Month: November 2014

Anhui Tower

Taken with my iPhone five days ago, on what was a beautiful blue-sky day.

Today, unfortunately, is not such a day. The aqi at the US Embassy is at 429 as I write this (the scale tops-out at 500), and I wouldn’t be surprised if it gets worse over the evening. (One note… the reading at the US Embassy is from just one site in a city with a municipality that is larger in area than Rhode Island… it is great as an indicator, and for historical comparisons, but shouldn’t be used as the definitive guide to Beijing’s air quality.)

During the winter months, steam is produced at plants throughout the city, and then piped to distribution centers, before going into dwellings. Unfortunately, these plants are coal-fired… and I don’t mean the “clean burning” type, either.

In addition, there are (usually poorer) households/communities that don’t get steam, and rely on heat by directly burning coal.

During these grey days, I do as most other Beijing people do: limited outside activity, wear a mask when outside, keep the windows and doors shut tight when at home, and look forward to the next big wind.

That said, I don’t dwell on it. It has been part of life during my eight years here, and is certainly not overshadowed by other things that I think make Beijing a wonderful place to live.

Big Market

A newly-opened market inside an old industrial space (no idea about what purpose it once served).

Although the floor is dusty, the quality of the goods sold there are quite high, and the prices are lower than in the chain supermarket across from our apartment complex.

Since it is still fairly close to us, Lao Lao and Lao Ye go there almost daily to get our foodstuff.

Chong Chong at 13 Months

Here are two shots from the series I’ve been doing of Chong Chong exploring my wallet.

It is great watching him turning it over and over examining it, and then taking everything out. Very impressed with how much dexterity those little fingers have.

I would’ve liked the focus to be clearer on Chong Chong’s upper body in the first shot. That said, it does help to focus one’s attention on my wallet, which I think is an essential element of the photograph.

I’d rather not have clipped his pinky in the second shot, but it is what it is.

As usual, both shots were taken with my DMC-GX7, and developed using Lightroom. New for these shots was using Lightroom to set the White Balance (Fluorescent).

Oh, from the response I got from an earlier posting of the first shot on facebook, it seemed like i should run some sort of “caption this” contest. So, if you’re up to leaving possible captions in the comments, please feel free to do so.

Pegasus Rising

The Pegasus in the courtyard of my apartment complex. I took this shot last month, well before the skies were prettied-up for the APEC meeting. I’ve not done that much shooting during this period. I think that I’ve got a fair amount of photographs on clear days other than APEC blue ones, and I don’t want to cloud what I’ve been taking.

Also, the sky right now is eerie. I mean, it is nice and all, but something about it just doesn’t look/feel right.

This should’ve been a straightforward shot, but it wasn’t. I had Chong Chong on my waist seat while I was trying to capture the scene. I ended-up shooting four off-center pictures, which I stitched together using Photoshop. There was quite a lot of tweaking with Lightroom afterward as well… including the removal of a shadow from one of the hooves mid-center of the Pegasus on the statue below. Kudos to you if you don’t understand why this might be distracting.

Other tweaks include upping the contrast,clarity, and shadow settings, and decreasing the vibrance and saturation.

Small Hand, Big Mouse

I know it is not yet time for my monthly picture of Chong Chong, but I really like this picture and want to share it. 😉

He’s standing quite well (almost walking), and loves reaching up to “use” my mouse and keyboard. A simply wonderful distraction when I’m working at home.

The shot was taken with my DMC-GX7. I would’ve preferred to have crisper focus on his hand, but I think the softness might help to convey a sense of movement (and, well, if he’s awake, he’s moving). A fair amount of cropping and straightening, with increases in contrast and clarity, and large decreases in highlights and shadows. I also took the liberty of removing some scratches from my desktop, thankyouverymuch.

Oh, and I like how the keyboard and glasses help to frame the shot.