Search results: 20 posts match "XF 16/1.4". Select title or scroll down to see posts.
 
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Jul 13, 2016, Wed
A new tool      XF 16/1.4, Fuji X-Pro2  
Jul 13, 2016
  XF 16/1.4, Fuji X-Pro2  
Sep 2, 2016, Fri
Panorama      Panorama, Lightroom, XF 16/1.4  
Sep 2, 2016
  Panorama, Lightroom, XF 16/1.4  
Sep 5, 2016, Mon
Dog Shots      Dog, XF 16/1.4  
Sep 5, 2016
  Dog, XF 16/1.4  
Mar 21, 2017, Tue
A night in Hong Kong      Hong Kong, XF 16/1.4  
Mar 21, 2017
  Hong Kong, XF 16/1.4  
Mar 26, 2017, Sun
Ogoh-Ogoh      XF 16/1.4, XF 18-55, Ubud  
Mar 26, 2017
  XF 16/1.4, XF 18-55, Ubud  
Mar 27, 2017, Mon
Ogoh-Ogoh Parade      XF 16/1.4, XF 18-55, Ubud  
Mar 27, 2017
  XF 16/1.4, XF 18-55, Ubud  
Mar 28, 2017, Tue
A Day of Silence      XF 16/1.4, Ubud  
Mar 28, 2017
  XF 16/1.4, Ubud  
Mar 29, 2017, Wed
The Agung Rai Museum      XF 16/1.4, Art, Ubud  
Mar 29, 2017
  XF 16/1.4, Art, Ubud  
Apr 2, 2017, Sun
Neka Art Museum      Ubud, XF 16/1.4, Art  
Apr 2, 2017
  Ubud, XF 16/1.4, Art  
Apr 3, 2017, Mon
Readying the Penjors      Ubud, XF 16/1.4  
Apr 3, 2017
  Ubud, XF 16/1.4  
Apr 4, 2017, Tue
Odds and Ends, Mostly Birds      XC 50-230, XF 16/1.4, Ubud  
Apr 4, 2017
  XC 50-230, XF 16/1.4, Ubud  
Apr 8, 2017, Sat
Movement      XF 16/1.4, Ubud  
Apr 8, 2017
  XF 16/1.4, Ubud  
Mar 22, 2018, Thu
Equinox celebration      Friends, Vancouver Isl, XF 16/1.4  
Mar 22, 2018
  Friends, Vancouver Isl, XF 16/1.4  
Apr 19, 2018, Thu
Spring swap      MINI, Cars, XF 16/1.4  
Apr 19, 2018
  MINI, Cars, XF 16/1.4  
Jun 12, 2018, Tue
As Canadian as ...      Canada, Humor, XF 16/1.4  
Jun 12, 2018
  Canada, Humor, XF 16/1.4  
Jul 27, 2018, Fri
Jul 27, 2018
  Proust, Gardening, Books, XF 16/1.4  
Jul 28, 2018, Sat
Echinacea      Flower, XF 16/1.4  
Jul 28, 2018
  Flower, XF 16/1.4  
Aug 9, 2018, Thu
More pesto on the way      Gardening, XF 16/1.4  
Aug 9, 2018
  Gardening, XF 16/1.4  
Aug 20, 2018, Mon
Apocalyptic      Vancouver Isl, XF 16/1.4  
Aug 20, 2018
  Vancouver Isl, XF 16/1.4  
Oct 5, 2018, Fri
Biscotti      Cooking, XF 16/1.4  
Oct 5, 2018
  Cooking, XF 16/1.4  
 
 
 

A new tool

 
July 13, 2016 Jul 13, 2016   XF 16/1.4, Fuji X-Pro2
 
 

We're heading to Athens this fall so I'm listening to Edith Hamilton's The Greek Way. Her story of the Greeks makes a strong case for a visit.

Funny, Ive some hazy memories of this book. I think it was assigned in classical civilization. This was back in Austin when I was an undergrad studying chemistry. The classical civ professor showed slides from his travels and made history interesting even to me, a guy who preferred solid subjects like organic and linear algebra. I also liked the class because if you paid attention and read your notes the night before the exam you could pull an A. Unfortunately I don't remember a bloody thing discussed in class.

Speaking of travel, I've acquired a travel camera, to supplant my dslr. Its a mirrorless, aka an interchangeable-lens camera that lacks a through-the-lens viewfinder. It's smaller than my d800e, half the size or less, so Im looking forward to seeing how close I can approach my goal of travelling with a single carry on and nothing more.

Fuji X-Pro2

Shortly after I got the Fuji I took a day trip, the Coho ferry from Victoria to Port Angeles. I have done this trip a lot, to the US and back to pick up mail. If the weather isn't too cold and wet I spend the three-hour round trip out on deck, looking to sea for the colorful container ships, whales, and sea planes taking off and landing right on the water in Victoria harbor.

This trip I left the Nikon and telephoto behind and took the Fuji with the 16. So no shots of far-away ships or airplanes, no sea beasts, only things that are close and that have an interesting background. The 16 is a really nice lens for this, in fact it's one of the reasons that I bought a Fuji. A great all-around focal length, fast to focus, a fast aperture, and macro-like close focus.

A couple weeks in, my overall impression of the Fuji is positive though if I make a list of pros and cons (in a future post) it would earn a mixed report card. It's not helped by being out of my hands and on its way back to Fuji in Mississaugua for a service. But i'm not fazed: being a follower of Nikon, l'm accustomed to new model teething problems.

I chose the three pictures below as examples of shooting the 16 wide open, with one thing in focus and everything else out of focus. All three are out-of-camera jpg's, the third using Fuji's lovely Acros film simulation.

In addition to The Greek Way I am listening to Car Seat Headrests (again), Destroyed by Hippie Powers.

