My obsession with all things photographic

Posts tagged “hangzhou

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Canada Day

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Linping in Spring

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Here are some more from Spring 2014. Hangzhou and Linping. My backlog of developing, scanning and posting never seems to go away…


Tian Du Cheng – Hangzhou’s Paris

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Tian Du Cheng is a place that I like to visit every time that I am back in Hangzhou. Each time I go, it is a little more run down that the last. It was built just before I moved there in 2007. It was shiny and new. They had hoped that it would be a large tourist attraction and built it as such. Now it is a state of disrepair. The houses are empty, the parks are largely overrun, and people don’t really go.


November Holiday

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So I have a holiday in November thanks to the APEC summit in Beijing. I’ll be spending a week in Guilin and Yangzhou. I plan on taking my 4×5 camera and am quite excited to shoot some landscape. I don’t do enough of that.


Sick Pentax

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So my new pentax 67 has a bit of an issue. I took it to my Camera guy at WuKeSong, Hope he can get it all fixed up. I’d like to take it with my on my next trip to Hong Kong.

I am having all sorts of wanderlust recently. Heading to Vietnam for the October holiday exacerbated it. I really want to take another big trip. I will have to settle for my 24 days of annual holidays.


New and improved Website

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I have done a complete revamp of my website www.vancelester.com so i suggest you go and check it out.


In love with film

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It’s not a big surprise that I am in love with film. I have switched to 100% film. I did this a couple years ago when I sold my Canon L zooms. I am now left with an aged Canon 30D and 50mm 1.4 as my only digital gear, and that only gets used to digitize my large format negatives.

Many people go on and on about how film has more soul and is more real. They spend lots of time justifying why they shoot film. I will make it simple. I like the cameras. That is why I shoot film. I have two of my dream cameras. A Leica and a 4×5. To finish off my lot, I’ll probably add a panoramic camera in the near future. Something like a 6×12. The Chinese made cameras are a value and apparently quite well made.

The only down side is scanning. I am not a fan of that part. My current scanner can only do one strip of six images at a time. I really think its time to upgrade to the v750 so I can at least scan 4 strips at a time.

Once I do so, I’ll finally be able to get rid of that old Canon…


Back in Beijing

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These two shots are from Hangzhou in Spring Festival. Still working about 6 months behind on my editing and posting. Maybe I should post more to catch up again…

I just had a quick long weekend in Hong Kong. It reaffirmed my thoughts of loving that place. It was hot and humid and I sweated through my clothing and had to wash stuff in the hostel sink. Reminder for next time – two shirts per day, minimum!


Hangzhou

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I really love this city. Hangzhou is a great get away from Beijing. I have friends there, it has endless photo ops and the food is great. I still think that Hong Kong beats it, but Hangzhou will always have a place in my heart.


Tian Tian aka Emily

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This post was technically where my trip began. After leaving Beijing, I hoped on the train to Hangzhou to see Emily before flying out of Shanghai. It wasn’t a long trip, but I always enjoy my time in Linping and Hangzhou, the place where my love of China really began.

Emily is a large part of the reason why I grew to love China. She made that first year in Linping bearable. The place is not the most foreign friendly town, and even though I don’t think she realizes to what extent, but Emily helped me out greatly.

These days, I don’t get to see her as much as I’d like, but I am always thinking about her. The girl rocks.


The End of Saskatoon

This is the last of the color film from China. It was taken in Hangzhou and Linping during my last week there before coming to Canada. You will have to excuse the crap scans. I am stuck using my OLD Canon scanner with junk software. It just sort of auto-everythings the files. The end up over-contrasted and crappy looking.

Since coming back to Saskatoon, I have felt like an outsider. I am familiar with most places. I remember how to get almost everywhere. I recall people that I used to know. Yet I just don’t FEEL like I belong here. Everything is too open, too spread out, too insignificant. I am grateful for seeing my friends and family, but I am glad to be getting out of here next week. Toronto for a couple weeks and then back on the road. Just one bag and a camera. Bliss.


More National Day Vacation

Just finished a marathon session of scanning and this makes me feel great. Now I just have to tackle the backlog of film to process. Going to start on this tonight. I’ll be teaching recent film convert and friend Christopher how to process B&W. Without really trying too hard, I’ve converted him to a film shooter. He’s really going whole-hog and has pretty much dumped his digital gear.

