MontanaRon

Just another ordinary English teacher eclectic expat blog about nothing in particular.

Category: night photos (page 2 of 3)

Greetings from Thailand

Yes, I’m currently in Bangkok, Thailand starting my three-weeks vacation. I got here on Friday after an uneventful flight from Incheon Airport, leaving behind a dreary, overcast Yeosu. It’s beautiful here this morning, and I’d like to stay longer, but I’m leaving on the overnight train to Nongkhai, Thailand, there to meet up with my friend Nai. Here’s a view from my hotel window taken just a short time ago. I couldn’t get a better shot because the windows don’t open. If there were a fire, I wouldn’t be able to escape out the window, but that wouldn’t make much difference–I’m on the 7th floor.

View from hotel room

View from Silom City Hotel

I usually stay in the Sukhumvit area, but decided to stay in the Silom district. I’m at the Silom City Hotel, which isn’t too bad. Certainly, it’s not a five- or even a four-star venue, but it’s location is its big selling point, and the staff are very friendly and helpful. Right around the corner is one of Bangkok’s excellent street food districts on Soi 20. Loads of delicious, cheap Thai food are yours for the taking.

Here are a few shots of the area, but I neglected to take any photos of the food. This is one of the typical vendors along the soi.

Food vendor

Food vendor

Once the rains come, which do so with regularity this time of year, everyone covers up or gets under an umbrella.

Soi 20 Rain

Soi 20 Rain

I met up with one of my colleagues from the university, Mike from near Toronto, Canada. He arrived here a day earlier and left for Nongkhai and Laos last night on the train. There’s a good chance I’ll run into him up there eventually. He also stayed at the Silom City Hotel, so we hung out together the last couple of days. Here’s a shot of him on Soi 20 at night. In the background is a famous Hindu shrine in the area, and farther back is a Christian hospital, I think. I like the juxtaposition of the two religions. Behind us, up the Soi, is a mosque, which just further emphasizes the religious mingling of mostly Buddhist Bangkok.

Mike at Soi 20

Mike at Soi 20

We also spent a little time at Lumphini Park on Friday evening. Here’s mike relaxing on a bench at the park.

Mike at Lumphini Park

Mike at Lumphini Park

It’s getting close to check-out time at the hotel, so I’d better wrap this up. The train doesn’t leave until 8 p.m., so I’ve got several hours to kill. I’ll take a walk down Soi 20 to get some better shots than the few I’ve already taken, and I’ll take a short walk over to the Hindu shrine for some more photos. I’ll probably do some book shopping at Siam Paragon mall and take a look around at the Mahboonkrong (MBK) mall. If time allows, I’ll do my usual thing and go dining at the Bourbon Street Restaurant.

I’ll have many more posts to make and photos to share, I hope. So, watch for more later.

Yeosu Expo 2012-More Night Photos

As everyone probably knows, the Yeosu 2012 Expo finished on August 12th. It was a wonderful 3-month run for this “magic” event set down in the middle of quiet, little Yeosu. I’ve been a bit depressed that the fun has ended, so I’ll have to figure out a way to make my own “magic” for the rest of the summer. Organizers reached their goal of 8 million visitors over the 3 months, but they had to resort to lowering the fees substantially during certain times of the day to entice people to visit. So, they got their 8 million, but what the profit or loss was has yet to be determined.

I’ll keep putting up photos of the Expo over the course of the rest of the summer (and maybe the winter!), so here are some more night shots of the event. As always, click on the thumbnails to get larger views.

Here are a few shots of the exterior of some of the pavilions.

The Angola Pavilion at night

Angola Pavilion at Night

Belgium Pavilion at night

Belgium Pavilion

China Pavilion at night

China Pavilion

Indonesian Pavilion at night

Indonesian Pavilion

The “guardian” outside the Thailand Pavilion.

Thailand Pavilion at night

Thailand Pavilion Guardian

Here’s a shot of some of the interior infrastructure of the International Pavilion from near the Angola Pavilion.

International Pavilion at night

International Pavilion at Night

And just around the corner is the Expo Digital Gallery.

Expo Digital Gallery at night

Expo Digital Gallery

Up on the third floor, you could look out onto the roof of one of the International Pavilion blocks.

International Pavilion Roof at night

International Pavilion Roof at Night

And, here’s another view of the International Pavilion roof and infrastructure.

International Pavilion at night

International Pavilion Interior

Also from the third floor is this view of Gate 4, the Expo Town Gate.

Gate 4 at night

Gate 4 at Night

Here’s an early-evening view looking back toward the Expo apartments, “Expo Town”.

Expo at night

Expo at Night

Finally, a couple of shots of the “sail” structures that were ubiquitous throughout the grounds.

