Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Smithsonian Castle

Rushing clouds + Pink blossoms + Purple buds + Green grass + Castle = My view of Washington D.C.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Pebble Path Turbulence II

The cloudy afternoon presented a quandary, finish important errands or take my gear out for a spin. I chose the latter and set my tripod up at Torrey Pines Beach for wave photography. One of the keepers from this stormy afternoon is the above pebble path with crashing water. The steadfast stones contrasted by the wispy waves illustrates the ocean's motion. Sometimes images are exposed by chance with unintended results. However, for this image I composed atop a ridge where I noticed the waves parting. More in this series to come in the future.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

DTSD Warm Panoramic

The Downtown San Diego harbor was busy with watercraft from dinghies to destroyers. Just before the sun set on this weekend, I arrived at the bay front, set up, and exposed this panoramic image. The falling sun started to cast warm light on Downtown San Diego's skyline. What a wonderful time to be on the waterfront! One of the joys of San Diego is the bay; it is worth spending a few chilly hours on the water at sunset!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Beach Photo

Two and a half seconds in bright sunlight is a first for me! The sun did get overexposed, but the beautiful deep blue sky accented the bluffs while wispy white waves receded at my feet. I really like the feel of this image.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Bon Voyage Venice

Our European adventure was phenomenal! This image, a frame fit for the ending of a slideshow, was among the first that I exposed. After seeing numerous waterways, islands, and beautifully adorned edifices, this silhouetted sailboat sunset holds fast in my memory. The "sail away" gathering on the ship's upper deck was the perfect way to say goodbye to Venice. Of all the cameras I could have captured this image with, I used a Nikon S550. Not just any S550, but my wife's specially ordered metallic purple-bodied Nikon that screamed masculinity! The photons were enhanced by precariously positioning the compact to shoot through my sunglasses' lens. The amber sunset, purple camera, and photographing through a makeshift sunglass filter all amounted to a pleasing composition and joyful memory.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Broom Scape

While traveling through China I came across an extreme irony, brooms. Take a look at the broom(s) you have in your cupboard. Many of us have multiple sweeping implements for different tasks. I have a broom for sweeping large areas, another for smaller areas, and yet one more handheld broom to gather crumbs and little pockets of debris. In fact, I have a micro broom, actually a paintbrush, used to remove dust that gathers on camera equipment. Each of the brooms that I own were made in China. It is through this lens that my broom intrigue began. With that intro behind us, lets get ironic. Throughout Chinese cities I witnessed government workers, construction personnel, and other citizens using presumably homemade straw/stick brooms. Aren't the majority of brooms in the United States made in China? On one occasion I passed by a massive construction site outside of Shanghai (the car was traveling too rapidly for me to capture the best example of workers utilizing the type of broom pictured above). Numerous construction workers were erecting a large complex and parts of the sidewalk and roadway were torn up. Three female construction workers were tasked with removing dust and other particulate with straw brooms. The job looked daunting due to the winds created by passing motor vehicles and the sheer amount of debris strewn about. Why were these workers using homemade brooms rather than those manufactured for export in China? I bet cost is an issue, but the situation did strike me as a bit odd. The workers were clad in vibrant blue jumpsuits fit for any Western factory worker, but the brooms were homemade, not the dense synthetic brooms sold at your local mega-mart. Strange. Venturing to the very place where many of our goods are fabricated presented an opportunity to view local life in the context of a manufacturing hub. Much of life in urban China seemed to mirror the United States. Underlying customs differ from the West, as is to be expected. However, as I watched women sweep the back-alleys, workers clean a construction site, and shopkeepers tidy their vestibules with handmade brooms, I started to realize that people living in the developing world live in contradiction. Better methods of cleaning are available, like gas-powered pneumatic blowers and large synthetic brooms, but these methods are probably out of reach for those who's country is a principal manufacturer. Many people in the developing world manufacture goods slated for export to the West. However, these citizens earn too little at the factories to purchase and use the goods that they make on a daily basis. My exploration of brooms in China has helped me become more aware of how goods are utilized throughout the world. I have always understood that manufacturing helps generate income for many people, but through this exercise, I can now visualize the steps better. Some people fabricate individual parts, others assemble those parts into finished products, yet more people sell and ship these goods to distributors, and the end-user purchases the products to make life easier. At each step in the spectrum, goods better the lives of those who participate in the process.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Catching Dinner

A few men were out catching tonight's dinner. This fisherman's feet perfectly parted and enhanced the receding Pacific. Interestingly, the atmosphere was very thick tonight and helped to stop down the sun's bright rays. The cloudless skies doused the landscape with wonderful pastel hues this evening.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Capitol Tulips

The health care bill passed the United States House of Representatives this evening, 219-212. No matter your political persuasion, beliefs on America's ability to pay for the new health care mandates, expectations of how much better life will be for our fellow citizens, or your thoughts on how sausage is made, this image illustrates the United States' perpetual growth. Today, America did change, whether the change is positive remains to be seen. As an American, the transparent political process is often difficult to access and is often shrouded in secrecy with closed-door sessions. Sometimes secrecy is necessary. However, as an American, I enjoy being part of the process although I am not a politician, aide, or lobbyist. Without my vote, your vote, politicians would not have a seat at the table. Without our consent, politicians could not cast votes on our behalf. Normally I feel removed from the legislative process. Today's events were particularly interesting for me. I followed the debate via CSPAN, cable news channels, my mobile phone while at a college baseball game, and through a "live" blog covering tonight's vote. Today I felt like I was a passive participant, able to see the action, but without any way to affect change I sought. I voted for my Representative in the last election, wrote letters to Congressmen/Congresswomen across the country, and made telephone calls expressing my views on the issue of this health care bill. Despite taking an active role in the process, today is the first time I have felt like the political process was at least partly accessible. If nothing else, this is progress. The access I experienced today was not provided by the elected officials. Journalists provided access to the story that some of us outside of Washington D.C. yearned for. I want to thank all of the journalists that rapidly disseminated information on today's events.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Chinese Locksmith No. 55

