Perseid Meteor Shower 2015-08-13

Perseid Meteor Shower

One shot from the Perseid Meteor Shower. Taken on August 12 near Horseshoe Bay (West Vancouver, BC).

Perseid Meteor Shower 2015-08-13

Canada Day Fireworks - Canada Place, Vancouver, BC - 2015-07-01 : 2

Canada Day Fireworks At Canada Place

I haven't had time to process my photos from last night and given my backlog it may take some time :)

I did want to get a few posted though, for those that missed the festivities at Canada Place.  These shots are taken from Waterfront Centre with the Vancouver Convention Centre on the left and Canada Place on the right.  Before the fireworks started, I managed to get a couple of short Hyperlapse videos of the crowd.

This was my vantage point, couldn't ask for better (iPhone panorama).

Canada Day at Canada Place iPhone Panorama : July 1, 2015

A few photos from the evening, I'll try to get some better edits and more photos up soon.

Canada Day Fireworks - Canada Place, Vancouver, BC - 2015-07-01 : 5

Canada Day Fireworks - Canada Place, Vancouver, BC - 2015-07-01 : 6

Canada Day Fireworks - Canada Place, Vancouver, BC - 2015-07-01 : 3

Canada Day Fireworks - Canada Place, Vancouver, BC - 2015-07-01 : 2

Canada Day Fireworks - Canada Place, Vancouver, BC - 2015-07-01 : 1

Canada Day Fireworks - Canada Place, Vancouver, BC - 2015-07-01 : 4



Wrocław, Poland : Cathedral of St. John the Baptist At Night : 2015-02-13

A Short Visit to Wrocław, Poland

Being a native of Poland (specifically Łódź), I was happy to book a return visit to my homeland.  I haven't been back for many years, and it being a work trip I didn't have much time for sightseeing.  I flew to Wrocław via Frankfurt, and while at the Frankfurt airport I had the chance to stretch my legs so I took my camera along. They have a great kids area complete with a plane and a soft rubber floor.  I didn't have the twins with me, so they couldn't enjoy playing pilots.  Click any photo to enlarge.

I also got my first glimpse of the new Airbus A380, the largest passenger airliner in the world.  I actually saw many of them so Frankfurt must be a hub for these monsters.  It's an impressive machine.

I spent my week in Lubin, Poland and unfortunately have just one photo to share.  I took this at a park near the Astone Hotel on a cold and foggy morning.  The toned black and white conversion was done in Silver Efex Pro.

Lubin, Poland : Moody Morning : 2015-02-13


The night before my flight home, I did have a few hours to spend walking around Wrocław.   It was late so I was unable to enter any of the fantastic cathedrals and churches in the city (I am fond of these places: 1, 2).  It was also very cold and I was poorly prepared for the elements :)  Regardless, I did get a few photos from this beautiful city.  Next time I intend to spend more time there.

First, just a quick shot as I was on my way to the city square (Rynek).

Wrocław, Poland : Church near Rynek : 2015-02-08
St. Elizabeth's Church / Kościół Garnizonowy pw. Św. Elżbiety

A quick stroll through the city square, very beautiful and not something I find in my home town of Vancouver :)

Wrocław, Poland : Rynek / Market Square : 2015-02-08
City Square Wroclaw / Rynek we Wrocławiu
Wrocław, Poland : Rynek / Market Square 2 : 2015-02-08
City Square Wroclaw / Rynek we Wrocławiu

As you may notice, it's now dark.  I may have stopped for a pint, maybe.  Below is a photo of the University of Wroclaw with the River Odra in the foreground.



Wrocław, Poland : Wrocław University At Night : 2015-02-13
University of Wrocław / Uniwersytet Wrocławski

My chilly walk continued and I was treated with a great view of the Cathedral Island (cathedral right and church of the Holy Cross [Kościół Świętego Krzyża], left).

Wrocław, Poland : Cathedral of St. John the Baptist At Night : 2015-02-13
Cathedral of St. John the Baptist / Archikatedra św. Jana Chrzciciela

Getting to Cathedral Island meant crossing the Tumski Bridge (Most Tumski).  From WikipediaTumski Bridge is also called Lovers Bridge, Cathedral Bridge or Green Bridge. It's a place of enamoured tradition for lovers. The bridge is full of padlocks which lovers leave to cherish their feelings. An important part of the ceremony is to throw the key into the Odra river.


Wrocław, Poland : Tumski Bridge / Lovers Bridge : 2015-02-13
Tumski Bridge / Most Tumski

Now on Cathedral Island, the Church of the Holy Cross.

Wrocław, Poland : Kolegiata Świętego Krzyża i św. Bartłomieja we Wrocławiu : 2015-02-13
Church of the Holy Cross / Kościół Świętego Krzyża

At the side of the big Cathedral.  Very sorry I was unable to go inside.

