Missed A Spot

This was shot in Bali while wandering around in the tourist hub of Ubud. Behind the main streets full of shops we would see countless private homes and temples just below the surface where the otherwise touristy gloss would quickly vanish into glimpses of how many honestly live within the island. While it would have been interesting to explore such areas our time there was brief and we were not as aware of how locals would react to photographers knocking on doors or sneaking about with cameras. Still though I liked this small alleyway running deeper into the heart of a city block and the way one side of the wall was in a greater state of decay than the other. I was perhaps too heavy with the color saturation now that I look closer but I still like the textures of the wall and the vanishing path in the distance. I have one more image pulled from Bali at the moment and I will see what I can do to get it up towards the end of the week.

Also, I decided to take the time to post this to serve as desktop chaser of sorts after my lengthy post on mobile photography yesterday. I have long searched for the right balance of being down to earth while writing for this site (as though writing to a friend), while also expanding my reach to write some things in a slightly more formal way. Seems my write up on mobile photography ended up feeling more like an essay than my usual affair and I am sorry if that put anyone off. I suppose I will do my best to keep things simple in the future but there will always be moments and topics that warrant a less personal approach. If you have any thoughts, opinions, or preferences please feel free to email me or leave a comment below. This site is for you after all.


Of Mobile Photography

Throughout history, the fine art community has had a reluctance to accept photography as a proper form of artistic expression. With time artists using the medium began to slowly explore its implications as a means to express themselves artistically despite criticism. Cameras eventually started to emerge that were more consumer friendly and opened the world of photography up to a much wider user base.

In the past 30 years or so, the industry has rapidly evolved. Moving from some of the early mass produced point and shoot film cameras all the way to the current tiny lensed digital cameras attached to our mobile phones. With the dawn of this seemingly backwards step, philosophies regarding the validity of certain branches of the photographic community are being called to question once again. Many photographers with ties to its history in pop culture are attempting to make sense of a new breed of casually curious photographers who are using their mobile phone cameras as a means to create their art.

I keep a peripheral eye on trends in the photography world as do many photographers and one area that I have been subliminally collecting thoughts on is the “best camera is the one you have with you” movement. A key element to the growing popularity of this way of thinking is the evolution of the mobile phone camera. It has seen a reluctant sort of adaptation through the years as mobile phone manufacturers started trying to cram larger lenses and sensors awkwardly onto the back of phones with limited success.

That is, until Apple shows up one day with the iPhone. While the first couple of models came paired with limited photographic capability, the dawn of the App store and a few brilliant minds discovered that mobile phone photographs could be disguised as decent photos with a few post processing tricks. Suddenly the tiny cameras on the back of iPhones became capable of moderately admirable photographs.

If memory serves me correctly, an app called Camera Bag was the first to gain traction within the app store. Of course with any new trend competitors started to crawl out of the woodwork and soon the more conceptual Hipstamatic app was born. With time we started to see attempts at other, less gimmicky sorts of mobile apps which allowed us to edit basic aspects of an image and slowly but surely the photography section of the app store filled up with countless applications to edit and share your mobile photos. Then along comes our buddy Instagram which somehow stepped into the spotlight at a tipping point with just the right combination of features and the rest is history still in the making.

It’s amazing that things have evolved so quickly that the concept of making a mobile image look stylized in a nostalgic or old looking way has folded back in on itself in the form of the clever InstaCRT app project. The idea is that you upload your image to a remote computer which projects the image onto an old CRT monitor at which point a DSLR takes a photo of said monitor and transmits the effected image back to you. While it is a fragile concept mechanically, it does make for an interesting addition to my theory that trends in digital photography can only continue to dwell on the past for so long before the cleverness of it implodes. Here are a couple of examples run through the process:


I heard an interesting discussion on a podcast about motion pictures in which they talked about how audiences are hesitating to embrace higher frame rate in films because it looks fake or a bit TOO real. The same goes for current model high resolution digital still photography as well. This all comes back to this generations visual expectations and comfort zones.

The psychology of it is fascinating and seems to have a lot to do with a reluctance to evolve technically in connection with certain, often subliminal, aesthetic criteria. Pop culture and the last century of its evolution is constantly speeding up to the point where new approaches to certain recorded mediums are not as easily accepted in all cases.

