Saturday, December 29, 2018

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun - uh

They are obviously having fun because:

A.  The photographer told them that they were going to be in the cover of National Geographic.

B.  They found the photographer funny because he was wearing a fake Incan warrior hat.

C.  The photographer told them a joke in Spanish but mispronounced everything.

D.  All of the above.

Friday, December 28, 2018

Incan Waiting for the Sun

Please help this Incan Warrior:

A.  He is waiting for springtime so they could begin planting corn.

B.  He is waiting for the bus to take him to his audition.

C.  He is really waiting for the sun because it is winter and he forgot to wear his thermal underwear.

D.  All of the above.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Flickr Archive No. 181228

I just found out that I have unlimited uploads on as many pictures for archives on Flickr. Being a Pro subscriber, I didn’t realize that I was paying for this.  Here is just a snapshot of some of the pictures that I uploaded for archives.  Most of them are not publicly accessible.

Hope you enjoy.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Weaving Andean Style

Ancient Andean weaving developed by pre-Inca civilizations and inherited and perfected by the Incas is considered as one of the greatest textile in the world and is compared to finest textile developed by the ancient Egyptians.  The Incas used cotton, the wool of alpacas, llamas and the superior and rare wool of vicuñas and guanacos. Clothing made of the wool of vicuñas and guanacos was exclusively for the Inca and the nobility.

Seen here is a weaving needle that is made from the bone of the alpaca.  The dyes used in the fabric are all indeginous materials - mostly from plants and insects.

Monday, December 24, 2018

California Dreaming on a Winter's Day

It doesn't snow here in Southern California.  Once in a while we may get hail.  We do get some frostings in the early morning.  So our winter seems more like autumn as the leaves have started to change albeit late this year.  Some weeks ago we were still getting mid 80s.  Found these leaves today during our morning walk.  There were a lot of them scattered on the green belt so I managed to take a few shots with my iPhone 7 plus.  I like this one especially since it has a bit of green left on the foliage.  Most have turned brown.

This year I don't have a Christmassy image so this will have to do.  A great day to be alive.  Have a Merry Christmas.

Friday, December 21, 2018

Incan Woman Weaving at Sacred Valley

We met a group of Incan women who demonstrated their weaving art.  This group is part of an association of weavers that ensure traditional weaving is preserved.  They get help from some foreign organizations.  I thought I would help their economy by buying some of their textile products.  I ended up with a dozen wallets made from Alpaca wool.  Now I don't know what I will do with a dozen wallet.  I don't have that many credit cards and money to stash let alone in one wallet.  Maybe I'll give them away as gifts.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Dead Sunflower Saying Goodbye to Summer

There is something about decaying flowers that I really like.  Maybe it just reminds me how life is fleeting.  As the Psalmist wrote, " As for man, his days are like grass; he flourishes like a flower in the field; for the wind passes over it, and it is gone, and its place knows it no more." (Psalm 103:15-16)

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Still Life with Succulent Using Expired Film (Finally Developed Correctly) No. 3

I decided to get out my go-to medium format film camera - the Hasselblad 500 CM.  Since it is a very old camera, the shutter speeds are way off.  The shutters are way slower than it should be.  So I try to compensate by speeding up the shutter speed. For instance in this image, my light meter tells me I should shoot at f/8 at 1/2 seconds.  Instead I shot it at 1/8.  Even then the exposure was a bit over.  Fortunately film is very forgiving.  Even with this expired film.  It expired in 2013.  But with radical tweaking with the curves in Photoshop I was able to rescue the image.

Most image would have a sharp background when shot at f/8.  This one managed to have a blurry background, which what I usually wanted.  It may have been because I used an extender on the 80mm lens.  Next time I will try to shoot with smaller apertures to see what the image would look like.  I got plenty of expired films.  So I can afford to experiment.

Self-developed with Ilford Developer, Stop Bath and Fixer in the bathroom.

Hope your day is going well.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Life at Street Fes

A short break from our Peruvian excursion.  This was at Fes in Morocco. Shot in 2014 with my then favorite camera - the Fujifilm X-pro1 coupled with the 35mm x-mounted lens.  (It's still an old favorite but lately I've been using the X100F and the iPhone 7 plus for travels.)

Fes is the only favorite place for me in Morocco.  I hated our experience there.  I asked the local guide if it was safe in Morocco.  He said, "Oh yes, yes.  People will steal your money but they won't kill you.  Very safe.  There are no bad people here."  Well, that was reassuring.

Monday, December 17, 2018

Still Life with the Sacred Valley Candle

Shot with the iPhone 7 plus while waiting for our dinner meal at Sacred Valley in Urubamba, Peru.  Tomorrow our tour group heads off to Machu Picchu.  But tonight belongs to us.  Well, kind of.  Rose and I had the table by ourselves.  The rest of our group were at a different table.  We were separated because we came in the restaurant late.  Don't remember why.  Maybe that's when I started to feel really sick.  I had flu like symptoms the day before our departure to Peru but at this very moment I think it started to manifest itself with a vengeance.  Sure enough, I had a fever and chills that same night.  My stomach wasn't doing well either.  And that was my birthday.  What a way to spend it.

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Istella (part ii)

As mentioned in my previous post, Istella is seen here serving Chicha, a fermented  beverage derived from corn.  

Chicha morada is a non-fermented chicha usually made from ears of purple maize (maíz morado), which are boiled with pineapple rind, cinnamon, and cloves. This gives a strong, purple-colored liquid, which is then mixed with sugar and lemon. This beverage is usually taken as a refreshment, but in recent years many health benefits of purple corn have been found. Chicha morada is common in Bolivian and Peruvian cultures and is generally drunk as an accompaniment to food.

