Stillness is powerful. Within you there is a stillness and a sanctuary to which you can retreat any time.
How often to you spend quality time with your family and friends?…a lot? Well, here is what it actually looks like (most of the time).
American photographer Eric Pickersgill photoshopped away the smartphones and digital devices from his portraits of everyday life. The results are -startling. Have a look for your yourself…
GIETHOORNS ( Goat Horns), the name originated from the first inhabitants’ discovery of hundreds of goat horns.
Giethoorn is a village in the Dutch Province of OVERIJSSEL. It is located in the municipality of STEENWIJKERLAND, about 5km southwest of STEENWIJK.
It used to be an auto-free zone, but nowadays, exceptions are made. It became locally famous, especially after 1958, when the Dutch film-maker Bert Haanstra made his famous comedy FANFARE there. In the old part of the village, there were no roads (though a cycling path was eventually added), and all transport was done by water over one of the many canals. The lake in Giethoorn was formed by peat-unearthing.
Tourism has had a relatively small influence on the old traditional town. The village, still only fully accessible by boat, is one of the several places commonly known as the Venice of the North or Venice of the Netherlands.
Giethoorn has 180 bridges. Giethoorn is a very popular attraction among Chinese tourists. The village of only 2,620 inhabitants sees between 150,000 to 200,000 Chinese tourists every year.
Since all transport is done buy boat, Giethoorn has punts (traditional flat-bottomed boats that are used for transport over the canals. Giethoorn has a long shape and is separated into three tiny settlements : NOORDEINDE, MIDDENBUURT & ZUIDENDE. The DORPSGRACHT is the central canal that connects these separate settlements. The farms and houses are separated from each other by small canals. The BULTRUGBOERDERIJ is a common type of farm in Giethoorn. It seems to have a large bump because the barn is larger than the house in front.
Giethoorn is so peaceful, so different and has such simple beauty, that it hardly seems real ——- gently gliding along small canals past old, but pretty, thatched-roof farmhouses. You can turn down a side street (another small canal) and drift under a wooden bridge where an elderly resident may be strolling over to see a neighbour.
Giethoorn is Holland’s “water village”, and the loudest sound you can normally hear is a quacking of a duck or the noises made by other birds. The little village is so dependent on its waterways that many houses cannot be reached by road. When the postman delivers the mail, he travels by punt.
Boating has been a popular tourist attraction here for years, with 90km of canoe trails and scores of motorboats to rent, but now, instead of conventional outboard motors, the hire shops stock so-called WHISPER- BOATS ———– dinghies driven by electric motor. There are three canal-side museums to visit and the SCHREUR shipyard, where the Giethoorn punt is built.
(1) THE HEART of VOH, New Caledonia : This image of a “heart-shaped” patch of land, which also adorned the cover of Yann Arthus-Bertrand’s book, is one of the most famous photographs from the ambitious project. New Caledonia, a group of islands in the Pacific, has 200sq.km. of mangrove that is quite low but very dense especially on the western coast of the largest island GRANDE-TERRE. Inland where sea water only penetrates during spring tides, vegetation is sometimes replaced by naked and over-salted stretches of land called TANNE, like near the town of VOH where nature has drawn a glade in the “shape of a heart”.
(2) OIL RESIDUE LANDFILL from the exploitation of oil sands, Fort McMurray, Canada : Often, what may initially seem like an abstract painting, takes on a different meaning once you know what you are really looking at. To obtain 1 barrel of 159litres of crude oil, one has to extract 2tons of peat and soil and 2tons of sand. With the money from the oil, the population of the town very close to Fort McMurray has rapidly increased over the past few years. However, even if this wealth is advantageous for the province of Alberta, Oil Companies and the inhabitants, it is at the expense of the environment of us all.
(3) KILIMANJARO’S DISAPPEARING SNOW, Tanzania : This snow, which is more than 11,000 years old is about to disappear : global warming, deforestation, very low levels of precipitation —–scientists are wondering why the snow on Africa’s highest summit which, at 5,895 mts tall, is gradually disappearing.
(4) SANAA’S OLD TOWN & AL KHBIR MOSQUE, Yemen : Sanaa’s Old Town is a labyrinth of backstreets that smell of “myrrh & incense” — of which Yemen is the world’s largest producer. It can be a difficult place to negotiate on foot. But working from the air has its challenges too. Aerial photography is complicated, the weather needs to be good, you need authorization which is complicated because a photographer is always seen as a “spy in a foreign land”. So, it is expensive ——- much more expensive than takinh photos on foot or by car.
