Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Nothing is Real in Manhattan

While we were in New York a few days ago, the weather was hot hot and humid.  At that time, Southern California's weather was mild. Now that we are back in Cali the weather reversed. It's hot here and New York is experiencing great weather. Seems like the heat wave has been following us around. Still I'm glad we are not in Texas where the rains have reached to almost 50 inches. That is more than what California gets in a year.

I was interested in this building because Rose's friend has a surname Otte. I thought she would want to see this image. Except the colors are fake, which had been added in post. But this is my vision and I don't care what anybody says about sticking to reality. 

Taken with the iPhone 7 Plus.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Wearing a Bowtie as an Option

We got back from New York a couple of days ago.  

The Airport Screening in New York was horrible.  I thought Los Angeles was bad, but this was the worst treatment I got.  Typically, they require one to remove  shoes and jacket, all pockets emptied, and no metallic objects.  I knew all these as I am frequent flyer.  This time one of the screeners yelled at me for putting two carry-on bags on one bin.  In Denver Airport, they didn't want me to put them on the bins.  But this was New York.  

The guy called me Pappy (maybe because I have gray hair), and told me to remove my scarf.  I suppose if I had a tie, they would ask me to remove it too?  Once I got in the x-ray machine, I was told to remove my belt.  I reasoned with the screener that the buckle was plastic.  He said he didn't ask what it was but asked that I remove it.  Then he made me empty my pockets, which was already empty.  So I pulled out the front pockets of my jeans to show him there was nothing inside.  And then he asked to empty the back pocket.  How in the world can I show him that my back pockets were empty.  These were Levis.  So I turned around and showed him my behind and tried to feel my back pockets.  Then he insisted that I stepped on the yellow spots, which I already did.  He yelled at me that all my feet should be perfectly inside.  It appears that the x-ray didn't see anything suspicious.  Yet after the x-ray, he frisked me like I was a criminal.  

Obviously, these people have an attitude.  The screener had a strong foreign accent.  I am not a racist but I think the screener was probably some hotshot chief back in his hometown.  It was half past 9 in the morning and I already wanted something to drink.  I mean I'm talking about adult beverages.  Rose and I found a bar inside the airport and chilled out with our glasses of Sauvignon Blanc.

What does this image had to do with my story?  Nothing, really.  I just want to include it in my post.  (Shot in Manhattan, New York with my iPhone 7 plus.)  I'm thinking if I would have worn a tie, would I still be mistreated the way I did at the airport?  Probably.  Either way.  You dress down, some people will look down on you.  You dress up, they will humiliate you because they can.  People can be mean.  When we were in Italy, the waitress passed us by three times while she served people who came after us.  She was white and had blond hair.  She probably thought it was demeaning to serve people of color.  After all, my ethnic brothers and sisters are typically the janitors, the housemaids, and the low paying job holders that she was familiar with.  Poor Ms Whitey.  She was just too ignorant to know.

Monday, August 28, 2017

No More Lonely Nights

A view from our hotel in Cardiff, the capital of Wales.  The locals speak Welsh.  Technically, Wales is part of England although they have their own Soccer team.

Looking from afar, I see the urban skyscrapers.  But when I look below, it appears that we are holed up in a rough neighborhood.  Although not much was happening outside, which could either be a good or bad sign.  I didn't want to go out that night so I stayed in our room and did my best to entertain myself.  

Post-processed on the iPhone using Darkroom App, the image was taken with the iPhone 6 using the camera of the Slow Shutter App to get some light trails.  I didn't have a tripod so I had to hold my iPhone flushed against the window. It took a while for me to fiddle with the settings to get the effect I wanted but with patience all the trial and error work yields a fine reward.  In my humble opinion.


Sunday, August 27, 2017

Brick Houses in Chester

I was going through some image files that I have not edited and found this gem. So I thought I would share it.

A small village in Chester, England.  I dig the harmony between the bricks and the foliage surrounding the buildings.  Most of the buildings appeared to be abandoned.  Our tour director drop us off where the scenic view is picture perfect.  Of course, everybody in our group took out their cameras and mobile phones to take a picture of the place, though we weren't sure what was its historical significance.  Our tour director told us that most of the bricks used in the building were from the Hadrian's Wall.  Apparently, when the Romans left England, the town people realized there was no real need for the wall, so they remove the bricks from the wall and used them to build their houses.  This process is now called Recycling.

Taken in 2016 with the 24-70mm lens attached to the Canon EOS 5d Mark ii.  This would be the last trip that I would be taking this heavy camera.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Manhattan Skyline with Reflection and the Strange Things that Happened Before

Image was taken across the Jacquelin Kenedy Onasis Reservoir at Central Park, New York.  The reservoir is 40 feet deep and holds a billion gallons of water.  Seen here is Manhattan, often described as the cultural, financial, media, and entertainment capital of the world.  In capturing this image, I used my Fujifilm Finepix 100F with the Classic Chrome Film Simulation.

