A Movie "The Salt of the Earth" Changed My Thoughts on Traveling

The Salt of the Earth chronicles Sebastião Salgado's career.  You can see his photos here.  I highly recommend taking a peek as they blow my mind!  Not only did this movie inspire me to work on my black and white photography, but it also changed my thoughts and goals regarding my future travel plans.  I watched this movie on the airplane when I returned from Italy and you can see the reviews from Rotten Tomatoes here.

Since visiting Bali 2 1/2 years ago and then Tanzania about two years ago I have become more of a tourist than s traveler.  I have only wanted to see happy pretty things over the past couple of years.  While I have greatly enjoyed myself I know there is another side of the world and part of me has always wanted to make a difference. 

Watching this movie "The Salt of the Earth" has convinced me that I would like to do something either in my own country or in another one to help the environment or people and animals in some way.  It was a very timely thing for me to see this movie a few weeks ago.  The narrator (Salgado) became disenchanted with humanity while taking photographs of war and refugee camps decided that he needed to make some changes.  He eventually goes back to where he was raised in Brazil and helps restore the land that had become barren due to deforestation.

Salgado said this after many years of photographing war, famine and other causes of human suffering:
 
"So many times I've photographed stories that show the degradation of the planet. I had one idea to go and photograph the factories that were polluting, and to see all the deposits of garbage. But, in the end, I thought the only way to give us an incentive, to bring hope, is to show the pictures of the pristine planet - to see the innocence." 
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You can read about some of my travel experiences that left me disillusioned and a little down here, here, and here.  
 
 Here are a few photos of my trip to Tanzania and Maasai Land:
 
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With the Masssai: 6a00e55215d62e883401a5117a42bf970c-500wi

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Have you seen "The Salt of the Earth" or have you done any humanitarian work or traveling?
Thank you for visiting.  I hope you all have a wonderful week!
~Michelle
 

Some of the Many Benefits of Using Google's Panoramio to Store Photos

One of my most popular photos, taken in Antarctica, on Panoramio with more than 9000 views:

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There are many benefits to joining Panoramio for those who like to take photos for any reason.  First of all you get free storage space for your photos.  They are stored in full-size.  Facebook  does not store your photos full-size.  One can also get a page rank when you join Panoramio.  

I just joined in March 2013 and I have a PR of 2. Here is my site:  

http://www.panoramio.com/user/7406641

You also can join groups in Panoramio similar to how you can join them in Facebook. Members can comment on your photos as well as like and favorite them. Each photo has its own statistics showing how many views it's received, likes, and favorites.  You also can see the lifetime views of each of your photos.  For me it is like social networking for photographers who are both professional and hobbyists.  When one joins panoramio, they can choose for no one to be able to use your photos at all without your permission, or you can choose to let anyone use your photos for any reason.

One of the best things about joining Panoramio is your Photos can be used in Google Earth and Google Maps if they are selected.  There are certain criteria your photos must meet in order to be used.  First of all there cannot be recognizable people in your photo or close-ups of flowers and animals.  I like it for my landscape photography which is probably my favorite thing to take photos of.

Panoramio was acquired by Google so in 2007 so it is probably a fairly safe place to store your photos.  I used AOL photo storage eight or nine years ago.  When they no longer offered photo storage, they did give their users plenty of warnings to move their photos.  Those who did not, unfortunately, lost all of their photos.

  Here is my most popular photo overall based on Panoramio's algorithm,  It was taken on my dolphin siting expedition in Lovina, Bali:

Pano11Here is my most popular photo in Google Earth with more than 26000 views.  It's a research station in Antarctica:
Pano11Here is my most popular photo taken in Antarctica in Google Maps with more than 31000 views:
Pano11Here is my most popular photo which is shown on an external widget of a sunrise in Lovina, Bali with over 5600 views:
External widget 5600Do you use Panoramio?  Are there any other photo storage sites that you would recommend and why?  Thanks so much for your visit and your comments!

~Michelle


"I think Australia has to be a country which has the 'Welcome' sign out."~ Paul Keating

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While visiting Bali, Indonesia last spring I decided to travel to Australia for a week.  I really wanted to go to Sri Lanka instead, but I chose to go to Australia only to cross off one of my bucket list items of making it to all seven continents.  I wasn't really that excited about visiting Australia and wasn't expecting to love it as much as I did.  I thought it would be very similar to the United States.  I asked a friend of mine which area I should visit and she helped me decide on the Melbourne area. 

Stayed at the Radisson Hotel right across from Flagstaff Gardens :

My welcome platter:

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View from my room:

Aaaauuuuusss1There was a nice rooftop terrace for viewing the city at night which I thought was spectacular.  Of course, I had no tripod :(

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 I loved the colorful beach huts I saw while visiting Brighton Beach:

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I visited Healesville to see the vineyards and wildlife sanctuary:

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 The third photo down is a platypus, the fourth photo is a dingo, and there are two photos of a Tasmanian Devil:

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Aaaauuuuusss1These penguins are very large!  They are called Gentoo Penguins:

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  The city was absolutely beautiful!   I was amazed at how clean and well-kept Melbourne is.  I was also pleasantly surprised at how polite, well mannered and friendly most people are there.  I am usually really against taking public transportation, but while there I did take public transportation to see the beach huts in Brighton Beach.   Everyone was so helpful, and being on their subway was such a different experience than any other subway I've ever been on.  It was so clean, comfortable, and spacious!