Wrocław, Poland : Cathedral of St. John the Baptist At Night 2 : 2015-02-13
Cathedral of St. John the Baptist

Now off Cathedral Island, I took a few photos of the National Museum.  Such great architecture, I spent some time here.

Wrocław, Poland : National Museum : 2015-02-13
National Museum / Muzeum Narodowe we Wrocławiu
Wrocław, Poland : National Museum Black & White 2 : 2015-02-13
National Museum / Muzeum Narodowe we Wrocławiu



Wrocław, Poland : National Museum Black & White : 2015-02-13
National Museum / Muzeum Narodowe we Wrocławiu

Looking back towards Cathedral Island, I took one more shot before heading back to my hotel cold and happy.

Wrocław, Poland : Cathedral of St. John the Baptist At Night 3 : 2015-02-13
Cathedral Island, Wroclaw





Slow Road To Squamish: Cleveland Dam spillway

Slow Road to Squamish: Long Exposures on the Sea to Sky

A couple of weeks ago my friend Eli and I did a photohunting trip from Vancouver to Squamish.  The goal was to capture some long exposure shots along the way, below are some of the results.  Eli's Gitzo tripod was conveniently lost by WestJet, and a loaner fell through at the last minute.  A stop at the Salvation Army saved the day though as he was able to pick up a "pro quality" tripod for $9!

Slow Road To Squamish: Eli's Awesome Tripod




First stop was the Lions Gate Bridge.  Not a great day for long exposures as it was mostly clear skies.  We gave it a shot though.

Slow Road To Squamish: iPhone 5S Lions Gate Bridge - Eli


A shot with my iPhone 5S first.

Slow Road To Squamish: iPhone 5S Lions Gate Bridge

The resulting long exposure shot with my D800 and 24-70.

Slow Road To Squamish: Lions Gate Bridge


Next we went to a spot that I have never been to, the Cleveland Dam in North Vancouver.  I didn't even know this existed but, while waiting for Eli to do whatever it is he was doing, I found it on Google Maps.  It's a great spot that is worth visiting again. Eli set up on top, my tripod also ready to shoot the spillway.

Slow Road To Squamish: Shooting on the Cleveland Dam


A quick way to lose gear when looking over the edge :)

Slow Road To Squamish: Cleveland Dam spillway


There are a couple of holes in the fence where you can get a shot of the reservoir.

Slow Road To Squamish: Cleveland Dam Shooting

Too bad the clouds are not more interesting, you take what you are given I suppose.

Slow Road To Squamish: Capilano Reservoir


You can also shoot the spillway from below, here Eli stands on the edge shooting his long exposure.

Slow Road To Squamish: Eli on the ledge


Mine from that spot.

Slow Road To Squamish: Cleveland Dam spillway


We left Vancouver and stopped in Horseshoe Bay for a few shots.  I have a few more to look through, but in general I didn't get anything here that I was that happy with.  If I get something worth posting I'll just do an update.  However, on our way out I decided to set up my camera in the passenger seat of my truck, then use the remote release to get some shots while I'm driving.  I used a 6-stop ND filter and a circular polarizer to take out the glare from the windshield.  Looks odd, maybe like photo radar :)

Slow Road To Squamish: in-car camera setup

Considering that this was highly experimental, the resulting shots were not too bad.   Some were completely unusable, but others show promise.  I want to try it again, but play with the settings to see if I can get something better.  This shot was a 1-second exposure at 100Km/h, that is Eli in front of me.

Slow Road To Squamish: Long Exposure Experiments

We hit Squamish, had lunch at The Watershed Grill, and parted ways.  On my way home, I stopped at Shannon Falls.

Slow Road To Squamish: Shannon Falls

This is the creek below the falls.

Slow Road To Squamish: Creek near Shannon Falls


My final stop was at Porteau Cove, where I have been many times to dive but never to take photos.  Turned out to be my favourite shot of the day.

Slow Road To Squamish: Porteau Cove Ferry Dock


Black & White Long Exposure 2014-03-30: HR MacMillan Space Centre - Sculpture

Vancouver Long Exposure Black & White

A few long exposure black and white photos from a night in Vancouver.

Black & White Long Exposure 2014-03-30: Vanier Park

Black & White Long Exposure 2014-03-30: HR MacMillan Space Centre - Sculpture

Black & White Long Exposure 2014-03-30: Granville Island Harbour, Vancouver

Black & White Long Exposure 2014-03-30: Granville Island, Vancouver

Cypress Mountain Snowshoeing 2014-03-20: Spring Melt

Cypress Mountain Snowshoeing

On the first day of spring, I had the chance to hit the snowshoe trails at Cypress Mountain.  Despite some initial clouds and light snow, it turned out to be a beautiful day on the mountain.  Here are a few photos from the day, apologies for the lack of information but I don't have a lot of time for a write up :)

Cypress Mountain Snowshoeing 2014-03-20: Cheese Fondue on the First Day of Spring


Cypress Mountain Snowshoeing 2014-03-20: Snow Cat - Bombardier


Cypress Mountain Snowshoeing 2014-03-20: Clear Skies


Cypress Mountain Snowshoeing 2014-03-20: Snow On Trees and Sun


Cypress Mountain Snowshoeing 2014-03-20: Deep Snow


Fondue time at Hollyburn Lodge.  Food was great and our guides made the day!


