Photo Friendsies at the Song Museum

What’s a Friendsie?

A Friendsie is when you would gladly take a selfie, but you have your friend do it because they can get better angles. I noticed this in spades all over China. While I did see a lot of selfies, I saw an equal number, or greater, of Friendsies. They would go out in groups of two or three and just take photos of one another all day long. Note that the word Friendsie doesn’t exactly exist yet, but I’m kinda inventing a new “name” for it. Elodin would be proud.

Daily Photo – Photo Friendsies at the Song Museum

We visited the Song Museum north of Beijing one day. It's a very contemporary and modern museum with clean white lines and elegant shapes. Inside the museum was the usual fair, but the outside of the museum was teeming with a hoard of girls taking photos of one another. Groups of two or three would all spend hours just taking photos outside the museum of one another in different poses. They were all stylishly dressed and quite avant-garde. Of course, I got into the fun and started taking photos of the whole scene as well, then sharing the photos back with them on WeChat (the most popular social network there).

Photo Friendsies at the Song Museum

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2018-06-10 20:11:50
  • CameraILCE-7RM3
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/1000
  • Aperture4
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length70.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

An Old Tea House Near Chengdu

Updated Burning Man Camera Survival Guide

I’ve committed to updating my Burning Man Guide every year. Now it’s got a bunch of new stuff in there, also updated with some of the latest gear I’m taking with me.

Daily Photo – An Old Tea House Near Chengdu

Check out this old-timer. We drove about an hour outside of Chengdu to see some of the “old ways” since a lot of that has been swept away in the urban growth of China. We came to this old tea house were people were just sitting around having tea and smoking some rather insane looking pipes. That is literally all they did… all… day… long… But it was really interesting and great for photography. I even sat down and had a little tea for myself!

An Old Tea House Near Chengdu

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2018-06-15 15:06:00
  • CameraILCE-7RM3
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/60
  • Aperture
  • ISO640
  • Focal Length
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

The Impossible Library and Passport Sneaky Peaky

Here’s a quick video preview

Starting tomorrow, on “Passport Sunday” you awesome Passport Members are getting the first in a series of photo edits where I sit down with my neighbor Harriett and edit photos. Here’s a video below that shows some behind-the-scenes of today’s photo of The Impossible Library.

Daily Photo – The Impossible Library

The Impossible Library

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2018-06-13 13:53:20
  • CameraPixel 2 XL
  • Camera MakeGoogle
  • Exposure Time1/60
  • Aperture1.8
  • ISO158
  • Focal Length4.5 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramProgram AE
  • Exposure Bias

Exploring More of the Impossible Library in Tianjin

Don’t miss my Pixel 2 Review

The photo below was taken with the Google Pixel 2. They are not a sponsor or anything and I had to pay full price for mine! But it was totally worth it… They would not let me use a DSLR in the library below, but I think the Pixel 2 did just fine.

Here’s my Pixel 2 Review!

Daily Photo – Exploring More of the Impossible Library in Tianjin

This is the second photo I've published from this amazing place. Tianjin has lots of other great locations too, but I was a bit fixated on this one for obvious reasons. I forgot this lady's name, but she's not a model I hired or anything. I never hire models and just kind of wait for things to organically happen. I saw her walking down the stairs, so I quickly slid into place to take a quick vertical photo. After I took it, she started to giggle, and we exchanged WeChat (the popular service there) info so I could send her a copy of the pic.

Exploring More of the Impossible Library in Tianjin

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2018-06-13 15:29:40
  • CameraPixel 2 XL
  • Camera MakeGoogle
  • Exposure Time1/120
  • Aperture1.8
  • ISO64
  • Focal Length4.5 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramProgram AE
  • Exposure Bias

Beautiful Rain in Shanghai

Beautiful video of the ski fields in Queenstown, New Zealand

My friend that works over at NZSki just sent me this video from the Remarkables Ski Field. We have three different ski fields here near Queenstown. All are pretty close together except for Cadrona that takes about a 45 minute drive. Anyway, check out this video!

