Hitch Hiker

Hitch Hiker

I have a soft spot for Korea that has grown considerably over the years. I often daydream of what life would be like had I decided to move there rather than having YoungDoo move here to the U.S. when we got married. Being in Korea used to feel like more of a curiosity, I love feeling out of place in an environment and felt as though I may be happier in a more active environment where I would not feel as bogged down by memories and complacency. That feeling has changed a lot over the years and at this point Korea feels like home as much as the U.S. feels like home and I can’t wait for another opportunity to go back.

Among the things I love about the country are the seemingly endless places to explore and discover. It is in constant motion as small independent shops can pop up just about anywhere. The place photographed in the photo above is the sign for a tiny little pub called Hitch Hiker (another view here). It looked like it had been there for quite some time, full of personality and casual attention to kitschy details and was nestled among a number of other small creative independent businesses in a space above a larger shopping district in Jeonju. Other businesses in the same complex included a little vintage toy store, a craft shop, clothing boutique, a fried chicken place and more. Many of them were quite small, only big enough for a few people at a time inside and offered one specific idea or kind of product.

Seeing small, focused shops like these I can’t help but imagine that they were born of passion. A spark of inspiration and acting on that intention is all it takes to bring an idea into the world. I have a bad habit of hoarding ideas because they often feel bigger than they really are and I forget how easy it is to jump in and make something happen. Seeing this old photo reminded me of these feelings and even this waning memory of that inspiration sparks my imagination and the desire to create. Speaking of which, I need to get going, excuse me.

Orange Bus

Orange Bus

As I was planning the 50ft memberships I took a few hours and dug through the past few years of my photo library to find images not yet shared here on the site. As I shoveled through thumbnails I noticed a number of images that I liked but needed a little more love in post processing work. Images like the one above of a nearly empty bus in Korea.

Since buying the Fiji X-Pro have been debating on whether or not to ignore internal camera processing and use only RAW images. The trick is that most modern mirrorless and compact digital cameras tend to bake into basic image correction based on the lens and sensor giving you ideal images using internal camera processing yet I still fill up my hard drives with JPG+RAW files because RAWs offer that little bit of extra dynamic range that can come in really handy if I don’t get my exposure right when I take a shot. Still though, most of the time I get pretty close to my ideal shot straight out of the camera and the JPG file is my path of least resistance to getting the image I had in mind as I shot it.

This image above is an example of a mediocre exposure in camera where I blew more highlights than I wanted to so I used the RAW image and more post processing work to flesh it out. In this case I took liberties with the post work and shifted the whole tone of the image to suit my needs, so much in fact, that I ended up saving the adjustments as a new ‘preset’ for future use. One I’m sure you will see used again down the line because my home baked preset/starting points also show the evolution of my own personal taste in the tone of my own photography. It has shifted a number of times through the years because I love to explore new approaches and aesthetics to achieve different moods and emotional responses through the finishing touches of a photograph.

How about you, fellow photographers? JPG or RAW, and do you enjoy the challenge of finding your own way when setting up your post processing or do you like to lean on preset packs such as those from VSCO and others?

Jeff Parker

Slight Freedom

Last year was slow for me in the music discovery department. It was an atypical year in many ways so I didn’t end up putting as much time into seeking out new music as I usually do. I found myself gravitating to a lot of ambient music last year, or quieter music at least . Among my favorites in this department was a beautiful record of solo jazz guitar by Jeff Parker called Slight Freedom. While most people know Jeff’s work with the band Tortoise, he has a few releases under his own name and with others but this is his first truly solo record as far as I know.

While the album is only four tracks long, totaling about 37 minutes of music, the album as a whole holds a warmth and weight that I can’t get enough of. The music is immediate and elemental and was recorded in real-time with a minimal set of tools at hand without overdubs, an approach that allowed for an intimate listening experience that I really admire. It gave the album a sense of timelessness and still today after treating myself to a vinyl copy I have been putting it on quite a bit lately.

If you listened to 50ft Radio Vol. 15, then you heard one of the cuts off this album because I started off the mix with the track Super Rich Kids which is Jeff’s loose take on a Frank Ocean song (though you wouldn’t know it after listening). I love his subtle use of field recordings and audio loops which pull everything together to create a gentle landscape of sound.