 
 
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Coho ferry      
 
Coho ferry      
 
Coho ferry      
 
Victoria harbour      
 
Victoria harbour      
 
Victoria harbour      
 
https://jamesgaston.ca/451
 
 

Panorama

 
September 2, 2016 Sep 2, 2016   Panorama, Lightroom, XF 16/1.4
 
 

September has brought rain and overnight the moss went from brown to green. So I thought I'd photograph the house on the mossy rock using Lightroom's merge-to-panorama function. Since I lack a drone camera a from-below perspective will have to do.

For this image I used Lightroom 6.6 to stitch together eight Fuji Velvia jpgs, in two rows of four. Lightroom cleverly orders and aligns the shots with ease. Of course the more shots and the larger the files the longer it takes and the more memory Lightroom needs. Don't over do it: I drove Lightroom to cause a BSOD when it exhausted memory while trying to combine five D800e files.

I'm listening to Rock Steady by Aretha Franklin.

 
 
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Panorama      
 
Panorama      
 
Panorama      
 
https://jamesgaston.ca/467
 
 

Dog Shots

 
September 5, 2016 Sep 5, 2016   Dog, XF 16/1.4
 
 

A dog can make a good photographic subject. Of course, it depends on the dog. For example, our first dog, Buddy, never took to photography. He was a chow-lab mix who lived to the ripe old age of sixteen. Buddy would always turn his head away as soon as I pulled out the camera. Then he would walk off. All of the photos I have of him were chance shots, not posed. This first image is Buddy in 2004, at the Santa Cruz mountains house.

Lucy, on the other hand, has been amenable to photography. Today she was happy to pose, though maybe happy is not the best word choice as she is limping, having injured her right front leg again. (Worrisome that it keeps happening to the same leg.) Lucy was photographed with the Fuji 16/1.4 and the Chrome film sim.

I'm listening to Miles Davis' In a Silent Way. It always sounds fresh.

 
 
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Buddy      
 
Buddy      
 
Buddy      
 
Lucy      
 
Lucy      
 
Lucy      
 
https://jamesgaston.ca/468
 
 

A night in Hong Kong

 
March 21, 2017 Mar 21, 2017   Hong Kong, XF 16/1.4
 
 

I've set out for Ubud though it's taking longer than planned. A delayed flight left me with an overnight in Hong Kong, courtesy of Cathay Pacific.

 
 
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Skyscrapers      
From what little I've time to have in Hong Kong the city looks to be nothing but skyscrapers, many of which put on a ever-changing light show.
 
Skyscrapers      
From what little I've time to have in Hong Kong the city looks to be nothing but skyscrapers, many of which put on a ever-changing light show.
 
Skyscrapers      
From what little I've time to have in Hong Kong the city looks to be nothing but skyscrapers, many of which put on a ever-changing light show.
 
Hong Kong ferris wheel      
The waterfront, where I took this photo, has a wide promenade which is great for walking. To one side is downtown (shown above), to the other is the waterfront with even more skyscrapers in the distance.
 
Hong Kong ferris wheel      
The waterfront, where I took this photo, has a wide promenade which is great for walking. To one side is downtown (shown above), to the other is the waterfront with even more skyscrapers in the distance.
 
Hong Kong ferris wheel      
The waterfront, where I took this photo, has a wide promenade which is great for walking. To one side is downtown (shown above), to the other is the waterfront with even more skyscrapers in the distance.
 
https://jamesgaston.ca/819
 
 

Ogoh-Ogoh

 
March 26, 2017 Mar 26, 2017   XF 16/1.4, XF 18-55, Ubud
 
 
Asking Republicans to govern is like asking Barney Frank to judge the Miss America contest; if your heart is not in it, you don't do a very good job. Maureen Dowd

Speaking of doing a good job, it's the day before the Ngrupuk parade and the Balinese people are preparing for tomorrow's festivities by fine-tuning their ogoh-ogohs and practicing their movements. They are also dancing to Gamelan music.

Ogoh-ogohs are demonic statues made of vividly-painted bamboo and styrofoam. They symbolize malevolent spirits. After the ogoh-ogoh have been paraded around the village the Ngrupuk ritual takes place, which involves burning the ogoh-ogoh.

 
 
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Dancers, Ubud Palace      
 
Dancers, Ubud Palace      
 
Dancers, Ubud Palace      
 
Gamelan music accompanies the dancing      
 
Gamelan music accompanies the dancing      
 
Gamelan music accompanies the dancing      
 
Dancers, Ubud Palace      
 
Dancers, Ubud Palace      
 
Dancers, Ubud Palace      
 
Dancers, Ubud Palace      
 
Dancers, Ubud Palace      
 
Dancers, Ubud Palace      
 
Ogoh-ogoh      
 
Ogoh-ogoh      
 
Ogoh-ogoh      
 
Ogoh-ogoh      
 
Ogoh-ogoh      
 
Ogoh-ogoh      
 
Ogoh-ogoh      
 
Ogoh-ogoh      
 
Ogoh-ogoh      
 
Ogoh-ogoh      
 
Ogoh-ogoh      
 
Ogoh-ogoh      
 
Ogoh-ogoh rotation practice      

During tomorrow's procession through town each Ogoh-ogohs must rotate counter-clockwise three times at every T-junction and crossroad. Rotating the Ogoh-ogoh represents the contact of the bodies with the evil spirits. It is meant to bewilder these evil spirits so they go away and stop harming humans.

The photos don't do justice to the scene, everyone is happy and laughing and clearly having a good time. Did I mention how friendly the Balinese are? Don't know what they are smoking, or maybe it's in the water, but almost everyone is friendly and welcoming. And most speak English, which makes getting around easy.

 
Ogoh-ogoh rotation practice      

During tomorrow's procession through town each Ogoh-ogohs must rotate counter-clockwise three times at every T-junction and crossroad. Rotating the Ogoh-ogoh represents the contact of the bodies with the evil spirits. It is meant to bewilder these evil spirits so they go away and stop harming humans.

