Loi Krathong in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Posted on 16th June 2019 in adventure, events, foto story, Street Photography

When I arrived in Bangkok in the winter of 2017, I met up with Donovan. He rented a scooter and showed me around like a local. One day while sitting in the restaurant at his swanky hotel he said: “Ned, I have to go see about a job up in Chiang Mai. I think we should catch the night train and head up together. You’d love it up there.”

I balked, hesitated, and deliberated (I guess I was still not in the journey mindset I so love and appreciate). I had just got to Bangkok and was just feeling grounded and my goal was to find a great place and enjoy the winter in peace.

Another friend of mine, Alex, was also up in Chiang Mai for a lantern festival and had told me that was her destination. Generally while traveling I kind of let the forces of the world lead me forth so my research is more along the lines of asking a local what I should do. Lantern festival? What’s this, never heard of it.

Loi Krathong (Thai: ลอยกระทง, pronounced [lɔ̄ːj krā.tʰōŋ]) is a Siamese festival celebrated annually throughout the Kingdom of Thailand and in nearby countries with significant southwestern Tai cultures (Laos, Shan, Mon, Tanintharyi, Kelantan, Kedah and Xishuangbanna). The name could be translated as “to float a basket,” and comes from the tradition of making krathong or buoyant, decorated baskets, which are then floated on a river.

Loi Krathong takes place on the evening of the full moon of the 12th month in the traditional Thai lunar calendar, thus the exact date of the festival changes every year. In the Western calendar this usually falls in the month of November. In Chang Mai, the festival lasts three days, and in 2018, the dates were 21–23 November.

I arrived three days before Loi Krathong. I watched the city amp up for the celebrations. I saw the quiet city before, I felt the roar coming. It was truly a crazy experience. It was hard to find a place to stay, the main streets were all pedestrian traffic. Locals I’m sure stayed mostly away except to capitalize on the tourists by selling things. And then, just like that, it was all over and the city cleaned up.

At a point in the festival I had stumbled upon a beautiful Wat (temple) that people were allowed to be inside and setting off the lanterns. It was mesmerizing watching everybody set them off. After that moment of brilliance, I suddenly began seeing everybody around me and turned my lens more towards them, all sweaty, tired, drunk, and saturated.

Loi Krathong, Chiang Mai, Thailand
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Building a House

Posted on 20th May 2019 in foto story, photojournalism, Red Spruce

In the Spring of 2018 we began building a new house in Pictou County, Nova Scotia, for my parents. What a process!

We threw around almost all ideas, and finally came up with an ICF (Insulated Concrete Forms from Nudora) house.

(as a side note: the only thing I didn’t like about this choice was that we weren’t able to build the house ourselves because one must be trained to install them right.)

It took what seemed like forever to organize who was actually going to break ground for us, and when. Almost every step after that was the same. Who could we get to commit to helping us put this house together. Our trick card was that my brother, father, and I all wanted to work as much as possible. Many of the contractors wanted to do to lockup. It almost felt like an arm wrestle the whole time with contractors and getting them to come by and do the work they agreed to do. Alas, it’s almost finished now and we’re pretty thrilled every day we get to live in it.

I didn’t actually move into the house until sometime in February or so, which means I was in the chicken coop for most of the winter with Ruu (dog) and Strawberry (cat). Mom and dad were in the house way earlier. Thinking back, it was mostly the ICF and the roof that we required the most help doing. The rest we did mostly ourselves with the help of a local business, Turnkey, specifically carpenter Tyler Miller, Dave and Jonah. Alex Knicker was here for a great spell helping, plumbing was done with Blair Falconer of Falcon Plumbing, and electrical by Michael George and Jim Fraser. This means external siding, 4ply laminate structural 64′ beam, floor joists, sub floor, hardwood flooring, framing, windows and doors, drywall, bathroom waterproofing and tiling, painting, air exchange, and most of the electrical we did ourselves.

It is really nice to have this building nearly done now. It was really a stressful year for everybody with organizing and trying to time everything perfectly and smoothly so there was no sitting around waiting – yet of course that still happened plenty in spite all the worrying! I have noticed more grey hairs in my hair and beard.. Granted, we did have a tonne of fun doing it and learned a whole hell of a lot, so much so that we feel confident building more houses soon.

