Saturday, November 27, 2010

Floating Church

This catholic church sits on a floating pontoon in Lake Tonle Sap, Cambodia and is part of an extensive floating village. One can see floating houses, floating schools, floating basketball courts, floating shops, floating crocodile farm, .... I even saw a small floating animal pen containing two pigs!! The villagers can easily move their houses from one location to another depending on the water level of the lake.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Dubai Sunset

This photograph, taken back in 2003, shows the silhouette of the Dubai skyline against a stunning sky at sunset. The tallest building back then and seen in the middle of this cityscape was the Emirates Towers Hotel. The city has grown significantly since then and now has the Burj Khalifa Tower which is currently the tallest man-made structure ever built at 828m. 

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Inside The Yurt Tent

Following on from yesterday's post with the yurt tent in Xianjiang, China here is a view inside the beautifully decorated home. Life on the Steppes can be hard: the winds blow fiercely, rain and snow in the winter months give way to often oppressive heat in the summer months. Living in such close proximity to so many animals, meanwhile, meant an equally close proximity to the waste products of those animals – that makes for a ripe and generally unpleasant smell as a constant companion. The Mongolian people who continue to live on the Steppes are hardy people indeed but they are aided by a remarkable companion – the yurt.
The yurt, otherwise known as the ger, is a felt tent that is capable of standing up to the rigours of the Steppes. Constructed of felt and wood, it is stable and solid, resistant to precipitation but capable of being opened up at several points to allow for a cooling breeze to pass through when required. The roof ring is perhaps the most important part, since this wooden construction must be well-wrought and have close fitting notches for the rafters to fit into without slipping. The rafters were originally saplings which are planted one end in the ground and the other in the designated notch in the roof ring. A variety of rafters bear the weight of the complete yurt and, should one or two break or falter, then the remaining rafters are sufficient to bear the weight. This makes the yurt very stable and, because there are no central supports or struts, the space inside is maximized. This is important because people, women especially, can spend a great deal of time inside the yurt and need space to organise their domestic activities. The rafters are further supported by a couple of wooden belly bands which curve all the way round the yurt, for additional strength.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Xinjiang Horsemen

The Mongols, Turks, Huns, Tartars and Scythians are the best known of horsemen groups that have roamed the steppes of Central Asia and the ones that were most successfully expanding beyond their native realm and impacted the worlds they touched. The Mongols created the largest empire the world have ever known.
Horseman groups originated about 2,500 years ago and continue in various forms today. Throughout their long run they have maintained many of the customs, characteristics, martial arts and methods of organization that evolved millennia ago such spending living in yurt-style tents, drinking fermented mare’s milk, fighting from horseback and creating art forms that celebrate horses and animals of the steppe.
The home range of the early horsemen, the Eurasia steppe, is vast area of land that extends from the Carpathian mountains in Hungary to eastern Mongolia. 

Want to see what it looks like inside the yurt tent then visit my blog tomorrow.

The Flaming Mountain

The Flaming Mountains (Gaochang Mountains) are barren, eroded, red sandstone hills in the Tian Shan Mountain range in the Xinjiang Autonomous Region, China. They lie near the northern rim of the Taklamakan Desert and east of the city of Turpan. Their striking gullies and trenches have been etched by years of volcanic activity that caused molten lava to course down the mountainsides, giving the mountains a flaming appearance at certain times of the day. The mountains are 98 kilometers (61 mi) long and 9 kilometers (5.6 mi) wide and cross the Tarim Basin from east to west. The average height of the Flaming Mountains is 500 meters (1640 ft). The mountain climate is harsh and the temperature is extremely hot in the summer, the hottest spot in China with frequent temperature reaching over 50 °C (122 °F) or higher. One of the largest thermometers in China—a popular tourist spot—is on display adjacent to the mountain, tracking the surrounding air temperature.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Sleeping Man

This man decided to lay out in the middle of the central area of Urumqi, China and take a long doze. You can tell it's a hot day as has shaded his eyes with his cap and is wearing his specially designed socks with ventilation holes!
You can see this image and many more in my newly designed website gallery.