Generational gaps in technological advancement are starting to overlap. It is a delicate balance for content creators to either push forward and risk being ridiculed for too drastic a change or, alternatively, dwell too much on the past. This is why many are finding comfort in the middle ground with things such as digital filters to make the clean looking images from their digital cameras look older as a means to compensate for the change. Adding digital noise to an image is a keen example of this. It is a transitional gimmick used by many photographers (and film makers) as the gaps between generations of content creators close in on each other at an ever increasing pace.

At any rate, I feel it is safe to say at this point that mobile phone photography has quickly become THE way average consumers without the need to own a more elaborate camera make photographs. With or without filters and post effects.

What interests me in all of this is the philosophy that many photographers have taken to heart when it comes to mobile photography. When I first started reading articles and books written about the idea of mobile phone photography being a viable alternative to carrying around a fully capable camera I could not help but think that it was a movement based around laziness. Why on earth was it so difficult to have a moderately capable camera around if you consider yourself to be a semi-pro photographer? Even opportunistic hobbyists shooting more casually should have more sense than that, right? I of course realized almost immediately that I was being a bit harsh on the concept overall.

Once I let the idea sink in I started to see the appeal. I remember being hard on the Lomo guys when they were gaining praise because I didn’t think there was really any skill involved in shooting with silly toy cameras, you just point and click. It took a while but I warmed up to the idea after playing with one and giving the idea and philosophy more of a chance. This and I started to discover a handful of photographers making truly compelling imagery with the wide variety of handicapped cameras on the market.

Using the iPhone as a camera settled into my mind in the same way. During a trip to India I had my first taste of how handy it could be as my second, quick to grab, snapshot camera because I chose to focus on film photography during that trip and having a little pocketable camera with seemingly unlimited space was a nice addition to my travels.

Where I would once mock the idea of anyone taking it seriously for photography I remembered that we all have different goals and different goals require different tools. It is very much my opinion that a good photograph is entirely the photographers doing and not simply their choice of camera. Even a simplified toy camera can be exploited and used in ways that make striking imagery so why not a little cell phone?

As I have always stated here in the past, every camera has its strengths and its weaknesses and it is the photographers job to utilize his tool of choice to best take advantage of its strengths to create imagery he or she can be proud of. I will tell you one thing though, you won’t ever see professionals start running around with only their cell phone in tow. Well, outside of a few odd photojournalists trying to prove a point of some kind (which I still can’t honestly see as much more than a publicity stunt).

So, all that said, whatever camera you choose to use is fine by me. The thing to consider above all in this argument is what your end goal is with your photography. What are your plans for your images in the future? Are you satisfied simply with the experience of shooting itself? Are you satisfied with the fleeting, twitter like praise of Instagram? Maybe a simple small book of photos or a small print from time to time is all you want or need from your photographs and if that is the case, maybe mobile phone photography is perfect for you.

For many of us however, this is simply not enough. My iPhone provides me with a simple, quick camera and post tools allow me to have a bit of fun with the images afterward. Sometimes a few striking images are produced in the process but as for my end goals are concerned it is mostly a dead end outside of sharing casually online or having a memento of a moment captured. I am not able to make printed enlargements with any reliable fidelity. I most certainly am not able to make a desktop image from them, nor sell them commercially outside of the gimmick of it being taken with an iPhone but that idea has already sort of lost its appeal.

When I see a photo opportunity that I have any real emotional connection to I pull out my 5D if I have it with me or, more often, a film camera like a Canonet or Olympus XA which I always have nearby. Simple, quick, and much more viable for later use. Carrying a ‘real’ camera with me is not exactly a burden by any means. Not if my passion and goals remain in their current state.

I realize there are countless variables in this discussion and I have already cut out a number of paragraphs to keep this from wandering too far off track. I simply wanted to take some time to recognize things as they stand today because we must also consider the fact that we were saying almost exactly the same things about digital photography in general not all that long ago when it started to appear more prevalently on the market. Though the evolution was much slower then, the end result is clearly heading in the same direction with wide spread adoption and constantly improved results year over year. What with cameras focusing after the fact and mobile phones gaining momentum on dedicated digi cams, the times sure are changing, and fast.

