BH Neely Photographer

BH Neely Photographer

Photography is about showing what I see of what's there, not what is actually there. Follow @bpsphoto on Instagram and Twitter. I grew up near Seattle, and though I haven't lived there in more than a decade, it will always be home.

I studied Russian, philosophy, history, and English at university, and have learned my photography craft in the school of life. My life takes me everywhere - I've lived in Russia, Kazakhstan, Greece, Afghanistan, and Hungary, as well as the Seattle area and the Washington, DC metropolitan area. I've traveled throughout the United States and Europe, several places in Asia and Canada, and spent a we

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I've been going on photo hikes lately. Here are some pictures


Anyone who knows me knows that I'm not the sort of person who is interested in, or is really capable of, staying within the lines. And yet, and yet, I set myself editing tasks that demand it.

This picture of tulips, for example. I decided that what it really needed was for the background to go as dark as possible without looking unnatural, while the tulips stayed bright and colorful. So I used a mask brush tool to paint in all the parts that needed adjusting, and then had to use the mask eraser tool to unpaint all the flower edges that had been caught up in the original mask painting. Took most of an hour. But it was worth the work.

I'm working on swapping out some pictures in my Plants gallery at

Rain! 03/06/2020

Got a little rain today, so I went out to take some pictures. Turns out that for a real tropical rainstorm, the kind that rains right through your umbrella, you really oughta have a waterproof housing for your camera. I would have liked to stay out longer, but I didn't want to test the boundaries of my gear's weatherproofing.

Food tour! 23/02/2020

Sometimes the right people come along at the right time. The Wassermans arrived just in time to make me love Saigon again. A week of walking around the city with them reminded me of the things I love here, and rekindle my sense of humor about the things I don't.

Japan in the winter 16/02/2020


Little Tokyo and Tet 08/02/2020

There's a 16-square-block section of Saigon's D1 called Little Tokyo or Japantown. It's made of small alleys and seems very secretive, because you have to go through gates and/or back ways to get there. I've been wanting to make some atmospheric photos back in there. It turns out, though, that air pollution is key to some of the atmosphere that I want to get, and I took my camera on a nice, clean day when the AQI was only around 85.

Also, a couple pictures from Tet celebrations.

The Banyan Tree 02/01/2020

Saigon 2020 Banyan tree in D1

Banyan trees are fascinating. Their trunks grow from the ground up, but they also grow from the branches down. Long, thin, vine-like tendrils drip from the trees like icicles, and eventually make contact with the ground, sending new roots into the earth and growing thicker and stronger, becoming new trunks. The trees can spread across wide areas. This one, in a park on Ly Tu Trong between Nam Ky Khoi Nghia and Pasteur Streets, is probably the oldest and largest in downtown Saigon. I've been told it's around 200 years old. All of these photos are the same tree.

Siem Reap - Twice in One Year! 01/01/2020

Our friends Vicki and Jason came to visit, and we had time to spend a weekend with them in one of my favorite places on this wonderful planet.

A River Walk and a National Park, in a City of Ten Million 25/10/2019

Seoul is an interesting city. Ten million people, very difficult to walk through, because nobody seems capable of picking a side to walk along. You have people ambling, texting, and watching videos, and you have people walking as fast as New Yorkers, all dodging and weaving around each other. And yet, the city is as quiet as a small town. It's an interesting place.

Anyway, I found Cheonggyecheon, a stream that runs through the center of the city, that had been paved over as part of the city's growth in the 1950s-70s, and then uncovered and restored in 2003-2005. Now it's a beautiful walkway with catfish in the river, and birds, including herons, nesting nearby.

And I went for a forest walk in Bukhansan National Park, accessible by bus from downtown.

Yosemite National Park 22/10/2019

Our tour of national parks ended with Yosemite. As a life-long Ansel Adams admirer, and practitioner of a good bit of his philosophy, I practically vibrated with excitement. I was even happier to discover that the tradition of making imagery that includes El Capitan, Half Dome, Cathedral Spires, and Bridalveil Fall in one piece predates him, so I wouldn't be copying him if I tried to make my own version of it. It would be like playing "Gallows Pole" or "Whisky in the Jar," or something like that.

Arches National Park 18/10/2019

So then we went to Moab and spent a sunset and a day at Arches. We didn't make it to Canyonlands, but I suspect my wife and I will return.

