Thursday, March 29, 2012

Royal Cremation in Bangkok, Thailand

If you are neither Thai nor Buddhist you might probably don't know what is showed in the following pictures.  At the beginning, when we went to take some picture of this place, although I was told by my wife about this place, I got confused too.  I was almost sure that I was taking picture of The Grand Palace.  After some panoramic shots, we approached it, and I noticed that it was quite different from the Grand Palace.  I asked my wife how they did to change the grand palace...  and she told me that this is not the grand palace but a royal crematorium.  As you can see in the pictures, the infrastructure and color of this special crematorium is really beautiful.  

The one who is going to be incinerated on Monday 9th of April is the Thai Princess Bhetcharata -the daughter of one of the former Thai Kings- who died in July last year (2011).  
Manual control
55-200 lens at 55mm
ISO 200
13 secs. at f/22

Manual control
55-200 lens at 55mm
ISO 200
8 secs. at f/22

Manual Control
55-200 lens at 102mm
ISO 200
8 secs. at f/22


Manual control
55-200 lens at 60mm
ISO 200
13 secs. at f/22

Friday, March 23, 2012

Autumnal Colours: A cold morning in Germany

Not too long ago, at autumnal cold morning a German friend of mine, his father and I got up early and went hiking up to a hill. That early morning was still dark and all the way was still deserted.    
On our way, the cold morning wind hit our faces unceasingly; 'It is better off for all of you to stay at home' seemed to whisper us.   But our wandering spirit disregarded his threat.  The dead leaves spread all around the soil gave that morning not only singular tones of green and brown, but also a sweet scent of fertile land. While having this esthetic experience, the sun, the great star, bestowed a breathtaking image upon us.  
Ours souls were warmed up by these colors, and our bodies were warmed up by the morning sunshine in Lizberg, a town close to Frankfurt.
You can see more pictures I took in Berlin here.


Monday, March 19, 2012

Morning Sun

‘To my last sin?’ cried Zaratustra, and laughed scornfully at his own words.  ‘What has been left me now as my last sin?’
-  And once more Zaratustra became immersed in himself and sat down again on the great stone, and he reflected.  Suddenly he jumped to his feet-
Pity! Pity for the higher men!’  he cried, and his face transformed into bronze.  ‘Whell then!  That –has its time!
My suffering and my pity – what do they matter! Do I strive for happiness?  I strive for my work!
Well then!  The lion came, my children are near, Zaratustra became ripe, my hour came-
This is my morning, my day is beginning: up now, up, you great noon!’ –
Thus spoke Zaratustra and left his cave, glowing and strong, like a morning sun that emerges from dark mountains.

Friedrich Nietzsche


Monday, March 12, 2012

One day trip, Mahidol University - Bonus

Those photos, owing to their bacground, composition and light,  deserve an special entry on this blog. I took them in the last trip organized by Mahidol University, and as I have explained in previous entries the trip lasted one day only and we visited Ratchaburi, province. Although the short time we could visit 4 amazing places: Rattananarosin pottery factory,  Khaobin Cave, Ban Hom tien and The scenery vintage farm.  To see pictures of those places just click on them.
She was not modelling for my camera, she is looking to the one who is taking a photo; I was passing by, and suddenly noticed this could be a nice photo due to the green background, lines and shapes and immediately grasp my camera and shot. 
This photo is one the most I like it.  It seems that a lady is waiting for someone or something yearningly.  Hence, she often turns her face around her as if she were looking for something.  Using my imagination, it seems that her patience, emotion, her heart is plenty of life and love that even the colour of those trees seems to mirror it. The branches, and leaves seems to struggle for being the closest to her, and by doing so, it seems they dance according to her tune.  It seems she is the cradle or source of life that even some woods of that wound fence are getting green and seem to be about to reborn!!!  
Well,  in fact, she noticed that I was about to shoot and thus she turned her face out of my lens avoiding to be photographed :)  Any way, it is a great snapshot!!




One day trip, Mahidol University, 3d & 4th stop: Ban Hom tien and The scenery vintage farm at Amphor Suam Phuong district -Ratchaburi Province

The two last places we visited in Ratchaburi province was: Ban Hom tien and The scenery vintage farm at Amphor Suam Phuong district. Ban Home Tien or the ‘House of Scented Candles’ which is located near the kilometer 33 marker. From the top of this craftsman house -a small hill- we can see the mountain border with Myanmar.
The place is comprised of cottages made from old wood, the space is divided into two parts: a restaurant and a candle shop. Of course, the atmosphere is nice photographic landmark!!! 
We spent around 45 minutes in this place enjoying figures, statues, flowers made of wax.  
This is the main gate. The main merchandise for sale here is a large range of colorful scented candles, available in various designs, sizes and prices!!!

Baan Hom Tien is a quaint traditionally-designed compound where you can find colorful made-in-Ratchaburi Province fragrant candles and the most important good local food!!!

