Friday, January 29, 2010

Flaming Lips - Images | Chip Olson Photography

Flaming Lips - Images | Chip Olson Photography

The Flaming Lips formed in Oklahoma City in 1983, when founder and guitarist Wayne Coyne allegedly stole a collection of musical instruments from an area church hall and enlisted his vocalist brother Mark and bassist Michael Ivins to start a band.

Giving themselves the nonsensical name the Flaming Lips (its origin variously attributed to a porn film, an obscure drug reference, or a dream in which a fiery Virgin Mary plants a kiss on Wayne in the backseat of his car), the band made its live debut at a local transvestite club.

After progressing through an endless string of drummers, they recruited percussionist Richard English prior to recording their self-titled debut, issued on green vinyl on their own Lovely Sorts of Death label in 1985.

Of the innumerable one-hit wonders littering the cultural landscape, few, if any, were so brave, so frequently brilliant, and so deliciously weird as the Flaming Lips.

To even classify the Lips as merely a one-hit wonder is to do the group a grave injustice: although their standing as a commercial entity proved little more than a blip on the radar screen, their moment of Top 40 success was simply another pit stop on one of the more surreal and haphazard career trajectories in pop music -- an acid-bubblegum band with as much affinity for sweet melodies as blistering noise assaults, their off-kilter sound, uncommon emotional depth, and bizarre history (packed with tales of self-immolating fans and the like) firmly established them as one of the true originals of the post-punk era.

Buddha Light - Images | Chip Olson Photography

Buddha Light - Images | Chip Olson Photography

Monday, January 25, 2010

Manadala Art Photography

The psychoanalyst Carl Jung saw the mandala as "a representation of the unconscious self.

About 2 years ago I was driving from Los Angeles to Chicago with my dog and stopped in Utah to do a small hike.

I was looking at some really psychedelic rock formations and noticed how they formed a mandala.

About an hour or so after I left the canyon I was hiking in and hit the road again, I had to pull over and pull out my laptop because I had this idea on how I could take certain images from my portfolio, especially ones of natural landscapes that had elements of trees, rocks or clouds, and create a mandala-like image.

I sat in a rest area for almost 2 hours working on a variety of images and left Utah into Colorado with a whole new graphic design body of work I now simply call - MANDALA ART PHOTOGRAPHY.

Most of my designs are created using original images  shot in Southeast Asia, but a few are from the  US - mostly from this trip where the idea began.

The best images certainly do include trees, clouds and rocks and the closer you look into the image the more mini-mandalas you will see...

Sunday, January 24, 2010

A Beautiful Day at Wat Umong in Chiangmai, Thailand

Wat Umong (or Oomong) is a really awesome temple located in a heavily forested area of Chiangmai, Thailand, built into the foothills of the Suthep Mountain. It has a very powerful feel to it when you arrive and there is no question that it is special. 

 The temple contains many unique tunnels that were built in the late 14th century. These maze-like tunnels are built into a hill below the temple's chedi which is quite beautiful. The chedi and most of the bricks and stones that make up Way Umong are covered with moss, plants and vines giving the temple it's signature appearance of this overgrown jungle atmosphere.

 Besides an area of the temple that contains the monk's quarters, there are multiple buddhas and pathways in the forest with the highlight being a small lake with many fish, birds and other wildlife.

I shot a bunch of pictures in a short amount of time, but can't wait to go back and shoot there again especially right after the rainy season ends and the green moss, vines and plants are at their best!

As a sidenote...We also shot a video for recently at Wat Umong which we will be posting soon.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Buddha Art - Start with a Buddha, Take a Picture and Get Creative!

I have shot many buddhas in many countries in Southeast Asia over the years. I always wanted to use these images in a graphic art context and stumbled upon this "pop art" style accidentally.

I am really excited about the future of my Buddha Art. I printed and framed about a dozen images and placed them at a few Asian Home Decor stores in Los Angeles and had a good response.

They are a really good addition to my portfolio and look really good printed, on the computer or projected on a screen.