Zion National Park 16/10/2019

Also, a few pictures from an aspen forest near the north rim of the Grand Canyon, and Vermilion Cliffs

Hoover Dam & Grand Canyon 14/10/2019

My wife and I did a tour of desert national parks. This set is the Hoover Dam & the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. There will also be the North Rim, Zion, Bryce, and Arches. And Yosemite, but that's not really in the desert.

Luang Prabang, Laos 22/09/2019

I shot these pictures on a trip we took between me getting a bad hernia flare up, and getting surgery for it, earlier this summer. I've finally gotten around to processing them.

Not pictured, because I didn't like any of the pictures I took, was a visit to Laos's first buffalo dairy farm. As more farmers turn to tractors to do their work, they need to find a way to make money from the buffalo they already have. An enterprising team of Americans and Aussies is experimenting with buffalo dairy. The cheese and ice cream and cheese and milk and cheese they produce is pretty darned tasty. And ice cream.

And in Hoi An 15/09/2019

After all the hiking in Sa Pa, we went to Hoi An for shopping and cooking class and shopping and beach time and shopping and massage. There was a surprising amount of shopping.

Sa Pa with Björn, Diana, Andy, and Karen 15/09/2019

Our friends came to visit, and put together a fantastic journey to Sa Pa and Hoi An, so we tagged along. This is the Sa Pa stage of the journey.

Hoi An, Ba Na, and Hue 04/05/2019

Hoi An, Ba Na, and Hue

With friends in town, we visited some places.

Hoi An, Ba Na, and Hue 04/05/2019

With friends in town, we visited some places.


I have just discovered that Facebook has once again decided it needs to be difficult to interact with this page. For a couple years, I'd been getting notifications through my regular feed, now I don't. It's a circuitous route to find your comments on my pictures, and I'll work on getting to every comment I've received and didn't know about.

Hanoi, for the Summit 03/03/2019

My wife and I got the chance to serve our nation, and the greater good of the world, during the recent summit in Hanoi. Since my job is public diplomacy, until there was something public to do, I had some free time to walk around the city. So I did. And then, after the summit, of course, there was more walking to do.

A morning walk through District 3 18/02/2019

I needed a long walk. So I took my camera and tripod with me.

Penang and a cooking class 15/02/2019

Penang was a great city. I think they're in danger of homogenizing themselves, the way Kuala Lumpur did, so get there soon.

The cooking class was with LaZat cooking school, near Kuala Lumpur. Ana was a great teacher.

A little more Langkawi 06/02/2019

We got from the resort for a while, but with a cold and two epic sunburns, we weren't really up for a lot.

Sunrise in Malaysia 03/02/2019

Y'know what's awesome? When you can get up at 6:30 in the morning and still be early enough to capture a whole sunrise...while wearing your swim suit and flip-flops.

Touring Saigon, and a couple photo walks 18/01/2019

A friend came to visit, so we did stuff. And then I went walking with my camera a couple mornings.

New Year's Morning at Ta Nei 09/01/2019

They've changed the rules, or started enforcing them, at the archaeological sites around Siem Reap. Angkor Wat and a couple others open at 5 am for the sunrise crowd, but the rest don't open until 7:30. They have the entrances barred, and tuk-tuk drivers will not drop you off (I'm guessing their licenses are at risk), so I can't do what I've done before, which is go to a temple at 5:30 to beat the crowds. I can, however, go to one that is less popular. The light goes to crap very quickly, even 7:30 is a little late for good light, but I can make do.

Ending 2018 in Siem Reap 05/01/2019

The Khmer temples around Siem Reap are my favorite ancient city centers/religious buildings in the world. The stoned-Buddha of Jayavarman VII, the lascivious Apsara dancers, the friezes of legends, stories, and everyday life, and the reminder that we are of this Earth and everything the planet gives, it eventually takes back all make me feel peaceful, centered, and whole. Music, art, and these buildings are all as close as I get to a religious feeling. These pictures were all shot traveling with family approaching New Year's Eve, 2018. In a couple days, I'll be posting some more that I shot by myself early New Year's Morning, 2019.

Traffic! At Rush Hour! 18/12/2018

Saigon's traffic is dense and chaotic. This is my walk home from work.

Not elephants in Thailand 02/12/2018

After a day with the elephants, we went to cooking school and Bangkok.



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