The photos don't do justice to the scene, everyone is happy and laughing and clearly having a good time. Did I mention how friendly the Balinese are? Don't know what they are smoking, or maybe it's in the water, but almost everyone is friendly and welcoming. And most speak English, which makes getting around easy.

 
Ogoh-ogoh rotation practice      

During tomorrow's procession through town each Ogoh-ogohs must rotate counter-clockwise three times at every T-junction and crossroad. Rotating the Ogoh-ogoh represents the contact of the bodies with the evil spirits. It is meant to bewilder these evil spirits so they go away and stop harming humans.

The photos don't do justice to the scene, everyone is happy and laughing and clearly having a good time. Did I mention how friendly the Balinese are? Don't know what they are smoking, or maybe it's in the water, but almost everyone is friendly and welcoming. And most speak English, which makes getting around easy.

 
Ogoh-ogoh      
 
Ogoh-ogoh      
 
Ogoh-ogoh      
 
https://jamesgaston.ca/633
 
 

Ogoh-Ogoh Parade

 
March 27, 2017 Mar 27, 2017   XF 16/1.4, XF 18-55, Ubud
 
 

Today was one of the weirdest, funniest events l've experienced: the Nyepi day eve parade in Bali.

On this day each neighborhood council, which is called a banjar, parades its newly-made ogoh-ogoh monster around town in a ritual said to drive away evil spirits. At the end of the parade the ogoh-ogoh is destroyed by fire.

The parade of ogoh-ogohs is accompanied by a hypnotic soundtrack of Gamelan orchestras. They play unique instruments such as metal drums hit by hammers.

I've seen plenty of parades so this sounds straightforward, think floats and musicians marching down the street with an audience held at a distance by barricades and officials.

Ha. This is not that kind of parade. It's barely-controlled chaos where anyone can be in the parade and the monsters are coming from different directions, with the Gamelin adding a wonderfully pulsy trance background. Everyone, tourists and locals, some in native attire, everyone is laughing and having a great time.

The taller monsters find maneuvering a challenge in Ubud's narrow streets. The colourful demon sits high on a large bamboo lattice carried by a team of young Balinese. Clearly the builders compete for biggest and most outrageous with little thought to clearing the power lines. So some ogoh-ogoh are accompanied by fellows with very long poles that they use to manipulate the web of overhead power lines. Yeah, power lines. Some monsters get caught in the lines so it can take a while to maneuver. (I'm told power outages are common). Once they get through a tangle of wires the crowd bursts into cheers to congratulate them.

The monsters are also tasked to rotate three times at each intersection, and this isn't a simple rotation, the large and heavy monsters swerve like an amusement car ride as they turn. At one point I got caught in a packed crowd and thought I was going to get crushed in the mass of people fleeing the swing of the monster. Ok, that was weird.

After the parade the monsters gather in a field where speeches are made. It grows dark. Finally, joined by torch-bearing girls, the ogoh-ogohs resume their parade, but this time they are destined for their demise.

And with that we all get to rest for a day since tomorrow is Nyepi, the day of silence.

With that in mind, here are a few photos from what was a very photogenic day.

 
 
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Ogoh-ogoh on Jalan Sri Wedari      
This is my street, Jalan Sri Wedari, and not far from my house. This ogoh-ogoh didn't get very far before it encountered a wayward parked car. It took a tree chopping and some heavy lifting but they eventually got through. They also set off the car's alarm which only added to the cacophony.
 
Ogoh-ogoh on Jalan Sri Wedari      
This is my street, Jalan Sri Wedari, and not far from my house. This ogoh-ogoh didn't get very far before it encountered a wayward parked car. It took a tree chopping and some heavy lifting but they eventually got through. They also set off the car's alarm which only added to the cacophony.
 
Ogoh-ogoh on Jalan Sri Wedari      
This is my street, Jalan Sri Wedari, and not far from my house. This ogoh-ogoh didn't get very far before it encountered a wayward parked car. It took a tree chopping and some heavy lifting but they eventually got through. They also set off the car's alarm which only added to the cacophony.
 
Bamboo lattice holds monster      
 
Bamboo lattice holds monster      
 
Bamboo lattice holds monster      
 
A lot of fellows are needed to support an oogah oogah      
 
A lot of fellows are needed to support an oogah oogah      
 
A lot of fellows are needed to support an oogah oogah      
 
Gamelan provides the soundtrack      
 
Gamelan provides the soundtrack      
 
Gamelan provides the soundtrack      
 
Almost to the main drag      
The ogoh-ogoh is rotated counter-clockwise three times at every T-junction and crossroad. Rotating represents the contact of the bodies with the spirits and is said to bewilder and dispell evil spirits.
 
Almost to the main drag      
The ogoh-ogoh is rotated counter-clockwise three times at every T-junction and crossroad. Rotating represents the contact of the bodies with the spirits and is said to bewilder and dispell evil spirits.
 
Almost to the main drag      
The ogoh-ogoh is rotated counter-clockwise three times at every T-junction and crossroad. Rotating represents the contact of the bodies with the spirits and is said to bewilder and dispell evil spirits.
 
Great music      
Gamelan is the traditional ensemble music of Java and Bali. It's mostly percussive instruments, the most common being metallophones played by mallets and a set of hand-played drums called kendhang which register the beat.
 
Great music      
Gamelan is the traditional ensemble music of Java and Bali. It's mostly percussive instruments, the most common being metallophones played by mallets and a set of hand-played drums called kendhang which register the beat.
 
Great music      
Gamelan is the traditional ensemble music of Java and Bali. It's mostly percussive instruments, the most common being metallophones played by mallets and a set of hand-played drums called kendhang which register the beat.
 