I envision a not so distant future where mobile phones  completely cannibalize the standard point and shoot market and in the process end up altering the term ‘traditional’ to include any stand alone camera not attached to your mobile device. What this would mean for manufacturers is anyones guess but I would assume they would end up catering more and more specifically to the professional and amateur photographers markets rather than the broad scope of average consumers. Products such as the micro four-thirds cameras and Fuji’s x100 or xpro1 are clear indications of such a change. It will be interesting to see if the bloated structure of some of the companies in the game will be able to readjust to the new way of the world. We have already seen one casualty from a failure of understanding of this evolution which ironically enough is Kodak, one of the pioneers of modern photography.

So despite any naysayers or misguided attempts at saying otherwise we may as well get used to the fact that the art form of photography will continue to constantly evolve. In this new world where every third person you see on the street seems to call themselves a photographer and cameras are as much a part of our lives as food and shelter, it will be interesting to see how the skill and traditional mindsets of many of us who have been in the game for a while will be forced to evolve with it.

In the end, it’s up to you how to react. As I have mentioned before, I always encourage others to look beyond the knee jerk instinct to follow along with what may be the easiest way of doing something. The world of photography is not always about keeping up, it’s about standing out, and we do this by sharing life from a new perspective. Combine this knowledge with goals you set for yourself in terms of how you plan to publish images in the future and deciding what kind camera you need to accomplish your goals will become much easier.


Daylight Was

I have been going through my photos from Bali and picking out a few to share here and thought I would start off with this image taken during low tide behind the hotel we were staying at. It was a welcome calm from the often unbearable heat of the day. I love the way colors came to life, the greens and reds coupled with the blue of reflected sky on the water, it all fell into place so nicely. The only adjustment made to the photo was the tint added to the shadows.

I seem to go through phases where I enjoy adding a bit of fake low contrast to add a soft feel to the otherwise black areas of an image. Using a color that complements the image also adds a nice feel overall. Some people call this a “film look” which is interesting. The only time I see film look like this is when an underexposed negative has a lack of detail in the shadows and during the attempt to salvage the dark image the print or scan is made brighter overall leaving blacks to become grayish. You see this a lot in ‘toy’ photography  because most lomo type cameras have a limited capability to capture correct exposures, especially in dark environments to its a common occurrence. Thats my take on it at least. Digitally it is a simple but effective trick but it’s very easy to overdo and no excuse for a bad exposure within the camera.

The blue figure seen in the background was another photographer out exploring the scene as well but rather than be annoyed that he was in my shot I simply made it work with him in it. As always, thanks for stopping by, hope enjoy the new image!



I asked Twitter followers yesterday about a potential image for a desktop and received ample “yes please” replies to turn the image into a wallpaper. The two maybe’s I read had fair criticism attached though. One mentioned that the image felt too similar to my last photo of a boardwalk which is a favorite among many. He suggested I change the mood a bit with some post work. The other suggested it was simply not as strong as other images I share on the site stating the composition did not seem strong enough. The reason I asked was not only for personal affirmation that I had created something worth sharing but also to look for opinions such as his on weather or not the image worked and it was nice to find a spark of honesty make its way to my eyes.

It lead me to revisit the images taken the day of its shooting and see if perhaps I had a better shot that I maybe overlooked on my first pass. I ended up choosing the above image over the one shared through Twitter because the criticism confirmed my own doubts that the composition felt off and not as strong as my usual fare. This brought to mind a reminder that expectations have grown considerably over the years of running a website such as this. To keep things interesting and fresh I have to look harder and harder into my own abilities to come up with posts and images I can feel proud of. It’s a steep terrain to navigate sometimes.

While of course we all share different perspectives based on our own taste and desires I still strive to offer the best possible content for everyone. Unfortunately, sometimes this sort of pickiness leads my mind to hold back more than I should leaving too much room for doubt to sneak in. I look through my drafts of articles and images and find a lot of great things that should have been published but were held back because of that nagging in the back of my mind that it was not quite up to the virtual expectations of everyone visiting the site. This, of course, is utter nonsense.

