Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Jurong Bird Park

Jurong Bird Park is a sight to behold. We got a combined ticket for the bird park, zoo, river safari and night safari. 

Flamingos, meditating and just contemplating life..

Crested Crane - Love their pose and their crowns

Dunno why this is called the common crowned pigeon. Nothing common about it:

The beautiful hornbills. Dont miss the show each morning. It is a sight to behold and the birds actually demo how a hornbill seals his mate inside the nest.

Were these ducks?

The crazy Lory.. This one climbed on my sister and refused to leave her.

My current wall paper. Hail Google photos and the auto effects!!

Marina Bay

A walk around the pier at night.. Beautiful images

The lit up Singapore Flyer

The ever popular Marina Bay Sands:

Merlion and my first employer..
 A very serene night

I felt so safe walking around as the sun set and the city became dark. That comfort is not something that is very easy to come by in India. The clean roads (sometime even a little too much if you ask me. :)) the really preoccupied population and the crisp air stayed with me. 

Gardens by the bay

Purple is one of my favorite colors. A random picture in Gardens by the bay, flower dome: 

I tried an aerial shot from a higher level as I walked through the clouds:

A view outside gardens by the bay:

Another view in the gardens:

Singapore aquarium

Singapore aquarium is easily one of my favorite places. I really loved spending almost half a day there.

There is so much of beautiful life underwater that we take for granted and effortlessly destroy. The one thing I loved about Singapore was how they have attempted to showcase different types of life. (Aquarium, bird park, zoo, gardens by the bay etc.)

We picked up tickets to the aquarium from the airport and got it at a cheaper price than in the counter right outside. The free shuttle from the aquarium also takes us to the nearby mall from which we can get a metro to any part of the city. (We went to gardens by the bay)

Some day, I would attempt to be a diver. If i get over my fear of drowning.

Deceptively harmless - Sting ray:

I love the colors in this picture..

Spider crab.. Love the pose he strikes. 

Underwater green..

Play time

This is the new haunt of Laika. A picnic blanket I got at work. I had played tug of war with her and what you see are remnants of the bag. She was busy chewing a plastic bowl to pieces as I watched the fun. Small things..

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Cursing the rains

I love the rain. I love watching it from my window. Just for a few minutes though, I am going to curse it. Thanks to the rains and the absence of roads post the same in this beautiful city I live, I have not been able to go to the lake for the last week. My angels have been really cranky too as they want that break and that is missing now.

A picture to remind me of the place I miss.

A pilgrimage

I fell in love with the idea of Yosemite in 2012, when i first heard of the place. I managed to visit it in 2016 April. I was sitting down on a stone and having lunch. This was the view from that place. Felt very similar to sitting in a beautiful temple and having lunch after my prayers..

Part of a very famous scenic spot there (Tunnel View I think) :

This picture, just for the depth effect. I was just reading about how the depth effect was achieved in art and I found that fascinating. Photography has made so many things I now take for granted easy today. 

Play of colors

I am not really sure if I have actually posted these pictures before. Today, I was looking at some of my older trip photographs and I came across an album from April 2016 when I had gone to visit the Monterey bay aquarium. I fell in love with the jelly fish. A few pictures, taken on my then new Nexus 6p, that was recently upstaged. Watch the play of colors here.. ( I am very very fond of the color blue)

So much of beauty in a world that you can never really see. The tiniest of things can also sometimes make you realize that you are but a part of something so huge and that the world has way too many things to keep you busy and occupied. :)

Friday, August 25, 2017

Italy and her people

These two paintings fascinated me when I saw them for the first time. Later, I found out that both of them, painted by Robert (Louis Leopold Robert) were supposed to be part of a series of 4 art works the artist wanted to work on to depict Italy and her people as well as the four seasons. 

This one represents Summer (Think this was painted second) and depicts the reapers arriving. There are supposedly references made to this painting in the Count of Monte Cristo. I am quite surprised as I dont remember that at all, which makes me realize that the novel now deserves a reread. 

The second painting represents Spring and is a visual treat depicting the fete of the Madonna. Look at the light hearted dance movements of the folks in the painting. You almost feel like joining them in their joy.

