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Pon De Ring

For anyone not familiar, let me introduce you to the best donut in the world, the Pon de Ring, aka. the Chewisty. Well, it’s my favorite at least. They are delicate, soft, perfectly chewy donuts that you can easily pull apart into smaller bite size pieces. Available in a number of varieties such as chocolate, strawberry, or green tea they are not as sweet as many other donuts and don’t sit as heavy in the stomach.

They were inspired by a chewy cheese bun originally from Brazil called pao de queijo which uses tapioca as a starch to create its distinctive soft, chewy texture. I have actually tried these cheese buns which share the same texture but have a totally different taste to them. Obviously, the donut version does not contain cheese. I have also read that some alternate recipes use rice flour in place of tapioca to achieve the slightly chewy texture.

They are sold by Mister Donut in many asian countries under the Pon de Ring name and at Dunkin Donuts (in Asian regions) under the Chewisty name but are very similar in quality in my opinion. Both chains started out in the US. Mister Donut was a spin off created by one of the original founders of Dunkin Donuts and through time ended up being bought by the same parent corporation as Dunkin Donuts which is when they started to disappear throughout the US as they started to turn into Dunkin Donuts. Once Mister Donut was sold back into the Dunkin Donuts family they started to spread to Asian markets through local franchises using the name. The Pon de Ring was launched in 2003 in the Asian market to wide acclaim.

It seems a crime that these are not sold in the American market because they really are quite extraordinary and anyone with the chance to try one, do yourself a favor and don’t pass it up! From time to time I think to myself that surely someone out there has a recipe at least a little similar but I have yet to find a good one.

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50/50

Most of those who have been following along here for a while know that I enjoy shooting both digitally and with film cameras. Both can be rewarding in their own ways and many of us have strong opinions of which we prefer. These days I carry my camera bag with me everywhere I go with no exception. In it you will usually find my Hasselblad, OM-2n, XA2, and the body of my 5D. I leave the OM lens adaptor on my 5D making it all to easy to pull out the body and swap lenses with the OM-2n when I want to switch things up.

How do I decide which camera to shoot with? It’s almost as simple as you knowing what lens you want to use, but the thought is extended when I consider the film inside each camera and the behavior of each. More often than not I reach for a film camera. These days I use my OM-2n the most, followed by the 5D and last but not least, my personal favorite, the Hasselblad.

Using film has nothing to do with being trendy. It’s a format in the same way digital photography is a format. Painters use different paints, sculptors use different raw material, and photographers use different lenses, bodies or types of film. It’s not just a matter of keeping up with technology, it’s simply a different paint, or material of which to create with.

Film still yields an unrivaled dynamic range, warmth, and a unique, beautiful way to capture life. Digital gives us ease of use as an entry point into the medium and an easy sense of accomplishment (which can ultimately leave you getting burnt out quicker). I notice many photographers that got into photography through digital means who end up looking to film as a way to further develop themselves as photographers. Sometimes it takes time to develop an appreciation of the nuances of using film when modern day tech seems to push so heavily against analog because of the constant pressure to develop and the latest and greatest digital camera system.

This weird push and pull for or against one format or another is unfortunate because there is clearly room for both. Any talk of film “dying off” is unheard of to me and it’s disappointing because a negative attitude toward film is not only absolutely pointless but drives the overall social mentality that paints it in a seemingly outdated way as if it is somehow redundant now that we can mimic the feel of it on a computer. It’s like drinking orange flavored sugar water instead of real orange juice.

Film isn’t dated, it’s very much alive and well. Against what you may believe after reading about Kodak’s financial state, they openly admit that their film division is still profitable despite the other parts of the company faltering, and they are certainly not the only film maker of the world. Shooting with film is not just for hipster kids or overly romantic shooters like myself. It’s for any photographer that wants to broaden his or her palate and as always I encourage anyone on the fence to give it a chance. Not only by trying it but by not talking down on the idea simply because your personal needs or taste does not align with what it gives you at this moment in time.

One nice example of someone giving film a chance is my good friend David who hand coded the new site design here on 50ft. He had been shooting with a modest DSLR for a few years now but recently decided to give film a try after being surprised by the results of using a borrowed rangefinder. He has been shooting with a Nikon FM2 lately and I love what he has been capturing with it. Looking back on his old photos it’s hard to believe its the same person shooting them. I think the switch has renewed his focus and spirit in looking for interesting things to shoot. You can see them on his Flickr stream here.