Sunday, November 21, 2010


The Shinkansen, also known as the bullet train, is a network of high-speed railway lines in Japan operated by four Japan Railways Group companies. Starting with the 210 km/h (130 mph) Tōkaidō Shinkansen in 1964, the now 2,459 km (1,528 mi) long network has expanded to link most major cities on the islands of Honshū andKyūshū at speeds up to 300 km/h (186 mph). Test runs have reached 443 km/h (275 mph) for conventional rail in 1996, and up to a world record 581 km/h (361 mph) for maglev trainsets in 2003.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Private Dinner

This quaint restaurant in the Gion district of Kyoto next to the river offered a beautiful setting for dinner for these two ladies. The contrast of colours between the dark blue of the outside building walls and the warm yellow and orange interior lighting made for a good picture and captured a private quiet moment.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Kyoto Station

Kyoto Station is the most important transportation hub in Kyoto, Japan. It has Japan's second-largest train station building (after Nagoya Station) and is one of the country's largest buildings, incorporating a shopping mall, hotel, movie theater, Isetan department store, and several local government facilities under one 15-story roof. It also housed the Kyoto City Air Terminal until August 31, 2002.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Milford Sound

Milford Sound (Piopiotahi in Māori) is a fjord in the south west of New Zealand's South Island, within Fiordland National Park and the Te Wahipounamu World Heritage site. It has been judged the world's top travel destination in an international survey (the 2008 Travelers' Choice Destinations Awards by TripAdvisor)]and is acclaimed as New Zealand's most famous tourist destination. Rudyard Kipling had previously called it the eighth Wonder of the World

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

HighlanderImages Website Redesigned

I have done a major overhaul and redesign of my parent website including a more simplified design with a rolling photo slideshow on the main page showcasing a large selection of images from my portfolio. I will be slowly adding to this gallery over the next few weeks and months and hopefully add in either subcategories or a search engine to aid in identifying images of a particular type as the collection grows.

The gallery of photographs contains a variety of images from my portfolio which are available for purchase as prints, digital downloads or as gift items

The prints come in a large variety of sizes and printed media (glossy, matte, lustre, metallic, canvas) and can be delivered as ready to hang mounted prints on lightweight gatorboard or framed and placed in a glassless box frame. The canvas prints can be wrapped over a wooden frame or rolled.
Digital downloads of the images can be purchased either for personal or commercial use and at a variety of resolutions depending on your needs.

The gift items include books, photo stickers, photo puzzles, postcards, calendars, greeting cards, business cards, mugs, refrigerator magnets, playing cards, mouse mats, ceramic tiles, coasters, photo luggage tags, desk organisers, keepsake boxes, aprons and T-shirts.

Images purchased from my website can be used on personal or corporate websites, company brochures, marketing material or even sent as a lovely personal or corporate gift. Prints, books and gifts can be shipped anywhere worldwide.

I have also included direct links from my HighlanderImages website to my HighlanderImages blog here and vice versa allowing easy sharing of key information between both sites.

The website is hosted by SmugMug and under the Pro Membership I have the capability to customise the base site with CSS code and java scripts to design the site to my specifications and design. I am also able to use my own custom domain name and setup a comprehensive pricing model for all the products.

I would welcome any feedback on the site as I am still beta testing the new design and functionality and hopefully there will be minimal bugs and errors.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Paddy Workers

These two lovely ladies were working in the rice paddy fields on the outskirts of Ubud when we walked by. The colourful batik costume of the seated lady stood out in contrast to all the greens of the surrounding grass and jungle. But it was their serene smiles that really shone out so maybe something to be said for the simple Balinese life that we can all learn from.

Balinese Coffee

Balinese coffee is found mainly in the mountain areas of Bali. I shot this image at a small farm on the road up to the Mount Batur volcano and you can see the coffee beans being roasted in the traditional way over a log fire. There are two types of coffee grown in Bali; Arabica Coffee and Robusta Coffee. Many people living in the countryside in Bali will have a small coffee plantation in their back yard and make the coffee powder in the traditional way as you see here. Sometimes they mix the coffee powder with their rice.