If your looking for a peaceful album to give your day a few moments of calm you really can’t go wrong with Jeff Parker’s Slight Freedom. Digitally it is available for sale on iTunes and worth every penny. If you would like a vinyl copy, which is a beautiful sounding pressing on heavyweight vinyl, and read more about the release you can do that here on the label page for the release.

macchiato

Macchiato

I still love coffee you know. While there is not a coffee shop in town that offers what I would consider a connoisseurs cup there are a few nice shops around to have a good sit and enjoy something tasty. Among my favorite cups in town is this traditionally prepared double macchiato. Not the make believe Starbucks version made to fill their three existing sizes but two shots of espresso with a simple dollop of foamed milk on top. It smooths out the espresso without totally killing the dark, sharp flavor of it. If you have not treated yourself to one, I suggest you seek it out. Good stuff.

I came across this image I had taken a long while back and thought it was time to get a new coffee-centric wallpaper up, something that should probably be happening more often if you ask me. Enjoy!

50ft radio cover

50ft Radio Volume 15

I have had a new mix sitting in iTunes for ages. I started it back at the same time I started the last one and it has since evolved into what we have here today. It’s a catch up mix, music I meant to share long ago plus some recent favorites in there for good measure. Mostly laid back again, next time around I will kick it back up to a danceable pace!

This one is a little shorter as well, hope to start getting these out more often and part of doing that is not hoarding music for quite so long and make these a little more reasonable in length. Oh! This time around there is a 50ft original hiding toward the end, also a snippet of a recording from Kyoto because why not. Speaking of music, I have a music of 2015 post in the works as well, better late than never right?

Still have a podcast feed going for these though its not published on any podcast sites because I would rather keep these more in the underground. You will have the excuse the messy notes that show up though, I’ll sort that out at some point or another. Heres a link to pop in your favorite podcast app: http://fiftyfootshadows.net/feed/podcast If you would rather, a direct download can be found here.

Also I know how much you guys just love spoilers with these mixes though I encourage you to listen through once before looking, here is the track list. The mp3 has chapters inside as well so if the listening app of your choice supports chapters then you will get links and artists names.

Last but obviously not least, this series is about the love of music and spreading that love with all of you. If you enjoy a song then by all means, look up the artist, buy their music directly from them, go to a show, shake their hand. The closer the better. They can’t keep doing what they love without us.

 

snow cones

Snow Cones

Though the weather here in North Carolina has turned warm and sunny again this week, we had a heavy snowfall not long ago, a nice powder that left most everything around us covered in a calm white for a couple of days. The muted glow of a snowy night is so relaxing is it not? A day into the storm it was hard not to grab our cameras and shoot a few things nearby. The photo today was taken out one of our windows through a screen which is why it has a haziness to it. I stole YoungDoo’s 5D and 135mm lens to shoot these seed pods full of a healthy white snow because I thought some of you who enjoy the winter would find solace in the scene. Enjoy!

printclub

50ft Memberships

After nearly 10 years of operation fiftyfootshadows has seen the landscape of photography online morph and change in all kinds of ways. Communities have come and gone, trends have caught fire and flickered out. As often as things seem to change I have been right here, in my own little world on 50ft, jogging along side the shifting landscape. I love this work and I am eternally grateful for the encouragement and kindness everyone has shown through the years. Let’s start by looking back for a moment and where we have been, then move onto the new.

(more…)

50ft

Because Stickers

Hey there everyone, just popping in to say merry happy happy and I hope you guys have been doing well. I have five of these cool 50ft logo decals to give away just for fun. A little something to give back for hanging around through this busy year here at camp fiftyfootshadows. I have been putting the last few touches on bringing back regular posts around here and kicking off a new phase of the site. can you believe its been, what is it… nine years since launching this project!? Madness. Still plenty of life left in these humble pages and I look forward to the future!

