here we wait

Here We Wait

When I noticed these chairs hiding behind a large abandoned truck trailer I knew I had to shoot them. Problem was that it was a work day and I was on my way to a concert with a fully loaded truck of audio gear. A quick split second glance is all it usually takes to know when you have something potentially interesting on your hands. Making your way through the network of tiny highways in the U.S. you find all kinds of interesting things to shoot, something admitadly I don’t do it often enough. I made a point on the way back home, where I had another event waiting for me, to stop for a couple of minutes to grab a few shots of the piles of colorful chairs.

While under the watchful arm of the minute hand I made a quick survey of the old chairs and was thankful for the decent afternoon light to work with. I shot my way through the piles grabbing as many different interesting viewpoints as I could manage in a short period of time and while I was left with a bunch of mediocre, rushed imagery in the end I did manage to salvage a couple of nice desktop images to share here.

here we wait again

I typically don’t lean on post work to heavily, this time around I made an exception and utilized a fair amount of bending to the curves, added a bit of color tinting, and a touch color specific luminance control to help a weird white balance saturation issue in my yellows. I realize it’s a bit on the heavy side but I felt it would be fun to lay it on a bit thick this go round.

I mention this because while I do encourage others to push out a reliance on post work to make images there are times where you just have to do what you have to do to grab a shot quickly and then use what tools you have available to you to clean things up later on. I have decided to post thumbnails here so those interested can see what I started with before cleaning these images up and helping them stand on their own. The images below are straight out of the camera, not horrible but because the sun had not quite reached its full potential I used post tools to help them get closer to what I wanted to capture.

here we before

distant

Distant

At the end of a day spent beside a lake near Seoul the landscape was kind enough to give us a wonderfully gentle sunset. The dim orange glow of the sun ducked behind a tree and things turned a dim, peachy grey. This combined with a still lake and quiet surroundings made for a great evening before heading back into the city. I left the colors to mimic the shade of the evening rather than exaggerating them becuase it makes for a more relaxed image in my eyes. I have had a number of inqueries lately about my color processing and the short answer is that I rarely make much of any adjustments to color and much of what you see among desktops around here come straight off the camera, no presets or tinkering outside of a little white balance and curve work and the occasional tint of color in the shadows to give a subtle nostalgia. I will be sure to write more about this in the future.

tracks_one.jpg

AiAiAi Tracks

Many of you may remember when I reviewed my pair of AiAiAi Tma-1 headphones a few months back. I still have them and love them and use them all the time for work but I did eventually decide that they felt a bit big for my daily carrying needs. I switched to a smaller day bag and like to keep less on me on casual outings so a lightweight option for listening on the go felt like something worth investing in.

This lead me to one of my exhaustive searches for a great pair of portable lightweight headphones. I started with Sennheiser as I usually do when looking at headphones and made my way through every headphone manufaturer I could find looking for a good mix of portability and sound quality which narrows down your options quite a bit. Within this range most headphones were clearly designed for more common, casual listeners. This lead to most products having a higher focus on easily sellable bullet points such as big bass or noise canceling, things that I don’t really care about at all.

After reading a number of reviews and finding a couple of nice overview articles on headphones in this category I narrowed it down to two pairs and the set that won ended up being another pair of AiAiAi headphones, the Tracks. When they had first released them I remember pasing them off as all style, no substance. When they reintroduced them with new, more subtle color choices I decided to look closer.

Finding reviews was not too easy because boutique companies with a focus on good design such as AiAiAi don’t often find their way to the usual headphone, audiophile type review sites. The majority of articles about such products are more of the same old re-links and copy/paste press release info. Among the sites I did find them on, I noticed a trend of their nearly univeral praise among even picky listeners. Reactions were usualy that of surprise at the great experience. In the end I took a chance on them and they ended up being my go to headphones for all casual use.

tracks_two.jpg

Now, onto the details. They are lightweight, easy to manage, well constucted despite their simplistic appearance, and sound pretty amazing for such a humble, compact pair of headphones.

At first glance you can see that the design is clearly influenced by the early days of the walkman and some of those early filmsy foam padded, metal banded headphones that ruled the portable listening world. I will admit this made me nervous when buying them because with my always being on the move I am pretty rough on things. They turned out to be a robust pair of headphones and while I do use the provided nylon bag to carry them around in, I have had no trouble at all durability wise. The simplified approach to the design is refreshing and actually leaves less components to break as I have had happen with more ellaborate designed headphones. If they happen to get crammed a little too tight inside my bag the earphones just pop off of the snap on points of the headband rather than cracking or breaking.

tracks_three.jpg

Then there is the sound, the life force of any good pair of headphones. While these use a closed back design, the foam pads are very much open so these are not going to block off a lot of sound around you, this was actually a selling point for me. Its nice not always having to take off my headphones when someone nearby starts talking to me or if I need to hear whats happening around me. It manages to have this openness to it yet still hold a nice, well rounded, punchy sound that is fully present in your ears dispite the lack of ambient noise redction.

In some headphones and speakers the lower mids are boosted in attempt to add depth to the sound and you get muggy audio that drowns out the clarity of the rest of the spectrum. The Tracks manage to have a nice punchy low end without causing any of that woofy mess. Bass is well pronounced and thumping without overwhelming the music or distorting which I really love. Mids are clear and strong and highs are crisp without being exhausting to your ears during extended listening times. The best way to describe the sound overall is refreshing and fun. Its a fantastic pair to have around with me throught the day and I find myself using them often because they are such a joy to use.

With a price coming in at around $85(USD) or less it’s hard not to reccomend you check them out if you are ever in the market for a new set of lightweight headphones.

tracks_four.jpg

Just as a heads up, I recently bought an additional pair on sale through fab.com and plan on using the new pair as part of a giveaway I will be having during the launch of the new design here on 50ft in September so check back here for the chance to win a pair in the coming month!

love locks

Love Locks

While in Seoul last time I had the chance to go see the notorious collection of padlocks collected along an observetory fence at Namsan Tower. These padlocks are locked to the fence, often with a short message, as a binding symbol of love between two people. They key is often trown away to seal the deal. From what the collective mindset at Wikipedia can tell me the idea was born in China and has since spread to numerous spots around the world. Thousands of locks all pilled up over the years and it was pretty amazing to see such a sight if not once at least.

I know things slowed down around here this past week or two but I have not been sitting on my hands. I have been working morning to night for two straight weeks running and next week is looking just as busy. For those that don’t know this is live audio work that I refer to. I can’t remember the last time I went this long without having a break. It’s making it hard to get this new design up and going! I hate doing it but it looks like I will have to push it back a little longer. Despite the busy schedule I did want to come on, say hello, and share a new image with everyone. I’ll do my best to get more up this week as well for your thirsty eyes.

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