Here is a quote about Australia by the writer Jackie Collins:

I have visited Australia several times, and I always try to make a point of going to Melbourne because it's almost my favorite city there, Melbourne and Sydney. But I shouldn't say that because I haven't been everywhere-and I'm very fond of Perth too! ~ Jackie Collins

 I really enjoyed my time visiting Australia.  I wished that I had more time there and look forward to returning.   Maybe I enjoyed it so much because I wasn't expecting very much.  Perhaps it was because I was pleasantly surprised at how different it was than the United States.  I spent two entire days walking around the city amazed at how beautiful the buildings are.  I loved taking photos of them.  The architecture is different than any I've ever seen.  The buildings don't seem very old, as a matter of fact they have a modern look to them, but they are very beautiful with a lot of character.

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Have you ever visited Australia?  If so, what area?  I really can not wait to go back and see more of this amazing country!

 Thanks so much for your visit.  Please leave me any questions or comments below.   I'm on my way to Alaska this week, but will post about it as soon as I can!

~ Michelle


Why I'm Glad I Visited Bali and Why I Won't Return

I wanted to add something to this post because it is getting quite a bit of attention.  I don't want to make Bali sound like a bad place to visit.  I simply had a bad experience there.  I am a huge animal lover and have a special place in my heart for cats.  When you read this story you will see that on the last day I was there I tried to save a young very sweet, pregnant cat.  I was traumatized by the experience and that is why I wrote what I did.

 

I made two very big mistakes when I visited Bali.  I had very high expectations and I stayed too long.  For some ridiculous reason I envisioned Bali being similar to Thailand.  Why???  I'm not sure.  I guess because they are in the same continent - Asia.  I loved everything about Thailand and I was hoping that I would feel the same way about Indonesia. 

There are many pros to visiting the so-called island of paradise in  Indonesia.  There are many things to do, many beautiful sites to see, and the activities are not terribly expensive.  I got some really beautiful photographs while there.  The trouble is I don't care to look at them at this point.

Some of the cons are that Bali is a tiny overpopulated island and there is a lot of poverty.  There were many times that I felt as though I were being scammed.   It actually started when I got to the airport and I was asked if I wanted VIP access to getting my visa on arrival which meant jumping ahead of 10 people and saving five minutes.  That cost me about $20 USD.  I then was asked by one of the police officers if I was there because of "troubles at home" - that made me uncomfortable.  I guess the last straw was the ordeal that I went through with a young pregnant cat that I fed  during my final few days there. I did everything I could to help the cat including having a vet visit the hotel and fed her sugar water in my hotel room.  When I ended up needing to catch my flight, I really couldn't get anybody to help the cat.  I called a couple of days later and she had passed away. 

Here is the post with the story about the cat I tried to save :'(

“Knowing it and seeing it are two different things.” ― Suzanne Collins, Mockingjay

There are some nice beaches:

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At the Monkey Forest in Ubud, Indonesia:

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  Bali000There are so many beautiful Temples in Bali:

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Visiting the waterfall near Ubud was fun:

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you can go to the rice terraced fields in Ubud:
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You can go dolphin watching in Lovina :
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it is relatively inexpensive to stay in a nice hotel.  This hotel is called "The Mansion" and is in Ubud:
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 During my trip to Bali I stayed there for two weeks went on to Melbourne, Australia stayed there for one week and considered buying a one-way ticket back to the United States I tried to justify going back early and buying an extra plane ticket by telling myself I would save money on a hotel in Bali the visa on arrival in the exit tax which totals $50 I wish I had done it now because trying to save the cat was very traumatic to me as an animal lover if I were to give advice to someone who is planning a vacation in Bali I would tell them to stay with their tour group to make sure they don't go too far off the beaten path and beware of scammers.

I will leave you with a hopefully "feel good" video about how to open a coconut:

 

Have you ever "outstayed" your welcome so to speak or been incredibly disillusioned by a vacation?   Thanks so much for visiting!  Until next time

~Michelle

 

 


Pixabay: Find and Share Images Free of Copyrights

On Pixabay you may find and share images free of copyrights. All pictures are published under Creative Commons public domain deed CC0.  

When I started this blog a little more than 3 months ago, it was basically just to chronicle my travels.  I planned to only use photos that were taken by yours truly.  I still plan to use only my own photos EXCEPT when I am planning to travel to a new place and want advice on whether I should go and or what I should do when I get there - IF I go. 

Here is a photo of a place which I think is my dream vacation.  I wanted to reach out and ask my audience if they have been to this supposed island paradise, heaven on Earth, or most beautiful place in the world?  I got this photo from Pixabay and the photographer is "WikiImages".  You can see 2 photos of Bora Bora at this web address:  http://pixabay.com/en/photos/?q=bora+bora&order=best&image_type=&cat=&orientation=

Pixabay is very selective of the images they make available for use so you can be assured that you will probably find some nice images to use for whatever purpose you need them for and not be concerned about a copyright violation :)  To view more specific information about using photos from Pixabay please see http://pixabay.com/en/service/faq/

Here is a link to my account which I try to add new images to everyday:  

http://pixabay.com/en/users/Mariamichelle/

Here are my five most popular images:

#1

Dolphins in Lovina Bali

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#2

Floating Lone Tree in Lake Wanaka, New Zealand

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Lion in the Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

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The Azure Window on Gozo Island in the Mediterranean

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Sunset in Key West, Florida

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 If you've been to Bora Bora, please let me know what your thoughts are.   Basically, I want to know if it's worth the high price or is it all hype.  If you loved it what did you do for activities?   Thank you in advance :)

Thank you so much for stopping by.  I love to read your comments or questions and and reading other people's blogs as well.  Your e-mail address will never be published.  Until next time, take care my friends!

  ~Michelle