Well, I set out today simply looking to share a new desktop but here we are discussing film again and I’m sure it won’t be the last. I shot the above photo on the floor of a coffee shop a while back when I had first bought this lovely OM-2n. I thought the black and white tiles would make for a fun desktop image. Enjoy!

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Browny 70

I have had this sitting on the back burner for a long while now. I was never quite sure whether or not to use it but after a mini survey I had a couple of readers say yes to a food focused desktop. I have a couple around actually but thought this would be good because who doesn’t enjoy a good waffle from time to time?

This was taken near Seoul at a local bakery that doubles as a coffee shop which is also a café, a little of everything really, but all delicious. It’s called Browny 70 and YoungDoo actually designed their website and did some photography work for them last year. At any rate, this amazing plate of food had oranges, bananas, ice cream, brownies, shaved almonds, and of course ,waffles. A refreshing snack. I liked this photo of it as opposed to a more direct shot because of the anticipation drawn from her hand and fork as she moves in to start eating. To download this tasty desktop simply use the links found below.

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50ft Radio Volume Six

Welcome back to the latest edition of 50ft Radio. This time around I originally set out to make a mix for the winter with a touch of a holiday feel but it evolved like these always do and ended up being a mix of ambient music. Most of what you will hear here is piano driven but ventures into left field exploring ambient music. There are both newer discoveries and old favorites that seemed to fit in well. I still feel like its a great mix for the winter, all instrumental, great for a study session or a quiet evening with a good book. I hope everyone enjoys it!

I get a fair amount of questions about how these mixes are made with the enhances cover art and chapters. I simply use GarageBand and use the podcast format to add chapters, artwork, and links. It’s super easy to put one together and a lot of fun.

I have the next one already underway and it will contain a lot of music that I could never manage to fit into other mixes but its taking shape nicely and will probably start releasing these as a monthly series. As with the other mixes here I ask that you not re-distribute these in any way shape or form. Enjoy it responsibly. If you find music you love then, please support the artist by buying a record, shirt, or going to a show. They cant keep doing what they do without it. These mixes were created for the love of music and helping artists gain exposure to new ears not just senseless sharing. Its important to me and I thank you for your understanding. Enjoy!

You can find a zip file with the mix and track listing here. (track listing only)

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Heading Home

A couple of days ago I was invited out to San Francisco and so here I sit downtown in the city trying to decide what to do for lunch today. I wanted to get a new radio mix up this week but due to my last minute travel I decided to wait until I was back to get that up for everyone. I did want to at least share something else this week so I decided to dig back through the archives for fresh wallpaper to share.

I ended up looking through photos from my last time in Seoul and came across a few nice shots that I have set aside to slowly post here on 50ft. First up is this shot taken while walking home down the side of the mountain in the middle of Seoul. On its peak rests the Namsan Tower landmark which we had been exploring in the afternoon. I couldn’t resist the beautiful light coming in through the trees. It’s wonderful to have places so quiet in a city as large as Seoul but there are a number of wonderful places like this to discover both in and around the city. I can’t wait to go back in a couple of months!

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Guest Desktop

Island Zorba

I am thrilled to share two wonderful photographs from none other than YoungDoo Moon who many here may already be familiar with. She and I will be getting married in Seoul in March and I am overjoyed about it. I knew I wanted to share one of her photos as a guest desktop but it was impossibly hard to pick just one.

Her images are always soft and welcoming. Her and attenention to detail and delicate choices in color balance is impecable and I am often jealous of her abilities. She fills her flickr stream with countless wonderful moments such as those seen here. Unlike most photographers who choose to share a larger output of work on Flickr I don’t ever tire of digging through a fresh batch of images when she adds them.

While looking around her flickr stream for a desktop image I came across photos taken on one of her trips to Jeju Island which is at the southern tip of South Korea. I chose the one above and she chose the one below. I love the way the image above feels so calm despite the rain outside. This and that red just pops in such a beautiful way. I asked her to write a few words about the photos which you can read below.

Hiding from a heavy rain storm at such a cozy & cute little coffee shop on the costal line in Jeju Island was one of the best memories of the last summer.

This coffee shop is called ‘Island Zorba’ and it’s located on the north east side of the island. If you ever have a chance to drive around the costal line in Jeju Island, look for a couple tiny wooden chairs facing to the ocean. The chairs belong to ‘Island Zorba’, my favorite coffee shop in Jeju Island, Korea.

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Don’t Drive Angry

There seems to be a fair amount of talk recently about comments on weblogs. It’s interesting to me, the love hate relationship so many have with them. It’s such a simple idea that it’s hard to believe it is generating so much heated discussion and defensive behavior. The way I see it, the use of comments engages readers to participate, not by running off to their own corners of the net and writing up replies in their own blog, but by taking a knife out and whittling in their own thoughts right there on the trunk of the tree. Must we hole ourselves up like islands? I fully support others writing on their own blog space but does a reaction always warrant that?

