Tuesday, January 30, 2018

The River Danube is Really Blue

Budapest was the last city we went to on our January holiday.  I am going to skip the rest of the cities and jump right into Budapest.  Why you ask?   Because I want to.

This was taken at the Fisherman's Bastion.  Great view.  I am quite disappointed with the captured image as it's very pixelated.  This is a moment that I wished I had a professional camera with me.  The iPhone failed miserably inspite of redeeming the image in Photoshop.  Still, I thought that the composition was worth sharing.  So here it is.  Amazingly, the River Danube is indeed blue.  The great Classical Rock Star composer Johann Strauss II was spot on.

Of all the places we've visited this year, I think Budapest was the best.  Ecclectic.  I dig it.  Their history fascinates me.  Our tour guide told us that Attila the Hun stayed in Hungary for a while.  His brother Buda did so too.  Hence you get the name of the city Buda-pest.  But history is written by the winners of war.  Apparently the Hapsburgs wanted to erase the influence of the Huns so they created fake news by destroying the reputation of Attila.  Too bad Attila didn't have a good lawyer to sue the Hapsburg.

Hope your day is going well.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Frauenkirche in Dresden

Yellow and blue make a great color combination.  At times, I get to be fortunate to shoot an image with a great color combination in our travels.  Perhaps the architects thought about how the building would look like during daytime.  Most of the ones I've seen are grayish.

This is Dresden Frauenkirche or Church of Our Lady in Dresden, Germany.  Built in the 18th century but was destroyed in the bombing during World War II.  (Folks who are familiar with Dresden will tell you that almost the entire city was decimated during the war.)  I saw a photo of the church after it was hit, and only a mere fourth of the building was standing up.  I'm told that the heat from the bomb caused the dome to collapse.  Shortly after the war, the residents picked up remnants of the structure in hope of rebuilding it.  Sort of trying to reconstruct something like a jug saw puzzle.  However, the Communists didn't really care so it was not until the fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989 that reconstruction took place.  Yay!

Friday, January 26, 2018

St Vitus Cathedral in Prague

It was our second time to visit the St Vitus Cathedral in Prague.  The first was in April 2013.  I showed Rose this image and she wondered why the building was blue.  I supposed it should be more grayish but that was how my iPhone 7 plus captured it.  I thought it looked cool that way.

It was freezing cold that morning.  It was only 33 degrees F but it felt like low 20s because of the wind.  I was foolish to not bring my scarf and did not double up on my sweater.  Rose and I had to share her scarf. So we were going around like a Siamese twin.  

The cathedral is Roman Catholic like most religious churches in Prague.  The last time we weren't able to go in because there was a service.  This time we were more fortunate.  Our guide told us that many Bohemian kings and Holy Roman emperors were buried here.  Although from the outside, the architectural style is undeniably Gothic, the interior is different.  It was a mixed of Renaissance and Baroque.  That's because it took years for the inside to be completed.  Through years of work, different architectural styles have evolved.

Regarding this picture:  At times, I'm asked why I blur my images.  That it may look nicer if it's not blurred.  For this image, I am not sure if it would look any nicer without the blur.  Besides I would rather that people appreciate my image because it's artistic rather than nice.  Without the artistic effect, it would look like just any other architecture.  Maybe nice but nicely boring in my opinion.  Most viewers perceived blurred images as accidents or were captured because of sloppy techniques.  I think that is unfortunate.  And yet there is an underlining and significant philosophy about blurring technique.  Consider the Impressionist paintings.  Apparently, those painters were harshly criticized for their work.  Years later, they were heralded as geniuses.  Perhaps, when I'm gone people will see my work as genius.  You think?  

Hope your day is going well.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Thoughts on Revisiting Prague

I'm having deep thoughts with old pal Charlie.