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Fruit Seller

A colourful array of local fruits being sold in the local market in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia. This was midday on a very hot day so the lighting conditions were difficult. By ducking under the awning over the stall I managed to capture this image with the light dappling through the straw roof onto the lady's outfit.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Batak Christian Church, Lake Toba

The area around Lake Toba in North Sumatra, Indonesia is predominantly Christian rather than Muslim and you can see many lovely Batak Christian churches on the banks of the lake like this one.
The Huria Kristen Batak Protestan (HKBP), which translates into the Batak Christian Protestant Church, is the largest Protestant denomination in Indonesia, with a baptized membership of 4,178,256. Its present leader is the Ephorus (or Bishop) Rev. Dr.Bonar Napitupulu.
It was founded in the 1880s by Dr. Ludwig Ingwer Nommensen, of the German Rhenish Missionary Society, who worked in the District of Tapanuli in Tarutung, North Sumatra. In 1930 it became the first independent self-governing Christian body in what was then the Dutch East Indies. Tarutung and the Batak region remain the stronghold for the HKBP in the mainly Muslim nation of Indonesia, although worshippers are found throughout the country.
Batak is a collective term used to identify a number of ethnic groups found in North Sumatra, Indonesia. The term is used to include the Toba, Karo, Pakpak, Simalungun, Angkola and Mandailing, each of which are distinct but related groups with distinct, albeit related, languages and customs. Occasionally it is also used to include the Alas people of Central/Southern Aceh, but usually only as relates to language groups.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Terraced Rice Paddies at Lake Toba

Terraced rice paddies on the side of Lake Toba in North Sumatra, Indonesia. The lake is the flooded crater of an ancient volcano and the surrounding land now provides fertile volcanic earth for the growth of rice and other staples.
In agriculture, a terrace is designed to slow or prevent the rapid run-off of irrigation water. Often such land is formed into multiple terraces, giving a stepped appearance. The human landscapes of rice cultivation in terraces that follow the natural contours of the escarpments like contour plowing is a classic feature of the island of Bali, the Banaue Rice Terraces in Ifugao, Philippines

Friday, November 12, 2010

Rex Hotel

Built in 1927 for M. Bainier during French colonial rule in Vietnam, the building started out as a two story auto dealership/garage complex called Bainier Auto Hall. The building showcased Citroen and other European cars. From 1959 to 1975, Mr. and Mrs.Ung Thi renovated the building into a 100 room Rex Complex hotel with three cinemas, a cafeteria, a dance hall and a library.
The very first guests in the Rex Hotel in December 1961, while it was still in its final construction phase, were the 400 U.S.Army soldiers, 200 each of the 57th Transportation Company from Fort Lewis, Tacoma, Wa. and of the 8th Transportation Company from Fort Bragg, N.C.They were the first company strength units to arrive in Saigon, each with 20 H-21 twin rotor "Shawnee" helicopters, on the USNS 'CORE" on December 11, 1961. They were billeted at the Rex for a week or so while their tents were being set up, at Tan Son Nhut, Saigon for the 57th and in Qui Nhon for the 8th. The Thanksgiving dinner, a few weeks after the actual holiday, was cooked in the field kitchens of the men on the roof top of the Rex.
It was made famous and popular by American troops during the Vietnam War when its conference room hosted a daily press conference, by the MACV, derisively named The Five O'Clock Follies by cynical journalists who found the optimism of leading US military officers to be misguided. Its rooftop bar was a well known hangout spot for military officials and war correspondents.

Loch Maree

Loch Maree (loch Ma-ruibhe in Gaelic) is a loch in Wester Ross in the Northwest Highlands of Scotland. At 20 km (12 mi) long and with a maximum width of 4 km (2.5 mi), it is the fourth largest freshwater loch in Scotland; it is the largest north of Loch Ness. Its surface area is 28.6 km2 (11.0 sq mi).
Loch Maree contains five large wooded islands and over 25 smaller ones, many of which have their own lakelets. Isle Maree has the remains of a chapel, graveyard, holy well, and holy tree on it, believed to be the 8th century hermitage of Saint Máel Ruba (d. 722), who founded the monastery of Applecross in 672. The same island also contains ancient stands of oak and holly which have been linked with ancient Scottish druids. The waters of the loch were also thought to have curative effects, with being submerged in the water thought to be a cure for lunacy. All of the loch's islands are conservation areas. The largest is the only island in Britain to contain a loch that itself contains an island.
Like Loch Ness, Loch Maree has its own monster in the form of the muc-sheilch. The loch is often referred to as the most beautiful loch in the Highlands.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Jolly Coppers on Parade

Looking back at some images I shot at a large demonstration in Budapest, Hungary I couldn't help thinking about the old Randy Newman song "Jolly Coppers on Parade".