Our first day in New York was a fiasco.  Arrived at JFK Airport around midnight.  Our luggage came out looking like a mad tribesman pounded it to smitheerns.  After waiting patiently for about an hour, the luggage clerk came back with an ugly boxy replacement where the wheels would only go in one direction.  It was so huge that other airlines might not even allow us to check it in.  Shell shocked and lack of sleep, we decided to just accept it.

We went outside to get a taxi and a big black guy looking like Shaquille O'Neal introduced himself as a taxi driver so we told him where we were going.  We hauled our damaged luggage and the ugly replacement as he took us to the deserted parking lot - like sheep being led to a slaughterhouse.  We began to get suspicious because we couldn't find the usual yellow taxis we're used to.  And then he showed us his van.  That's not a taxi, we said.  Well, it's Uber, he claimed it is cheaper.  Bluntly, I told him we don't have much money in case he was going to rob us.  He smiled and seemed okay with us.  We did get to our destination.  I'm glad to report that we didn't get kidnapped although he took most our cash.  Ouch.

Anilao Contentment (Reworked)

Esteban, the man at the rear, seems to have received the raw end of the deal after losing to Boy Botong in game of rock-paper-scissors.  Now he gets to carry the heavier side of the load.  What Esteban didn't know was that the boy was ranked No. 2 in the World's Hand Game Competition.

Text originally posted March 6, 2013

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Dr Strangelove is Really the Man in the Long Black Coat

Somebody seen him hangin' around
At the old dance hall on the outskirts of town

He looked into her eyes when she stopped him to ask
If he wanted to dance he had a face like a mask
Somebody said from the bible he'd quote
There was dust on the man in the long black coat

Bob Dylan, Man in the Long Black Coat

Monday, August 21, 2017

A Still Life with The Pates

We are in Seville.  The autonomous community of Andalucia, Spain.  Recovering from the tribulation of the Spanish Civil war.   The Russians have just perfected the art of tampering with the election of foreign countries.  Seville's Tapas scene is recognized as one of the main cultural attractions of the city: people go from one bar to another.  The Pate family dines with a fledgling realtor named Trump.  We are immersed in the 70s.  In a decade, the Berlin Wall will come tumbling down.  Katy Perry is yet to be born.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

The Maid of Glastonbury

Juzno:  Mi Lady, I beseech thee.  May thy humble servant take a photo of thee?

Marybeth:  Oh, sire.  I am no lady but a servant like thineself.  By the way, what is a photo?

Juzno:  Dear lady, can thou not hearest the wind blow?  Or did thou knowest?  Thy stairway lies on the whispering wind.

Marybeth:  Ah, I see that thou art a sage as well.

Juzno:  Dear lady, has thou not hearest of Led Zeppelin?

Friday, August 18, 2017

Wine Glasses as Art

Wine glasses as art.  I must inquire though.  How many bottles of wine can fill the bottom of the glasses?  What if they are bottomless glasses?

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Hasta Mañana - Santiago de Compostella

Juzno: Señor, I just walked nearly 500 miles from France on a pilgrimage to the Way of St James - that is the Camino de Santiago.  For favor, please, do tell me how I can go to the Santiago de Compostella?

Diego:  Si, señor.  But first I must finish my Cafe Manchado, then take my two-and-half hour siesta, and only then can I show you the way to the church.

Juzno: How long does it  take you to finish your coffee?

Diego:  Not too long.  Give or take one hour.  Or just come back tomorrow.

Hope your day is going well.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Paneng's Kitchen Revisited

Juzno:  What's cooking, Paneng?

Paneng:  Is da wan I cook but my specialty.

Juzno: And what's that?

Paneng:  Rice and hot water.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Avila from a Distance

Just left the scorching curse of Salamanca, we were headed to Avila before our final destination, which would be Madrid.  I just woke up from my afternoon nap while on the coach when I saw a landscape similar to Jerusalem.  The weather was milder, and the strong gust of wind was much needed grace.

Rose and I have been in Avila before.  It was during winter.  Our tour director took us for hot chocolate.  Years later, we are doing it again, and this time with churros.  Avila's  mug of hot chocolate and churros never fail regardless of the season.


Friday, August 11, 2017

Mike's Meandering Thought

It's 1972.  People are freaking out.  As for me, I am feeling like I am in a bad dream.  I have been getting a lot of calls about the strawberry piece I was investigating.  Except I don't have a phone, the nearest one is two houses away, which belongs to my landlord.  Besides, strawberries don't grow on this island.  People call me on my landlord's phone.  But my landlord has put me in a blacklist because I keep playing Black Sabbath at illegal decibels that ought to get the police to arrest me.  Black Sabbath just released their fourth album.  It has no title.  It's like people will recognize it as Black Sabbath IV.  Led Zeppelin did the same thing on their fourth album.  Who did it first?  What's going on in the music scene?  Sort of antiestablishment posture.  Yea, right, let's screw them but let's take their money.  How come these people think they can be like Bob Dylan?  Anyone want some lemons?  The tree looks very pretty but the fruit is impossible to eat.  Anyway.  I just think Dylan's head reminds me of lemons.  Doesn't his head look like a lemon?  His facial expression certainly does.  Good stuff.  It's perfect.  My head is shaped more like a pomelo.  That is why I need to grow my hair long.  Sometimes I will be daydreaming and I see a big ugly knot and I have this Gordian sword and slice up this rope.  I have to stop making sense.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Frankenstein in the Dark

I won't tell you what it is.  But I'm sure most photo enthusiasts will know what it is.