On to the photos…

These were all shot with my Leica M2, and Summaron 35mm. Developed in D-76. The first two shots are Shanghai, the Bund to be specific. On the second, is the famous Pudong view. The place has been photographed to death, but it is still a cool view. Even with the new funky bottle opener building (Shanghai World Financial Center).

Photos #4 and #5 are in Hangzhou. They are taken from roughly the same place. Hangzhou is a good mix of traditional temples in the forests mixed in with city views. It’s easy to feel a country vibe even though you are so close to the city. This is one of the big draws for me. Growing up on the edge of Saskatoon meant that I was always less than five minutes from the country. Hello midnight Grasswood Esso races. Hangzhou feels like that to a degree, even though it is close to 8 million people. I just don’t feel that is Beijing. There are no forests to hide in.

The last shot is in Ningbo. It was near my hostel. Right on the lake, and it was one of the few beautiful places in the city. Overall, I wasn’t too big a fan of Ningbo. It was pretty dirty and felt very industrial.

Until next time.


Scanning. How I loath it. How key it is.

Here are the initial scans from my National Holiday trip. I went to Shanghai, Hangzhou, Linping and Ningbo for a couple of weeks. I took only the Leica and 35mm Summaron. I shot Ektar 100 for color. I love that stuff. I shot Tri-x and Neopan 400 for B&W.
The more I use the summaron with Ektar, the more I like it. Super retro feel to the shots. The lens is soft, muted and low contrast. The photos come out looking like they were shot decades ago.

Sorry for the dust on the pictures. Looks like I need to clean the ol scanner.


Cities Revisited, Friends reaquainted.

It took an airplane, high speed train and a bus, but I made it back to Linping to see some old friends. Spring Festival is finally over and another trip down. I traveled to Shanghai, Hangzhou and Linping. I ate lots of food, I shared some stories and had a generally rad time. This is but a sample of the pictures that I took while I was there.

I am tired.


So long 50mm f1.8 – Hello 50mm f1.4

So I broke down and got rid of my 50 f1.8. A friend wanted one and it was enough to convince me to pony up and get the 50 f1.4. The build quality is way above the f1.8. Not like the L series, but still pretty good.  The depth of field is razor thin at minimum focus, I can’t imagine what the f1.2 would be like.

Lina and I are going to be heading to Hangzhou in a month. I can’t wait to get back to my old stomping grounds for a week. I am not looking forward to traveling during Spring Festival however. China turns into a madhouse. Almost every person in the country will be trying to go home.


On My Mind

This is what has been on my mind lately. I want to go back. But do I go to Shanghai on Hangzhou? Benefits to both, cons to both as well.


Last Days


Christopher and Emily and I went out for Korean food. That stuff is really good!
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All of those lights in the sky are lanterns. There were thousands of them.
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Street vendor near the train overpass during Lantern festival.
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This was People Square in Linping during the Lantern Festival.
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So my final days in Linping are fast approaching. I’ve been wrapping up loose ends, cleaning and deciding where to go and what to do. I’ve said most of my goodbyes, gotten rid of a bunch of stuff and transferred my cash to my Canadian account. In a week, I’ll be hanging out with Clay and Amy in Hangzhou. No responsibilities. Just friends and good times ahead.

The country list looks like this…

China, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, India, Jordan, Israel, England and Canada.


Linping – A city divided


This is what I see many mornings, afternoons and nights. My neighbors like the fireworks… Just so you get a scale of how close this is to me, I shot this with a 16mm lens on a 30D. They are literally one building away.
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There are things here that continue to amaze me. Linping is a small city. When I say small, I mean area, there is no shortage of people. The thing that really makes me think is when I talk to people that have never been downtown. This is a factory town. As such, many employees live in the provided dorm apartments. Markets and small stores are everywhere so they have no NEED to leave their little comfort zone of the factory.