Daily Photo – Beautiful Rain in Shanghai

I mentioned before how it rained most of the days that I was in Shanghai, but that didn't bother me at all. Unfortunately, my long-gone assistant spent half his time on another gig, so I didn't have anyone to hold an umbrella over me. I know that sounds like a real primadonna kind of thing to want, but it's almost critical because you need two hands to operate the camera. I've tried locking the umbrella in my bent neck (like a 1970's phone receiver), but that doesn't really work because there's not enough diameter to keep it from spinning around all over the place. So, I just had to be really quick and try my best.

Beautiful Rain in Shanghai

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2018-06-23 01:27:13
  • CameraILCE-7RM3
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/6
  • Aperture2.8
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length21.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

Towering in Macau

Crash Course in Trucks

Well, it turns out to be a rather complex thing to rent a truck big enough to tow a fifth wheel. I did not anticipate this when I got a fifth wheel, but now it’s becoming quite clear. Like, for example, I can’t find anyone that rents these in Reno. Anyway, I’m working on other solutions coming up to Burning Man, but I’m learning a lot about heavy trucks!

Daily Photo – Towering in Macau

Isn't this a cool building? Before going here to Macau (the gambling capital of China just near Hong Kong) I never would have recognized this city as Macau. I'm fairly well-traveled and have seen a lot of cities, but, as a photographer, I've seen more photos of cities that I've never been to. For some reason, this uniquely shaped building has always missed my radar.

Towering in Macau

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2018-03-16 16:46:05
  • CameraFC220
  • Camera MakeDJI
  • Exposure Time1/1400
  • Aperture2.2
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length4.7 mm
  • FlashNo flash function
  • Exposure ProgramProgram AE
  • Exposure Bias-0.344

Five Year Old Girl in Chengdu, China

Pandas in Chengdu

I kinda wanted to go see pandas in Chengdu (they are famous there), but I don’t really like zoo-environments. I feel like putting money into that system just encourages them to do this more. On the other hand, if the pandas were in the wild, they would have a lot of trouble surviving in China on their own. Anyway, I have mixed feelings!

Daily Photo – Five Year Old Girl in Chengdu, China

This little girl was really something else! We went to the Chinese opera there beforehand and some parents would bring in their little kids to get all fixed up like the stage actors. This girl was very very patient, and she was already naturally doll-like. She was never fussy and was totally calm and she moved very slow. It was all kinda surreal, almost to the point of being scary.

Five Year Old Girl in Chengdu, China

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2018-06-15 21:19:30
  • CameraILCE-7RM3
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/320
  • Aperture
  • ISO1000
  • Focal Length
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

Fantastic Way to Illegally Camp Out on the Great Wall

Camping Out

Just north of Beijing is the Great Wall, and if you want to camp out, I kinda recommend this sketchy outfit. My friend Cliff from Google is about to head over there. So, if I recommended it to a friend, I recommend it to you too.

I found this place on my own and then took my friends Curtis and Tane on this very strange adventure. Here’s the short version.

But it’s all super-sketch. I should have gotten a clue from that terrible website. They offer like 30 different options, all heavily worded and confusing. Basically, I think it’s this one guy that does everything. He’s nice enough, but he’s kinda goofy and you have trouble understanding anything he says. He’s actually really really goofy and his way of speaking English was quite hilarious and kept us laughing. I’m not being mean… he just had a crazy way of speaking. It’s hard to explain but God we thought it was funny.

Even more sketchy is when we were about to go up on the Great Wall to prepare for a camp out. We were down at his “farm” that he kept talking about all day. He was like, “My farm this” and “My farm that”… The farm was basically about the size of a picnic blanket and was growing nuts or something. He kept trying to give us nuts but we didn’t want any.

