Crowd Sourcing

More, more, and even more shots from the photography goldmine known as Shibuya Crossing. It is quite entertaining to browse through my shots from this location. A lot of them are not fit for posting, but the expressions on random strangers faces will keep me from ever discarding the files into the bit shredder. When I am shooting, I never realize how many people glance at me with my camera then become extremely shy or timid and look down towards the ground or towards their side  with a big awkward smile. Sometimes I come across a pair of fashionistas that are eager to get themselves into a shot to hopefully one day be acknowledged for their chic taste in seasonal wardrobe.

 

The Lineup
So first you have the lineup between each succession of lights. This is were I begin my offensive planning and the other team begins their defensive posturing. I plot my victims and they plot their evasive actions, strategic placement behind others to block my view, and funny faces to be made.

 

Heightened Senses
My coach usually pulls up on his bike beside me and gives me some helpful advice, like pretending to take a picture of the street light above me, then quickly moving in for the capture kill when they least expect it. Thanks coach!

 

The Weave
Some of them are tricky and can generally work strategic placement to their advantage. This is when you have to bump up the ISO, open up that aperture, and “snipe the gaps” as coach likes to call it.

 

Conflicted?
Here is a perfect implementation of the photographer distracted by the street ligh.. not! technique. She never had a chance, caught out in the open.

 

Wind Through Her Hair
Yes, I see you back there running with ear muffs.. You have bested me with strategic placement behind random stranger, but random stranger has wind blowing through long flowing hair. I win this time!

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Xingping

Cruising down a windy road amongst huge karst limestone formations jutting out of the ground like stalagmites reaching hundreds of feet high. The bulging eyes of a chicken are staring straight at me as it is in an old lady’s iron-choke hold grip, possibly about to be cooked and served to me for my nightly meal, some of the best meals I am about to ever have. We are on our way to Xingping on a small, yet intimate bus. I will let the scenery speak for itself.

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From Xi’an we hopped on a 元320 one-way flight (roughly $193) to the South China city of Guilin. Our fellow passengers provided great entertainment. They are proof that using cell phones during takeoff, en-route, and landing will not cause a crash. I have also never seen people crawl over other passengers so they can get a better look out the window, but it was fun to watch! Once we arrived in Guilin airport we caught the shuttle into the city for 元25, which was about 20 minutes away. Make sure you get off at the bus stop, otherwise you’ll end up in some random place in the city. From the bus stop we caught a 元30 non-express bus into Yangshuo.

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Yangshuo had some pretty landscapes, but anything the town touched seemed to just ooze tourist trap in a real bad way. We rented bikes and rode out to Moon Hill which was very nice (and extremely humid), but after being pestered by super touts, we decided to head into Xingping for the remaining nights since we read it was nice and quite over there. Xingping was only a 元5.5 ride from Yangshuo bus station, which was a real bargain because it magically transported us back in time about 100 years.

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Xingping was an entirely different world, a special place that I kind of feel guilty divulging such a gem to the Internet. The streets and buildings looked ancient, but they were very well kept. In the evening, there wasn’t a single car, truck, or motorcycle; about as tranquil as a town can get. We stayed at This Old Place youth hostel. If you are around in the evening, grab a beer and your camera and head to the upstairs deck for one of the most amazing sunsets you will ever see.

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The owner was extremely nice, he even upgraded us for no reason after our first night. When it was raining, we spent time on the front porch facing the street sitting in rocking chairs, 55-200mm lens in hand watching the interesting passers by. For eats, head down one of the alleyway streets to This Old Place restaurant.. Try the sechuan beef in spicy oil… Some of the best and definitely the freshest food I have ever had. The Li River also happens to be a short walk down the street, although, I cannot recommend the raft cruises; slow, noisy, and loud. I would get a bike or hike along the banks instead for better views.

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After Xingping, we ended up back in Guilin to catch a bus for the rice fields of Ping’an, but that is for another post.

Heat Bokeh

A sad photographers story.. The wife and I headed out to the Takao Fire Walking Festival super early so we could get a front row view and hopefully some killer shots. We arrived 3 hours before the start and stood at our front row spot with patience.

Once the festival kicked off, the participants decided to line up right in front of us! It cut off me and my wife and about 6 other Japanese photographers from being able to get many shots. This is one of the few were I was lucky not to get a head or a should in the side of my shot.

Heat Bokeh