Something Borrowed

I shot this a couple of months ago but was weary of posing it because it felt to heavy to me somehow. Something in the contrast of it that I toyed with a little but always found myself coming back to something closer to the original shot as you see it here. The OM 50mm 1.8 is what was used here if I remember correctly and it is pretty fierce with its sharp contrast and color. The reason I liked the scene as I shot it was because of the handful of severed bamboo stumps mixed with ones still growing. Something seemed intriguing about it to me and you cant beat the late afternoon light that graced the scene.

In other news, I wanted to talk a little about the site while I’m here. Some bloggers out there post often with news and links and this and that but I like rolling in this sort of thing into my normal postings. Feels like it keeps things tidier somehow. My time lately has been divided between a lot of work and getting ready for my upcoming wedding and time in Seoul. I leave on the 12th of March so it’s coming up on me way to quickly. I will continue to post as often as possible though.  I have been thinking of the many grand ideas I have for the future of fiftyfootshadows and as with many things around here I take my sweet time getting them going. I had hoped to get a shop off the ground at the beginning of the year but life happens fast and I chose to table the project until this summer once I get back from Korea and have more time to do it right. The only reason I mention this is because a number of people have asked about it and I wanted to be up front with the reason for the delay in its launch. That’s all for now. Thanks, as always, for reading and enjoy the new desktop!


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.



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!


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.


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!

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.


letting go

Letting Go

I noticed this one leaf while out shooting among a field of winter brown and green, lit calmly by the setting sun I was walking toward another subject at the time but had to stop to grab a couple shots of this because I love turning such simple, minimal subjects into something grand. I had nearly forgotten about the photos until tonight while looking around for a new image to share. Seems to be one of those rare last leaves of fall that just refuse to let go of what they have.

Oddly enough, this left me feeling sentimental for things left behind (so pardon me while I think out loud). Life goes by so quickly sometimes and while there are instances where letting go is the best thing you can do, I still feel there is so much you should hold close and never let go of. We are constantly reminded to leave the past behind and live today like its our last, or other such motivational this and that, but hearing it gets tiresome after a while. Our minds gloss over advice amid our busy digital lives and being social within this weird new definition of the word where you don’t actually have to be with anyone to be social. This or we take this kind of  life advice to heart and become so desperate to connect with our inner selves that we end up getting lost in the very act of trying. This makes it harder to feel much honest connection with notable moments in our lives and by the time we realize how great life has been it’s already passed us by. I always remind myself not to forget that every moment I am alive I am graced with something undeniably beautiful if I look closely enough and pay attention. Both in times of unbearable joy or times of hardship and struggle.

One of the saddest things anyone has ever said to me was while they were looking at a photo of me taken when I was a teenager. She told me I was so beautiful when I was young but it made her sad. When I asked why she replied, “it’s your eyes, there seems to be something in them here that I don’t see anymore.” That stuck with me over the years and ever since then I have been trying to get it back. I realized that to be honestly happy about my life and everything that happens within it I must embrace all of it, good and bad. It’s important to keep your imagination and lust closely guarded and never stop exploring, stay hungry and foolish so they say. The most creative, capable people out there in this world are the ones able to take experiences from the past and use the knowledge and emotion surrounding them to build a better tomorrow rather than letting themselves get lost in a maze of regret.

One last thought I would like to include that feels like it ties in to what I am waxing poetic about is probably my favorite Steve Jobs Quote which is on creativity:

“Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things. And the reason they were able to do that was that they’ve had more experiences or they have thought more about their experiences than other people. Unfortunately, that’s too rare a commodity. A lot of people in our industry haven’t had very diverse experiences. So they don’t have enough dots to connect, and they end up with very linear solutions without a broad perspective on the problem. The broader one’s understanding of the human experience, the better design we will have.” Steve Jobs, Wired, February, 1995

Sentimental rambling aside, as much as I love the lens I shot the above with, the 55mm f/1.2 Olympus Zuiko, I have decided to sell it and buy down into the more modest 50mm f/1.4 in the same series. Mostly because I feel as though I could spend that money better elsewhere. I know it seems like I never stop with the cameras and lenses and friends give me a hard time about it but I love to explore everything photography has to offer. I like taking digital photos but left it behind emotionally  for reasons I can’t quite put into words. Keeping up with digital photo tech just got old and when I realized my 5d was more than enough camera to satisfy my digital needs I stuck with it and put my curiosity elsewhere.

