Jungle Fever!


a few more pics from my rides in the hills

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Found A New Setting On My Camera


photos are much better! Don’t have to process them in any way. Yippee. Cameras are better and cheaper than they’ve ever been.

 

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I live in Northern Thailand, and even though I’ve lived here for seven years, I haven’t grown tired of the photographic possibilities. I don’t work and I ride around on my motorcycle, which gives me plenty of opportunity to see various vistas.

Selective Focus


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I’m an enthusiastic amateur photographer, and have been for fifty years. If there’s one thing I’ve figured out, it’s that you can skip most of the stuff you see, take a carefully selected shot or two, and make the whole place look a lot more interesting that it would be if you were slogging through there in real time, looking at everything.

Because I grew up in the American Midwest, I enjoy the relative novelty of tropical landscapes. In fact, in the time I have left on this planet, I don’t think I’ll ever quite get used to the flora here. There is no dead season here where everything dies back waiting for spring, though if ever there was such a time here, it’s now. We’re two-thirds of the way through dry season, and the air is smoky from burning going on in the hills. I eagerly await a return to lushness, but realize I will have to wait at least a couple of months until the rains return and the vegetation race begins again.

The only advantage I can see to this time of year is you don’t have to bring a raincoat, and you can see through the places that will be a green wall once the rains begin.

Here are three photos from my scooter ride yesterday, when I stopped by a real estate development/golf course not far from our home that I had yet to explore.  Even though there are funky places nearby this development, I chose to take pictures of the vistas that conform to my idea of beauty. That’s what photographers have been doing ever since cameras were invented.

 

Let Somebody Else Worry About It


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I find myself habitually wondering if I should come up with a way to make money. I’m sixty-five years old, comfortably retired on social security and living in a place where even that income is more than enough. Being a foreigner, I can’t own land, but yet I am bothered by the idea that I should hurry up and buy some land and build a house, before prices rise.

This is surely nothing more than habitual thinking left over from when I lived in America, when I always felt poor, and worried that what little I had would soon be taken from me.

To counter these nagging thoughts, I merely tell myself “not today.” If becoming a land baron would really make me happier, then some opportunity will surely come along to make that possible. If not, then it simply was not meant to be, which is just fine with me, as I enjoy the relative simplicity of renting our little house and having as few responsibilities as possible.

If by some fluke of fate I do end up with more money than I need, then I will either have to give it away or start some charitable project, which I would then be forced to administer. No, let Bill Gates and Warren Buffett worry about those things. Today I’m quite proud of myself for having figured out how to reset the settings on my complicated camera to what they were before I toyed with them and messed them up. It is an amazing instrument and the pictures I took with it are unimaginably sharp. In fact here are a few. They are of trees along a stretch or road that takes off from near my house and climbs a nearby mountain.

I have heard that a rich man from Bangkok owns all this land, and I wish him well in all his endeavors. I hope he doesn’t sell the land to someone who will cut the trees down in order to make some sort of ugly resort, but if he does, I’m willing to focus my camera on other trees, for there are plenty around here to be photographed.

What Do You Do, Anyway?


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The real answer most of the time would be “wait for guidance,” or maybe “seek inspiration.” In order to create an artistic product, you have to first of all make yourself available.  If you’re a writer, you have to stop scrolling through Facebook long enough to perhaps allow something bubble up inside you. If you’re a photographer, you have to take the camera out of its case and point it at things.

When you have little you have to do in order to exist, it puts you in a weird space. Instead of having a list of obligations to be met, and ticking them off as you meet them, you simply exist. You wait until you decide what it is you want to do and then even then you may not do it. You may simply choose to wait even longer.

When I was younger, I was terrified of being bored. If something promised to take a long amount of sustained attention, I would avoid it if I could. Waiting in a doctor’s office was agony, so was standing in line at the Department of Motor Vehicles.

My mother, a retired schoolteacher, would sometimes fly to see her children, and she always brought a book with her. If there were a four hour layover between flights, she didn’t mind, because she had her book. I remember being in awe of her ability of simply accept such inconvenience. Now that I am the age she was then, I can imagine it all too well. There are many things that no longer interest me.  Shopping is a bore. I would rather be hospitalized than go to a nightclub and watch live music. I no longer drink or smoke, and I’m not living under the delusion that young women may suddenly find me interesting.

So bring it on! Boredom is OK!

the author reading this piece can be found by clicking here