Cypress Mountain Snowshoeing 2014-03-20: Hollyburn Lodge in the Trees


Cypress Mountain Snowshoeing 2014-03-20: Hollyburn Lodge


Cypress Mountain Snowshoeing 2014-03-20: Spring Melt


Cypress Mountain Snowshoeing 2014-03-20: The Hiking Team


Cypress Mountain Snowshoeing 2014-03-20: Dusk in the Woods 2


Cypress Mountain Snowshoeing 2014-03-20: Beautiful Day for a Walk


Cypress Mountain Snowshoeing 2014-03-20: Dusk in the WoodsOn the way down the mountain, we stopped the lookout and were treated to a beautiful view.

Cypress Mountain Snowshoeing 2014-03-20: View of Vancouver - Panorama

Vancouver Skyline from Olympic Village

Cropped for Pinterest

This idea came from Trey Ratcliff, who cropped some of his images for an interesting display board on Pinterest.  I decided to do the same thing, cropping the images into long and thin slivers.  The full images are posted on this site, some in the gallery and some just in various blog posts.


Komatsu Haul Truck Black & White : Copper Mine, Calama, Chile

A Trip to Chile

I visited Chile in May 2013, so this post is LONG overdue.  In my defense though, two cute babies arrived and those little things take up all of my time :)  So after months of inactivity, here are a few photos from the trip.

I landed in Santiago and had a day to explore the city with my colleague Jamie.  We decided to go for a walk without having a destination in mind. and as we left the hotel the sun was reflecting off the large tower.  Sadly, I think the effect is visible due to air pollution.



We walked along the canal, and came across several interesting sights.


We saw a large statue at the top of a hill and decided that was a good destination.  It turned out to be the Santuario de la Inmaculada Concepciónand it was a much farther walk than we had expected.


Half way up the hill, you can see the tower in the distance where we started our walk.x2013-05-25-Chile-May-2013-2777-MKH

Finally at the top, tired and needing a rest.2013-05-25-Chile-May-2013-2798-MKH

Enjoying the view.



A few more shots from the top of the mountain (click to see bigger).

We found a rail car that could take us back down, which was great as we didn't want to walk all the way back down.  Using Trip Advisor, I found that the cemetery is worth visiting.  Despite being tired, we decided to make our way down there since it wasn't far.  Along the way, we came across some interesting graffiti.

And a dog that didn't like me taking his photo.


We finally made it to the Cementerio General, and I'm glad we made the effort.  It is an amazing spot, with a lot of old crypts and gravestones.  The sun was starting to set and we just walked around looking at the interesting sights.  This is the entrance gate.

Cementerio General Santiago Chile

Inside one of the buildings, there are many like this. Each plaque a person's final resting place.




Some are obviously very expensive, with marble and stained glass windows. They are beautiful.





Cementerio General Santiago Chile


Others are older and less well maintained, but equally interesting and with a lot of character.


A few more shots. This is a spot I will have to come back to, it's a fantastic place to walk around.

That was it for Santiago, not a city you can see in one day but we did our best.  Must have walked 20Km in total.  The next day, we took a tour to the Casablanca Valley, well known for it's white wines.  The tour would visit several wineries, with a sampling at each one of course.  First up was Indomita, with a great view and a beautiful estate.



A few shots during a tour of the winery.2013-05-26-Chile-May-2013-2901-MKH_HDR-Edit



The name of the second winery escapes me.  It was smaller and used more traditional techniques.  If you recognize it, leave a comment and I'll update the post.  Thanks!







Here they are making balsamic vinegar.  As the vinegar ages it reduces in volume so they pour it into ever smaller barrels.2013-05-26-Chile-May-2013-2931-MKH-Edit

The final winery was Casas del Bosqe.  Another beautiful spot where we sampled wines and had an excellent lunch.






The next day, I caught an early flight to Calama, which is located in the Atacama Desert.  The Atacama is the driest place on earth, receiving almost no rainfall.  Some weather stations have NEVER received rain!  These are a couple of iphone photos from the plane as we were leaving Santiago.  There are still clouds here, in the Atacama there are only clear skies.

Chile iPhone 5 : From Plane : Atacama Desert


Chile iPhone 5 : From Plane : Atacama Desert


This shot is on the approach to Calama.  A bizarre landscape featuring no plants.  In the bottom of this photos, there is a small river that supports a small group of shrubs.  Beyond that, it's  bleak but strangely beautiful as well.

Chile iPhone 5 : From Plane : Atacama Desert 3


I was in the Atacama to visit a copper mine in the region.  This is where the big trucks live.

