Weekly Photo Challenge: Horizon

The Daily Post’s challenge for this week is Horizon.

The Challenger defines horizon as:¬†“The space or line where the sky meets the earth. So many places where the sky meets the earth around the world, and millions of interactions between two elements. It can be water, a city skyline, a forest, a wasteland, a desert, a sunset outside your bedroom window“.

The horizons in the following pictures particularly speak to me:

The horizon at the Tanjung Rhu  beach in Langkawi where the blue sky meets the water, with a sandy beach in the foreground particularly attracts me.DSC_0095

Further up the hills in Langkawi, the view of the faraway islands fading out in the horizon  conveys a sense of peace to me.DSC_0251

On our way from Gold Coast to Lake Barrine in northern Australia, the clouds just above the horizon where the blue sky meets the blue mountains appeal to me.CIMG0532

Resting on the shore of lake Galve in Lithuania, gazing at the blue water and where the yonder islands meet the sky was a delightful and reflective moment.DSC_0304

The skyline in the Baltics seems eternally has its charm.DSC_0329

The New York City skyline has always been my favorite. Not that I don’t like the skyline of other places like Hong Kong which has got high hills as the background; the New York City skyline allows you to have an unobstructed view of the buildings in the horizon.021

Last, but not the least, I like the horizon I saw in Coronado beach in the US. The sea and the sky seemed to merge as one.LA 014

Horizons allow my eyes and my brain to relax and intrigue me as to what lies beyond.  . . . . . . . . . .

The Summer of 1985 at Hampstead Heath, London

I fondly remember¬†the Summer of 1985 when I lived in London. Those were the Summers when global warming hasn’t set in, when the sky was blue and¬†without a cloud. When the grass was green and the air was crispy clean.

We had a long and warm Summer that year and the Brits called it an Indian Summer.26-01-2005 5-29-00 PM_0009

One Sunday, I found myself in a park in north London –¬†Hampstead Heath. That was¬†an ideal Summer day I had been longing for – blue sky that could intoxicate me, well kept green lawn, white heritage building (Kenwood House)¬†in the background, people lying on the grass enjoying the sunshine and children playing as if the whole world belonged to them.

On seeing this picture ( original slide now digitized) taken that year, my only thought is – take me back, take me back to the parks of London, take me back to 1985 when everything seemed so nice, slow and mellow. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Sunday Stills Challenge: Trees / Fall Leaves (2)

My last post shows the gold / yellow / orange foliage at Hong Luo (Red Snail) Temple at Beijing.

A couple of blogging friends requested to view pictures showing the snail stone carving in more detail.

Near the main entrance of the temple, there are a pair of big red snails Рmade from concrete and colored red.DSCF2544A

I rather like the stone carved snails. In this picture, you will see some carved snails, some on top of the parapet posts. In the background, again, there are foliage leaves of various colors; although they are not the main subject in focus.DSCF2546

Also shown above is a picture of more foliage leaves and stone carved snails at the temple.

Please enjoy !

Sunday Stills Challenge: Trees / Fall Colors

This week, Ed’s challenge is Trees / Fall Colors.

My eyes were dazzled by the colors as I was viewing the  trees/ leaves  against bright sunlight at DSCF2553Hung Luo Temple, Beijing about this time last year.

The whole picture was filled with colored foliage, some in gold, yellow and also orange too.

The trees seemed to have dominated the whole picture. Not so noticeable in the picture are parts of the roofs of and entrance to the temple, some steps up to the temple and a stone carved snail (this explains the name of the¬† temple –¬†red snail temple). However, unless you were there, the details are some small to be discernible.

The Autumn leaves were indeed a feast for the eyes!

Clouds Over Koh Samui, Thailand

Our days in Koh Samui, Thailand have been very relaxing.

Lazing by the beach, watching the sea and the clouds were part of our enjoyment.DSC_0630

One evening, we walked by the beach and was stunned by the colorful storm clouds that were hanging low over the horizon.DSC_0629

The clouds looked dramatic. Looking at how the clouds and sky change their color as the sun was setting was really memorable.

