Connecting in Hong Kong

Hong Kong airport is a great one, as are many Asian airports. They put US Airports to shame. The security is actually nice to you there, and you don’t get all the attitude of the TSA. The TSA looks so important with their little uniforms. I think they are just silly… but it is remarkable how people react to uniforms.

I was going to find a pic of the silly uniforms so we could all make fun of them, but then I found out that the TSA has a blog! How boring. It makes me real happy that my tax money is going for the TSA’s social media operation. Look at this TSA blog entry on the Fourth of July and the YouTube videos they provided (especially the charmer about the dangerous “Sparkler”). Don’t worry everyone, the US Government is now blogging for you.

Connecting in Hong Kong

Old China

I found this woman outside the train station in Hangzhou. She was sitting by herself waiting on someone or something. Like most Chinese, she didn’t speak a word of English, and none of my international gesticulations seemed to trigger a response. Except, that is, for the one when I asked if I could take a photo. She nodded happily and sat serenely while I grabbed a shot. I walked on, and turned around to wave. She gave me a little nod.

There are a lot of the older generation in China that I am sure are completely amazed by what is happening of late there. I wished I could have asked her a few questions, but my Mandarin is woefully inept. My 8-year-old son is taking lessons… maybe I’ll have to take him with me next time to act as translator!

Old China (by Stuck in Customs)

Even the Model of Shanghai is Huge

Look at this crazy place I found in Shanghai!

This was inside one of the many government buildings. It was a multi-story complex dedicated to the past, present, and future of Shanghai. It was filled with multimedia presentations on the water systems, photo exhibits of the Bund under British control, and video extrapolations of what the city would become in 2020.

Of all these cool things, the best was this gigantic model of Shanghai. I walked around it about five times, trying to get some kind of sense of how to photograph the dang thing. Then, finally, I decided to grab a shot that included a few tourists to show the scale of this monstrosity.

By the way, thanks so much for all the interest in the Newsletter yesterday! I put a map on that page showing where all the early subscribers are coming from. I was, frankly, surprised how many people signed up! Now the pressure is on to deliver something that is worthwhile!

Even the model of Shanghai is huge (by Stuck in Customs)

The Motion of Shanghai

I crossed under the river one night from the Bund to get a closer look at the Oriental Pearl Tower. There was a cool fountain at the bottom and no tourists around.

This is a good thing, since it is always hard to make tourists look “cool” in photos. No matter what, everyone ends up looking like a gawking Rick Steves. Speaking of which, his travel series on PBS called “Europe through the Back Door” always gave me cause for concern.

The Motion of Shanghai

The Glowing Forests of Endor

It was dark in Hangzhou, former home of the Song Dynasty in Southern China. The Songs ran the show until the Mongols invaded in the 1200’s. No one ever expects the Mongol invasion.

Now it is devoid of Mongols, but it is filled with cute Ewok-like creatures that live up in the hills and along the idyllic lake.

The Glowing Forests of Endor

The Magic of Shanghai

It was well after sundown when I finished some meetings, so I went down to the Bund to take some shots across the river of Shanghai. Even in the middle of the night, the river was full of boats coming and going, all lit up with various festive colors. Everything had an electric feel and I very much enjoyed walking up and down the river as the lights changed and new boats came and went…

The Magic of Shanghai (by Stuck in Customs)

The Dynasty’s Royal Retreat amidst the Lilypads

Ahhh… Chinese royalty. Of all the royalty in the world, I don’t think anyone lived quite as well as the Chinese. Maybe that’s open for debate? I suppose luxury is a state of mind, but they certainly had all the component parts.

Here in Hangzhou, the royals would summer, languishing about these gardens and lakes, staring out across these lily ponds.

In other news, I have a new article that is a short version of my HDR Tutorial up over at Abduzeedo, which is one of the world’s top design blogs. I keep that site in my RSS news reader and can usually find some good design inspiration there!

The Dynasty's Royal Retreat amidst the Lilypads (by Stuck in Customs)

Dragon Boats of Commoners on a Lonely Stream near Hangzhou

On the weekend while in Shanghai, I was in the mood for an adventure, so I went down to the train station to buy a ticket to Hangzhou. This was the capital of the Southern Song Dynasty in the 12th century and it was in the middle of the Yangtze river delta. The royalty established a number of temples around West Lake, the dozens of tiny freshwater lakes that were created for the emperor.

As I explored around, there were many beautiful things to be seen. Here is one of many more I have to bring you.

Dragon Boats of Commoners on a Lonely Stream near Hangzhou (by Stuck in Customs)

Admiring Shanghai from the Bund

Shanghai looks huge and amazing no matter what side of the river you are visiting! I think I went back and forth 8 times to see it from one angle then the next as the sun was setting. There is this electric train that goes in a tube under the water that is surrounded with enough flashing neon to send the average Japanese kid into seizures. It’s all fantastic and electric — and both banks were covered every night with people admiring the view… Normally I don’t like tourists in my shots, but this one was kind of about the viewers of the city viewing the city.

Admiring Shanghai from the Bund (by Stuck in Customs)

The Megopolis Hong Kong – What Happens Around Dusk

Believe it or not, there is a small documentary being filmed about me. I don’t know what to think about it – only to assume it is going to be rather boring! I think it is going to be a lot like Grizzly Man, just without the bear.

As this gal is going about her process of gathering materials, she asked me for a few of the original shots from Hong Kong so she can show them during the documentary. I was going back through my old shots, and found that I had never processed THIS one of Hong Kong, which has a really moody dusk sky, so I spent a few hours to clean it up for publication.

I hope you like it!

The Megopolis Hong Kong - What Happens Around Dusk

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