Beijing

A city over more than 21 million people full of mystery, intrigue, the ultra rich, the ultra poor and surprisingly fine coffee & beer. I’ve been fortunate to be flying here a lot lately with some long layovers to explore and begin to get to know the city. While my company puts us up in a very nice hotel in expat central a stones throw from Tiananmen Square, I’ve tried to venture from the worn path and get to know Beijing properly. Branching out on the subway lines one at a time has proved rewarding. It’s slow going but I’m learning to listen to the rhythm of the city and embrace its offerings.

Exploring the Forbidden City at sunrise | Fuji X100T

If I had any preconceived notions of the city they are long gone. The people are friendly, the beer is tasty, the coffee is proper and the place is downright photogenic. I’ve had to work at finding the local places, finding the small moments of peace & zen, coming out of my amateur street photographer shell and get used to the ‘big brother’ is watching you mentality but embracing it all is wonderful. Beijing offers everything a modern metropolis does and doesn’t. The smells (pleasant & not), the sights (same), the dynastic history and the people make for a photo rich environment.

Everyone is watching in Beijing | Fuji X100T

I’ve found my everyday walk around camera (Fuji X100T) to be a perfect fit for blending in on the streets and making friends with its minimal intrusiveness. Though even its minimalist form has attracted the ire of security personnel a time or two already, a friendly smile and shrug of ‘sorry’ seems to accommodate them well enough. Certainly a different environment than taking photos in western countries though not insurmountable by any means. Just be sure to ask before taking photos any military/police or for that matter any seemingly sensitive locations.

It’s a jungle out there | Fuji X100T

The Forbidden City theatre with a bit of smog from Jingshan Park | Fuji X100T

Land of the Selfie, not sure Mao would approve | Fuji X100T

Getting lost on the side & back streets offer a relaxed version of Beijing | Fuji X100T

Approaching people in Beijing has proved fun & challenging | Fuji X100T

Checking out the offerings on the busy ‘Ghost Street’ | Fuji X100T

I’ll keep exploring and finding what Bejing has to offer. Stay tuned for more stories & photos from here and around Asia as I dig in deeper & work on my street photographer mojo.

The Alps, Amsterdam & the Fuji X100T

Awhile back I wrote a post about my search for the 'Ultimate Travel Camera', eventually purchased a camera after much deliberation, lazily never made a follow up post about it and have since purchased yet another camera to replace the first 'ultimate travel' camera. Whew. The long short of it? I purchased a Panasonic Lumix LX10, didn't fall in love with it and decided to go back for my gut instinct of the Fuji X100T.

So here I am a few weeks into owning the X100T and I've been loving every minute of shooting with it. While I won't dwell on the Lumix (I plan a post about my experience with it soon), I just never fully loved shooting with it. It simply stayed in my bag too often and I was rarely inspired to shoot with it. I should've known the Fuji brand would be calling my name and I'm happy it's my new everyday carry. 

This post won't be a 'review' because there a million such things out there to geek out about over specs & pixel peeping. Nope, just some pics and the simple joy of shooting with a very capable compact camera that produces gorgeous images.

The Alps offer nothing less than impressive views.  

Typical scene around Chamonix.  

Made friends with this amiable bar keep over our shared passion for Fuji cameras. Bummed I didn't get him in focus as I was still getting used to handling the X100T. Good to show failures & successes too. Next time.

Wow.


Then it was off to Amsterdam for a few days to let the legs recover before we headed home. I wanted to put the X100T through the paces in an urban environment and one I'm more familiar with. Definitely starting to get used to this thing.

Amsterdam is for...

Locals.

Photo Lego Dude checking out the tulips.

Best way to get around town.

Bikes everywhere.

Haarlem.

Photo Lego Dude approves the design of the X100T. [iPhone X]

Delta Airbus 350 at the gate. Goodbye for now Amsterdam and welcome to the family X100T.

 

 

 

The "Post-Photography Hangover"

Ahh, the joy of jet lag.  Having been awake since 4am despite being back in the comfort of my own bed, I couldn't help but think of the photos I captured this week in Istanbul.  The first thing I did last night once we got home (as always) was to download my images to my computer, make further backups & import them to Lightroom.  Typically I then take a few minutes to scroll through my images to see if I captured any portfolio worthy shots.  And what did I see?  Nothing.  Nada.  Crap. How could that be?  My wife and I had just spent a week in one of the most beautiful cities on Earth - a UNESCO World Heritage Site at that - and I'm not happy with my photos?!  Something isn't adding up.  Frustrated, I went downstairs to enjoy a much needed breakfast burrito and thought about my images for a bit.  After clearing a bit of the fog from my jet lag, I realized I was experiencing the dreaded "Post-Photography Hangover".  I've experienced it before, but this time seemed quite accute.  Perhaps it was the fact that I was hungry and had essentially been up for about 24 hours, but I wasn't happy with what I was seeing.  Usually this occurs after a long day of shooting, weddings were typically my worst culprits.  It sometimes took me a few days after the wedding to get the creative excitement back to start the work on my edits and see the images in fresh light.

I'll define this "Hangover" as a loss of creative interpretation or burnout from your own work.  Sometimes even though you may have captured some great images, you just can't see their full potential until you sit on them for a few days.  I remember two particular events, one a wedding and one a day of wandering around the Pima Air & Space Museum in Tucson, that took me a bit of time to digest.  Once I saw the potential both sets turned out some of my favorite shots yet.  In fact, one of my favorite things to do is to re-visit images I shot months or even years ago.  Sometimes you see potential in images you had previously decided weren't worthy.  It is quite interesting the effect that time can have on the creative process!

So how do you cure the "Post-Photography Hangover"?  Likely no 'cure' exists, but I think the best idea is to give it a few days and clear your head.  Step away from the computer, go for a hike or just do something that clears your mind.  Give it time and you'll see good results.

So after having another quick look through my images from Istanbul this morning, the excitement is growing.  I happened on the image below and it really stood out to me.  It may take a few days or even weeks for me to digest the rest of the images and they may not ultimately produce my best work.  That said, it was a wonderful trip and I think I'll muster at least few good shots.  Now where is my coffee cup?

Istanbul
Istanbul