Sails at night

Exterior Sail Structure

Exterior sail structure at night

Exterior Sail Structure

Yeosu Expo 2012-Sunset on the Expo

Sunset over the Expo

Sunset Over the Expo

In more ways than one. This is the final day of the Expo–so sad. ūüôĀ

I’ll be going out to the site in just a short while. I’ll walk around and visit all my favorite pavilions and say goodbye to the many friends I’ve made. I’ll take in the Big Ocean Show, one of my favorite parts of the Expo, and I’ll try to get some shots of the closing ceremony fireworks. (I’ll assume there will be some.) I doubt I’ll be able to get anywhere near the closing festivities themselves; I expect half of Korea will be trying to get there, and I’m sure the Big O amphitheater will be packed hours before the show begins.

Even after all is said and done, I’ll continue to post photos of the Expo on the blog. In the meantime, I find that the Expo is most beautiful at night, so here are a few night photos that I’ve taken over the past three months. I have many more, so I’ll get some of those up in the next few days.

Please check back for more Expo photos and, even, some videos of some of the performances.

Here’s a shot I took of the Expo from the same position I took the sunset shot, across the bay on Odong Island.

Expo at night

Expo at Night

There are a couple of tour boats that you can take to get a view of the Expo from the sea. This one’s the Mir.

The Mir tour boat at night

Mir Tour Boat

The fountains around the site are especially beautiful at night.

Colorful fountain at night

Colorful Fountain at Night

Another colorful fountain at night.

Fountain at Night

Here’s a view of the Theme Pavilion.

The Theme Pavilion at night

The Theme Pavilion at Night

And the Main Gate

The main gate at night

Main Gate at Night

The Angola Pavilion at night.

The Angola Pavilion at night

The Angola Pavilion

Some of the infrastructure at the International Pavilion building.

Infrastructure of the International Pavilion at night

International Pavilion Infrastructure

The Korea Pavilion

The Korea Pavilion at night

Korea Pavilion

As I wrote earlier, I have quite a number of these night shots that I’ll put up in the next few days, so if you like these, check back for more later.

The Big Expo 2012 Rehearsal

I took in the full-scale rehearsal this past Saturday along with about 100,000 other awestruck visitors. My quick reaction: the Yeosu 2012 Expo is amazing. It met and exceeded all my expectations. If you’re in the area, you should definitely attend. I arrived at 10:30 in the morning and stayed until closing time at 11 p.m., a pretty tiring day, but well worth it.

Most of the pavilions were open, but a few were still being worked on; I imagine they’ll all be up and running in time for next Saturday’s official opening, which I’ll try to attend if I can get a ticket. As a matter of fact, I’ll probably buy a season pass, which costs 200,000 Korean won, about $175.

I took close to 500 photos throughout the day and night, and I’m still going through them, culling, deleting the obviously bad shots and deciding which of the others are worthwhile. It’s going to take a while before I process the good ones, but I’ll get them up as soon as possible.

One of the highlights was the beautiful experience of the centerpiece of the Expo, the Big O. After the night time stage performance, the Big O took over, showing off with a 3-D laser show incorporating bursts of flame and colorful fountains, mist and fog. It was very difficult to photograph properly, with the lighting changing constantly. About all I could do was fire off a burst of shots, adjust my settings and fire off some more. I didn’t have a tripod, although that probably wouldn’t have helped, but the lens I used does have an image stabilizer feature, so some of the shots didn’t turn out too bad. Here’s one of them.

Yeosu Expo Big O

The Big O Shows Off

I was able to process a few more photos before going to work this morning, so here are a couple of views of the Theme Pavilion, the first one taken from the International Pavilions building, and the second taken from behind the Theme Pavilion, looking toward the Sky Tower and the Corporate Pavilions on the right.

The Theme Pavilion

Theme Pavilion

The Theme Pavilion

Theme Pavilion

Here’s a shot from behind the Samsung Pavilion looking toward the Sky Tower.

Sky Tower and Samsung Pavilion at Night

The Samsung Pavilion with Sky Tower in the Background

And here’s the Samsung Pavilion from the front.

Yeosu Expo 2012 Samsung Pavilion at Night

The Samsung Pavilion

Finally, another one of the Sky Tower.

Yeosu Expo 2012 Sky Tower at Night

The Sky Tower

I’ll have many more photos to post and some other impressions of the Expo. I’ll try to get some more up later today. Enjoy.

Laos Friends

OK, one final post with photos from my vacation in Laos and Thailand back in December. I put up some children’s photos last time, so this one has a few photos of adults.

Most of these were taken around the New Year holiday, but the Lao people like to start celebrating several days before and continue for a few days after New Year’s Day. Here’s lunch at Nai’s house on Dec. 31st, eaten by about 7-8 family members and friends. Let’s see, what do we have here? Looks like the remains of some fish, deep-fried chicken feet, various greens, a veggie salad and, of course, Beer Lao.

