Before i Forget : Simon Jones's blog
You search for 'unseen 366 pictures' and this is what we found.


Photography and TravelSaturday, February 16th, 2013, (4:18 pm)

I read a line somewhere, some years back. “We think caged birds sing, when actually they cry.” I suppose I could use Google to check who wrote that and how badly I’ve just butchered it, but you get the gist.

Caged birds

I took this picture in the Vietnamese city of Nha Trang. The caged birds were in the doorway of a hotel just next the hotel that I stayed in. The day before I tried to get a room there but my attempt to execute that seemingly simply task failed when the woman at the reception told me it wasn’t a hotel.

“Are you sure?” I asked her, which sounds like a stupid thing to say, but believe me this was a hotel. It had a ‘check in’ sign, tourism leaflets next to the reception counter, and a sign that read ‘sorry, internet gone bad,’ which I found myself agreeing with.

“No hotel.” She said again before pointing to the doorway I had just come through. The very same doorway that had a big sign above it that read ‘Hotel’ in large red Helvetica letters. I smiled, said sorry, then left her to get back to the important business of thumbing her phone.

I’m not sure who the birds in the ‘hotel’ doorway belonged to. They weren’t singing, or crying for that matter. Instead they were just sitting there in the full glare of the hot sun probably wishing they could just fly away and find freedom, or at least a little shade.

The picture that I actually published on this day featured a street barber I met and chatted with using Google translate.

Photography and TravelFriday, February 15th, 2013, (5:45 pm)

I took this picture five days in a row, convinced that it would eventually make it to publication on 366 pictures. Somehow, it never did.

Budha

A few times throughout 2012 I took the same picture a number of times in the hope that it would become the ‘picture of the day.’ Taken in Chiang Mai, Thailand, back in May, this one was a shot that I took several days in a row. I was convinced that it would eventually line up with the other pictures on the site. When I eventually left Chiang Mai I remember feeling a bit bad that this Buddha had missed out so many times, so I’m glad to be able to publish the photograph as part of the ‘bonus material.’

I liked the composition of the shot and actually had this as the desktop picture on my MacBook for quite a while. 366 pictures featured quite a few Buddha’s, and I think that was why this shot was so easy to overlook in favor of others.

Pictures that were published instead of the several versions of this shot included one of my favorite pictures of the year, the three monks as well as far away dreaming, Rex and the flying machine, a long way from sexy, and just another manic Monday

Photography and TravelThursday, February 14th, 2013, (11:00 pm)

366 pictures began and ended in New Zealand, and this is another picture from there. It was taken in the Fiordland of the South Island.

Cars

Manapouri is the very small town on New Zealand’s South Island. It’s the starting point for treks out onto the majestic Doubtful Sound deep the countries epic Fiordlands.

This is where I spotted a number of old Morris Minors with big expressive eyes painted on their windscreens. Not far from the banks of Lake Manapouri the old cars are part of an extensive collection of Morris Minors at Manapouri Motels & Motor Park.

I took a number of pictures of the old cars, with their rusty colors and big eyes. However the ‘picture of the day’ really had to be the spectacular scenery of Doubtful Sound, even if it was pouring with rain when I was there.

Photography and TravelWednesday, February 13th, 2013, (10:07 pm)

This is one of my favorite pictures that never made it onto 366 pictures. In fact, it just might be one of my favorite pictures ever!

Vietnam flower ladies

I was in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, and I had but a few hours to explore the city. With such a limited time frame I employed a local guide to take me around on a moped so I could get a taste of the place.

My guide didn’t speak English, and I don’t speak Vietnamese, so I used Google translate to ‘speak’ with him. I spoke into my iPod and it would display my words in Vietnamese on the screen. I had used this technique of communication successfully with other people, notably a street barber that I featured in another shot. However, my guide would often just squint at the screen on the iPod in apparent confusion.

I didn’t want to rush around to all the tourist hot-spots like some rabid robo-tourist on a cultural bender. Instead I simply wanted to ride around, and see places where I could observe the daily lives of ordinary people. My guide didn’t understand this though, so for much of the morning he would take me to churches, temples, and museums, usher me in the place then wander off lighting a cigarette. In the end I had to call my couchsurfing host and have her translate my words to him.

I wanted to see the mopeds the city is famous for, and he clearly wanted to be as far from that chaotic traffic as he could be. But reluctantly he did eventually take me around, allowing me to simply point the direction, and signal where to stop. My photo choices puzzled and amused him, but after a while he got into the swing of it, and started to show me places ‘off the trail.’

