Temple

Resonance

Arriving at the tail end of dusk we managed to get onto the temple grounds at a discounted rate. We slowly wandered up into the darkness as a large single bell started to chime in the distance. Methodically it rang, growing louder as we approached. Large and deep, the notes it struck contained harmonics that I could feel deep in my chest as it rung and faded into the dark night.

Not long after, from behind the closed doors of a temple nearby, a gentle light glowing from inside, the tap of a wooden percussion instrument and the chime of another bell crept out from the walls and filled the courtyard. A voice inside started to chant followed by a few others, slowly and to an unknown rhythm. The wooden taps continued, one, two, three… Louder at first and steady then trailing off as if a marble was dropped onto a cement floor; tap… tap… tap.. tap.. tap.tap.

The only other sound was the chatter of those I came with as they wandered further onto the grounds ahead of me leaving behind a stillness that caused my heart to feel as though it would break. The delicate ring of a nameless emotion resonated deep in my chest and left me feeling venerable and alone. Truth be told, I love moments like these and the way they create feelings unknown to description and fill me with a peace so absolute that I fear once they fade, nothing else will be able to compare to the impossible standards they set in place.

It’s rare to come across moments like these and I feel it’s important to hold onto their memory any way I can. In this case, with a photo and a frantic attempt to describe the cause and effect in words just after we left that night. When I came across the photo in my library this morning I thought it would be nice to share what I had written that night along with one of two photos I managed to snap in near darkness by setting the camera on the ground to steady it during a long exposure.

Salt Mill

Salt Mill

One afternoon in Korea we set off to find an old abandoned salt storage building near the coast located on a salt flat near Incheon, part of a larger area near the ocean called a Mudflat. The large, flat plot of land seems to be preserved today mostly as a park and bird reserve. Long meandering trails lead throughout the park and offered us a nice place to wander one cold, overcast winter day.

While the building we set out to find and photograph had since collapsed we did enjoy exploring the area, a high point of which was this set of three windmills somewhat randomly sitting out in the middle of the field. I never did figure out what purpose they served, if any, but they sure were fun to shoot! Lucky for us the dreary weather and obscure location kept the reserve more or less void of any other people outside of a few hikers and locals walking their dogs, a rare site in Korea where most places of interest are flooded with visitors on weekends.

I took more photos of these mystery windmills than I would care to admit, on a few different cameras, but really I couldn’t help myself. I love coming across odd landscapes serendipitously and wish I could more often. I have cropped a couple of them down for you guys to enjoy as wallpapers, you can find links below.

Salt Mill 2

Download:
Adrift

All The Things

Here we are in a brand new year and what do you know, we are the same people as we were a few days ago. Always the same story with a slight variation. I may have no resolutions this year, but I do have resolve. Every new year is a reminder that time never waits for us to make up our minds, it just keeps on ticking. If anything, the new year is an excuse to reflect on how far we have come and imagine how much further we have yet to go. One step forward, a glance back, and we are on our way to any other day.

When I think back on 2014 as a whole I find myself lingering a couple of broad observations which are probably more relevant to my own personal viewpoint than that of your own.

One involves the wider spread popularity of a bespoke lifestyle. Discovering the best of the best has become commonplace for many of us. Sites and bloggers who feature their favorite affiliate links started to pop up right and left. Not that this did not exist before, I just feel as though it has reached a tipping point. The amount of ‘my favorite thing’ lists and ‘best of everything’ sites has given me pause coming into the new year as my eyes gloss over any best of lists I come across.

I once had a lot of fun seeking out cool new things all the time. Gadgets, tools, applications, clothing, accessories, anything and everything, it’s nice having the best of any one idea because you know it will last, and work well over time. Over the years I have refined my taste in every obscure corner of my life and I am well aware of what I like and why. A connoisseur of virtually every random menial task in my life.

The only caveat within the sustainability of this trend toward niche product categories is that by living a life surrounded by only the best things for any one need then eventually we will have enough of what we need and clever ideas start to seem redundant once we give ourselves permission to feel satisfied with things we already own. When we surround ourselves by want it’s natural to buy into it, even if on a subconscious level. The thrill of the hunt and staying hip and relevant is a carrot that will forever be just out of reach.

