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Art Wolfe’s blog

April 10, 2013

I am extremely honored to be featured on Art Wolfe’s blog today. Art’s work has always been an inspiration to me and without him my photography wouldn’t be what it is today.

So I invite you to head on over and check out his blog here.

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How to pack a hot air balloon….

April 1, 2013

On my recent trip to Myanmar I experienced an amazing hot air balloon flight at sunrise over the ancient city of Bagan.

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What fascinated me afterward is just how quickly the balloons were deflated and packed (it took only about 20 minutes). So here is how it gets done….

After a picture-perfect landing

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you have the ground crew squeeze out all the air out of the balloon….

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squeeze really hard…..

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fold it all together…..

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but wait, this will never fit!

This requires a bit of extra effort ūüôā

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there you go – all packed up!

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For more Myanmar images feel free to visit my website at http://www.beatedalbecphotography.com

The Maeklong railroad market

March 8, 2013

During my visit to Bangkok I had the opportunity to visit the Maeklong railroad market, not far from Bangkok. This market is probably unique in the world. Vendors have their produce on both sides of the tracks and when the train passes through (which happens a few times each day) all they do is fold back the awnings and move a few baskets. When I arrived with my friend Gavriel Jecan, the train was already in the station and the tracks were prepared for it. As it was passing through vendors were rebuilding their stands right behind it Рall in a matter of a couple of minutes. Before you knew it, it looked as if no train ever passed by.

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The year in review

December 29, 2012

2012 started off with a bang. I had submitted four images to the Greater Lynn Interational, had all four accepted, received the “Children of the World” medal for my image of a young monk in a monastery in Yangon

monk studying

and a FIAP Honor Award for my Bison at Grand Prismatic.

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The “Children of the World” award surprised¬† me even more, since prior to my trip to Myanmar, I had extremely little experience in people/cultural photography.¬† It made this recognition even more special.

During the month of April three of my images where accepted and displayed in a juried exhibition at the Plymouth Center for the Arts, in Plymouth, MA. It was a wonderful collection of pictures of New England Photographers.

The end of June I headed to Maine with my friend Vicki Braden to photograph puffins on Machias Seal Island. On the way to Cutler, ME, we stopped in Acadia National Park for 2 days. Thanks to extensive rainfalls that week, the water in the streams was at a very high level and provided some nice photo opportunities at Cobblestone Bridge

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and Waterfall Bridge.

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Thankfully the rain stopped when we reached Cutler and our trip to Machias Seal Island was a go! We spent 2 wonderful days with the puffins and razorbills on and around the island.

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In October I headed to the Pacific Northwest together with my mom, who was visiting from Germany. We did a 10 day whirlwind tour, starting in Seattle, on to Mt. Rainier, the Painted Hills (where we were accompanied again by my friend Vicki) then headed to the Columbia River Gorge and returned via the Olympic Peninsula to Seattle, where we finished the trip with a wonderful dinner with friends.

The Pacific Northwest had experiened an unusual dry summer and even during the first 8 days of our trip we had bright glaring sun – not exactly photography friendly. We still had a great time at the Painted Hills,

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painted hills evening web

I did manage to find a couple of waterfalls with decent waterlevels,

Punchbowl web

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and – yes, I know it has been photographed thousands of times – got my shot of the Japanese maple in the Portland Japanese Garden.

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By the time we reached the Olympic Peninsula it started to rain quite steadily which made for some nice conditions in the Hoh rainforest.

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When I returned home I learned that I was a Semi-finalist in the Nature’s Best -Windland Smith Rice – competition. Even so I did not make it any further in the competition it was nice to have gotten that far in such a prestigious event.

I also had a wonderful time photographing horses and dogs for friends and clients. I always feel honored if someone appreciates my photography enough to have one of my pictures hanging on their walls.

Unfortunately for the first time in 25 years I am now horseless. In November I had to send my wonderful Iberian mare into early semi-retirement due to an injury. She is now living on a farm in upstate New York and will hopefully have some beautiful foals.

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To see more of my images taken this year, please visit my website at www.beatedalbecphotography.com .You can also click on each thumbnail for a larger version of each image.

So, what is ahead for 2013? I am heading back to Myanmar in January! I can’t wait! I will first spend 2 days exploring Bangkok with photographer friend Gavriel Jecan and then I’ll have 15 great days of¬†visiting one of my favorite destinations.

Sometime in the fall I will be heading to Germany to visit family and friends and obviously photograph! In the meantime I will be exploring more of New England.

I’ll keep you posted on this blog, so stay tuned!

For all of you, I wish you a happy, healthy and peaceful New Year 2013!

An evening at Trillium Lake, Oregon

November 23, 2012

During my trip to the Columbia River Gorge I had hoped to catch a nice sunset reflection of Mt. Hood in Trillium Lake. It seemed like a calm afternoon that particular day, so I headed to the lake in plenty of time for sunset. When I arrived there was a strong breeze, the water was quite choppy and definitely no reflection. But there were some beautiful whispy clouds over the mountain in an otherwise clear sky. So I put my initial plan aside and concentrated on the clouds instead.

