Monday, September 26, 2011

Would you rather try and die or die having not tried?

Got this in the mail early on in the week. It's Canon's Photo5 box. The idea is that you have five briefs, four of which have objects. You're meant to take a photo incorporating the object somehow. This year's objects are foam bubbles, powder, sequins and a ribbon. I'm pretty horrid at actually sticking on theme. Last year one of the objects was incense. I ended up burning my box. Needless to say, I didn't win.

Fellow work colleague. 7-11 was apparently having a deal where you bring in your own cup, so he decided to bring in the largest bucket he could find. I was sitting around late that evening trying to finish off some writing when I heard him disposing of what was left and moaning "My tummy is sloshing around and it's cold to the touch!" I never know what's going to happen next.

I need to just stop people and take their photo, I think. It would be better. I wish I'd walked a little bit further around to get him centred between the crosswalk lines. Looks like he's going somewhere in a rush. I worry that if I do stop people though, I'll get a whole series of photos of people flipping me the bird. Or looking confused. The Sartorialist, if you care to look him up, is pretty good at this. Problem is,  I don't think I've got quite the eye for fashion. I'd more likely stop someone because they were carrying a nice camera.

Very rarely, I'll see a line form at railway square for the bus. I think it's one of those things where if one person starts doing it, so too does everyone else. Usually it's all just a big mess. We're all just sheep in the  end. I wonder how many people it takes to form that tipping point though. Might be fun to do. I'd wander around the city with a few friends in tow, apparently unrelated, and start doing odd group things. Like looking at the sky. Or lining up to get into an empty restaurant. Genius! Wait, it's called a flash-mob, isn't it?

This is another gallery that is opening up around my place. There are a lot of galleries. None of them seem to do photos, and I'm not really into paintings. Call me uncultured. I just don't get it.

Seriously though, I live in one of the smallest suburbs in Sydney yet there's something like four galleries within walking distance, and those are only the ones I know about -- I'm sure there are more. It makes me wonder, who actually comes to these galleries?

Playing footsies with my friend. I felt bad stomping on this face. Maybe I should start a sock-line. One that has messages on the bottom of them, but that no one knows is there except the wearer. You'd be walking around on that message all day. "Yeah, I'm a bad-ass!" Or maybe pictures of kittens for those that feel the need to step on kittens all day. You bastards.

I like ciders. I'm a featherweight, you see. I used to think Strongbow was the ordinary fare, then I migrated to Monteiths, which was pretty nice. Along came Bulmers, which for some reason I can never remember the taste of, possibly because I keep drinking it, and now there's this... resk.. Reskorderlig..? I actually took the picture because I couldn't figure out how to spell the damn thing.

Cider that tastes like strawberries. Not unheard of, but this stuff tastes nice. Probably not something to drink with the boys. For that, I'll continue to stick to my fave -- Scotch and dry.

The unimpressed guy in the background? My old housemate back in my uni days. Deathly allergic to alcohol. I used to work in a bar and come back for a drink. Sort of like writing for a living and then coming home to blog... wait a second.

My mate's significant other decided to bake us a cake. Somehow my mate bought dessert cream rather than cream cheese. They both have the same damn label. I'm often amazed at the "survival" skills the modern man has. Why the hell do I know the difference between a spreadable and butter? Cafe-style raisin toast and regular? What's a duvet? Why does everyone know the name Tyler Durden?

Anyway, it was a cake that ended up like ice cream. I'm not even sure how that works. 

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Failing isn't bad, so you may as well try to do it spectacularly

I'm typing this up on a plane at the moment, with the hope to have it all done and dusted some time on the weekend when I finally have a moment.

I've spent half the week in Japan. It's just three days, but I've been shooting quite a bit.

Mr Puddles decided that he wanted to come along. I tried to convince him otherwise, but he wouldn't really listen. 

Usually I take a picture of my hotel room desk and post it somewhere saying it's my desk for the week. However, nothing could be further from the truth this time. I spent maybe an hour at this desk while all of my work was actually done while in transit around Japan.
I travelled from Osaka to Kobe, back to Osaka, then via the Shinkansen to Tokyo over the course of three days (one of which was taken up by a 9 hour flight). As I type this, it's on my return flight home. When I get there, I'll be straight into photography work again.

So my desk for the week? It's really a bus/plane/train seat.

In the toilet, "This paper has been recycled from used milk cartons collected by our hotel staff". As I sat on the loo, I had to grin. I imagined earnest workers scouring the streets for discarded milk cartons for their precious customers' bottoms. 

But their toilets? I'm already missing it. Seriously. Best toilets ever. Spraying your bum after going to the loo should be a feature in every toilet. So clean. Okay, that's now too much information.

We were staying very close to Osaka castle, so on the second morning I got up early and hiked out there. On the ground level of the castle, possibly hundreds of people gather and exercise. It doesn't look like Tai Chi, but whatever it is, it's pretty cool to watch.

It's a really peaceful place. I'd like to come back one day, but I don't know about visiting Osaka. It seems a lot like an industrial place from the way in from the airport. I have been told however that it had the largest underground shopping complex in the world. I didn't get to see it, but that might be interesting to visit.

A closer view of the castle. I had a bit of a problem encountering Japanese people while I was there. I don't speak Japanese, although I understand a few words. However, looking Asian means that Japanese people often mistake me for one of them. I've been given forms in Japanese and relayed instructions in Japanese. I'm really quite confused sometimes.

