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June 17, 2005

Bylakuppe Tibetan Settlement - Painting Monk

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CameraKonica Minolta 7d
LensTameron SP 28-200mm f/2.8 @ 135mm
Shutter / Aperture1/160s / f/4.5
ISO100

The Dalai Lama happened to be present while were touring Bylakuppe. Monks were busy putting the finishing touches on the new temple and painting every other surface that needed paint.

I could tell that some of the monks were sick of the tourists and their cameras. I actually got a little bit of a sneer from this fellow. But you know, I don't blame him.

I think a lot of tourists view Tibetan Buddhism as a lot of smells and bells set in a fantasy world without really grasping what is going on at all. I cannot say I have the deepest of understandings of the religion but I could see how this could get on my nerves. I thought about this at the time, too, but this didn't stop me from taking the picture anyway. I guess that makes me a bad person...

...or maybe I am just following my path.

 

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June 15, 2005

Bylakuppe Tibetan Settlement - The New Temple Zongkar Choede

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CameraKonica Minolta 7d
LensTameron SP 28-200mm f/2.8
Shutter / Aperture1/300s / f/10
ISO100

This is a side shot of the Zongkar Choede temple at the Bylakuppe Tibetan Settlement in the Indian State of Karnataka. To my eye it looks like the color palatte is straight out of Disneyland.

I have never seen more Westerners in one spot in all of India at any of the other tourists spots, exclusive of the Taj Mahal, than at this Tibetan settlement. This goes to show you that Westerners just love Tibetan Buddhism.

The funny thing is, about one month after returing to the United States some friends and I went to the Mall of America (about 10 minutes from my house) to perform some routine shopping. There we saw monks from this very same settlement creating a sand mandala in one of the rotunda. There was plenty of literature saying, "please donate alms to us for our children's settlement in Bylakuppe," and a large container to drop envelopes of cash into it.

I am sure that I did not nor understand the complete picture while I toured the settlement but relative to almost anywhere else I was in India, Bylakuppe's peoples looked to be well cared for and in a fine state. With all the huge new structures sporting fresh paint and gold leaf I am not sure if they needed any money from me. Sure was fun to visit though!

 

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Betel Nut Worker's Line - Child of the Line

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CameraKonica Minolta 7d
LensTameron SP 28-200mm f/2.8 @ 100mm
Shutter / Aperture1/300s / f/5.6
ISO100

It was probably in the low 30's °C (in the upper eighties °F) and I couldn't believe that they had this kid in a polar-fleece jacket. I am sure they were just trying to prevent the little guy from catching cold in those harsh South-Indian winters.

For the longest time this guy would not look at me. I think he was scared of the strange looking foreigners. After I interacted with the women in the line and stayed a bit he grew a bit more comfortable and I was able to take this picture. It would be hard to come to work with mom every day. Why couldn't she peel something I can eat instead of just betel nuts?

 

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June 14, 2005

Betel Nut Worker's Line - The Divider Divided

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CameraKonica Minolta 7d
LensTameron SP 28-200mm f/2.8 @ 35mm
Shutter / Aperture1/250s / f/4.5
ISO100

My apologies for not writing annotations for the past several days. I was out of town in Milwaukee attending a wedding and I didn't have time to update the blog as I would have wished. It's quite the commitment to try and update this daily! I will try to at least at some short annotations to the previous photos so I can try and provide a better sense of context.

After the nuts were peeled by the line of women the finished nuts all went to this man for dividing. He seemed to be the one running the show. Our approach to the operation was cleared by him and he was the one that nodded when I asked if I could take photos.

He gets to sit in the shade.

 

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June 13, 2005

Betel Nut Worker's Line - Peeling II

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CameraKonica Minolta 7d
LensTameron SP 28-200mm f/2.8
Shutter / Aperture1/125s / f/6.3
ISO100
 

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June 12, 2005

Aliens?

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CameraKonica Minolta 7d
LensMinolta 50mm f/1.4
Shutter / Aperture1/125s / f/4
ISO100

Forgive me. I flowered.

 

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June 11, 2005

Walker In the Morning - Color

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CameraKonica Minolta 7d
LensSigma 15mm f/3.5
Shutter / Aperture1/6s / f/11
ISO / Metering Mode100 / Spot

This image is the color version of this image. Which do you like?

 

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June 10, 2005

Betel Nut Worker's Line - Peeling I

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CameraKonica Minolta 7d
LensMinolta 50mm f/1.4
Shutter / Aperture1/250s / f/8
ISO100
 

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June 7, 2005

Betel Nut Worker's Line

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CameraKonica Minolta 7d
LensTameron SP 28-200mm f/2.8 @ 28mm
Shutter / Aperture1/400s / f/5.6
ISO100

Using the same principal and agreement I had between Jim and myself as with the cane workers we had met earlier that morning, we had the car pulled over again when we saw a farm house and these colorful women shelling betel nuts.

The betel nut is actually properly named the areca nut. The misnomer stems from the practice of curing, chopping, and rolling the nuts with sweetening agents and spices in betel leaf&emdash;called pan in India&emdashwhich is chewed to a mash and used as a refreshing stimulant.

This shot is just a tad over exposed. It was tremendously bright that day. I don't know how those women can sit in the sun all day long!

 

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June 6, 2005

Coconut Water, Roadside Refreshment

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CameraKonica Minolta 7d
LensTameron SP 28-200mm f/2.8 @ 28mm
Shutter / Aperture1/125s / f/5.6
ISO100

Nothing is more refreshing after a day in the Indian sunshine than a freshly sliced open coconut water. Ubiquitously found in many tropical places around the globe, the coconut water man pushing his bicycle heavy with bunches of sweet fruits is a welcome sight for a person with a dry throat. At only 5 rupees (about US$0.10), sterile and delicious, it really cannot be beat!

My favorite part of the entire process is when you finish drinking the juice the man hacks the nut apart for you, cutting and separating a sliver of the husk for you to scoop out the jelly-like insides. It's like a banquet served in courses, each portion of be savored individually.

Coconut Spash 100% Crop

Certainly if you go out and take enough pictures you will experience what I call, "the cliffhanger moment." It's that moment when press the shutter release and the mirror flips up and cuts you off from the rest of the world. The bottom falls out of your stomach, your heart quickens, and your brain glows warmly because you know your timing was right. It is a mixture of self-affirmation and dead fear that something was set incorrectly not only to cheat you out of the shot but from having seen it and experienced whatever it was before you with your own eyes.

In the olden days, you'd have to either laboriously process film and paper in a darkroom or laboriously anticipate prints from the local lab in order to see if that moment of glandular excitement was worth all the hub-bub. Now-a-days it is as easy as looking at your camera back. Reward or pain on an on-demand basis. Ah the joys of the digital age!

I remember clearly snapping this shot and thinking as the shutter was firing, "oh man it would be great if this turns out!" A fraction of a second later those little bits of coconut husk and good portion of coconut water covered me and my camera. It may have cooled me down a bit but I was elated when I checked the focus on the shot and saw that everything came out as well as it did.

 

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