Sunday, January 31, 2010

Ancient Culture

Jalakantesvara Temple

One of the major sights here in Vellore is the Hindu Temple inside Vellore Fort. It was constructed in the 16th century and is still used for worship to this day. It's simply remarkable to see the intricate details carved into the ancient pillars and walls. We were lucky enough to have our new friend Ratheesh guide us through the temple and explain some of the meaning behind the customs and rituals that were going on inside. We were able get a few photos around the outer courtyard of the temple, but like most other temples, they didn't allow photos in the inner most chambers. 




Saturday, January 30, 2010

Welcome to Vellore.

Our time here in Vellore, India has been an incredible experience. The streets and markets are always bustling and full of activity, the air is constantly filled with the sounds of honking horns, and there is no shortage of cows roaming the town scavenging for their next meal. The people are incredibly warm and friendly--every time we walk through the local neighborhood people excitedly greet us and invite us into their homes for tea.

This was just one of those moments when I happened to be in the right place at the right time, ready to shoot. These boys were running down the street towards me, chasing down their kite which had broken free of the string...

This is what they called a "mall." The aromas coming from this dark alley were absolutely intoxicating. There were rows and rows of flower vendors, fruit stands, and fresh spices, interspersed with other goods such as jewelry, fabrics, and trinkets. 


This image really struck me, mostly because this man's expression was so out of place. Just as I snapped this photo, there was a lot of yelling and commotion coming from behind me, and I turned just in time to dodge the bull trotting up the narrow pathway.

More to come soon! 


Monday, January 25, 2010

Hong Kong

We have arrived in India! But first, a little about our day trip into Hong Kong:

Airika and I had a long layover in Hong Kong, and we took the opportunity to get out and see a bit of the city. We had about 15 hours, and I wish our stay could have been longer. We spent the first part of the day trekking to the temple of 10,000 Buddha’s. I spent much of the climb up the steep, lush, hillside wondering if there really were 10,000 Buddha’s, or if it was just an expression. I assure you, it’s no expression—there really were 10,000, if not more. In fact, the number of Buddha’s may even rival the number of 7-11’s we saw in Hong Kong. Seriously, Hong Kong has more 7-11’s than Seattle has Starbucks.

We also wanted to see the city’s open air markets, and on the way there (or more likely on one of our many detours b/c I got us lost quite a bit) we came across the goldfish markets. It was actually pretty amazing to see—in addition to all kinds of goldfish and exotic fish, we also saw more turtle species than I knew existed.

One of the highlights of the day was actually while we were walking around in one of the high end shopping districts called 1881 Heritage. Now, high-end shopping isn’t really at the top our must-do travel list, but while we were passing through, we spotted a bride across the courtyard with her photographers in tow. Of course, we thought it would be fun to try and grab a quick photo, and by the time I got the camera out we had spotted 3 other brides, along with their entourage of wedding party, family and photographers! It was pretty humorous watching each little group rotate through the courtyard, waiting their turn for photos in the next spot. In the end, we counted at least 12 wedding couples, and that was all within a 20 minute time period! Apparently, it is THE place to get your wedding photos taken in Hong Kong.

At the end of the day, we took a ride from Kowloon to downtown Hong Kong on the famous Star Ferry. Back in 1996, Airika spent about a month in Hong Kong, and even though much has changed since then, the Ferry and the view it afforded us was one of the few things that was still exactly as she remembered it. In particular, I found the nighttime view of the downtown skyline to be pretty incredible.

We hope to update with more about our time in India soon. But for now, we hope you enjoyed this little collection of photos from Hong Kong.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Heading to India

On the eve of our trip to India, Airika and I are completely ecstatic about our journey. I really can’t help but think back to our experiences 5 years ago when we went to Sri Lanka to do relief work right after the tsunami. We spent most of that trip traveling from village to village, delivering fresh water, listening to people’s stories, taking photos, and doing what we could to help. We saw a lot of pain and devastation that had been caused by the tsunami, but we saw just as much that had been caused by decades of civil war in the region. That trip really changed our perspective on the world, and inspired within us a passion to do what we can to help those in need. Since we are not experts in water treatment, medical care, engineering or construction, we decided that we could use photography as a way to let their stories be heard.

Here are just a few of the images we took 5 years ago in Sri Lanka. This is where it all started for us.

…which brings us back to our upcoming trip to India. For part of our trip, we will be visiting our dear friend Dr. B.J. Prashantham and witnessing (and hopefully capturing) some of the work that he and his colleagues at the Christian Counseling Center of India have been doing. The center is dedicated to helping people from developing countries who have been traumatized by natural disasters or civil war, get the counseling and support they need to recover mentally and emotionally from what they have been through. It’s an amazing organization that is doing what it can to reach out and help in a way that is almost always overlooked. We are so excited to witness their work first hand!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Graydon & Erin: Engaged

We had so much fun planning & photographing Graydon & Erin's engagement session! When Erin told us that their wedding theme was vintage whimsical, we thought it would be fun to try and fit their engagement session within that theme as well. Gerald and I set out early one December morning to scout for locations and we found some pretty cool spots all over Redmond, Bellevue and Issaquah. In the end, we settled on Marymoor Park and a woodsy trail near the south end of Lake Sammamish. I'm suprised that this was the first time that we have set up a shoot at Marymoor--it's practically in our backyard, and it's an amazing location! The next day, we met up with Graydon & Erin and had a truly inspirational photo shoot. We may have gotten a little cold, but we had an amazing time with these two lovebirds!

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Allison & Tyler: First Wedding of the New Decade

Allison and Tyler's wedding was a perfect way to start off the new year! The new year is a time to stop and reflect on our lives, assess our priorities, and hopefully, adjust our lives accordingly. In a lot of ways, their wedding was a reminder of just how important this is. Allison's dad has been fighting a difficult battle over the past year, and in many way's I'm sure it has been a constant reminder to his family that our lives are short, and that it's incredibly important that we do everything we can to appreciate and spend time with the ones we love. It's interesting how life's challenges help put things into perspective.

Watching Allison's dad walk her down the aisle was one of the most beautiful things I've seen in a long, long time. The entire room gasped when he stood up out of his wheelchair and took her by the arm. There was hardly a dry eye in the place--in fact, I'm getting choked up now just writing about it!

As for Allison and Tyler, it's just amazing to me how much they love each other. They are some of the most gracious, supportive, giving, and caring people I know, and no mater what they face in life, I am confident that they will always come out stronger.

Allison & Tyler, it was an honor to be a part of your day. Thank you. ~ Gerald & Airika

To view all of Allison & Tyler's wedding photos, please click here to register.

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