Siem Reap update with clouds so tremendous they’re spiritual

feet-up-watching

Feet up on the balcony watching the clouds gather.

I haven’t posted anything for a while because I’ve been in transition, finding a place to live, finding work, and finally getting a monitor, a printer, and even a decent desk. I’ll get to the astounding clouds in just a bit. First a little update.

Things are going surprisingly smoothly for moving to a new country. We found a good apartment within a week of landing, and today we bought some furniture that made it very homey, including: a wooden desk, another table for my printer, a complete wardrobe made of bamboo, and some more bamboo shelves. I got my 24″ monitor (rather plebian for a digital fine artist, but my tools have always been on the humble side) yesterday, and the printer a week ago. But more important for me was finding some work.

I accepted a job with a nearby school  because they offered precisely what I was looking for – part time work on a reasonable schedule. The school also happens to be so close I can ride my bike there in about a minute. I teach evening classes and have the rest of the day and night to myself, though I always spend as much time planning lessons, or more, than the actual length of the class I’m teaching.

So far my classes have been very good. I have a positive rapport with the students, and they are responsive to my teaching style and repertoire of techniques. I will teach the same students 5 days a week, which is optimal because it eliminates the problem of students forgetting what we did in the prior class (which was a factor when I had 3-hour classes one day a week). If the students and the curriculum are even mediocre, it should be a rewarding experience. My currents students are pretty good.

Onto the clouds.

When and where I lived in China pollution prevented clouds from forming, or being visible almost all of the time. If I saw clouds, I felt sorry for them. It was always hazy, and clouds were rather uniform, like a blanket of fog mixed with pollution. I used to call it “fsmog”. The locals were programmed to call it “fog”, and the visiting foreigners rightly perceived it as “smog”, but we liked to think of it as “fog” so as not to worry overmuch about our health. But here, and in Chiang Rai before, the clouds are the best I’ve seen in my life. What sets them apart is how enormous they are, tall, and how they are juxtaposed against other kinds and shapes of clouds. It creates a sense of distance and scale that is humbling. Being the rainy season, some of the clouds are dark and heavy, while one can see through gaps between them to lighter clouds above. The play of light between the clouds can be so fascinating, that one could find oneself standing enthralled on the balcony, taking snaps of various stages of clouds as a storm gathered.

clouds over Siem Reap

Notice the moon.

My camera just isn’t up to catching the gradations in the lightest areas. They look like one light color, but actually had crystalline edges of semi-transparent clouds.

with-streaks

Same scene, just a short while apart.

I tried to zoom into the light spots between clouds to get the details. The camera couldn’t do it, but even its unworthy capture is impressive.

clouds over siem reap

Zooming up inside.

Now, just to be honest, I used some filters on the clouds above to try to compensate for the limitations of the camera. If you know how to use Photoshop, and you know how to use levels, this just means putting back color that got washed out. However, for those that want to be sure there’s no retouching involved, I offer you these, completely unedited:

my-fav-shot

This was my favorite scene, but I got a bit of the balcony covering in it, and maybe part of my finger or the cord on the right.

That’s a “holy shit” sky, and enough to make one a believer in something or other, if nothing else than that nature is the greatest artist.

So, yeah, I spent over an hour on the balcony just watching the sky, and it was therapeutic. It was good for my eyes to look beyond my computer screen, probably literally to un-cross. But the main thing was just marveling at the splendor of it all. Here’s some more in a gallery:

I’ve seen clouds something like this before, but I was in an airplane looking out a porthole. The spectacular thing was seeing this just looking out from my balcony, unobstructed.

Ends

~ Your humble independent artist stationed in Siem Reap.

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2 thoughts on “Siem Reap update with clouds so tremendous they’re spiritual

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