You can’t let yourself get bogged down with excuses when it comes to sharing your work online and I should know better by now. The only way to grow and continue to develop with anything is to jump in regardless of fears or potential missteps because, in my experience, failure teaches us much more than success. Some say words are cheap and its true, so are excuses. Actions, however, no matter the risk involved, are what helps things move forward. I realize I am being a little too honest here letting out a venerability of mine so candidly but it’s not an attempt to garner sympathy, rather it’s in effort to reach out to others who may also hold back too often out of fear of expectation. We can’t let our imaginary projections of how others will react to something dictate the risks we may or may not take. It’s just not worth it and in the end it leads to an entirely different waste of potential positive energy and momentum, regret.

In the end this may not be my favorite image ever but it feels pointless to hold back something based on an imagined negative response. I have hundreds of photos that I love which I still have yet to find a proper home for due to these reluctancies and I realize it really isn’t worth all the internal strife. There is no time like the present when it comes to taking action. At any rate, before I start sounding too preachy I will leave it at that.



I realize its an odd day of the week for a post but hey, have to take advantage of a little window of time when I see it. I pulled this out of photos form Seoul and thought it would make a nice addition to the desktop collection. This was shot in the stairwell of a wonderful shop in Chungmuro called FotoMoru (english) which develops all manner of films and is a great place to have them printed or scanned as well. The guys that run it are trustworthy and know film developing and printing backward and forward, not to mention they have the some of the best prices around. I miss having the resource handy. All you had to do was drop off your film and a day or less later you get an email letting you know your order is ready or, if you had scans made, a link to where you can download the zip file. They will even store negatives safely for you if you would like.

At any rate, on the way down the tiny stairwell I couldn’t help but notice how perfectly this bike had parked just outside the doorway so I took a moment to pull out the 5D and steal a shot. After adding a touch of contrast and a little tint for a pinch of extra drama I thought it was worthy of sharing with you guys. As always, thanks for stopping by and enjoy!



I have been following the slow rise of the EDC (Every Day Carry) movement for a few years now and always enjoy seeing what sort of interesting small gadgets people carry around them every day to get their work done. It has spurred quite a lot of new products and refined products to match the needs of the mindset which is, broadly speaking, doing as much as possible with the smallest amount of gear.

When it comes to what I carry with me every day it varies greatly because my daily needs vary quite a bit. Some days I am an audio engineer, some days I am a photographer, some days I am both, and other days I just want to relax. This leaves me with a lot of different tools to juggle and I certainly don’t need everything with me all the time. One thing never seems to change though and that’s what makes it into my pockets every single day, everywhere I go.

What you see above are the items that are constantly with me, minus my keys which have no interesting gadget to show off on them because I don’t like any junk hanging off my key ring other than keys. I figured it would be interesting to some of you to briefly talk about what you see above, sort of mini reviews of each item.

Starting on the left, the wallet is one YoungDoo bought for me in Seoul from a stationary store called MMMG. It’s a sturdy simple leather wallet with just enough for all I carry in it; ID, a couple business cards, a couple credit cards, and a bit of cash. I also have an amazing travel wallet I may review here on 50ft if I find the time.

Next up is this thing I picked up a few months ago called an iPhone. The “i” stands for internet or something and it’s kind of cool I guess. Ahem… Right, I have had an iPhone since day one with its first version which now lives in a drawer with my original iPod. I was at the MacWorld where it was first announced and first saw one slowly spinning around in a plastic tube of a display case.

I love the iPhone, its the kind of device that I would daydream of existing in some made up science fiction world growing up. Actually, I remember thinking in the future we would not buy cds or tapes but would take a little tiny device not much bigger than a headphone jack to music stores where we could buy music to fill it up. I am always amazed at technology and how far we have come. To be anything but completely amazed at the devices we take for granted every day is a crime. I have plenty I could ramble on about here but I will leave it at that. The case is super minimal and snaps on the the back glass of the phone and is flush with the metal antenna*.

Next up is my knife. Some areas of the world see carrying a knife as an act of aggression and for many that may be the case, but this is far from a weapon, its a tool that I use through out the day. I have tried a number of knives over the years but have happily settled on the Spiderco Dragonfly G-10. It has a short blade and overall length but is brilliantly designed to be held with your full hand. Your index/pointer finger safely rests at the joint of the blade and the handle giving you great control over the knife as you use it. More traditional knife designs feel strange and sloppy to use after getting used to this type of Spyderco design.

