Thursday, April 28, 2011
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
Aleena and her best friend McKayla have many matching outfits. I photographed them in some of their matching outfits.
Apparently McKayla was not very happy with the idea of taking the photos. When she got to our house, however, and saw the backdrop and the lights she changed her mind.
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
We were as high as 4,000 meters on this day. The air is a lot thinner, and we had some oxygen bottles in case someone became short of breath.
Monday, April 25, 2011
It was a couple of kids first Easter egg hunt, so it was nice. I also hid two small eggs for a couple of Thai mothers who had never participated before. I made their eggs much harder to find. I had to play the colder/warmer game with one to help her find the egg.
I felt a little bad for Jacob, because he was the only boy. Most of the girls were Aleena's age, but Nalin had a friend there as well.
After the egg hunt we went to brunch where we ate entirely too much. The food was pretty good and pretty inexpensive because they had a special where kids under 12 ate free. We had six adults and ten kids, so it worked out pretty nicely. The restaurant had a clown who made balloons, a Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse character, and Easter egg hunt, and a magician to entertain the kids. It was really nice for the adults, because we could sit and relax. We ended up at the restaurant for almost three hours.
Overall it was a really fun day. By the time we got back home, everyone was pretty tired and ready to rest a bit.
I signed all three kids up. Jacob and Aleena were thrilled to participate, while Nalin was less than happy. She let me know that in no uncertain many times leading up to Friday, and at least three times on the ten minute bike ride to school. At the end though, they all had a lot of fun. Nalin would only admit that it was "ok", although I suspect that she enjoyed being with some of her friends.
All of the parents of participants are required to help in some way. Its really necessary because it takes a lot of people to coordinate so many events. I was lucky enough to be cast as the photographer. I had fun too.
Here are a few photos from the event.
Aleena competed in four events. The final event was the balance beam. During her scored competition, she saw our nanny Yaow and McKayla's nanny Meow and stuck her tongue out at them. There she is walking on a balance beam and she sticks her tongue out at someone in the audience.
Aleena and McKayla ended up playing together after the competition. All in all I think they spent about eleven hours together on Saturday.
I was asked to take some photos of ISB gymnasts. There was also a team of professional photographers there photographing the event. They had a team of at least eight photographers plus another seven or eight support staff. I saw some of the books that they put together, and they are pretty slick.
Indoor sports photography presents some challenges because of the lighting. The lighting is generally is dim and often has a yellowish tint. The dimness is exacerbated by the fact that they are moving which means that a slower shutter speed can result in subject blur. To compensate, I shot in a high ISO. The advantage of higher ISO settings is that they require less light and allow you to shoot at a faster shutter speed. The disadvantage is that higher ISO shots introduce more noise into the photo.
I shot between 1600 and 3200 ISO. On my old 40D, 3200 would have been completely unacceptable, but with the 5D Mark II, it isn't nearly as bad. I took over 2,000 shots, so I'm working my way through them. Below are a couple of Aleena, including one of her sticking out her tongue.
Saturday, April 16, 2011
During breakfast on our last day in China, I was talking to Aleena and Jacob. Jacob was speaking to Aleena and said "I put milk in honey". Not able to resist a play on words, I said, "Jacob that is nice that you called your sister 'honey'". Usually Aleena doesn't pick up on those things, but she just got a big smile on her face and said "oh, the kind of honey you eat and calling someone honey." It was one of those moments that just made me smile.
The statue was championed by a monk who sought to build this to protect the local people from flooding. After his initial attempts at getting the project started, he removed his own eyes. This dedication apparently moved the Governor at the time to undertake the project.
We took a boat ride to view the Giant Buddha. You can actually go there, but we just viewed it from the boat.
Its amazing to think of a project that lasts 90 years. Its very likely that no-one in the area who was alive at the start of the project was still alive at completion. The fact that this was completed over 1,300 years ago is even more astounding. In one sense it was interesting to see it, but I don’t know if it was really worth the time. We were probably in front of it less than five minutes.
I’m not sure why, but for some reason I took most of my photos in portrait (taller than wide) mode. That would have been okay, but I should have taken a few in landscape so that I could get all of the carvings on both sides of the statue.
The Thai schools are still off for their summer break. ISB, the school our children attend, is closed for the week, so we like to use this time to go on trips. Some years we have stayed in Thailand, while others we've gone abroad. Its a tough choice because Songklon is probably the most fun time of the year here in Thailand, yet the nine days off makes it a good time to fly somewhere.
We stayed in Thailand last year, so this year we planned to visit Japan. The recent events there caused us to cancel that trip. Instead, we booked a six day trip to South West China. Our destinations included Chengdu, Jiuzhaigou National Park, and Sichuan. We wanted to include Beijing in our itinerary, but had trouble finding a flight due to the last minute bookings.
Overall we had a pretty fun trip. The beginning was a bit rough, but it definitely picked up at the end. Instead of one long blog, I’ll break it up into smaller bits.
Friday, April 8, 2011
The Thai language students put on several performances to entertain and educate about Songkron. The first was a skit where boys and girls in traditional Thai costumes talked about the meaning of Songkron. Afterwards, the students performed a traditional Thai dance accompanied by the playing of drums.
Jacob was a drummer in the show. He told me that all the drummers were boys, but that a few boys had to be dancers. I asked him how the teacher decided who dance and who would drum. Jacob's response was just funny. "The last ones to raise their hands to volunteer to be drummers had to dance."
The students did a great job. I sat down on the mats in front so that I could get some better photos.
The main character of Nalin's story was a girl named Banana Split who struggled with making new friends after the best friend moved. In addition to sharing their stories, they recited a poem as a group, and a few students shared poems that they had written.
Thursday, April 7, 2011
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
Monday, April 4, 2011
To make due, we watch DVD's and I download programs. The channel choices are still pretty poor, and the only way you can get a DVR through the cable company is to buy it. I'm thinking about putting together my own dvr using my computer. From what I've read, it doesn't look to be too difficult.
Friday, April 1, 2011
Today we took the kids to Siam Park City. Anna, her mother and brother, and McKayla also went.
Siam Park City is an amusement and water park in Bangkok. They have some roller coasters and a few other rides. The rides are probably on par with Dreamworld, maybe not quite as good; certainly not in the class with Kings Island. I didn't see much of the water park, as I got a Thai Massage for the hour we were at the water park.
We only ended up staying for four or so hours, as Jacob had a baseball game at 5:00 p.m.
A couple of weeks ago, Nalin spent the night at her friend Anna's house. Anna's mom told Tim a funny story.
Anna has a twin brother, and they sleep in the same bedroom. When Nalin spent the night, Peter slept in another room, Nalin slept in Anna's bed, and Anna slept in Peter's bed.
Each night, Anna's father comes home and kisses Anna before he goes to bed. When Nalin heard about this, she was worried that he would mistake her for Anna in the dark and kiss her. Nalin wrote a note and left it on the steps where Anna's dad was sure to see it. The note explained that she was sleeping in Anna's bed, and that he should not kiss her by mistake. Not only did the note work, but it gave us all a good laugh.