Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge – 2012 Best People Or Animal

As the year is coming to  a close, I have been thinking of the people and animals I have encountered during the year.

I was pondering what to submit for photos. While I like taking landscape photos,  my skills in taking photos of people and animals is lousy.

On reading Cee’s theme for this week, an image immediately comes to mind, it is a photo of a Bushmen baby in Botswana; a face which I will never forget.  The picture was taken by my sister-in-law while travelling in Bostwana earlier last month. The baby girl looks adorable, with delicate facial features and smooth skin. What seems more interesting is that she seems to have Hope in her eyes – something which seem so important to us as we lived past the “doomsday” and started a new era in the Mayan calendar.DSCF0731

(Courtesy of Jennie, my sister in law)

To me, her face is as interesting as the Afghan Girl photographed some years ago in the National Geographic. While the Afghan Girl photographed in the war torn country has piercing sea-green eyes, the baby’s beautiful eyes here connote a sense of hope and love which are badly needed in the “dark continent” as well as in many corners of the earth.

Perhaps, my best people for 2012 is not this baby, but the many volunteers in Africa who are dedicated to caring these people. I know at least one of my blog followers is working as a volunteer in Africa. To me, they are my “best  people” in 2012; whether photographed or not photographed.

For more people and animals, see Cee’s Photography Page

A Word A Week Photography Challenge – Wood

This week’s theme from http://suellewellyn2011.wordpress.com/a-word-a-week-photography-challenge/  is Wood.

The Chinese have the five Elements making up the material world: Metal, Wood, Water, Fire and Earth.  All of these elements are very important to us, some of the elements will enhance the others, for instance, water begets wood but suppress  fire as it would put out a fire etc. The complex connections between substantial objects are explained through the relationship of interdependency and mutual restraint that governs the five elements.

Quoting from Wikipedia:

The Wu Xing, ( wŭ xíng) also known as the Five Elements, Five Phases, the Five Agents, the Five Movements, Five Processes, and the Five Steps/Stages, is a fivefold conceptual scheme that many traditional Chinese fields used to explain a wide array of phenomena, from cosmic cycles to the interaction between internal organs, and from the succession of political regimes to the properties of medicinal drugs. The “Five Phases” are Wood ( ), Fire ( huǒ), Earth ( ), Metal ( jīn), and Water ( shuǐ). This order of presentation is known as the “mutual generation” (xiangsheng 相生) sequence. In the order of “mutual conquest” (xiangsheng 相勝) or “mutual overcoming” (xiangke 相剋), they are Wood, Earth, Water, Fire, and Metal.

Wood is a male (Yang) element that represents solidity and pliability, as symbolised by a tree which bends and sways a little in the wind so as to maintain its form. Furthermore, just as a tree grows upwards and spreads outwards, Wood signifies expansion, and is particularly associated with the Springtime and new growth

When travelling to Inner Mongolia last summer, I was very impressed by some wood stumps in a temple which are said to have lasted a thousand years. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  . .DSCF2153

I like Wood in that it represents growth and expansion. I know I am dangerously treading on a Taoist subject which I don’t know much about. However, in my simple mind, I have always wondered what the world would be like if we do not have wood!

The Original Photos

On reading my last post, many of my readers are interested in converting their photos to “oil paintings” and some have even kindly suggested alternative software.

Many commented that they like the converted Oils but suggested although the Oils are nice, the original photos  may be equally or even more attractive. To my surprise, one comment suggested that the photo on Fields of Gold on the way to Lithuania in some way resembles a Van Gogh!

My blogging friend Viveka suggested that I should also show the originals. I have therefore attached them below for comparison purposes. The photos are in the same order as presented in my last post.

By the Seaside on Hvar harbor, Croatia.DSCF0515

Waterfall in Plitvice Lake, Croatia.DSCF0363

Trees by the seaside in Hvar Island, Croatia.DSCF0610

Fields of Gold on the way to Lithuania, Baltic region.DSC_0265

At a restaurant in Budapest.DSCF0257

Rocks on the beach in Koh Samui, Thailand.DSC_0560

Hope you enjoy perusing the photos!

From Photos to Oil Paintings

I have been experimenting the conversion of some of my photos into oil paintings using a free download software from the internet.

In my travels, there are many places where I would have liked to stop by, take a seat, take my brushes out  and paint. Unfortunately, I am no painter.

The process of converting the photos is fun. I am happy that, without being a painter, I can create some  impressionist “oil paintings” of the sceneries I like.

Here are some of the examples. Please enjoy.