The comment space is a whiteboard where others are able to expand on ideas or opinions on whatever topic is at hand. This is an understatement, of course, because as everyone that has ever visited a site with the ability to comment knows, they are often abused. With the first painful stroke of the word “first!” comments became a questionable commodity. This is where the debate over the necessity of this ability usually begins. No one wants to invite people into their home just to have their guests scribble all over the walls and trash the place. This of course begs the question, just who is it you are hanging out with in the first place?

A readers response to an article is entirely dependent on the article itself and the feelings it evokes within the reader. Are you writing opinion articles, thick with facetious banter, talking shit about this or that, and heavy handedly suggesting the person reading believe what it is you are writing? Then you should expect emotional responses in line with the way you are writing.

Blogs that contain this kind of heavy opinionated content are often quite popular because we all have opinions and we all like to challenge our beliefs. We are also, whether we want to admit it or not, well aware that the phones we use, the apps we put on them, and the font we choose to type our secrets in don’t make us any better or worse than anyone else. If you have opinions on the world of technology that leave you with feelings of anger or discontent I suggest you ask yourself why. Technology is fun, it is there to make life easier and its nice to stay informed but don’t let the things you consume in turn, consume you.

It’s only human to want to be heard but it’s your choice how you decide to say your piece. This may seem random, but I recently saw some ancient episode of the TV sitcom, Scrubs, and within the episode there was a bit where the main character stated, “Anger like this has a way of being passed on to whoever’s closest” and this couldn’t be more true. We all know information on the net is a virus but it’s not always just information that is passed, it’s the emotion embedded within it. Of course I am not suggesting that every blogger with an opinion has an angry one. It is the way in which we present our opinions  that dictates what kind of audience we will draw.

That said, yes, I could see how many bloggers out there may not want comments available on their site. It’s not always appropriate and many don’t have the time or patience to handle comments left by followers. Many users simply thrive on online conflict because it gives them a chance to have a voice and with comment systems they don’t have to reply in obscurity within their own space, they can contribute directly at the source. In life outside of the net is it not often encouraged to speak your mind directly to someone rather than behind their back?

My point is this, there is not a lot of ground for debate here. There is no right or wrong unless you are speaking of a specific site. The only other sites that may need some constraints in place with commenting are those with an overly large, broad audience. It comes down to the trust you have in the audience you have built. It’s a sad truth of the internet that to have a concrete opinion that draws a lot of attention, people will come out of the woodwork to prove you wrong. No one want’s to read comments full of aimless attacks. This backlash against comments feels harsh and unwarranted. The inherent dissonance and pride associated with writing on a comment-less blog feels like a trend like any other.

Two sites come to mind that provide good examples to these ideas, neither currently support comments and most likely never will. Shawn Blanc of shawnblanc.net, and Ben Brooks of The Brooks Review. The two stay closely affiliated with one another yet have two very different approaches in reporting news in the tech world. Ben has an outspoken presence and seems to have strong opinions and is not afraid to rub people the wrong way to get a point across. Shawn writes in a way that is more down to earth and considerate of a broad audience. I could not imagine comments on The Brooks Review would be a good idea, he draws an audience more passionate and opinionated, others like himself, and would lead to needless arguments that simply wander in circles of stubborn opinion. Shawnblanc.net, however, I feel would not suffer from having comments around at all. He has an open, trusting relationship with his readers that became even more apparent when he went full time with his writing for the site and started up a more personal podcast that is available to paying subscribers. Two different approaches to a similar end, and while a fair amount of the audience is shared, the two bring out much different reactions among their followers.

In my personal experience here on 50ft, having comments enabled has taught me a lot about the people that follow along with the site. I am not in it for affirmation or coddling my ego, any writer that accumulates a moderate audience gets enough of that in other ways. It gives me a direct link to gauge the reaction of a post or image which in turn, allows me to further develop myself as a writer and photographer while building a healthy audience. Sure, there is Twitter and other social networks that also provide me with this feedback but these are disconnected from the source and offer a different kind of response. I also love the sense of community comments here have built. They help readers feel part of what is going on rather than the usual disconnect that breeds an unfortunate sense of entitlement in so many. I’m not a newspaper, professor, or preacher.I am here to talk with you, not at you.