Lots of colourful characters      
 
Lots of colourful characters      
 
Lots of colourful characters      
 
The main intersection in Ubud      
 
The main intersection in Ubud      
 
The main intersection in Ubud      
 
I like the streamers      
 
I like the streamers      
 
I like the streamers      
 
Reminds me of Homer Simpson      
 
Reminds me of Homer Simpson      
 
Reminds me of Homer Simpson      
 
Lifting the power lines      
Many ogoh-ogohs are too tall to pass under the power lines, so instead of making them shorter (that would be my solution) they lift the power lines up with tall poles. It's harder than it looks, and it can take a long time to maneuver. Plus, the ogoh-ogoh is going to come back down this street on its way out so the process is repeated. No one is in a rush, though, so it clearly doesn't matter.
 
Lifting the power lines      
Many ogoh-ogohs are too tall to pass under the power lines, so instead of making them shorter (that would be my solution) they lift the power lines up with tall poles. It's harder than it looks, and it can take a long time to maneuver. Plus, the ogoh-ogoh is going to come back down this street on its way out so the process is repeated. No one is in a rush, though, so it clearly doesn't matter.
 
Lifting the power lines      
Many ogoh-ogohs are too tall to pass under the power lines, so instead of making them shorter (that would be my solution) they lift the power lines up with tall poles. It's harder than it looks, and it can take a long time to maneuver. Plus, the ogoh-ogoh is going to come back down this street on its way out so the process is repeated. No one is in a rush, though, so it clearly doesn't matter.
 
Ogoh-ogoh      
 
Ogoh-ogoh      
 
Ogoh-ogoh      
 
Gamelan orchestra      
 
Gamelan orchestra      
 
Gamelan orchestra      
 
A small ogoh-ogoh      
Smaller ogoh-ogoh are built by groups of children or local artists.
 
A small ogoh-ogoh      
Smaller ogoh-ogoh are built by groups of children or local artists.
 
A small ogoh-ogoh      
Smaller ogoh-ogoh are built by groups of children or local artists.
 
Didn't see many officials      
 
Didn't see many officials      
 
Didn't see many officials      
 
Nightfall is coming      
 
Nightfall is coming      
 
Nightfall is coming      
 
I like the light      
 
I like the light      
 
I like the light      
 
Where's the parade?      
I found the parade route confusing and l don't think i'm the only one. A 30-year local described the route but it didn't go the way she described. She also said they change the rules periodically. For example this year they forbid styrofoam in the ogoh-ogohs because of the fumes given off when burned. (Duh!)
 
Where's the parade?      
I found the parade route confusing and l don't think i'm the only one. A 30-year local described the route but it didn't go the way she described. She also said they change the rules periodically. For example this year they forbid styrofoam in the ogoh-ogohs because of the fumes given off when burned. (Duh!)
 
Where's the parade?      
I found the parade route confusing and l don't think i'm the only one. A 30-year local described the route but it didn't go the way she described. She also said they change the rules periodically. For example this year they forbid styrofoam in the ogoh-ogohs because of the fumes given off when burned. (Duh!)
 
Gamelan orchestra      
 
Gamelan orchestra      
 
Gamelan orchestra      
 
Hypnotic musicians      
 
Hypnotic musicians      
 
Hypnotic musicians      
 
Gamelan musicians      
 
Gamelan musicians      
 
Gamelan musicians      
 
Monkey boy      
 
Monkey boy      
 
Monkey boy      
 
Great faces      
 
Great faces      
 
Great faces      
 
More great faces and colours      
 
More great faces and colours      
 
More great faces and colours      
 
The gathering in a field      
 
The gathering in a field      
 
The gathering in a field      
 
Their costumes are so colourful      
 
Their costumes are so colourful      
 
Their costumes are so colourful      
 
Torch bearers      
 
Torch bearers      
 
Torch bearers      
 
Young torch bearers      
 
Young torch bearers      
 
Young torch bearers      
 
Ogoh-ogoh lit up      
 
Ogoh-ogoh lit up      
 
Ogoh-ogoh lit up      
 
Last for the night!      
If you got this far congratulations, hope you enjoyed it. I wish i could accompany the photos with the music as I found it absolutely wonderful.
 
Last for the night!      
If you got this far congratulations, hope you enjoyed it. I wish i could accompany the photos with the music as I found it absolutely wonderful.
 
Last for the night!      
If you got this far congratulations, hope you enjoyed it. I wish i could accompany the photos with the music as I found it absolutely wonderful.
 
https://jamesgaston.ca/635
 
 

A Day of Silence

 
March 28, 2017 Mar 28, 2017   XF 16/1.4, Ubud
 
 
For a day people remained at home. Fires were extinguished; lamps might not burn. On that night I would sit in darkness without even a cigarette. The village was now "sepi", empty and quiet. The demons, wishing to return, would surely think it had been deserted and pass it by. Colin McPhee on pre-tourist Bali in his book A House in Bali.

It is seven in the evening in Bali, pitch black out and almost as dark in. Only a glowing screen and a couple of tea lights help me find my way inside the large house. I have just a hint of music playing, some soundtrack by Santaolalla.

To prevent this meager bit of light and sound from escaping I've closed all the outside doors and pulled the shades. I am hiding, like the wartime blackouts, but instead of hiding from the Germans I'm hiding from the demons.

It could be I have it wrong. McPhee wrote almost a century ago whereas all I've heard talk of since arriving in Bali is self-reflection and religion. But I'll go with McPhee's demons, I figure it's like preferring Halloween over Easter. If there really were ogoh-ogohs expelled last night they may need time to dissipate so I'll give them that time, I won't provide any distractions so they can find their way, to somewhere else.

Here's the official story. Today is the Hindu New Year, Nyepi, which is celebrated every spring by a day of silence. Observed from 6 a.m. today until 6 a.m. tomorrow, Nyepi arrives with restrictions: no lighting fires or any other bright lights; no working; no entertainment or pleasure; no movement outside your home except for medical emergencies; and, for some, no talking or eating.