By the sea in Hvar Harbor, Croatia.DSCF0515A

Waterfall at Plitvice Lake, Croatia.DSCF0363A

Trees by the Sea on Hvar Island, Croatia.DSCF0610A

Fields of Gold on the way to Lithuania, Baltic region.DSC_0265A

A restaurant in Budapest.DSCF0257A

Rocks on the beach in Koh Samui, Thailand.DSC_0560A

I can’t help amazed at what computer technology can do for us and am thankful for that!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Surprise

The WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge for this week is Surprise.

My favourite subject is landscape especially those conveying a sense of peace and serenity. It was really a challenge to comb through my archive to come up with something which fits this week’s theme.CIMG1054

Last year, we were up in Chimelong Zoo and Safari park in Panyu, China. While walking through the park, I saw this orangutan resting peacefully on a hammock slung between the trees. Some visitors formed a semi-circle around him, staring at this lazy or even demure orangutan; while he was doing just the same, staring at the visitors and letting the world went by.CIMG1050

Then to the surprise of everyone,  he suddenly rose up and started swinging up and down. As he was swinging towards me, I noted he has a surprised face which I have never seen before.  He certainly surprised me. Did  I surprise him?   I don’t know,  all I wanted to do was to quickly take his photo . . . . . . . . . . . .  . . . . .  .what a decent surprise!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Delicate (2)

I have been procrastinating as to whether I should make a second pass on this week’s challenge.

As a kid, I have been running happily around, chasing butterflies and dragonflies.

My first understanding of “delicate” came from finally catching a dragonfly and touching its wings with my fingers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . DSCF1898

A Word A Week Photo Challenge – Light

Word a week challenge : Light

Can’t help showing the photo below.

It was still morning in Beijing, the soft Autumn sunlight was playing its magic on the ginkgo tree. Some of the leaves were yellow, others  gold, some translucent or even radiant. The light also revealed the fine details of the Chinese tiles on the roof of  the HuangLuo temple,  the decorated beam underneath, the column on the side and some Chinese screen window frames..CIMG2570

The combination of the soft light, the tree, the temple and the lamp behind just makes the scene magical and timeless!

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Reds and Greens

This week Cee indicated we can choose Reds or Greens or Both for Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Reds and Greens

While I like reds but I also like greens, however, a mixture of reds and greens will be more interesting. I have therefore chosen something with both red and green from nature.DSCF2563

The first picture was taken while travelling to HuangLuo temple, Beijing earlier this year when maple leaves hanging down from a red wall were partly green and partly red. The mix of colors remind me of the coming Christmas. . . . . . . . .  . .hope this serves as an electronic Christmas card to you all,  Happy Holidays to you!!CIMG2759

The second picture was taken in the BaiWang Shan park, Beijing at about the same time of the year when we were strolling through the narrows paths in the park. Again the leaves exhibited both colors.DSC_0209

The third picture was taken a few years ago in Shirakawa-go, Japan.  While all three photos are reds and greens, the shades of the colors are different and they convey a different atmosphere.DSCF6031

Back in Hong Kong, although winter has set in, many of the vegetation is still having a green color. This contrasts quite sharply with the red flowers which sprung up from their almost bare stems.  Reds and greens, I like both of them mashing in together!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Delicate

The aquarium at Okinawa, Japan, to say the least, is very interesting. While we were there, we have the opportunity of seeing not only something big but also something small and even something delicate.DSC_0206

The aquarium is huge with a clever construction so that visitors can have an unobstructed column free view of the aquarium and the fishes inside. We were awed with the close up views of the many sharks, sting rays and other fishes in the aquarium.DSC_0213

In the other parts of the aquarium, some other fishes are small, like the bright-colored coral fishes which dart around playfully around the corals and move in tandem with the currents (top picture).DSC_0204

The lion fish (picture above) there have also captured our undivided attention. They are well-known for their ornate beauty, venomous spines and unique tentacles. The spines and tentacles look delicate, fragile and could be broken up by any strong currents or sudden movements.DSC_0205

We spent a long time looking at the corals.  The coral reefs are so delicate because they are made from living creatures. The reefs are made up of  coral polyps which  are a delicate, limestone-secreting animal. The deposits are made in hundred or thousands of years protecting the softer parts.  However, coral reefs can live only in a delicate, balanced marine environment. They require lots of light and oxygen. They also need clear water, low nutrients, a steady temperature, and stable salinity.DSC_0248

They are a vital part of marine ecosystems, but they can be damaged by everything from storms, pollutants, ship anchors and careless divers to massive natural disasters. They are therefore so delicate, but having said that, this also applies to almost everything with life as life itself is delicate . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Travel Theme: Circles (2)

This is my second attempt at Ailsa’s Travel Theme of the week which is circles

Some of the most perfect circles I have come across are those seen from the ceiling of a baroque style church in Lithuania – the St. Peter and St. Pauls’ church in Vilnius, Antakalnis area.DSC_0349

The set of circles just fit in so harmoniously and there were a lot of attention to details.