I equally love the design of the minimal wire clip which is sturdy and allows for the knife to sit nice and deep within my pocket. While there are a number of handle options I prefer the green g-10 version because its nice and grippy. Anyways, there are a lot of great knives on the market and everyone has their favorite but in my opinion Spyderco makes some of the best available today.

Next up is the Field Notes notebook plus the little pen I shove inside. I started using moleskine brand cashier books this size but the cover would fall off all the time so I gave Field Notes a try and never looked back. The quality of the paper and cover are second to none and the various editions they make available are always fun. I use these all the time during work and as a place to scribble quick notes and ideas.

The pen I keep inside is one I ordered from Jet Pens.  I have tried small pens like this in the past but none have ever had as smooth of a line as this Ohto Petit-B. I love a smooth skinny line from my pens and this is fantastic considering the size. The only downside is having to pull the pen out of itself, spin the middle around and insert it back into itself to get it to full length but I have used it so much that its second nature at this point.

Last but far from least is my flashlight. There are countless amazing lights on the market now because of a few dedicated small companies constantly improving themselves. This is a Quark 123 Tactical light from 4Stevens. After a lot of research I settled on this light because of the great combo of price versus performance. The tactile version allows me to have two separate modes to easily jump between with a simple twist of its head. I jump between a medium brightness and the full power mode. I usually use medium bright to save battery life but love the full brightness which is blinding and satisfying and comes in quite handy in certain situations. The flashlight takes a beating too, I use it constantly at work both in dark venues and while navigating my way through dark corners of a building during an install. It is not invincible though.

A few months back I dropped it while working on a lift four or five floors up on a score board. I watched as it slowly fell down, down, down. It was far enough a distance where I could sit there and watch it fall and have time to anticipate it hit the ground. After recovering it the body itself was perfectly fine outside of a dent on the base, but the circuits inside came loose and the lights head no longer worked. Thankfully, 4Sevens sells replacement heads and I was able to get it fixed up without having to buy a new light. I also bought an alternative clip that allows me to push the light deep into my pocket so it is more secure as I carry it around.

Worth noting is the fact that this version of the light is no longer available. The company has been transitioning into a new variation on their brand which can be found here. Also worth noting is they have some of the best prices on CR2 batteries anywhere. a 10 pack of them for 20 bucks is amazing.

Other common sights in my pocket are sharpie markers, a handkerchief, a smaller flashlight, and maybe a tool or two specific to the job for the day. I also carry a mini tool kit assembled to take care of as many needs as possible without the bulk of a full took kit. If there is any interest I can discuss it and its contents some other day.  So that’s that, what and why I carry what I carry from day to day, hopefully some of you found something of interest in here.

*Update: Almost immediately there were a number of people asking about the iPhone case. Of course I should have remembered that my audience here consists of a lot of iPhone users! I bought the case in Seoul while traveling in Korea. It is made by a local brand that, as far as I have been able to find, only sells their product within Korea. It’s been a great case with a nice matte finish making the phone easier to hold without adding any bulk to the device at all. It would never protect the phone from a real fall but keeps the back of the phone nice and clean. It snaps on with an optional double sided tape which uses a very light adhesive to make sure it stays on the back of the phone. You can see the companies page on the case here. It’s also available from 10×10, a great Korean online shop but I don’t know if they ship anywhere outside of Korea. I daydream of importing great Korean products like this and selling them on 50ft.

Another small update while I’m here, I also now wear a wristwatch everywhere I go which is a watch YoungDoo and I bought for each other to celebrate our wedding. It is a Uniform Wares 200 Series watch which I am madly in love with, its such a beautiful watch.



I realize spring has come and gone, or at least the peak of spring, but while summer settles in I thought these would still make for nice, light desktop imagery. These cherry blossoms were everywhere as YoungDoo and I arrived back in Seoul after our time in Bali. I always thought it was mostly hype as far as the beauty of these trees are concerned but they really are quite nice as they line streets and cast everything around them in a nice diffused light. The best moments though are the times when wind blows across them and hundreds of tiny white petals fall gently to the ground, I love that. So while these may be somewhat generic lovely flower photos I hope you guys enjoy them, a little something fresh for the oncoming heat of the summer.



