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Chuncui, beautiful Chinese models and incredible portraits

April 20th, 2012 17 comments

(credit: chuncui.net)

In photography, you learn a lot by looking at pictures others have taken. So, today, while browsing Xinhua’s photo section I was struck by some featured images, which lead me to the company, 纯粹视觉婚纱摄影机构 (Pureness Vision Photography Agency). There I saw many more amazing portraits. I took liberty in assembling some to share here, while hoping they won’t mind in exchange some publicity on this blog. People visiting China on vacation may consider such a company part of their trip, because elsewhere such quality would likely command 3x the price. Click on image to see a slideshow of what I pulled.

San Francisco and Golden Gate Bridge

February 20th, 2012 2 comments

I had an opportunity to visit the Sausalito vista point at the Golden Gate Bridge couple of days ago. More than anything, I was hoping to capture an image of a giant COSCO container ship as it enters the bay beneath the bridge. No such luck. Below are couple of landscapes taken under harsh early afternoon sun. San Francisco has 170k+ Chinese Americans, and percentage-wise, they comprise 21% of the make-up, the highest of all U.S. cities with significant Chinese population.

San Francisco Bay (click for larger view)


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Daffodils

February 11th, 2012 12 comments

Some daffodils I planted few months ago are in full bloom now. Not really raining today, but spraying water on the flower gives it more interest. I’ve been struck how beautiful these flowers are.
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Categories: Environment, Photos Tags:

Jun Lu Performing Arts, “龙的传人”

December 20th, 2011 1 comment

I was invited to Jun Lu Performing Arts as a guest photographer for their year-end performance at Santa Clara University’s Mayer Theatre this past Sunday. It was titled, “龙的传人.” Jun Lu is an accomplished dancer, choreographer, and teacher. Her dancers brought cheers and thunderous applause from the audience. The theatre house manager at the end of the show commented this was the best dance show he has seen performed at Mayer. I’ll just say – I was dazzled. I kept wanting to put down my camera so I could take it all in!
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Li Na Wins French Open – Becomes First Asian Woman To Win a Grand Slam

June 4th, 2011 9 comments

Today Li Na Wins French Open – and in the process becomes First Asian Woman To Win a Grand Slam! Read more…

“We Chinese – 我们中国人” by M. Scott Brauer

May 20th, 2011 No comments

We Chinese – 我们中国人” by M. Scott Brauer is a glimpse into the minds of the ordinary Chinese. I personally like this form of street photography where the subjects are near where they live, work, or just happens to be. The image themselves give many clues to society. I enjoy this type of work too (see “Faces of Guilin“), and I know it takes genuine curiosity and friendship to win cooperation from the subjects. Brauer also asked what they thought about China and their future. Follow the link to see their responses. Read more…

Scenes from China

May 19th, 2011 4 comments

The Atlantic has a nice collection of recent China photos compiled from various sources. A picture is really worth a thousand words often times. I only have minor issues with some of the captions, but in all, the 48 shots give a strong sense of realism in a changing China. Actually, if the Western press wants to resort to ridiculous reporting such as the recent New York Times ‘jasmine ban,’ I’d prefer they just shut up and show the photographs. These pictures are going to add much more nuance and texture to the West’s understanding of China.

Scenes from China (the Atlantic)

Categories: Photos Tags:

A bit more texture in my recent trip to China

April 22nd, 2011 8 comments

This is the last sequence of photos I will be sharing to hopefully give a bit more texture about China. My family traveled to Guilin and Beijing for a bit over two weeks. We really enjoyed ourselves and were impressed with the pace of changes, especially in Beijing. I took the photo below while on the Li River heading towards Yangshuo. I was really wishing for a sunny day, but the outline of the surrounding mountains through the mist made that trip surreal.

On the Li River towards Yangshuo

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Great Wall, Bird Nest, and Water Cube

April 17th, 2011 5 comments

We took a day tour yesterday visiting the Great Wall at Badaling and then to the Olympics compound. In between, we’d also stopped by a wax museum featuring the Ming Dynasty period. While learning about the Ming, I noticed many important historic events taking place in and around Beijing. I really wished I had brushed up on my Chinese history before roaming around.