So Bali is closed all day today, even the airport, though since I can't go anywhere I'll have to take their word for it. I don't expect anyone to come into my home to check if I've lit a candle or that I'm writing this blog, but there are said to be Pecalang about, traditional security men who patrol to ensure the prohibitions are followed.

When in Rome ...

 
 
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Bathroom flowers      
After yesterday's photo-palooza I'm taking a break. Well just one. Since I can't leave the house I shot this colourful plant which is growing in my bathroom garden.
 
Bathroom flowers      
After yesterday's photo-palooza I'm taking a break. Well just one. Since I can't leave the house I shot this colourful plant which is growing in my bathroom garden.
 
Bathroom flowers      
After yesterday's photo-palooza I'm taking a break. Well just one. Since I can't leave the house I shot this colourful plant which is growing in my bathroom garden.
 
https://jamesgaston.ca/636
 
 

The Agung Rai Museum

 
March 29, 2017 Mar 29, 2017   XF 16/1.4, Art, Ubud
 
 
When, on the morning after the day of silence and fireless hearths, Pugig lighted the fire again in the kitchen, it seemed to burn with a new warmth. Voices rose brightly; people set about work with animation. A fresh start had been made once more. Colin McPhee in A House in Bali.

I like almost everything in the Agung Rai Museum of Art, which is about a half hour walk from my house. Their fine collection is housed in beautiful spaces (though the experience would benefit from a/c or even just a bit of ventilation). Their extensive grounds feature a botanical garden, performance space, a hotel, a restaurant (where I ate lunch), even a rice paddy.

The museum focuses on art by Balinese artists and foreigners living in Bali. One building has abstracts, the second realism with Hieronymus Bosch like high-detail pieces depicting life in Bali: the cultivation of rice, cremation rituals, cock fighting, and gods and goddesses.

I especially like the large eye-catching Made Kedol painting "Golden rice" with its vivid bands of rice grass that pop out of the canvas. Stunning. I so wanted to take a picture of it and finally I succumbed: as I walked past its room and saw it framed in the doorway I couldn't resist the urge to grab a surreptitious shot even though the signs expressly forbid it.

 
 
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Made Kedol's “Golden Rice”      
 
Made Kedol's “Golden Rice”      
 
Made Kedol's “Golden Rice”      
 
Page 10 of museum guide      
My guilt for taking the photo was soon assuaged. The museum's own guide book features a full-page photo of people photographing the picture. Funny.
 
Page 10 of museum guide      
My guilt for taking the photo was soon assuaged. The museum's own guide book features a full-page photo of people photographing the picture. Funny.
 
Page 10 of museum guide      
My guilt for taking the photo was soon assuaged. The museum's own guide book features a full-page photo of people photographing the picture. Funny.
 
https://jamesgaston.ca/638
 
 

Neka Art Museum

 
April 2, 2017 Apr 2, 2017   Ubud, XF 16/1.4, Art
 
 
For a picture to be good, he said, it must have a little of everything in it - fighting, a little love, comedy and grief. Like a well-made dish there must be mingled sweet, salt, a taste of acid, a taste of bitter...

And this? I asked, pointing to the incalescent love scene.

He laughed. It gives the savor, he said. Like "sra." Like shrimp-paste. Colin McPhee, A House in Bali

I took a taxi today to the Neka Museum. It's barely two km but I knew even this short walk would leave me drained. I think my muscles are atropying in the heat. I need to get home and start running again.

Ketut, a talkative fellow, asked 60000 for the short trip to the museum which I gladly paid. I don't haggle over small amounts, I think a dollar means more to them than to me. Later in the day, when I'd walked through every building at Neka, studied every painting, examined every sculpture, I messaged Ketut with WhatsApp and he brought me back.

Here's a test: how many older siblings are in my driver's family?

The Neka museum, like the Agung Rai, is a beautiful compound of attractive buildings set amongst lush gardens and soundtracked by noisy birds. And, like the Agung, the Neka specializes in the work of Balinese and ex-pat artists. The Agung Rai has a smaller but equally-beautiful collection but makes up for that in ancilliary facilities. The Neka is just art. Beautiful, mostly-colourful art, with Balinese life as subject. Happily for me, this museum allows photography.

Speaking of art, the streets of Ubud are sprouting huge bamboo stalks of home-made art, and they grow in number every day. Plus the ubiquitous shrines are being draped in colourful fabrics and the offerings seem to be growing in size. It's preparation for yet another special day, or rather days. I'm lucky, two festivals in one trip.

But, I hate to plant this thought in your head, but I find the poles creepy. The pole ends, which are very tall and have elaborate offerings dangling, bring to mind photos of Iranian cranes and nooses that were in the news a couple years ago, scenes that stick with you even though with all your might you try to erase them. Sorry for the disturbing thought.

Enjoy the art!

 
 
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Arie Smit, Dutch artist in Bali      
 
Arie Smit, Dutch artist in Bali      
 
Arie Smit, Dutch artist in Bali      
 
Cooling Swim, Dewa Putu Mokoh      
 
Cooling Swim, Dewa Putu Mokoh      
 
Cooling Swim, Dewa Putu Mokoh      
 
Underwater Life, I Nyoman Darsana      
 
Underwater Life, I Nyoman Darsana      
 
Underwater Life, I Nyoman Darsana      
 
Detail from previous      
 
Detail from previous      
 
Detail from previous      
 
Neka Museum      
 
Neka Museum      
 
Neka Museum      
 
Neka museum      
 
Neka museum      
 
Neka museum      
 
Life of the artist, Roger San Miguel      
 
Life of the artist, Roger San Miguel      
 
Life of the artist, Roger San Miguel      
 
Arie Smit, Neka Museum      
 
Arie Smit, Neka Museum      
 
Arie Smit, Neka Museum      
 
Neka Museum      
 
Neka Museum      
 
Neka Museum      
 
Galungan is coming      
These tall poles are popping up all over. They are penjor, bamboo poles with offerings suspended at the end.
 
