My inspiration for this post came about as I was walking on Spencer Creek Trail which extended from Hamilton to Dundas in Ontario this morning. The air was still cold. The sun had risen, but it was struggling to creep through the clouds. The weather forecast predicted only a high of 3 degrees Celsius later in the day. This time last year, we were enjoying a balmy 26 degrees. This is already March 23, two days after the Spring Equinox, and yet Spring to us here in southern Ontario is still in the Future Tense. I took out my cell phone to capture these images for the phoneography challenge.
The ice and snow are refusing to go away. Nature is playing a game with us. The melting and re-freezing is a continuous tug-of-war in our outdoor world.
When shall we see the colours of the flowers and the leaves and the green grass that we are craving for? I am tired of looking at only white and brown around me. Then, isn’t everything in life relative? And so is Time. When we stepped out of the trail, we walked up the hill to Grove Cemetery, where the graves reminded me of my future although they were also the symbols of some people’s past.
We need patience waiting to see what will transpire in the future. Future to me also means Hope. There are finally signs of hope about the Spring yet to come. Turning into a residential street in Dundas, my walking buddy MW spotted the first buds on the south-facing yards. My heart leapt with joy: the crocuses, the snow drops and the tulips had burst through the ground.
On the opposite side of the road, however, the snow relentlessly hung on.
I am hopeful. Spring will come; it will come soon!
The city of Athens from Mars Hill
I am on top of Aeropagues (Hill of Ares in Greek) in Athens, Greece. It is also known as Mars (Roman God of War) Hill. I am looking towards the Hill of the Nymphs, with typical residential architecture in the foreground. I capture mid-distance the Agia Marina Church with its red domes, and the National Observatory with its outstanding black roof. Far beyond lies the city of Athens.
Our tour group makes a special trip to Aeropagus after looking down on it from the Acropolis the day before. This is where Paul delivered the famous Aeropagus sermon, admonishing the Greeks for believing in pagan gods. Standing on top of this hill, looking at the city far beyond, I can only stretch my wildest imagination to visualize what Paul would have seen in his days. The view is breathtaking.The world spreads under my feet. I want to open my arms to embrace everything that comes within my view.
Mars Hill and the City of Athens from the Acropolis
I have chosen to present for this week’s Photo Challenge the light show of the Tree of Prosperity at Wynn Macau. It represents a sophisticated creation of artwork, light and sounds. In the centre of the atrium of the hotel stands a floor dome engraved with an artistic presentation the western zodiac. Above on the ceiling is an engraving of the animals associated with the Chinese horoscope. When the show begins, the surrounding light dims and the ceiling opens to reveal a light display of amorphous forms until a 30 feet chandelier, brightly lit, descends and hangs in midair. At about the same time, the dome on the ground opens and a tree “grows” to 70 feel tall. It has 2000 branches and 98,000 leaves made from gold and brass. It is illuminated and changes colours to reflect the changing seasons and the passing of time.
The audience surrounding the atrium watch in awe the magical display of sight and sound. The wizardry is the work of Mark Fisher, who has designed the stage technology of many international performances, including the Beijing Olympics and Cirque du Soleil.
Macau is the Las Vegas of the Orient, and watching the illumination of the tree of prosperity is supposed to bring good luck. No wonder the atrium is always crowded with onlookers for this auspicious display.
I like the idea of looking back to 2012 going through my photos. However, I do not agree with the suggestion to select a picture for each month. There are some months which were full of excitement and events and some others when I enjoyed the usual routine and I could re-group myself. I have several interesting trips to recall in 2012 as well as some memorable races and hikes. I have also tried to pick locations that were new to me, even with cities that I have visited many times before. This post is a great way to round off the old year and to welcome the new.
Bruce Trail Iroquoia Club End to End
Eastern Coastal Walk Australia
Sydney Running Festival
Hong Kong: Wooden Sculpture of Buddhist Prayer on Lantau Island
New Development in Macau
Ottawa: Rideau Canal
Road2Hope: Hamilton Charity Race
Montreal: Notre Dame Basilica
Taipei: 101 Building
“Delicate” reminds me of our ecosystem, how fragile and delicate it is. This is a photo of the Mai Po Reedbed, taken on my visit to Mai Po Nature Reserve, which is situated in the northwestern Hong Kong, near the estuary of Shun Chun River in China. Mai Po assumes international significance because of its wetland, which is also listed as a Ramsar site. Mai Po Nature Reserve has been under the management of World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Hong Kong) since 1983.
Mai Po is haven to over 380 species of bird– especially migratory birds– among which 35 are of global concern. Besides birds, Mai Po is also home to other life forms that can survive the salinity of the water. On my tour of the reserve centre, I have seen the shrimp ponds (gei wai), numerous rarely sighted species of birds, and several species of local trees. Mai Po is like an oasis in the concrete jungle of a skyscraper city.