Komatsu Haul Truck Black & White : Copper Mine, Calama, Chile

Chile: Komatsu Haul Truck 360 Ton - Antofagasta



It's hard to visualize how big these trucks really are.  The tires are 4.3m (14') tall, here is a shot of me standing next to one (I'm 1.8m or 6' tall).


And a few small trucks too.


From the mine, I went to Antofagasta which is a port city in the north of Chile.  Despite it's proximity to the coast, it is still extremely dry.  While working in the office, I had a little friend visit me.

Chile iPhone 5 : From Plane : Antofagasta Buzzard

While in Antofagasta, I made a quick stop at the Ruinas de Huanchaca.  These are the ruins of an old silver smelter, now a National Historic Landmark.




Inside the museum is NASA's moon buggy.  They tested this buggy in the Atacama Desert because of the similarity to the moon and mars. 2013-05-31-Chile-May-2013-3124-MKH_HDR-2

The ruins are opposite the Enjoy casino and hotel, where I stayed for a few nights.


Towards the end of my visit, a few of us decided to head to the coast to visit Mejillones.  Another port city, and not a bad place for a walk.



We saw a huge sea lion, and it was keeping a close eye on two kids on the beach.





On the way to the Antofagasta airport, I did stop at La Portada.  This is a natural arch on the coast, and a very popular spot for photos.  It is one of fifteen natural monuments included among the protected areas of Chile.




On the way home, I had one more opportunity to visit Santiago, though only for the evening.   I watched a few street performers, had dinner, and called it day.




Oct 2012 : Mumbai Visit : Old man and the wagon

A Visit to Mumbai, India - Part III

This is the third group of photos (part 1 and part 2).

One day I decided to book a tour with Bravo Bombay (reviews), run by Hemali Talsania.  Hemail is great, and put together a great tour for me and a couple that joined us.  Hemali's knowledge of the city is great, and her English is excellent.  We went to several spots that I wanted to visit, here are a few photos from the day.

First, I was picked up in a van by a driver.  I didn't take the Mumbai Local this time, and after two journeys on the crowded train it was nice to get driven around in an air conditioned van.  The accident with the motorcycle was just part of the adventure.  On our way down the driver asked if I wanted to take the sea link, having read a bit about it I agreed that we should.  The Bandra–Worli Sea Link, or officially the Rajiv Gandhi Sea Link, is a new bridge and freeway that links western and southern Mumbai.  It's a great route saving a lot of time but it's tolled so it is virtually empty.  In the city (where there is no toll) the traffic is snarled but the freeway is wide open.  Maybe it will get more use over time.  I know, not a great photo but I took it through the window of a speeding van ;)

Oct 2012 : Mumbai Visit : Bandra–Worli Sea Link / Rajiv Gandhi Sea Link

One of the first stops was Dhobi Ghat, a huge (world's biggest?) open air laundry.  This facility washes an absolute mountain of laundry every day from all over Mumbai.  A few photos from the laundry.

This is my favourite photo from the set, just a little kid going about his day.

Oct 2012 : Mumbai Visit : Dhobi Ghat Open Air Laundry 5 (Child)

Next on the agenda was Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus railway station, or Victoria Terminus.  An amazing building with incredible detail.  Worth a visit if you are into architecture.  Unfortunately, the interior was not nearly as amazing as the exterior.

Oct 2012 : Mumbai Visit : Train Station

At the university, there is a replica of London't Big Ben.  It's actually a very good replica, though sadly I could not get any closer than this as it's behind locked gates.

Oct 2012 : Mumbai Visit : Big Ben Clone at the Mumbai University

When you take a close look at the faux Big Ben, you can see the Indian touches compared to the original.

Oct 2012 : Mumbai Visit : Big Ben Clone at the Mumbai University (detail)

A popular tourist spot, the Gateway Of India.  One of the few places we visited where there were a lot of tourists and people pushing their wares.  I was somewhat of a celebrity being one of the only tall white guys around.  Several people asked to take their photo with me, first time that has happened.

Oct 2012 : Mumbai Visit : Gate of India

Everyone in the group received a blessing (for a small donation).  It was nice.

Oct 2012 : Mumbai Visit : Gate of India 2

We visited a Hare Krishna temple, and listened to the chants.  A nice spot and interesting religion.

Oct 2012 : Mumbai Visit : Hare Krishna Temple


Oct 2012 : Mumbai Visit : Hare Krishna Temple 2

The Mahatma Gandhi Museum, full of interesting artefacts.  The most powerful and memorable were the letters to Adolf Hitler and Winston Churchill.

Oct 2012 : Mumbai Visit : Ghandi Museum

Outside the museum, I met a charismatic and friendly tour guide who I chatted with while waiting for my group to finish up.  Smartly dressed, he was happy to pose for a photo.  For some reason he reminds me of Eddie Murphy.

Oct 2012 : Mumbai Visit : Well dressed tour guide

Close to the harbour, we saw a fishing boat coming in.   A little helter skelter but definitely interesting.

