We got the crazy idea for a family 1/2 day trip out to the Gao Mei Wetlands on a hot July Sunday afternoon. Why crazy-well it was a hot July afternoon and Taiwan places of interest are always super-crowded on holidays and weekends. I thought the sticky July heat would probably help thin the numbers down some, so why not!
Gao Mei always appealed to me because of the neighboring windmill farm at Taichung Harbor and just the location of wetlands next to the sea. The light at the shore, the varying depth of water and resulting reflections and textures that appear in the pictures,etc. Ohh, and did I mention the light? Now to there is the added shape and texture of a boardwalk into the wetlands that has been recently completed.
The family had a good time. we got some exercise and some nice sights in our eyes, I got some nice photos several would have to rank as all time favorites-this is one of them. Can you feel the July at the shore vibe?
Otis Redding-Sitting on the Dock of the Bay
Way back when my eyes were young and strong and media was more scarce (pre-internet days) I was voracious reader. One of my favorite genres was detective fiction. Lawrence Sanders had a series of "Deadly Sin" books featuring the sandwich loving Edward X. Delaney. The stories were great but I particularly loved Delaney's sandwich connoisseur aesthetic and the way he enjoyed crafting and eating a good sandwich. Delaney was a New Yorker as I was so there was a real appreciation of good bread which always makes or breaks the sandwich.
Today I got inspired to try a creation, a fusion of eastern Europe and Asia (has fusion become completely redundant in this internet global village we now live in?). A bagel sandwich (homemade by my ever impressive wife Anne) comprised of toasting split bagel, then applying mayo, Sriracha sauce, bonito flakes and capers. Put the 2 halves together, lift to your mouth, bite and enjoy! The recipe ws inspired by sparse ingredients this morning-nothing like limits to inspire creativity.
The image is one of my most favorited on Flickr.
Roy Buchanan-My Sonata
Twas a rainy day in Taipei-well in all of Taiwan for that matter. This is the monsoon-plum rain season here. In fact we had pretty good weather with even some bright sunshine for part of the day and missed heavy downpours for most of our time there. I had gotten several decent shots up to this point and was just steps away from the Taipei Train Station where we'd find out favorite bakery/coffee shop and enjoy a respite and some refreshments while looking out over the expansive concourse of the train station. I saw this homeless lady who was fairly agitated muttering to herself and spitting at no one and everyone I guess. When she saw me taking her picture she spit toward me as well. Am I a hero or a villain for taking this shot? I'm sure there would be arguments for both sides. What I definitely am is a lover of candid street photography because reality is much more interesting than fiction to me. I hope she got to somewhere dry for the night...
The Cascades-Rhythm of the Rain
Very pleasantly surprised this was one of my most favorited photos over on Flickr. It is from my archives from a few years back. I don't remember what I felt right after I shot this man. I can guess that I was quite happy because of his beard and hat-2 elements that always draw my eye because of how they help the viewer focus on the face in between. I'm so happy to have the opportunity to take time and sort through older photos of mine and apply my more enhanced present ninja-processing skills. I'm getting a better response that when I initially shared them so I don't think I'm totally crazy. Practice,trial and error do count for something. So I guess that's the lesson for today-don't give up! Stick with the thing you feel passion for. It might never be great but it'll certainly get better and you'll learn so much in the process.
Keith Jarett: Koln Concert
Heavy Heart is the name of the image but I feel light-hearted about updated theme here at this site. OK I'll break down and say blog which has the most horrible onomatopoeic connotations. This location on the internet in any case. Thought the overhaul was long over due. I've been doing a lot of archive maintenance lately. Clearing out wasted drive space in some cases. It's a good thing to increase the levels of self-editing. There are many things to be learned from looking through old photo archives-like "what was I thinking in this one" or "wow-I like what I was thinking, etc." This particular image was shot with borrowed 35mm lens which I realize is quite nice now that I've given it back to my friend the owner. Another key factor in the mix of archive updates is re-cropping images where I feel it's needed or it will bring a fresh perspective and applying my much enhanced mad ninja post-processing skills now that I have a pretty good idea what I'm doing and what works for my eye. Images liek this make me think of Soundgarden's Head Down which I'll link to at the bottom. I like the band of light across the man's chest implying there is hope around the corner and heavy moods like that don't necessarily last forever...
Soundgarden-Head Down Live '95
Spy Vs. Spy: 2
It's been a while since I've posted here. I'm fairly active on G+ and Flickr, but much less so on Facebook. I've decided to reserve making as attempt to express myself other than beyond what my photos say to the viewer(or don't) for here. So we'll consider this my online "house" so to speak and assume I have the right and privilege to rant or navel gaze,etc. here because it's "my house!"
