Month: February 2014

Clothes Hanging at Night

Taken during a nighttime walkabout with my Lumix DMC-GX7. It was almost 9 pm, and quite dark out, when I took the picture. ISO was 25600, shutter speed was 1/20 sec, and f-stop was at 4.6. White balance was a bit off, but easily adjusted with Photoshop Lightroom 5.

I think the small size of the grain is quite fantastic given the high ISO.

Multicolored Building in Shangdi

It was a bland and dreary day in Shangdi (where I work) when I took this photograph. The colors and shapes of this newly- constructed building made it seem so inviting.

Wasn’t until developing the shot just now that I noticed the concertina wire strung atop the perimeter wall.

Oh, well, so it goes…

Beijing Ink

Toward the end of 2008, I got my first tattoo in Beijing. It is a fairly elaborate piece featuring Sun Wukong (you can see a picture of it here). Since then, I’ve felt things were a bit unbalanced, and planned to get a tattoo on my right side.

I thought about having a tattoo of the Indian version of Sun Wukong (Hanuman) done. I also thought about having a large snake tattooed around my right arm, but my wife killed that idea.

The snake was because I was born in the year of the snake, as where my wife’s parents, my mom, my step-father, and, finally, my son Chong Chong.  As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, Chong Chong’s official name is Su Shao Long, with “Shao Long” meaning “Little Dragon”, which is another way to say snake.

We were having part of the discussion in the dining area, where I’ve got a scroll of a character for dragon hanging on the wall. The scroll was given to me by my friend Huibao, who is a third generation seal carver and calligrapher. Anyway, we agreed that I could get the character transferred to my arm.

An important part of the project was that the character look liked like Huibao had drawn it there. That is, that one could see the brush strokes, splotches, and cast-offs visible in the scroll.

So, with scroll in hand, I headed off with my friend Dan to Creation Tattoo.

The first step in the process of getting the character onto my arm was taking a picture of the scroll.

The image then was reduced and tuned on a computer, before being transferred to a stencil.

Tools of the trade. The tubes and the needles were individually packaged.

With the stencil applied, the inking began. (The printout of the reduced image to the right of my arm was used as a more detailed guide.)

And, here’s the finished work.

Some notes:

  • The cost was 25 RMB per minute of work, at a total of 100 minutes, or 2,500 RMB
  • Although she rarely does tattoos anymore, the owner of the studio was the artist behind my Sun Wukong tattoo
  • I got this latest tattoo on my dad’s 75th birthday
  • I though about calling the post “The Boy with the (Character for) Dragon Tattoo”

Attention

A guard outside the Forbidden City.

I shot this with my D50/300 mm during my first trip to Beijing. Although I’ve come back to it often, this is the first time I’ve posted the picture. I’d shot it in such a way that the brim of the hat was touching the right side of the frame (as it still is), but had a lot of room at the back and top of the image, and that just didn’t feel right.

Today I cropped the image so that the hat was touching both the top and left of the image, and brought the bottom up so that the knot in the tie was just visible, and it seems to work.

So, there you have it… attention.

Gone

As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, there have been substantial renovations of older apartment buildings in Beijing over the last couple of years. The buildings on the left have both had recent makeovers.

What also happens during such work is that more makeshift buildings are torn down. This courtyard used to have a long line of such structures.

Although probably not safe or legal, I think the businesses that used the buildings added a certain vibe to the city… people sitting outside during the hot summer nights, talking, smoking, eating chuan, and drinking beer.

Ice Fishing

Today has not been a good air day. Although we’ve had our share, today just wasn’t one of them.The AQI is at 377 right now (anything above 300 is considered hazardous), and I wouldn’t doubt it if it gets close to the 500 mark before the night is through… this being the last night of the lunar new year festivities (read fireworks galore) and all.

One extremely small upside is that it allowed for a wonderful reflection in the above shot. I actually didn’t see it when I took the picture. I was starting out wide as I zoomed in on the man ice fishing, which I thought was interesting enough by itself (himself?).

 

Forbidden City. Blue Skies. White Clouds.

This photo was also taken during my first trip to Beijing. I think the stones I photographed in the previous post were to the right of this pathway.

My friends and I were at the Forbidden City pretty early on a weekday morning, so there wasn’t a crowd (the photograph was taken at 10:30 am).

If you click on the photograph (which brings-up a larger version on flickr), you’ll see a man in a white shirt and beige jacket making a peace (or victory) sign with his left hand. You’ll see this a lot in pictures taken in China.

Oh, except for some minor tweaks to clarity, shadows, and contrast (with Lightroom 5.3), that is how the sky looked when I shot the picture. Yeah, we can get some really bad days here, but we can also get some beautiful ones as well.