The best part is that there is no actual formula for creating these images...It is all trial and error...Start with a buddha image and get creative. That's about all I can say about it....

If I had to recreate a final Buddha Art image, I can tell you it would be extremely difficult since I have no idea what I did to get from the original buddha image to the final, colorful, warhol-esque design it became.

But that's what makes it fun....When it doesn't actually work, I simply don't save it and start working on it another day.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Thaipods VIP Access to the Baby Panda at the Chiangmai Zoo.

We were lucky when we were invited to the Chiangmai Zoo to shoot HD video for the Thaipods website of the hugely popular and absolutely adorable baby panda, Lin Ping.  

Since the Panda's birth, people visiting the Panda's could only see the baby on the video monitors while they were enjoying watching the 2 adult parents. However, for 7 days, the Zoo brought Lin Ping outside to play with her Mother, Lin Hui for only 1 hour at 8am. Needless to say, 100's upon 100's of people showed up to wait in line for this rare opportunity. The next time Lin Ping will be able to be seen "Live" and in person will be when the baby Panda is full grown.  

We had special access for a wonderful morning to shoot what turned out to be a very active playtime with Lin Ping and the Mother, Lin Hui and included some "behind the scenes" in the Clinic.

The footage was then edited for as well as for our Youtube Channel. We ended up with 3 videos that are appropriately titled: 

"Baby Panda - Behind The Scenes", 
"Baby Panda Plays Alone" and
"Baby Panda Plays With Mom." 

You can watch all of these videos and link directly to Thaipods just by clicking the link. They are super cute!!

Chiang Mai Zoo was established in 1974 and for much of its existence offered the standard fare many zoos around the world offer. However, its popularity soared over recent years with the Chinese government’s loan to Thailand of two pandas – ‘Chuang Chuang’ and ‘Lin Hui’ (‘Tewan’ and ‘Tewee’ in Thai). The pandas are housed in a new purpose-built wing of Chiang Mai Zoo, and since their arrival the zoo has seen a dramatic increase in the number of domestic and foreign visitors. This is one of the few occasions outside China you might get to see a Panda - as a result Chiang Mai Zoo has quickly become a high priority on a visitor’s itinerary.

However, the zoo has more to offer than just the pandas. Chiang Mai Zoo is on the Doi Suthep route and situated at the foot of the mountain, providing a natural habitat for the zoo’s various species of animals.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Buddha Light - A Ceremony January 13, 2010

With the exception of last year in Colorado, I have performed a ceremony in Asia every year at the exact time of my Mom's death at 3:07 a.m. (Asia time).

It's been 6 years now...

First was Angkor Wat, Cambodia then Bagan, Burma, followed by Sukhothai, Thailand and finally Luang Prabang, Laos.

Last year I climbed a beautiful snow-covered Red Rock in Boulder, Colorado.

And this year I stayed in Chiangmai, Thailand.

And not just anywhere. I spent a "little time on the mountain" in a beautiful temple hidden in the jungle with a stream, small waterfall, powerful ancient buddhas, a 1200 year old Chedi, a cliffside view overlooking the city and a long and winding path down the mountain that the monks walked daily before the road up to Doi Suthep and the Royal Palace was built.

I went to Wat Palad at 3pm as a guest of the elder monk. And I had the place to myself...There are only 8 monks living there and most were not around.

I spent time unwinding and before it was dark I placed over 90 candles for the ceremony later that night at 3am.

I stayed in a little teak house by the stream I had to hike down. I went to bed at 8:30pm to the sounds of the stream and the cacophony of animals outside...

At 2:30 I awoke and spent the next 3.5 hours performing the ceremony at 3 different locations including the 1200 year old chedi that is the centerpiece of the original temple, a 600 year old buddha in the main temple and the awesome 9 buddhas in the cave along the stream that are also 600 years old.

I left at 6am, drove down the mountain on my motorbike, and watched the monks doing alms as I drove by knowing I had enjoyed yet another awesome experience...