Looking out across Osaka in the morning. I thought Osaka was big, but Tokyo puts it to shame. I went to Ginza and Akihabara, but didn't get much of a chance to look around. 

The Shinkansen to get there is seriously fast. It feels like you should be lifting off, but you never do. I didn't get much of a chance to look out the window since I was writing the whole time. A bit of a shame because I would have liked to see what the countryside was like. Perhaps next time.

Apparently inspired by the Kingfisher bird due to its aerodynamic shape. Sort of reminds me of the Concorde. 

I forget the name of this building, but it's essentially just full of electronic goods. Completely full. It's near Akiba station and the area itself is just full of super geek. I'd really like to visit again. Anime and manga aren't really my thing anymore, but it's still amazing what is around.

So, of course, obligatory shot of me doing Japan… like a Boss.

It's actually iced coffee, sold out of a vending machine that sometimes has Tommy Lee Jones' head on it. There are so many vending machines. I wish that we had that many in Sydney.

But just as quickly as I had landed, we were leaving. Tokyo is a beautiful city, one I'd love to visit again. I had put my travels off for so long that it had gotten to the point where I really didn't care anymore.

They say that travel experiences can change people. I think I understand what that means now. Several times I wondered if I would be happier living in Japan, and I seriously thought of re-learning Japanese for the next time I visit.

So, while it's not Sydney, I hope the abundance of photos makes up for it.

I'm also heading straight to Sydney's Animania Festival after I land, and I'll add some of those photos next week. I did say that I have very little time to myself.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Sometimes it's not what you do in life, but how hard you tried

It's been a week of returning to normality, with Queensland out of the way. The sun has been sticking around for longer each evening, meaning I'll soon have very little excuse to not shoot during the walk home from work. I should make a detour at least once a week, just to see what else I can discover.

I'm not sure when this appeared, but it's awesome. It's made out of post-its. Reminds me of that office romance video that was all about post-its. Also reminds me of giant post-its that were used for project planning. Funnily enough, my stack of post-its on my desk have vanished. Bummer.

We have our priorities right at work. We throw out food to make room for beer. PPDD = Pre-pay day drinks. That's right, we spend our money before we get it! I'm becoming increasingly aware that my alcohol intake has skyrocketed since beginning work here.

Stuck in traffic, but always with something good to look at. I visited my possible future in-laws on the weekend and was fed well. It was a very chilly day though, especially once the sun disappeared.

I was helping a friend clear out his house on Sunday and he decided to toss this office chair. So now it sits just outside his apartment's intercom for anyone to come along and sit on. Rather random, it is. I think that's also the first pic of me on this blog.

Sunday night in with the boys. We're horribly unhealthy. Beers, pizza and the F1 on the big screen. What a race. Huge crash on turn 1 right after Alonso gutsily slotted into the front of the pack, then Schumacher blocked Hamilton for about 25 laps. Michael Trollmacher, one of my mates said. 

For some reason we also had a Nerf blaster. Was playing with that in my happy, tipsy state until my hand started to get sore from firing it.

I've yet to pull off an interesting in-car shot. Perhaps the closest I've come is shooting out a window at a motorcyclist, but that's not really in-car. There's not really many options, it seems.

It's the mid-autumn moon festival also. I find it interesting that in many cases, people many miles apart can be looking at the same object in the sky. Then again, it's just a giant lump of rock in the sky, reflecting light from the sun. 

Monday, September 5, 2011

Humiliation is only when you fail to laugh at yourself

It's more like one in Sydney, six on the Gold Coast this week. I was there for work, so I'll be posting up some of the pics that I was shooting for work. They know how to party up there, for sure.

In the leafy back yard of a house in the inner-west suburb of Ashfield, we're celebrating Father's day. The Jess-dog is running around, doing the gardening, the kittens are sleeping under the bed in the house. We're all getting fat, fat, fat. I've been eating all week and I haven't been running due to a lack of time.

I feel like a pig. But a pretty happy one at that.

I love cars, but probably not as much as I used to. This here pic was actually taken under green fluros. I left some of the green in, but it often makes me wonder if others frown upon post processing? World Press Photos have corrections in them, so I don't feel bad correcting colour (which you need to do to RAW files anyway), and I never manipulate the pixels for editorial.

Ping pong. Unfortunately, I think this guy was way out of his league. They couldn't get a good match going, which would have been good to watch. One of the coolest things to watch is two pro ping-pong players going back and forth at it. Mesmerising, really.

This isn't my lighting. There was lighting set up already, but no one was taking any photos next to the car. In fact, no one was around when I took this pic. A bit sad since it was set up nicely.

Outside the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre. Boy did the event organisers know how to host a party. Food. Everywhere. Alcohol. Everywhere. Games consoles, go karts, stand-up comedy, ball sports, free swag. It was a pretty hectic week for me, being thrown in probably over my head in my current position, but it was certainly a case of work hard, play hard.

My desk for the week. The hotel was listed as five star, but I've been in lower rated places that are nicer. Which makes me wonder, who gives out these ratings anyway? Not that I'm complaining -- I love staying in hotels -- but half the time the ratings aren't comparable. First world problems, anyone?

The Gold Coast is beautiful. Or so I figure. I didn't get a chance to visit the beach. Or the shops even. I think it's somewhere I'll have to visit again on my own time. I really do miss the travel.