It was in April 2013 when we first visited Prague.  It was cold.  Unlike most people, I thought Prague was overrated.  Yes, there was the St Vitus Cathedral, Old Town Square, the Astronomical Clock, the dapper Saxophone Guy who played on the town square - he wore a nice dark blue suit and a sharp looking Fedora with a gold band on it.   There were also the usual suspects - pickpocketers.   I was fortunate not to have to deal with one.  (I had a bad experience in Milan but that's another story for another day.)  Our tour guide was Peter.  He was funny and gave practical tips.  Like going to a restaurant for the free use of their restroom instead of paying one Euro in the public toilets.  Fast forward five years later.  January 2018.  It was still cold.  Peter was still our guide.  He was still funny.  In my eyes, Prague appears to still be more or less the same.  Except there are fewer tourists, the Astronomical Clock is being removed for repair, and the Saxophone Guy did not play as good.  He is so much older.  The gold band on his Fedora is gone.  He has replaced his blue suit with a worn out black combination.  I felt sorry for him.  In 2013 I took a picture of him.  I could not make myself to do it again.  One good thing was that the pickpokecters have hibernated.  Other than that I think Prague is still overrated.

Saxophone Guy back in 2013.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Jimmy Rules the World or Why He Deleted His Facebook Account

There is a gig that some people recommend to me that I don't really expect to be feasible.  A photo exhibit.  It requires money.  Lots and lots.  Yes, money that makes the world go round.  It is somewhat a leap of faith as such investment could fail catastrophically.  I knew one artist who had great materials for an exhibit.  She used up her retirement savings to pay for the invitations, the gallery rental, promos, and food and drink for the guests.  (Yes, you read right - food and drink - people will not show up if you don't provide them.)  At the end of the day, she managed to sell a couple of prints that represented a tiny fraction of what she had spent.  Perhaps, she was just not lucky.  But I never really believed in luck.  Luck it seems to me is a very thin invisible wire between survival and disaster, and so is an illusion to think that people can keep their balance on it.

In the olden days, an aspiring artist may be able to find somebody to help kick start his venture.  One can find these generous supporters in social hang outs.  Andy Warhol, being a social butterfly, hanged out with people who he swindled to fund his projects.  I suppose nowadays with social medias like Facebook and Twitter, one can have some followings.  In my experience, quite a few of these "followers" don't really care about my art but merely wanted me to go and like their page.  It's the "I'll scratch your back, you scratch mine" approach.  Which drives me to frustration because I would not like something that is utter rubbish, which is mostly everything I've seen.  Perhaps the feeling is mutual.  People think that my work is dung but are willing to show contrived appreciation just to win back a favor.  I don't think that is my gig at all.  Selah.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

A Short Pathology on Selfie

Juzno:  Is that your new selfie?

Mary Suc:  Yes and no.  It's an old selfie but yes it is my selfie that I just posted here.

Juzno:  Where do you usually post your selfies?

Mary Suc: Facebook for the most.  My friends love them.

Juzno:  How many FB friends do you have?

Mary Suc:  2,758 and growing.

Juzno:  Do you know all of them?

Mary Suc:  No.

Juzno:  So what is the point of selfies on FB?

Mary Suc:  Gloating.  Showing off.

Juzno:  Are selfies supposed to represent your good side only?

Mary Suc:  Sure.  No one wants to see or hear you when you are down and out.

Juzno:  Isn't that kind of fake?

Mary Suc:  Perhaps.  But as long as people think that you are doing fine then it is all that matters.

Juzno:  Thank you for sharing your selfie.

Mary Suc:  My pleasure.  And don't forget to like.

Originally posted on January 17, 2014

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Three Wise Sages in Manhattan

My liberal friend advised me not to pull out my stock from the market, and not to use the tax credit with this new tax bill.  I never understood money matters.  Once I met a guy while in line at a liquor store in New York.  He befriended me and had called me a few times.  We just shot the breeze.  And then one day, he introduced a business proposition.  I told him that I don't do well in finance.  He asked if I wanted to make additional money on the side. I may be naive but I really believe he was being sincere.  I told him I was not interested. I was being honest and frank.  He never called me again.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Has Facebook become irrelevant?

Juzno:  What is it like to be young and free?

Eleanor:  It sucks. Like I want to grow up so I can do things my parents don’t want me to do.

Juzno:  Like what?

Eleanor:  Like travelling around Europe, driving a car, and I also want to see Blue Oyster Cult in concert.

Juzno:  I don’t think they have played in years.  What is your perspective of the world?