Oct 2012 : Mumbai Visit : Fishing boat coming back into the harbour

The harbour itself.

Oct 2012 : Mumbai Visit : Harbour

Hemali, our tour guide (far right) and the couple who joined the tour.  Maybe they will see this one day (if so leave a comment ;)

Oct 2012 : Mumbai Visit : Tour

After the tour, I did some of my own exploring.  Here a vendor is selling strings of flowers.  These were being used to decorate cars for a festival.

Oct 2012 : Mumbai Visit : flower market

A family I ran into, they were great and the boy holding the dog asked me a million questions.

Oct 2012 : Mumbai Visit : family



My favourite photo form the trip.  This old guy was sitting in a flashy metal carriage when I approached him.  He didn't speak English, but nodded and smiled when I asked him if I could take a photo.  His weathered skin and the detail in the carriage make the perfect subject for a  black and white photo.Oct 2012 : Mumbai Visit : Old man and the wagon

In the evening, and very close to my hotel, I ventured down to the beach to view the Vijayadashami Hindu festival.  There were thousands of people on the beach, and every group had a sculpture which they end up throwing into the ocean.  Note the sun in this photo.  Due to the air pollution most sunsets in Mumbai looked like this during my visit.

Oct 2012 : Mumbai Visit : Vijayadashami Festial

Some well dressed chaps walking their well groomed dogs.

Oct 2012 : Mumbai Visit : Vijayadashami Festival dogs

A vendor selling grilled corn, smelled great.

Oct 2012 : Mumbai Visit : Vijayadashami Festial 7


As happened several times, kids approached me when they same me taking photos and asked to have their photo taken.  This boy was curious, asked some questions, and posed for a shot.

Oct 2012 : Mumbai Visit : Vijayadashami Festial Kids

Soon his friends all ran over and started to clown around, it was great fun.

As the sun set, even more people started to show up.

Oct 2012 : Mumbai Visit : Vijayadashami Festival twilight

Literally by the truck load.

Oct 2012 : Mumbai Visit : Vijayadashami Festival twilight mob


And the festivities continued.Oct 2012 : Mumbai Visit : Vijayadashami Festial Sunset

Oct 2012 : Mumbai Visit : Vijayadashami Festival splash

Oct 2012 : Mumbai Visit : Vijayadashami Festival friends

A sacred cow all dressed up for the party.  Though tired after a long day, I'm glad I made it down for the party.

Oct 2012 : Mumbai Visit : Vijayadashami Festival sacred cow

The next day, I decided to visit Dharavi, a massive slum in the heart of Mumbai.  This slum is well known as it appeared in the popular movie Slumdog Millionaire.   Despite the term "slum", this is a huge industrial center for Mumbai.  Recycling is common, as is creating goods for export.  I was very surprised at how many small factories are in operation in this area.  My guide in the slum Shailesh Jethva who operates Mystical Mumbai, if you are in the city and want to tour Dharavi I highly recommend Shailesh.  He knew almost everyone there and took me to many interesting spots in the area.  Photography is not appropriate in most parts of the slum, so I respected the custom.

This shot is from the bride over the rail tracks as you enter the slum, the district us huge and without a guide you are certain to get lost.  Depending on who you ask, there are about one million people that live in this slum, and the population density is just staggering.  A worthwhile tour if you are not just into the popular tourist destinations.

Oct 2012 : Mumbai Visit : Dharavi

One of the factories we visited with several embroidery machines at work.

Oct 2012 : Mumbai Visit : Dharavi textiles

My guide, Shailesh.

Oct 2012 : Mumbai Visit : Dharavi tour guide

That is all the photos I'm posting from Dharavi.  If you want to see more you just need to visit for yourself.  On my way back to the hotel, I decided to take a walk on the beach which, just one day earlier, held thousands of people for the Hindu festival.  The beach was littered with remnants from the celebration, including all of the religious idols which now lay discarded.  I understand the need to celebrate but it's tough to see the impact on the environment following such celebration.

Oct 2012 : Mumbai Visit : Vijayadashami Festival aftermath 4


Sunset over Juhu beach.  I'll return to Mumbai soon.

Oct 2012 : Mumbai Visit : Sunset on Juhu beach

2012 Oct : Mumbai India Visit : Kids Posing

A Visit to Mumbai, India - Part II

I took a lot of photos in Mumbai, this is the second group. You can view part 1 here.

I decided to head to the south part of the city to explore the area.  Leaving the hotel the security guard posed for a photo.  Hotels have strict security since the terrorist attacks of 2008.

