Sunday, November 22, 2009

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Fresh Rice Paper Express (Canon S90)

The large tour bus bounced down the rural road outside Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Since the driver rarely followed the posted speed limit and drove more slowly than allowed by law, the journey allowed exceptional vistas of the lush overgrowth in the areas surrounding Ho Chi Minh City. The bus slowed, pulled onto a gravel road, and took us to a hut used by a family selling souvenirs and freshly made rice paper. Many have eaten Vietnamese spring rolls filled with tender vegetables highlighted by the crunchy rice paper exterior, but few have seen the paper made by hand. The lady making the rice paper quickly crafted it in "easy" 4 steps. First she dipped what looked like half of a ping pong ball on a stick into the rice slurry and scooped just enough into a spreader. The spreader was then used to pour the slurry and spread it in a circular formation onto a cloth tray used for steaming. Perfect distribution is key because the mixture began cooking instantly, and after covering for 10 seconds, the rice paper was done. Then the lady used a long stick to remove the rice paper and place it on bamboo cooling racks (shown above). No one step sounds all that difficult, but it is the precision that makes each step in the process a hindrance. Without perfect distribution and timing, the rice paper would be ruined. By the way, this all took place in an dark hut!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Tall Dusk (Canon S90)

Dusk fell across the coast with the sun's rays keeping the southern skies illuminated just a little bit longer. These tall plants called to be silhouetted against the blue sky.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Immense Gratitude to Military

Thank you to all the men and women of the United States' armed services. Thank you for serving our country with valor!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Scala a Spirale

After a long day's trek through Rome and the Vatican, I leaned on an iron banister to take a short break. This action brought my eye perfectly in line for this to capture this angle of three people descending a spiral staircase.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

One, two, three...Family Portrait

The morning was crisp, the sun was bright, and the family was right! Today I photographed a great family at the beach. High tide was in, so we were up on the bluffs shooting down at the Pacific's crashing waves.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Fall is Coming, Fall is Coming

Fall has arrived in "America's Finest City."

Roof Detail

The western-setting sun slowly lowered on the horizon gently casting slight shadows and warmth upon this roof detail. The simple wood roof detail is inspiring in its paint color and pattern. Simplicity is often a virtue in this complex world. Hopefully architects will revitalize old architectural styles and merge them with new building practices. Today, much of the commercial design is relatively simple, but interestingly lacks detail. Sure glass exteriors with metal accents can be beautiful, but that type of building facade appears to have become the norm. It seems that for high-rise buildings design is more of an afterthought to the engineering elements focused on constructing one of the tallest buildings. The engineering in extremely tall buildings is to be applauded, but what if architects harked back to a time when individuality reigned supreme; when the tallest was sought, but not at the expense of constructing a beautifully unique and masterpiece? Would our skylines and neighborhoods look vastly different? Would construction methods change? These thoughts come to mind when admiring both the architecture of decades past and the contemporary construction projects currently underway.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Ha Long Bay Peak

This limestone peak, carved by eroding winds and water, stood out among the thousands. Lush foliage curiously clings to the rock's edge and thrives. Can you find the small peak-roofed house at the water's edge? Each day was marked by overcast skies, but an overcast afternoon cruising on Ha Long Bay is a wonderful way to spend the day. The turquoise water, greenery, and stark cliffs were amazing sights to see.

Coffee Tea Shack...WiFi? (Canon S90)

Walking through a small Chinese village outside of Shanghai brought me to an interesting grouping of signs in a back-alley. This local retailer has a wonderful array of goods to barter, including WiFi. The merchant has done well to stay up with the times and even offers "WiFi," which is interesting because of current Chinese government policy. The Chinese government limited Apple Computer from selling the iPhone in China because the phone only contained WiFi hardware and not the government approved Wireless Authentication and Privacy Infrastructure (WAPI).

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Evening Pathway (Canon S90)

As the sun fell on the horizon, this roadside park was awash in the warm glow of Shanghai's setting sun. The Shanghai International Port Group (SIPG) building is one of the most simple high-rise office building in Shanghai, but one of my favorites. The aesthetics are simple, modern and sleek. The Shanghai waterfront bustles with activity at all hours of the day or night. Construction cranes sway, demolition debris are hauled, and welders light up unlit dark buildings with their molten sparks.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

40,000 Feet Mid-Flight (Canon S90)

This photograph was taken west of Prince of Whales Island, Alaska and south of Juneau with 11 hours of flight time remaining. Beef tenderloin with carrots and mashed parsinips brought a taste of grandma's kitched to the dark skies over the ocean. This is not your parents' airline experience of late; this airline food could be served in any quality restaurant on land. The warmly illuminated cabin's lights dimmed after dinner and transformed the cabin into a tranquil blue glowing capsule in the north Pacific Ocean. Time for some sleep with classical music flowing through the provided noise-cancellation headset.