From the ship's dock I could see a fabulous iron bridge that called out to be photographed. I told myself that I would capture an interesting image of the bridge, but on my venture across Shanghai's waterfront I came across a more interesting subject, a locksmith. Something about this storefront held, and still holds, my attention. The vibrant red door, keys hanging in the window, green address panel, folded window bars, and tiny lock used to keep the lower door panel closed brought so much character to the facade. The usual sights are important for visitors to check off the list, but often times other important sights are lost in the shadows of tourist attractions. In my experience, these lost sights usually exude more character and tell a different story than most tourists "hear." Next time you are in a foreign land, or a city in your own backyard, remember there is more to an area than the local hotspot. Reach outside of your comfort zone and explore; you might surprise yourself!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Chinese Pattern

Simply stated, this pattern caught my eye. This wooden pattern was the feature of a modern building in China. I used all 22.5mm of the Canon S90's zoom to reach for this image.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Breaking Coronado Storms

Last week the winter "rains" stopped in San Diego and the image above perfectly illustrates the waning storm-front. The low-lying clouds blocked harsh direct sunlight and enabled my camera to properly register the pink and blue hues left by a fading sun. Another beautiful day gone.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Canopy Ascent

At 4pm on a December afternoon, the sun bathed this eucalyptus grove with warm rays. Notice the tracks left by a snail on the trunk of the tree. With each step the eye inches up towards the glowing canopy.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Driftwood Feeding

The little flock of birds pictured above brought a smile to my face tonight. Aligning the large piece of driftwood with the birds proved tricky because the flock moved rapidly from one feeding ground to another. I may be projecting, but I perceived the birds to have funny personalities.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Bloomin' Moon

Washington D.C. is known for limestone buildings, but the softer side of the Nation's Capital blooms but once a year. I visualized this image as black and white when I exposed the frame. The blue sky was slightly dark and the lack of clouds left the scene in need of action. The blossoms converted nicely into black and white, and this transformation brought drama to the image. The negative space surrounding the moon helps highlight both the rising moon and the cherry blossoms of April. Next time you are in Washington D.C., set aside a few hours to walk outside of your comfort zone (e.g.: Mall, museums, and government buildings) and search for D.C.'s soft side. Your search will be worth the effort!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Painted Victoria

Sitting idle on the waters of Victoria Harbour in Hong Kong helped me 'paint' with the bright lights that emanated from buildings across the harbour. (The British spelling of harbor seems applicable when discussing a former British territory.) This image was captured before the light-show, A Symphony of Lights, started. Relatively few vessels ventured the harbour this night and provided ample time for me to 'paint' on the watery 'canvas'. It is easy to get locked into photographing architecture and street scenes when in Asia, so it was pleasing to break free from the norm and try a new technique with my Canon S90.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Open Red

The pictured open red window's design highlighted this Shanghai suburb's architecture. Simple lines were used throughout the village, yet rooflines were embellished with terra-cotta tile patterns and ornate paths lead visitors through the township. These are but two of the ways the little suburb's design pleased. The architects built basic structures, and then enhanced their work by adding interest via lines and patterns to engage the citizens' senses. More images to come.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Footprints to The Del

When I set out, the skies were filled with gray gloom and rain was not in the cards. Once I was halfway to my destination, the clouds opened up and released pent-up moisture. Down at Coronado, California I waited out the storm. Smooth sandy beaches resulted from the morning's precipitation and set up the above photograph. The wait was worth the time! As the sun set on the horizon, my polarizer helped bring out detail in the clouds above Hotel Del Coronado and enhanced the teal sky. The curved footprint trail leads the eye to the conical roof of The Del. I thank the beach-goer who left their footprints in the sand!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

In Gear

The gears pictured above are in the tram station at Hong Kong's Victoria Peak. The Peak Tram ride was similar to a cable car ride in San Francisco. The view from the 1,800-foot peak is spectacular. Even on cloudy days the experience is enjoyable. From the peak, numerous high-rise buildings that mark the landscape of modern Hong Kong are visible. Unfortunately I only spent a short time atop Victoria Peak on a cold and cloudy afternoon. For the fair-weather traveler, many restaurants with good views of the harbour are located on Victoria Peak. Interestingly, a Bubba Gump Shrimp Company restaurant is one of the restaurants. The first Bubba Gump restaurant I went to was in Monterey, California, the first Bubba Gump location. Its a small world! Canon S90: f/2, 1/8 sec, ISO 200

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Smoke-filled...Monastery

While in Hong Kong we did a full-day tour of the islands and stumbled across this smoke-filled monastery. From the image above it is hard to see past the numerous hanging incense cones and the grimy cinderblock walls covered in soot from incense. However, deep in the shadows of the altar the gilt furniture and dark woods accentuate the room's connection to a higher power. I was told that some of the cones of incense can burn for two weeks. If you look closely you might be able to find red prayers hanging within the incense.