The side roads are nearly impassable, thereby curtailing any errand-running outside of the necessities.  And…the mountains have taken on a Tolkien-esque quality that is majestic and forbidding at the same time.

The best part of the photo above (truthfully, a panorama made up of three separate photos) are the clouds.  They are beautiful and terrifying – full of possibly treacherous precipitation.  I guess we’ll see.

You can find the rest of Photo Friday’s challenge for Cloudy here.

And now…the sunset

Yesterday, I posted a photo of the sunrise.

Tonight’s post is of the sunset that closed out the day yesterday.  Nature cooperated so beautifully yesterday with me yesterday.


Kismet: When Photo Friday and WordPress Photo Challenge collide

WordPress’ photo challenge this week is “Launch“.  Photo Friday’s challenge this week is “Day’s End“.  My photo is a boat dock, from which one might launch boats, at the end of the day.  Does it work for both?  I hope so.

Please release me…

…let me go.

Okay.  Seriously, I hate the flu.  It hates me.  You’d think we could just stay away from each other.  It thinks it’s funny to make me cold, then overly warm, then chill again.  I think that if it was a person, I would kick the crap out of it from here to Sunday and I’m a pacifist.

Pray for my existence.  Pray for my soul.

Winter sunsets are nice

I stopped in the grocery store parking lot to take this shot.  There are days, like today, when I’m glad I pack my camera with me pretty well everywhere I go.

BTW, it’s really hard to get the clouds to look as awesome in a photo as they do in real life.  I hope you can get the same feeling of awesome-ness from this photo as I felt while photographing them.

The power of a sunset

Took this a couple of nights ago.  We’ve been having some uncharacteristic sunny weather.  December is usually a cooler, wetter version of November in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia.  Not snow.  Rain.

This year?  It’s been sunny and cool.  The sunsets have been phenomenal, even though they’ve been at 3:45 p.m.  I guess that means it must be close to Christmas.

Would anyone like to move here?

The big mountain just to the right of center is Mount Cheam.  Next, to the right, are Mounts Archibald and Mercer and then Mount Thurston to the far right.  I drive home looking directly at these mountains every day, when it’s not raining or foggy.

When I was in Montreal last year, I had a few people ask me where I lived.  My answer was, “British Columbia.”

“Is it all mountains and rivers?”

“No.  No, it’s not all mountains and rivers.”

“Well, where do you live?”


“And what’s that like?”

“Um…I live about 500 meters from a river and about 600 meters from a mountain.”

“Is it beautiful?”

“Yeah.  It really is.”

So, anyone want to move out here?

Photo-geeks, UNITE!

Pop Quiz!  What’s working well in the photo and what’s not?

1.  What’s working well?  Look at the photo and try to identify what makes this a good photo.  After looking for minute, look below for some possible answers.

2.  What’s not working?  After looking at the photo for a minute, scroll down and let’s discuss.


Working well:

It follows the rule of thirds.  The twin horizons of the bottom and top of the mountain are on the thirds.  By dividing a photograph into nine equally sized parts and placing compositional elements on the intersections of these nine parts, a photographer can create tension and energy and, thus, more interest in the photograph.

The horizon is straight.  If your horizon is not straight, it makes it look as though you are trying to disorient your viewer.  Or, it looks as though you might have been drinking the hard stuff before you went out to shoot your photos.  By the way, if you can’t shoot a straight for your life, every photo processing program has a “straighten” function, or a way to straighten out your photos while cropping.

The contrast is nice.  The brightness of the sky, leading to the whiteness of the snow, leading to the darkness of the base of the mountain, leading to the green-ness of the grass all leads the viewer’s eye through the photo.  I think that’s working well.


Not working:

There is no focal point intersecting on the “thirds”.  That is to say, there is nothing of particular interest in the photo besides the mountain and the snow, but there’s no object nor element that draws the eye of the viewer.  The only place that naturally draws your eye is the “V” in the mountain, which is situated in the middle of the photograph, precisely where a good photo should not lead your viewer.

The colours, though deep, are not bright enough.  Although the contrast from green at the bottom to blue at the top is working, the foreground loses detail in the darkness of it.  Also, the contrast could be a little stronger between the blue sky and the white clouds and snow.


