600 Year Old Mountain Towns

So I decided that I should get out of the city for a while. With Lina at my side, we made a break for the long distance bus station on the west side of town. To my Saskatoon compatriots, this will not sound like a big undertaking, but in Beijing it meant a 10 minute cab ride to the subway and then 45 minutes on the subway. After we were at the bus station, we hopped on the 2.5 hour bus to Cuandixia.

Overall the town was pretty neat, but a little too touristy for my liking. A good way to get out of the crazed city of 22 million though. Sometimes this place can get to even the heartiest of city dwellers. I often daydream about moving to a small city or thinking about my days in Linping, my modest town of 300,000 last time I was in China. In the end though, I have a good life here.

No FaceBook and a Dead Laptop

Spring is here in full force. The wind is blowing the sand in from the Gobi, the flowers are blooming and the bees are out. It’s a good time to be in Beijing. However, I seriously miss the Middle East. I caught a few shows recently on places that I was and I have a strong desire to make another trip. Too bad my wallet and schedule won’t allow it.

FaceBook is officially dead for me. My VPN has been blocked by the PSB, so if you have been trying to get a hold of me through FB, e-mail me instead.

After 13 countries and close to 5 years, my trusty 12″ PowerBook G4 hard drive has finally given up. It is a struggle to type this update as the machine freezes when it tries to access corrupted sectors on the drive. Tomorrow should see the arrival of a new 13″ MacBook. 7500RMB that I would have liked to spend elsewhere…

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.

Photographers shooting photographers

Last weekend I took off with some friends to a village outside of Beijing for a weekend getaway. The net result was a weekend of bliss. Good food, good people, snowboarding, mountain climbing and taking pictures.

Granted, climbing a mountain and snowboarding after a night of drinking and only 4 hours of sleep nearly killed me, it did so in a good way.

I shot most of the weekend with my 50 1.8. I love that lens. I also shot a series of portraits with it recently that turned out fantastic out of the camera. I love the color rendition of it. Muted and unsaturated. Sure the build quality is crap, but the colors can’t be beat.

After 5 years, 13 countries and way too many pictures edited, I think my trusty laptop is starting to give up the ghost. The DVD drive died after a fall in Hong Kong, the Screen is getting pretty scratched and lately the USB ports are starting to act up and not work. Could be time for a new Macbook. But I dread spending that much cash when it could be going towards a new camera body…