Lately the more I browse through cool new things online, the more it all blurs together. So, while I will admit am still a sucker for the latest and greatest I have caught myself becoming less and less interested in sites that constantly feature new products because it is starting to make me feel as though I will never catch up.

There is one other subject that I have been thinking about coming into the new year. I feel as though, in 2014, photography reached another period of convergence. Not unlike when digital cameras first started to be accepted as a viable replacement to our trusty old film cameras, there is no longer much of any distinction between photographers who choose to shoot with a “proper” camera versus those using ones attached to a mobile phone. The same goes for those of us who still choose to shoot and develop film, it is all a means to reach an end and in the face of digital post processing presets becoming what is more or less “digital film,” there is little reason to criticize any photographer for their choice of format. The only real difference can be found at the end goal of any photographers output whether that be a magazine cover, on a gallery wall, or simply posted to Instagram.

We are moving into a post format era of photography where what we shoot with is irrelevant in the face of ones personal vision. An interesting side effect to this has me thinking as well. There is such a huge amount of brilliant photography coming from all corners of the world that when I glance through highlights on VSCO, flickr, or Instagram It has become difficult to tell the difference between photographers.

I remember discovering interesting new photographers based on their distinct styles yet now we are so heavily influenced by one another and the tools we use are so similar that it’s getting increasingly hard to find such distinction between shooters. Maybe you’re thinking I have a jaded point of view, but you have to admit, it is getting harder to find photographers with a unique output. I admire artists who take chances. Those who find ways to express themselves by exploring what photography is able to help them learn about themselves and the world around them then share their findings with the rest of us. A thirst for curiosity, a gravitation toward wit,  a sense of awe for the beauty hiding in light and shadow; attributes such as these are easy to romanticize but surprisingly difficult to harness.

Moving into the new year, I look forward to exploring what it means to be a photographer in todays world and what it takes to stand out among literal floods of images that consume our minds from day to day. Is it possible to break free of the double tap instant like lifestyle and find honesty, curiosity, and awe in photography again? I have a couple of ideas that may finally see the light of day this year that I’m hoping will bring back a sense of connection between myself as a photographer and those who support my efforts and its an exciting prospect to see them through after endless planning and second guessing.

Sitting here a few days into the new year, finishing up editing these loose ideas together I already feel as though 2014 is an abstract thought, lost in the obscurity of photographs, stories, and hazy memories, heres hoping for a great set of new ones in 2015. Cheers.

(The image above can be found as a wallpaper using the links below.)

Vol. 13

50ft Radio Volume Thirteen

It’s a new year so I think it’s time I wrap up my latest mix and share it with the world. I have been piecing this one together for quite some time now. It’s stuffed full of ambient tunes mostly devoid of words but this time around I took a couple of detours along the way including a little bit of found sound and a few songs with percussion to give you a little something to gently nod your head to.  I tried to imagine this mix as a soundtrack because I love moments in life where music amplifies my senses and shows me something I may have otherwise overlooked.

That said, I hope you guys enjoy it. As always, if you enjoy a song heard here then by all means, look the artist up, buy their records or even just the song you love. Streaming them online is nice and all but when it comes to truly great musical discoveries I think it’s best to support artists as directly as possible. Please, respect the mix, don’t repost it anywhere else online and if you would like to share it with a friend simply send them to this page. I create these to spread my love for music and help the amazing work of these musicians find new ears.

Listen without spoilers here, or see the cheat sheet here. Still hanging on to enhanced AAC files so artists and song names should show as you listen. (or as an mp3 here if AAC isn’t working out for you)

Albino Santa

Christmas At A Distance

While the rest of the world I know back west anxiously gathers their wits in preparation for Christmas, I walk through the streets of a country where it feels more like a novelty, an afterthought, a coincidence. This has given me new point of view on the holiday as I usually know it. I have no tree in my living room, no presents to wrap, no frustration over having enough spare money around for gift giving or who I may forget in that process.

This is not to say I have no Christmas spirit. I love this time of year and the calmness it brings to family and community. I love the way it puts life on pause while we all take a collective sigh of relief, if not just for one day. Being away from the U.S. has given me a refocused perspective on what is so great about this time of year.

