京艷 A masterpiece in Beijing

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上次去北京是在很久很久的從前, 這次出發上京前一直告訴自己要知道國內有很大的進步, 不要土包子進城, 出洋相。可是,最後還是大驚小怪的。就像這輯影像, 是北京一所幼兒院的外牆。這幼兒院在小巷裡, 在大街上走是看不到的, 我們運氣好, 剛巧住在對面的酒店, 所以才看到。以我不是美術專業的眼光來看, 画得太好了, 無謂構图、用色, 都叫人驚艷。

This beautiful wall painting is truly a hidden gem found in an alley in Beijing. We happen to have stayed in a hotel nearby and found this surprisingly beautiful painting by chance. It is painted on the outer wall of a kindergarten. To my untrained eyes, the composition and the use of color are outstanding. However, taking picture of it was not an easy task, for there were cars parked in front of it most of the time.

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北京市 朝陽區 團結湖 第一幼兒園

Tuen Jie Hu Di Yi You Er Yuen – The first kindergarten of Tuenjiehu district.

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Posted in Art 藝術, Beijing 北京, Travel 旅遊 | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

北京天壇 Temple of Heaven, Beijing

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2016年10月 北京      October 2016, Beijing, China

維基百科: 北京天壇位於北京市東城區,是明清兩朝帝王祭天、祈穀和祈雨的場所。是現存中國古代規模最大、倫理等級最高的祭祀建築群。1961年,天壇被中華人民共和國國務院公布為第一批全國重點文物保護單位之一。1998年,「北京皇家祭壇—天壇」被列為世界文化遺產。

Wikipedia: The Temple of Heaven (Chinese: 天壇; pinyin: Tiāntán; Manchu: Abkai mukdehun) is an imperial complex of religious buildings situated in the southeastern part of central Beijing. The complex was visited by the Emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties for annual ceremonies of prayer to Heaven for good harvest. It has been regarded as a Taoist temple, although Chinese heaven worship, especially by the reigning monarch of the day, predates Taoism.

The temple complex was constructed from 1406 to 1420 during the reign of the Yongle Emperor, who was also responsible for the construction of the Forbidden City in Beijing. The complex was extended and renamed Temple of Heaven during the reign of the Jiajing Emperor in the 16th century.

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A model was posing for a group of photographers.

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維基百科: 被兩重壇牆分隔成內壇和外壇,形似「回」字。兩重壇牆的南側轉角皆為直角,北側轉角皆為圓弧形,象徵著「天圓地方」,俗稱「天地牆」。外壇牆周長6553米,原本只在西牆上開闢祈穀壇門和圜丘壇門,1949年後又陸續新建了東門和北門,並把內壇南面的昭亨門改為南門。

祈年殿在天壇的北部,位於祈谷壇中央,原名大祈殿、大享殿,始建於明永樂十八年(1420年),是天壇最早的建築物。乾隆十六年(1751年)修繕後,改名為祈年殿。光緒十五年(1889年)毀於雷火,數年後按原樣重建。目前的祈年殿是一座直徑32.72米的圓形建築,鎏金寶頂藍瓦三重檐攢尖頂,層層收進,總高38米。

Wikipedia: The Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests (祈年殿) is a magnificent triple-gabled circular building, 36 meters in diameter and 38 meters tall, built on three levels of marble stone base, where the Emperor prayed for good harvests. The building is completely wooden, with no nails. The original building was burned down by a fire caused by lightning in 1889. The current building was re-built several years after the incident.

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The Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests.

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祈年殿建築細節       Architectural details of the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests.

