My Recent Taiwan Trip (photos) – 2017 Week 12

This is my submission (of Wei’s photos 😉 for Cee’s Odd Ball Photo Challenge: March 19, 2017.

Take a seat, please…

Thanks for visiting my blog.

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My Recent Taiwan Trip (in general) – 2017 Week 11

Travel becomes a strategy for accumulating photographs.
— Susan Sontag

I have been back to Taiwan about once a year starting year 2002. This, my recent trip, no doubt was one of the best.

What made the trip so special?

First, because we had set aside one day for photographing, I was more excited about the trip before I went. For me, being happy without learning something or helping someone is like holding balloons. I like balloons (a lot), but they don’t last long.

You may wonder if this is important to me why I didn’t arrange that in my previous trips. Well, there is this culturing thing, believe it or not. Since I don’t go back often and my trips don’t last long, I believe that visiting friends and relatives should be my higher priority and that “should” have a lot to do with how I brought up. I was happy when one of Wei’s nephews started showing interest in photographing. 😉 It is particularly fun to shoot with friends.

Another thing that makes this trip special was that I was able to connect to the nature several times in this trip. In order for me to connect to the nature, I have to work myself into it, not just being there. Thanks to my friend Eddie, my nephew Cheng-Lin and three of my high school classmates, I was able to take a walk in a foggy morning, hike twice, see the sunrise and see the sunset.

One other thing worth mentioning is that it was less crowded (so it was quieter) since there was less tourists.

Speaking of connecting to the nature… a couple of times, I felt if I jumped up, the sky would catch me, have you ever felt that way? 😉

(About the photo: I met these farmers in one foggy morning in Xitou 溪頭, and later we happened to walk by their house while they were cleaning vegetables.)

Thanks for visiting my blog.

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A Little Thought – 2017 Week 10

This is the second scheduled post. If it works according to the plan, it will be posted on Mar. 2, 2017. My mom passed away on Mar. 2, 2001.

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No matter what I do to move on from this pain, deep down inside I will always know that I’ll never get to hug my mom again.
–WishesMessages.com

I grew up in a no-hug family. In fact, I don’t remember seeing anyone hug someone before coming to U.S.. I guess it was our culture back then.

When I was in high school, one day my mom took me to see a movie. While waiting for the movie to start, she suddenly hugged me. It was an awkward hug, coming with a force that almost could be qualified as an attack. It was clear that she had no idea how and it was also clear that deep down she wanted to hug her kid badly. I was in shock. Before knowing what was going on, I pushed her away. And I’ve regretted ever since.

Mom never tried hugging me after that. It was after I was 40, living in America for almost twenty years that I started hugging my parents when I visited them in Maryland. For dad, hugging was quick and short. If I hugged him a little longer, Dad would gently push me away, saying, “That’s enough.” I had a feeling that he didn’t want me getting emotional.

Mom giggled when I hugged her. She was the one who didn’t let go. She hugged with a noticeable strength. Sometime, I felt as if she wanted me back into her womb.

After Mom passed away, once in a while, I would extend my arms upward to the sky, eyes closing, reliving the hugging moments we had had… that’s the only thing I could do now.

Thanks for visiting my blog.

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Three Photographing Things I Learned Recently — 2017 Week 9

I will have two scheduled posts and this is the first one. A short break is always good. 😉

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You cannot put the same shoe on every foot. – Publilius Syrus

Here are some photos I took at the shoe repair shop.

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I recently watched a good video on back button focusing, and read an article on how to properly hold a camera (I know. I know…), and another on Capturing the Atmosphere in Night Photos.

Back button focus allows us to use a button on the back of camera to focus instead of using the shutter button. In this case, the shutter button doesn’t control the focus activation at all. I have heard about this a year ago, but I’d never bothered to figure it out how. Last week, I watched a YouTube video by CreativeLive, and tried it out. I love it! (Do you use back button focusing?)

Photography Life recently published an article titled How to Properly Hold a Camera. When I saw it in my inbox, my first reaction was deleting it. But it included a video and I like watching videos. I was surprised when one of the presenters suggested “Place your feet perpendicular to your subject”. Does everyone know this except me? Of course I had to try it. And it worked!

Taking night photos is not my favorite thing to do. My failure rate is 95%, and even for those I considered okay, I mean that 5%, I wasn’t thrilled about them. Otto recently posted an article titled Capturing the Atmosphere in Night Photos. In that article, Otto offered this tip: “The trick to get a more dynamic night sky, is not shooting during night time, but rather just before the night sets in.” Again, I tried. When I finally understood what “just before the night sets in” means, (Thanks, Otto ;-), I got my first decent night photo. Yeah!

I am excited for learning these 3 things; As usual, I am anxious to share them with you. Just like the same shoe does not fit every foot, the same photographing tip would not yield the same result for everyone. But I still like to share them with you. 😉

Thanks for visiting my blog.

Posted in photo and thoughts, Weekly Little Thought, Writing | 33 Comments

A Little Thought – 2017 Week 8

Kearson--BWs2

Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened. – Dr. Seuss

Why do we cry?
A why-do-we-cry article at Live-Science.com says:

“Babies cry to signal to their mothers [that] something’s up,” Silva told Live Science in an email. “It’s a pure attention call.”

As people grow older, they begin to use their tears to express emotion, such as happiness or sadness. These tears may promote compassion and empathy in others, Silva said.

(André Silva is a doctoral student of psychology at the University of Minho in Portugal.)