I took lots of photographs with my phone camera – my main office – throughout the whole process. I haven’t really shared phone camera photographs on my fotoblog as I’ve always been skeptical about the quality. I’m sure if I looked back in my earlier archives I’d see I’d never had quality images! Almost all the time my hands were so dirty I didn’t want to take out my DSLR camera often. I guess, since there’s 42 images I’ve put into this fotoblog, I took it out more often than I thought. At some point I’ll put together some character shots from my phone camera to give a bit more insight into this build. I’m happy I did capture what I did.

view of future homestead site
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comments: 0 » tags: building, construction, house

200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training | Haiku, Maui, Hawaii

Posted on 6th June 2015 in adventure, events, foto story, photojournalism

April, 2015 I was asked to video & photograph a 200 hour immersion yoga teacher training in Maui, Hawaii, put on by the lovely folks at Yoga University (fb, instagram). To be more exact: I was living in an ashram in Haiku, eating, breathing, and practicing yoga in every form of the word with 12+ humans who would very quickly become my ohana (family).

I have created a video to accompany this photo series, which can be found here (or on Vimeo).

Thinking back over the month, the first thing that sticks out in my mind is the intimacy and immediacy of daily check-ins. As we became more open and used to each other, these check-ins would become incredibly powerful, allowing the group to be supportive instead of judging so that each of us could have verbal dialogues with what was going on in our minds. The value of creating this space has exponential returns, both for the giver and the receiver, somewhat similar to reading a blog might: I write and get my thoughts clear and sorted out, you read and share my revelations!

I came back from this journey both mentally and physically stimulated like I haven’t been for years, one might say I was transformed. Every day in Maui I found myself learning, being guided, sharing, and committing to true love; discovering my body through satsangs of anatomy teachings with Alana, cosmic visualizations of chakras and pranayama discussions with David Lopez, Blue Mountain’s blessings, mangoes, and seva. Allowah & Sufey, the two guides on this beautiful journey, were instrumental in provided the space and the teachings for this Journey to Divine. We would typically spend over 14 hours a day in some form of yoga (these are the yoga sutras):

  • yama – ethical guidelines,
  • niyama – behaviors,
  • asana – physical practice,
  • pranayama – breathing life force,
  • pratyahara – detachment from ego,
  • dharana – meditation,
  • dhyana – meditation to god,
  • samadhi – peace, bliss, and happiness without end through the absorption of god.

Like I said, imagine the sense of awe, awareness, inspiration, and beauty when you walk into a sacred space of worship. Now make that a place you live and explore every day for a whole month. Meditate on that for a while.

Ok, fine, there was a lot of fun too.

If you’re interested in learning more about Yoga University, I’d be happy to talk about it, or head over to their site and see when their upcoming 200 or 300 hour teacher training and retreats are.

Yoga University - Maui Hawaii - Teacher Training - Ned Tobin

Large bunyan tree, Ioa Valley State Park

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En-Capsule | Suzka

Posted on 17th March 2014 in foto story, risque

They weren’t exactly whispers, but they weren’t screamed at the top of her lungs either. Flamboyant and pensive in the same moment as she danced and glided in and through the North Vancouver landscape; rich tropical plants scattered about in full season, deep wood grains helped earth the mood and combined with the essence of her smile. It was magic only a goddess could en-capsule. It was a haze a romantic essence alone could endure.

Model: Suzka (fb, twitter)
Jewlery: Piyan Designs

2014.01.13 - Suzka (766 of 1173) Click here to read more.. »

The Great Divide with Sufey

Posted on 17th October 2013 in foto story, nature

Sufey (fb, twitter, instagram) is an extraordinary woman; smart, beautiful, driven, and a yogini. She’s been heavily involved in the Prince George yoga scene for the past year since she acquired her yoga instructor certification, and has begun to warm the cold north one smile at a time.

We’ve been working on concepts for a shoot for a while, trying to find something that aligned with her vision and direction as well as my aesthetic. We came up with the idea to compare her in various yoga positions with mother nature; an exposé showcasing how mother nature shows us and teaches us.

I had a location picked out to do the shoot, but when the time to do the shoot came I realized I had made a grave error in that the shade of the mountain was now where I wanted to shoot! This is obviously no good, the light was amazing… So, we headed to go to another location of Sufey’s suggestion. To get there, we had to drive by the PGX grounds. These grounds I walk regularly and have envisioned many shoots there in doing so… needless to say we stopped. It’s kind of funny how things like that just sort themselves out.

I shot the whole thing with natural light, my trusty 50 mm 1.8f, and my Canon T1i.

The-Great-Divide---Sufey-VIII Click here to read more.. »