Here are seven clues:

  1. It's the newest release from a camera manufacturer.
  2. It's made in Japan.
  3. It's compact - quite obviously.
  4. The sensor is 24 megapixel.
  5. It has wifi capability.
  6. It shoots great.  For example it makes Rosie O'Donell appear to look like Kristen Stewart.
  7. You can teach it to order pizza in the middle of the night.  
Hope you are having a great day.

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Another View of the Unverse

"Through art we can know another's view of the universe." - Marcel Proust, Maxims

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

How many eyeglasses can one have?

Or how many guitars can one own?

Or how many guns can one shoot?

Ah, but the answer my friend is blowing in the wind.  The answer is blowing in the wind.

Saturday, August 05, 2017

Juzno Launches a New Magazine

Juzno just started a magazine called Just an Observer  in Flipboard.  If you have an account in Flipboard  you can now follow his posts here.  Cheers.

Friday, August 04, 2017

Madrid reliving its history

Statue of King Charles III located at Puerto del Sol, Madrid

It has been said that Madrid despite the seemingly consumerist influence on the city , i.e. modern transportation, millennials sporting hip fashionable attire, and sprouting Burger King fast foods, the city has never really changed in its heart.  In plain English, Modern cosmopolitan Madrid in its heart has always been Madrid, a city resilient to counter-culture.  While I am not sure if I completely agree with this observation, I do see that some parts of the urban landscape attempts to commemorate and perhaps relive its history.  Such as the statue of King Charles III (1716 - 1788), which is part of the monument at Puerta del Sol.  I find it interesting that the statue is surrounded with shopping malls from all sides.  The statue is not that old.  It is a replica made by Miguel Angel Rodriguex and Eduardo Zancada in 1994.  The tourists are made to believe that it's the original 18th century statue.

Thursday, August 03, 2017

Understanding Our Propensity for Visuals

But first a Food Selfie!
This present culture is enamored with visuals and more visuals.  Fascination with visuals.  Food selfies flood the social media.  People sharing their photos from their smart phones.  Part of this phenomenon is that almost everybody can take a picture.  Cameras are accessible.  When you go to the social media, try posting a blurb on ideas and no one will almost read them.  But post a picture of your latest lunch or dinner and it's a guarantee that it will get some kind of reaction.  We live in an age where visuals rule - 24/7.  The newspaper businesses know that there is a greater likelihood of people reading their articles when they are accompanied with images.  After all, pictures they say tell a thousand stories.  Although it may seem that this trend is more apparent nowadays, it is not new.  Our fallen minds are programmed to respond to images.  I've always wondered why God of the Bible forbid a visual representation of himself.  We are prone to imagine how God looks like.  Even Moses desired this.  We are indeed a visual people.

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

An Advice to an Aspiring Photographer - from a Failing One

Dear Friend,

Sometimes you may have to ask yourself why you go through the hassle of sharing your images to complete strangers like in Flickr.  

You should not feel obligated to also like someone's work just because that person liked yours.  Unless if you belong to a Flickr group that requires you to do so.  People may like your images for a number of reasons.  It could be they belong to the group that I mentioned.  Or they want you to check their posts so you can like one or more of their images.  Or they just like your images with no strings attached.  I happen to belong to the last group of people.  I have no expectation.  If they reciprocate with a "thank you" note, I would be very grateful.

One of the reasons I share my images in Flickr and Instagram is these are platforms where I can observe how people behave.  I like to conduct social experiments to find out how one may react towards my work.  I think it may be selfish of me to do this.  At best, it's creepy.  Although I don't see it as setting up a bait as an absolute means to an end because I also want to share to others my work - to those who are willing to give time to appreciate and perhaps understand the message.  I feel that I have passed the point of creating merely for aesthetics.  I want to convey a deeper message through the perspective of aesthetics.  That is why I consider myself just as an artist who happens to know how to use a camera.  Not a lot of people including photographers will understand this.  

Stay true to yourself, my dear friend.  Know why you do the things you like to do.  And strive to better yourself to reach your goal.

Your Friend,

P.S.  I'm sharing an image I took at the Guggenheim Museum at Bilbao - yes that is in Spain.  If you can figure out what it means, then maybe you can explain that to me.

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

The Barber Dog of Seville

Figaro had been so busy tending his barbershop that he didn't realize Otto, his canine companion, decided to saunter out on the streets of Seville.  Even though the photography would not be invented for another century, I was able to go back to 16th century Spain.  I was fortunate to bring my French view camera along with me.  This was one of the shots I made of Otto during his unsuspecting moment.  The man with one wooden leg walking away was a delightful addition to my street image.