2012 Oct : Mumbai India Visit : Hotel Security

I have heard some crazy stories about the "Mumbai Local" train.   During rush hour, it's one of the most crowded trains in the world, people are hanging off the sides.  The staff at the hotel told me not to ride it, it's not for tourists.  A tour guide I hired said "you are taking the local?  I don't even ride the local".   With those sentiments, I knew I had to ride it :)

I decided to ease my way into it, my first trip was off-peak, and it was quite pleasant.  There are no doors on the train, and it stops for only a very short while at each stop.  For my second trip, I booked the cheap fare during rush hour.  That was definitely entertaining and highly recommended for anyone looking for some adventure.  The mass of humanity that steams off a train at each stop is crazy, and somehow you need to push your way though that to get on board.  Good times.

2012 Oct : Mumbai India Visit : Mumbai Local Train

My destination for the day was the Chor Bazaar.  "According to popular legend, if you lose anything in Mumbai you can buy it back from the 'Chor Bazaar'."  You can literally get anything here, it is one of largest flea markets in India.

2012 Oct : Mumbai India Visit : Chor Bazaar

2012 Oct : Mumbai India Visit : Chor Bazaar 2

2012 Oct : Mumbai India Visit : Chor Bazaar Food

This aisle was full of garlic.  It smelled amazing, not overpowering at all.  The guy sitting on the ground was peeling cloves, that is what he does most of the day.

2012 Oct : Mumbai India Visit : Chor Bazaar Garlic

At one point, I walked past a school.  The kids were just leaving and a few of them come over to say hello.  They spoke very good English (they all learn it in school) and they started asking me a lot of questions while showing me around.  They wanted to pose for a photo, but at the last second all ran away leaving just one.

2012 Oct : Mumbai India Visit : Chor Bazaar Kids Running


These guys had a good laugh.

2012 Oct : Mumbai India Visit : Chor Bazaar People

Venturing outside of the market after a few hours of exploring, I decided to just stand on a street corner and look at the interesting people streaming by. [Click any image to view bigger.]


There are interesting people everywhere.  I'm not even sure what this gentleman is selling, but he looks sharp.   If you know what this stuff is, please post in the comments.  Update: Thanks to Sandhya for letting me know via the comments that this gentleman is selling Singhara (Water Chesnut/Water Caltrop) seeds.

2012 Oct : Mumbai India Visit : Chor Bazaar Sales

Another friendly character, spoke no English but was happy to pose for a photo.

2012 Oct : Mumbai India Visit : Selling Nuts


Some of the local animals.  Fresh mutton?  No problem.  Want to buy a rooster, they have that too.

Sidewalks in Mumbai are not quite up to Canadian standards.

2012 Oct : Mumbai India Visit : Sidewalk


A few more interesting sights and people including a fruit and vegetable stand.

On more than one occasion kids ran up to me and wanted to pose for a photo.  Very curious and very cute.

2012 Oct : Mumbai India Visit : Kids Posing


A shave on the street.2012 Oct : Mumbai India Visit : Street Shave


I'm not sure this is up to WCB standards. It was amazing to watch these guys climb bamboo scaffolding with no harness or other safety equipment.

2012 Oct : Mumbai India Visit : Scaffolding


One of the slums on the beach.  Despite the conditions, children will find a way to entertain themselves.  Here they made a kite and they seemed to be having a great time.

2012 Oct : Mumbai India Visit : Kids & Kite


A well dressed gent at a street market.

2012 Oct : Mumbai India Visit : Well Dressed at the Market

Finally, my dinner.  Curried goat, roti, and a local beer.

2012 Oct : Mumbai India Visit : Curry Goat

Mumbai : Juhu Beach : October 2012 : shelter

A Visit to Mumbai, India - Part I

My trip to Mumbai, India was an eye opening experience.  In a way it was what I expected but at the same time I wasn't always prepared for what I saw.  India is clearly a developing nation but in many ways behind other third world countries I have visited.  I know that India is becoming a technology center for many global companies, it has a quickly developing economy and is on the verge of rapid industrialization.  However, when you walk the streets and talk to the people you don't see much evidence of that.  There are obviously many wealthy people in India, but there are far too many that live on the street below the poverty line.

While it's true that many people are poor and live on the street, all of the people I met were warm and accepting of my presence.  Some were guarded at first but if I asked for directions, to take a photo, or just how their day is going they would all flash a big smile and do their best to help me out.  Those that spoke English were eager and willing ask where I'm from and how I like the country.  Some engaged in conversation and other just said hello and posed for a photo.   I'm wouldn't get the same reception if I walked the streets of Vancouver (my home town).  People in Vancouver are often self-centered, indifferent, or paranoid you are running some scam and do not engage strangers to the same level.

The people in India are also very spiritual and tolerant.  They are a blend of many religions (Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Sikh, and others) often obvious by their clothing though there is no visible tension between them.  They celebrate festivals and openly practice their faith.  Many also believe in the concept of Karma which is present in all of the religions.  Because of this, there seems to be an environment of safety and I did not ever feel threatened during my visit.  I walked in many different areas of the city, alone, as an obvious outsider and didn't feel unsafe at any time.  It may have been luck but I can't say that I would do the same in other large cities around the world.

