Brenda’s A Photo Study: Light

Brenda, in her A Photo Study: Light article, said, “Today’s blog which is being guided by H Zehr’s, discussion of light (The Little Book of Contemplative Photography) has suggested to me that an effective study guide of photography should introduce the topic of light as part of compositional and technical topics.” And she then gave us several quotes from Zehr., including the following.

To photograph is to draw with light. To photograph is to receive and hold light; a photograph is ‘frozen light.’ Light is the essence of photography. Without light, there is no photograph.

Although from time to time, I was attracted by what light had presented to me, a lot of times when I took photos, I wasn’t thinking of light. Thanks to Brenda that from now on, I will definitely pay more attention to light.

I read Brenda’s post several times… maybe more for the purpose of looking at each of Brenda’s photos. I am amazed at all her egg photos. And I enjoy watching both videos (using egg to learn how to see light is one of them) she shared with us.

At first, I was going to photograph eggs (what else?) But it seemed to me that Brenda had already done a “complete” set of egg photos; what more to shoot? My second thought was: it would be a great learning experience if I could duplicate each of Brenda’s photos, because by doing so, I would understand light better. But would that be fun enough for me? I wasn’t sure. At the end, I decided to go with something else. A very simple object, that is. And I found one – a sake bottle.

In this exercise, Brenda asked us to “Use one or more light sources; e.g., diffused light from a window that has some sheer material or bounce light off a wall or a white poster board. A directed or ‘spot’ source can be created with a flood or spotlight in a clamp or a desk light.” Among the following photos, some were taken with diffused light, one bounce light, and some spot source. I wonder how easy it is to tell the difference (from looking at the object, not from background).

It just happened that PictureCorrect recently has published an article Photo Lighting: Things You Should Know. And in that article, I found answers to a couple of my questions 😉 But that’s only a part of the reason I mention it.

William Beem (the author of the article) said, “Some photographers get hung up on the difference between natural light and artificial light. The problem is that there’s no such thing as artificial light. It’s all electromagnetic radiation.” And he concluded that “Light is light.” I found this very interesting. It’s something I want to think more for sure.

Thank you for visiting my blog.

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Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #28: Curves

This is my submission for Tina’s Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #28: Curves.

“How are you dealing with life’s little curveballs?” Tina asked.

A lot of time, I simply step aside; let the ball pass me. Sometimes, I learn the lesson and move on. Sometimes, I ask (beg?) higher beings to help. All of the time, while dealing with life’s little curveballs, I would repeat to myself: “I love you no matter what!” 😉

Thanks, Tina.

Thank you for visiting my blog.

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Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #27: My Travel to Alpine Countries (Part 4)

This is the 4th part of my travel to Alpine Countries for Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #27: My Travels.

Continue from my previous post… (Due to popular demand, story will go on… Ok, ok, Manja was the only one who asked me to continue my story. So, for Manja… )

Simplon Pass

The Simplon Pass (French: Col du Simplon; German: Simplonpass; Italian: Passo del Sempione) (2,005 m or 6,578 ft) is a high mountain pass between the Pennine Alps and the Lepontine Alps in Switzerland. — Wikipedia


We stopped at Simplon-Pass for a restroom break, I think. I don’t remember if we had lunch there or not. My guess is we probably did, but that part of the trip is totally blank. Other than remembering seeing some Swiss Army guys eating food there (Wei took some photos of them), I had no recollection of food.

It was the first time we saw mountains right in front of us –Day 10 of this trip! I felt like running toward them. “I bet our slightly overweight tour guide can’t catch me!” I thought to myself.

Soon, it was time to leave. “I am NOT leaving. Pick me up on your way back,” I said.

Our tour guide laughed. “This is nothing. You’ll have better views later,” he said and went straight to the bus, leaving me behind.

The ground was pretty wet; sitting on the ground kicking legs was definitely not an option. Deduct $5 from the tip, I noted.


Lucerne was actually after Zermatt. But I want to save Matterhorn to the last.