They're comin' down the street.
They're comin' right down the middle.
Look how they keep the beat!
Why, they're as blue as the ocean!

How the sun shines down!
How their feet hardly touch the ground!
Jolly coppers on parade.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Ipoh Alley

Some of the back lanes and alleys of Ipoh still have some wonderful examples of traditional shophouse architecture that is sadly rapidly disappearing. Although rundown and dilapidated these streets still exhibit some of the nostalgic character of bygone days that cannot be matched by the modern buildings of today.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Puri Saren

Puri Saren is the name of Ubud Palace, the Kings of Ubud’s Compound strategically located in the center of Ubud Village. This place is previously used as governance center in the empire era. Ubud Palace is one of places to visit in Bali which is a lot of visited by foreign and domestic tourist everyday because this place is featured by the unique buildings and fully ornamented by Balinese traditional interiors. Each building is designed by Balinese traditional architectures from the entrance gate to the single corner. The lush tropical garden with beautiful flower follows the empire nuance and creates the peaceful atmosphere. From the late 19th century to the mid-1940s, this was the seat for the local ruler. It's a series of elegant and well-preserved pavilions, many decorated incongruously with colonial-era European furniture. Visitors are welcome to stroll around, though no signs explain what you are looking at. Evening dance performances are held in the courtyard, by far the best and most dramatic setting for these in Ubud. Many members of the royal family still live here and if you are lucky enough one might just show you around.

Monday, November 08, 2010

The Remarkables

The Remarkables are the name of the mountains surrounding Lake Wakatipu just outside Queenstown in the South Island, New Zealand. Reading Trey Ratcliff's recent blog inspired me to go back through my New Zealand images and rediscovered this image.
This shot was taken from the top of Bob's Peak overlooking Queenstown which you can easily get to using the Skyline gondola.

Japanese Tricked-Out Truck

Some of the large trucks I saw in Japan were just immaculate. These trucks had all the customised extras as well as being clean and shiny. The owners were definitely very proud of their trucks and obviously spent a lot of time ensuring that they looked their best.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Fushimi Shrine

Located about 2km south-east of Kyoto station, Fushimi Inari Taisha is without doubt the largest and most impressive shrine in Japan.
Fushimi Inari Taisha was founded in the 8th century by the Hata family and is the head shrine of no less than 30,000 branch shrines nationwide. The sancturay is composed of several buildings, including the Sakura-mon Gate and Go-Honden Shrine, followed by a 4km tunnel made of thousands of red gates making their way through the woods.
The 4km walk through the torii tunnel to the top of the Inari-san hill can be a strenuous one, especially in the heat of summer. That does not discourage some joggers to use the place as a training ground, at the stupefaction of tourists. Two large ponds and several small waterfalls can be found in the maze of torii, depending on which path you decide to follow.
Statues of menacing foxes, said to have the magic power to take possession of human spirits, alternate with torii gates. The fox is however reverred to as the god of harvest (rice and other cereals), and is often seen carrying a key in his mouth, which is for the rice granary. Foxes are said to love rice balls rolled in fried tofu, which are called for that reason "o-inari-san". They can be purchased in about any sushi shops.
Visiting Fushimi Inari Taisha in the late afternoon as the sun slowly sets can be a thrilling experience and is definitely recommended for those believing in the "spirits of the forest".

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Kyoto Kimonos

Walking down from the Kiyomizu-dera Temple through the cobbled streets of the Ninenzaka preservation district I saw a wonderful trio of kimonos. These colourful costumes are still worn quite frequently by the ladies in Kyoto and certainly add to the authenticity of your visit through these stone-paved streets. 

The Ninenzaka district, like Gion to the west, is an architecturally protected 'preservation area,' with many historic structures, such as the historic house of painter Yumeji Takehisa (1884 to 1934). The area is also known as "Nene-no-saka" after Kita-no-Mandokoro, the wife of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, who walked this route to visit the Kodaiji Temple. The narrow winding streets of Nene-no-saka are predominantly for foot traffic, and the streets are lined with arts-and-crafts shops, cafes, and food concession stalls.

