Brenda’s A Photo Study: Street Photography

This is my submission for Brenda’s A Photo Study: Street Photography.

I have been posting street photographs here from time to time. To me, street photographing is quite challenging, exciting and fun.

After visiting alpine countries, I want to share some trip photos, but had a hard time to select some. Thanks to Brenda for the opportunity to show some street photographs from that trip.

Thank you for visiting my blog.

Posted in photo, Street Photographing, Trips | Tagged | 44 Comments

My East Caribbean Cruise Trip

When my nephew asked me if we would like to go to East Caribbean Cruise with them, I hesitated. Although Wei and I like the convenience of having-our-hotel-room-follow-us-wherever-we-go, but we don’t watch a lot of cruise shows, we don’t gamble, and we definitely don’t like the possibility of gaining weight. However, I miss seeing my nephew’s family, so at the end I decided to go.

Other than the day getting on and off the ship, it was a 6-day trip: 3 days at the sea and one day each at Grand Turk, Half Moon Cay and Freeport. The beaches at the first two ports were beautiful: water was super clean in turquoise color, and white sands were unbelievably fine and smooth. Freeport was a disappointment. We heard there was a beach, but most people, including us, didn’t bother to find out where it was.

Grand Turk

Half Moon Cay

Freeport day was a shopping day. That was it. ;-).

I had a lot of fun. Endless entertainment from my grandniece and grandnephew, definitely, was the best part!

Thanks for visiting my blog.

Posted in photo, Trips | 24 Comments

Como Park

Hello. Hello. Hello. May was a crazy month. First, Wei and I spent 15 days touring Alpine countries. After that trip, I had one week’s break to do laundries, and rest. Then I joined my nephew’s family for a week long East Caribbean Cruise. I definitely overestimated my physical condition!

But, first, in this post, I am going to tell you about Como Park. Yesterday, I met David (Northern Visions Media) and Yan (From Hiding to Blogging) at Como Park to shoot some photos. I had met Yan a couple of years ago, but this was the first time I met David. David’s blog caught my attention, I don’t remember when, because many of his photos were taken in Duluth – one of my favorite towns.

Japanese Garden was the meeting place. I should focus on landscaping, I told myself. But the moment I saw David, I immediately had a couple of photos of David (with certain settings) in my mind – that totally surprised me. People often ask, “What kind of pictures do you like to take?” I always had a hard time to answer. I like certain type of landscaping, certain type of this and that, but I had never figured out what that certain type was. It has become more and more clear now. 😉

Como Park Conservatory building has been a photo subject for many photographers. Most people like to wait until everyone is out of the sight; I love to include people.

The first photo in the Japanese Garden was inspired by David. (Thanks for showing me the light, David.)

More photos at Japanese Garden…

Como Park Conservatory…

Como Park Zoo…

And finally, a girl…

Thanks to David and Yan. I had a lot of fun.

Thanks for visiting my blog.

Posted in photo, photo and thoughts | 23 Comments

Brenda’s A Photo Study: Rule of Thirds

This is my submission for Brenda’s A Photo Study: Rule of Thirds.

Brenda said, “Photography is an art form and as such need not rely on rules. Yet, it is important for the photographer to keep in mind that the composition rules help create balanced, dynamic, and interesting images that invite a viewer to stay and visit in comfort.”

Before I say anything about rules, I want to share a story with you. When I took my first photographing workshop, I kept receiving one particular feedback from my instructor: “try not to place the subject in the center.”

His words stayed in my mind long after the workshop was over, and the rule of the third became the RULE for me even when taking portraits.

One day my husband said to me, “Why do you always place your subject off the center? It doesn’t look good.”

“I like it that way,” I said, even though, deep down, I do feel that particular portrait with an off-center model looked odd.

I continued following the rule of thirds for more than a year, and, slowly, I began to realize I knew exactly how I wanted my photos to look.

Now go back to what Brenda said about creating balanced, dynamic, and interesting images… my guess is that each of us may have a different definition/idea for “balance, dynamic, and interesting” and because of that, we have our own unique photographing styles.

Thinking back, those days, when I followed rule-of-thirds diligently, had given me a better understanding of how I would create balanced photos. Some of my photos may still look a little weird, but that is more “by-design” nowadays 😉

I took the following American flag photo through mini-blinds. The gap was very small, which made it difficult to focus. I was happy how it turned out.

Which one of the following two do you like better? I like how the left one looks, but the right one gives me more “alone” feeling.

Which one of the next two do you think is more balanced?

