Sunday, October 06, 2013

A room with a view

Abeautiful view. I love the look of this new building up the street. I plan to sketch it someday. You'd think this was in Paris but of course the Chinese characters are a dead give away. Inside is an upscale coffee shop and shopping center. #dave365a


Sunday, February 10, 2013

Chinese New Year 2013

The west tracks time using the Gregorian calendar while the East (China specifically) tracks time using a lunar calendar. The West celebrated the turn of the year on January 1st but the East celebrates on February 10th.   So 2013 arrived in the West earlier than the East. Strange but true.

The start of the new year in China is known as Chunjie (spring festival). It lasts almost three weeks. Last night was the end of 2012 and the beginning of 2013. The most remarkable aspect of this crazy celebration is the fireworks. Fireworks shoot into the dark sky from every corner of the city blocks. Fireworks are set up next to residential buildings, so close that you have to close your windows to prevent the sparks from flying inside your apartment.

With this background knowledge you might wonder why a photographer would risk his life atop a 13 story building during this crazy four hour long event. Ah, glad you asked. It's all just to capture a photo of course. What I didn't realize is, the fireworks explode right at my eye level. I had to stand behind a brick wall holding my cable release to capture these pictures. I was afraid that the sparks would damage my wide angle lens. One fireworks display surprised me so, the sparks hit me and I jumped back behind a door and dropped my cable release.

The celebrations last way past twelve midnight. They go until two or three in the morning and beyond. Even now (it's the next day at two o'clock in the afternoon) there are large explosions throughout the city.

These displays are not controlled by trained experts of large corporations nor are there requirements for the purchase or release of these canon-like works. No, rather common families spend $500-$1000 on fireworks to shoot off the night of the 9th. These are not firecrackers or even cherry bombs and sparklers. Little kids pass by 4'x 4' planter-box sized crevasses full of explosives. The loud canons blast colors into the sky 20 or more stories high and shoot sparks in a 200 foot radius. These are full on fireworks displays handled by uncle and grandpa after over drinking at the Chunjie meal. This is serious stuff I'm talking about. And everyone has them. Each family tries to outdo the next.

Next time (if there is a next time) I'll wear full body gear before venturing out into the crazy world of a Chinese New Year celebration, especially atop a building where the apex of the explosions occur.

One day your life will flash before your eyes. Make sure it's worth watching. -Anon

Sunday, February 03, 2013

Picture Post

Originally just a pink building against a blue sky, but then I took some liberties with color.


Thursday, December 27, 2012

Construction Everywhere

Nothing stays the same. Our city is in constant flux.

Construction is everywhere. I believe China has decided to move into the 21st century within ten years.  Streets, buildings, avenues, signs, stores, are all changing, all under construction.

Some entire buildings are being destroyed. Others are being gutted and resurfaced and new windows and doors added. New sewage and water mains are placed into trenches in the streets to feed the upward growth. Even subways are added in the gaping holes. The goal of which is to move the people that will later inhabit these huge structures.

The building you see in the distance was started only two months ago. Now it's a 20 story framework of steel, ready for glass walls.

Fast Construction

After the construction of the roads are finished I suppose it'll all be better, but now it's a nightmare. Instead of tackling one avenue at a time our city decided to do them all at the same time. Go figure.

Knotted traffic of twists and detours are now expected by the car and moped drivers. Even though they are used to it, it doesn't get any easier to navigate. If fact, it's harder. What was once a main road becomes blocked the next day. The entire city traffic must be routed around it to get through.

Three-point Turns

In our city people can do three-point turns anywhere, even in construction zones, even between blocks, regardless of where they are, anytime they want. Even busses do three-point turns in the middle of the block. Motorists, mopeds, bicyclists, people on foot, and vendors with push carts simply stream around them, in front and behind, as the bus inches back and forth. It's insanity.

When will it all end? Not too sure. I've heard that there is another two years to go. Yikes.

Some days it's just to much for me to navigate. Today I came home early. I just couldn't take another detour.

Some days it's just not worth chewing through the leather straps. -Anon

Sunday, December 23, 2012


I love to go up to the lake and enjoy the sunshine. Even though it's winter here, the warm sun makes it feel like springtime. People are out everywhere walking, talking, playing, sketching, and . . . taking pictures.

Everywhere I look I see guys (mostly guys) with big Nikons or Canons around their necks. Some have lenses that cost $5,000. They are hunting birds.

Streams of birds come down to our city (southern China) from Russia to hang out here and avoid the harsh winters. They have been coming for years. They settle down into the small lakes and eat the bread tossed by the little children.

There are few railings along the water's edge to protect the children from falling in, although I've never seen it happen. I am surprised that I don't see more accidents.

But the kids romp and play along the edge swinging their arms out over the water to send a little bread morsel to the waiting birds.

The picture you see here is simply a water mirror turned upside down.

My house is child proof but somehow they still get in. -Anon

Friday, December 14, 2012

Productivity Tip

Productivity blogs are overwhelming in of themselves.

Do I really need to “Shave one minute off of my email reading?” or find “5 ways to save 5 minutes a day”?

I think not.

Come on people. If you "shave" a minute off your day what will you do with all that extra time, read another productivity tip? Think of the time you'd save if you stopped reading productivity tips altogether.

This is not to say I don't try to save time myself.

For example, sometimes I forget to check my clothes before I put them on, but then discover the wrinkles. It takes too much time to take them off, iron them, and put then back on. I'm a busy guy.  So I just iron them in place.

Now there's a real productivity tip for you. I bet you'll never hear THAT on LifeHacker.

Actually, I have quite a few "life shortcuts" I'd be willing to share.

(To save you time reading this tip, I simply took a picture. See! Look at the time you've saved!)

LifeHacker should hire me.

I am not lazy. I'm just reducing my carbon footprint.  - Dave Terry

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Mob

Our trip to Korea was a success. Eric got married and Moah's new extended family is a wonderful addition to ours.

Moah's dad, Terry (yeah, it's true, Terry is his real English name, go figure) took us everywhere in Korea, eating places, shopping places, and touring places. He provided door-to-door service to and from our hotel. He was fantastic, the family was fantastic, and the food was fantastic.

The photographer

The shot above was taken by Eric's buddy, Westin. He's a very talented photographer. I wish I had his skill when I was his age, I'd be so much better than I am now. He's got great and very creative ideas.

This shot has sort of a magazine feel. We were all to pose with serious faces. The red chairs were already there in the restaurant garden and provided excellent contrast to the green grass. In the end, the photo made us look like a TV ad for "The Sopranos" which was the effect that Weston was going for. On this trip he brought over fifty pounds of photo gear, no easy task when traveling between America, Korea and China.

In fact, when reentering China we had so much photo gear (both my gear and Weston's) that the security guard asked what I did for a living. When I told him I'm an English teacher in China, he then asked: "Then why all these cameras?" I had to explain that my son just got married and we were taking pictures for the wedding in Korea. I was afraid that he was going to force us to pay customs for all the extra gear. Eric thought he was afraid that we were from some news agency and might be shooting sensitive China events. In any case, we got through without any problem. I guess the security guard believed my story.

My friends are the stars I don't see but are always there. - Anonymous