The photograph of the flower ladies was taken at a busy market somewhere, though to be honest I really have no idea where. I saw them and I asked if I could take a picture. They didn’t object but instead spoke to one another and laughed. I have no idea what they were saying, but I can guess. The lady in the middle attempted to hide from the camera while the other laughed at her. It was a fun moment and I really like the shot for the expressions on their faces as well as the deep colors of the flowers around them.

Mopeds in SiagonIt pained me not to use this picture, but that day I was in search of a very specific photograph of Ho Chi Minh City, and in the end I got just the shot I was looking for. It showed hundreds of mopeds at a stop light with streams of other mopeds coming down the road behind them. That photograph really captures the madness of the traffic in the city, where crossing the road is as much a test of courage as it is a challenge.

In the relatively shot time I was in Vietnam, I took some of my favorite pictures of the year. It’s a truly beautiful country that should be on any travellers ‘must-see’ list.

Photography and TravelTuesday, February 12th, 2013, (7:06 pm)

A lot of people ask me what was my favorite country that I visited last year while shooting 366 pictures. That’s a tough question to answer because I had such an awesome time it’s hard to pick one country or place as a favorite. What I can tell is that there were places that surprised me, and on that list would be South Korea, where today’s picture was taken.

Hello stranger

To visit London then tell people you’ve been to England is fair only in the sense that it’s factually correct. However, if you only ever see London then you will have missed much of what makes the UK worth seeing. To that end, I expect the same could be said for South Korea. So let me be clear, I’ve been to Seoul, which gave me a small taste of South Korea, enough to make me want to return.

Staying in a small guesthouse in Hongdae, Seoul’s bustling university district, was the perfect location for me to explore the city. I love cafe’s, and while I think it would be hard for anywhere to beat Melbourne when it comes to making a good coffee, Seoul has it beat when it comes to the sheer number, diversity and style of their cafes.

Seoul has all essential ingredients that make for an awesome city; street art, cool cafes, colorful bikes, thriving street markets and great food. There were also aspects that set seemed very specific to the city, fashion quirks that I’d not seen anywhere else. Among them were the cool customized mopeds that came in all shapes and sizes and looked like they would be awesome to ride.

I shot this picture from across a road. This was in fact the ‘dud’ shot because the gentleman walked into it just as I pressed the shutter. I re-took the shot seconds later, this time without him. The thing is, when I looked at the two pictures later, the ‘dud’ worked better because the man in his nondescript grey suit is very much a stranger.

Of course, the picture didn’t get used, and I pretty much knew it wouldn’t be the picture of the day when I took the shot. I had already taken the picture I wanted to feature because I felt had a better story. The photograph I used was of Haein, a 20-year-old student and portrait artist drawing people at the Hongdae weekend flea market. Those of you who followed 366 pictures might remember her, she was the girl who is endeavoring to draw ten million portraits, a lofty, if unattainable, ambition.

Photography and TravelMonday, February 11th, 2013, (9:00 pm)

I shot this scene of suburban America from the window seat of a plane bound for Seattle. I don’t know exactly where this was, and while it might be possible to find out, it really could be just about anywhere in America’s sprawling ‘burbs.’

Houses

I don’t really like flying these days. I used to love it, but years of pointless security theatre and being shunted into narrow seats with precious little leg room has rather dulled the excitement I once felt as I walked into the near clinical surroundings of a modern airport.

I’m still a window seat person though. I like that opportunity to see the world from a different perspective, to look upon our landscape as if studying it from afar. I’ve taken many pictures from window seats, and on this November day in the United States, as the cold winds chilled those on the ground, I was again pointing my lens to the ground from the clouds above as I cheated the Gods of travel by taking to the air.

In fact, it was another window seat shot that I featured that day on 366 pictures. As I bid farewell to Boston and took to the air, I snapped a quick shot of a lighthouse just out on the edge of the city’s treacherous harbor.

I think that picture of the lighthouse was better than this one of the ‘burbs.’ However, there’s something curiously organic about pictures of suburban houses and streets from the air. While cities remind me of computer circuit boards, the sprawling cul-de-sacs remind me of some kind of vine or mould that grows almost unnoticed. Maybe that’s just the way my mind works, but I’m surely not the only person who finds this kind of picture interesting, am I?