Galungan is coming      
These tall poles are popping up all over. They are penjor, bamboo poles with offerings suspended at the end.
 
Galungan is coming      
These tall poles are popping up all over. They are penjor, bamboo poles with offerings suspended at the end.
 
Poles on Jalan Sri Wedari      
The poles are for Galungan, a Balinese holiday celebrating the victory of dharma over adharma. They mark the time when the ancestral spirits visit the Earth.
 
Poles on Jalan Sri Wedari      
The poles are for Galungan, a Balinese holiday celebrating the victory of dharma over adharma. They mark the time when the ancestral spirits visit the Earth.
 
Poles on Jalan Sri Wedari      
The poles are for Galungan, a Balinese holiday celebrating the victory of dharma over adharma. They mark the time when the ancestral spirits visit the Earth.
 
Chickens (for Shawna)      
 
Chickens (for Shawna)      
 
Chickens (for Shawna)      
 
An especially elaborate pole      
 
An especially elaborate pole      
 
An especially elaborate pole      
 
https://jamesgaston.ca/644
 
 

Readying the Penjors

 
April 3, 2017 Apr 3, 2017   Ubud, XF 16/1.4
 
 
Back they came to work for ten days, only to stop for another month, for the week of galungan was near, the time when the gods came down to earth, and long after they had departed the island would remain in a holiday mood. Colin McPhee, A House in Bali

I'd be lying if l said I planned my visit to Bali so as to hit their top two festivals. No, I had no idea there were any festivals at this time so I'll have to say the gods were smiling on me when I made my travel plans. Perhaps I need to make an offering of thanks.

Galungan, my second Balinese festival, celebrates the victory of good over evil, or dharma over adharma. The festival begins on the 11th week of the 210-day pawukon calendar and it lasts for something like eleven days.

While this Wednesday April 5th is Galungan itself, for the Balinese the preparations begin several days earlier. Ministering to all those gods is a lot of work. As I walk around town I see people - mostly women - working away, constructing the offerings.

Of course there are the penjor, the giant decorated bamboo poles that each household places in front of its home. Shrines are enhanced too with lots of rather gaudy decorations. And then there are several additional tasks. Three days prior to Galungan there is the cooking of bananas. Two days prior (today) is the making of fried rice cakes. One day prior (tomorrow) is the slaughter of pigs and chickens.

So tomorrow is the day of slaughter. Well, I saw chickens being killed last week. One minute they were walking around, a short time later they weren't. As to the pigs I saw something in town today that I wish I hadn't. I certainly didn't photograph it. It was a truck bed containing a number of large pigs, each confined in a cage barely larger than the pig itself. Oh my, I want to get that picture removed from my brain. I don't know what else to say except poor pigs.

On that sad note, let's look at a picture of my street and then pictures of preparation for the festival.

 
 
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My street      
In Ubud, and much of Bali, the major streets - those wide enough for cars - tend to run north and south, parallel to the streams and rivers carrying water down the mountain. There are not many roads running east west as they would require expensive bridges. What they do have are smaller paths such as this connecting major streets.
 
My street      
In Ubud, and much of Bali, the major streets - those wide enough for cars - tend to run north and south, parallel to the streams and rivers carrying water down the mountain. There are not many roads running east west as they would require expensive bridges. What they do have are smaller paths such as this connecting major streets.
 
My street      
In Ubud, and much of Bali, the major streets - those wide enough for cars - tend to run north and south, parallel to the streams and rivers carrying water down the mountain. There are not many roads running east west as they would require expensive bridges. What they do have are smaller paths such as this connecting major streets.
 
Decorated shrines      
Everyone is decorating their shrines with colourful fabric and flowers. They appear to be wearing sarongs. Note the penjor on the left, ready for being stood up. There are holders embedded in the ground for the penjors.
 
Decorated shrines      
Everyone is decorating their shrines with colourful fabric and flowers. They appear to be wearing sarongs. Note the penjor on the left, ready for being stood up. There are holders embedded in the ground for the penjors.
 
Decorated shrines      
Everyone is decorating their shrines with colourful fabric and flowers. They appear to be wearing sarongs. Note the penjor on the left, ready for being stood up. There are holders embedded in the ground for the penjors.
 
Penjor detail      
Penjors are often staged along the road, held up by a bamboo lattice sitting on the sidewalk. Of course this penjor competes with parked scooters and pedestrians for space on the narrow sidewalks. Pedestrians are lowest priority so I often walk in the street.
 
Penjor detail      
Penjors are often staged along the road, held up by a bamboo lattice sitting on the sidewalk. Of course this penjor competes with parked scooters and pedestrians for space on the narrow sidewalks. Pedestrians are lowest priority so I often walk in the street.
 
Penjor detail      
Penjors are often staged along the road, held up by a bamboo lattice sitting on the sidewalk. Of course this penjor competes with parked scooters and pedestrians for space on the narrow sidewalks. Pedestrians are lowest priority so I often walk in the street.
 
Sign advertising upcoming festival      
 
Sign advertising upcoming festival      
 
Sign advertising upcoming festival      
 
Fine tuning a penjor      
This penjor is unusual in that it is wrapped in red. Note that the penjor is always placed to the left of the gate.
 
Fine tuning a penjor      
This penjor is unusual in that it is wrapped in red. Note that the penjor is always placed to the left of the gate.
 
Fine tuning a penjor      
This penjor is unusual in that it is wrapped in red. Note that the penjor is always placed to the left of the gate.
 