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維基百科: 祈年殿的內部結構比較獨特,不用大梁和長檁,僅用沉香木柱[3]和枋桷相互銜接支撐屋頂。光緒年間重建後殿內有楠木柱二十八根,數目排列切合天象:中央4根龍柱高19.2米、直徑1.2米,象徵四季,中圈12根金柱象徵一年十二個月,外層12根巨柱象徵一天十二個時辰,中層和外層相加象徵二十四節氣,三層柱總共28根象徵二十八宿。殿內地板的正中是一塊圓形大理石,帶有天然的龍鳳花紋,與殿頂的蟠龍藻井和四周彩繪金描的龍鳳和璽圖案相互呼應,使整座殿堂顯得十分富麗堂皇。

 

 

 

 

16108002666.jpgThe Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests has four inner, twelve middle and twelve outer pillars, representing the four seasons, twelve months

and twelve traditional Chinese hours respectively. Combined together, the twelve middle and twelve outer pillars represent the traditional solar terms.

All the buildings within the Temple have special dark blue roof tiles, representing the Heaven.

 

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祈年殿的殿座就是圓形的祈穀壇,三層6米高,氣勢巍峨。壇周有矮牆一重,東南角設燔柴爐、瘞坎、燎爐和具服台。壇北有皇乾殿,面闊五間,原先放置祖先神牌,後來牌位移至太廟。壇邊還有祈年門、神庫、神廚、宰牲亭、走牲路和長廊等附屬建築。長廊南面的廣場上有七星石,是嘉靖年間放置的鎮石。

Wikipedia: Symbolism – Inside the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests.

Earth was represented by a square and Heaven by a circle; several features of the temple complex symbolize the connection of Heaven and Earth, of circle and square. The whole temple complex is surrounded by two cordons of walls; the outer wall has a taller, semi-circular northern end, representing Heaven, and a shorter, rectangular southern end, representing the Earth. Both the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests and the Circular Mound Altar are round, each standing on a square yard, again representing Heaven and Earth.

Park

The surrounding park is quite extensive, with the entire complex totaling 267 hectares (660 acres). Some of it consists of playgrounds, exercise and game areas. These facilities are well used by adults, as well as by parents and grandparents bringing children to play. Some of the open spaces and side buildings are often used, particularly in the morning, for choral shows, ethnic dances, and other presentations.

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Posted in Architecture 建築, Beijing 北京, China 中國, Temple 廟, Travel 旅遊 | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

行到山窮處 坐看雲起時 I’m back from watching the clouds go by

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↑夏威夷茂宜島 Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii

各位朋友、列位看官:  我回來了。有十多个月沒有片言隻字, 實在不好意思。這段日子, 是有點忙, 跑了好幾千里(x n)的路, 也拍了好幾千張(x n)的照片, 有幾張還算可以的會放上來大家看看。太久没來, 這个部落格的編輯功能好像有些變了, 並不太方便寫中文, 我會慢慢再學習和改進的。過去這一两年, 用腿走路和用手按快門的時間多, 寫東西時間少, 所以寫起來有點力不從心, 所以往後就以照片為主, 文字会較少, 請大家見諒。朋友告知有些舊文内的圖片大小變了形, 我有空會看看, 修改, 猜想是原來的版型更新了。

「行到山窮處, 坐看雲起時」, 上面那照片是乘郵輪遊夏威夷茂宜島(Lahaina, Maui), 走得累了, 回到船上餐廳, 呷着咖啡, 看着山上的白雲變動, 頗有趣味, 遂想起這两句詩, 覺得非常的有意思。當時在想英語該怎樣講呢? 唉, 胸無點墨, 湊不出來, 不過這跟 “we own nothing , and yet we have everything” 倒是有異曲同工之妙。

Hi Folks, I’m back. I know it has been a while. For the last 18 months, I guess I have bitten more than I could chew. I have traveled thousands of miles (x n), and taken thousands of pictures (x n). My pictures were everywhere storing in different external hard dives, so before doing any editing, I need to centralize everything in a place where I can find them. Trying to establish a filing system for all my pictures, from scratch, is no easy task, but hard work pays off, although it is not perfect yet, I can find what I want. I am happy to say that I do have a few pictures to show you. I hope to do it chronologically, but I just can’t help hopping around categories, so we’ll see. One more thing, I am losing my language proficiency both in Chinese and English because I am getting old fast, and I used my eyes and hands more than I use my tongue. So I’ll let the pictures do the talking, I’ll try to provide relevant information about the pictures wherever I can. In this episode, let’s watch some clouds roll by.

