YoungDoo Moon

Korea’s Got Seoul

…and soon enough it will have John as well. While I didn’t expect to travel this year, two or three weeks ago I made an unexpected decision to travel back to Seoul again. While this time I won’t be spending quite as long (3.5 weeks) I am still excited about traveling again. I don’t often dip too deeply into personal affairs here on FFS but I will mention that the reason for the trip is to spend more time with YoungDoo, my favorite person ever. Her and I have traveled together quite a lot now and having her in my life has done nothing but make it better so I am thrilled to see her again.

During my time there I hope to continue to post here as the small apartment I am staying in will have Internet access so I see no reason not to share while away. The last time I spent time in Seoul I was overwhelmed with inspiration and ended up with countless wonderful images that many readers now recognize as favorites and defining images of the site. Hopefully this time around I will return with another wonderful collection of images to share with you all.

Also in Seoul is my good friend Dave Jansen, a native of Holland, currently living and working in Korea as a brilliant web developer and programmer. He is the key source of code creation of the often hinted at, illusive new design for fiftyfootshadows.net. I mention this because we hope to get together for an afternoon and knock out the final details of the site design which will be much easier to coordinate in person. This means upon my return I will jump right into prepping for the launch of the new design, ideas, articles, and more. Hey, it’s only six months to a year behind schedule ;)

As far as traveling goes I am traveling only with an iPad 2 rather than bringing along my laptop and simply borrowing YoungDoo’s laptop to do a little bit of light image editing for possible desktop releases while there. I know it’s been discussed countless other places online but it’s still going to be a fairly interesting experiment to go sans laptop and rely only on my iPad and iPhone for any computing needs. My only real worry is if something does go awry I won’t have my iTunes mothership to dock with and fix things up.

I worry because over the past few weeks I have come across a bug twice where I would buy music with iTunes on the iPhone and somehow during the downloading process the iPhone looses track of all other music on the device leaving me with a message saying that there is no music on my phone and to plug it into iTunes to load it up. Upon plugging in everything pops back to normal with no explanation. One time this happened I actually lost the song purchased leaving me to either buy it again or deal with the weird process of getting permission to download the song a second time. My best bet is to simply not purchase any music while traveling but it still can be frustrating thinking something so simple could hinder a key ability of my iPhone. I hope that by bringing my iTunes library on a usb drive will let me at least have it around if something does go crazy.

So anyways, that’s all I wanted to mention about what is happening around here in the next few weeks. Wish me luck on the trip and I hope to see you on the other side!

Photo Credit: YoungDoo Moon

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James

In a slight departure from my usual desktop fare I thought it would be nice to do something other than images void of any direct human presence and offer up a few shots recently taken of my brother, James. We often find ourselves out shooting together and after years of living with artists in Memphis he seems used to being behind the camera or being the subject as well as the artist. Makes for a great model simply because he understands the little things that make for a good shot, consistent posture, personal awareness and other such details that lead to a solid shot. I can’t wait to be able to point to his website but he is currently working out all the details and figuring out what approaches to take with it but I will be sure to write up something about it here when it does launch sometime this year. You will most likely recognize him if you follow along with my flickr account as he frequents my film work as one of the only willing models around most of the time.

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As for this round of images, I wanted to call attention briefly to this type of composition. It’s something I have been slowly playing with more and more over the past year or so now and that is a heavy center focus and/or a strong sense of symmetry in a photograph. It started when I bought my Hasselblad and started shooting square medium format shots and fell in love with the strength of a center weighted image. I enjoy the strong simplicity of it but it does not always work because the movement of the image is very much static when shooting in this way. A strong sense of movement is an important thing to explore and understand as a photographer both from a traditional composition standpoint as well as an understanding of why an image’s movement works or does not work psychologically. When using a center focus its good to use a subject or scene where it makes sense to use it otherwise you risk coming across a bit amateurish by using the single most obvious type of composition. All this depends, of course, on your intentions in taking a photograph and this is when it is good to be aware of the feeling you are looking to convey within your image to best decide on how to compose it in a way that will best share this feeling.

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I promise, at some point in your photographic journey you will come to realize that simply capturing something beautiful for the sake of beauty will start to wear off and this will leave you wanting more from the relationship you have with your camera. This is a vital point for any photographer to reach, when the techniques you learn up to that moment become less the focus of what you are doing and you start to allow yourself to explore why you shoot not just what you shoot. It is why it is important for any aspiring photographer to honestly learn the fundamentals of shooting so down the line when this shift occurs you can stop focusing as much on the technical nuances of making photographs and begin to focus on creating something truly lasting and meaningful.

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Tiny Waves

Whew, it certainly has been a while since I have been able to do a desktop post has it not? Sorry for the slow down, it happens sometimes when I get too busy with work but I plan on making up for lost time and start taking the 5D out with me to work and around town in an effort to get some new images to share. A few days ago I found some time to head out to my favorite lake again but this time to a new area within the lake. The trailhead and parking area I had used for years closed down and left me to find a new access point on the opposite side but I will admit there are some great new places for me to explore in light of the change. I will admit to these images not being my most striking but I really wanted to get something up so I made the best of what I had snapped that day and decided to go with a few shots of water washing up on the shore. These waves were oh so tiny as they crashed onto the dark brown sandy shore. It was hard to get my wide 35mm lens close enough in to snag these shots and while the camera and lens did end up getting wet it wasn’t so bad it broke anything.

Upon sitting down with them in Aperture I decided to take a different approach to my usual fare and go crazy with post processing. Using some heavy curves and liberal tinting I came up with these variations. I know that I often speak of the benefits of not relying heavily on post and I don’t mean this as a contradiction to my standards but it is important for everyone to know that I am not against heavy post work, I simply encourage anyone wanting to better themselves as a photographer to learn to get great photos without relying heavily on the computer to fix your images for you. I find that at least 50 percent of the time that a lot of post work actually takes away from an image and often sucks a lot of emotion out of a photograph but I will leave these discussions for another day.

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