Overseas

Whirlwind

2018.03.21-IMG_1672x.jpg

Life can be a whirlwind. So much can happen in such little time that it can make events feel like months apart yet they were only a week ago. This is my life lately. I can't keep up with what day it is, what time it is, or when things happened (or didn't happen in some cases). Is anyone else startled that it's already March 21st?! That is crazy! My parents always told me when I was younger that when you got older time went by faster--I hate to say it, but they're right. Life definitely feels more precious to me these days. Seeing that almost a quarter of the year has flown by makes me want to live every moment to the fullest. 

My grad program is going well, albeit I have found this module the most difficult of the program. We are finally at the stage of putting our ideas into practice, working to complete our final research project. I'm still doing a project over fatherhood, although I had to niche down to a specific aspect of fatherhood, rather than look at it comprehensively. I'll explain on this more later in another post.

The goal is still to complete a photo book which is very exciting. I'm also hoping to host an exhibition or two, we'll see. There are many milestones ahead of me, so I'm looking forward to seeing how all this pans out. 

I hope you follow along in my journey over this next year! I'm interested to see what happens. :)

-Ashley

Wadi What? | #ThrowbackThursday #tbt

Have you ever heard of a wadi? It was new for me earlier this year when I first visited the Middle East. A wadi is like a large dry riverbed or a place that does hold water in rainy seasons. Whenever they are dry, they are great places to hike and explore and look like this:

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Some friends of ours invited us to go on a wadi hike and it was a blast. The water is so naturally blue and beautiful. This is where we ended up before I had to put my camera away:

2017.11.09-WadiWhat-for blog02.jpg

I unfortunately don't have any pictures after this, but you basically swim and walk through this channel of water until it leads you to this small, narrow opening into a cave. Inside the cave are ropes to climb up and jump down. I was completely content watching others climb up and jump down--it had to of been at least 15 feet high! At times I honestly felt like I was at Disney World--but it was all real. lol  Imagine that! :)

By the end of the day we were beat, but it was a blast to go and visit a place that was only two hours from our home.

This has been so different from our experiences in South Asia, where the only fun things to do was eat, shop, or look at historical sites (which you can only do so much of!). Here we can actually get away and have some adventure in clean air. At one point, Joshua told me to look up and I was amazed at how blue the sky was. How can the sky be so blue?! It was amazing. 

So needless to say, I feel so spoiled right now. While there are so many things I miss about South Asia, I am enjoying the beauty of this new place. It's definitely more healthy for our bodies and our lungs as we've been way more active since moving and my asthma has declined greatly. 

I'm sure I'm in a honeymoon phase and in six months I will be complaining to you, but for now I'm content and okay with the phase I'm in. Hopefully since we've experienced culture shock before it won't be a complete surprise this time! :)

Have a good one (and go explore something! It's fun!)!

-Ashley

New Territory | Personal Post

Living in a new country is always a learning curve--What gestures are appropriate? What do people find interesting to talk about? Where do you buy groceries--and what do you have/lack and what do you have change in your diet to go with what you can find? What do you wear? What's in fashion or what is inappropriate to wear? And so forth! The questions are endless.

Learning a new city is also an interesting experience. Some of our new finds include a local coffee shop that makes excellent coffee. We also found a bubble tea shop--something I haven't had in a long time (that was an exciting discovery)! We also have found that a lot of local places are closed between the hours of 1pm and 4pm. Larger grocery stores and shops are fine, but if you want to go to a market, don't plan to go at that time (we heard about this, but then forgot and learned the hard way--oops). You actually probably wouldn't want to go at that time anyway because it's so hot! Also the work week here is Sunday to Thursday with Friday and Saturday being the weekend. 

So we are in new territory folks--learning a lot and realizing also as we learn how much we don't know about life. It's interesting living in other cultures as it teaches you so much about the creativity of God and how different life can be done. I think every person should live in a different culture than their own for at least some season of their life--it teaches you a kind of respect and perspective that living in your home culture doesn't. Not to say that in some cities you can't get that "international" experience that I'm talking about; I'm fully aware that pockets of many nationalities exist in major cities. But for whatever reason, immersing yourself in a new environment and having to learn how to appreciate differences (because you can't change what's around you or escape from it) is a character building experience. :) 

October 2017 - This new place is starkly different from South Asia. So much space and no people to be seen. It's very different and taking some getting used to.

October 2017 - This new place is starkly different from South Asia. So much space and no people to be seen. It's very different and taking some getting used to.

The other day while looking for homes, we were invited into someone's home and we had the pleasure of experiencing their hospitality. After cardamom-coffee, dates, somosas, fried fish, other-unrecognizable-items, and juice (remember this was a spontaneous house visit--they were prepared!), we left their home grinning ear to ear, very honored, and stomachs full. Our host was very adamant that she show us hospitality and how they do it, relaying to us every detail that goes into serving guests in our new city. They were very proud to be the first locals to invite us into their home and we enjoyed it thoroughly. It was actually recognizable in a lot of ways from our previous place of residence. 

I look forward to more of these experiences as I have much to learn in this new place.! Follow me to hear more about it. :)

-Ashley

Perspectives

I've wrote about the idea of "perspectives" on my blog before, but I think it's worth bringing up again.

Canon 5D Mark II; 50mm f/1.4  |  f/3.2, 1/200 sec, ISO-100

Canon 5D Mark II; 50mm f/1.4  |  f/3.2, 1/200 sec, ISO-100

Finding images that are interesting around us is fairly easy to do. Just like this boat I came across in Thailand a couple years back, I saw it and was so excited. I loved the colors and have even posted images of it before. 

However, what happens if I would have stopped just there? The above shot is nice, but it's good to get different perspectives by walking around your subject. 

