This man was really adamant that I take his photo. He was also adamant that I take a photo of him smoking. I think it turned out alright.
I completed my Master’s degree (the coursework) today, and went on a three hour photowalk with a Jakartan expat. It was a great, tiring, overwhelming, amazing day.
This photo was one of more than two hundred shot today. Looks like I’m back on the photoblog.
I love bikes like this. Classic, although it is probably from the 1980′s. The saddlebags really round it out.
Before seeing this beauty, I had no idea that Kawasaki made a bike called a “Binter.” I’m a Honda guy, but this bike looks great. I kind of wanted to take it for a ride.
What do you think?
This Hindu temple was a ten minute walk down the beach from our hotel. A beautiful reminder of the religious heritage of Lombok.
We were in Senggigi, Lombok, for six days. Each day, this same group of boys would walk by, heading to school on the beach. Sorry. Not school-on-the-beach. They were walking on the beach to get to school.
I love how their shoes are in hand.
We took a tour of the west of Lombok and our driver took us to Ampenan. Ampenan is a town that is now part of the greater Mataram area (Mataram is the capital city of Lombok). Ampenan is also a town full of fishermen. These are their boats. Well…this is the front row of boats. There are two, or three, rows of boats behind this row.
Every night, all of the fishermen push these boats out into the water and fish, and in the morning they come back in and take their fish to market. When I think about the hundreds of boats on the beach, I cannot imagine it empty, yet every night it is.
He was sitting on the edge of the bridge, watching my son and me walk along the edge of the road. I did not notice him until a loud motorcycle came by and drew my attention in his direction. I waved and smiled. He waved and smiled back. I raised my camera and he gave me this look.
I do not know if this look means it was okay to take the photo or not.
I took a walk down to Pura Batu Bolong, a Hindu temple about a fifteen minute walk from my hotel in Lombok. When I got there through the beach entrance (which I found out later made me totally rude and disrespectful to the temple), I was greeted very kindly by everyone. I approached this man to ask him for permission – “Boleh saya foto kamu?” – and he graciously says, “yes.” Then…he poses like this.
He’s very sweet, and he is a very nice guy. What I was hoping for was a candid photo, but he wanted to pose. I don’t like posed photos. There is little that is natural about being fake…actually, nothing natural, unless one wants to get into a whole “people are always fake” debate, which I am not.
I took the photo, thanked him, and then waited for him to go do something natural. Every time I raised my camera, he went in to pose mode. I just smiled and moved on.
What was awesome was that there were three of this guy’s friends who were mimicking him, in each pose he threw at me. A little extra smile between all of us.
My son had the chance to help this potter make a clay turtle. He has been taking Bahasa Indonesia lessons at school, but still can’t speak the language very well. The potter spoke no English, or at least did not let on that she knew.
The language that they spoke to one another was one of gestures, smiles, and touching. She showed Ben how to mold the clay, how to turn the wheel, and she would take his hand and move it where it needed to be. She would smile and let him try. He would smile back and try.
The most poignant lesson I have learned while living internationally has been that communication does not have to be spoken. Some of the best relationships I have here in Indonesia are the ones where we both struggle to speak, and have to depend on the kindness of the other person to get us through the situation.
I pray that I do not forget this lesson.
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.