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Posted By Lester V Ledesma
#8 - Bhoganandishwara Temple, Karnataka


An excerpt from my article in Spiceroute Magazine:

Nestled at the foot of Nandi Hills is an ancient structure that is so important it hosts its own archaeological station. The Bhoganandiswara Temple may not have its regular share of tourists (its not even listed in the brochures) but this sprawling complex is arguably one of the finest Dravidian temples in Karnataka.

A first glance at its well-preserved outer walls might give the impression of more recent origins. Step inside, though, and marvel at how beautifully this building has aged. Fine sandstone carvings depicting scenes from the Ramayana decorate the inner walls, their chiseled curves practically untouched by restoration work. Of special note is the mantapa fronting the middle shrine, which is unique for its exquisite granite carvings of birds and deities. So intricate are the details here that one can literally run a length of thread between the crafted adornments on the figures.

The Bana king Bana Vidhyadhara must have had grand designs for this temple when he ordered it built at around AD 810. Thankfully its awe-inspiring character survives to this day. Cambodia's Angkor Wat is a crumbling 800-year-old temple. This baby is 1,200 years old - and it still works.

#7 - The Four Seasons Koh Samui

Four Seasons

Ok I must admit to using a hotel PR shot for this image. No picture I took of that hotel justifies the experience of staying there. Suffice it to say that I had my own villa. And a private infinity pool. On a hilltop overlooking the balmy blue waters off Thailand's paradise hideout of Koh Samui.

Too bad I couldn't stay there all day. On assignment for Fah Thai Magazine to photograph the island's most influential people, my co-photo-editor Katie figured we needed swanky accommodations to put us in the right state of mind. Turns out we sampled much more of the high-flying Samui expat lifestyle than we expected. At the end of our last shoot, one of our subjects - a Guinness-guzzling Irish pub owner - treated us to 6 bottles of vintage Dom, amongst other delectable spirits. At the end of that night we had to be accompanied back, and my last memory before falling asleep was of me floating in my infinity pool, watching a gazillion stars as they...zzzzzz....

What happened the next morning was THIS

Posted By Lester V Ledesma
It's amusing how simply browsing through one's photo files can bring a flood of memories from the past twelve months. I'm fortunate to be in a line of work that constantly rewards me with new experiences. Some of these happen off the beaten path, others well within the domain of the cushy comfy. Like in previous years, 2009 brims with some truly unforgettable memories - there's so many of them in my head now that it takes effort to try to remember them all.

So I'll start small and just list down my ten best experiences of 2009:

#10 - The Ramadan Market at Tanjung Pinang

Ramadan Market

During the holy month of Ramadan, Muslims fast and spend their days in quiet contemplation, avoiding temptations to the soul as much as they can. In Tanjung Pinang, Bintan Island - as in the rest of Indonesia - restaurants hang black yards of cloth in front of their windows to keep appetites at bay. Radio stations go off the air, and the vibe throughout the town is one of quiet religiosity. However, all this changes after sunset when the ramadan fast is broken. The normally quiet waterfront suddenly bustles with activity as street peddlers and food hawkers appear. The scent of grilled satay, boiled bakso mee, steamed siumai Bandung, and roti bakar mixes with the sound of foot-pedaled kiddie rides, portable speakers and the ubiquitous motorbikes. The atmosphere is carnival-like - and the food is delicious. Who would have thought the fasting month could be this fun?

#9 - Getting Caught in the Rain in Vigan

Vigan Rain

The clouds were ominous, yet the setting sun rendered the stormy skies in a lovely yellow tone. I figured I could get a few shots off under this light before scampering off to find shade from the oncoming rain. The water came early and in torrents, though, forcing me to hide under a tiny roof on a corner of Vigan's M. Crisologo street. Drenched from head to toe, camera included, I waited about an hour for the rain to stop. But I was far from miserable because the scene before me was truly magical. Just look at that!

Posted By Lester V Ledesma
... Holga fisheye style:


The center's a bit soft, but the result is so deliciously low grade, fuzzy edges and all.

Posted By Lester V Ledesma
Been shooting with Canon's EOS 7D long before it was even announced, and finally I can tell you all what I think of this camera:


It's all stated in living color at the official EOS 7D website:

Just click on "Expert Knowledge" :)

Posted By Lester V Ledesma
The Buruh Kenyalang - the Rhinoceros Hornbill - is a common artistic motif among the peoples of Borneo:


Members of the Iban and Dayak tribes even believe it to be the god of war.



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