It hasn’t been too long since my self-declared hiatus, but I really want to post a photo.
Maybe I’ll post once a week, as a compromise. A little creativity per week is necessary, right? To keep a clear head…
This is a farm business that the Salvation Army runs near Palu, Sulawesi. It is shared by 75 farmers, who represent 75 families, and they plant, harvest, process, and benefit from the sale of the rice, corn, chocolate, and coffee that is grown on this farm. Pretty cool, and helps those who need help.
Those smiles are dangerous.
This is Dini. She and I met yesterday at the Jonooge Primary School near Palu, Sulawesi, Indonesia. I spoke to her in my incredibly bad Bahasa Indonesia, and she stared at me. I spoke to her in my language, English, and she stared at me. I smiled and she stared at me. I walked away…and she followed me. We became friends yesterday. I don’t know what she thought I was, but she, to me, was innocence and beauty and everything worth protecting in the world.
This is Dini. My little friend.
There they are. Day 1 of the service trip to Palu, Sulawesi, Indonesia, after we landed in the Palu airport. I am supervising, along with my Head of School and his wife, and the amazing Miss Erina, a group of twelve students from my school while they extend their hand to the people of Palu.
Our school has a week wherein all the students are supposed to be working in some sort of service. My students are in Palu, working in a Primary school, two childrens’ homes (not orphanages, because not all of the children are orphans – some live in the home because their parents can’t afford to keep them, but they still have parents), an “agro bisnis”, and a school of 2000 students. All of these places are run by the Salvation Army here in Palu.
I need to clarify one major point here: it is a service week, and my students are working here, but the week is really about exposing the students to a part of their world that is unfamiliar to them. In a very real sense, my students are aware that the world does not live as they do – they are well off, they attend a private international school, they have drivers and helpers – but many of them have never experienced the world that is not like theirs. So…we are offering them an opportunity to make a connection, a personal connection, with that world. Today they met the primary school children and my students were overwhelmed by these children and their love and generosity and attention and beauty and energy. As we debriefed the day, my students couldn’t help but gush about how the day went.
Tomorrow is day three, and it looks like this trip might be life-changing, and life-affirming.
The building you see behind them, by the way, is not the Palu airport. That is the future Palu airport. The current one rivals landing next to an auction house in which everyone smokes and people jockey for your luggage as soon as you have it in your hand. Good times.
I don’t like Photoshop effects that make a photo look unreal, unless the effect that the “photographer” is going for is something other than real. I do use it for my photos – specifically curves and levels – to change the contrast, but I try to avoid the bulk of what Photoshop offers me.
I also avoid self-portraits, or, truth be told, any photographs of me. I’d rather be behind the camera than in front of it.
Those two bits of info make this photo unique. I shot this photo of myself, then processed it by layering me on top of the background, then Gaussian blurred the background layer and switched it to black and white. Then I played with the top layer, me, a little be lowering the saturation level. Plus, it’s a photo of me.
I got my hair cut today as well, so I figured today was a good day to “shoot myself”, as it were.
I’ve already posted a photo of this temple, Tanah Lot, but I found this photo hiding amongst others and I really like the wider angle on this shot than the other that I’ve already posted.
What do you think?
Oh, and this is my 900th post…whoa…that’s a lot of photos.
I’m loving the motorcycle. It gets me to roads and places I’ve not been to before. This is an alley I have been down, but I’ve never come down it from this direction. Good times.
As you can see, there is no temple in this photo. The people standing knee-deep in water are carrying offerings from the mainland of Bali (Bali is an island…does it have a “mainland”?) to the Tanah Lot temple, which is located on a small, but considerable, rock just slightly offshore.
Their numbers are due in large part to the full moon that was occurring that night…and being a religious people who put great stock in the lunar cycle, there were many, many people all around Bali bringing offerings to their temples at this time.
This is not the best photo I’ve taken. This is not a photo I took recently. This is a statement about the city in which I live, my city, Jakarta.
We are experiencing a particularly bad rainy season this year…although I have nothing to which I could compare it as I’ve only been here six months. Today, it flooded so badly in Jakarta that the city’s government and the nation’s government have declared the highest level of flood threat.
My school has been shut down for tomorrow in light of the distance that many of our students drive each morning to attend takes them right through massively flooded areas. My wife spent seven hours…seven hours…in a car trying to get from where we live to North Jakarta and back. Halfway there, the flooding was so bad that kids in rafts were floating past her car on the toll road. Our school’s driver decided to turn around and it took him three and a half hours to get back.
There are thousands, tens of thousands, probably hundreds of thousands (it is a city of 20-some million people) of people are out of their homes tonight because there is too much water in their homes. There are homes that have been erased by this flood. There are, reportedly, people who have died in this flood.
The boat, above, is maybe the best place for many people tonight because it’s on top of the water, not under it.
I took this photo a few months ago, it I downloaded an app on my iPad called Snapseed. It has a “tilt-shift” process that turned my photo of the Selamat Datang traffic circle into what looks like a miniature diorama. So fun, but so weird.