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The day that I left my home for the rolling sea…

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↑↓ 夏威夷茂宜島 Lahaina, Maui

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↑↓ 夏威夷茂宜島 Lahaina, Maui

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↑  Nawiliwili Bay, Kauai

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↑ Nawiliwili Bay sunset, Kauai

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↑ Waimen Canyon Route 550, Kauai

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↑ Hanapepe Swinging Bridge, Kauai

 

 

 

Posted in Cruise 郵/遊輪, Landscape 風景, Photography 攝影, Travel 旅遊, USA 美國 | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Black Swan 黑天鵝

_JSF8251-3-3-1Pat is our Italian neighbor who loves swan so much. She came to me early this year asking if I could help to locate the swan picture she saw on a local newspaper in New York State. I did, but the file size was too tiny to make a good print. Anyway, when I was traveling in Honolulu last month, I saw a couple of black swans in a pond at a Japanese temple. I took some pictures of them, bore in mind that the image would be turned into a heart-shaped image. With a little luck, I got the image and successfully turned it into a heart-shaped image. Pat loves it, I am going to make her a print to be put together with another heart shaped image of two white swans. It makes a lot of sense to her, she said, because her daughter is a ballet dancer, you know the story of Swan Lake, a white and a black swan are a perfect match.

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阿拉斯加郵輪之旅 Alaska Cruise – 9 Victoria BC

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2015 西岸行    2015 West Coast

阿拉斯加郵輪之旅  Alaska Cruise – 9

第六天  維多利亞漁人碼頭
Day 6 – Fisherman’s Wharf, Victoria BC

維多利亞是我們回西雅圖下船前停靠最後的港口。我們只有從下午7:30 – 11時30分四個小時的時間,然而天氣非常好,我們決定步行去漁人碼頭看看。

如在其網站上所述, “漁人碼頭在維多利亞內港, 有浮宅和水上餐館, 商業船隻聚集的海上景點。”   這些浮宅和水上餐館色彩繽紛,裝飾精美, 非常獨特, 而餐廳沒有過分的商業。水上家園是如此可愛,有人他們是”異想天開” (whimsical)。

從郵輪碼頭到漁人碼頭是一個從容的步行路程。我們後來再走遠一點,然後回轉船上吃飯。郵輪碼頭前面有一禮品店, 就在那裡有免費無線上網 (wifi),所以我們很多同行站在的附近看電郵和Whatsapp,一部分在店內最後一輪購物衝刺

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Victoria was our last port call on our way back to Seattle to disembark. We only had a time span from 7:30pm to 11:30pm, the weather was beautiful, we decided to walk to the Fisherman’s Wharf.

As described on their website, “Fisherman’s Wharf in Victoria’s Inner Harbour is a unique marine destination with float homes and commercial vessels.”  These floating homes are very colorful and nicely decorated while the restaurants are not overwhelmingly commercialized. The floating homes are so colorful and cute that some folks called them whimsical.

It was an easy walk from the cruise terminal to Fisherman’s Wharf. We walked a little further and turned back to the ship for dinner. There is a gift shop right in front of the terminal where there was wifi available for free, so a lot of our fellow passengers stood near the shop checking email and WhatsApp while the others were buzzing in the shop doing their final round of shopping.

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Folks bought fishes from the nearby seafood store to feed the seals. ↓ When it was the lady’s turn, she held out the fish like the gentleman did, and out of nowhere, here came a seagull diving down with lightning speed and grabbed the fish from the lady hand before the seal emerged. As you can see, I was 1/10 second slower in pressing the shutter.

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Pacific harbor seal.

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We walked a little further and turned back to Fishman’s Wharf for a last look before heading back to the cruise ship for dinner.

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Link:

Victoria Fisherman’s Wharf

My dear friends, this is the last post of the series of Alaska Cruise. Like I said, I have run out of time and steam. As a matter of fact, I have been busy the last two months, taking care of the photos taken (not yet finished, those taken in Vancouver are still waiting), wrapping up the works in the house and getting ready for my next trip. The planning of the trip to Japan for sakura is being put on ice. Stay tuned.