(5) LOUIS-SAINT-LAURENT icebreaker in Resolute Bay, Canada : An icebreaker is designed to open up maritime routes. Since 1969, the Louis-Saint-Laurent is the largest and oldest of these ships operating in Canada. With its reinforced hull, its powerful propulsion and its prominent stern, it moves forward on the “ice floe” that it cracks and breaks with its weight. From BAFFIN BAY to the BEAUFORT SEA, navigation requires the use of such ships to provide human establishments, located at the furthest northern point, with fresh supplies.
(6) STRONGBREEN GLACIER in KVALVAGEN BAY, Norway : Not many people live in the SVALBARD Archipelago, located between the Atlantic Ocean and the Arctic Ocean. Increasing temperatures and climate change are causing the ice to melt, easing access to this region which may be full of gas and petrol.
(7) CRYSTALLINE FORMATION on LAKE MAGADI, Kenya : Surounded by high volcanic plateaus, these alkaline waters have a high salt content. And, though the lake is hospitable, is it far from habitable ? Millions of small flamingos come to feed from micro-algae. One cannot fail to mention that the lake’s SESQUICARBONATE CRYSTALS ——– the purest in the world —- have been exploited, for over a century, to produce sodium carbonate used in the glass and detergent industries.
(8) FLOODED HONDA INDUSTRIAL PARK, Ayutthaya Province, Thailand : Not even the six-metre-high water protection walls were enough to protect the industrial area of ROJANA, where the Honda plant is located, from the rising muddy waters of the CHAO PHRAYA River (2011). Although parts of the cars were removed before the flood, a thousand of them were submerged for months and ended up destroyed. The plant will be rebuilt at a cost of $650 million.
India’s Cultural and Historic Sites are numerous and spread across the entire country. Many have a legacy dating back to more than a 1,000 years.
DISKIT MONASTERY, Ladakh
Located in rugged, mountainous terrain, DISKIT MONASTERY was established in the 14th century and is affiliated with the “yellow-hat” sect of Tibetan Buddhism. The Monastery overlooks the Nubra Valley, one of the greenest places in an otherwise arid landscape of Ladakh.
CENOTAPHS OF ORCHHA, Madhya Pradesh
These tall “cenotaphs” stand in memory of the Bundela Kings who ruled from the small town Orchha for nearly 300 years. They are just some of the many ancient structures around Orchha built during their reign.
MEENAKSHI TEMPLE, Madurai, Tamil Nadu
Although the current structure is about 400 years old, the Meenakshi Temple is known to have a history of more than 2,000 years. Even today, it is one of the most important pilgrimage sites for people of the region.
LAMAYURU MONASTERY, Ladakh
One of the largest and oldest monasteries in Ladakh is the YUNG-DRUNG Monastery in Lamayuru Village, affiliated with the “red-hat” sect of Tibetan Buddhism. The Monastery stands in a rugged landscape which was once under the waters of a deep, high-altitude lake.
MEHRANGARH FORT, Jodhpur, Rajasthan
The Mehrangarh Fort was established in the 15th century on the top of a hill to provide safety from attackers. The current structure, built in the 17th century, now showcases opulent interior palaces and houses a museum of cannon and other arms.
MYSORE PALACE, Mysore, Karnataka
One of the most luxurious palaces in the region, the Mysore Palace celebrated 100 years of existence in 2012. The elaborate lighting arrangement, which is turned on only on Sundays an festivals, adds to the glory of the site.
AMBER FORT, Jaipur, Rajasthan
Initially built in the last decade of the 16th century, Amber Fort has since gone through many makeovers. The interior is generously decorated with murals and mirror work.
PADMANABHASWAMY TEMPLE, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala
The 18th century Padmanabhaswamy Temple, in Kerala, is known for its large mono-lithic idol, its pathways decorated with a series of pillars and intricate wood carvings.
TEMPLES OF KHAJURAHO, Madhya Pradesh
Khajuraho is a small town with dozens of ancient temples dotting its landscape. They were built over a span of 200 years, between 950 and 1150 AD. The Temples are known for the erotic sculptures and intricate carvings on their walls.
THIKSEY MONASTERY, Ladakh
Founded in the 15th century, the Thiksey Monastery is noted for the similarity of its structure to that of Poatala Palace in Lhasa. The stupas or chortens are commonly placed in front of Tibetan monasteries to ward off evil forces.
Award-winning Italian artist, Guido Daniele has an exceptional talent —– he can transform human hands into HANDIMALS —— hyper-realistic animal portraits.
Guido believes that his work is so well received, because ‘hands’ ——- after the face ——– are the most expressive part of the human body. “So seeing hands transforming into so many different things, such as animals or natural environments, is something that surely fascinates people, both children and adults. I just look at my hands and try to imagine all different things and animals they could turn into.”