When I go downtown, 90% of the time I do not buy anything or have any reason to go there. I just go to explore. I have the need to see places that I have never been to. I have been like this as long as I can remember. Back on Adelaide Street, I would venture to the Exhibition and wander in the horse stables. Later when we moved to Clark Cr, I ventured past 8th street and found Doug’s Spoke N Sport. I came to China because I have never lived out of Canada, why take baby steps when my legs are long?

I guess the point of this post is just to let people know that the world is a big place, explore it. Even if it is your own city. Go to that market in the ethnic part of town. Check out the industrial area. Just got out of your apartment complex.

Lan, If you happen to read this, fire me off an e-mail.


Dragon Boat 2008



This past Sunday was the Dragon Boat Festival in China. Unlike Saskatoon, this festival means a day off and mass festivities. I went to Xixi Wetland to check out the action. The amount of people that were there was simple nuts. Unlike in Saskatoon, where there is ample wide open shore to watch from, Xixi has trees, small paths and other obstacles to viewing and taking pictures. Also, check out the media circus. I have never been in a scrum quite like that before. My one saving grace was that I was taller than most other people there.

The coolest thing, was after taking pictures for a few hours, I went to a small village where I was invited to paddle one of the boats! I jumped at the invitation. Part of the boating is docking at various houses to take offerings of rice and money. They then light off fireworks and you continue on.

The fireworks, however, are not the simple roman candles that you buy at truck stops in Canada. These are the 1/4 sticks of dynamite that crazy Americans use to blow up barns. At one point, one came quite close to the boat and we all ducked as it zipped past out heads, mere inches from one guy, just before it exploded.

Despite the intensely polluted water, I got completely soaked and had a killer time. I can’t wait for next year…


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I just had a eureka moment. Yesterday I was in Hangzhou, I was walking to the bus station, I walked past a group of a few hundred office workers all outside a tall office building looking up. I assumed a fire alarm hence the evacuation.

NOW I realize that it was the earthquake.

I now know where I was when the ground was shaking. I was walking down Jiefang road with my new National Geographic.


My appology


This is a common site these days. People taking pictures. Myself included.
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A friend, Liz, poses for a picture as I showed her around the park.
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For everyone that has contacted me recently and not gotten a reply, I am sorry. I am working on replying to everyone that contacts me, but you see, it is spring. The general attitude in the area has become laissez faire. Not in the governmental sense, it is still as communist Red as ever, but in the sense that everyone seems to be not caring as much. About life in general. More people are getting out and about enjoying the heat.

For instance, I spent three hours at People Square today. I spent some time reading The Fall of Baghdad. I also spent some time sleeping under a tree. I think it is the heat. With the temperature hitting 30 degrees, people are feeling lethargic, myself included.

A short distance away from me sat a couple, lovers I would guess. The girl said something and the boy replied. Not liking what she heard, the girl screamed, threw the boys shirt in a pond and then stormed off. The boys reaction? None. He didn’t move. He just continued to lay on the grass for the next hour.

The whole city seems to be like to boy. It is a laid back feel. I will ride it until the end.


My City – Yuhang/Linping


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This is a street market that opens up every night, but during the day it is just a regular crazy Chinese street. If you are a local, it is a great place to buy bootleg clothes and DVD’s.
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The city is full of crazy canals. They are everywhere. I am sure that they are full of pollution though. I never see anyone in boats like Venice.
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The city is also full of monuments and other large granite artwork. Makes for pretty cool scenery at night.
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I know it sounds crazy seeing as how I just got here and all, but I am already planning my return to Saskatoon in a year. You see, I found this thing called the Trans-Siberian rail line. Basically, it travels from Beijing to Moscow in 14 days. I think that would be a hell of a trip. Take that and then catch a bus or 6 to somewhere near England, fly into England, hang with Jim and tony for a few days and then fly back to Canada. If anyone wants to come, just let me know in the next 11 months.


NDS – The neverending search

So I have been on a quest to find a Nintendo DS in Yuhang. In Shanghai they are sold on EVERY street corner. Heck, there was a stall next to my hotel that had hundreds of them, and any game you could think of. Here in Yuhang, for the life of me, I have yet to see any sort of video game. I even went to the soulless wal-have-everything-mart. No dice. Amazon will not ship video games out of Canada. Plus I don’t want to wait 4 to 8 weeks for one. I need my Pokemon fix dammit.