Adhere 13th. It’s everything a blues bar should be. (Except that there was no space to dance.)
on my inadequacies as a photographer in a technological age – likely part one in a series
If I were counting down the days until the end of my contract in Thailand, the numbers would be getting rather small. But I’m not, so who really knows?
With one month left of work, we’re looking ahead to the following two months of travel around Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia. There will be scuba, swing dancing, and sights galore throughout Southeast Asia. And photos. Lots of photos.
Oddly enough, even with the advent of digital photography in my life, I haven’t been putting (m)any of my photos online for friends, family, or foreigners to see. They’re currently locked away on my hard drive, waiting to be catalogued, geo-tagged, and left alone for another chunk of months or years. That’s what happens to digital photos, right? Never developed, rarely opened, often forgot? To that end, I haven’t even been keeping up with the Photo a Week thinger I started a few months ago. That’s the kind of thing I need, though, to get in the habit of not only taking photos on regular occasions, but showing them and learning from feedback. A couple of friends are doing 365 day projects, where they take a photo each day and post it online, but I’m not even to the point where I can keep that up on a weekly schedule. Though maybe that’s a good impetus — the commitment and routine of doing it daily.
(They’re each taking a decidedly different approach to taking/posting photos every day. Steve is going more of the “make each photo a challenge” route and posting every day, while Maria is using it as a way to document her year in photos and to look back at her technical progression, and posting the results weekly. I think Maria’s route would be the best for me, considering my current skill level and increasing unwillingness to sit down at my computer every evening and while away my time online.)
So all of this was to say that I have a few thousand photos I’ve taken since October and nothing public to show for it. I’ve been playing around with some galleries and such to showcase some of my shots, have toyed with the idea of going the Tumblr route, have debated throwing things up on Flickr, but haven’t actually put any of those things together yet. It’s a weird conflict between wanting to show my photos and wanting to control and manage the things I put online in the way I want to. The problem is that if I keep going that route, I won’t ever do anything with my pictures, so in the spirit of actually doing something without having totally figured out the best and most amazingly technological and aesthetic and future-safe way of doing it, I present to you….a photo:
This is one of a small collection of Christmas tree photos I’ve taken in Bangkok. The collection is small, but the trees are massive. I guess they have to make up for the lack of snow.1 There was another tree inside the mall2 that was also impressivly large. Not as nice as this one at night, but impressive nonetheless.
- Which brings up a weird expectation about Christmas: as much as I love the movie White Christmas, our association of snow with Christmas is just as normal (or abnormal, as the case may be) as 30+ degree weather and whatever constitutes a Christmas tradition in Thailand. Normalcy (and expectation of that normalcy) is relative. ↩
- This is also the mall where I found a DC Comics store. Not a store where they sell DC comics, but a DC Comics store where they sell merchandise with DC Comics characters and words on them. Shoes, shirts, bling, etc. Alas, not a comic was to be found. ↩
celebration | photo challenge
This is a time of celebrations. Christmas is a few weeks out, the long weekend of New Year’s, a student’s birthday this weekend, two co-workers’ birthdays within the next week, and Kelly’s completion of her B.Ed today. But in all that, there was something that caught my ear last night. A celebration that I often walk past, and even more often overlook.
In the house across from my apartment, there is a group of people who sit outside every day and night, drinking and talking, and seemingly just enjoying life. They’re the type of people who invited me, a random foreigner who works down the street, to join them for drinks one night, even though the only way we could communicate with each other was through attempting charades.
I walk past this group at least once a day, but it wasn’t until last night that I really reflected on what I take to be their approach to life. What was different last night was the singalong happening to the tune of an acoustic guitar. Seeing and hearing them last night made me realize that the attitude they take toward life is one of joy and celebration. Their nature as individuals and as a group is to offer of themselves and to invite strangers in to enjoy life with them.
While this time of year can be a marathon of celebrations, it’s this attitude of celebration that we should be focusing on.
I don’t want to lose sight of that in my life.
waiting | photo challenge
There is much in Bangkok that jumps to mind when talking about waiting. There is sitting in a car in a traffic gridlock, sitting still for an hour over the course of a regularly 30-minute drive. Or waiting in lines in one government office or another. Or any number of other travel or traffic-related waits.
In this case, though, we see parents lining up, waiting to pick up their children at the end of a school day. This line of cars winds down the road and into the side-streets around the school twice a day, like clockwork. It then feeds into the gridlock of rush hour I mentioned earlier.
breakfast | photo challenge
Living in Thailand presents some interesting challenges when it comes to eating your favourite Western meals. While breakfast itself has often been an optional meal in my life, breakfast foods have been anything but. I remember fondly the years of 3-am runs (or six-hour sits that turned into late-night food orders) to our 24-hour Perkins for bottomless soft drinks and — for me, at least — pancakes.
I’ve expanded by breakfast repertoire over the years to include quite a few other standards, but I still love using my pancakes as a syrup sponge from time to time.
In Thailand, the option of Western breakfasts is always there, but sometimes there actually means way over there, or if you happen to live near a joint that offers “American breakfasts”, it will be at best very expensive.1 So in Bangkok, my breakfast on the way to work typically consists of a grilled ham and cheese sandwich and a personal-sized container of yogurt. And coffee.
Not having a kitchen severely limits what you can make for breakfast, but I’ve recently come to enjoy the simple breakfast of muesli on yogurt. The comfort of a nice cup of coffee is always a good addition, as well.
When the opportunity to have a cheap(ish) American or English breakfast comes up, I’ll still take it as a treat, but when it comes to breakfast I’m learning to not underestimate the small and simple.
This post is participating in The Daily Post’s #postaweek2011 weekly photo challenge. To find out more, see:
- my explanation of my involvement
- The Daily Post’s page of all other #postaweek2011 participants’ posts
- or the last week of photos tagged with #postaweek2011 (via Google)
- An upside to not having easy daily access to the “bacon, ham, sausage, eggs, toast, hasbrowns, beans, roasted tomato, coffee, juice” breakfast is that you quickly realize how easy it is to overeat when eating in the Western style. ↩