When the sun has almost set, the sky exhibited an almost red color.DSC_0640

We didn’t know these were the signs of a heavy storm that night. When we were back at our hotel and were ready to sleep, thunders began to roar. With the heavy rain, there was¬†continuous lightning too.

In the midst of all the thunders, suddenly there was an electricity ¬†blackout. The whole area, including our bungalow was pitch black – we couldn’t see a thing. There was some panic, as we tried to reach for an electric torch.

We knew there was nothing we could do except to lock our door and went back to sleep.

When morning came, it was another clear day . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Clouds over Lake Geneva, Switzerland

There are people who like Black and White images, but also there are people who hate them.

I like converting some of my colored pictures to B&W to see if they convey a different mood. Whether I like them depends on the mood they give me.DSCF0027A

The picture was taken at Lake Geneva, I like the clouds in the B&W which dominate the picture.DSCF0027

For comparison, the colored version is also shown. It gives a more peaceful feeling. Also, the snow capped mountain can be more clearly seen.

Sometimes, I ended up liking both versions.

An Abandoned House

The weather is getting cooler and it is the right time for hiking.

Last Sunday, we went for hiking in the northern part of Hong Kong, close to the border with mainland China. While we saw some beautiful scenery, we also came across some abandoned or collapsed houses.

This abandoned house with banyan tree roots all over the walls really stunned us. For a moment, I was reminded of what I saw in Ta Prohm, Cambodia Рthe taking over of the temple ruins by the giant roots!CIMG3533

All I could see were three tree stumps on top of the roof; apparently, the trees trunks had been cut off and the roots were left to wither.

The house was built of stones before WWII and had a coat of plaster on the outside. Some of the plaster have now peeled off, leaving the inside exposed.

I couldn’t help wondering what had happened to those who lived in the house – why did they abandon the house and where had they gone; anything to do with roots???

Churning the Sea of Milk at Angkor Thom, Cambodia

We were stunned by the view as we approached the southern gate to Angkor Thom (the Great City), Cambodia.

While we have seen many Buddha heads in Cambodia, we have never seen one which has an opening serving as a gateway underneath. The gateway is 3.5 by 7 m, and would originally has been closed with timber doors.CSC_0349

As with many statutes in the area, there are also Buddha heads looking in the other directions.DSC_0130

We were impressed by what we saw as we drew near. The closer we looks, we more we were impressed by the details.DSC_0131

We walked across the causeway (top picture) which spans the moat in front of the gateway. The causeway is lined with mythical statues on both sides.

The causeway have a row of 54 devas (guardian deities) on the right and 54 asuras (demon gods) on the left. Each row holding a naga (serpent) in the attitude of a tug-of-war. The devas pull the head of a mythical naga while the asuras on the other side push the tail of the serpent. The whipping motion of the serpent‚Äôs body was said to churn the ocean and recreate the cosmos anew. This is the popular myth in Angkor which is referred to as the “Churning of the Sea of Milk” in Hindu’s myth of creation. The temple-mountain of the Bayon, or perhaps the gate itself, would then be the pivot around which the churning takes place. The nagas¬†may also represent the transition from the world of men to the world of the gods (the Bayon), or be guardian figures. The dancing female deities (known as ‚Äúapsaras‚ÄĚ) were the first beings to emerge from the sea of creation; see my other post https://retireediary.wordpress.com/2013/04/12/apsaras-in-angkor-wat-cambodia/ on “Apsarus in Angkor Wat”.

The image below shows the head of the “naga” in churning of the sea of milk.DSC_0126

Also shown is the head of one of the 54 asuras.DSC_0129

Of course, the Hindus has a different myth as to how the cosmos was created and renewed.

Visiting Angkor Wat is indeed a unique experience. Maybe, for the first time you see the power of the trees trying to reclaim the land; the lost and found temple ruins; the ancient myths on display and a culture which is so different to ours.