Canon 5D Mark II; 50mm f/1.4  |  f/10, 1/160 sec, ISO-500

Canon 5D Mark II; 50mm f/1.4  |  f/10, 1/160 sec, ISO-500

Canon 5D Mark II; 50mm f/1.4  |  f/3.2, 1/250 sec, ISO-100

Canon 5D Mark II; 50mm f/1.4  |  f/3.2, 1/250 sec, ISO-100

Canon 5D Mark II; 50mm f/1.4  |  f/3.2, 1/200 sec, ISO-100

Canon 5D Mark II; 50mm f/1.4  |  f/3.2, 1/200 sec, ISO-100

There are so many details that I would have missed if I would have just taken that first shot and walked on. All that to say, if you have the opportunity to take time on your subject, shoot away! Changing your perspective, whether that's walking to the left or right or getting higher/lower can completely change the image. 

This week I had a micro project that is about the topic of perspectives in my photography class and it's been really challenging. The topic is "Is this really South Asia?". The idea is to take images that one would not normally associate with this area of the world. I'm compiling the images today and will post them here tomorrow! This program keeps me on my toes!

Hope you've had a great week!

-Ashley

New Aspects of Culture

One fun thing about living in another culture is being able to experience new aspects of that culture which are very foreign to you. Such as this man above, selling powder to make beautiful designs. I had never seen this before! The circular looking items to the right are stencils that help you create the design almost flawlessly. 

I learned that these particular designs are called, "Rangoli", and is used during many festivals here. The powder is made from rice (or other materials, like flour) and you can find many colors--all being very bright! 

I thought they were really beautiful. Many of the shops we passed actually had designs like these on the side of steps in front of their building. I don't understand all the cultural meanings or implications, but it was something very unique for us to discover while we were out shopping the other day!

I sometimes wonder about what I think is normal in the State's that other cultures would consider fascinating. Just like Rangoli designs, this is something they do on a yearly basis--so while it's probably special, it's still common enough to know about and to not think of it's uniqueness. I imagine if I thought hard enough, I would be able to come up with many holidays, customs, and events Americans perform that would be strange or unique to other places.

All this to say, you don't have to live in an "exotic" place to capture interesting photos. I encourage you to go out today and to think critically about your life situation. What is unique? What is special? What do I think is "normal" that other places would see as interesting? Capture those photos and see what comes of it! Send me a link in the comments section if you go out--I'd love to see your work.

-Ashley

Life Happened

I've been slightly avoiding this initial blog post after my hiatus, as I knew it had been an incredibly long period since I had written on this blog. I went from updating from 4-6 times a week to nothing for two months! What happened?!

Let me tell you--life has happened. Not only did I move across the world during this time, but visited a few places in between and have been more busy than I ever could have anticipated! Between setting up a home, getting used to living in South Asia again (which includes figuring out how to not talk in English!), and trying to get into a routine--everything else has paused whether I've liked it or not. And unfortunately I'm far from finished with the above things.

Unfortunately, I won't be able to post like I was previously for now, but I do hope to post at least a few times a week, as I have many exciting things coming up in the future in regards to photography. I'll explain those more in another blog post (believe me, super exciting)!!

For now, I just wanted to say, "I'm alive and doing well" and post some long overdue photos, which I had planned to post in July (...such as the 4th of July fireworks). Such is life.  Better late than never! :)

Canon 5D Mark II, 24mm f/2.8  |  f/22, 1/80 sec, ISO-640  |  Koh Samui, Thailand

Canon 5D Mark II, 24mm f/2.8  |  f/22, 1/80 sec, ISO-640  |  Koh Samui, Thailand

This picture was taken last year some time on a trip to an island in Thailand. It is a beautiful place and I recommend everyone going, especially if you like to dive! I wouldn't know, because I didn't dive on that trip, but I'm told it's stunning. I'm normally drawn towards color, but I liked the change to black and white for this photo, as it accentuated the texture of the sand and the light on the water. :) 

Happy Friday!

-Ashley 

No Words

When I woke up the other day, I was browsing through notifications on my phone and saw several posts circulating about Dallas and the tragedy that had happened there. I began to scour the internet for articles and the more I read, the more disheartened I became. Being outside the US, I had no clue about what was going on. I am just appalled and have no words! My heart and prayers go out to those families who lost their loved ones during these horrific events. 

Canon 5D Mark II; 24 mm f/2.8  |  f/3.5, 1/25000 sec; ISO-400

Canon 5D Mark II; 24 mm f/2.8  |  f/3.5, 1/25000 sec; ISO-400

On a much lighter note, we recently traveled through Dubai on our way back overseas due to a long layover and had this amazing view from our hotel room. Dubai is an interesting place as 80% of the city is expat (foreigners). You can see about any nationality wherever you go! 

Thanks for stopping by and I hope that you find peace amidst the chaos of the world this weekend!

-Ashley

Never Gets Old

I love the beach.

I love the sand between my toes, the salt in the air, the rhythmic motion of the water, the color of the water and sand, and the sounds. I can sit for hours watching and listening to the water swell. When you look out over the ocean, you realize how small you really are!

Another thing I love about the ocean is that you can photograph it a million times and find another way to portray it.

Canon 5D Mark II; 50mm f/1.4  |  f/2.8, 1/400 sec, ISO-400

Canon 5D Mark II; 50mm f/1.4  |  f/2.8, 1/400 sec, ISO-400

Canon 5D Mark II; 50mm f/1.4  |  f/2.8, 1/640 sec, ISO-400

Canon 5D Mark II; 50mm f/1.4  |  f/2.8, 1/640 sec, ISO-400

I love that in both of these I feel like I can reach out my hand and grab the sand or feel the water. God's creation is amazing! Looking at this never gets old!

Hope that your day is awesome and that you find beauty in what you see daily!

-Ashley