Posted in Canada 加拿大, Travel 旅遊, USA 美國 | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

阿拉斯加郵輪之旅 Alaska Cruise – 7 Musical on board 2

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此照乃下圖裁放。 Cropped picture of the following one.

 

2015 西岸行    2015 West Coast

阿拉斯加郵輪之旅  Alaska Cruise – 7

第五天 – 表演節目, 音樂劇  Day 5 – Musical on board 2

這是第五天晚上的音樂劇表演, 這晚試用光位重點測光, 我其實不知道怎樣設定才能得到好效果, 隨便試試。感覺上好像比上一次稍微好一點, 但過曝情况得然不少, 要仔細看看說明書了。

This post serves not only as part of a collection of snapshots of our Alaska cruise trip but also as a photography record of a new camera feature I have tried.  This was the first time I used the Highlight Weighted feature in my camera. Frankly I had no clue what settings should have been used to be able to get some good pictures, so I just did it with “common sense”, the results were not great. Anyhow, I would say it is slightly better than those taken on Day 2, posted earlier.

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Cropped from the above photo.

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過曝了。 Ooops…Overexposed。

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Posted in Cruise 郵/遊輪, Photography 攝影, Travel 旅遊, USA 美國 | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

阿拉斯加郵輪之旅 Alaska Cruise – 6 Sitka

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2015 西岸行    2015 West Coast

阿拉斯加郵輪之旅  Alaska Cruise – 6

第五天  錫特卡  Day 5 – Sitka

維基百科資料: 錫特卡是美國阿拉斯加州一個市鎮合一的行政單位,位於亞歷山大群島巴拉諾夫島上。面積12,461.8平方公里,是全美面積最大的建制單位。根據美國2000年人口普查,共有人口8,835人,是該州第四大城市。1799年由沙俄建立,1972年12月2日建市。是特林吉特語Shee At’iká,即「Shee外邊的人」的意思。

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Wikipedia : The City and Borough of Sitka, formerly New Archangel while under Russian rule (Tlingit: Sheetʼká; Russian: Ново-Архангельск or Новоaрхангельск, t Novoarkhangelsk), is a unified city-borough located on Baranof Island and the southern half of Chichagof Island in the Alexander Archipelago of the Pacific Ocean (part of the Alaska Panhandle), in theU.S. state of Alaska. As of the 2010 census, the population was 8,881. In terms of land area, it is the largest city-borough in the U.S., with a land area of 2,870.3 mi2 (7,434.1 km2) and a total area (including water area) of 4,811.4 mi2 (12,460.8 km2). Urban Sitka, the part that is usually thought of as the “city” of Sitka, is situated on the west side of Baranof Island. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sitka,_Alaska)

The current name “Sitka” (derived from Sheet’ká, a contraction of the Tlingit Shee At’iká) means “People on the Outside of Baranof Island”, whose Tlingit name is Sheet’-ká X’áat’l (here contracted to Shee).

_JSF3134_5_6_7_8-1又是一個大陰天。今天郵輸不能直接靠岸, 得由小艇接駁。

Overcast with some drizzles, this was the weather we were tendered to explore the town of Sitka.

_JSF3159_60_61_62_63-1這裡雖然是阿拉斯加第四大城市, 但其實是一小鎮, 船也只停大半天, 我們就到街上隨便看看。

Sitka is the fourth largest city in Alaska, however, it does not look like a big town. It is in fact a quiet little town and not a lot of excursions were offered other than kayaking or wildlife viewing.

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主街: 林肯街      Down town: Lincoln Street

當我在市中心閑逛時, 看到幼兒院的老師带着一群小孩子到 Pioneer Home 前的草地玩耍, 當時正下着小雨。隨後在禮品店裡我問在地人為何雨天還带小孩出來玩, 那小姐說: “這不是下雨, 在這裡, 我們叫它錫特卡的陽光” , 非常正面的生活態度。

While we were walking on Lincoln Street, I saw a bunch of small kids led by their teachers (probably from a day care center) walking to the front lawn of Pioneer Home. It was raining lightly at that time. I asked a local why the kids were brought out to play in the rain. She replied, “This is not rain, this is Sitkan sun.” What wonderful attitude the Sitkans have.