Decorated shrines      
 
Decorated shrines      
 
Decorated shrines      
 
Penjor base with offering      
A penjor has an offering at both the base and dangling from the tip. You can't have too many offerings.
 
Penjor base with offering      
A penjor has an offering at both the base and dangling from the tip. You can't have too many offerings.
 
Penjor base with offering      
A penjor has an offering at both the base and dangling from the tip. You can't have too many offerings.
 
Placing penjor in position      
 
Placing penjor in position      
 
Placing penjor in position      
 
Penjor being readied      

These fellows are taking a penjor out to the street, and getting ready to raise it. The green thing is the offering at the base.

I might mention here that I've no idea how well these pictures are looking if you're not on a tiny screen. For all I know I bolloxed them all up. You see I do everything on an iPhone, well except for the original pictures which are taken with my Fuji. Once I move them to the phone I cut their resolution so they won't take forever to load. Let's say, 15Mb down to about 0.5Mb typically. I cannot tell from here if I've overdone it, I'll know when i get home where i can re-do them if need be.

 
Penjor being readied      

These fellows are taking a penjor out to the street, and getting ready to raise it. The green thing is the offering at the base.

I might mention here that I've no idea how well these pictures are looking if you're not on a tiny screen. For all I know I bolloxed them all up. You see I do everything on an iPhone, well except for the original pictures which are taken with my Fuji. Once I move them to the phone I cut their resolution so they won't take forever to load. Let's say, 15Mb down to about 0.5Mb typically. I cannot tell from here if I've overdone it, I'll know when i get home where i can re-do them if need be.

 
Penjor being readied      

These fellows are taking a penjor out to the street, and getting ready to raise it. The green thing is the offering at the base.

I might mention here that I've no idea how well these pictures are looking if you're not on a tiny screen. For all I know I bolloxed them all up. You see I do everything on an iPhone, well except for the original pictures which are taken with my Fuji. Once I move them to the phone I cut their resolution so they won't take forever to load. Let's say, 15Mb down to about 0.5Mb typically. I cannot tell from here if I've overdone it, I'll know when i get home where i can re-do them if need be.

 
It just keeps coming      
 
It just keeps coming      
 
It just keeps coming      
 
The penjor end finally appears      
Actually I think there is more, the offering on the top is yet to come.
 
The penjor end finally appears      
Actually I think there is more, the offering on the top is yet to come.
 
The penjor end finally appears      
Actually I think there is more, the offering on the top is yet to come.
 
Penjor being staged      
Note the bamboo scaffold that holds the penjor off the ground, ready for being raised into its final position.
 
Penjor being staged      
Note the bamboo scaffold that holds the penjor off the ground, ready for being raised into its final position.
 
Penjor being staged      
Note the bamboo scaffold that holds the penjor off the ground, ready for being raised into its final position.
 
https://jamesgaston.ca/645
 
 

Odds and Ends, Mostly Birds

 
April 4, 2017 Apr 4, 2017   XC 50-230, XF 16/1.4, Ubud
 
 

Even with the doors and windows closed (I've succumbed to running the bedroom's air con) the house is permeated by the sounds of bullfrogs, birds, and insects. It's a bloody symphony out there.

 
 
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Eggs for breakfast      
 
Eggs for breakfast      
 
Eggs for breakfast      
 
Colour-coded currency      
The red bill in the upper left is a little over $10 Canadian. I don't know the colour of the million bill.
 
Colour-coded currency      
The red bill in the upper left is a little over $10 Canadian. I don't know the colour of the million bill.
 
Colour-coded currency      
The red bill in the upper left is a little over $10 Canadian. I don't know the colour of the million bill.
 
A festive street      
 
A festive street      
 
A festive street      
 
1 BTC = 14,923,633 IDR      
 
1 BTC = 14,923,633 IDR      
 
1 BTC = 14,923,633 IDR      
 
Hmmm      
I've no idea why the shrine needs a ramp. So the cat can go up?
 
Hmmm      
I've no idea why the shrine needs a ramp. So the cat can go up?
 
Hmmm      
I've no idea why the shrine needs a ramp. So the cat can go up?
 
Positioning a pole      
 
Positioning a pole      
 
Positioning a pole      
 
I see many of this bird      
 
I see many of this bird      
 
I see many of this bird      
 
Bird family      
I was just about back at the house when I encountered this chicken family out for a walk. There is no shortage of chickens and roosters in Ubud.
 
Bird family      
I was just about back at the house when I encountered this chicken family out for a walk. There is no shortage of chickens and roosters in Ubud.
 
Bird family      
I was just about back at the house when I encountered this chicken family out for a walk. There is no shortage of chickens and roosters in Ubud.
 
Bird in flight      
I should have used a faster shutter as the bird is blurry. I've plenty of ISO to spare. Sigh. Like I said, it takes practice to catch these and do it well.
 
Bird in flight      
I should have used a faster shutter as the bird is blurry. I've plenty of ISO to spare. Sigh. Like I said, it takes practice to catch these and do it well.
 
Bird in flight      
I should have used a faster shutter as the bird is blurry. I've plenty of ISO to spare. Sigh. Like I said, it takes practice to catch these and do it well.
 
https://jamesgaston.ca/646
 
 

Movement

 
April 8, 2017 Apr 8, 2017   XF 16/1.4, Ubud
 
 
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Ogoh-ogoh team in motion      
 
Ogoh-ogoh team in motion      
 
Ogoh-ogoh team in motion      
 

I took this shot in dead darkness. The ogoh-ogoh teams were gathered on the soccer field after parading around town. The field is in the middle of Ubud and, like much of Bali, the roads around the field are edged with trendy cafes, healing spas, clothing stores, and artsy shops. Not much light though. Most businesses closed early for the parade or to prepare for the day of silence. There were food vendors in the field though. I bought something to eat, a triangle of bread covered with vegetables and tomato sauce which sounds a lot like pizza but he didn't call it that. It was a like a soft pizza. Once I ate I wandered the field, photographing in the dark, hoping to get something of interest. In fact, I got several.