My experience of India is limited to one city, Mumbai (Bombay).  Other cities may be drastically different, I really don't know.  I hope to visit other parts of India some day to see for myself.

Exploring On Day 1

My first day in Mumbai was just spent exploring the area I was staying in, Juhu.  Juhu is an affluent suburb of Mumbai where many Bollywood stars live however if you plucked me from Vancouver and dropped me in Juhu I would think it far from affluent.  There are obviously many poor people living on the street and there is garbage littered everywhere.  The waterways I saw were extremely polluted, looked almost like blank ink and filled with trash.  Juhu Beach unfortunately isn't much better being covered in garbage, and both animal and human waste. For a country so blessed with natural beauty and resources it's a real shame to see it treated so poorly.

Part of the problem is the population explosion in Mumbai.  I have heard estimates that put the population between 20 and 24 million people and all those people need to live somewhere.  Combined with the fact that Mumbai is home to some of the most expensive real estate in the world, you essentially force people to live on the street or in slums.  These places often have no sanitation, garbage collection, or even running water.  The garbage and waste is simply dumped into the environment and it is clear that nature has paid a heavy price.

Juhu Beach, not every area is this littered though there is no area that is clean. One thing to note is the smog in the background, air quality is not very good either. At the end of the day, my eyes started to hurt and I attribute this to the air pollution.

Mumbai : Juhu Beach : October 2012 : Juhu trash


People getting a ride across the water, if you saw the water you wouldn't want to get wet either.

Mumbai : Juhu Beach : October 2012 : raft


One of the ways the people who live on the beach support themselves is by growing methi (fenugreek) crops. These are grown on the sand of the beach, watered with salt water collected from a nearby pool, and harvested as sprouts for sale in the local markets.
Mumbai : Juhu Beach : October 2012 : methi crop


The pool where water is gathered, dug below the ocean water level so always full.
Mumbai : Juhu Beach : October 2012 : Water hole


The water is carried in large plastic jugs, sometimes a long way.
Mumbai : Juhu Beach : October 2012 : Carrying Water


One of the locals harvests his crop. He saw me walking around the area and taking photos, he waved me over and asked me to take his photo so he could see it. He also told me how he grows the crop and about his life. His English was basic but we managed a short conversation. He has spent most of his life on this beach.
Mumbai : Juhu Beach : October 2012 : Methi (Fenugreek) Harvest


Behind him, an extremely polluted body of water. I'm assuming it is a river, but it barely has any flow. I saw people defecate into this water, and in another area people were using it to wash off. It's no wonder that tropical disease thrives here. When you combine the poor sanitation, very high population density, heat and insects you have the perfect recipe.
Mumbai : Juhu Beach : October 2012 : Boat


I saw a lot of dogs, cats, and other animals roaming around as well. They get by on what scraps they can find, most do not appear to be in good condition.
Mumbai : Juhu Beach : October 2012 : Dog


The various beach shelters are rudimentary at best.
Mumbai : Juhu Beach : October 2012 : Shelter


Mumbai : Juhu Beach : October 2012 : Shelter


When you see how little some people have, it makes you rethink your needs and wants.  This image in particular has stuck with me, it seems even a slight breeze would be capable of wiping out what little this person has.
Mumbai : Juhu Beach : October 2012 : shelter


Behind the beach, you can see how bad the water is. While I sat in this spot, I saw people throwing garbage into the water and it was a soup of debris.
Mumbai : Juhu Beach : October 2012 : slum water


Despite the pollution, life still does exist in and around the water. I saw birds walking around in the water trying to catch whatever may be present. Also, crabs live in the mud and carry on as usual. Nature is certainly resilient.
Mumbai : Juhu Beach : October 2012 : crab


The people carry on as well, despite the trash a game of cricket is being played (I saw cricket being played everywhere, and by everyone. It is another religion in India).
Mumbai : Juhu Beach : October 2012 : juhu cricket


If you are not playing cricket, you are probably playing football (soccer).
Mumbai : Juhu Beach : October 2012 : football on the beach


On more than one occasion, young couples courted each other on the beach apparently oblivious to their surroundings. After a while, I think the trash just blends into the background, it becomes the norm.
Mumbai : Juhu Beach : October 2012 : lovers


Part II of the trip available here.

May Flowers : Vancouver : 2013-05-20

Vancouver May Flowers

Apparently the May long weekend is a busy time for gardening in Vancouver.  Our tulips have already come and gone, but there is always something in bloom.  I took a few shots while my wife was busy in the garden.  Nikon D800 with a 105mm f/2.8 VR Micro lens.

Vancouver Gastown Photo Walk 2013-04-30 : BOSS 302 Mustang

Gastown Photo Walk

I took a short walk around Vancouver's Gastown with friends recently.   Here are some photos from my walk which started at the Irish Heather and ended at the Pourhouse.

