Wednesday, June 24, 2009


I'm not sure what it is about photographers, but they seem to really thrive on the challenges of themed photo days. Take Wednesdays for example. You and I know it as Hump Day - that uber long day of the week, where you've reached the apex of the tribulations at work, and are on the downswing towards a relaxing weekend. And if you're the randy type, hump night as well... but that should be rather self explanatory. To many photographers though, Wednesdays are not about work or the intimate extracurricular activities of the evening, but rather a chance to indulge their inner bokeh whore (bokeh = the creamy out of focus areas (that are just oh so yummy) in a photo surrounding the sharp/ in-focus parts). I usually try not to limit myself to these themed photo days, but what can I say... I'm a bokeh whore like so many others. And thus, I present to you a series I just shot with a 12mm extension tube attached to my Nikkor 17-55mm f/2.8. Using this setup, shot wide open, you get a depth of field slimmer than your average bullemic. Bokeh-licious!

Sunflower (2) - HBW

Sunflower (3) - HBW

Sunflower (1) - HBW

Good night!

Monday, June 22, 2009

All good things...

Today was one in which two things that were near and dear to me (in a loosely indirect way) passed on from a physical existence to one which resides purely in our hearts and the memories of those they touched.

First, Kodak announced that it was pulling the plug on its beloved Kodachrome colour slide film. If you don't know what this is, let me relate it to you this way - that famous photo of the Afghan girl that you've no doubt seen reprinted from the pages of National Geographic? Yeah, shot on Kodachrome. I'm sad to see the demise of yet another film product, as it further reinforces the notion that analogue photography is NOT the future, but also especially sad to see one so quirky as this go - the process is so specialized, there's only one commercial lab left in the entire world that processes it. I've got three rolls sitting under my desk, and am going to savour them.

Second, and actually much more personally, Anita's eldest uncle in Macau passed away today after a lengthy battle with cancer. And although I barely knew him, I did have the opportunity to have a nice long walk with him a few years ago in Macau, in which he cautioned me on the dangers of gambling (very apt, given that we were in the Vegas equivalent of SE Asia), and other bits of wisdom from a life of first hand experience. The thing that upsets me is that Anita and I were talking about him yesterday, and I said how I wished that we had gone to visit him in Macau during our recent jaunt over to Hong Kong. I knew he was ill, but had no idea that he would pass from this world within 12 hours of that conversation. Very sad.

I guess the lesson of the day is that you can't hold out on something thinking there will always be tomorrow. Seize the moment. If that means shooting your last pack of Polaroids, or going out on a whim to visit a distant relative you haven't talked to in ages, then by all means, do so. That opportunity may not be there tomorrow, and the regret and sense of loss will hit you like a freight train.


Friday, June 19, 2009

Questionable decisions

I just returned from a week in Cornwall, Ont, and thought I'd share a story about the flight there and back. June 15/09 - the flight to Montreal was fairly uneventful. I had read the latest issue of Rolling Stone cover to cover, read the in-flight En Route magazine, and listened to the Handsome Furs Plague Park album on XM radio twice already (it was THAT good). So there was no stopping it. I HAD to watch Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun Li on the in flight entertainment system. I made peace with the fact that this would be the worst 97 minutes of my life since that time I watched The Fast and The Furious: Tokyo Drift 3 times in a row on our flight over to Taipei a few years ago (really, I'm actually not this stupid most days)... but I was saved by a malfunction on my screen. The system froze, preventing me any further access to the movies or other programs on offer. I'd like to think that by not allowing me to view this program, the aviation gods were looking out for me.

June 19/09 - return flight from to Calgary. Ooh lookie! Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun Li is on offer again! And do you think I made any effort to stop myself from hitting the 'Watch' button? Nope. Apparently, 4 days of excessive drinking was enough to drop me into the mildly retarded category, and there I sat for 97 minutes with my face glued to this crapshoot. It was terrible. Not quite like the Van Damme Street Fighter movie terrible, but still utterly intolerable from start to finish. Just an FYI, in case any of you are planning on watching it.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Weekly Roundup

Spokes, originally uploaded by iHeartDimSum.

Okay, first things first - I just had this random thought: I wish my last name was Wu, and that Anita's last name was Tang. eh? eh? Okay, that really was dumb. So...

The above photo is an old wooden wheel that I spotted while out at a friend's parents' acreage a couple weekends ago. I love the detail and texture of the splintering wood and the peeling paint. It adds so much character. Thought I'd put a different take on it, see how it looks in B&W. What do you think?

