Month: February 2014

Stones

Taken in the Forbidden City during my first trip to Beijing, now almost eight years ago.

I think the guide said that, in order to stop enemies from tunneling up into the courtyard, there were nine crisscrossing layers of stones.

The picture was taken with my old D50 and 300 mm.

Red Lantern with Snow

It snowed yesterday. Just a light dusting, but still nice. It was strange to hear the sound of firecrackers (and loud booms of bigger stock) amidst the landscape… but, one must chase away the evil spirits during Spring Festival.

Although yesterday was a workday, many people still haven’t returned from their hometowns… which was a good thing since even this little amount of snow can play absolute havoc with the traffic.

Today is “converted” into a workday. Seven years here, and I still haven’t used to the swapping that happens in order to make holidays longer. (There is one less swap this year then last year… I’m hoping this is a sign of a downward trend.)

I went back to my D300/14 mm for the above shot. Such a great combination for doing photography in close spaces, or when you’re shooting from the hip and want to get as much of the subject in frame as possible.

Bicycles on a Fence at Night

More testing of the Lumix DMC-GX7. This was a hand-held shot taken at almost 9 pm with little light. I’d maxed the ISO at 25600. Other settings were 1/6 sec at f 4.6. The original was raw at 18.63 MB.

Extremely impressed with the amount of detail captured, and the small grain size. Gave me a lot to work with when I developed the photo in Photoshop Lightroom 5.3.

 

Stepping Out

Some people, by dress and/or bearing, demand attention. This man, with his black fedora, over-sized cashmere coat (with a turned-up collar), pin-striped slacks, shoes, and walking cane, his bright red scarf, his loud patterned  tie, his gold-highlighted sunglasses, and his (what appeared to me at least as) stage makeup,  was such a person.

Even if the fancy traditional Beijing restaurant across the street was his destination, which I think it was, he seemed so, well, foreign.

[This shot was an ideal fit for my DMC-GX7. It has a sleep mode which gets it to taking pictures in well under a second… no waiting for a lens to extend or an application to start.]

Into the Bend

I had a midday meeting in the Lido area of Beijing. Since the weather was absolutely beautiful (blue skies, wispy white clouds, and an AQI below 50) I decided to walk home along the Fourth Ring Road instead of trying to catch a cab. (Because of the Spring Festival, there just aren’t as many cabs on the road as usual.)

The above is a  photograph I shot along the way with my Lumix DMC-GX7. Although the attached 14-42 Zoom prevents me from using it as a pocket camera, the weight (body only, 420 g) is absolutely unobtrusive.

Teddy Bear with Gas Mask

Starting before the Spring Festival, there has been a massive ant-fireworks campaign. I’ve seen posters regarding the different problems associated with fireworks (injuries, buildings catching on fire, the mess afterwards, etc) plastered throughout the city.

I think this is the most poignant one… a teddy bear, in a gas mask, holding a stick with firecrackers on it, and sitting behind an alarm clock with the (PM 2.5) Air Quality Index printed on the face of the clock.

There has been a substantial reduction in the fireworks used over the seven Spring Festival seasons I’ve been here. If fireworks are to be used, people are told to do so outside of the Fifth Ring Road. And, even though there are still shops (more like temporary metal sheds) setup inside of the Fifth Ring Road, there are fewer then I remember from previous years, and I’ve not seen any kind of queuing.

btw, whenever I see someone (something?) donning a gas mask, it brings to mind images from Edward Weston’s Civil Defense series, such as this print.

Empty Campus Street

This is one of the main streets at the massive campus of the University of International Business and Economics. During the academic year, this street is teaming with students.

The Week Before Spring Festival Begins

I really like the week before Spring Festival begins. Hundreds of thousands (if not over a million) people have left the city on their way back to hometowns to be with family. As a result, pedestrian and car traffic seriously diminish. Sounds in the city change as well, taking on a more vacant tone.