We have beautiful summer here in Northwest. Heat can be consuming at times, but trade-offs are the whole yard of lush blooms and colors. When the choices are abundant, I, on the contrary, don’t feel inspired to spend hours on my favorite close-up flower pictures.
Reality is truthful but not all beautiful. My passion for taking abstract flower pictures has pushed me to also ‘dream of’ sports and events. The pursuit of photographing slow movement and blur as well as expect the unexpected is very fun and satisfying.
Too many homebound days in the last year, I was happy to get away and go to Olympic Trials in town. New Hayward Stadium is a work of art, except that I could not walk around as freely as I used to and had to shoot from a distance.
The Victory Point
Due to the pandemic, the granddaughter’s ballet recital was performed outdoors at dusk. The light condition wasn’t great for photography, but the gradually dimming golden sunset light enhances the ambiance. It’s also in Oregon, where we have the wild and wide natural environment to make such presentation. I was completely impressed by the event produced by this local ballet school.
Pandemic is still here, but life goes on. I would live life as usual and continue to do whatever I love.
Joseph is located in NE Oregon, the gateway to Wallowa Mountains (‘little Switzerland in Oregon’). It is the kind of place where I go back to visit every once a while and never get tired of it. The town is surrounded by a breathtaking mountain range and inhabited by many talented artisans who make gorgeous copper statues. I snapped the shot walking down the street there a couple of years ago.
To appreciate the image further, I decided to give it a painting touch. I got rid of the clutters on the street and kept only the beautiful fall colors and my favorite mountain backdrop. I don’t know who is the artist for this statue but I certainly give him/her my best respect and gratitude.
“It is Ok to paint over a picture. There is still layer of creativity required to transform a picture to a painting.” This is the message I recently heard from a professional artist and teacher. What it does is to eliminate the sketching step and go right to the further creativity process. Now I am experimenting myself, I can really feel the truth behind the message. Most importantly, with the digital brush (the stylus) in hand to be able to create the strokes freely, the joy of creativity is very satisfying.
My daily walk path is trimmed with thistles. Whenever I walked by, I thought to come out something different than what I’ve done throughout the years. I tried to use different lens and did it in the different time of the season. In all, I think the ice-laced version is probably my most favorite.
Thistles are created to provide the food for birds. Other than a bit green and lavender colors in spring, it is dry and plain. Who knows they can be charming in the winter.
2020 is not a peaceful year and perhaps 2021, too. I think we just need to cope with the challenges by adjusting our lifestyle. Goodness often comes out of Madness. If not for the ice storm, I would not enjoy photographing the thistles.
If not for the long hours inflight and all sorts of travel restrictions, I would go back to Taiwan now and enjoy the luxury to live normally. For years, I was not disciplined enough to download pictures and do the due diligence to edit and delete after each shot. It’s now the good time to catch up, and to fall into the dream to travel to the past.
Nan-Yuan (meaning South Garden) is located in Hsin-Chu country, about one hour drive from Taipei, the capital city north. It is a retreat place originally built by a Taiwanese news tycoon for his family. The place sits in the seclusive high mountain overlooking the valley. Breathtaking and out of the world.
Aside from the architectural, cultural and intellectual elements throughout, everything seems to be deliberately designed and displayed. I felt I could be there days and thinking I was in heaven. 2013 is the beginning of my photography journey when I visited Nan-Yuan (also called One Place by the owner). I desire to go back sometime to look at it from different perspectives.
Out of everything, I was most attracted to the windows (and doors) in all shapes (an opened book, a flower vase, a pair of pears…). Walking along the path in the retreat, unique scenes after scenes are casually and randomly framed by the windows or the doors.
Sight is showcased by the frames (windows and doors), and one frame is being framed by the other.
Current lock-downs deprive our freedom physically, but we can free up ourselves by seeing through the windows and conducting virtual tours through the pictures.
My new normal is to conduct home and hobby projects working from a planned list and a designated timeline. I like to be able to adjust my pace to make the process fun and relaxing, and yet, not to waste the time away.
Most of my intensive travel was done while I was still working and thought photography is a luxury hobby. Still having a bucket list of travel destinations and still patiently waiting for the pandemic to be lessened, I am going through the old travel pictures. Most of my intensive travel was done while I was still working and way before my photography journey. Still having a bucket list of travel destinations and still patiently waiting for the pandemic to be lessened, I can at least go through the old travel pictures.
She was working in a vineyard in Tuscany, Italy. Every morning as I enjoyed my breakfast, I spotted her red jacket and noticed that she was one of the industrious workers whose bucket seemed always full. One day I walked up to her asking for a shot, she returned with a smile. This smile has always been in my mind. I wish her well.
After visiting numerous castles, mansions and churches in Europe, I found my ‘fiddler-on-the-roof’ in front of a Spanish palace. His self-content and nostalgic music are infectious and impactful. A few years later I ran into the texture with the music notes and this image has since become one of my favorites. I can still feel and hear up to this day.
That was at least 15 years ago. I ran into my colleague in Hong Kong while we were both traveling for work. We decided to utilize the weekend time and travel to Guilin, South West China where layers of winding rice patties are the unique landscape for the region. Farming residents then grew their own food with natural fertilizers, but we were still skeptical about the food quality in the restaurant. While there was no better choice, we took some stomach medicine and walked into a local restaurant. Surprise and not, the food is naturally and organically delicious. I can still remember the freshly stir-fried crunchy cabbage we had.
She was trimming freshly harvested chili and placed them on the bamboo plate. With two chatty people walking by, she did not even raise her head. No disturbance is the message. Our chat paused and footsteps were gradually quiet down… Simple yet colorful, Silent yet busy, Secluded yet a workforce on its own.
Today is the first day of the lunar New Year 2021. Every day is a new day and worth the celebration.
Almost one year after the invasion of Corvid-19, we are now facing new challenges from the variants. We continue to practice social distancing and wear the masks. At the same time, I think we need to go back to a new normal presuming virus prevention measure is followed. We cannot put a pause note in our life and wait for the virus-free day to come.
As soon as the temperature goes up and flower buds start to pop, I will head out again, with mask and distance. On the rainy days, it is therapeutic to browse the old photos and think good old days. Above was a snapshot with shaded lighting, instead of deleting it, I decided to paint it. Painting was a dream for me, and now I am beginning to enjoy it and desire to do more.
Often times when I told people that I live in Oregon, “do you get lots of rain there?” is the first response. Yes, we have abundant rain particularly in the wintertime, but to Oregonians, rain is ‘Oregon sunshine’. It’s the resource of luscious green and fresh air. Listening to raindrops on the roof is my all-time favorite thing to do.
When I was back to my blog, I decided that I will say less and show work more frequently. My goal is to continue my photography journey and turn my pictures into paintings as my inspiration leads me on. I admit that I cannot completely ignore the shocking global and local news, but at the very least that I can keep my head down and my heart calm.
From earth Green to fashion Blue, Yellow is my new favorite color, only certain shades of yellow however. In the midst of working on the background texture and color, White tone kept popping up. I guess heavy snowfalls in the country bother me. I would enjoy snow lots more if there is peace on earth and kids are out freely bashing at each other with snowballs.