The Way I See It

Posts Tagged ‘architecture

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

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

Tianzifang

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Happy Feet

Happy Feet

One my favorite things to do in Shanghai is to sip coffee and browse curiosities and snap photos at Tianzifang, a preserved part of town where modern retail comingles with French Concession-era shikumen housing. Traditionally known as the creative and bohemian center of Shanghai, today’s Tianzifang caters a great deal to the tourist and expat populations. Nonetheless – thanks to conscientious preservation – much of the charm remains, especially when one goes off season and wanders off the beaten path. Here are some images that I made on the last trip. These are dedicated to all of you who help feed my Tianzifang fascination. I hope to see you (there) again soon!

Shanghai Story

Shanghai Story

Night Out

Night Out

 

Photog Notes

Apart from the signage and storefronts, Tianzifang isn’t really all that bright at night. I made these images with the D300 set to 1600 ISO and the Tokina 11-16 wide open at f/2.8.

Happy Feet – The Chinese characters say “Tianzifang 43”. The advertising was “painted” onto the ground by a projector fitted with a mask over the lens. It moved about the courtyard in an elliptical pattern. The EV range in this scene was thus rather large. The camera did a great in capturing the darker detail – something not so apparent until I processed the raw file in Capture NX.

Shanghai Story – This was the image that I had to process the most. The strong directional lighting created highlights in a lot of places that I didn’t like. I ended up doing a lot of burning to minimize them. The mixed incandescent and fluorescent lighting sources also played havoc with the tones on the subject. Her face came out dark, with a fluorescent blue-green tone. I ended up taking care of this by creating a new layer, correcting for her face, and blending that into the rest of the image.

Night Out – Pretty much straight out of camera. To punch things up a teeny bit, added a small amount of contrast.

Written by xinapray

August 2, 2011 at 2:40 pm

Winter Night, Shanghai

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Shanghai Winter Nightscape

Shanghai Winter Nightscape

I made this exposure from my hotel room in the Jingan District of Shanghai during my trip in February. Shanghai winter nights are usually foggy-hazy-dewy but I was lucky on this particular evening. I was even more lucky to have the company that I had on the trip. Family and old friends Bernard, Cal, Chris, Pete, Sam and Tim all made it over. Thanks also to local hosts Eric, ML and TS. What a crew! What a time!

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June 23, 2011 at 8:02 am

Grand Palace

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Images from the Grand Palace in Phnom Penh, the residence of HM Norodom Sihamoni, the current King of Cambodia. The mercury hit 40C (104F) that day. I’m glad that shorts were allowed on the palace grounds. 😉

Palace Grounds

Warriors

Gate

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January 29, 2011 at 10:20 pm

Chatreng

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Chatreng (Xiangcheng 乡城 in Chinese) is a picturesque community that occupies a lush, fertile valley surrounded by dreamscape-like mountains. On a hillside overlooking the town is the Sampheling Monastery of the Gelugpa or Yellow Hat Sect.
Semphaling Monastery, Chatreng/Xiangcheng, Sichuan, China.

 

To respect the sacredness of this place of worship, photography is only allowed in one dimly-lit hall on the second level. I dialled up the ISO and made this image. It is a representation of the “present” Dalai Lama (not the man who currently occupies the position, but the idea that at any point in eternity, there is a Dalai Lama who has passed, one who is in the present, and future one who is yet to be born).
Dalai Lama statue, Semphaling Monastry, Chatreng/Xiangcheng, Sichuan, China.

 

This is Sonam our most capable guide, and a really interesting guy. He is a native of Chatreng so our visit to the town was a homecoming of sorts. He and his family generously invited us to visit with them. I shot this in the main living area on the second floor. To Sonam’s right is his dad, the patriarch of the family and a most gracious host.
Sonam and Dad, Chatreng/Xiangcheng, Sichuan, China.