Lunch at Nai's house in Laos

Lunch at Nai's House

While some of us were eating and talking (with me pretending to listen–I don’t speak or understand the Lao language, yet), other folks, including Nai, were playing cards. It looks like a Lao version of gin rummy, I guess, with small wagers included.

Laos card game

Afternoon card game

These are a few of Nai’s brother’s friends, who are working on a good-sized platter of semi-congealed cow blood soup. Various herbs are thrown into the soup, along with a couple of hands full of peanuts. Yummmm! Nai’s sister Nui is on the left.

Next are Nai’s brother Pui (Poo-ee), in the center, flanked on the right by cousin Mot (Maht) and on the left by another lovely cousin, whose name I’ve forgotten. Mot’s mother (one of Nai’s sisters) and father live and work in Thailand, but he was visiting the homestead for a few weeks. I mentioned to Nai that Mot didn’t appear too happy to be here, but Nai told me he wasn’t happy to be going back to Thailand (and to school) soon. The young lady asked me, through Nai, to find her a Western boyfriend. I told her I’d put her photo on the internet, so here it is.

Laos friends

Laos friends

The day before, on the 30th, Nai and I were in Vientiane visiting a Lao friend’s pub. While shooting pool, Nai introduced me to a friend of his from Nai’s village. He’s a policeman in Vientiane, I believe, and a very friendly fellow. Here he is, posing with Nai.

Nai with his friend

Nai and Friend

I really love this guy’s expressive face. To me, he looks like one of the characters in the early-60s hit TV comedy “Car 54, Where Are You?” Actor Joe E. Ross played my favorite character on the series, Officer Gunther Toody. Mr. Ross is on the right. On the left is Fred Gwynne as Officer Francis Muldoon. Gwynne was also famous for the Herman Munster character on “The Munsters.”

Car 54, Where Are You?

Fred Gwynne and Joe E. Ross

What do you think–resemblance or not? To help you decide, here’s another photo of Nai’s friend with me, an obligatory shot, I suppose. Nai took the photo, but he did such a lousy job. It makes me look too fat! Where’s my chin? I DO have a chin. (I must have had my head tucked into my neck on this one!)

Ron and Nai's friend

Ron and Nai's Friend

We also took a walk along the Chao Anouvong Park along the Mekong. One of the signature features of the park is a larger than life statue of King Anouvong, the last ruler of the Lan Xang (Million Elephants) Kingdom. The Vientiane Times of June 15, 2010 (by way of LaoVoices) states that:

‚ÄúSince Chao Anouvong is remembered for reuniting the country, his statue will depict the strength of his leadership, and should be as close to lifelike as possible,‚ÄĚ said Head of the Ministry of Information and Culture‚Äôs Fine Arts Department, Dr Bounthieng Siripaphanh.

The statue, which is costing about 5 billion kip to make, will stand about 8 metres high and 3 metres wide. The king will be represented holding a sword in his left hand while gesturing with his right.

One of the greatest achievements of Chao Anouvong’s reign was the construction of Vat Sisaket, Vientiane’s oldest standing temple today.

This Wikipedia article, however, is not so kind to the king:

Modern Lao nationalist movements, on the other hand, have turned Anouvong into a hero, even though his strategic and tactical mistakes combined with his hot temper led to the end of the kingdom of Lan Xang (Million Elephants) destruction of Vientiane, and a permanent division of the Lao people between the country of Laos and the Lao-speaking provinces of northeastern Thailand.

Hero or not, it’s still an impressive statue.

Chao Anouvong statue

King Anouvong Statue

That wraps up my vacation to Thailand and Laos, so we’ll be goodnight and adieu, until next time.

Photo of the Moon and Venus

The Moon and Venus at Dusk From Nai's House

Beautiful Evening Sky

If you have clear skies this evening (Feb. 26th), look towards the west after the sun sets, when the sky is just starting to darken. You’ll see a beautiful formation of Jupiter, Venus and the crescent Moon. Here’s what it looked like from Yeosu just a short while ago. Definitely click on the photo a couple of times to get the large view. Not one of my better shots, but I hope you enjoy anyway.

Moon, Venus and Jupiter

Moon, Venus and Jupiter

Lunar Eclipse

Yes, I stayed up late last Saturday to try to take a few photos of the lunar eclipse. It was spectacular here, the moon high in a mostly clear sky and sporting a deep rust-red color, which made taking photos a bit difficult. I walked down to where I usually go running, the soccer field by the gym, which has a wide-open view of the sky.

I use Canon Image Stabilizer (IS) lenses on the camera. IS lenses are supposed to reduce blur when you’re hand-holding the camera in low-light and other situations, but I’d read that you shouldn’t use the IS function when using your camera on a tripod, because the lens will look for camera shake when there isn’t any. Using it with a tripod, then, will add some blur to your photos. Well, I thought that I’d turned off the IS, but when I got back to my apartment, I noticed that it was turned on. Sure enough, all the shots were a bit on the blurry side. Lesson learned–double check all settings, especially if you’re going to be out shooting in the dark.