Finally… cropping tool, for me, is quite useful for composition. I often move the cropping grid all over my photo to find out which composition I like better.

Thanks, Brenda!

Thank you for visiting my blog.

Posted in photo, photo and thoughts | Tagged | 40 Comments

Brenda’s A Photo Study: The Photographer II

This is my submission for Brenda’s A Photo Study: The Photographer II.

“To have a point of departure is not to go out and shoot. It’s to have a project in mind and going out looking for a shot that represents or showcases this emotion or concept that your project is about.” ~Ralph Gibson (I copied this from Brenda’s post 😉

Even though I often go out to shoot whatever I see, Ralph Gibson’s words do resonate with me, because (1) if I have a project in mind, I would focus on the project and see things (related to the project) that I usually may not be able to see. (2) I know what to look for, and that makes easier for me.

So, this morning I went out to look for lines and shapes.

(Snowed yesterday, can you tell?)

Thanks, Brenda!

Thank you for visiting my blog.

Posted in photo, photo and thoughts | Tagged | 21 Comments

Tomato and Apple

Staring at this picture long enough, I started hearing voices. Some came from the tomato, some apples.

Discrimination doesn’t come with a sound or smell. It’s difficult to prove its existence. Some aren’t aware of been discriminated; some don’t know they discriminate.

“Is it possible that you were oversensitive?” I asked my friend this question after he described how a guy, in a pretty empty elevator, asked him to push the floor-button for him.

“Of course, it is possible,” he said. He looked into my eyes. It was clear to me that he didn’t tell me the whole story. I decided not to ask.

This conversation happened many years ago. Now I am older and know better, I wonder if there was some extra meaning behind one of my colleges’ question: “why don’t you go back?” or one of my landlord’s comment: “you guys took all the good jobs away from us.”

In first case, I simply ignored my college’s question because I didn’t know what was going on, and in second case, I politely asked, “What are you talking about? Who are ‘you’ and who are ‘us’? You are an American just like me, right?” (By the way, my landlord’s son is a lawyer.)

The only time I was so sure that something wasn’t right was when I took my daughter and her friend to a local restaurant for lunch. We waited for a long time for our service person to show up. When she came, she had an expression that I could never forget. It was the same expression I saw on my daughter’s face many years ago when she spitted out the food I fed her.

I ordered a cup of soup. It took forever for soup to come; when she came, she dropped the bowl on the table, making a disturbing noise. And the soup was cold.

She is so young; what had happened to her? I thought to myself. I wasn’t upset at all; I was puzzled (maybe even a little amused). I tipped her anyway. However, when I walked out the door, I told the manager what had happened. He said, “No, we don’t treat anyone like that here.”

I smiled. “I think I know how I was treated more than you do,” I said and walked away. I never went back to that restaurant again.

A week ago, I emailed my friend to apologize. I assured him that when I asked him whether he was oversensitive, I wasn’t questioning what he said. I wanted to make sure there wasn’t any misunderstanding; I wanted the truth.

Truth may remain mystery in many cases, of course.

Thanks for visiting my blog.

Posted in photo, photo and thoughts, Writing | 24 Comments

Brenda’s A Photo Study: Negative Space

This is my submission for Brenda’s A Photo Study: Negative Space.

Many years ago, one friend showed me several of his friend’s paintings. He flipped through each one, and kept telling me how wonderful they were. At first, I wanted to be polite. I told him they were pretty good. Seeing the fourth painting, I couldn’t stand it any longer. “They are good, but I don’t think I like them,” I said, still trying to be polite.

Later I told another friend what had happened. I used the word “suffocating” to describe how I felt on that day, and told her I didn’t really know why I felt that way. My friend said, “Do you know that Chinese paintings usually have a lot of white space, and many western paintings don’t?” (Ah ha!)

Gradually, I learned to appreciate paintings without any white space and learned to appreciate white space (negative space) even more.

The first photo was taken with 300 mm focal length. The goose was far away, but seeing through the viewfinder, I felt she was looking straight at the camera.

In the middle of taking neighbor’s boy’s photo, I saw the moon and the treetop. I quickly took several shots. Standing quietly next to me, the boy looked up to the moon. He kept staring… at that moment, I felt we were connected.

I was having fun playing with light for the next 3 photos. I didn’t really get the effect I wanted. I will keep trying for sure.

Thanks Brenda for another good lesson. I truly appreciate it.

Thank you for visiting my blog.

Posted in photo, photo and thoughts | Tagged | 20 Comments