All around this mini-farm were piles of bricks, rubble, and dirt, but this is very common all over China. There’s an amazing number of rubble-piles everywhere. Now I wish I had taken a photo or two, but it wasn’t very photogenic so it didn’t cross my mind.

It was getting close to sunset and we wanted to go up on the wall to take photos. Our guide really wanted us to come into his place to take a shower. We told him that we didn’t want to take a shower. But he was begging us to take a shower, which we thought was very strange.

We finally insisted that we need to get up there stat because the sun was about to set. He finally admitted he was trying to delay until the ticket office was closed because what we were doing was illegal. And this was after spending the whole day with them. He finally said, “If the military or police come by, just ignore them because they won’t speak English anyway.” I can’t say this was very good advice, but we went for it anyway. It was still worth it in the end, although it did cause a mild amount of anxiety that I didn’t need.

Daily Photo – Abstract or Quad Shot?

It's kinda hard to guess, except for the fact that you'll notice a lot of blue around the outside. This is the famous “Bird's Nest” in Beijing. I was really impressed when I got close to it. I remember when it was originally built, a lot of people thought it was ugly, but I've seen this reaction to a lot of innovative architecture. It's a matter of taste, of course… but I personally love the building. It's even better at night! If you go to Beijing, I recommend visiting this whole area of Olympic Park around sunset… there's lot of activity. Over my three hours there, I never even saw another white (or Western) person at all. I guess Beijing is not anywhere near the top of people's must-visit locations… which is too bad because there's some cool stuff there.

Abstract or Quad Shot?

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2018-06-11 00:12:06
  • CameraILCE-7RM3
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time0.4
  • Aperture5.6
  • ISO250
  • Focal Length16.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

A New Quadcopter Video from China!

Flying Over China

I spent a few months in China this year and got quite a lot of quadcopter footage! I made a little highlight video here of some of my favorite scenes… I visited a lot of new places… huge cities like Tianjin and Chengdu (each with about 15 million people – Chicago has around 2 million for comparison). I took around 20,000 photos that I’m going to start feeding into the blog soon.

Here are some handy links…

The music is at: Kalliopestage on Soundcloud.

I have a new Quadcopter/Drone video tutorial up on the store – It’s included for free if you’re a Passport member at https://www.stuckincustoms.com/passport.

Thanks again to the team in the credits for making all of this possible. 🙂

Daily Photo – The Ferris Wheel in Tianjin

Tianjin was a really cool city and I am a bit bummed out that I only spent two days here! But it's on my list for a return trip. You may remember this city from the crazy library photo I pasted a few days ago. I'd even like to go back to that library! They didn't let me use a real camera, so everything was done with my mobile phone. That worked out okay, actually, but I think if I go back in a few years that my mobile phone will be 4x as good! Anyway, this is the same ferris wheel that you can see in the sunset shot from the video above!

The Ferris Wheel in Tianjin

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2018-06-14 00:30:18
  • CameraILCE-7RM3
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1.6
  • Aperture8
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length73.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

Toilets in Old China and an Article in China Daily

Great Job on the New Bag!

Go visit their Kickstarter page to see all the features for yourself

Once again, Peak Design has launched a great Kickstarter campaign! On day 1, not only did they reach their funding goal, but they broke a million big ones. I’m very happy for them!

Article in China Daily

See the Interview Here

I was interviewed by China’s biggest newspaper while we were on tour there a few weeks ago. I hope you enjoy the story! 🙂

Daily Photo – Toilets in Old China

On my tour of Shanghai, I ended up in the previous French concession. Inside of all these old homes, you can see the old style of water distribution. This particular apartment had 5 different places to live, and each family has their own water supply. So when you go to the toilet (or wash your hands or take a shower), you have to use your own water supply. Can you imagine?

Toilets in Old China

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2018-06-18 14:19:01
  • CameraILCE-7RM3
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/125
  • Aperture2.8
  • ISO500
  • Focal Length16.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

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