Tag Archives | photos

Village Life on the Amazon – A Photo Essay

We visited several tiny villages last week on our boat trip down Brazil’s Amazon River.  I wanted to share a short photos essay from my favorite village.

Amazon reflection

Amazon Reflection – I could not build a better movie set.  In life, I think reality rarely lives up to the mental images forming the way we hope a place looks.  When it actually, it can surprise us.  In this tiny riverside village, the scene looked like the movie set I would want to design, yet it was authentic.  It surprised me.  The sky was brilliant and wate was still.  I captured this brilliant reflection amidst some interesting boats.

Church, child, and rainbow

Abstract Church – This photo comprised a rare moment where three things I would want to photograph lined up in one shot.  At the forefront of each village, immediately after the main dock, stands a church.  Most are fairly plain, but this one had interesting abstract lines and angles.  A cool building.  Then we got a beautiful rainbow (double if you look closely).  Then, this little girl–with a pink balloon we gave her–walked right in the foreground.  I think there’s something symbolic about the church, God’s promise marked by the rainbow, and an innocent child.


The Staircase – Hills seemed rare in the Amazon.  If you saw one, you could expect a village on it–the only natural way to protect against the annual rise in the river.  This photo was the long walk, and climb, in from the dock (our boat–a floating hospital–sits at the end).


Cross Silhouette – The cross in front of the church at the forefront of the village.  I love the colors in the sky this evening.  Our boat moors at the end of the dock.

Handing out crosses

Village Kids on the Dock – I just like this angle and the colors.  It’s from the second floor of the boat looking down on the dock where dozens of kids from the village came out to see us off.  They crowded the dock climbing up on the boat and railings.


My Favorite Photos from 2012 Thailand Trip

These photos were taken on the Pepperdine University School of Law Spring Break Service trip to Northern Thailand.  We spent 10 days along the Thai-Burma border visiting refugee camps and working with various humanitarian organizations.  Read my story on the experience of staying the night in Mae La Refugee Camp.


Visiting the buddhist temple at Doi Suthep.


Refugee Camp Fence Crossing

Crossing the barbwire boundary into Mae La Refugee Camp.


Receiving a tour of Mae La Refugee Camp.


Mae La Houses

Mae La is nearly identical to a Karen village in the jungle.



Listening to harmonies of Care Villa–a home for amputees of landmine injuries.



Negeen and Amy making two new friends.


Steps to the Prayer House

Steps up to the Prayer House overlooking Mae La Refugee Camp.


Girl with Beads

I see you too.



Grant bellowing out Battle Hymn of the Republic at devotional service in Mae La.



Riding elephants.


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My Five Favorite Photos of the Year

2011 was a fun year for photography.  Between new camera equipment and trips to Thailand, Uganda, Rwanda, Peru, and Tahiti, there was plentiful ground for photos.


Today, I looked back through my archive of the year to revisit what I had taken.  I wanted to select what I felt were my five most iconic of the year.  It was much harder than I expected–the first three were the only completely obvious choices to me.

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Onward to Gulu: A Four-Year Photo Essay

Today we started the long, rather arduous drive to Gulu in Northern Uganda.  Gulu was the epicenter of the civil war that involved the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), spanning quite a few years until the mid-2000s when the Ugandan government finally pushed the LRA into the Southern Sudan and the DRC. 

Beautiful people

Gulu appears almost post-apocalyptic.  There’s little infrastructure and less city planning.  You can see the effects of the war, which devastated the region.  Dr. Tippens aptly likened it to the scenes of the movie, District 9.  Tonight’s tone was accented by rolling blackouts that delayed our dinner—and most everything else.

This afternoon, we drove north from Gulu on a very bumpy road, red dirt road, out to the Restore Leadership Academy.  We learned that the road—not an easy drive—is the main interstate across Africa!  It goes from Cape Town to Cairo.  Now, THAT would be a road trip!  It’s amazing that a major road like this (and semi trucks regularly passed us) can remain unpaved.  You know that you’re in the middle of nowhere when you can mistake the major highway for a dirt back road.

I realized this evening that this is my fourth trip to Gulu.  I didn’t think I had been here that many times, but apparently I’ve made the trek each time I’ve been to Uganda.  To give you a way to visualize Gulu and the surrounding areas, I combined four years of photos I’ve taken here into the following slideshow (note: not all photos are color corrected).

Tomorrow we are off to Murchison Falls National Park.  Hopefully I’ll update from there!  And, just as I was finishing the final touches to hit send – another rolling blackout!  …And then another… 


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