Archive for the ‘Photos’ Category

My most well-travelled friend loves taking opportunistic photos of wedding couples when she is in foreign climes. Her most recent shots were taken over the weekend of a wedding couple at Angkor Wat. Such a dramatic location for your wedding photos!

We also like taking the occasional photo of couples having their wedding photos taken. My husband started it many years ago, sans Mali, on his first trip to Japan. I love this shot both because the very traditionally dressed best man (?) is using a cellphone, and also because the size of the cellphone dates the picture perfectly!

A japanese wedding party in kimono and formal dress, with one member holding a brick of a cellphone


My favourite shot used to be this one, taken at gorgeous Polignano a Mare in Puglia, Italy. We saw a few wedding couples out for their photo shoots in Italy, including at Monopoli harbour (just down the road from Polignano a Mare) and in a sunflower field, though sadly, I can’t find that photo.

P1150277 polignano cliff bride

On this last trip, we saw a few couples posing in gardens and temples in Japan, and the beauty of their kimonos (which can cost thousands simply for the rental) and the surroundings caused both my husband and I to get out our phones/cameras. I like the ones of this couple.

And we couldn’t miss the couple in Vietnam either, stunning against the flowers of the flame trees in Hue.


I haven’t included photos of the wedding we attended (of complete strangers) on a cliff at a resort in Fiji, or of the couples we saw getting married at Club Med in Tahiti over 20 years ago, but they were memorable. I’m sure I’ve forgotten others, but there was something special about the ones I’ve included here. It feels a little voyeuristic, but I figure that if you’re going to dress up and pose in public, then you’re fair game to become a holiday snap!

And thanks to Carolyn for inspiring this post.

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I’ve never been one for taking lots of photos of myself, and so I’ve never quite understood the whole “selfie” obsession. But I recently realised that up until my trip this year, I’ve never been truly exposed to the “selfie” generation either.

I love to take photographs. As I’ve said before, it means I actually notice more around me, and appreciate where I am, and what I’m doing, even more than if I didn’t have a camera/phone in my hand. But I’m lucky to be in New Zealand, were there are few tourists. And my last trips were to Australia and Iceland/Norway, all of which also have low populations and were not filled with tourists when I was there. So I was blissfully unaffected by selfie-takers.

Tokyo, Kyoto, and Seoul, on the other hand, were filled with both local and international tourists. A majority of the tourists were taking selfies, frequently ignoring the beautiful flowers or the architectural details or the historic places, just hoping (or ensuring) they look good on camera. It happened everywhere in Japan, where renting a kimono for a few hours is popular for visits to temples or gardens. It was maybe worse in Korea.

Our first day in Seoul took that theme to the extreme. It was a Korean public holiday – Memorial Day. We decided to go to the Palace, and found that not only were there international tourists, but it seemed a lot of locals on their day off, or families out for the day or travelling within Korea for the long weekend. In other words, it was quite busy. As in Japan, both locals and tourists love to dress up in national costume (with the added bonus that wearing national dress gives free entry), and take photos. As inveterate people-watchers, we found it fascinating. There were families all dressed up, a group of Korean-American guys, having a great time, the occasional ethnic-Europeans looking a bit awkward, tourists from Asia (we heard Chinese, Thai, Singaporeans) There were a lot of groups of girlfriends, all taking endless photos of each other. And couples.

The vanity. Oh, the vanity.

I imagined the conversations:

Boyfriend: “What do you want to do on Memorial Day?”
Girlfriend: “I could dress up and we could go to the Palace and take pictures.”
Boyfriend: “ Sure … that sounds … um … great.”

Sometimes the boyfriends/husbands were dressed up too. But frequently they were the ones behind the cameras/phones. I felt sorry for a woman on her own, carefully posing for her selfie, scrutinising her face after the shots, no friends or partner to share the experience with. I hope she got a good photo to put on social media.

In the museums, or the off-the-beaten track locations we visited in Japan and Korea, there were fewer bus tours, tourists who tended to be older, and independent travellers from NZ (yep, that was us), Australia and France. Selfies were not the focus for anyone. Sanity reigned once again.

Then in Vietnam, we spent six days at a beach resort. I put my camera away for the whole visit (though my phone came out to snap the occasional photo of a cocktail at happy hour), but every day we saw young women getting into the pool in elaborate, carefully chosen swimsuits, purely to get their photos taken. They all did exactly the same poses. There was no originality – except perhaps in their choice of swimsuit. The pressure to conform, to display their bodies, and to do so in a sexual manner, to be as perfect as their photo/camera apps can airbrush them, to objectify themselves. It made me sad for them, and for women in general. We haven’t come so far after all. And that’s not how I thought this post would end.

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When we bought our house, there was one scrawny cabbage tree in our lower garden.  It barely reached our living area deck, but in recent years, once it reached a decent height, it has shot up. It has also split from its long trunk and finally has a few different branches. I loved it when I could see it through my kitchen window. And in more recent years, it’s now level with our bedroom window upstairs. Soon it will outgrow that too.

Cabbage trees or Ti Kouka are a NZ native tree. We see them everywhere, and they always make me smile. So having one in my own garden is special. Even if it is, in fact, very common.

P1100960 cabbage tree house


Linking with #ThursdayTreeLove here.

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