Holiday junk email is the only faint reminder of the madness and pressure of holidays back home. Suddenly, in unison anyone and everyone with something to sell is barking all at once and its noisy, even from across an ocean. The games big retailers play with consumers get more and more pushy year over year and distancing myself from that has been refreshing.

Personal observation aside, I hope you guys have a fantastic holiday this year, may it be joyful and give you a break from any stress you may or may have found yourself in leading up to it. It can be easy to get lost in the noise of Christmas giving but don’t forget that is not all there is to it. I will leave you with a last minute wallpaper, I finally came across something fun to shoot for the season, better late than not at all eh?

I found this cheap toy hiding in a tiny shop full of novelty trinkets both vintage and new from Korea. It has a multi color LED glow when you turn it on but I like the unusual look of albino Santa on his own so I decided to use sunlight to illuminate him instead. I photographed him in the entrance of a beautiful hotel we stayed in while traveling this past weekend.

I have more for you guys before this year is gone so I will see you again soon but for now, I wish everyone a joyful week!

BONUS: A lot of you already have it but here is a link to a Christmas themed 50ft Radio mix I made a couple years ago. I wanted to make a new one this year but ran out of time to put one together.

Frosty Morning
Guest Desktop

Frosty Morning

Back again with another fantastic guest desktop image. This time from a scrappy blogger many of us know and follow with baited curiosity, Ben Brooks of The Brooks Review. On occasion he shares his photos and thoughts on photography and this image caught my eye. I love how crisp and dreamy the scene is, you can feel the chill of the air as it hangs still like glass. The layers of vegetation are delicate and patient as the sun begins to rise, it’s one of those beautiful moments photographers are always on the look out for and he did a fantastic job capturing its essence. I asked him to share some thoughts on the image:

“There’s this nature reserve by my house — it’s an odd place — cut into the hillside with manmade buildings at the bottom. I drive by it anytime I leave the house and often I feel the desire to capture some of its beauty.

Fleeting glimpses are easy to romanticize as you tend to overlook the unsightly, the metal buildings in the back, the concrete benches.

On this morning it was bitterly cold, and even though I didn’t have the time, or warmth, I forced myself to stop. To look. I didn’t last long in the cold, but the stop was worth it. There’s nothing like trying to find an image while the brisk air fills your lungs.”

This is this kind of story I love hearing because it’s a great reminder that taking a chance and pushing aside comfort can often yield our best work. That little kick of adrenaline as you get excited over something truly stunning, that moment you know you have something special, there is nothing else like it. I loved the image and I am happy that Ben was up for sharing it with you guys as a wallpaper.

Six PLUS

Parallax Error

No, not that Parallax error, it’s another, more frustrating kind. I still get asked when I will release another pack of images for the new iPhones and I am finally one step closer in the right direction to make that happen. I simply could not bring myself to charge anyone for a pack of images if they were the wrong resolution. That said, I am pretty certain I have confirmed the default iOS wallpaper size for the 6+ to be 2706×2706. Unfortunately this is not the end of the story.

The benefit of having the default Apple resolution has been obvious since the release of the iOS 7 when they added the parallax effect. There is an apparent shortcoming or bug in iOS for the 6+ that is making any user set wallpaper look pretty bad when the home screen is rotated. To that end, the horizontal layout on the home screen seems odd to me, why does the lock screen not rotate as well? It feels like they were just trying to show off that the screen is bigger for some reason, I feel the OS and many apps still have a lot of refinement to do before it feels at all natural on this screen size but I digress, back to wallpaper.

When you set a wallpaper, iOS makes a copy of the image and saves it internally, this way if you delete the original, you won’t loose your wallpaper. The problem is that the file it saves is only adequate for a vertical orientation so when you rotate your home screen the image blows up and becomes horrible looking. Troubling! Apple’s default images always rotate perfectly because they are stored internally within iOS and maintain the correct resolution for the longest side of the screen when rotated horizontally, a technique first seen in the original iPad.

So I am banking on 2706×2706 as the resolution to use on the 6+ as it stands today. In my testing, which I will get to in just a second here, the amount of play while setting a wallpaper allows no wiggle room vertically when setting the perspective zoom to “on” any time I cycle that preference after moving the image while setting it I see it drift back to the same exact place vertically on the screen. This, to me, is indication that the resolution is in fact Apples preferred size though my testing methods are hard to pinpoint to an exact pixel size because of the high resolution of the screen itself. Still though, based on my digging online, this is the resolution Apple uses for their own wallpapers.

