Before i Forget : Simon Jones's blog

February 2013


Photography and TravelFriday, February 22nd, 2013, (3:35 pm)

It was a hot day in Chiang Mai, Thailand, and I had just been to a local flea market in the city. As I wandered around the various stalls sipping an ice-cold coffee, I looked at the stuff people were selling and marvelled at just how anyone could put a price tag on things that looked to me like they might have been recovered from a landfill.

Taxi of sorts

As I meandered my way through the market I came upon a VW camper van that was converted into a mobile cafe. I ordered an ice-cold coffee then sat under one of the multi-colored wooden stools under large parasols watching the people come and go from this funny little Thai market.

The picture I chose to publish on that hot May day was of a little figure of a singing fat lady that was stood on the counter of the coffee van. There were, of course, many other choices, but one I almost published was one of a taxi-bike that was zipping along the road. The young driver had three local girls sat on the ‘seats’ of the taxi-bike.

I miss the craziness of the roads in Asia.Back in Aus or the UK such a vehicle would never be allowed on the road, but here this wasn’t out of the ordinary in any way. I pointed my camera at the taxi-bike much to the amusement of the people on it.

I miss the craziness of the roads in Asia. I love how life pulses along them in a way that seems to make a mockery of our overly safety-conscious and rather utilitarian roads.

Photography and TravelThursday, February 21st, 2013, (1:49 pm)

This picture reminds me of photographs I took in Croatia. The faded colors and old wooden door could have been any one of the shots I took on those cobbled back streets on the banks of the Adriatic Sea. However, this picture merely echoes that old European style because in reality I was a long way from there when I took it.

Doorway

In late August I travelled to Macau, a former Portuguese colony now very much returned to the Chinese. The city has some echoes of its European history, but to the most part it has expanded to such an extent that it has almost forgotten it’s Portuguese heritage, and perhaps that’s quite deliberate.

However, around the street of the St Lazarus Quarter could be forgiven for thinking you had somehow been transported back to an old European town. From Catholic churches, to grand old schools, there are many fine examples of Portuguese architecture with roots going back to the 16th century when China gave Portugal the right to settle in Macau in exchange for clearing the area of pirates.

Just as when I was in Croatia, I took many pictures of old doorways and windows. There’s something about them that draws me in. Perhaps the invitation to imagine what lies beyond the shutters or wooden doors with their rusted handles and faded paint.

Of course, this picture was never published on 366 Pictures. The shot that became ‘picture of the day’ was one I took that night at a Cabernet show called ‘Taboo.’

It was strange walking around Macau’s St Lazarus Quarter. Anywhere else those rows of old style buildings would have been converted to cafes, restaurants, and boutique shops. However, the Chinese people who come to Macau seem uninterested in its history, and instead flock in huge numbers to the faked historical setting of the Venetian hotel and Casino, built upon land reclaimed from the sea just a handful of years ago.

Photography and TravelWednesday, February 20th, 2013, (6:30 pm)

Back in December I was invited to go ‘mushroom’ hunting with my friend Erin and her friend Chandell. It turns out that isn’t very hard because mushrooms don’t run away.

Say cheese!

Actually, I have to say that I really enjoyed ‘mushroom hunting’ even though we didn’t get to shoot anything louder than our cameras. It was cool just wandering around Muir Woods National Park, not far from San Francisco.

I took several pictures, many of which I felt were worthy of publishing. Among them were various close up shots of droplets of water on leaves, as well as a few looking straight up at the towering redwood trees that stood the like the pillars of some great monument.

The picture I chose on this day was actually the best from the day, or at least I thought it was. However, I liked this one though because it captured a sense of the fun the three of us had. Chandell, a keen and seasoned mushroom hunter, took every opportunity she came upon to jump into the company of trees and have her picture snapped with them as if they were celebrities she met out in the wild somewhere.

We never consumed any of the mushrooms we came across, despite the fact that the mushrooms I pictured on that December day were in fact so-called ‘magic mushrooms’ that contained powerful psychoactive compounds!

Photography and TravelTuesday, February 19th, 2013, (10:48 pm)

A young boy is ushered by his father to stand and pose next to one of the Royal Guards standing at Gyeongbokgung Palace in Seoul, South Korea. His bright yellow t-shirt reads ‘Smile’ and lends a twist of irony to the picture in which neither the stoney faced guard, or the nervous looking boy is smiling.

Smile

I wanted to use this photograph on 366 pictures because it makes me smile. The bright primary colors, the t-shirt, and the expressions on both the boy and the guard, all make for the ingredients of a good picture, however, this isn’t it.

It was the a Korean Thanksgiving back at the start of October when I was in Seoul. Because of this there were a lot of tourists around, and at the palace there was a large crowd around all jostling for position and hurriedly jumping next to the guards to pose for photographs.

I took several photographs of the boy as he stood reluctantly next to the guard who seemed only a little less reluctant to be there himself. But I couldn’t get a good angle. This was the best of a bad bunch, and I discarded it because the father takes up too much of the frame.

The photograph I used on the day was arguably not as interesting, but I liked it because of the shadow and the obvious fake beard worn by all of those South Korean Royal Guards who have been installed purely as a tourist attraction. I suppose that the fake guards should come as no surprise, after all, South Korea is the plastic surgery capital of the world where a little fakery is just the way it is.

Photography and TravelMonday, February 18th, 2013, (10:22 pm)

I got used to being in the company of Geckos in 2012 as I travelled across Asia. I used to really enjoy hearing the noise of them and the other creatures that surrounded throughout my time in hot Asian countries.

Gecko

I snapped this picture back in August at a restaurant in Coron, which is a small town in the province of Palawan, Philippines. It was raining heavily when I arrived in the Philippines and the city of Manila was enduring terrible floods due to monsoon rains.

The picture I chose to publish on this day was taken from inside a taxi cab as we made our way to the airport in Manilla to fly to Coron. As much as I liked the Gecko, I liked the water distorted colors through the taxi windscreen more.

I actually took quite a few pictures of Geckos on the inside of lampshades so I figured I would have another chance to publish a similar picture on another day. Funny thing is, after this time I never came across another Gecko chilling out on the inside of lampshade.

Photography and TravelSunday, February 17th, 2013, (10:22 pm)

It was my first day in the USA in 2012 and I was searching for a photograph that would ‘landmark’ my arrival there. This seemed like the perfect shot, even if it was a bit overtly ‘God Bless America.’ I liked the retro feel to the shot, the painted flag, and the horizontal lines.

Old Glory

I spotted this ‘Old Glory‘ on the side of someones garage in the town of Danvers, just north of Boston, in the USA. The United States flag is pretty photogenic due to its widespread use throughout the States, and indeed the world. Finding a good shot of it would, I thought, be a good way of showing my transition from Canada to the USA.

I like the way people love their flag in the USA. I wish that people flew the Union flag more back in the UK, our flag is every bit as good as the stars and stripes, and maybe even better in some ways.

Old Glory‘ isn’t my favorite flag though. That title would have to go to Wales I think. I like that flag because it’s got a dragon on it, and that’s just cool. But the Canadian flag would come close too I think.

The shot I used on this day showed pumpkins sitting on a fence not all that far from where this photograph was taken. The early evening golden sun and autumnal colors made that a far better choice I think, but I liked this shot enough to shoot it the next day too. However, the next day I went into Boston and used a shot from the city instead.

So do you have a favorite flag? Is it the flag of your country, or do you find yourself feeling a little envious of another nations flag?

« Previous PageNext Page »