Anyway, here are a couple of shots. The first one is of the pre-eclipse moon, which I was able to shoot from my apartment, and the second is of the moon during totality, around 11:30 p.m. local time on Saturday. The only post-processing I did in Photoshop was to sharpen both images a bit. The color of the moon in the second one is as I shot it. Click on either image to get a larger view.

Another astronomical event is occurring tonight. The Geminid meteor shower will best be seen between 10 p.m. local time and sunrise tomorrow morning. This annual shower has been picking up steam in recent years, and, despite the presence of an almost-full moon, some of its fireballs, characteristic of the shower, could be seen. Give it a try. Me? I’m feeling a bit lazy, but I might try to watch it from my apartment, though I have a very limited view of the sky. More later.

Soccer Match and Some Photos

Well, it was pretty quiet last night after the Laos-Malaysia soccer match. Yes, unfortunately, Laos got beat 3-1. Malaysia scored about 15 minutes into the game on a spectacular over-the-head scissors kick. It stayed that way until the second half, when Laos put on charge after charge toward the Malaysia goal. They finally broke through about halfway into the period, tieing the game at 1 apiece. It was bedlam when the goal was scored, with all the Laos fans (and yours truly) screaming and shouting with joy. Hope had been restored that the unexpected might happen–that Laos might play for the gold medal. Alas, Malaysia stormed back with 2 goals to win the game. Not all is lost, though–Laos still plays for the bronze against Singapore this coming Friday, I believe. Viet Nam squares off against Malaysia for the gold.

Below are some photos I’ve taken recently. None of them have been optimized and I won’t be able to do any postprocessing work on them until I return to Korea. But, I suppose they’ll do until then. Enjoy.

Here’s a shot from yesterday with a few of the Viet Nam fans sporting their colors. I took this from a tuk-tuk, so the sharpness isn’t probably all that great.

IMG_2131

Here’s another shot taken last night while we watched the soccer match. We usually eat at one of the outdoor restaurants along the Mekong, and this one is our particular favorite. Here, a couple of the guys are busy cooking up some goodies. I love the big fish you can see on the grill. They’re stuffed with some kind of herb and coated with salt, which gives them their white color before they’re browned. Yummmm.

IMG_2120

To continue with the food theme, here’s the view of the Hotel Lao’s charming courtyard, where breakfast is served. As you can see, there’s an empty chair at my table. Care to join me?

IMG_2134

We’re heading out to Nai’s house today, so I’ll probably be out of contact for a while. But, as always, more later.

Pepero Day

Yesterday, the 11th, was Pepero Day in Korea. It’s akin to Valentine’s Day, which is also celebrated here, with young people and couples exchanging candy, mainly the Lotte Corporation’s Pepero brand. The 11th is Pepero Day because, according to this article, the date 11/11 resembles four sticks of Pepero. However, the name Pepero in Korean, which you can see on the product box below, also resembles 11/11. At any rate, some of my students gave me several boxes of the treat, which makes for good munchies. (Reminder to self: jog an extra half hour next time out.)

Pepero

I was out walking around a few weekends ago and took the following shot from near the Soho Yacht Marina area, along the sidewalk back toward the main part of town. Yeosu is quite pretty at nighttime, as you can see from the photo. I took a bus there and back. The bus system in town is very extensive and you can travel almost anywhere for 1,000 won (about 85 cents), unless you have to make some transfers. It doesn’t run like clockwork, though, because you might have to wait 30 minutes for a specific bus to come along and then 2 or 3 of them show up within 5 minutes of each other. There are no timed stops, so it’s kind of hit and miss as far as timeliness. More later.

Soho_Night2

Laos Update and a Few Night Shots

Unfortunately, there were some deaths in Laos caused by Typhoon Ketsana, at least 16 according to this report. Tonight, Nai told me that Laos TV news reported that 20 had died. In addition, a new typhoon, Parma, is now ripping through the Philippines. Only yesterday, the tracking map on some weather sites appeared to me that it might continue on into Viet Nam and, perhaps, Cambodia and Laos. Now, however, it appears it’s going to swing north-east into the Pacific.

I took a few nighttime photos of Yeosu from my office this evening. The first one below shows the nearly-full moon rising just after sundown.

Moon Over Yeosu

Moon_Over_Yeosu_2

The following shot is an experimental effort in color enhancement. I thought the various yellow, orange, blue and purple hues contrasted nicely, so I played around a bit in Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop to give them a bit of “whoomp.” It looks much better when you click on the link below the photo. Enjoy. More later.

Nighttime in Yeosu

Yeosu_Night_Enhanced_1

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