While often I find a blanket statements of simple praise, I also discover a number of small stories and opinions that agree or differ with what I have written in a space not for full length articles or tiny, restricting tweets, but one for that gut reaction or memory brought forth after reading or seeing something. I actually encourage readers to browse though comments as well as articles because of this. I enjoy being challenged and even if I do have a fragile conscious at times, I take anyones point of view at face value. The amazing thing is that the replies I find are often fairly constructive additions to the overall narrative of what I was discussing. Even if only one percent of readers pay any attention to what others have scribbled there on the wall it is still there for those who choose to read on and have a place to discover what others may think about the subject. If you’re not interested, simply don’t scroll down.

Maybe I am lucky, but I honestly feel that it has a lot to do with the mutual respect I try to encourage with the people that follow along here. I realize that a lot of what I do is simply sharing photographs and musings on life, photography and the occasional article such as this but still. Out of the 32,000 some odd visitors that currently graze here each month I feel fiftyfootshadows makes for a humble exception to the mentality that comments are for axe wielding crazies trying to hack their way through the forest rather than stop and admire the grace and power of opinion the net gives us.

It’s really not as complex and dramatic as many are making it out to be because it really does simply come down to what works best for different voices online and does not warrant any drama. Who knows, one day I may change my mind here on 50ft. I did shut off all comments and even the dates on entries over on my not updated enough side project, You Disappear because they felt in the way with that project. If I feel they get in the way of the bigger picture here then I wont hesitate to pull the plug but until then, lets keep things civilized, shall we?

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Hiding In Plain Sight

My favorite kind of light to shoot is fleeting. It consistently appears like a ghost passing through my awareness. Soft, delicate reflections that drift slower than our patience will usually allow us to notice moving until its gone. There are countless memories stowed away in my mind where these ghosts have shown themselves to me only to have me scramble to dig out my camera wherever it may be only to find by the time I was ready to shoot it had already passed. Light is a force of life that reminds us that we must absorb these fleeting moments before they slip by, camera in hand or not.

That said, if you fancy yourself a photographer here is a challenge for you. Capture one of these moments. Surely you know the type. That tiny window of time wherein light graces a surface in a way so perfect it could only exist this way on rare occasions. It’s not always just a beam of light creeping across a wall. Sometimes it sneaks in through the window of a bus like in the photo above, perfectly lighting everything inside until it turns to another street or ducks behind a building. Other times it may be that perfect combination of the angle of the setting sun and the spot you are standing in that causes the world to illuminate in front of you.

Here is the tricky part. Once you find it, take only one photograph. Even if it’s against better judgement to do so. Just go with your instinct, don’t over think it, use what you know about good exposure and composition and trip the shutter. In limiting yourself you are playing along with the transitory nature of the moment. I think it’s an important lesson to learn and one I hint at often around here. Don’t let the camera get in the way of the wonderful things you seek out to shoot. Let these moments find you and simply live your life.

For me, photography is an experience in which you hold close the romantic nature of life and do your best to keep it from being forgotten. So keep your camera nearby and look for those softly lit moments hiding in plain sight. If you capture something feel free to share it with me through email. Maybe I could share it here in the future.

To whom it may concern,

IMAGES FOUND WITHIN THE FIFTYFOOTSHADOWS.NET PARALLAX WALLPAPER PACK 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 these elsewhere online.
• Share links directly to images.
• Pass them around in mass.
• Make prints.
• Use images for web banners or graphics.
• 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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By downloading any content from fiftyfootshadows.net you agree to the following terms:

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.

I ask that you refrain from using any images found on fiftyfootshadows.net to create physically printed material of any kind. This includes posters, photographic prints, fliers, etc. Under no circumstances may you make a physical reproduction without written permission.

These rules also apply for any artwork or imagery submitted and shown within this site which was created by an artist aside from myself. Any images submitted and shared as wallpapers are the property of the artist who created them and in the same manner as my images, you are asked to receive permission before using them in any way aside from their intended use. Any use of these images outside of for your own personal use as a desktop wallpaper image is prohibited without permission from the author of the image. Commercial licensing is available upon request. Please write with any inquiries.

When sharing images via your personal blogs I kindly ask that you link back directly to either the post the image was taken from or the base of the website at www.fiftyfootshadows.net and give a credit to www.fiftyfootshadows.net. Do not re-post full resolution desktop images anywhere without permission. If you would like to use an image for your blog background or something of the sort simply write to ask first. Support the artwork you admire! Also, it is greatly appreciated if you do NOT link directly to the zip files. This is more or less the same as re-posting them as it circumvents the tiny bit of support I ask of you which is to simply link back to the original post for others to enjoy the site.

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