I've talked about my eclectic nature in numerous posts. This is expressed through getting attached and even somewhat fixated on a given lens. I've been using my tiny Pentax DA 40mm pancake lens pretty much exclusively for the last few months. It is a good sharp lens, my only auto prime, and makes a very small and less distracting visual foot print for doing candid street photography. The only problem depending on your photo viewing preferences is that I tend to do much closeup work which are offer more portraits with subject filling most of the frame and thereby less context to assist in a richer visual story. So the last few days I've been back to my antique workhorse German lens: A. Schacht Travenar 90mm offering a longer perspective but allowing a different perspective on portrait shots as well. The image above shows off the nice smooth bokeh (out of focus area) of the lens. The feel of the shot reminded me of the Spy Vs. Spy series comics I so loved as a kid reading Mad Magazine. I like to free associate for titling images. Sometimes I think I hit the mark more than others. This title works for me here so it remains...
John Zorn - Spy vs. Spy - 14. Broadway Blues
So we're at the end of another year. Real or imaginary marker in the sands of time. I will not offer any resolutions for I feel none are needed or felt. That doesn't mean I don't believe I have things in my life that re perfect or don't merit additional blood, sweat and tears to improve. I just don't "feel" the resolution thing. I do know I'll continue to try to be truer to my creative muse. I'm thankful that the composition aspect of photography is becoming more natural or 2nd nature for me if you will. I expect that to continue. There are one or 2 technical areas I'll continue to work on such as flash on and off camera, and playing with shutter speeds for different blur effects.... This written a week or so ago right before the New Year. Fast forwarding to now...
I hadn't been to the biggest night market in town (FengJia) for some time, and not with my new camera. So FengJia Night Market is where I went. I chose a time that I thought would be a little less crowded and chaotic than peak times, and my guess proved to be right. One of the first streets I walked down had a tattoo shop with an elaborate full upper body piece being worked on. I couldn't resist so I poked my head in the door and asked if it was ok to come in for a look. The staff smiled and said yes. The "skin" was in obvious discomfort since the work was on the painful bony rib area. I could smell alcohol on him which he no doubt imbibed to deaden some of that needle pain. I asked if I could take a shot and he grimaced and agreed. So I took this one with on camera flash(some non-resolution fulfillment :D).
Today is one of my favorite days of the year. I get to attend local orphanage Christmas party. Interestingly, the first few times before going I got this wrongful notion on how I need to go and help cheer up these kids. In fact, they help cheer me up. Sure, these young people have their challenges cut out for them and I certainly feel for them. They have been very blessed with kind and hard working house parents and a very nice living environment that is like a little piece of the country in the heart of the city. So it is a good thing for me to realize that these kids are to be loved but not necessarily pitied. There is such a healthy, normal family vibe to their group between themselves and the staff there. This is so encouraging to me. So tonight I go to be Santa and more importantly their friend. I know I'll be cheered up (am even cheered up no thinking about it) and really will enjoy their performances and their joy. Anyway, I think this helps me get much closer to the true spirit of Christmas and the Advent which is all about joy unspeakable over the greatest gift.
Nice version of the old classic which we'll lead the group in: Little Drummer Boy-Pentatonix
I don't often go to the nearby Cultural Folk Park for getting photos. I have always liked it. A little less now after recent major renovation(stripping away a lot of good old structure to add a lot of not so nice modern structure. Mainly to facilitate huge underground parking. They also added a couple of restaurants inside which means that certain areas formerly open to walk through are now under lock and key. That being said-there are still some very attractive structures and grounds. Here in the photo you can see some folks practicing a form of taichi using swords. It is nice to see traditional martial arts being practiced with classic buildings in the background. Here in Taiwanese cities these kinds of structures are far fewer than what you'd imagine. I am a big lover of traditional Chinese architecture.
Brian Eno-The True Wheel
I know I've mentioned before here how much I love chiaroscuro in photographs. The technique originated in painting which is no big surprise because photography for the most part started out as a way for people that can't paint to emulate painting. It's hard for me to describe why I love it so much, but it just does something for me. I guess the images I like best are the ones that have at least an air of mystery to them. All well exposed with a very clear subject is fine. However, most eyes if they get it it in a glance get bored and quickly forget. Chiaroscuro is one method for adding a "hook" to those eyeballs-How's that for a mixed metaphor? It's true though. Just like those songs that stick with you-if they have a decent hook then you can't easily forget them. Anyway, I'm starting the Chiaroscuro theme on G+ at this page with me as curator. If you are on G+ and would like to play along just tag your post with #chiaroscuro hashtag. This theme runs on Tuesdays(whenever Tuesday is for you in your part of the world). If you don't want to post but want to see these images from different people just search on the page. I will also post some of my favorites from the theme over here from time to time.