Why My iPad Is Not My Laptop

I have been reading a lot of talk about iPads and their growing capabilities as creative tools. Most of you reading this know of the “my ipad is my laptop now!” hype. Problem is, I come up empty handed whenever I try to figure out why there seems to be such a need to validate the ipad as a  personal computer, of course its a PC! What is there to even debate or dwell on? The input device of choice doesn’t define what a computer is, and neither does the operating system, its as simple as that. A touch screen device like an iPad is a perfectly natural evolution of personal computing. The part of this whole thing that interests me, however, is the software.

I would say a good 90 percent of the debate on the iPads usefulness as a computer is coming from writers and casual users and this is where I find the debate getting a little one sided. Of course a writer would like the ipad. The tools most needed to get their work done are right there for the taking, you can hunt and gather all day long and it does make a fantastic, distraction free space to write in. I can wholeheartedly agree that the iPad is an increasingly great tool to gather ideas, write stories/articles, and stay in touch but for the time being this is where the road unfortunately ends. For many, including myself, the iPad is still not much more than a high tech note pad.

When it comes to many jobs within the professional creative community the iPad is still more or less incapable of handling any honest workload. At least as far as things stand at this point in time. There are no designers that I am aware of using it to create much outside of concepts. There are niceish vector, sketching, and image editing apps available but nothing with the horsepower or precision that it takes to complete a finished product. The same goes for web design, coding, print design, industrial design, etc. Writers can sing praises all day long about how nice it is not to use a laptop to write and how easy it is to focus with one but its still far from useful within many areas including the creative field I am closest to, photography. It seems to me that most photographers today trying to use the iPad as an honest tool are doing it for the novelty. The simple fact of the matter is that it’s still kind of a pain in the ass to manage photos. There is still no easy way to manage files outside of iCloud/Dropbox integration or the clever but usually awkward attempts at using a LAN network to transfer files back and forth. Apples weird little iTunes app file window is sadly obscure and tedious.

I’ll admit there are a few nice photo editing apps available but you still always hit the same dead end. Cloud services can only get you so far, especially when dealing with full resolution RAW files. I can not dump 8Gb of RAW images onto my iPad and expect to get any real work done on them. For most professional photographers, a couple days of shooting equals large amounts of big files which takes forever to import and export, even with access to cloud storage which is not nearly as fun when you are dealing with anything other than small files. There is an obvious bottleneck that has no current solution for a larger quantity of high resolution image files.

For instance, while traveling you would think the iPad would be a great tool for the job, small, light, an endless battery, but as a photographer who has tried this a few times I can say that it is woefully inadequate for my needs. In my times trying to use the iPad as a point in the food chain of shooting while traveling I come across the data bottleneck get lost. RAW images saved to the iPad with the camera connector feel trapped. Getting them on and off is a buggy and frustrating endeavor that takes much longer than it should. In my experience it takes multiple attempts to pull off all of my photos and laves me frustrated and nervous about loosing images.

There was one instance where I thought it would be a wonderful tool while out on a shoot at a company campus. I had appointments with individual employees within a department and between each shoot I moved the images from my 5D to the iPad so I could show them the results afterward with a bit of flare and ease. The process ended up so slow that I had to juggle between cards to make it work and later nearly loose the images to the transfer process. While conceptually it was a nice idea, it was far too unstable for me to try again as things are.

I have tried using the iPad as a photography tool more times than I care to admit, that is, until I finally gave up on the idea and now take my laptop with me whenever I know I will be shooting a lot. I would be curious to hear what others experiences are that may have tried similar things.

For such a supposedly simple to use device the iPad it sure makes it complicated to move files around. In this case, Apple is entirely responsible with their rebellious idea to avoid traditional file structures. I can not fathom why it would be so difficult to have a system level file management area that is as convenient to use as the notification system they have so diligently been working on. Something which is not so flawed and cumbersome as the hidden data that lives within each app.

iCloud’s photo stream is clever but simply mirroring your photos doesn’t really do a whole lot of good for someone like me, especially with the current limits in place. In my opinion things either need to go full cloud or stay local, and full cloud is simply not possible yet. Network data and staying connected to the net at all times is simply not affordable or widespread enough.

