The Way I See It

Archive for the ‘china’ Category

Shanghai Street

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2011 was a pretty good photographic year for me. With the regular camera, I was able to capture some landscape and travel images that I am pretty pleased with. But looking back, one of the highlights is certainly how much street photography I was able to accomplish. It is not a genre that I usually pursue but one of my favorite things to do while traveling is to wander around, observing people as they lead their regular lives. These are several mobile phone images that I made during my wanderings in Shanghai. Please let me know what you think?

Photog Notes
These images were captured with a T-Mobile G2 (aka the HTC Desire Z), using an application called Retro Camera. I really like the various styles of output that the app is able to produce, but this comes at the expense of shutter lag – it takes 1 to 2 seconds to focus and capture the image. Not particularly good for candid street shots but one eventually learns to prepare and anticipate. 😉

 

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Written by xinapray

February 19, 2012 at 9:22 am

The Turning of the Year

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Old Town, Shanghai

Old Town, Shanghai

Today (January 23rd, 2012), about 1/5th of the population on this globe celebrates the Chinese or Lunar New Year. There will be family reunions and feasting, fond reminiscing of good times, and hopeful planning and eager anticipation of even better times. If you are celebrating this auspicious occasion today, I wish you a Very Happy New Year. May the year of the dragon bring you health, happiness and good fortune. 新年快乐! 龙年行大运, 恭喜发财!

Photog Notes
1/750 second, f/8, ISO 200 on a Nikon D300 + 18-200 mm Nikkor at 200 mm. I made this image on a gorgeous spring afternoon in old Shanghai last year. These decorations were on the vertical display of a streetside vendor. The symbolic shapes, bright colors and characters of good tidings are popular year round, and especially proudly displayed during the weeks surrounding the turning of the year. In making this image, I chose to isolate the bright red-and-gold fish with an especially short depth of field (f/8 which, not coincidentally, is the sharpest aperture on my 18-200).

Written by xinapray

January 22, 2012 at 8:01 pm

Happy New Year! Tashi Delek!

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Ringha Prayer Flags

Ringha Prayer Flags

Happy New Year, everyone! The Tibetans have a greeting, “Tashi Delek”. It means auspiciousness and wellness. I wish you many Tashi Deleks. May 2012 bring you much laughter, prosperity and health.

Photog Notes
1/10 second, f/27, ISO 400. I made this image at the Ringha Monastery, one of the most sacred places that I’ve ever been to. We arrived in the late afternoon. It was deafeningly silent, save for the gentle whispering of the wind in the trees and the flapping of the prayer flags, as they released their messages to the heavens. To help convey the feeling of the place, I decided to try to capture the motion and whirls of colors about me.

Written by xinapray

December 31, 2011 at 6:45 pm

Colors and Lines, Beijing Hilton Style

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zeta bar

zeta bar

A couple of images from the archives – I have liked them since I made them but just have not had the chance to properly process the files. I shot these at the Hilton Beijing (the Third Ring Road location, near Sanlitun) last year. It was my last morning there. Had an hour to kill so I wandered around the common areas and found some nice themes and lines.

Photog Notes
These images are pretty much straight out of the camera. The one care that I took in making these shots was to line up the horizontals and verticals so that I could use as much of each frame as possible (i.e., with minimal cropping). Even with doing so, one tweak that I had to make in processing was to compensate for the converging lines due to lens barrel distortion. A modest cost of modern zoom lens technology.

self-portrait on 2

self-portrait on 2

 

 

Written by xinapray

December 3, 2011 at 9:52 am

Gyalthang

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Stupa

Stupa

Gyalthang, also known as Zhongdian or Shangri-la, sits in the ancient Kingdaon of Kham, on the Tibetan Plateau. Geographically, it is located in northern Yunnan province, almost on the border with Sichuan. Although under Chinese rule, the region is predominantly Tibetan, with a small population of Han Chinese and other ethnic minorities.

Had things gone according to plan, I would have spent today flying home from a visit to Gyalthang. But the trip was canceled at the last minute and I ended up being able to spend Thanksgiving at home, something that I am extremely thankful for. These images are from September, on a prior trip.

Pilgrims

Pilgrims

Photog Notes
I made these images under some pretty difficult lighting conditions. Stupa was taken in the afternoon, under a bright blue sky with puffy white clouds and strong directional light. The shot was made in the shadow-strewn square, resulting in a bright sky and dark architectural details. In processing, I applied a generous amount of lightening to bring out the beauty in the colors and decorative details. Pilgrims, on the other hand, was shot under a gray, overcast sky right after an afternoon storm. The dull lighting resulted in a rather flat image. To counter this, I applied a teeny bit of Orton effect to give the tones a kick as well as to add a bit of depth. Overall, both images took a bit of work but I’m pretty pleased with the results. They help reflect the colorfulness and vibrancy of life in Gyalthang.

 

Written by xinapray

November 27, 2011 at 7:07 pm

Red Flags

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The Bund, Upriver

The Bund, Upriver

Back from a hectic week in China and a week catching up to my Seattle life, I am starting to breathe again.

I made these images while in Shanghai last week. It was friend Mark’s first time there. On this evening, we stationed ourselves at a favorite watering hole to watch as the sun set and the lights of the city sprang to life.

Glass of Wine and a Good Book

Glass of Wine and a Good Book

Photog Notes
I made both of these images with the Tokina 11-16. The outing was first and foremost a social visit, so I took the ultra wide lens to commemorate the outing. Once photo album obligations were out of the way, I made these images as the red flags started to glow under the darkening sky. In processing, I applied nothing special, save for a bit of selective exposure adjustment to compensate for the uneven light and shadows caused by the surrounding buildings.

 

Written by xinapray

October 2, 2011 at 10:49 pm

Chengdu Rising

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Beijing and Shanghai are often seen as the symbols of modern China. But Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province, impresses me mightily. It is a city on the rise. A metropolis in a hurry to become world class. There is an electric ambition in the air that far outpaces any of the bustle and development that I’ve seen in those other places. If I had to pick a place to live in, I’d be hard-pressed not to pick Chengdu. And the 24 x 7 availability of Sichuanese cuisine doesn’t hurt either  😉

Chengdu Rising

Chengdu Rising

Photog Notes
I made this on the way to lunch in the Chunxi Lu retail district. To me, this image embodies the rise of the new China. Modern, sophisticated, affluent, with a uniquely contemporary Chinese flair that is rooted in traditionalism. Surrounding the couple are symbols of the growing economy, intermingled with vestiges of the old…just like the nation itself.

I shot this with a mid-range focal length of 65 mm to compress things front-to-rear, while using a relatively large aperture (f/8) to isolate the couple. I liked the resulting points of attention, but the harsh midday sun played quite a bit of havoc with the lighting. The shade from the umbrella made things worse, of course. To restore the scene to the way that the human eye sees, I created two subtly different images with respect to exposure, then manually blended the two. I also applied a teeny bit of dodging and burning to further highlight the differences. As always, I welcome your comments!

Written by xinapray

August 21, 2011 at 3:04 pm

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