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圖騰廣場       Totem Square

P1080957-2巴勒諾夫圖騰。由原住民藝術家刻於1940。原想好好的解讀此圖騰,連阿拉斯加的青蛙/蟾蜍(上面中間綠色那青蛙)分佈的資料也翻過了, 只是現在有點忙, 遲些補上。

The Baranov totem pole, carved by Tlingit craftsman in the early 1940. I have good intention to “study” the meaning of this totem pole, I have even searched for the distribution of frogs/toads (the green one above) in Alaska. However, I have run out of steam, may be later.

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北極狼皮待售。Arctic timber wolf on sale.

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P1080984-5↑ 長毛象的牙歯, 有意思。

↑ Mammoth tooth, how interesting.
P1080986-1↑ 到處可見俄國文化的影響。

↑ Russian heritage everywhere.
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_JSF3264_5_6_7_8-1聖彌額爾大教堂是市中心的一所東正教堂, 是錫特卡的地標。由於同行的老友對参觀教堂没多大興趣, 我也就没有参觀, 事後悔之晚矣。

St. Michael’s Cathedral is a cathedral of the Orthodox Church in America Diocese of Alaska, at Lincoln and Matsoutoff Streets. I was hoping that we could visit the Cathedral on our way back to the tender pier. I have visited a lot of churches and temples, in Europe and Asia,  but never one with Russian heritage. However, folks in our group had no interest at all, I followed them back to the ship which I deeply regretted.

 

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林肯街的東面, 静靜的。

The east side of Lincoln Street.

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↑↓ 太平洋中學校前的圖騰。

↑↓ Totem pole in front of Pacific High School

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俄國主都府, 由國家公園局管理。分上下两層, 下層為展覽廳, 介紹些歷史。第二層是主教起居處和参拜的地方, 我們只参觀了下層。

Russian Bishop’s House – This is the highlight of our tour to Sitka. This historic site consists of two storeys. First floor is a general exhibition to show the history of the Bishop’s House (free admission), second floor is said to be the old Bishop’s quarter and worship chamber (admission required). We visited the first floor, and skipped the second floor.

Wikipedia : The Russian Bishop’s House, once the Russian Mission Orphanage, is a historic house museum and National Historic Landmark at Lincoln and Monastery Streets in Sitka, Alaska. Built in 1841-43, this log structure is one of the oldest surviving buildings of Russian America, and was one of the centerpieces of the Russian Orthodox church’s efforts to spread its influence among the natives of Alaska. It was the home and administrative center of Ivan Veniaminov, the first Bishop of Alaska, later canonized as Innocent of Alaska. The house is now a unit of Sitka National Historical Park, and is administered by the National Park Service.

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P1080996-1↑ 海獺皮革。展覽廳內排有一張供遊客撫摸的。摸下去, 手感之好, 驚艷, 這才明白為何早期很多人專們獵殺它們。海獺現在是受保護動物。

↑ Sea Otter Pelt: ” A full grown prime skin, which has been stretched before drying, is about five feet long, and twenty-four to thirty inches wide, covered with very fine fur, about three-fourths of an inch in length, having a rich jet black, glossy surface, and exhibiting a silver color when blown open.” William Surgis, American merchant. The sea otter is now protected by federal law from commercial exploitation.
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我們還逛到超市去看看民生食用品,基本上跟美本士無異, 只是價錢稍貴, 因為運輸費貴。

After a visit to the supermarket, we walked back to the pier for tender boat. Kayaking is a popular excursion.

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Sitka 的避風港, 中間黃色的建築物就是主教府。
↑ Crescent Harbor, note Russian Bishop’s House in the middle.

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House situated at the far end of the town.

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在我們離開Sitka時, 天色漸放睛。
By the time we embarked from Sitka, it was in the mid afternoon and the sky was a bit brighter.

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