Pilatus, also often referred to Mount Pilatus, is a mountain massif overlooking Lucerne in Central Switzerland. It is composed of several peaks, of which the highest (2,128 m (6,982 ft)) is named Tomlishorn.
The top can be reached with the Pilatus Railway, the world’s steepest cogwheel railway…
– Wikipedia

(Mount Pilatus – Lucerne) We rode a train like this to the top!

(Mount Pilatus – Lucerne) See the train?

(Mount Pilatus – Lucerne)

Zermatt/ Gornergrot

The ride up from Zermatt to Gornergrat was crowded (We shared the ride with two traveling groups from Taiwan!) We were lucky to find seats – of course, all window seats were taken. Although Wei doesn’t care to shoot through glass window, with scenery like this, he couldn’t resist. He started shooting from the wrong side of the train. A couple from Washington State, who sat by the window, kindly offer me their window seat. I kindly pass the opportunity to Wei. Wei was happy. Click, click, click… Many clicks later, he seemed suddenly remembering that he has a wife; he stepped aside and let me take some photos. I quickly took a few. Noticing several Chinese tourists envyingly looking at us, I said to them, “Come on, take some photos!”

Three jumped out of their chair instantly, rushing to the window. Click, click, click… Many clicks later, I began to see that they had no intention to leave the spot. Wei was waiting to take more photos; he became impatient. He wasn’t happy for losing the spot, I was sure. avoiding Wei’s eyes, I turned to the Washington-State couple. While talking to them, I checked on Wei’s situation, from time to time, with the corner of my eyes.

I have a problem… I don’t know why… Wei’s angry face often makes me laugh. Trying hard not to burst into laughter, I could feel my face started twitching. In spite of all my effort, a couple of smiles managed to surface. I looked like a crazy old woman!

It took a while, but, at last, Wei got the spot back. I felt relieved. Time to sit back and enjoy watching him having a good time.


The photo above shows the train station where we got off the train. The view was spectacular (need me to point it out?) A wet and somewhat icy staircase will bring us to an even higher ground. High altitude made it difficult to breath for Wei. He told me to go up by myself and he would wait at where we were. I suspected that the problem was more mental than physical. I said to him, “We don’t have to rush. Let’s take one step at a time. If you want, we can always turn back.”

We made it. Then we found out there is an elevator somewhere.

I was surprise to see the national flag of Republic of China was used by one tour leader from Taiwan as the guide flag (not sure what it calls). I borrowed it so Wei could take a photo of me holding the flag. In no time, I sent the photo to my friends back in Taiwan. They were as surprised as I was.

Matterhorn Mountain

The Matterhorn is a mountain of the Alps, straddling the main watershed and border between Switzerland and Italy. It is a large, near-symmetrical pyramidal peak in the extended Monte Rosa area of the Pennine Alps, whose summit is 4,478 metres high, making it one of the highest summits in the Alps and Europe. — Wikipedia

… (Not sure what more to say…)

On our way back, we visited Rhine Falls, Black Forest… etc. Frankly, I don’t remember a thing…

Thank you for visiting my blog.

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Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #27: My Travel to Alpine Countries (Part 3)

This is the 3nd part of my travel to Alpine Countries for Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #27: My Travels.

Continue from my previous post…

On our way to Innsbruck, we stopped at a small restaurant for lunch. The food wasn’t something to remember, but the view was good.

One guy bought a flask of coffee liqueur. “Only $6, “ he said happily. Only $6! I went to bought one, too. I told the owner I didn’t need a bag, thinking my carryon bag, which I left on the bus, still had plenty of room. Minutes later, when our tour guide saw what I had in my hand, he said, “Oh, no, you don’t want that. Do you even know what it is?” He looked concerned.

Before I could answer, he brought me to see the owner like how teachers would drag their trouble-making student to see the principal. He said to the owner, “She wants to return this. She had no idea what she was buying.”

The owner looked at me; I guessed he was waiting for me to explain more. My eyes were attracted by all different liqueur flavors displayed on the wall right behind him. Should I take blueberry liqueur instead? Pineapple? After giving some serious consideration, I decided I liked what I had – coffee flavor. I said, “No, I am not returning it!”