Film cameras and experimenting with them brings me so much more excitement and satisfaction that I can’t help but want to continue on exploring. This and I know readers love to hear about interesting new cameras and opinions on them and the only way to continue this is to keep trying new systems and reporting back to you.

Guest Desktop

Antelope Island

First of all, isn’t this a great photograph? I love the way the plant life in the front of the image gives a nice overall softness yet when your eyes are inevitably sucked inward to the buffalo there is a crisp sharpness. I’m jealous of this shot because it’s not one of my own. I wanted to kick off my guest desktop series with a great image and one has stuck in my mind for quite some time now which I found among a readers web site and knew I would eventually have to find an excuse to post it eventually. The photographer is Tim Sondrup of Utah. I am happy to share this lovely image with everyone and I hope for it to mark the begining of a great new series on 50ft. As you may have noticed, wallpaper posts which contain photos that are not my own will have a nice little tag to let you know that it is a guest image. I have asked Tim to share a few thoughts on the photograph, so without further adeu, I will hand this over to him.

“Antelope Island State Park, located on the Great Salt Lake in Utah, is a quick 20-minute drive from my house, and yet whenever I go there, I feel like I’ve stepped into a whole other realm. The island is beautiful, immense, and perhaps more than anything, quiet. In addition to antelope and other wildlife, the island is home to more than 500 free-roaming bison, which can usually be seen from the main road. Such was the case with this particular bison on the horizon. I saw a perfect photo opportunity, framed my subject, and pressed the shutter button.” – Tim (Shot with a Canon EOS 5D & Canon EF 50mm f/1.4)

You can see more of his work over on his website. Thanks so much for sharing this great image Tim!


Last week I had the urge to go out shooting so my brother and I took off chasing the sun as it sank lower into the sky. We found a couple of nice new spots to explore as we drove blindly down streets unfamiliar to either of us. The smaller the road became, the more interesting the surroundings. Sometimes it surprises me to discover how many places I have yet to discover within a city I have lived in for so very long. The spot where this photo was taken was in a field near the runway of an airport, overgrown with weeds and brush yet the whole place was glowing in the the light of the last five minutes of sun during the day. I love how delicate this one little piece of this bush was and the way it seemed to stretch so perfectly upward with its gentle curve. The wide aperture took this little wisp of a twig and gave it life. I love the ever so slight way that it drifts out of focus toward the top.

As the sun dipped below the horizon we started to head back and along the way discovered a great new spot to go relax at the end of the day. It may seem odd to some of you but it’s a new gas station that serves cheap food and has a few tables both outside and in. The nice thing about it is that the seating has this fantastic view. It sits right next to an airport field and faces west so you get this wonderful view of the sunet over the field. The thing that drew me to this place, however, was the fact that while I was there I had that unmistakeable feeling of being somewhere that does not at all remind me of home. That subtle high that I get while traveling places unfamiliar to me. I thirst for that feeling and it’s exciting to find it, even when it’s somewhere unexpected like while sitting at a random gas station overlooking an airport. I find great comfort within this kind of place and its a feling I cherish any time I manage to grab hold of it. These moments are easy to miss so keep an open mind and your eyes open because, at least in my experience, it can lead to a feeling of peace not often found otherwise in your daily life.

To whom it may concern,



• Enjoy the images! It’s a labor of love, thanks for your support!
• Share 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


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All of the images contained within this website,, 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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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 and give a credit to 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)