Let this photo of a Great Egret perching alone on the mangrove remind us how delicate our environment is. At a distance, the city is encroaching upon us. We must work together to preserve our ecosystem.
I came across this bridge when I was walking northbound by the banks of the Rideau River in Ottawa. I was approaching Sussex Drive and I turned around and saw this bridge. I took this photo, and when I looked at it afterwards, it evoked an emotional connection in me to Money’s The Bridge at Giverny. I distinctively remembered one painting in which Money painted a reflection. I am not a photographer and this is no Monet. However, the emotional association is always fascinating. I wonder if you feel anything similar?
I also find this picture among my album and I think it is interesting that the reflections define the shapes of the leaves more aesthetically than the actual plants.
This is a candid shot I have captured walking along a boardwalk crossing the swamp before that it leads to the sand dunes on Prince Edward Island. This is an ecologically sensitive area. I am pleased that it has been preserved very well.
Here I present two different photos of two different locations in two different parts of the world. They are worshipers of two different religions in two different cultures. Yet they both fit into my conceptualization of the theme “Renewal” for this week’s photo challenge.
Long Shan Temple, Taipei
Wailing Wall, Jerusalem
Rooted in the human psyche is a universal need inside many people to seek renewal of their faith with the god(s) they believe in through prayers and offerings. This is true of the eastern inasmuch as of the western world. It was an ordinary weekday when I visited the Long Shan Temple in Taipei, Taiwan and the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem, Israel, and both places were crowded with devout believers offering their prayers or reading their holy texts. Their body language and their facial expressions suggested that they were very focused on their activities. My visual images only capture part of the experience, because you have to add in the rhythmic chanting that resonated in the background. It is powerful!
To me, the emphasis is first on the “re-” in “renewal”. The process is not creating something entirely new. It is an activity to bring forth a new element based on what is already there. In the tangible world, clicking the “Reload” or “Refresh” buttons on the computer allows us to come back to the same page, but sometimes with new information when it has become available. In religious terms, the renewal of a person’s faith is to bring one closer again to his or her god(s) by reaffirming one’s belief in the religion as well as one’s hope and gratitude about blessings.
In broader philosophical and existential terms, “renewal” applies to reminding ourselves of our beliefs in life and our hopes for a new day on the basis of what we have experienced so far, be it positive, negative or neutral. What has been already there in us is not lost, but it is the foundation which supports us to see a bigger picture, to breathe fresher air and to gain a different perspective. Let us not forget the second aspect: the “new” element in “renewal”. We cannot lock ourselves in the cell of our own past with the shackles of memories, be they good or bad. Reliving the past is not renewal. It stops us from growth. We must not be afraid of losing ourselves–because we will not–by renewing our knowledge, our faith and ourselves as a person. The is the process of enrichment through living.
My most unforgettable moment at the Sydney Running Festival was finding myself looking up at the structure above me while I was racing across the Sydney Harbour Bridge. I have re-cropped my photo for this Weekly Photo Challenge in order to better appreciate the geometrical design of this structure. Indeed, triangles are the strongest structure from the architectural point of view.
Unlike some pictures that are taken after the photographers have spent time waiting for the perfect moment or manipulating the camera until the subject matter is at the best angle and has the ideal lighting, this photograph is a piece taken “on the go”. In short, I was race walking across the Bridge. I just paused, took a quick second to aim, and clicked. After all, further lingering would block the other athletes coming up behind me, or I ran the risk of being knocked over.
Looking at the composition, I may not have achieved perfect symmetry. However, I am quite pleased with the perspective and depth the upper beams of the bridge have captured, as well as the curvature that broke the monotony of the straight lines. I could not have asked for a better sky and its changing shade. It brings simplicity to the complexity of the architecture of the Sydney Harbour Bridge in this picture.
This is the biggest lobster sculpture in the world! It is 35 feet long, weighs 90 tonnes, and over 6 feet high. It is located in Shediac, a little town with a population of just over 6,000 in New Brunswick, Canada. The lobster has made this town world famous and it is known as the Lobster Capital of the World. This part of Canada is famous not only for its live lobsters and lobster meals, but also for this gigantic sculpture.
For a better perspective, this is an angle of the lobster claw. Well, this is the biggest lobster claw in the world no doubt.
This lobster came to mind immediately when I read about this week’s Weekly Photo Challenge. Going through my photo album to locate the photos brought back fond memories of our family road trip to the Maritime Provinces on the east coast of Canada, where we toured Nova Scotia (including the Cabot Trail on Cape Breton Island), Prince Edward Island, and New Brunswick. Thank you, WordPress.com.