I am happy that this captures for me some nice movement. But I also wonder if it can have the same feel without the actual experience?

 
 
https://jamesgaston.ca/650
 
 

Equinox celebration

 
March 22, 2018 Mar 22, 2018   Friends, Vancouver Isl, XF 16/1.4
 
 

We gathered Tuesday evening to celebrate the equinox. We do this twice a year, always at the same location, where the Jordan River empties into the Pacific.

 
 
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Vernal (Spring) equinox, Jordan River      
 
Vernal (Spring) equinox, Jordan River      
 
Vernal (Spring) equinox, Jordan River      
 
https://jamesgaston.ca/896
 
 

Spring swap

 
April 19, 2018 Apr 19, 2018   MINI, Cars, XF 16/1.4
 
 

Today, in anticipation of sunnier weather, I swapped the winter wheels off the Mini for summer wheels. Mind you, I'd be happy to run the winters all year. This is Canada after all. But I figure that since I own the summer set might as well spread out the wear. And the summers look better.

While I've recently dusted off the Nikon for some real estate shots, the summer wheel below was shot with the Fuji. The Nikon wins for sheer pixels - you can crop till the cows come home. But the Fuji's draw is this lens. When I shot Nikon DX my favorite lens was the 17-55 at 17. On FX it's the 24-120 on 24. This Fuji 16 is about the same field of view and it's faster, though it lacks all the other focal lengths the zooms offer. That is a negative. But: the 16 is almost as close-focus as a macro, it's a 1.4, and it's my favorite focal length.

 
 
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MINI spring wheels      
 
MINI spring wheels      
 
MINI spring wheels      
 
https://jamesgaston.ca/903
 
 

As Canadian as ...

 
June 12, 2018 Jun 12, 2018   Canada, Humor, XF 16/1.4
 
 

As Canadian as can be expected under the circumstances. The Canadian equivalent of "As American as apple pie" according to The Guardian.

 
 
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Basil harvested for pesto      

I harvested a bunch of basil today, the plants were getting leggy and some were about to bloom. I cleared eighteen cups of leaves and I made a lot of pesto.

 
Basil harvested for pesto      

I harvested a bunch of basil today, the plants were getting leggy and some were about to bloom. I cleared eighteen cups of leaves and I made a lot of pesto.

 
Basil harvested for pesto      

I harvested a bunch of basil today, the plants were getting leggy and some were about to bloom. I cleared eighteen cups of leaves and I made a lot of pesto.

 
https://jamesgaston.ca/961
 
 

Their pink, congested cheeks

 
July 27, 2018 Jul 27, 2018   Proust, Gardening, Books, XF 16/1.4
 
 
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Fuchsia      
 
Fuchsia      
 
Fuchsia      
 

There's a giant fuchsia next to the greenhouse, just outside the fence. It winters in the greenhouse but come spring it's carried by cart to a prominent position, near the front door. It's vulnerable situated here outside the deer fence, and since it's covered with flowers it should be attracting deer, but it doesn't; perhaps it's the dog who likes to bark at all things animal, even the birds flying overhead.

Speaking of fuchsias, Proust mentions the flower (a purple one, mine is more light pink) while he is in the midst of a description of the town of Chambray, a discussion that focuses on the church and the steeple of Saint-Hilaire. I like this sentence, and I include it to contrast the Moncrieff translation and the more recent Davis translation.

In vain might Mme. Loiseau deck her window-sills with fuchsias, which developed the bad habit of letting their branches trail at all times and in all directions, head downwards, and whose flowers had no more important business, when they were big enough to taste the joys of life, than to go and cool their purple, congested cheeks against the dark front of the church; to me such conduct sanctified the fuchsias not at all; between the flowers and the blackened stones towards which they leaned, if my eyes could discern no interval, my mind preserved the impression of an abyss. Swann's Way, C. K. Scott Moncrieff translation

Even though Mme Loiseau might have at her window fuchsias which developed the bad habit of forever allowing their branches to run all over with heads lowered, and whose flowers had no business more pressing, when they were large enough, than to go and cool their flushed, violet cheeks against the dark front of the church, for me the fuchsias did not for this reason become holy; between the flowers and the blackened stone against which they leaned, if my eyes perceived no interval, my mind reserved an abyss. The Way by Swann's, Lydia Davis translation

 
 
https://jamesgaston.ca/1012
 
 

Echinacea

 
July 28, 2018 Jul 28, 2018   Flower, XF 16/1.4
 
 
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Echinacea      
 
Echinacea      
 
Echinacea      
 

 
 
https://jamesgaston.ca/1025
 
 

More pesto on the way

 
August 9, 2018 Aug 9, 2018   Gardening, XF 16/1.4
 
 
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The last basil of the season      
 
The last basil of the season      
 
The last basil of the season      
 

 
 
https://jamesgaston.ca/1052
 
 

Apocalyptic

 
August 20, 2018 Aug 20, 2018   Vancouver Isl, XF 16/1.4
 
 
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The view from here      
 
The view from here      
 
The view from here      
 

Well no my life isn't really endangered, it's just the opaque grey sky and the smoky still air feel like the run up to some horror movie story.

 
 
https://jamesgaston.ca/1060
 
 

Biscotti

 
October 5, 2018 Oct 5, 2018   Cooking, XF 16/1.4
 
 
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Biscotti      
 
Biscotti      
 
Biscotti      
 

I tried a new recipe for biscotti and they turned out really well. Since I'm the only one in the house who likes chocolate I've the burden of eating them so I freeze them. And what do you know, they get better over time. The recipe is in the Times and it's called Union Square Cafe Chocolate Biscotti.

 
 
https://jamesgaston.ca/1129