Nepal. Life lived out in the street. Families perched on their front step, eating meals and sharing laughs, soaking up the warmth of the sun to ease the chill of winter. Prayer flags, a gentle reminder of the spiritual dimensions to life. Women wearing the favourite color – red. Standing around delicious “Chia” or chai tea stalls and catch ups with friends. A sense of community built around shared joys and hardship, life endings and beginnings and journeys. Rugged natural beauty, narrow roads winding through snow capped mountain ranges.
Nepal. Emerging from a decade of conflict, this country has made encouraging progress in addressing it’s development challenges. Though Kathmandu is a bubble of tourist induced wealth and services, outside urban areas, the story is markedly different. Around 60% of the population still live on 1.25 per day. Access to safe water and sanitation is an enormous challenge without easy answers. Many areas are food insecure and cannot produce enough food for their family for the year. Women’s rights, capacities and empowerment is needed.*
I loved visiting this beautiful country. I was so encouraged by the time spent with many organisations that are working so wholeheartedly and with such dedication and personal sacrifice to address such challenges. At the community level there are beautiful glimmers of hope, and examples of groups working for change in their community, thinking not only of their own needs but of the needs of others. Their stories inspire and challenge me. I hope I will come back some day – Kelly.
Where possible, photos were taken with permission.
*statistics from http://www.ophi.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/Nepal1.pdf?cda6c1
An overcast sunrise at Lake Tarawera in Rotorua, New Zealand:
Cathedral Cove (Hahei) along the Coromandel peninsula was put on the map through it’s inclusion in the second Narnia movie – Prince Caspian. We visited as the seasons were turning from winter to spring, so it was still a quiet and sleepy place. Dinner options available during our stay were the local fish and chip shop open for two hours between 5.30-7.30pm or DIY options from the local store with it’s selection of three tomatoes, tinned food and frozen items.
Despite intermittent rain, we did have a few days of beautifully sunny weather which allowed us to head out for some walks to explore the coastline shaped by volcanic activity, and then into the bay for paddle in sea kayaks – which we loved! We enjoyed hearing about the Maori history of the area, and checking out stingrays in the crystal clear water. Here are a few photos from this part of our holiday:
Welcome to Bangladesh. Have some tea. Dodge multiple buses on the highway. Stop for another cuppa. Eat rice and daal. Followed by more tea. Belt out impromptu renditions of Australian anthem. Smiling kids. Lots of dust. More tea.
For the past three weeks I have been working in Bangladesh, covering hundreds of kilometres and more than 50 hours on rural roads to visit work being done with extremely poor, marginal, ‘at-risk’ communities. We walked through rice paddies, through slums where homes are made of plastic rice sacks sewn together and crossed meandering rivers on public ferries. The most memorable times were sitting, chatting and laughing together with the groups that we visited. Bangladesh’s treasure is truly its people.
For me, community development done well, sends the message that ‘you are not forgotten or alone’, and that ‘your life matters’.
All images below were taken with permission, where this was possible.
Kelly and I recently spent a few days in Torquay which is a couple of hours from Melbourne, along the coast. It was a great holiday and chance to relax, read, go to the beach, sleep in and of course take plenty of photos.
Driving back to our accommodation ‘South Beach Haven B&B (which we highly recommend due to the beautiful accommodation, lovely hosts and incredible breakfasts!), we passed this picturesque windmill which was set atop a hill and overlooking acres of farmland. We’re always looking for new places to visit with interesting and beautiful landscapes and Australia is the perfect place for that!
We knew that we had to come back to the windmill at sunset to take some photos – and despite the wait for the light to fade, and we certainly weren’t disappointed! The rich warm tones of the fading sun along with the deepening shades of purple and blue of the gathering dusk made for a beautiful backdrop for the windmill and farmland.
Here are three photos we wanted to share with you of the evening as we prepared to welcome in 2012. Happy New Year!
I was recently in the North East of India for work. It’s a fascinating part of the world. The photos below are from a number of different states in the North East: Mizoram, Nagaland, and Assam. The city of Aizawl was the first place that I visited, with windy roads and houses impossibly perched on the sides of steep mountains. Everyone has a view. Thanks to jetlag, I was able to greet the world at 5am and capture some of the golden warmth and beauty of the suns rays over the mountains. It was a privilege to visit these areas which are quite remote and which few outsiders get to visit. It filled me with hope to see the community development work that is happening here, and hear the excitement as quite poor and marginalised communities begin to plan and dream and see these dreams realised. Though these photos do not show faces, this particular trip reminded me that everyone has a story, and that it is important to listen.
View standing on the roof of the Tcheminyu Town Baptist Church, Nagaland
Check out our 2012 Calendars!
Each calendar features a stunning location from around the world. These make fantastic gifts for friends and family, and will brighten up your kitchen, office or study.
Calendars are $29 each, with 50% of the proceeds supporting educational projects in developing countries through TEAR Australia. These projects deliver education to children and adults through teacher training, school supplies and equipment, as well as helping children gain access to local government schooling. This can be life changing and is an important step in alleviating poverty. For more ‘useful gifts’, visit http://www.usefulgifts.org.
Each calendar features:
- Large A3 format (297 x 420mm / 11.7” x 16.5”)
- Tough wire binding and hanger
- Stunningly sharp digital printing
- Start the year with the month of your choice
- 200gsm satin art paper with a tougher cover
To view and order your 2012 calendar: click on the links below
- New Zealand
As I was editing this image taken in a small town in China, I reflected on how life in Australia is really convenient. If we turn on a switch, we have electricity. We turn the tap and have clean running water. We get sick, we can go to the doctor or the hospital. And, if we are hungry, food is readily available.