Two days ago, I finally started digitizing my daughter’s baby photos, which had been on my to-do list for seemingly forever. This wasn’t an easy task. First, I lined up photo albums by year (Why did we take so many photos?) Then I took each photo out, wiped dusts off, and scanned it (Tried to scan one way first, and changed to another). Of course after scanning it, I edited it.

Tedious work like this, usually, is a no-brainer. It’s like one person assembly line. You do one thing after the other without thinking, and soon, before you know, the work will be done, supposedly.

I honestly thought so, until all those fond memories rushing toward me like waves in a stormy sea. Fifteen minutes later, I was helplessly sitting on the floor, tears flowing down my cheek.

I got confused. I wasn’t happy. I wasn’t sad. And I was definitely grateful for all the things that had happened. So… why was I crying?

Wei happened to walk by. He took a look at me, and took a look at the pile of photo albums.

“I understand,” he said. “It’s one of those mothering things.”

Thanks for visiting my blog.

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A Little Thought – 2017 Week 7

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Thank you, God, for this good life and forgive us if we do not love it enough.
— Garrison Keillor

This morning, I took one of my sister’s jackets to a shoe repair shop to replace a couple of snap buttons. The old man informed me that the new buttons might look differently from the old. I, then, suggested replacing all. He said, “I don’t think you have to, since the missing ones are the top and the bottom ones. No one will notice it.”

I looked down at my shoes. Each had a discolored spot in the front. I asked him if there was anything I could do with those spots. He told me to take the shoes off and a couple minutes later, he brought them back. The shoes looked like new. “Now you can go dancing,” he said.

I asked him how much I owed him. He waved his hand.

Suddenly, I became aware of how happy I was. Meeting a kind person always has that effect on me. I then asked him if I could go in and take a look of his shop. He nodded.

The room is very small. It has a lot of interesting things that I have no idea what they are. “Do you mind I take some pictures?” I said.

“Nope.”

I was trying to get my phone, but at the last minute I stopped. “If it’s ok with you, I will take pictures when I pick up the jacket. I need my big camera,” I said.

“Okay. Now go dancing.”

Slowly, I danced out of the store. Before I closed the door, I heard the old man laughing.

_ _ _

We continue changing in our life, physically and spiritually. Last year, I was introduced to a book “A Guide to Cultivating Mindfulness in Everyday Life”. I’ll be honest, I didn’t finish reading it and I don’t have a strong desire to read more at this moment. But “be mindful in everyday life” has become one of the most important lessons I have learned. My life is definitely richer since I’ve become more mindful in everyday life.

It isn’t easy to be mindful. Most of us have been trained (maybe by ourselves) to multitask. When driving from home to work, our ears listen to the music; our eyes pay attention to the traffic; our mind tries to solve a problem… Each of our senses is assigned to a different task, and, quite often, one sense has no idea what other senses are experiencing.

Since I read the book (even though I didn’t finish reading it), I often pause and let each sense report to us (all senses) what it is experiencing, so we all know what is going on 😉 For example, at this moment, my eyes are enjoying looking at a bird-feeder being polished by the morning sunshine, while I smell and taste a cup of Blue Bottle coffee. And I am thinking… I wish you were here.

I may not love my life enough, but I do love it more and more. Come to think of it… it all started the day after I retired 😉

Thanks for visiting my blog.

Posted in photo and thoughts, random thoughts, Weekly Little Thought, Writing | 24 Comments

A Little Thought – 2017 Week 6

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There are two great days in a person’s life – the day we are born and the day we discover why. —- William Barclay

I took this photo with my iPhone 6 when we flew to San Francisco last Thanksgiving. It was one of those moments that I felt, maybe, God was going to say something to me. 😉

I don’t know about other people… it seemed that I had been bothered by why-I-am-here since I was born. It was not one of those sad or depressed kinds of bothering; it was, from time to time, feeling frustrated that I-was-not-at-where-I-should-be kind of bothering. And that frustration had puzzled me for many years.

When I was 30 something, one day, a family friend came to visit us. After dinner, while chatting, he suddenly said, “I remember when your mom was pregnant with you… your family was poor; your mom didn’t want another kid.”

I don’t know how I was supposed to feel, but I knew exactly how I felt. I was angry that my birth had created a big concern for this wonderful woman. I had a feeling that I knew the situation when I was still in her womb; I had a feeling that I didn’t want to be born because I love her so much that I didn’t want to trouble her.

I didn’t say a thing to my mom, but she found out anyway. She wasn’t happy. She told me it was not true.

It doesn’t matter if that was true or not. I love my mom a lot more after that day. In spite of having financial difficulty, she gave birth to me; she loved every one of her kids equally; she worked hard, and never asked anything in return.

Years later, when my brother Shao turned 50, he said to me, “I don’t know the purpose of my life.”

Shao was 4 years older than me. He, too, was born during that family struggling time.

I told him I didn’t know the purpose of my life either. I suggested that since we were here, we might as well enjoy it.

I also told him that it was possible that we were lab mice for a researcher high up there. The researcher himself knew exactly what each mouse was here for, but the mouse didn’t have a clue.

Many years has passed since my conversation with Shao. I don’t know when or how, I started seeing a lot of beautiful things around me: snow glimpsing under sun, trees coming alive after winter, a baby crawling toward his mother… I began wanting to see more and more, and I loved each day more than the day before.

Now, I wonder… does it really matter why I am here?

There are two great days in my life – the day I was born and the day I no longer cared why.

Thanks for visiting my blog.

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