Ongoing assignment: Refelections

MGM Reflections
MGM Reflections

Being a photographer is about seeing. Not only, seeing what is at eye level, but everything, the entire environment. Look left, right, up, down. Most importantly down. Water, tile, glass, a host of materials creat reflections. These reflections can cause a new dimension to your images. 

I’m drawn to shiny floors – be these in hotels of shiny airports. Reflections at their base level add depth and interest to an image, at their best they can tell a different story. For me, a strong backlit scene and a highly polished surface works best. I often find myself looking s piece of shiny, well lit and well traveled floor. I watch as people travel back and forth, watching the reflections on the surface, before planning my shot. When I have some idea of the ebb and flow, I start to shoot. 

I think often street photographers get so focused on searching for some thing to shoot they miss the obvious. Clear your mind, take in the environment and look in all directions. It’s easy to miss great shots right in front of you.  Keep your eyes and mind open. 

Street Photography Assignment: Couples

Street Photography Assignment: Couples

I decide this past Saturday and Sunday go give myself a street photography assignment. I would shoot couples. Couples only – no kids in the mix. As it always seems to go, when you’re looking for something you never find it. And if you do, blink and it’s gone.

Shooting street photography in Hong Kong is not easy. The speed of Hong Kongers is the stuff of legend. The hustle, the bustle. Sidewalks, at some times of the day are a sea of people, a tide of humanity. You don’t so much walk down the sidewalk as are swept along with the masses. Imagine trying to shoot into this – more clunkers than you can shake a stick it. Continue reading “Street Photography Assignment: Couples”

Photography Epiphanies

On Guard
On Guard

We all have those “wow” moments when we first start to take photos. The above image (as shite as it is looking back) was one of these photography epiphanies.

I have always loved photography. Me and the camera were star-crossed lovers. I’d fall in love then we’d drift apart. A lot of it was cost. Back in the day getting film processed wasn’t cheap. I haunted darkrooms for a few years – making my own B&W prints – but I didn’t have the passion to keep it going. Chasing girls and drinking beer was a more noble passtime in high school and collage.

I shot in college, then got back into it as digital came down the pipe. I shot film and digital for a newspaper just as DSLRs were going mainstream. After a change in career – photography was distant thought. It wasn’t until I came to Asia and bought a Sony point-and-shoot that my interest perked up again. As a wedding gift to myself I bought a Canon 400D – a reward for not killing my inlaws (or myself) before the reception.

I didn’t have a clue. My photos were awful. I cursed, I cried. The Sony P&S made better photos. I persevered. The above image was shot at community event. I saw the lights, the silhouette and managed to capture it how I wanted to. Yeah, I had to bump the ISO to extreme noise levels. Techinical problems aside, I was happy. There were a few triumphs after that – photos that I still look at and say “wow.”

As I try to regain my photo passion I post this as a reminder. What about you? What was your photography epiphany?


Guangzhou China: Artisan

Carving jewelery outside of Chen Jia Si, Guangzhou, China.
Carving jewelery outside of Chen Jia Si, Guangzhou, China.


In Guangzhou China, the artist carves jewelery out of animal bone: Pendants for necklaces, charms for bracelets and anklets.  He offered me a discount on a necklace bearing the carved likeness of an Olympic mascot. I have seen enough of the Beijing Olympic Fuwa(s), thank you very much.

I settled on a break-apart medallion, reminiscent of an ancient Chinese royal seal. One half shows a carved dragon, the symbol of the emperor, the other a phoenix, the symbol of the empress.

Guangzhou China at dawn

Guangzhou, China, at dawn

Guangzhou China, Guangdong Province: One of the largest cities in China, and home to kings, rebellion, and martyrs. The city traces its beginnings to 214 BCE, and has been constantly inhabited.

The Pearl River, (Zhu Jiang, 珠江), the runs through Guangzhou, and has brought explorers, traders, and pirates. After the first opium war, Guangzhou was made a treaty port, allowing French and British traders to set up shop.

Ayutthaya: Ancients against the sky

For more than 400 years Ayutthaya was the capital of Thailand. The Burmese army sacked and destroyed the city in the late 1700s. The remnants of the palace and countless wats (Thai temples) sat decaying for two centuries. The locals, who had established a new town a few kilometers away, were afraid of the ruins and the ghosts they held.

Ayutthaya is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the ruins form Ayutthaya Historical Park. The ruins make a great day trip from Bangkok and are easily accessible by organized tour or train.