But today I’m remembering that:
- one in eight people who do not have access to safe water supplies (over 850 million)
- one in seven people who will go hungry each day (over 900 million)
- one in five people who do not have electricity (1.4 billion)
There is plenty we can do to help with prayer, giving our time and resources and considering our lifestyle choices here in Australia. It’s not a lost cause.
Went for a short stroll around Melbourne one evening after work with my camera. Here are a couple of shots with the same building, a multi-storey car park, but from a few different perspectives.
According to Wikipedia the earliest multi-storey car park was built at 215 West Washington Street, Chicago in 1918.
On the way home on the train, the man sitting opposite me was reading the newspaper …
Some panorama’s of the Great Wall of China. These have been stitched together with up to 13 images in some cases.
As part of our trip to China, we visited the Great Wall of China. The Great Wall was built during various time periods and was designed to protect the Chinese from the invaders who lived in the North. The Great Wall stretches for 6,259km and we walked approximately 10.5kms.
We visited a section called Jinshanling. This particular section of the wall was deserted at the time we visited, which was great! We had heard of stories where the wall was packed with tourists.
Up close, the wall itself is not that special. What is amazing about it is when you can see it stretch out behind and ahead of you for kilometer after kilometer, without an end in sight.
The wall at Jinshanling had a number of watch towers and defensive features such as side walls and horse walls which made it interesting.
Here are 4 images placed together of the different aspects of the wall.
Xitang is one of a few ancient water towns located East of Shanghai. It’s approximately 1.5 hours drive away or 30 minutes by train.
Imagine old stone cobbled streets, wooden boats floating on the small canals, stone bridges, tiled corridors and ancient buildings. It’s a stark contrast to the hustle and bustle of modern Shanghai. It’s probably not as well known as some of the other water towns, but it is just as beautiful, if not more, as it retains a lot of the original architecture from the Ming and Qing dynasties. I believe the town itself is over 1,000 years old.
Ancient lanes intersect with canals and bridges as old men drink tea early in the morning and women wash clothes in the canals. At night, hundreds of red lanterns light up the town as people eat dinner. You could easily think you’ve stepped back in time a few hundred years. Apparently the town had a bit of a reputation for wine drinking or making wine.
Here are a few images of our brief time here – possibly more to follow.
A Cambodian man checking fishing traps in the morning on the river. On this particular day, the river was very still and smooth during, making for great reflections in the water. Location: Kampot.
We spent the weekend relaxing by the river, eating, reading and enjoying the views – a very productive weekend!
This particular image is composed of 3 photos stitched together.
Rose City Condominiums – US$70 million construction project start in 2008 and scheduled to be completed mid 2011. Although judging by the current state of construction, I don’t think it will be finished on time. 29 stories high and located near the Sofitel hotel, it sticks out high above the rest of the skyline in Phnom Penh.
After completing the daily photo series, I think I’ll try updating the blog at least once a week.
You may recall an image from Day 18. This photo was also taken on the same day.
Photo info: D200, ISO100, 17mm, f4, 1/200
From a recent trip to Kampot. A couple are of the old buildings in the town and the rest are of people fishing from the river.
Eight images from around the Orussei Market in Black and White. All shot with a Nikon D700 & 50mm f1.4 lens combo:
40kms north of Phnom Penh is a town called Oudong. During 1618 to 1866, Oudong was the capital of Cambodia until it was abandoned by King Norodom who moved the capital to Phnom Penh. It was heavily bombed by Americans during the Vietnam War and a site of intense fighting in 1977 between Khmer Rouge forces and Lon Nol forces.
It’s a good day trip out of Phnom Penh and takes about 1.5 hours in a tuk tuk.
Finally after about seven months of living in Cambodia, we took a long weekend trip up to Siem Reap to visit the Angkor Wat temple complex. I’ve edited down the many hundreds of photos to what I think are the top 5 images from the trip. There are many, many more images that I would have loved to include, but then I would have too many images! Angkor Wat is a place for photographers as there are opportunities for amazing photos everywhere.
There is one image from Angkor Wat, three images from Ta Prohm and one from Bayon. These are the main three temples to visit at Angkor Wat. I did visit a few smaller temples and they were just as impressive in their structure and with the trees and undergrowth intertwined with the stone.
The set of 5 images are available as framed prints, canvas art from our redbubble store. They would make a great feature on your wall at home.
The Cambodia Water Festival or ‘Bon Om Tuk’ in Khmer is the largest festival in the Cambodian calendar. The 3-day Water Festival in Phnom Penh celebrates the end of the rainy season and coincides with the flow of the Tonle Sap river changing direction.
The highlight of the Water Festival are the boat races, where highly decorated boats from each village race over the three days. Thousand of Khmers descend on Phnom Penh to watch the races from the shore and cheer on their villages boat, which can have up to 80 oarsmen/women as they race down the Tonle Sap.
During this time Phnom Penh takes on a carnival atmosphere, and as well as the river banks being lined with exuberant spectators there are also live concerts, hundreds of food stands, games of chance, fair rides, and at night fireworks light up the sky and people dance in the street.
This year however, the Water Festival ended with tragedy when a stampede on the Koh Pich bridge left approximately 350 people dead and a similar number injured. (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/nov/23/cambodia-water-festival-phnom-penh). Our prayers and concern are with those who lost friends and family during this awful event.