According to Mr. Webster, estranged can mean…

1 : to remove from customary environment or associations, or

2 : to arouse especially mutual enmity or indifference in where there had formerly been love, affection, or friendliness .

So, there you have it.  I have been estranged.  Estranged from my camera.  Estranged from this blog (actually, estranged from the internet period).  “Life” happens and sometimes we have to walk away from the things we love.  The good news is, that as I recover over the next couple of weeks, I should have some down time and be able to make some headway on all the things I’ve had to put on the back burner.

I did manage to make time today to process some shots I took a few weeks ago.  I’m still doing a lot of experimentation with the camera and Phototshop.  Taking a cue from my friend Mark Hobbs, I walked around Liuzhou and shot all day at a wide angle, “on the fly”.  I didn’t take a lot of time to compose shots nor did I spend a lot of time trying to make sure they were sharp.  I was more interested in attempting to catch a  mood or a moment and forced myself to not worry so much about the  “process”.   After talking with Mark and looking closely at his work I became convinced I had been missing some opportunities and wanted to give his “shoot from the hip” approach a go.

Cell Sell

Cell Sells

The results for the day are somewhat mixed.  The exposure is often off and there were definitely times I wish I had been in a different spot .  Still, I do like the spontaneity.  Had I stood in front of these folks trying to “compose” the shot,  fiddling with the camera, I know I would have gotten different results.  For example, I am certain the ubiquitous Asian peace sign would have made an appearance below! 

Liuzhou Shoping

Shopping High

As I said, the focus is not what I would like it to be in many of  these but it turns out it may be the lens as much as anything.  I am sure now that my 17 – 40 f/4 L lens is “off”.  I tested it against a friend’s lens last month and his was noticeably sharper when comparing identical shots taken using the same settings on a tripod.  I also tested it against the 17 – 85 f/4 – 5.6 IS kit lens and aside from some noticeable barrel distortion at 17mm, couldn’t see much difference.  Hopefully, I can get it looked at and repaired or replaced one day.

Daddy's Girl

Daddy’s Girl

So, I look forward to getting caught up with everyone over the next few days and then I’ll be taking another short break before finally settling back into a normal routine.  In the meantime, I hope to be getting out with the camera tomorrow!


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~ by Expatriate Games on April 18, 2009.

22 Responses to “Estranged!”

  1. Great exercise and some nice results. I’ll try to force myself to use only a certain lens at times (as long as someone’s not paying me) and see what develops… not sure if the pun is intended or not… 😉

    R(etc… )

  2. Amazing colors.

  3. I love the top photo EG with that vividly red background. I always look forward to your posts because, without fail, you’ll have at least one photo each time that is quite striking.

    • I was able to get that shot before the guys saw me. Once they did, the one of the left got up and walked into that doorway you can see there and the guy on the right turned around and faced the wall. I tried to talk to him but he didn’t want any part of it. Probably because what they are doing isn’t exactly legal.

  4. Hey Michael:

    I’ve been a tad estranged myself, fighting one fire after another. That said, my strobist gear arrived and I’ll play away the weekend. Taobao is a wonderful place.

    Shooting from the hip is difficult. My results have never been good. I usually bracket two up and down, and shoot in the 40D high-speed mode to take care of any exposure issues. I may give it another go: You’re images are pretty stellar. There’s a PS plug-in called Focus Magic that may help a little. Forensic teams use it to enhance focus in legal photos.

    Also, there is a Canon repair depot in HK. I had my 50 f/1.4 repaired a year back.

  5. Man I am a huge fan of your photography but in my honest opinion these don’t strike me like your usual photos do. I honestly think a lot of the photos I have seen from you in the past are absolutely brilliant, these just aren’t flooring me like your others do.

    • Thanks for the feedback Hopfrog, I appreciate you taking the time to leave the note. Of course art is subjective and I like to know how the work is affecting folks. I’ll continue to do a lot of experimenting. Like Ron said earlier, as long as I am not getting paid to do something specific, I figure I might as well push myself and try different things. Hope to hear from you again!

  6. I realized why I like looking at your photos. The colors are so vibrant! They make your subjects come alive!

    Any special techniques that you can share?

  7. I use a a typical point and shoot. Photography really is a packaged skill! 😛

  8. Glad to see you back, Micheal. It’s hard to take a step back from doing something you love, but the rewards are obviously richer. You’re coming back with a new attitude, new exercises in creativity, and even better ideas. Sometimes a little break is all that is needed to get those creative juices flowing again. I like what you’ve done so far…

  9. Nice to discover your blog. Great photos!

  10. Good to see some more great images, and see that you’re on the road to recovery. I hear that Unearthing Asia has been around your way. Congrats.

  11. This latest set of photographs are very natural. Rich in colour and show the vibrancy of city life. Love that!

  12. You should become estranged more often! I find my favorite shots are the ones I ‘shoot from the hip’…

  13. I don’t really have many blogs I look at regularly. I also don’t get into the habit of commenting or leaving more than a few words on photo blogs and rather settle at forwarding interesting links to friends. But I must say, your entry about the ‘bridge incident’ knocks my expatriate senses off my own perch. After 26 years in Japan, I feel I am am looking at my Sino-Japanese mirror here. Japan has one of the highest suicide rates in the world and while I have not experienced the close call you have, I too live in a country where despair often finds a silent escape as well. Some friends tell me its an Asian thing. I tend to hope and pray I keep my human thing in check long enough to have the empathy and the wisdom to tell the story in my own way. Maybe if only for my own release but hopefully so it can someday help someone take the step back off the bridge…

    Great entry friend.

    • Thanks Kuroko, I really appreciate you dropping by. I think it truly is a bit of an “Asian” thing. Perhaps because it is, it is somehow perversely more acceptable to not do anything or get involved.

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