If your interested in a decal take note that they are four inches in diameter, so not particularly small, seen pictured above on a 12″ MacBook for reference, so I ask that you only ask to be entered to “win” one if you want to put it to good use. I will pick five people at random to mail them off too, free as free can be, let’s say, on the first day of the new year. All I ask is that perhaps you share a photo of where it will live out its sticky life for prosperity. Leave a comment below if your interested, make sure to leave a valid email (they are not published). No tricks, no spam, just a bit of fun.

Thanks to everyone, I hope you have a beautiful day and I hope to see you again here in the new year!

joy

Joy

When the world feels as though its spinning out of time, as if the only thing holding it together is fear, it can be hard to sort out which way is up. When life makes me feel this low it’s easy to wallow in the feeling and let it take control of the core of who I am, and for a little while, thats OK. I think its important to feel anger, sadness, fear, or grief. These emotions are part of life’s balance and are key to opening new avenues of understanding, mindfulness, and tolerance.

We are the sum of what we trust and accept as the truth and in that we are all who we are for good reason. What we allow ourselves to consider as fact, or as right and wrong, or as good and evil, it’s all connected by fragments of honesty hiding in every viewpoint. It has been said many times and many ways because it’s true, we are the sum of everything and everyone we have come to know in our lives up to this moment. Our truth is our maker and that truth is both what divides us and what brings us together.

To unite is only as hard as we tell ourselves it is and to understand this is to accept that there is more than one version of any truth. To unite is to find ways to exist together within common ground and find compromises to exist outside of it without judgement. The only thing that keeps us from finding this is hate and fear which all too often in todays world is born of misreading each others personal trust and truth. Baseless assumptions.

I wish there was a way to help a divided nation of people understand each others point of view, no matter how far removed from each others truth it may be. However, something I have learned recently from my seven month old daughter, there is a moment at the end of each day when there is potential to feel exhausted to the point of becoming delirious with fight and vigor and we shut down anything and everything rational in our minds because we fear what hides behind our closed eyes.

We fear the unknown and that is exactly what we are facing. A change so opaque that none of us feel at ease enough to peacefully close our eyes at the end of each day. All we can seem to muster up is a sense of entitlement and an inflated confidence that our way is the best way, so we fight and scream against all that we feel is unjust but all this does is make the lines that divide us more and more deafening and stark.

So. Where do we go from here? Me? In the face of such a deeply divided unknown and seeing reports of violence and hate against one another, all I can do is want desperately to be the best me that I can possibly be to anyone and everyone in my path in hope that others will feel that not all is sideways in the world right now. A colorless blanket of acceptance and happiness is the best thing I think I can personally offer those around me.

This was a surprisingly difficult conclusion to come to this past week because of a pervasive realization that I could not find a sense of Joy in anything at all for a time. Not even my daughters smile was snapping me out of it. I wondered if she could sense that my smiles and laughter were not genuine as I searched within myself to capture the most basic of life’s fundamental meanings.

As time progressed I chose to turn to music. Simple and pure, starting with somber ambient albums which helped fill in the cracks between my thoughts. I quickly discovered a glimmer of focus among the chords and slow motion melodies. I eventually let in some rhythm and as it fell in sync with the beating of my heart I started to feel the sun on my face and the cool fall breeze on my skin again. Then, little by little, I remembered the power of Joy as it fought back against the darkness.

Joy.

It is a feeling that was just heavy enough to fight the fear back to where I could start to see beyond it.

Now I can’t help but wonder when the last time many of the people I pass everyday have felt true joy. Did they notice as a flock of birds drifted past a beautiful sunset? Did they enjoy the face of the moon on a clear fall night? Did they feel the warmth of their loved ones hand as it gripped around theirs in the cold? Did the beat of their favorite song send chills down their spine as they sang their favorite verses out loud?

Joy is an essential stepping stone away from the darkness. Not the plastic manufactured Joy on the front of Christmas cards and holiday sweaters, but true, life affirming, heart beat rising, Joy with a capital J. It can be sneaky at times, hard to catch and embrace, but the next time you find even a glimmer of its light I suggest you wake up, grab hold of it, and focus that energy into something good.

Yes, find joy, then give it all away.

Seek it out, recognize it, share it with those around you and lets hope for all our sake that it is contagious.

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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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