Tuesday, January 31, 2012

India in Detail

As I write this, I'm on a plane heading to India, where I will be working for the next couple of weeks. Since I will likely be too busy to post to my blog, I've scheduled this post to keep you, and my blog, company while I am away.  Enjoy.

India is incredibly photogenic, however, this is not a post where you're going to find scenic postcard shots of the Taj Mahal or crowded market scenes.  Rather, I'm going to focus on a few ingredients, a few details, and present them together to give you a taste of... the full flavor....of India.

When I enjoy an Indian meal, I take no spice for granted. I taste every one of them.  It's like a full-blown symphony plays in my mouth, and each instrument gets a solo at some point during the show.  I become captivated with guessing..."what is that hint of something...that flavor which I would not have expected...".  I savor it, and appreciate that the dish would be incomplete without it.

The same may be exemplified with a traditional Indian textile:



Each bit is an abstract part that makes up the whole fabric.  Look close and discover various stitches, colors, textures, patterns, and even some mirrors!  As with Indian cuisine, many layers of flavors and spices (scraps and threads) come together to form the perfect masala (or bedspread, in this example).  And there's always a bit of the unexpected in all of it.

The whole of India is like that, too. 

I've scoured the cupboards of my India photo archives to toss together some flavorful ingredients, many of which have never before been published, and present to you a recipe for my visual "Masala of India."


Incarnations of Vishnu (Khajuraho)



Indian Textiles (Jaipur)



 Mosaic Inlay (Agra)



 Clay Sculpture Faces (Calcutta)



Waters of the Ganges (Varanasi)



Marigolds (Calcutta)



Carved Erotic Temples (Khajuraho)



Carved Floral Relief (Taj Mahal, Agra)



Himalayan Berries (Darjeeling)



Astronomical Map (Observatory, Jaipur)




Ceramic Tiles (Delhi)



Marble Lattice (Amber Palace)



Rounded Stucco Corner (Agra)



Floral Garlands (Calcutta)



Indian Tea Leaves (Darjeeling)


Mix well,  and add enlightenment as needed!





You may also enjoy these related posts on India:


Calcutta the Beautiful

Published in the Rough Guide to India

A Taste of Darjeeling

Gallery of India Images

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Happy Chinese New Year! Year of the Dragon 2012



The Chinese New Year is upon us, and 2012 is the Year of the Dragon in Chinese Astrology. The dragon is the only mythical animal in the Chinese zodiac, and is a symbol of good fortune and power.

According to legend, the dragon body is made up of nine other animals. Since I don't have any photos of a living dragon, then I thought that it might make for an interesting photo-post to show all the living animals from which the mythical dragon is formed.

Head of a Camel:




Neck of a Snake:




Scales of a Fish:




Horns of a Deer:




Ears of a Bull:




Stomach of a Clam:




Paws of a Tiger:




Claws of an Eagle:




Eyes of a Rabbit:



Happy Chinese New Year!

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Dogs Around the World



First, a big wag of the tail for this week's team of #frifotos hosts who came up with the (travel-related) theme of DOGS, giving me a great excuse to finally post these dogs shots from all over the world in one place. Question is....where to begin on a Round-the-World photo journey of dogs? Since all journeys start at home, we'll start here, then we'll continue throughout the US and on to Latin America, Europe, Africa, Asia, and back home again.

One man's travel destination is another's backyard - the same may be said for dogs, of course. So I will begin with one of my Surf Dawgs photo series taken at a favorite local beach right here in my (dog's) own "backyard", Del Mar Dog Beach, California:



Moving out geographically, and back in evolution, coyotes and wolves are great examples of canine wildlife. These beautiful "dogs" were photographed in Arizona:

Coyotes of the American Southwest
  Mexican Gray Wolves
 
Still in the southwest, I will always love this moment when these pueblo dogs came to greet me in New Mexico, making for a truly iconic capture of Native American pueblo life:

Dogs of San Ildefonso Pueblo
Now I'm not going to drag you through every state via dog pictures, but there is one more state deserving mention, as it is well known for hosting the annual Iditarod sled-dog race. A few years back I had the pleasure of taking my daughter Dog-Sledding on a Glacier in Alaska,  and gave her the video camera (listen to the interview/commentary!):




Getting to visit all the sled-dogs and puppies in training after the ride resulted in plenty of wonderful photos, this one being my favorite:

Blue-eyed girl and blue-eyed husky 

And on the subject of girls and puppies, let's travel to Guatemala, where this woman was selling a basket full at the Chichicastenango Market:

Chichicastenango Market: Puppies for sale



Next stop, Peru, where this dog and his buddies enjoy the scenery:
Dog & Donkeys overlooking the Sacred Valley and Andes of Peru

Some of the happiest dogs I've ever seen during my travels are found in Chile:

Pair of dogs and pair of lovers in Puerto Varas

....where they also have jobs that they love, such as this....

Little guard dog with big attitude in Puerto Natales
or this...

Rancher and his dog herding sheep in Patagonia

Ah yes, the sheep herders. What better segway to hop over to Europe?  Landing first in Ireland:

 
Satisfied Border Collie watches his flock

Then on to London, UK, for this canine appearance in the Lord Mayor's Parade:


Dogs on Parade

And to Spain, where these dogs enjoy shopping the avenues of Barcelona:

Dogs and Shoppers in Barcelona

Enough of the domesticated dogs for a bit, let's head down to South Africa, and to my personal favorite wild animal to spot in the wild, the African Wild Dog:

African Painted Wild Dog


African Wild Dog of Madikwe

It is such a thrill to watch them in the wild, and to get them in good light, I even shot a video and blogged about the Wild Dogs here: Madikwe is for the Dogs.  A must read for dog/wildlife lovers! Oh what the heck, here's the video too:

video

Before we leave Africa, Here's a shot from Namibia which illustrates the difference a dog makes - without the dog, this scene would be, well, depressing.

Scene of daily life in Katatura Township
Now, from a land where few children have shoes, to a land where few dogs don't.  I'm talking about Japan, where the dog is a fashion accessory and Tokyo department stores have entire floors dedicated to canine fashions. I've blogged about how these little dogs are Big in Japan, but here are a couple of the more blatant four-legged fashion victims:

Proud owner poses her fashionable toy dogs


The men in Japan are not immune to dogs as fashion accessories


Little Dog, Big Attitude. Kyoto, Japan.

Finally, Asia is home to what I consider to be the happiest dogs anywhere in the world, living an even better life than their human counterparts. They reside in the tranquil Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan.

Dog enjoying best view in the world, Tiger's Nest Monastery in Bhutan

Dog Amongst Prayer Flags, Punakha Bhutan

Of course, this is a case where a picture speaks a thousand words. I've seen plenty of happy dogs, and plenty of sleeping dogs, but this blissful dog was truly in an elevated state of consciousness:

The ultimate meditative state - doggie nirvana

When it comes to travel, truly, the most important dogs anywhere are the ones who wait at the door and greet me with enthusiastic wags and slobbery kisses when I return home from my travels.  It's not so easy for my older dog, Jambo, to jump up and rush to the door anymore, but bless his heart, he always makes the effort when I come home, always. And there's the younger dog, Java, who jumps like a circus act and whose tail never stops spinning.  They bring so much joy and love and laughter, and home would never be home without them.

Jambo
Java
And thus ends my Round the World adventure by dog photos.  Hope you have enjoyed, and if you are on twitter, be sure to share your own dog pics and follow the hashtag #frifotos!