 

Written by xinapray

October 28, 2010 at 1:28 am

Images of Shangrila

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We were out in the late afternoon, driving around on the high-country grassland when our lead vehicle pulled to a quick stop. The plain before us was bathed in beautiful muted glow and in the distance, a storm front was coming This is down from the hills.We were out in the late afternoon, driving around on the high-country grassland when our lead vehicle pulled to a quick stop. The plain before us was bathed in beautiful muted glow and in the distance, a storm front was coming down from the hills.
Storm Front and Shangrila Grasslands

The square in old town Shangri-la. We were there right between the Mid-Autumn Festival and National Day/Golden Week. It was thus pretty quiet.
The Square in Old Shangrila

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October 17, 2010 at 12:51 am

Lijiang

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Lijiang, a UNESCO World Heritage site, was the first stop on our road trip through the eastern Tibetan Plateau.

It was sprinkling as we pulled into town but as we finished getting settled in at the inn, things eased up enough so that we could hoof it down to the town square to start exploring. And behold, this is what greeted us.
Lijiang Old Town Square with Rainbow

 

Narrow cobblestone streets (open to foot traffic only) traverse all of Old Town. Running alongside these footpaths is an amazing network of babbling brooks and waterways. As we wandered around in the cool Fall evening, I was captivated by the fresh alpine air, the rustic architecture, the impeccably clear water and the charming paving-stone walkways.
Old Lijiang Cobblestone Street

 

Devastated by a 7.0 earthquake in 1996, the town was rebuilt in the original Naxi style, with these amazing classic gray tile roofs that stretch almost as far as the eye can see. I shot this on a crisp morning as the mountain mists rolled through; it was an experience that I will not easily forget.
Old Lijiang Rooftops in the Morning Mist

 

In the evenings, Old Town springs to life with the gorgeous light cast by these red lanterns (that adorn most of the buildings). I think back on Lijiang most fondly. The word “magical” springs to mind but knowing what I know about myself and my giddiness during those days, I shall leave it as “amazing” for now.
Old Lijiang at Night

 

 

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October 14, 2010 at 1:01 am

The Forbidden City

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It was sprinkling the morning that we were to visit the Forbidden City, and the forecast was not encouraging. But because this was my last day in Beijing, we went anyway, arriving to sparser than normal crowds (thank you, rain!). We got our tickets and made our way in. After a few minutes, guess what? It stopped raining!


This pic represents my fascination with the imperial doors, officially known as “gates”. Massive wood structures held together with, and protected by, giant nail heads, each door holds exactly 81 nails – 9 across and 9 down. The number 9, as I was to find out, had a magical significance. In ancient Chinese numerology, odd numbers were regarded as masculine and even numbers as feminine. Nine, the largest single-digit number, was seen as a representation of the Ultimate Masculine and was therefore symbolic of the supreme sovereignty of the emperor.

 

Old Water Spout at The Forbidden City

A crusty old water spout stands out amidst a row of cleaner reproduction units.

 

Another thing that fascinated me were the giant imperial lions that stood watch at each gate. The more important the building, the larger and more ferocious the beast, it seemed.

 

The Sea of Flagstones

While wandering the fringes of the palace buildings looking for the collection of classic art (thanks, Tien Hui, for the heads up!), I spied this young couple, chilling and watching the crowds go by. Before them is the Sea of Flagstones – the main courtyard where large gatherings and ceremonies – up to 100,000 subjects strong – were held. Five h-u-n-d-r-e-d years of history. Wow.

 

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October 9, 2010 at 12:48 am

長城 (The Great Wall)

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I guess that no first trip to Beijing would be complete without a visit to the Great Wall. It was a nice autumn day as we left Beijing. When we got to about half way, it started to sprinkle. By the time we got to Badaling (八达岭), it was pouring. We got ponchos from the enterprising vendors at the gate, tromped around a bit at the top, then decided to pack it in. Terrible weather? Yes. But also fortuitous as it allowed me to make this exposure with the rain and mist billowing across the wall. Many thanks to Lu Tao for driving us around, and for seeing to our other activities!

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