Piccadilly Circus: Eros

Eros in Piccadilly Circus
Eros in Piccadilly Circus

The Angel of Christian Charity? No, incorrect.  Eros, Greek God of love? Also incorrect. A dollar for anyone who can tell me the name of the statue atop the Shaftesbury Monument Memorial Fountain in Piccadilly Circus, London.

Is there a circus in Piccadilly Circus? Was there a circus? Elephants eating peanuts? Clowns (God forbid)? Alas, no. I was vastly disappointed, as I was with much of my UK adventure. Circus comes from the Latin word meaning “circle.” (Thanks, Wikipedia). Continue reading “Piccadilly Circus: Eros”

X-Pro1 and vintage glass

Fuji X-Pro1 with Canon FL lens
Fuji X-Pro1 with Canon FL lens

I’ve been trying to love the Fuji X-Pro1. It hasn’t been easy. I know a lot of pros love this retro body with old school controls. Me? Like I said, I’m trying.

The only Fuji lens I have access to is an 18mm f/2. On the X-Pro1’s APS-C sensor that’s the equivalent of 27mm. I’m not a big fan of lenses that wide – I’m more of a 50mm or above sort of shooter. For street work with my 5D Mark III I use Canon’s amazing 135 f/2L. Switching from that to a 27mm is a big change.

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Cologne Cathedral: Old, big and gothic

Inside the Cologne Cathedral
Inside the Cologne Cathedral

It’s hard to miss the Cologne Cathedral if you visit Cologne, Germany. It dominates the town, figuratively and literally. The hordes of tourists and pilgrims aside, the masses of photographers visiting the Photokina tradeshow every two years probably make this one of the most well-photographed churches in the world.

I have a thing for churches. By any name: Temples, cathedrals, wats, mosques, synagogs, basilicas – I like them all. I’m not a religious person, the polar opposite of that actually. I do appreciate fine old things. That, and the reflective silence you find in religious space. You get both in spades when visiting the Cologne Cathedral. Continue reading “Cologne Cathedral: Old, big and gothic”

Checkpoint Charlie: Old Glory flies in Berlin

Checkpoint Charlie: Old Glory
Checkpoint Charlie: Old Glory

Checkpoint Charlie has been the venue of uncountable scenes in espionage books and movies. One of the crossing points between west Berlin and east Berlin during a Cold War – a hole in the Iron Curtain. The United States flag still flies over Checkpoint Charlie, now a tourist attraction instead of a tense a one of the cold war’s best known locations.

The 155 km-long Berlin wall started construction in 1961 and was upgraded and modified until the end of the cold war in 1989. Checkpoint Charlie was one of the three crossing points in the wall – set in Berlin’s Friedrichstadt neighborhood. It was the one crossing point that allied service men could use to enter East Berlin. Checkpoints Alpha and Bravo were less visible, outside urban areas. Cafe Adler (“Eagle Café”) at Checkpoint Charlie offered a view directly into East Berlin and was used by armed forces or visitors to take a look into the east.

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The X100 and the Mid-Autumn Festival

Saturday night in Shenzhen with the Fuji X100
Saturday night in Shenzhen with the Fuji X100

I spent the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival in Shenzhen, China: My old stomping ground, with old friends, including a Fuji X100. It was a couple of days of cheap beer and eats, a whole different world than Hong Kong. This is hard to believe as they are so close together. Can 50 miles make literally a world of difference? Absolutely.

I had been shooting some street photos with a Fuji X-Pro1 and a 35mm lens. They X-Pro1 has gotten a lot of good reviews, I know several photographers that have set aside their DSLRs and shoot exclusively with the X-Pro1. There will be no ringing endorsement from me – perhaps it’s the learning curve but I can only describe my experience as “meh.” The fact my memory card was bad (or the card slot on the X-Pro1 is faulty) did not help improve my impressions. Continue reading “The X100 and the Mid-Autumn Festival”

Wong Tai Sin Temple, Hong Kong

Wong Tai Sin Temple, Hong Kong
Wong Tai Sin Temple, Hong Kong

Having recently relocated to Hong Kong from Shenzhen I took a Saturday afternoon to visit Wong Tai Sin Temple in Kowloon, Hong Kong. I love temples. Does matter which country, I’m drawn to them.

As far as Asian temples go it’s no old. Construction started in the 1920s. Leung Renyan arrived in Hong Kong from China in 1915 and started to preach the praises of Chinese diety Wong Tai Sin aka the Great Immortal Wong (a kick-ass nickname). The Immortal Wong is the divine form of Wong Cho Ping – a poor and hungry Chinese shepherd. He practiced Taoism starting in his teenage years. One one tale he could transform stones into sheep. That’s a party trick on par with water into wine.

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Bhubing Palace Chaing Mai: Royal trees

Bhubing Palace, Chaing Mai - Foggy Trees
Bhubing Palace, Chaing Mai – Foggy Trees

Getting to Bhubing Palace Chiang Mai in Thailand can be a challenge. It’s on top of a mountain, which means you jump into one of the many local covered pick-up trucks and venture up a twisty mountain road, hire a taxi and and venture up a twisty mountain road, or rent a scooter and and venture up a twisty mountain road. Continue reading “Bhubing Palace Chaing Mai: Royal trees”