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Finding inspiration and the desire to create.

Inspirational poster series #001

Twitter and its “Tweets” can be addictive once you start following other interesting contributors. Inspirational quotes are just that, inspirational, and they are one of the bits I fished out of my Twitter stream.

I started enjoying reading positive statements infrequently. Then I started wanting to keep some of them for reference and I emailed the tweets to myself. Archived into my Personal folder, together with lots of other emails. Hidden, neatly out of sight.

Next step was do do a screen shot of the tweets and place the screenshots in an inspirational folder. More organized and still hidden.

Better, but not good.

I wanted to do something more out of them and after some pondering my calendar finally had an opening. I reserved it for myself. My time. Headphones on, Smashing Pumpkins blazing my ears and no interruptions allowed while I am opening Illustrator and start creating a series of posters.

Four posters created, more to come. They are all available, just click the image.

Now, the next step will be to get them printed and onto the walls.

Inspirational poster series #002

Inspirational poster series #003

Inspirational poster series #004

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Photography

A weekend of spiritual wellness for the photographic soul

What better start on the weekend to pay visits to pagodas and take in their atmosphere. Parking the motorbike in the courtyard and see people walking slowly without any haste is a welcomed relief from the traffic mayhem that goes on outside. First stop is the Jade Emperor Pagoda on 73 Mai Thi Luu street. Beautiful sunshine outside, however, once you move inside, the light falls off fast and even at a high ISO setting you will worry about potential camera shake and a tripod is highly recommended. Despite the technical challenge, it is possible to photograph handheld.

By the courtyard entrance of the Jade Emperor Pagoda

By the courtyard wall of the Jade Emperor Pagoda

Inside the Jade Emperor Pagoda

Inside the Jade Emperor Pagoda

Inside the Jade Emperor Pagoda

Close by, on 34 Vo Thi Sau street, we find the Tran Hung Dao Temple, and the parking attendants indicate the parking area for the motorbike that is right next to one of the offering furnaces. It doesn’t take long before the bike is completely covered in thin layer of white ash. Another challenge is light, or rather the lack of available light coming in to the temple, taking handheld photography to a higher level of steadiness exercise.

Detail from Tran Hung Dao Temple

Detail from Tran Hung Dao Temple

Final stop before lunchtime, Vinh Nghiem Pagoda on 339 Nam Ky Khoi Nghi street. On the premises there is a great vegetarian restaurant, Viet Chay, perfect place to end the half day tour.

Detail from Vinh Nghiem Pagoda

Detail from Vinh Nghiem Pagoda

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Photography

A spiritual journey is good for the photographic soul

After our first road trip in the suburbs of Ho Chi Minh City, Jamie and I decided to do another. This time we remembered the sunblock and headed out for the road, to Vung Tau and back. All in a day, that was the plan. 200 km on the bike. Doesn’t sound to bad, but then the Vietnamese roads are nothing like the German Autobahn.

Plenty of CF cards, extra batteries, cameras ready and off we went in search of something to capture. It is not the destination that is of importance, but the journey itself and it was indeed true. 14 GB of capture and several image stories to choose between were more than we could have wished for. First story up, a rather spiritual take, as we somehow got drawn to monasteries and road shrines as we travelled along.

Road shrine outside Ho Chi Minh City.

After getting off the Hanoi highway, or xa lo Ha Noi, we were taking what is to be the upgraded road to Vung Tau. In its current state it is more or less 50 km with road works and dust. Full open surgery of the landscape. Despite the changed appearance, Jamie’s local knowledge from one of the hash runs lead us to the “hidden” monastery down a side road.

Statue in front of a monastery, on the way to Vung Tau.

Same statue as above, different angle.

Our next spiritual discovery came when we made a stop to refresh ourselves. The place was under renovation and next to a knocked down bar with a broken pool table there was an outdoor church.

Outdoor church in Long Thanh district.

Opposite to the church was another statue that caught our attention. This is Long Thanh district after all, with LothaMilk.

Broken statue being supported by wooden planks.

Hitting the road again, we picked up pace as the clouds started to gather behind us. Our little outrun did wonders as we encountered the golden light hour with clear blue sky and beautiful sunlight. All we needed was something to photograph and there it was, right by the roadside, a graveyard.

Angel statue at the graveyard.

Onwards we pressed, to make as much of the beautiful light as we could, finally reaching the outskirts of Vung Tau. Plan A was to have a quick bite and then capture a bit more, Plan B happened on a side street as we passed yet another pagoda. Food for the photographic soul instead.

Buddha statue in Vung Tau.

Buddha statue in Vung Tau.

Thus ended the spiritual ride of the day.

Jamie, ready for capture.

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