I had hoped that the clouds would stay for the sunset and turn to a beautiful pink, but it was not meant to be. But instead, the wind calmed down and so did the water in Trillium lake. I did get my reflection after all! And with some nice alpenglow on the mountain.  Never give up too early!

A visit to the Painted Hills, Oregon

November 16, 2012

Do you like to work with colors,¬† lines, textures? Which photographer does not?! The Painted Hills (also know as the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument) in Oregon are a great location for all of the above and they had been on my “places to go” list for quite some time.¬†¬†If you go,¬†plan on spending some time there¬† so you get to photograph the hills under different conditions.

You can find interesting details like animal tracks leading across the hills.

Or how about these dry mudballs? I  found them only  in one spot. I assume they form during the rain when dry pieces of sagebrush pick up mud and get swept down a small stream (which was now dry). They were about the size of a bowling ball.

When I was there the Sagebrush was in full bloom and provided a beautiful foreground.

And don’t stop shooting¬†after the sun goes down! The colors in the hills change dramatically in different lighting conditions and after the sun goes down it is a different look alltogether again. All the color nuances become much more obvious.

There are other interesting subjects besides the hills. This dead tree caught my eye and I managed to capture the setting sun in its branches.

The puffins of Machias Seal Island

August 10, 2012

Beginning of July I finally made a trip I had been thinking about for a long time Рa visit to Machias Seal Island to photograph Puffins.  Together with my friend Vicki Braden, who flew over from the west coast just for this, we headed out for 2 days of photographing these adorable birds.

Machias Seal Island is a 15 acre island located about 10 miles of the coast of Maine in the Bay of Fundy.  It is the largest nesting ground for puffins off the coast of Maine, but also inhabited by Razor bills, Arctic terns and Common murrs.   Only a few tour operators have a landing permit that will allow you to get on the island. I had chosen Bold Coast Charters, based in Cutler, ME.  Since landing on the island  can not be guaranteed due to weather conditions (there is no harbor) we had booked the trip 2 days in a row and were glad we did. The first day greeted us with clear blue skies, but we were informed by Captain Andy that an island landing might not be possible due to oceans swells. A one-hour boat ride brought us to the island, but as predicted, a landing would have been much too dangerous. Instead, we were split up in small groups and transferred onto a small skiff which allowed us to get closer to the birds on the water.  The birds were not afraid at all, some even seemed curious. We spent several hours in the waters around the island, photographing close-ups and trying to catch some in flight (not easy, since they are FAST!)

The next day we were elated to find out we would be able to land on the island! After the skiff dropped us off on the island we were greeted by the lighthouse keeper and a scientist (the only 2 people living on the island) and were taken to a waiting area. More opportunities for practicing flight shots! From there we were taken to our blinds. Each blind holds up to four people and we were glad we ended up with only three in ours. Four would definitely be very tight quarters! The puffins come within a foot of the blinds and actually like to walk around on top of them (which provided a rather interesting soundtrack ūüôā ). Time passed much too quickly and we had to return to our boat.

(“Honey, stop flirting with the photographer and catch some fish for dinner.”)

A few tips if you decide to go:

Book well in advance since only a limited amount of people are allowed on the island and the tours sell out quickly.

Book two days to have a better chance of an island landing.

No need for a tripod (there is really not enough room in the blinds).

Bold Coast Charter lists some local accomodations. We stayed at the Riverside Inn in Machias, a wonderful B&B. The owner is an amazing cook!

And don’t just photograph the puffins! The Razor bills are quite elegant birds!

 

And in case you were wondering: It is called Machias Seal Island – are there seals??? Yes, there are. But they are living on neighbouring Gull Island. I guess they did not get the message about the names ūüôā

 

More images can be found on my website www.beatedalbecphotography.com.

The lotus weavers of Inle lake

June 13, 2012

About 90 years ago a woman wanted to give a special present to an abbot in a nearby monastery of her village on Inle lake, Myanmar.  One day, when she plucked one of the long stemmed lotus flowers that grow in the lake, she noticed that it contains a silk-like filament. After many experiments she managed to spin these filaments into a thread and weave a robe.

This tradition of lotus weaving still exists today on Inle lake. It takes around 30000 stems to create 3 feet of fabric. The stems have to be processed within 3 days of harvest. They are cut into pieces a few inches long and the fibers are carefully extracted. Later it is spun into a thread and woven on old-fashioned wooden looms.  It is amazing to see the work that goes into creating this fabric. I compiled a short set of video clips to show you this process.

To see more images of Myanmar, head on over to my website at www.beatedalbecphotography.com

Just a short video slideshow of some Myanmar images

June 8, 2012

Just upgraded my blog to include video. I thought I’ll try it out with a slideshow of some of my Myanmar images set to music. Hope it works! Enjoy!

 

Are you thinking about going on a photo tour?

June 6, 2012

Are you thinking about going on a photo tour? If so, you might be interested in reading my guest post over on Phil McDermott’s blog. You can head over there by following this link.

I hope I am providing some helpful advice so you will have a great experience on your trip.