There is another, similar resolution that has made the rounds, 2662×2662, which is oh so very close to the results I have come up with while digging for copies of default iOS in images. Oddly, there is also a resolution out there which is not only totally wrong, but also the most commonly used, 1242×2208 (the displays scaled, working resolution). Then again, the same thing happened last time with parallax wallpapers on iOS 7 where one wrong resolution was spread as correct simply because it was the first viable option shared. Only until Apple fixes the bug will I be able to really sort out the problem fully but until then, I will stick with my instinct.

I have included a short video below to illustrate the points made here.

The music in the video is by DJ Q-Bert.

Just Because

Just Because

I have no idea where to start. Two weeks in and I feel like we have seen so much, been so far, eaten our weight in delicious food, and otherwise had a pretty great time but you have to slow down eventually right? Today is the first day in quite some time we have elected to have a slow day and catch up on photos and get some work done. I figured I would start things off with a classic, shallow shot because I know how much you guys love those. It was shot on a train late one night on the way home in Kyoto, the deep, earthy colors were hard to resist. I hope you guys enjoy it, I will be back soon with more where this came from. (iPhone 6+ users, have at this version, its my latest and hopefully last resolution tweak for these, I will add a new button to the design as soon as I can.)

street

Alive And Well

Hello! Long time no see! I am currently in Kyoto where YoungDoo and I are feverishly exploring every corner we come across on our long days of walking around. We will be here until the end of the week. I wanted to drop a line here and let you guys know I have not forgotten about 50ft, I have simply decided to spend time exploring and working on keeping up with my thoughts rather than dedicate the short time I have while traveling to posting here. Makes sense, right?

Trust me, I have been shooting plenty of photos and as soon as I am in more of a state of mind to start telling stories and cropping wallpapers I will jump right in and get things started. Perhaps when I am back in Seoul and things slow down a little bit! In the mean time you can follow along on my ‘Yesterday Was Only‘ photo journal which I am posting too as often as I can manage, as well as my VSCO page where I am adding a handful of iPhone shot photos each night as well as a few thoughts on the cool new journal page they have available. That said, I will see you guys again soon. In the mean time, enjoy the few photos I manage to get up each night before passing out asleep! See you again soon.

To whom it may concern,

IMAGES FOUND WITHIN FIFTYFOOTSHADOWS.NET ARE ©JOHN CAREY AND MAY NOT BE USED FOR ANY COMMERCIAL USE WITHOUT PERMISSION. 

DO:

• Enjoy the images! It’s a labor of love, thanks for your support!
• Share fiftyfootshadows.net with friends.
• Send me a quick mail if you are interested in using an image for commercial or personal use other than wallpaper.

DON’T:

• Post desktops elsewhere online.
• Share links directly to images.
• Pass them around in mass.
• Make prints.
• Use images for web banners or graphics. (send a quick email to ask, I’m pretty easy going about this with permission.)
• Use them in commercial work.

If you help me out with these I will be able to keep doing what I love to do. Thanks again, really, for your support and understanding. -J

——

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All of the images contained within this website, fiftyfootshadows.net, are property of, John Carey unless otherwise posted. The images are distributed as freeware but they are available for personal use only on your personal computer, tablet, or smartphone as your wallpaper image. Any use of these images for any purpose other than this is a violation of these terms and anyone found using said images will be asked to either compensate the creator for doing so or be asked to stop using them immediately.

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It’s not fair to artists if you do not credit their work and link back to the original content creator. It is theft plain and simple and blogs that attempt to somehow be mysterious by not giving credit to the creators are simply hurting the artistic community as a whole. If you love it so much then please, support it! The artistic community on the Internet is based on trust. Without trust then what do we have? are you going to be one of the responsible users out there or will you be among the bottom feeders, stealing content and passing it off as your own to make a quick buck in ad sales.

Use your best judgement and we will get along just fine.

Thank you for your understanding and support!

-John Carey (curator, owner)

fiftyfootshadows.net

fiftyfootshadows@gmail.com