Our tour guide’s jaw dropped. I quickly walked away, thinking maybe he doesn’t know I am old enough to drink.

(That coffee liqueur was so delicious. It took me several days to finish it, and I enjoyed every sip of it. 😉


It was at Innsbruck, we saw the first McDonald on this trip. I don’t know about other Americans… for me, seeing McDonald in a foreign country, is as warm as seeing American Embassy 😉 I don’t like eating fast food. In fact, Wei and I had many arguments because he likes eating fast food as much as I dislike it. But when traveling, I don’t mind eating at McDonald. (We didn’t eat here though.)

St. Moritz

(Roseg Valley) Now we are talking… 😉

(St. Moritz)

Lake Como

Oops… it seems like I need a part-4 for this trip. I thought by skipping a couple of places, I could cover the whole trip in 3 posts, but I was wrong. Part 4 will be photos only. Trust me; you don’t want to be disturbed by any stories, not even mine. Ha. What you will miss are (1) one hotel has an amazing towel rack. There is a switch to turn on the heat and it works great when you want to dry your clothes quickly (2) The McDonald we visited later charges a small fee for ketchup packages. Of course we didn’t get any.

Thank you for visiting my blog.

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Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #27: My Travel to Alpine Countries (Part 2)

This is the 2nd part of my travel to Alpine Countries for Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #27: My Travels.

Continue from my previous post…

While we were in Vienna, we took a short trip to Bratislava.


(Bratislava Castle)

Wait a second; I knew this place. We were here in 2017 during our Danube river cruise trip. Do I have to see it again?

Revisiting was a good thing, it turned out — we took better photos this time.

Every restaurant should have a board like this!

“I want that ice cream,” I said to Wei.


Piber was next. We visited Lipizzaner Stallion Stud Farm.

“Meditating?” I asked the lady who worked there.

Am I the only one who didn’t know this is how horses sleep?

St. Viet

Before arriving at Hotel St. Viet, our tour guide told us it has a very unique look. He wasn’t kidding.

(Hotel St. Viet)

We arrived around 3 O’clock. I asked Wei if he would like to walk around before dinner. He said, “NO!” He sounded angry, as if I was the reason he hadn’t seen any mountain.

“FINE!” I said; I grabbed my camera and stormed out.

The moment I stepped outside of the hotel, I felt calm, peaceful and very happy (I don’t know how to describe the feeling – it was deeper than happy; it was quite comforting and satisfying.) I was ALONE! It’s only me and the universe! No tour guide, no other tourist, Wei was not by my side…

That’s when I realized how much I had missed my personal space. Wei missed his too, I was certain. You see, at home we each have our own room. Wait… we each have our own floor! Wei spends most of his time downstairs in his office or watching TV; I spend most of mine upstairs in front of my PC. And now we had 20+ others chatting, laughing around us for 6, 7, hours during the day, and at night, he and I had to share a small room.

Don’t get me wrong. I love meeting people. I am just saying how much that alone-time was welcomed and treasured, and probably needed. Sure enough, after having some alone-time, we were both in a much better mood and, apparently, had more energy.

I walked to the old town near our hotel, remembering the first time when I heard “old town”, I had a picture in my head of how “old town” was supposed to look, and was surprised at that the old-town didn’t look old enough. I knew better now.

It was Sunday; most stores were closed. Nice and quiet 😉

(Old town)

Another day without seeing a mountain. Time to put on a poker face.


Finally, finally, finally… on the 7th day, we saw mountains in distance when we arrived at Lienz. (Maybe we should put on a poker face earlier?)

I think I had tears in my eyes (It’s been a while…) “Let’s move here,” I said quietly.

“Do you know how many places you said you wanted to move to?” Wei said.

This is part 2 of our trip. Part 3 will be the last, I hope.

Thank you for visiting my blog.

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Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #27: My Travel to Alpine Countries (Part 1)

This is my submission for Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #27: My Travels.