Eleanor:  Like sometimes I wonder if the world is what I perceived it is. Or could it be that I am watching something that has already occurred in the past? How do we know what we know? How can we be sure? Maybe all of these are virtual realities that exist only in some ethereal black box that transcends time and space.

Juzno:  That is so heavy.  Baruch Spinoza?

Eleanor:  No, Winnie the Pooh.

Juzno:  What do you think of Television?

Eleanor:  Like it’s a full time job watching television.  I’m not into what people watch in television.  Most of them are so jejune.

Juzno:  Another heavy terminology.  You must have read a lot of books.

Eleanor:  Not really.  Like I'm more into Tumblrs.

Juzno:  Has Facebook become irrelevant?

Eleanor:  Definitely.  Like people on Facebook are self-absorbed.  It’s all about selfies, me, and mine.  People don’t have serious convictions.  Like all they do is copy and paste stuff from cyberspace, and pretend they are in the know like pompous penguins.  I’m rarely inspired when I read their posts.  They are quite pathetic.  Like nothing is original. 

Juzno:  What is original?

Eleanor:  Like in order to define original, one has to define what isn’t.

Juzno:  Okay.  What isn't original?

Eleanor:  Like X-men, Walking Dead Series, Socialism, Wall Street, PETA, Global Warming – and so on.

Juzno:  And what about original?

Eleanor:  Like Muhammad Ali – now he’s original.  Folks like Sugar Ray Leonard, Usher and Will Smith all ripped off from Ali.  Even Obama borrows a lot from him.

Juzno:  Didn’t know you knew so much about human events.

Eleanor:  It depends.  Like we all have an opinion of something.  We may know so many things and yet we can be so ignorant about all of them. 

Juzno:  You’re from California, aren’t you?

Eleanor: Like why you would say that?

Juzno:  Like you said…

Originally posted January 18, 204

Monday, January 15, 2018

Sax Man in Prague (They call me Deacon Blues)

Learn to work the saxophone
I play just what I feel
Drink Scotch whiskey all night long
And die behind the wheel
They got a name for the winners in the world
I want a name when I lose
They call Alabama the Crimson Tide
Call me Deacon Blues

"Deacon Blues" as written by Walter Carl Becker and Donald Jay Fagen

Friday, January 12, 2018

A lonely man trying to save the world from Climate Change.

I am taking a break from photography.  In the mean time, I have taken another job.  It doesn't pay.  And definitely a thankless and futile one.

Have a blessed weekend.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

The Tourist in Prague

We were in Prague in 2013 when I shot a picture of this unsuspecting tourist.  I think the Astronomical Clock in the middle of the Old Town Square had begun to set its motion, and people wanted to capture that moment with their cameras - mostly with smart phones.  In this case, the lady was using her iPhone.  At that time, the iPhone had evolved to better versions.  Its camera was quite handy in documenting ones travel experience.

Taken with my Fujifilm X-Pro1 and converted to black and white using the Film Noir template of the Nik Silver Efex Pro.  I thought that the monochrome rendition would go well with this scene.  It reminds me of the vintage photos found in 60s magazines.  So in a sense, it's very retro.  The vibe is 60s style with a twist of 21st century technology - notably the smart phone.

Hope your day is going well.

Tuesday, January 09, 2018

My Photography Set Back, and Why I Hate Apple

I hate Apple.  All my Apple devices refused to sync until I updated to MacOS High Sierra - the latest iOS, which sucks.  Because:  I used Nik Software for my photo editing.  And Nik was bought by Google.  And Apple hates Google.  So my software no longer works like before after I updated my iMac.  I learned that DXO bought Nik Software so I'm hoping they might fix the bugs in the existing software.

Monday, January 08, 2018

A Moment in Time No. 6

Andy Warhol?  Cristo?  Were they art geniuses?  Or were they just good in marketing their art?  And then you have Richard Prince.  Controversial for stealing other people's works and repackaging them as his own.  For Prince, I read somewhere, the lawsuits are the artwork. In the case of Warhol, he didn't even do his own arts.  He had people who did them per his suggestions.  Cristo?  What about him?  Seems like he just wanted the attention.