Tonight, like most nights, I stayed up really late. Actually, that’s a lie. I stayed up late and then some. Now it’s 5:54am and I still haven’t gone to sleep and don’t plan to anytime soon. What can I say? I’m a night owl… And a day owl. I just don’t want to sleep.
Anyways, I wanted to take some photos for my girlfriend since she’s away on her internship now so I rode my bike to the largest “square” in China. (At least I think it’s the largest in China, maybe Asia, I can’t remember…) It wasn’t so cold when I left my house but the ice cold PBR I brought along for the ride changed my body temperature fast… When I took this photo my hands were freezing and mostly numb. Luckily riding my bike back home got some circulation to my hands and I didn’t get frostbitten.
I really don’t have anything special to say about this photo other than I like it. I don’t know why I like it, I just do. I know that as a photographer I should be able to talk about why I like a photo but honestly I’m too tired and sleepy to even think about it, so I’ll just leave you with this: I thought the cage looked cool so I took the photo…
I hope you enjoyed tonight’s writing style and photograph. : )
When I went to this place this morning I hadn’t planned on shooting this spot with a person. I expected to be alone when I went to this place and shoot a nice tranquil lonely path. As you can see, there was a man on the path when I got there. He was doing what I assume was his morning exercise walking back and forth on the path.
I think that I achieved the shot I wanted to get and even more. My goal here was to create a photograph with a warm, peaceful feeling. The morning sunlight was warm and shone through the green soon-to-be orange trees. The path was quiet and the green foliage mixed with the warm morning sunlight on the ground gave the scene a dreamlike peaceful feeling. That’s the scene I set out to capture. Since the man was unexpectedly walking through my nice warm and peaceful dreamscape my shot transformed into something more. To me, the man looked like he had something on his mind; like he was contemplating heavily about something important. So with this man added into my peaceful scene, my image’s theme transformed into “contemplating in a peaceful place”.
All this goes to show how it’s easy to set out to photograph something specific that will have good results but the unexpected can bring different, maybe even “better” results. But I guess in the end, “better” is in the eye of the beholder.
I took this photo from the bus while I was going downtown to meet a friend. I love the expression on the man’s face and also his pose sitting in his chair. The first shot I took of him, I put him on the right side looking out of the frame to make the viewer wonder what the man is looking at. The second and third shot were like this, the man on the left looking across and out of the frame, and I’m much more satisfied with this shot. I know it’s a rule to keep the subject from looking out of the frame but I’m a fan of breaking (photography) rules. Well, in this shot I think sticking to the rules worked out much better and anyways it’s pointless to break a rule just to break a rule if the shot doesn’t work out.
In my last update, I said I wanted to practice photographing subjects that are different that what I normally shoot and also use a different lens that I usually use. Well, this is what I came up with.
I went out to the morning market to buy some vegetables and decided to take my camera with me. I almost never use my 55-200 so that’s what was on the camera body. I took a few shots in the market and then some from above the market on a staircase and didn’t really come up with anything different than I normally shoot. I decided to go back home with my eggs and outside the door to my apartment there was a man and his baby. They were letting their turtle crawl around on the sidewalk so I shot a few images of it. This was the one I liked the most. Later, the man let me take a shot of his baby and then I chatted with them for awhile.
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.
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.
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.
Dan a.k.a. Harry Potter takes off on his broomstick.