It is easy to talk about something I like, but it is difficult to talk about something I deeply love. My trip to Alpine Countries is one of those hard-to-talk trips. (Thanks to Amy… now I will push myself a little harder. 😉

We flew to Frankfurt, and spent one night there. Near our hotel, I was introduced to “garden houses”. A piece of land in the city, it looks like our mobile home park, contains many small houses with gardens. Someone told me these families would spend weekends here to get away from their city life in the city.

(A small garden house in front of a tall building)

Walking back to the hotel from those garden houses, I saw a bus stop at the bus stop. It took me a while to notice the driver was waving to me. He pointed at himself suggesting me to take a photo of him. I did and he was very happy (He didn’t know how bad the photo had turned out. Ha.) A good start of the trip, I thought to myself.

From Frankfurt, we went to…

We were delighted when we found out there were less than 30 people on the bus, which would usually fit near 50 people. Wei and I happily occupied 2 seats toward the back.


At Marienplatz, we got some free time. Our tour guide instructed us to meet back at 12:30 and he added, “If you are not here by that time, I will assume you have walked back to the hotel by yourself. It’s hard to find a parking spot. We will not wait.” He showed all of us how to get back to our hotel, and said, “It’s very simple.”

There was a parade on that day; Marienplatz was very crowded. After taking some photos, Wei and I decided to head back to the hotel. The walk was much longer than I thought, but we survived. Our tour bus came back late (we were waiting for the bus to continue our afternoon program). When it finally arrived at the hotel, we were told that our tour guide had asked the driver to circle around 3 times looking for us. “Didn’t he say if we were not there, he would assume we had walked back by ourselves?” I asked. Everyone smiled. Apparently, no one had taken our tour guide’s words seriously (not even himself) except us.

One famous local dish around here is German Pork Knuckle (roasted pig feet). “Since we are here, we may as well try it,” I said to Wei. We found a restaurant; German Pork Knuckle and German beer was our yummy dinner! After eating the meal, we wondered how much to tip. We gave some money to our service person and told her to keep the change; I saw a huge smile on her face. OK, we over tipped, I thought to myself, and then turned around said, “It’s all right, we are on vacation.” I said it to Wei and to myself.

(German Pork Knuckle)

Tipping is very confusing in Europe; no tip in some countries; 10% other countries, which we often forgot because we were so used to 15% or more. (Would someone create an iPhone app for this, please?)


(Linderhof Castle)


(The fountain that was filmed in The Sound of Music)

(Hohensalzburg Fortress)


(Schonbrunn Palace)

(Schonbrunn Palace)

Five days into this trip, we hadn’t seen a single mountain. “Did we sign up for the right trip?” we wondered. I had been Vienna before, but hadn’t visited the other cities. They are all beautiful cities in their own ways. Still, we yearned to see mountains and we were getting more and more impatient.

I’ll stop here for part one. Maybe that was why I hesitated to write about this trip – I don’t know how to make it short.

Thank you for visiting my blog.

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Brenda’s Photo Study: Contemplative Photography XI – Patterns of Light

This is my entry for Brenda’s A Photo Study: Contemplative Photography XI – Patterns of Light, which was posted on Nov. 10, 2018.

On her post, Brenda wrote, “I found that this exercise “seeing patterns of light” was a bit of a challenge for as I was more drawn towards patterns created by shadows. Therefore, while on a photo walk, I found that when I connected with light, I had to actually stop and question, “is this a light pattern or a shadow pattern?”

Now, I started asking myself the same question: “is this a light pattern or a shadow pattern?” — A question that has never came to my mind in the past, that is.

(Halifax Titanic Cemeteries)

After staring at many photos and giving a lot of thoughts on this subject, I think it has a lot to do with which pattern (light pattern or shadow pattern) is the dominating pattern in the photo. Yes?

It’s not a secret that I enjoy reading/studying/contemplating Brenda’s A Photo Study. I haven’t done it as often as I like to because, to be honest, some are too advanced for me (ha ha), and some require more time than I have had. Hopefully I will catch up a little in this year. And, again, thank you, Brenda.

Thanks for visiting my blog.

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