I wasn't too keen on this one in B&W, or in straight colour, so I tried a textured treatment instead. It's over the top, but I like it.

Lastly, I've had my fair share of exotic travel over the past 8 months - Spain, New York, Japan and Hong Kong. Well, tomorrow, you can add to my list... CORNWALL, Ontario! Wee-Haw. Back in a week. Assuming I haven't drowned myself in the river out of boredom by then.


Thursday, June 11, 2009

Useless Information

You really do learn something new everyday. It's usually some junk tidbit that you filter out (like how David Carradine died of autoerotic asphyxiation (?!))... but occasionally some fact that is actually remotely applicable to life manages to find its way into your brain. Yesterday, I unearthed this nugget: for houses with doors at the front and back (increasingly becoming a rarity in the age of front attached garages, and no back alleys), you can tell whether a person is ringing the front or back doorbell by the sound. Ding-Dong means the front door. Ding, means the back. Who knew?!

Hey, don't give me that 'who gives a shit' look... the title of this entry was USELESS INFORMATION. What were you expecting?

And in case you're wondering what's with the el nudo androgynous War-Amps in the photo, this was a display window at some upscale retail outlet in Osaka.


Tuesday, June 9, 2009

_a shitty photographer_

I really should be 1) sleeping, 2) processing the engagement session I just shot, or 3) editing some Japan photos. But for some reason, I felt the need to scan some film and post a really crappy photo instead. It's technically Tuesday morning, so maybe I should start a weekly Terrible Photo Tuesday Theme.

To go along with the technically crap photo above (awesomely poor composition and all), I was too lazy to even wipe off my scanner and negative, so there's a million dust spots in the photo too (you really notice it when you click to enlarge). YEAH! But for some reason, I actually like it, which probably makes me a shitty photographer as well. Double YEAH!

And I guess while I'm at it, here's one more for good measure. The photo is a little bit better composed, but just as boring. And the cross processed colours confused my scanner, so there's a hint of fuscia in this shot.

Mission accomplished. Bed time.


Sunday, June 7, 2009

Day and Night (2)

Continuing with this theme of Day vs. Night... We just returned from a short trip up to Edmonton. It was stressful. Tensions are through the roof. At a time when Anita and I could not have life any easier (the toughest decision we have facing us is whether we want to spend 10 days in England or Italy for our next vacation), others around us are just drowning in emotional difficulties. I'm at a loss for how I can help out, but fear that inaction on my part will lead to the worst case scenario... although the problems are not mine to face, I still feel stressed for those involved. FAAACK.

While at a Shinto shrine in Tokyo, I happened upon a very thoughtfully written out Ema (a small wooden plaque on which Shinto worshipers write their prayers or wishes). I would write out a million of these if I thought they would help.

Sorry to get all touchy feely emotional on you... I'm just not in a very humourful mood tonight.


Thursday, June 4, 2009

Day and Night

Photos of the Tokyo Tower during the day, the night, and from the top. It's like a mini Eiffel Tower, but quite less visually stunning of an achievement. Coming from Japan, I would've expected it to at least transform into some kind of Gundam Mech thing. (It doesn't.)

And on an unrelated note, I have scheduled my first engagement shoot this weekend in Edmonton. I'm not really nervous about it, but I've never done a shoot where I had to direct people in terms of posing before. For events, I tend to be that fly on the wall photographer, shooting the natural sequence as it happens, so this may be very challenging for me. Will post some results when I'm done.


Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Two steps back

Apparently, our province's powers that be have decided that Alberta is far too progressive and that we need to step back in line with the rest of the world circa 1950. If you don't know what I'm talking about, read this article.

The Cole's notes version is this: our overpaid MLA's feel that parents should have the right to opt their children out of learning about sex, sexual orientation, and religion in school classrooms.

Because, really - teaching children about these controversial topics is like encouraging them to take part in these activities, right? The religion part, well, I'm not exactly sure. I don't really have any arguments for or against. But learning about sex/ sexual orientation? Don't tell them about sex, and they won't have sex. Don't teach them about gay people, and they won't be gay. Makes total sense, no? How can you be a gay if you don't even know what it is, eh? Besides, if they really want to learn about sex, they can turn to their friends! What could go wrong there? And don't forget that wonderful world of the internets! Sex = facials, gaping orifices, dp action, and a web cam, no? Sex also equals economics - I give you this cheap string of beads, you show me your jewels. It's like Bartering 101.

Now THAT, people, is the Alberta Advantage.