Women are most associated with the production of chicha. Men and children are still involved with the process of making chicha, but women control the production and distribution. For many women in Andean society, making and selling chicha is a key part of their identity because it provides a substantial amount of political power and leverage.

A good day to be alive.

Friday, December 14, 2018


Lima by the coast is about an hour's flight to Cusco, which is at 12,000 feet elevation.  At this elevation, Rose and I experienced altitude sickness despite taking pills to prevent it.  In fact, the symptoms were the same when one took the pills.  Coming down from Peru to Lima is even worse.  This is what happened to the half empty water bottle I had when the plane descended from 12,000 feet down to sea level in one hour.  Imagine what our body went through during that flight.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Stone Henge of Peru

So really the Celts rolled a second group of Stone Henge from Wales to Saqsayhuman.  It has never been discovered before.  Until now.  Really.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Cristo Blanco

A ten minute walk from Saqsayhuaman is the location of the Cristo Blanco or the White Jesus towering at about 26 feet.   It is perched high above on the hill of Pukamoqo.  It was given as a gift from the Palestinians who sought refuge in Cusco after the World War II.  The statue was designed by the local artist Francisco Olazo Allende.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Dreaming of Lennon after several cups of tea

Another one captured on expired Fuji Across 100 film.  I used the 80mm lens on the Hasselblad 500 CM.  Developed using Ilford developer, stop bath and fixer.  Not too shabby I think.  But somebody must have spiked my tea.


Monday, December 10, 2018

Scallops as Art

Chef Ignacio toured us through the market where he always buy his ingredients and materials for his cooking.  Probably the most fascinating part of our tour.  There were all kinds of fruits and fish but no beef.  Lima is next to the Pacific Ocean so they have an abundance of fish.

Scallops are hermaphrodite, which means they have male and female sex organs, which means they can reproduce without a partner, which means it's weird but that is nature.  They must be pretty contended creatures.

Saturday, December 08, 2018


Istella was hospitable to us.  She offered us with a cup of freshly brewed Chica,  a fermented  beverage derived from corn.  As part of the tradition, the first sip is thrown to the ground for Mother Earth.  After tasting the brew, Rose and I thought that Mother Earth can have all of it.

Hope your day is going well.

Friday, December 07, 2018


The relics located at Saqsayhuaman outside the city of Cusco, Peru are remains from the Incans.  They were used for religious purposes.  Once the Spaniards came in the 16th century, the place became a quarry for their infrastructure.  The remains are now protected as heritage site.

It's a good day to be alive.

Thursday, December 06, 2018

In their own world

Despite the compression and the density, there is immediacy and clarity that fixes in the mind.

Wednesday, December 05, 2018

Street Smart with Smartphones

Still in Machupicchu, Peru.  Usually tourists would visit Machupicchu via Lima through Cusco and then through Sacred Valley.  Lima is by the Pacific Ocean and has very mild temperature - mostly in the low 70s Fahrenheit during Springtime and it never rains during the entire year.  Cusco is about 12,000 feet in elavation, and it rains almost every day.  The temperature could go down to the 40s F.  Sacred Valley is a bit warmer but not a whole lot.  Machupicchu can be reached either by hiking from Sacred Valley or by train.  The average temperature during daytime is in the high 60s.  This lady tourist definitely came well prepared.

In every places I travelled to, almost everyone would take pictures with their smart phones.  Whether selfies, or just to document where they have been.  Twenty years ago, this phenomenon would have been unheard of.  This is the world we now live in.  I admit I am guilty of using my smart phone to document my travels.  In this image, I used my trusty rangefinder instead.  I was going for that soft film look - specifically the beloved Fuji Astia 100F.

Hope your day is going well.

Tuesday, December 04, 2018

Incan Weaver

For me, the most interesting things in traveling to other countries are the culture and the food.  I love to immerse myself in culture, which means one gets to meet different kinds of people.  I was fascinated to meet this young Incan woman.  She appeared to have been from a different century.  I like her attire.  All the tools she used are indigenous.  For instance, the weaving needle is made from an alpaca bone.  I dig the frame loom.  It's simple yet rigidly attached to the post.    

Ancient Andean weaving developed by pre-Inca civilizations and inherited and perfected by the Incas is considered as one of the greatest textile in the world.  The wool of alpacas, llamas and the superior and rare wool of vicuñas are used as raw materials.  

Traditionally, weavers are women.  As in any crafts, it takes years of practice to be able to weave fast and produced good quality fabrics. 

Hope your day is going well.

Monday, December 03, 2018

Cantua Buxifolia

I found this flowering plant while we were at Awana Kancha, a little village a few miles from Cusco, Peru.  It's called Cantua Buxifolia and is the national flower of Peru.  The  flowering plant can be found in the high valleys of the Yungas of the Andes mountains in western South America. Also known as the Peruvian Magic Tree because the Incas believed that its essence makes the water stay pure for a long time.  

This evergreen shrub grows to 4 m (13 ft) tall by 2.5 m (8.2 ft) wide with small leaves and clusters of brilliant pink, narrow tubular flower.  We were fortunate to see the flowers as early spring is when it starts to bloom.

Notice that the colors of the flower are common in Peru's architecture.  The yellow being the dominant tone with the red as accent.

Saturday, December 01, 2018

Proud Maria

Peru's culture is a set of beliefs, customs and way of life inherited from the native Incas, Spanish conquistadors and settlers. Immigrant groups such as Africans, JapaneseChinese and Europeans have also contributed to the society, blend of cultures and ways in which Peruvians live.