Outside of data management failure, software is only really halfway capable. If I were a casual photographer shooting JPEG images I may be able to get by sometimes but as it stands I can’t honestly use any current app to edit photos. In fact, I can’t even come close to my normal work flow for creating content for fiftyfootshadows. I cannot accurately crop images or re size them for posts, more or less add my watermark, zip files up with my terms of use, and upload them to my server. So for a process so simple on the surface (edit, crop, compress, share) it involves details in the process that iOS can not handle as it is. Everyone seems to sort of tip toe around the topic as though they are afraid to admit that it really is not all that well suited for a number of things. Sure, you could mow your lawn with a pair of scissors, but do you really want to go through all the extra effort?

Then there is iPhoto on iOS, something I was looking forward to since the first iPad and its hugely lacking photo viewing app. I know people have been ragging on the interface since its release but that’s not all it fails at. iPhoto is a black hole within a hole where edited photos from your “camera roll” somehow end up in limbo within the app and you have to send edited versions back to the photo roll to do anything else with them other than making a journal. Talk about a mess. Your edited photos then end up piling up on top of duplicate versions of the unedited ones. It’s obvious they tried to do something interesting and capable but their own horrible file system keeps biting the hand that feeds it. Please, correct me if im wrong here but the whole process feels very un-Apple. Also, have you tried “beaming” photos back and forth from the iPhone to the iPad? Every time I have tried  to accomplish this seemingly simple task it has taken multiple attempts to the point where I simply let myself forget that it was even possible.

As it stands, the iPad is amazing. I use it every single day for writing, browsing the news, sketching ideas, and reading though email or tech riders and I love every minute of it. It f complements my daily life and on days when I don’t need to get any real work done, I leave my laptop at home. But when it comes to honest creative work I can not help but find the iPad as little more than a sidekick. I can say with certainty though, that this is far from the last word on this. I can clearly see a future where touch screen devices such as the iPad become more and more viable for the kind of things I have discussed here today. It is still new territory being explored and I for one can not wait to see where it takes us.

*The above image was shot on my iphone 4S and edited with TiltShiftGen and VSCO CAM, then cropped and compressed in Photoshop before posting.

Cast Off

Here on the border of day and night things grow fuzzy, less defined, quiet. Colors shift quickly and dramatically and everything around becomes less of a landscape and more of a sketch of what was a few moments before. I love this time of night but it certainly can be tricky to capture depending on the circumstances. In this case these children were out fishing at the end of a hot day in Bali and YoungDoo and I were out photographing the last sunset we would have to enjoy on the island. A perfect recipe for a few nice silhouettes. They all but ignored us and we tinkered with out cameras and enjoyed the view.

While this shot ended up a bit hazy and out of focus I still love it for the movement captured. As soon as the one child leaned back to point at the other side of the pier I knew I had the shot I was waiting for, where the three of them were well defined against the dim light of the coming night so one click was all I had. Still though, despite its technical shortcomings, I knew I had a nice shot because I had finally caught the scene in the way I envisioned it in my mind. Which leaves us with the question, does a photograph need to be technically perfect to be an effective image? This is entirely subjective to the person who created the image.

If your image is able to achieve a successful emotional connection with the viewer then you have done your job. Sometimes this means ignoring the nagging voice in the back of your mind that this exposure may end up a bit dark, blurry, etc. Every aspect involving the art of photography, even intentionally fudging the technical details here and there, is fair game. A technically perfect image is a wonderful thing and is worthy of being proud of, but one which is able to transfer an emotional value can be infinitely more satisfying.

Not only this but it is much easier to discover your voice as a photographer if you let yourself make mistakes. One of the most influential things that guided my style over the years has been the images I really wanted to love but didn’t work out because of a shortcoming in my approach leaving me to refine the idea and try again. At any rate, I hope you enjoy the new desktop. I will do my best to start pushing them out faster.

To whom it may concern,



• 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.


• 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


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)