Vancouver Venture | Reflections

Well this little photog got to get out of town to Vancouver BC briefly this week – a very rare occasion – so no cleaning, child disciplining, dog-walking, or kitty-litter-scooping were done for a whole 48 hours. I didn’t even break open my laptop, do any photo-editing or check my email. Divine.
I did get to take in a lot of amazing sites in Vancouver, a city I’ve not been to in years, and had some precious adult time with my honey. Entirely too many photos were taken: I brought along my DSLR, plus my little Yunon 35mm, and couldn’t resist buying a Lomo ActionSampler, which takes 4 small shots in 1 second, exposed on one 35mm frame. And of course there was my trusty iPhone in my hand at all times for photo-taking too. Yep, too many.
There were photos I wish I could have taken though; I don’t mean the required scenic shots, the landmarks, or even catching a sunset (there was a gorgeous one last night)… Driving through what can best be called the ‘sketchy’ part of town, Chinatown, I couldn’t help but be struck by the part of the city that most people try to avoid. We only went there via taxi (advised by several that walking would be a really bad idea) to get to a gig for the band Redd Kross, which my man has been following for about 20 years. Over just a few blocks, and those were just a few over from the heavily-touristed Gastown, we saw glimpses of the dark recesses of urban life, the addicts, the homeless, the sick, the vagrant, the lost and hungry. Dark, dark streets.
I only say I wish I could have taken those photos (and I wouldn’t be taking my camera out there at 11pm) because I think it’s easy to forget there is a not-so-pretty side of every city, but that is very much a part of it. It’s sad and scary, and can be downright depressing but there are countless stories there to be told, ones that for now I’m not brave enough to tell with my own camera.
Anyway, I hope I’ll be back in BC again soon. Here are a few of my cell phone moments. Enjoy the view!
xo ~ K

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Body-Painted Cyclists, Oh My! Solstice 2012 | Seattle Street Photography

**(Warning for some folks who may easily offend: semi-nudity and silly outfits in today’s photo, but it is as seen by thousands of Seattlies every year in broad daylight!)**

This is a quick one because I really need to get back to my hundreds of Solstice Parade photos! I need to whittle it down to about 100 from about 8 times that…

Every year, Fremont (Seattle’s own ‘Center of the Universe’) hosts the most fun, crazy, and utterly amazing parade to usher in the Summer Solstice (otherwise known as Seattle’s summer that won’t start until after July 4th…). It starts with a huge amount of mostly naked bicyclists with beautifully and/or imaginatively-painted bodies – think Care Bears alongside Batman – whizzing down the main street accompanied by lots of laughs, cheers and some confused/amazed child faces, and an insane amount of photo-taking. Then there’s the ‘real’ parade of wacky and themed floats and marching bands, but it’s not the usual parade fare that many other cities see. Seattle is unique and colorful and soon I will post some photos so that everyone can see what I’m talking about.

Since the bicycle ride involves a lot of non-clothing, I will get a Flickr set linked up in case anyone wants to see that without being shocked by it here (in spite of the warning!). It’s all done in good fun and I love the open and accepting spirit that it’s all done in. Now if only Seattle would hurry up and get some warm weather so we can at least abandon some of our clothing…

This is one of my favorite photos that I took at last year’s Solstice Parade  Crossing fingers for sun soon!

xo ~ K

Not all the Greek runners in the original Olympics were totally naked. Some wore shoes. – Mark Twain

Perfect Imperfection | Seattle Film Photography 

Hooray for analog! I finally got around to the long (although not quite arduous) process of getting my medium format film prints into their new square photo album this afternoon. Having the prints in a square format (some 5 inch square, some 4) makes them automatically special, but it’s the getting them there and into a real live, not-on-the-computer, album that makes it all so extra special.

Taking photos on film, in any format, involves you in such a different process from that of digital photography, and until I got my Diana F+ a few Christmases ago, I’d mostly left film photography behind for some time. Back when I was working on feature films, I had basically become a film snob, and would abhor anything that would be shot on anything but 35mm celluloid, for the process and production values at the time when working with film, just magnified a project to further greatness. Everyone has now gone digital in the lands of both professional photography and film-making but there are signs everywhere of nostalgia for those mediums; there has been a resurgence in what is called the ‘analog lifestyle’; go see http://www.lomography.com/ if you want to see how the Lomo movement has taken off with and grab every cool camera to do so with. And funnily enough, every camera app on your iPhone wants to replicate film, to get the look and feel of its simplicity, its unsuspecting colors and its element of surprise. I love using the phone apps but they don’t truly represent the process of taking photos on film, getting them developed and into your hot little hands, where they were highly anticipated for so long (usually the next day, actually). You had to make sure every shot counted and there were always some good, and disappointing surprises with the returned prints.Then finally getting those beautifully imperfect prints into an album – not even into separate plastic dividers inside, just with actually photo mounts straight onto the page – feels like the most wonderful thing. For if photos aren’t meant to be gazed over (other than on a phone display or on you laptop), what are they for? There’s a major satisfaction of holding that imperfect surprise of a print in your hot little hands…and there you go, that is your art.

As photographers now, with all the new technology and post-processing available, you find yourself expecting nothing less than perfection. Perfect composition, lighting, exposure, posing, editing, all of it; some aspects of the medium have allowed us to get close to perfect, particularly with the new ability to take countless shots without worrying about wasting frames/money. But we may spend too much time trying to get that ‘perfect shot’ these days…

I think I will set myself a personal cat project with film because I think this would be a lot harder challenge against digital. I would expect most pet photographers to agree that they can take a lot of shots of cats and dogs at a session but most will be throw-aways, due to the activity and often non-compliance (or if you’d like to say, they had a different agenda that day). I don’t think I’d be able to do the same pet portraits on film, but I’d go in with hope that the less-than-perfect shots held their character as I imagined but still showed me some great surprises. I will have to research some pet photographers of the past who shot on film…

On to a week of organizing photos, possibly a cat session and a model session, as well as prepping for school portraits! It’s keeping me busy but it also keeps me sane; it all serves as therapy!

“A beautiful thing is never perfect.’ – Proverb

Bye for now. xo ~ K

Kung Hei Fat Choi! | Seattle Street Photography

I enjoyed the sights and sounds (and smells!) down in the International District today as everyone rang in the Lunar New Year of the Dragon. Going down there to see the Lion Dances, hear the firecrackers, watch martial arts displays, and buy cream buns at Uwajimaya, brings back many memories for me as a kid growing up in Hong Kong. Plus I love all the people watching. It was a chilly grey day and it tried to rain, but throngs of people showed up, along with hundreds of cameras and cell phones to take photos; it’s hard to get a shot without an arm in the way holding up an iPhone. I am betting that the Mayan calendar hoopla ¬†and Nostradamus are wrong and that the Year of the Dragon will be the auspicious year that is predicted, one of transformation and improvement. Unless a comet hitting the earth IS the improvement! I wish I could have taken more photos today but here are a few to share.

xo ~ K

Experience is the only prophecy of wise men. ~ Alphonse de Lamartine