I find it cruel that someone who was able to bring out so much joy and intensity in his paintings committed suicide and never completed the third art work he started..

Fishers of the Adriatic (the fourth painting) is supposedly at the Getty Center, but I never saw it when I visited the place. Or perhaps, I dont remember. 

Art Enthusiasts

I tried to capture the spirit of the Louvre in a few pictures.

Firstly we have Gericault's The Raft of the Medusa - a painting that was uncommissioned and done by the painter largely to launch his career. He took inspiration from a horrid event when 115 people from a sinking ship were set adrift on a raft and only 15 survived after 13 days. He did extensive research for this painting. Centuries later, people from multiple countries walk by, observing the artists view point and trying to learn more about a world that was. 

Delacroix captured my imagination with his Liberty leading the people. But this guy takes his fascination with the artist (I think) a step further and actually sits and paints "Women of Algiers". I am delighted to be doing this series of posts as I am revisiting my visit to the museum and reading up about different artists.

This was from a room I didnt linger. I loved this view of the young and the old together looking at a painting. The old man seemingly enjoying it without a headphones telling him about it - did he know already? The young man completely lost in looking at the painting while being attached to the headphones. Is this a view of how we interact with the world? The last generation and us? Perhaps I am encouraging a stereotype consciously here.

Doggy art

There were just so many doggies as part of the paintings at the Louvre. Of course I had to take pictures of them and dedicate at least one blog post to them. 

Veronese and his famous painting of a supper at Emmaus - look at how the children are sitting with the dogs: 

Titians Jupiter and Anthiope.. And I pick just the dogs from the painting.  Zoya has the same color combination as the dog in the pic. Read somewhere that white coloration in an animal makes it seem less threatening and hence it seems to be found commonly in horses, dogs and cows. (Too lazy to look for that link now)

Two doggies together.. Think this was Les Chiens by Bassano.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Heaven on Earth

This is how Heaven on Earth looks to me.

All my stress disappears when I see my two devils just sleep. 

Saturday, August 19, 2017

The Short Story of Art - Susie Hodge

I picked up this book at the SFMOMA museum store at the SF international airport. I can say that this has been one of my best buys. I was quite engaged throughout my flight and did not even watch my usual mandatory random entertainment.

What i loved about this book :
1. The way it has been structured into four buckets - Movement, Works, Theme and Techniques. For a novice like me, who is interested but doesn't know where to begin, this was a blessing.
2. The connectedness of art with everything about life. I enjoyed reading about how religion, politics, industrial revolution, creation of a middle class etc, affected art.
3. The language of the author. She is really gifted. She was able to explain things so well and keep the reader engaged
4. The detailed explanation of some of the art work. My favorites - Michelangelo's Pieta, Boticelli's Primavera, Fragonard's The Swing and of course Delacroix's Liberty leading the people. I don't think i will ever reach a state in life where i can afford to have something like this hanging in my wall. But i would love to dream of that. :)
5. The way it has inspired me to read up on a lot of connected things. Eg - the Council of Trent, The protestant reformation, Dutch Golden age and perhaps even try some art techniques myself (I bought myself a canvas and some acrylic paint today

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who is fascinated by western art, but doesn't know where to start reading up on it.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Downhill and how!

See those folks right on top? I was there. See the women sitting on top of the tiny fall? I was there too.. The mid stretch of my 11 mile hike.. i was so scared of getting down this tiny cliff. Managed it and I am standing. :)

The fall looks really pretty.. :) And my new phone has a brilliant camera. Shot on Iphone 7. 

Jonathan Livingstone Seagull

The first time I read this book, I really loved it. I liked it as much the second time I read it. I keep thinking Laika is like Jonathan as she constantly wants to fly.

Imagine my surprise when I accidentally caught a sea gull mid flight, near the lighthouse in Point Reyes.

I love the shades of blue...

Cypress Grove

This place was on the way to Point Reyes. A grove of Cypress more like a cave if you ask me. It was a beautiful and serene place..

I loved the place because from a certain angle, it looks like there is light at the end of the tunnel.. :)
(Its a different argument that the tunnel itself is only a perspective.)  