So, that’s my opinion.  What’s yours?

What’s the opposite of sunset?

Is the opposite “moon-set”?

Is moonset even a word?  I don’t know.

What I do know is that the Sunday morning last week was chilly and beautiful and wonderful.  The moon had not yet set to the west of Vancouver Island and the sky was blue and the water was blue and…well…it was great.

And, yes, that tiny dot in the sky is the moon.  I promise.

Big sky in the Valley.

I am enjoying Spring Break.  To my friends in Ontario, I’m sorry.  We’ve had two days of sunshine and above 10 degree weather.  The kids and I went cycling along the Sumas River yesterday and had a great day.  It’s amazing how fast everyone’s mood changes and the entire culture of the Lower Mainland suddenly turns outdoors.

This is the view from the trail.  I chose not to show you the manure spreader and field full of liquid cow poo that we had just passed.

The mountains you see before you is the backdrop to my house, which, if you could see it from here, would be almost straight forward of the camera’s point of view.  Life is pretty nice when this is what you see on a daily basis.

Ethereal sky: Photo Friday

Photo Friday’s challenges have been getting a little “Ethereal” lately.  Last week it was “turbulent”.  The week before it was “open”.  This week it’s “Ethereal”.

I shot this a few weeks ago, while I was on my way home.  I was originally going for a shot of the sun glinting off the snow on the top of the mountain, but I got a few shots of the sky first.  So, into the ether we go.

Saturdays are wonderful, stupendous, splendiferous days.

It was a beautiful Saturday.  No wind.  Cool, but not unbearable.  The perfect day for a walk at the lake.  I have found this to be one of the best perks of moving to a new city.  My house is now a ten minute drive from this lake – Cultus Lake – and where I previously went to the lake for once or twice a year out of obligation as a Lower Mainlander, now I go with my children quite often.  Once a month or so.  Today was the perfect day to wander and take photos of what I otherwise ignore.

During the summer months, this shot would be impossible.  The dock you see in the middle of the shot, and the rocky beach in the foreground are chock full of people.  Every person scrambling for a square inch of the worst beach you could imagine.  Which is why I love winter walks at the lake.  It’s quiet and peaceful.  It’s splendiferous.

BTW, Google Chrome’s spell-check keeps underlining the word “splendiferous.”  Stupid browser.  If you’re curious as to what it means, look it up.  It’s a great word.

I can control the weather…mwahahahahahaaa…

I shot this on the way home tonight.  I am finding that the weather cooperates beautifully with my commute home.  That’s weird, now that I think about it.  I wonder if maybe I’m controlling it.  Hmmm…

Maybe I have superpowers that control the weather…although every person who could control weather, in the comics I read, is a supervillain.  Well, I guess I need to start practicing my evil laugh.

It gets dark early – Christmas must be close.

The sun is setting earlier these days and with daily savings taking effect earlier in the year it seems that I go to work in the dark and come home in the dark and all the daylight hours are reserved for other people.  The early dark does mean two good things:  Christmas is near and I don’t have to stay up late to get good dusk photos.

Chilly day in the Valley

It was chilly today in the valley.  Must have hovered just above zero for most of the day.  I know this because this morning, when the raindrops left on my car were frozen, the mountains all had fresh caps of snow.  A lovely bunch of cupcakes with vanilla frosting.  This evening as I returned home, the frosting was still there.

I took a detour tonight, through the farms that exist alongside the highway.  The blur in the foreground is one of the many friends I’ve made on my commute.

X marks the spot

Mt. Cheam: beeyooteefull…

One thing I’ve always found amusing is that everyone I know who lives in Chilliwack can’t help talking about two things at this time of the year:  Mount Cheam and the snow level.  As we near the winter solstice, the snow level on the local mountains creeps down.  This makes sense – the mountains are tall and when it’s below 5 degrees in the valley (where I live), it’s below zero on the mountains (these temperatures are in Celsius, for my American friends).  Thus, there is snow on the mountains and as the temperature drops so does the snow level.  Yet, there are few people in Chilliwack who don’t take the time to point out that the snow level is dropping.


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