Printing Laos Memories

It has been awhile since I blogged, I’ve been busy working on putting a Laos Trip photo album to share with my family.  I’m glad that I didn’t try to tackle it right away since I have many editing to do and I didn’t know how back then. I had very little knowledge several years back. I purchased my camera that year and understood very little about composition and forget about composing an image, I was mostly pointing and shooting and glad that I got anything decent back with me. It has been almost 3 years and my chance of returning back to Laos is very slim since my aunt passed away last year. I’m glad that my dad and I had a chance to see her again even if it were for the last time.

I shot in Auto Mode back then.  The camera did a good job in selecting the correct setting for me.

Learning how to straighten an image came in handy and I’ve learned this not too long ago.  This picture was not straight when I took it and I had to do that a lot with my Laos photos.

The cropping tool is something that I learned way back.  This original image lacked a focal point since everything looked so small, I didn’t have a telephoto lens back then. This was taken from the top of Patuxay Monument.

A closeup cropped of a Lao Ladybug. I guess you can call her Nangsao buc in Lao language, but there is something contradicting about the name since Nangsao means lady and buc means man in Lao.

So far I have printed over 1,000 photos and only tackled the first week of our trip, still 3 more weeks to go.

One of my sisters already asked for big print of Wat Xieng Thong.

I have several pictures of myself that I can tell people that I have visited Laos.  My dad took this for me, and it didn’t come out too bad minus the tourist couple in the background.  I didn’t hand the camera to him as often since he almost dropped it several times. I had the Canon XTi with the EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS USM Lens back then.

I printed what I took regardless of beauty since the memory is precious to me. If I don’t update my blog as often it doesn’t mean that I have abandoned my blog, my 5 year anniversary of blogging is actually next month.

Lao School Building Project Updates

It has been a while since I last updated about Ban Dannavieng Elementary School.  This is the school in Laos that many had come together in helping with the school building project in 2007. I received a photo update from Darly of the school today.  The school is now known as Dong Yang Primary School, which was named after Ban Dong Yang village.

It’s nice to see the children again, my dad and I visited the school in November 2008.

I grew up having a strong connection to education, not because my parents were educators, but because the chance of continuing education was next to none if I were still living in Laos or Thailand.

It’s nice to see so many happy faces, and thanks to Darly for sharing the photos with us.  Please visit Lao School Building Project post to see more photos.

Lai Heur Fai Nam and Loy Krathong Festival

This post might be late for Lai Heur Fai Nam, but early for Loy Krathong Festival.

I left Laos when I was only 6 year old and I can’t recall if I ever get a chance to Lai Heur Fai Nam but I think I would have since we lived near the Mekong river in Mueng Kao near Pakse.  I recalled walking down the the dirt road to the Mekong river in the evening, but of course my childhood memory in Laos is fuzzy and fading.  I grew up in Thailand and my memory living there is not much better when it comes to recalling certain event.  It’s almost like a dream to me now and the Loy krathong event was a big thing for us back then.  I recalled that we had to make our own krathong (a small raft), including gathering the materials and flowers for the decoration.

Laos recently celebrated Lai Heur Fai Nam, this event takes place right after the End of Buddhist Lent (the three-month rains retreat or Ok Punsa), and during Thot Kathin ceremony.  The event was so closed together with Loy Krathong that I wasn’t aware that they were two different events until several years back when I was blogging about Loy Krathong Festival.  Below are photos from Lao Rock Photo of Lai Heur Fai Nam in Vientiane, Laos. I really appreciate him letting me use his photos because the chance of me witnessing this in the U.S. is very slim and he has captured the event so well.

Going into the water is not a part of the tradition of Lai Heur Fai Nam or Loy Krathong by the way, but I see his krathong needed a little help.

As I had mentioned in my previous Loy Krathong post that when I was little living in Thailand, I was told that Loy Krathong is a traditional Thai way of life.  It is widely believed that these are offerings made to Mae Khongkha (mother of waters) either to please her in an expression of gratitude for providing life-sustaining water throughout the year, and to ask her for forgiveness for man’s carelessness in polluting the water that nourishes all life. Many also believe that by setting adrift the krathong, one symbolically casts away one’s grief, misery, and ill fortunes. Coins are also placed in the krathong as offerings. As for the romantic at heart and young couples, Loy Krathong is the time to make wishes for happiness together and success in love.

Fireworks and release of Sky lantern, also known as Khom Loy or Khom Fai is a tradition that is practiced by both the Thais and Lao people. It is considered good luck to release a sky lantern and many believe that they are symbolic of problems and worries floating away.

Loy Krathong Festival is going to be during the next full moon, which is November 21, 2010.