Monday, August 14, 2017

One step at a time

I did a 11 mile hike and survived!! (Relatively speaking) I used to be called an immovable asset at school. As an adult, I am really evolving and trying to be fitter. A pat on my back for doing this and being fit enough to get to work the next day.

View on the route to the waterfall:

View from a different angle on the way back..

This was the Pelican lake. There was also a Bass lake:

View when we started the trek:

View on the way back

All the pictures were shot on an Iphone! Love the camera. 

Flights of fancy

Somewhere between a rocky mountain 
And a steep fall I sit, 
Pausing to breath,
And doing nothing beyond -
Contemplating the flight of the birds 
I've yet to find my wings, 
For I seem to love nets that just hold me so close..
Willingly I get entangled, and then pray for a deliverance.
That would just not be. 

These moments, I just cut loose, 
And try to take flight,
Surprising myself, by
Joining the birds mid-flight. 
Scaring them perhaps, 
For a hefty companion they expected not.

But they hold me close nevertheless 
And we take flight 
I gladly forget the paths that diverged, then 
For a new mode came by to move me forward. 

P.S - Inspired by a crazy hike down and my fear of climbing down or up. 

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Endless, nameless

The waves, how do they identify themselves? I mean, you can make out almost where one ends and where the other begins, but you also cannot. If they could think, what would they opine about being an endless, nameless entity? Or would they secretly laugh as they have named themselves in a code meant just for themselves and ones which others will never have access to? Ones others can perhaps even hear, but cannot distinguish enough to comprehend?

Location - Point Reyes (Over thinking after climbing down and then back up an equivalent of 30 flights of stairs)

Saturday, August 12, 2017

The picture of you

I walk through empty lanes 
Ones that come alive 
With images of you and me, 
Together, pretty much in love, 
Hopelessly lost. 

I know now, that I was lost 
A part of me probably still is..
But most of me,
Is whole and aware of the illusion that was..

Enjoying the view, 
I walk by,
The image of you clear. 

How I wish you were as real as your image was! 
I know why I'm no Pygmalion..
My vision of a human, 
Is nothing but that of a skeleton with a layer of flesh..
Real but unreal. 

I sit down and try to define all that should be, 
Never really knowing that all that could be, 
Is always beyond the realm of imagination..
Harini Padmanabhan

Is Optimism a luxury?

I just read a summary of Candide, a work by Voltaire, where he criticizes Leibniz and Optimism.

Before I go ahead, I should add a fair warning - I think of myself as a hard core optimist. I cannot be held down and I also take the "Whatever happens, happens for a reason" (Was that Aristotle who was first documented to have said this? I dont remember) to a different level.

I now wonder, is that a line meant for those who are actually blessed? Like it is not a positive positive sentence, but more something that you say when you are too selfish to acknowledge the blessings you already have? (iphone6 broke, everything happens for a reason, there is 7+ waiting for you, lost a job, there is an offer which is even better..)

I mean think about it, you can hardly say that when something really unspeakable (like murder of a loved one, rape, poverty that you cannot even buy the next meal, natural disaster etc) happens to you. You can only say these things when you can speak about an adversity and after you overcome it. When you are going through something, can you really say this?

After reading the extract of the book, this is what is running through my head. In a way, it makes me more thankful for everything I have and have been able to afford without thinking twice.  It also makes me wonder, how can there be hope for those that truly have none? 

Louvre - A view from the outside

I  dont know how many posts I am going to post on the Louvre. The place I will definitely revisit and make another trip to Paris for.

The glass pyramid, the one I got to know about when reading Da Vinci Code.

A few statues, right outside the Louvre, but often ignored I am sure. Or perhaps not, as the queue to get in is quite long and there might be others outside as interested as me.

One in the front, calling out my obsession with gold. Probably from the sun king.

Louis XVI - Was he the villain that he was portrayed to be? There are some who say he was not - like this article. But then what was the point anyway? If you are ok inheriting prosperity, then maybe it is only fair that you inherit adversity too. Perhaps if you are the one inheriting the latter, you might not see the fairness in the argument.