Thursday, June 10, 2010

Desert solitude

It was just a few minutes past that golden hour, when the sun rises from beneath that rusty brown horizon, painting everything around it fiery shades of golden and red. My camera sat atop a rock in the campsite as I stood warming myself near the campfire, shivering slightly in the morning cold, watching the sun slowly rise higher and higher up into the blue sky, warming up the rugged desert landscape from its cold night of slumber.

I relish my moments of solitude, and will go to any lengths to attain them – camping in remote areas far from civilization, hiking unknown trails, taking vacations completely unannounced, traveling in the coldest, most tourist un-friendliest months, finding places that others haven’t discovered yet – anything to get away from people. Because every so often, I feel the need to be completely alone. It isn’t loneliness. It’s simply solitude. Giving myself some breathing space. Allowing myself to exhale. Listening to the whispers of my soul.

And so I stood, watching the red buttes of the landscape change color around me, listening to the sound of the wind rustling through the shrubs, when out of nowhere a scrawny stray dog ambled into my view. It had no tags, no collars. No sign of being owned or having a companion. Free to wander. All alone.

Completely oblivious to my presence, he stood right there in front of me. Gazing at the landscape, paying homage to the desert wilderness before us.

It struck me then that perhaps he too was greeting the morning much the same way as I was. Relishing a few moments of complete solitude in the noisy world around us. Greeting an empty day uncoiled with hours stretched ahead.

I slung my camera around me and took a photo of that memory – the early morning, the desert landscape, the stray dog and desert solitude.

~vagabond~ © 2010

Monday, October 19, 2009


Old dreams never really grow old. They simply morph. In those last few moments in which an old dream lies abandoned, it wiggles its way into the tight cocoon of unending hope. And just when you’ve stopped dreaming altogether, it emerges anew. Bright, colorful and vibrant. A new dream morphed out of the old, flying high up into the sky of endless possibilities, sustained on the colorful wings of a whole new passion.

~vagabond~ © 2009

Friday, September 18, 2009

Mornings in Africa

I know. I know.

I haven’t posted anything on this blog in the longest time, and then return after months of unexplained silence with this highly photoshoped image. It goes against everything I believe in, and then again it doesn’t.

I know I once said I don’t photoshop and that every image on this website has been put up in the natural state in which it was taken – no tampering, no editing, no nothing. But in this one case, I’d like to make an exception. This photo comes out of my archives. It was taken long before I ever had an inkling of an interest in photography. Long before the world was introduced to digital cameras. Long before I even owned a camera I could call my own. Long before I ever decided to blog.

Over the past couple of months of my absence on this blog, I’ve grown increasingly nostalgic for home and unbearably homesick. And so when I finally end my silence on this blog, it’s only befitting that I would use a photograph taken years ago in Kenya to end the dry spell on this blog. I dug up my favorite memory of my favorite place in Kenya but unfortunately the film had grown old, the photograph turned grainy and I turned to photoshop to restore an old memory.

In the end, I remain true to what this blog represents – capturing moments that hold deep meaning to me.

PS. To read about the memory that lies behind this photo, click here.

~vagabond~ © 2009

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Dawn's First Light

I took this photo in the early hours of a cool spring morning in the sleepy little harbor town of Grand Marais in Michigan's upper peninsula. I woke up to the purple darkness that paints the sky right before dawn, and stood by the harbor wrapped up in a light shawl, shivering slightly amidst the cold morning breeze, waiting for the break of dawn. Somewhere in the distant waters, I hear the mournful call of a lonely loon announce the arrival of morning. I watch mesmerized as dawn's first golden light pierces through the purple darkness of the skies, slowly turning night into day. A brilliant golden shimmer sweeps through the calm still waters of Lake Superior spreading one ripple at a time, as I stand entranced, watching the beauty of that early magic hour unfold in front of me.

~vagabond~ © 2009

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Spring is here!

Tiny buds open up slowly,
As the first butterfly of the season floats out of its cocoon
The skies resonate with the sounds of vagrant birds returning home
The fragrance of cherry blossoms sits lightly in the air
The harsh spell of a long, cold winter is suddenly broken
By the warm beams of sunshine that swallow up the blue sky
Slowly, the world awakens out of its deep slumber
Afresh. Anew.

~vagabond~ © 2009

Sunday, April 5, 2009


Her deep blue eyes stare into my own, as she locks into them against my own will. She holds my gaze into hers as her piercing eyes penetrate deep into the crevices of my soul, searching and investigating the mystery of my being. The secrets of my past and present unravel involuntarily in the presence of her strong gaze and the truth of who I am stands before her, unguarded and vulnerable amidst her powerful aura.

And then just as quickly as she had cast it, she breaks the spell. She blinks and walks away from me, head held high, swooshing her tail majestically, bored by how ordinary and mundane I am amidst her extraordinary presence. She stretches lazily, taking in the warmth of the sunshine on a cool spring day, frolicking playfully before settling down for a nap on the cool ground.

Ivory. The white bengal tiger.

These photos were taken at the Potawatomi zoo, an AZA (American Zoo and Aquarium Association) accreditated zoo in South Bend, Indiana.
While the idea of a wild animal in captivity always saddens me, I do realize the important role that accredited zoos play as learning centers in educating and spreading awareness of wildlife conservation. Animals held captive in zoos are often valuable resources to conservation biologists studying the habitat requirement, animal behavior or other aspects of the ecology of an endangered species aimed at the restoration or reintroduction of the population in the wild.
By putting up photos of wild animals clicked at my local zoo, I am not necessarily advocating zoos. While the Potawatomi zoo is an active participant of the species survival plan coordinated by the AZA and is involved in many conservation and education efforts, not all zoos are equally conservation oriented. I feel a conflicted sympathy for the animal held in captivity in an accredited zoo because while it as an individual has lost its right to freedom, a greater benefit to the conservation of its species is often gained out of its captivity. By putting up these photos, I do not necessarily want to get into the argument of "good zoos" versus "bad zoos", I simply want to convey my love and fascination for these wild animals to anyone else that is captivated by their beauty.

~vagabond~ © 2009

Sunday, March 1, 2009

The Lighthouse

This little lighthouse stands brave on the banks of Lake Michigan. It is located in the sleepy beachside town of St.Joseph in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. Several years ago, I lived in an apartment just a short distance away from its shore. The lighthouse and I go a long way back. I have walked along the pier leading up to it countless times over the years. I would sit at the very end of the pier on summer evenings, with my legs dangling off the edge, gazing out into the watery horizon for as far ahead as I could see. Some days blissful and content, waving at the boats coming in. Some days sad and contemplative, lost in my own thoughts. I have seen the sun dip into the calm blue waters ahead of me painting both the waters and the sky a brilliant red.

In summer, the pier gets quite busy with locals fishing, high school kids diving off its hot concrete slab into the cool summer water, out of town visitors posing to take photos by the lighthouse. But in winter, it stands deserted, weathering the winter storms all alone. And that's my favorite time of all to visit it.

I no longer live as close by as I'd like to, but I still sometimes drive up to say hello. I visited the lighthouse last week and took the photos above. With all the snow storms we’ve been through this winter season, it’s hard to even tell where the “sandy” beach ends and where the frozen lake begins. And yet, seeing my brave little lighthouse standing strong amidst the frozen icy waves of countless winter storms fills me with endless hope and inspiration.

~vagabond~ © 2009