Before leaving, just in front of this house, there are many street vendors offering different kinds of souvenirs.  In the photo, my Japanese friend testing a local wine made of pineapple. 

Apart from the destination resorts, Suan Pueng has a handful of natural attractions that makes a pleasurable excursion.  Suan Pueng is about 160 km from Bangkok and is a very popular weekend destination.


Two boys play in front of me trying to call my attention in order to be photographed!!! : )

Each hour sheep are fed by people, to do so you have to buy leaves and this costs 40 Baht (around USD 1.00).  If you are not on time, you have to wait until the next hour, remember, they sell it for at least 10 minutes only.

I like this picture, it seems that sheep approaches people not only to be fed but to be caressed as well!!!

The temperature this day was above 30C My Thai friend looks like already tired!!!!

A Buddhist monk joined this trip too.   To have fun he jumped to and rode the ferries wheel.  Well, in overall, It was a nice multicultural experience, worthwile to do!!! I hope to join the next trip!!!!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

One day trip, Mahidol University, Second stop: Tham Khaobin Cave, Ratchaburi Province

This entry shows photos about the the second stop of the trip arranged by Mahidol University. This stop was at Tham Khao Bin, at Ratchaburi province. It is said that Ratchaburi is a very old city going back to the ancient era. And it has an historical importance inasmuch as it was a town of the Suwannaphum Kingdom.

Perhaps Tham Khao Bin is the most striking cave throughout Ratchaburi province. It is located 20 kilometers from the town along the route to Amphoe Chom Bueng and 2 kilometers along an access road. The route to this cave is in quite conditions that anyone can access to it through car, bike or motorcycle.

My first impression was as if I was coming into the hell.  By the way, the name Khao Bin means ‘flaying dove’ , which refers to the rock formation depicted to the right which with some fantasy resembles a flaying dove.

It seems the shadow of someone  on bended knee, but it is optical illusion only!

This cave is bigger than Batu caves in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. However, Batu caves is higher that Tham Khao Bim. Click see to see picture of Batu Caves, Malaysia. Khao Bin is about 200 meters height.

Inside the cave, the temperature gets hotter and hotter, and increases the humidity as well. Thus taking photos could become a tough game.

We spend around 45 minutes in the cave. Of course never is enough time to enjoy the beauty of this breathtaking place.






The cave extends 300 meters from the entrance and offers truly amazing and gloomy scenes of plentiful stalactite and stalagmite formations. The lighting in this cave is spectacular, suitable for astonishing photographs, as long as you carry a tripod. In my case, I haven’t.





Finally, my Japanese friend awaiting her turn to cross the suspension bridge.

Monday, March 5, 2012

One day trip, Mahidol University, first stop: Rattanarosin -Ratchaburi

The faculty of Graduate students at Mahidol university organizes, once a semester, a cultural trip to which its international students can join, socialize, get new friends and have a lot of fun!!! Last semester, although I wanted, I could not join them because there were not available seats. The trip is only for 60 students. I really got surprised because after 30 minutes of getting the invitation email, I tried to sign up but it was already full.    So to this trip, no sooner did I get the email that I signed up for the trip… and you know what? There were already 26 participants!!!! Anyway, I had luck this time!!
Well, about the province we visit, it is the second time I visit it. The first time I visited was 3 months ago, when a group of friends and I biked along it. To see those pictures click here.
Ratchaburi province is about 100km west of Bangkok, it is very well known and famous by the Mae Klong river and hundreds of klongs (canals). I think one of the most famous place to visit in this province is also the floating market. Click here to see a video . In contradistinction to Bangkok, the west of the province is more mountainous, and these are made mostly of limestone. There are several caves containing stactiles.

The first stop was at Rattankasin Pottery. Ratchaburi province is also very famous because throughout the province there are many famous pottery factories.

For production or large models such as water jars, they use the floor instead of a turntable.  For this method the modeler make use of his hands to build up the jar layer, step by step creating the requested design.
Farmers land is the main source for the clay supply.  After removing the top layer they have to dig at least 1.50 meters deep to find the clay.  Before they transport the clay over a distance of 7km they check the quality first, if meets the factory requirements, they store it in the factory, a quantity enough for at least  one year production.

All these beautiful pottery is made of Farmers land.  They said that after removing the top layer, they have to dig at least 1.50 meters deep to find the clay.  Before they take the clay to the factory, a distance over 7 km, they have to check the quality.  If meets the factory requrirements , they store I in the factory, enough for at least one year production.


It is said that Rattankasin factory was founded 40 years ago… and it seems the business is running quite well that during the first years the factory lies only on 3 acres of land, and now the total factory side measures 9 acres.

A buddha image next to a monk image holding the buddha philosophy
My Thai friend playing with his modern camera. 
A dragon on a water jar.  By the way, to make the model extra beautiful they glaze it a mixture of 50% mud and 50% potash.