Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Waon - 와온

As I sat in my seat on the 97 bus to Waon this afternoon, the old woman couldn't hide her surprise as she looked me over from head to toe a couple of times.  She had no way of knowing, I believe, that my blue jeans were flannel-lined, but she very well noticed that I was wearing my Teva sandals and a short sleeved shirt.  My Columbia winter coat was draped over my camera bag, which was on my lap during the trip to Waon.

I suppose I am a man of contradictions.

I traveled to Waon for two reasons:  1) To experience some solitude, and 2) To experiment with abstract compositions by taking a series of three shots of a subject using long exposure times.

Earlier in 2014, I documented how the residents were busy constructing new fisheries at Suncheon Bay.  

© Mark Eaton

I was surprised to see that two women were working on a barge by prepping bamboo poles to which the nets will be attached.  The work is never done for those who earn their keep by working the bay.

To read the story I mentioned above, visit this page here.  To view more photographs of the construction of a fishery, go to my website here.  Scroll down to the third gallery image, and then click on that gallery image to see the photographs.

By the way, I did experience some solitude, and I was able to take a few shots with the camera.  

On the way back to Suncheon from Waon, there was another old woman looking at me with some surprise also, but that was because I was singing not quite to myself during the bus ride.  Too, I may have chuckled a time or two because of some long ago memory.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Thanksgiving Holiday Rituals Along with an Abstract Photography Tip

As Thanksgiving holidays shake out, this one was nice.  Given the last minute decision making and planning that is part of the Korean persona, the Thanksgiving dinner held at the home where I am convalescing from surgery showed again what can be accomplished with a force of will and an ability to direct chaotic ant-like beings to the proper place at the proper time.  Relatively speaking.

I was the only expat in attendance.  Not too surprising since all of my expat friends in this area have moved on to other locales.  Plus, it was a last minute event, which can cause angst and  create general discombobulation among those whose lives are more orderly or regimented.  More pointedly, the back-stabbing knave from the American northwest was not mentioned once by any of the Koreans in attendance.  Handling a double edged sword unwisely or clumsily is not appropriate, especially when dealing with those who are friends.

Anyway, I was in charge of the turkey, the mashed potatoes, and the dinner rolls.

 Cooked Turkey
© Mark Eaton

Long ago I was taught that most people who read from left to right will view a photograph beginning at the upper left corner of an image.  The viewer will proceed downward diagonally, and will eventually be led to the lower left hand corner.  When I compose my abstract photography, I strive to keep this in mind.  In the image above, the tips of the turkey legs connect directly with the diagonal line flowing downward from the left so that the eyes are then moving downward diagonally to the lower left hand corner.  What I consider important to the composition is connected.  

Even with the muted periphery, there are several interesting points, interesting to me at least, that allows a viewer's eyes to sweep around the image.  At this point in my life, I instinctively compose my abstract work in this manner.  A guy can't even take a holiday photo without life's lessons influencing the outcome.  

A woman whose home has my photographs on her walls was photographing the turkey, too.  She stopped for a moment to look at what I was doing.  She then stood next to me to see what I was seeing.  I stepped back, and she proceeded to take my place.  She is as tall as I am, so her view was similar.  "Oh, I like this better.  Thank you, Mark," she said to me. 

Back to the dinner party.  There was a lot of conversation, and there was much laughter.  Apple pie, ice cream, and more food for those who still were hungry.  However, the meds, the discomfort of the body fighting constantly to heal itself, and the fact that I didn't take time to nap during the day all worked together to drain the energy from my tank.  I was told later that my face showed it.  I slipped away from the festivities to sit alone.   

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Air Quality in Jinan - A Photo Story

I had the good fortune to live in Jinan, which is the capital of Shandong Province in China.  Jinan is known as the City of Springs, because of its many freshwater springs as I recently discussed in a previous blog post here.  I learned quickly that the people who reside in Jinan are very friendly and very giving.  I was simply amazed by the hospitality and the kindness shown to me on any given day while I was out and about in the city.  Sure, there were the grumpy sour pusses, but they were few and far between.  

Unfortunately, my stay in Jinan was drastically cut short due to a medical emergency.  To make a long story bearable, or at least palatable, it was necessary for me to undergo emergency surgery in South Korea while I was vacationing in that country that I called home for many years.

I wasn't able to take many photographs during my too brief stay in China.  Some of the photos I did take showed the air quality in Jinan during the day.  Jinan has many industries, and the waste products released into the air heavily pollutes the air.  Even during a sunny day, the sky is ash gray.  Only occasionally did the sun shine through the pollution, and even then it was a dim orb that resembled a weak light bulb.  There was a distinct taste to the air also.  Prior to arriving in Jinan, I purchased a box of 3M 8210 Particulate Respirator masks, otherwise known as N95 masks, in anticipation of having to breathe the air while out in public.

I could gauge the quality of the air at any given time by visiting the Air Quality Index website that provides information about the air quality as well as the weather.  In fact, the site can provide the real time air quality index, or AQI, for just about any city.  To view the AQI of Jinan, click on the link here.  What is the AQI of your favorite city?

Photographing Jinan to specifically show the air quality was interesting for me.  But it was shocking to me, also.  Not too far from my home, there was a park that sits atop a mountain that allowed me to view my part of the city.  Up to a point.  As can be seen, visibility was greatly reduced because of the air pollution.

My Neighborhood
© Mark Eaton

A Sunny Day
© Mark Eaton

I didn't have to walk too far around my neighborhood to find some sort of industrial plant.

© Mark Eaton

While taking a long view of the canal in Jinan, it wasn't difficult to remember that quality of the air in the city.

Tour Boats
© Mark Eaton

Perhaps in the not too distant future I will be healthy enough to return to China.  There more pressing concern, however, is what those who are in power will do to try to restore China to its natural beauty.  Does the leadership have the will to make the changes necessary to substantially reduce pollution?  For the sake of the people who live there, I hope so.

To view more of my photographs of Jinan and the air quality of the city, please visit my website:  The Air We Breathe.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

2014 Christmas and Winter Holiday Deal

As fate would have it, I will be in South Korea this winter holiday season recuperating from surgery.  This will allow me to do my work with photography much more freely than if I were convalescing in China.  I miss China, but South Korea is the best place in the world for me to have my medical and dental needs taken care of. 

You know the old saying, "If life gives you lemons, then make lemonade."  So here it is:  Buyers and collectors who purchase any of my prints during November 2014 will receive a coffee mug that has one of my prints on the mug.

Three Mugs
© Mark Eaton

In the photograph above, the mug on the far right is my personal mug from which I consume all manner of liquids.  The other two mugs belong to a friend who was kind enough to let me photograph them for this special.

Please visit my photography website at Mark Eaton Photography to view my work.  By email, let me know the title of the print for pricing, size, and shipping details.  Let me know the title of the image you want printed on the mug.  In the event that an image is not available, I will let you know.
Each print will be printed on Epson using archival inks, and each print will be sprayed with a protective coating also.  I will send the print and the mug to you directly from the printer. 
I'm presenting this special at this time in order for everyone to avoid the mad crush of the Christmas and winter holiday season.  Thank you for your consideration.