2013-02-20 : Vancouver Aquarium : Frogs On Duty

Vancouver Aquarium : February 20

The first photo is not from my trip to the Vancouver Aquarium, but it was taken during the same weekend when my brother was in town.  We decided to visit the lookout at Cypress Mountain at sunset, and lucky for us it was a fairly clear evening.  This photo is taken looking south east, the sun is setting to the right of the frame and Vancouver is in the foreground.  Mount Baker (which is in the USA), is visible in the background.  The use of a zoom lens (@ 155mm) provides the compression in the scene.  I have used zoom lenses for a few landscape shots in the past (Mountains at 400mm) and they can certainly provide an interesting perspective.

2013-02-19 : Cypress Mountain Lookout at Sunset : Resized


I also created a panorama from the same location starting just to the right of the image above.  I'm not that happy with the processing but I'm posting the image anyway.  If you want to see this image much bigger, you can do so here.

Vancouver Skyline At Sunset : February 19, 2013 : Taken from lookout on way to Cypress Mountain

Now the photos from the trip to the Vancouver Aquarium.  Photos from previous visits are also online.  I have a new favorite tank, the cuttlefish!  Those guys are fascinating to watch.

2013-02-20 : Vancouver Aquarium : Cuttlefish


Also got a great shot in the frog display area, these little guys were lined up like they were on duty.

2013-02-20 : Vancouver Aquarium : Frogs On Duty


A few other shots from the day.


Saint Patrick's Day : BC Place Stadium, Vancouver, BC : 2013-03-17

Saint Patrick's Day in Vancouver

I was coming back from taking some sunset photos in Lions Bay.  On my way home, I saw that BC Place Stadium was lit up green for Saint Patrick's Day.  It was a clear night, so I had to stop to get a few extra shots.

Saint Patrick's Day : BC Place Stadium, Vancouver, BC : 2013-03-17

2013 Acura MDX Tech Edition - Dark Cherry Pearl - Sea To Sky Highway Quarter

New Wheels : 2013 Acura MDX

I picked up a new set of wheels yesterday, a 2013 Acura MDX Tech Edition.  My first vehicle purchase in 9 years, and it's a nice upgrade.  The car is Dark Cherry Pearl, which looks good on this car.  A quick shot I took at the dealership, which is just meh.

2013 Acura MDX Tech Edition - Dark Cherry Pearl - Dealer


Since it was a beautiful sunny day in Vancouver, I decided to go for a short drive on the Sea To Sky Highway to Brighton Beach.  I found a nice place to pull off and get a few shots.

2013 Acura MDX Tech Edition - Dark Cherry Pearl - Sea To Sky Highway Front

2013 Acura MDX Tech Edition - Dark Cherry Pearl - Sea To Sky Highway

2013 Acura MDX Tech Edition - Dark Cherry Pearl - Sea To Sky Highway Interior

2013 Acura MDX Tech Edition - Dark Cherry Pearl - Sea To Sky Highway Quarter2013 Acura MDX Tech Edition - Dark Cherry Pearl - Sea To Sky Highway Gravel Pit

2013 Acura MDX Tech Edition - Dark Cherry Pearl - Sea To Sky Highway Front Close

Shelter Dogs Vancouver: 2013-02-22 : Puppy 2

Shelter Dogs Feb 22 2013

Another batch of puppies and dogs available for adoption from Vancouver Animal Control. You can see the animals they have available at (not just dogs but rabbits, lizards, and at times even more strange things).  You can also see previous shelter dogs I photographed here.  Don't buy a pet through Craigslist or other online sources, adopt a pet from your local animal shelter.


False Creek Fog - 2013-02-03 : BC Place

Vancouver False Creek Fog

It was a foggy afternoon and I decided to venture down to Granville Island to see if I could get any interesting shots.  I couldn't get inspired, so I just watched a few street performers to pass the time.  I thought the evening light would make a difference but again, things just didn't come together as expected.  I took a few shots but didn't get anything great.  After sunset, I walked around the seawall to Science World and took a few shots in the area.  It was one of those nights where I went out to get a specific shot and just couldn't get it.  Some people things you can just go out and get a good shot, but in reality I may have to visit the same site 10 times before I get a shot that I'm happy with.  Here are a few shots from that night.

Nikon D800 Macro - Frosty Morning - Focus Stack Buds

A Frosty Morning - Nikon D800 Macro with Focus Stack

I was waiting for a frosty morning to get some macro shots. Today, I got a few in my back yard. I also attempted some focus stacking with Zerene, though results are mixed. Shots are all taken with a Nikon D800 and Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 VR Micro lens.

Lynn Valley Hike : Suspension Bridge and Twin Falls 2012-12-29 : Twin falls long exposure

Lynn Valley Hike - North Vancouver

I took a very short walk in Lynn Valley just after Christmas, it was a break from shopping hell.  I went to the suspension bridge, then down to twin falls. I also wanted to try out the 10-stop ND filter.  Results are promising, looking forward to trying a bit more of this.