From Concentrate

"Concentrating on Chinese Chess"I took this photo the same day I took the one from my last post, “Enter Here”. For this shot, I crouched down behind a wall that had about a two and a half foot space underneath for me to shoot through. I took several photos of the men playing chess and liked this one the best because of the different expressions. The gentleman on the left playing chess seems to be concentrating on his next move while the gentleman on the right seems to be thinking about how he can counter attack. The gentleman in the back right, well I just can’t help but wonder what he’s thinking about. And then there’s my favorite, the gentleman in the brown vest in the middle. He seems so happy and is smiling in all the pictures I took. I just love his expression.

On another note, I just joined a community of photographers wanting to better their craft. This community is part of the website, Craft & Vision. This website is has a collection of great e-books about photography, many of which are written by David DuChemin, who is an amazing photographer and author. His books have been extremely helpful in my quest to better my photographic ability. The new community consists of a blog, a monthly podcast with homework assignments and critique of members’ images, free e-books, and monthly giveaways. Make sure to click the names to check out Craft & Vision and also David’s website.

 

Enter Here

"A family entering a market."

A family using a market as a passageway.

A few days ago, I went on a few mile long walk to make a big circle near my apartment. My goal was to practice photography; street photography of people in particular since that’s what I’m most interested in. Disappointingly I only got a few good shots, half of which aren’t even of people or considered street photography. My two favorite things to photograph is light painting and people, especially in a cultural setting. I think that’s what I’m best at but it seems like I’m in a rut and want to expand my ability beyond those two aspects of photography. So, I’m giving myself a mission to take pictures in a different way, use a different lens than I usually use, and find different subjects that I’m not used to. Hopefully the results will be good and I will become a better photographer.

I took the picture above on that walk. When I took it, I didn’t have black and white or square format in mind but I think it worked out best that way. I like the way the the building frames the family in the middle of the photo.

Harry Potter Flies to North Korea

Last year I got the opportunity to travel with some friends a bit right before Thanksgiving. I went to a city which lays on the banks of the Yalu River, which separates China and North Korea. North of this city one end of the Great Wall of China overlooks North Korea. It was pretty amazing to stand on such a gigantic piece of history looking into one of the most mysterious countries that exists in the world today. Right before I visited the Great Wall I got a chance to see this mysterious land first-hand. Alongside the river in China there are several companies that sell boat rides to allow tourists to get a closer look at North Korea. We couldn’t pass up the opportunity to get a closer look so we decided to take a ride. Our taxi driver, even though he lives in the city so close to North Korea, decided he couldn’t miss the chance and came with us. It’s a good thing he came with us because he was nice enough to let us in on a secret; we could tip the boat driver to get super close to the banks of North Korea and actually cross the border in the middle river. Even though the bank was lined with soldiers holding machine guns and wooden boxes with snipers inside, the boat driver got about ten yards from the bank. A few of the North Korean guards came over with their machine guns and waved us back, yelling in Korean.

After this amazing and exciting day we decided to treat the taxi driver to dinner when we went back into the city. We told him to pick his favorite thing to eat, which tured out to be grilled meat, vegetables, and seafood. We drank a few beers and stuffed ourselves with grilled food. Like I mentioned before, this was right before Thanksgiving, which was very unfortunate because I got food poisoning from some of the seafood and didn’t even get the celebrate Thanksgiving…

Later that night, we came back to our hotel and I called my mom to tell her the exciting news about getting such rare opportunity to see a mysterious place up close and personal. She was a little upset since it was dangerous and relayed some news to me about North and South Korea. She informed us that we had been near the banks of North Korea about the same time the North Korean military shelled the South Korean island of Yeonpyeong. So during this trip, not only did I get to stand on the Great Wall while looking into North Korea, but I also got to be yards away from the banks of North Korea while a part of Korean history unfolded.

Here’s a picture I took on the Great Wall of my friend, Harry Potter, getting ready to take a whirl on his broomstick.

"Take off."

Dan a.k.a. Harry Potter takes off on his broomstick.

Lakeside Beauty

"My Girlfriend"

My beautiful girlfriend next to the water lilies in her hometown.

Here is my beautiful girlfriend posing for a picture in front of the water lilies at a park in her hometown. The park is called North Mountain Park, which has some really great scenery. In the park you’ll find some small mountains with temples on top, a lake full of water lilies, an ancient looking bridge, and a lot of other fun things to do and look at. Besides being famous for it’s water lilies, Jilin is also known for the lights on the buildings at night. After dark near the river every building has bright beautiful lights shining creating amazing reflections in the Song Hua River. There’s even a floating musical fountain that stretches a long way down the river.

A New Beginning

I’ve tried this a few times before but never kept my blog up to date. Now, I’m going at it again because I’d like to become more serious about my photography and hopefully make some money in the future. If I want to make money I’m going to have to step it up a notch or two (or many more notches…) and get better at photography. I thought that starting a new blog and actually doing my best to keep it up to date with fresh photographs and stories would be a good start. As well as photographs, in the future I plan to share some insight on some photography gear and techniques. Hopefully you enjoy what I post and also benefit from it. Thanks for reading, and please comment if you like what you see!

"Jilin City, China"

Preparing spicy peppers.

This photo was taken when I traveled to my girlfriend’s hometown last week. The two ladies in this picture are sorting spicy peppers, which they will later string up and hang to dry. After the peppers dry they’re ready to use for cooking. A really tasty thing to make with these peppers is called spicy pepper oil. The peppers are ground up using a mortar and pestle and then put in oil and held over fire in a mettle spoon or pot. If you’re into spicy things spicy pepper oil is an amazing Northeastern Asian condiment!