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where are the photos?
singapore sunset

I am still finding it difficult to incorporate photos into my writing. Writing in general is a hobby of mine. Even for short emails i can sink hours into composition because i like the process of turning things over in my mind and seeking language that fits. I wouldn't consider myself a particularly good writer, but i am at least a mindful one.

What i am not, is a photographer. I don't really enjoy spending hours perfecting my photos. When there are so many people out there for whom photography is a hobby, and who are traveling to the exact same places i am, it feels gratuitous for me to post my dumb little happy snaps. I am primarily moved to take a picture when joy catches in my chest, but invariably the result doesn't do justice to the beauty of the moment. How could it? My camera phone is a cheap tool, whereas my vision is a spectacular mess of biological input twisted through a lifetime of memories and experiences.

Here is a great example. I loved my time in Kaohsiung. It felt like a big city, it was dirty and bustling and filled with smells and sights round every corner. I don't have any photos that capture that. Here are some giant teddy bears i found sitting on a junction box in a back alley after the rain.

When the sun goes down here, there is a really weird orangey light that i have rarely seen in other countries. I am not sure if it is a result of air pollution or the ubiquitous cloud cover or just some way that the local plants and architecture react to the golden hour. Here is a patch of pineapple bushes and banana trees out near the badlands during that time.

Something i haven't written about is the quirks of plumbing here. I think tap water is potable in most cities, but there is still a culture of drinking bottled water. One unusual aspect of this is the water stores where people go to fill up five gallon jugs. This one has robot dispensers.

Does this picture capture my elation at finally seeing some big sky again? You tell me.

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I really get what you're saying about photos -- and I'm probably more of a photographer than a writer. (and that's not saying much! LOL) I have one of those "fancy DSLR" cameras, and -- to be honest - they're not always cracked up to be what you think they will be. Bottom line: it's more about the photographer than the camera! Except for high zoom shots, I find I use my phone's camera almost as much as the DSLR now. I admit - I don't know all the settings on the DSLR, but even if I did, the human eye's ability to perceive far out does whatever any camera can do! No matter what photo I've taken, it rarely shows the wonder I felt at the time I took the photo. There are always other senses that go into remembering a sight -- hearing, smell, texture (touch). Plus -- our emotional filters and personal background -- how we perceive a certain sight -- get swirled into the mix. That doesn't easily come through the camera, either, although I have seen photos that kind of "tell a story". I think the very best photographers can give you an idea of their "stance" in their photos.

Your writing is superb. Do not sell yourself short. I admit - I often have a short attention span for "travelogues" - but your ability to describe both your surroundings and feelings make me feel I'm with you as I'm reading. I look forward to each of your entries.

My only experience with a DSLR has been with my various exes'. I found that when i took a picture with the DSLR it always come out looking better than a phone camera, though admittedly that was all 5+ years ago. Phone cameras have definitely come a long way, even in the cheap phones.

Thanks for the kind comments on my writing :) Sometimes i wonder because my audience here on LJ is so small. Mostly i just find it fun to put words to my thoughts and memories.

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