What do you think?
I love seeing other people taking photographs. I don’t know what I look like when I take photos, but I hope I look sophisticated, elegant even. I’m sure I don’t, but I like to think that I look like I know what I’m doing.
My son, Ben, and I were hanging around at Taman Sari Bali and I said I was thirsty. We sat near the pool drinking Orange Fanta, and I started to blow a note on the bottle. Ben tried, and failed. We tried again, and again, and again, and just at the moment I took this photo he sounded a note on the bottle. I think I was more surprised than he was.
Perfect timing, or dumb luck. Either way, it was fun.
I’m trying to think of something witty or poignant to say about this,but nothing’s coming to mind. All I can think about is that I didn’t sleep well last night and now I’m so tired that I’m lucky that breathing is a reflex.
This year has been momentous. I have watched as my family and I have adapted to our move from Chilliwack, British Columbia, Canada, to Jakarta, Indonesia. I moved from teaching in a public school to an international, private school. I moved from one of the most beautiful places in the world (nah…it is the most beautiful) to a place I haven’t figured out yet. I moved from mountains and rivers to busy streets and overpopulation. I moved from ease and comfort (with a bit of financial challenge) to a place of challenge.
2012…the year of the move.
The hardest part of enjoying time on the beach is entertaining the many sellers that walk up and down trying to sell their stuff to the tourists. Well, actually, the hardest part is saying, “No,” to most every one of them. They like to look at me like they don’t understand English, as if waiting in front of me will make me say, “Yes.” I don’t, but I just love feeling awkward…that was sarcasm.
I am impressed by their ability to balance their wares on their heads, though. Seriously. That’s amazing.
I saw these two on the beach and they were so cute together. He would clumsily go out into the water with his surf board and do amazingly awkward things, and she would stand on the beach taking pictures.
Later, when I was eating lunch, they were sitting and chatting, so I snapped this photo. I wish them a great future together.
I am somewhere around 188cm tall, and just over 100kg. This makes me huge by Indonesian standards. Everyone is so much smaller than me. I particularly enjoy my experiences shopping here. I’ve asked the salespeople if they have shirts for guys my size, or pants for my size, and I get total honesty. No run-around at all.
“Do you have a shirt my size?”
No checking in the back. No asking around. No looking on other racks. They know that I am an anomaly.
So when I bought my motorcycle and the salesman delivered it with a helmet, I was cautious in my optimism. It turned out that the biggest helmet they had sits quite a way above my head, not so much on it. I had to do some hunting, but the helmet that you see above not only fits, it fits well. It was more expensive than some, less expensive than many. I tried on twenty helmets, and this one did not leave me gasping for air, claustrophobic, or feeling like I was going to tear my own ears off trying to remove it.
Often, people around here will make jokes about how, if you wanted to, you could not get the attention of the police if you really needed them. Maybe this is why the expectations of Jakartans are not that high.
…in someone else’s shoes. In this case, the shoes belong to a man who scavenges for a living. I pass men, women, and children who scavenge to live every morning as I head to school. They work their way through the trash of Kemang residences, looking for things that will bring them income.
Walk a mile in this pair of shoes. I doubt I would make it through a day.
I took this photo while shooting on the fly. I was walking to work and a couple of students got our of their car ahead of me. As we walked up to the school, the brother placed his hand on his sister’s backpack and guided her to where she needed to be on the path. It was a small, kind gesture…a brotherly gesture. I got this shot off just before he removed his hand.
The problem with doorways is that you may never know what’s on the other side until you go through them. These beautiful, carved wooden doors could hold a gigantic mansion with servants and drivers and nannies. These beautiful, carved wooden doors could hold an abandoned, run-down, shack with squatters. You’ll never know until you step through the door. Oh…you can guess at it, try to look over the wall, but at some point, in order to really understand, you need to go through the door. Or, you can settle with never knowing.
Possibilities are like that. You never know exactly what you get until you walk through the door.
It’s how I ended up in Jakarta, taking photos of beautiful, carved wooden doors. I stepped through.
It rained last night. Then, God turned on Photoshop and switched the world to the sepia filter. My wife called to me to come look outside. The whole world was bathed in a brown-orange-golden glow. It was like stepping out of my apartment into an aging photograph.
The only thing I adjusted was curves and levels, for better contrast.
…is so happy right now. I make a point of stopping over at my new motorcycle whenever I return from work, and even though I have to wait for the licence plates (or not, according to my friend Setyo) I am still really excited. When I was a kid, I always wanted a motorcycle. Now…I’ve got one. The little boy inside my head is smiling all the time…and will continue to smile until I actually have to remember how to ride, shift, brake and throttle. I’ll let you know how it goes.
For now, I’m posting another angle on the Vespas up my street. I will bring my camera with me tomorrow, and snap some new stuff. In the meantime, please accept these broken-down vehicles.