Along the narrow lanes of the Sannenzaka Slope, there are many shops that sell an indigenous 'Kyo-yaki-style' ceramic pottery from this area, called kiyomizu-yaki

Friday, November 05, 2010

Cosy Bar at the Hotel De Tuilerlieen

Hotel De Tuilerlieen is located in a central location in Brugge right next to the canal so was a great base from which to explore the medieval city of Brugge. The hotel is a member of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World which has always been a great recommendation in my experience .... and this was certainly no exception. A very comfortable, spacious and well appointed room overlooking the canal and the cosy bar as shown here was a welcome refuge after a hard day of tourism.
I'm not sure who the people were in the two paintings on the wall .... the barmaid in the bar didn't seem to know .... but they sure don't look too happy for whatever reason..... I was however .... as I supped on a large gin and tonic!

Red Hydrant in Red China

This red fire hydrant stood out in the streets of Guangzhou, China and the post processing carried out on the image has enhanced that effect even further. The image was transformed to black and white except the red colour.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

House of Bones

Casa Batlló is a building restored by Antoni Gaudí and Josep Maria Jujol, built in the year 1877 and remodelled in the years 1904–1906; located at 43, Passeig de Gràcia (passeig is Catalan for promenade or avenue), part of the Illa de la Discòrdia in the Eixample district of Barcelona, Spain.
The local name for the building is Casa dels ossos (House of Bones), and indeed it does have a visceral, skeletal organic quality. It was originally designed for a middle-class family and situated in a prosperous district of Barcelona.
The building looks very remarkable — like everything Gaudí designed, only identifiable as Modernisme or Art Nouveau in the broadest sense. The ground floor, in particular, is rather astonishing with tracery, irregular oval windows and flowing sculpted stone work.
It seems that the goal of the designer was to avoid straight lines completely. Much of the façade is decorated with a mosaic made of broken ceramic tiles (trencadís) that starts in shades of golden orange moving into greenish blues. The roof isarched and was likened to the back of a dragon or dinosaur. A common theory about the building is that the rounded feature to the left of centre, terminating at the top in a turret and cross, represents the sword of Saint George (patron saint of Catalonia), which has been plunged into the back of the dragon.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Through The Window

A number of components bring this image to what I call a pleasing conclusion. The window provides an excellent frame for the photograph, and this can be effective whether looking out through a window to a magnificent view or in this case looking in through a window. 
I liked the wonderful warm earth colours of the window frame and the complementary colours of the internal walls which add depth and texture to this image. 
The single light bulb as the only source of illumination also made this shot a little more challenging.
Then there is also the voyeuristic aspect of looking in on someone or some activity inside the window. Perhaps we can see a moment of contemplation displayed by the cook inside this kitchen. Maybe she is thinking up the next exotic dish to cook or more probably wondering when the strange foreigner with the large camera is going to stop taking photographs.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb

A popular way to celebrate a birthday, anniversary or any other celebration is to do something a little extreme like skydiving, bungee jumping or climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge. This shot puts the scale of the bridge in perspective with the climbers silhouetted against the background sky. 

Monday, November 01, 2010

Burj Al Arab Luxury Hotel

The Burj Al Arab (Arabic "Arab Tower", also known as "Arab Sail") is a five-star hotel located in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. At 321 m (1,053 ft), it is the fourth tallest hotel in the world. The Burj Al Arab stands on an artificial island 280 m (920 ft) out fromJumeirah beach, and is connected to the mainland by a private curving bridge. It is an iconic structure whose shape mimics the sail of a ship.

The beachfront area where the Burj Al Arab and Jumeirah Beach Hotel are located was previously called Chicago Beach. The hotel is located on an island of reclaimed land offshore of the beach of the former Chicago Beach Hotel. The locale's name had its origins in the Chicago Bridge & Iron Company which at one time welded giant floating oil storage tankers on the site.
The old name persisted after the old Hotel was demolished in 1997. Dubai Chicago Beach Hotel remained as the Public Project Name for the construction phase of the Burj Al Arab Hotel until Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum announced the new name.