National Aquatics Center (aka Water Cube)


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An evening at Beijing’s Qianmen Dajie

April 15th, 2011 1 comment

Qianmen Gate


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Categories: culture, Photos Tags: , ,

Beijing Wangfujing under blue skies

April 14th, 2011 3 comments

(Click image to launch slideshow)

Categories: Photos Tags: ,

Visitors to Forbidden City

April 13th, 2011 3 comments

Obvioulsy, Forbidden City requires no introduction. My family spent the day there today. For now, I’d simply like to share photos I took of some visitors there. I have collected more QQ numbers, including from the parents of the two boys below. They are from Wenzhou, Zhejiang province. Couple of my college friends were from that area as well. I was glad to see many Chinese citizens visiting Beijing for the first time. In general, they are doing some sort of business and things are booming. The country is moving ‘up,’ and that is what I see in the Chinese travelers.

Two boys busy playing inside the Forbidden City


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Guilin culinary delights

April 12th, 2011 7 comments

If you visit China and end up eating at an average or below average restaurant, pretend the kitchen doesn’t exist. Do not venture back there. However, I was really happy to see this during lunch today. The restaurant exposes the kitchen to the full view of their patrons. I was told this restaurant chain is so popular, it has eight locations in Guilin.

Restaurant kitchen in Guilin

Restaurant kitchen in Guilin

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Categories: culture, Photos Tags: ,

A night cruise in Guilin

April 11th, 2011 1 comment

Yesterday we took a boat cruise from the Li River and meandered into a bunch of lakes in Guilin. The night scene is pretty amazing.  This tour is primary geared towards Chinese travelers.  Below are the riyue ta (sun-moon pagodas). Our hotel is just a block away.


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Faces of Guilin

April 9th, 2011 3 comments

Today, we spent the whole day at Guilin’s Qixing Gongyuan (Seven Star Park). Former U.S. President Bill Clinton visited this park and gave a speech on environmentalism there. Guilin is a Tier 2 city in southwestern China where growth is primarily driven by tourism. Locals and tourists from other parts of China frequent the park. In this post, I will be showing their faces.

The three year-old girl in the photo below left a very strong impression on me. Her parents operate some rides in the kid area of the park. All the workers in that area know and take turns watching her with her parents. She spends her Saturdays there enjoying kid rides for free.


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Categories: General, Photos Tags: ,

An evening at Zhang Yimou’s folk musical, “Impression Liu Sanjie”

April 7th, 2011 2 comments

Yesterday I had the good fortune of spending the evening at Zhang Yimou’s folk musical, “Impression Liu Sanjie.” The stage itself is on the Li River in Yangshuo with mountains in the backdrop. The visuals are breath-taking. If you are familiar with Zhang Yimou’s movies, you might know that the director is also famous for his use of color. It took 600+ performers to fill this massive “stage.” I don’t have much time to fill you in on the background at the moment, but would like to share with you some images I took during the show.

Zhang Yimou's folk musical, "Impression Liu Sanjie"

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清明节 (Qingming Festival), paying respect to the ancestors

April 5th, 2011 7 comments

April 5th is officially 清明节 (Qingming Festival). It is a Chinese tradition to pay respect to ancestors and make symbolic offerings so they have a better after-life. This tradition is accompanied by “扫墓” or sweeping of the tomb. Today, I was able to witness this tradition as practiced in Guilin with my wife’s side of the family.

Family in Guilin buying offerings to 扫墓 (Saomu)

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“Pupils take up books, pens, and hand-stoves”

January 7th, 2011 8 comments

I was really moved by the following images, from Hunan Province’s Chaping township where the region is hit by a severe cold storm. The images appeared today in China Daily, entitled, “Pupils take up books, pens, and hand-stoves.”


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Categories: economy, education, Photos Tags:

World Championships Volleyball: China vs. Japan

November 9th, 2010 2 comments

(left to right) China's Wang Yimei, Xue Ming and Li Juan celebrate (fivb.org)

The Chinese womens national team (中国女排) has had great successes throughout the years. They won the Gold Medal in the 2004 Olympics. That same team took Bronze in Beijing in 2008. The U.S. Silver Medal team of 2008 was coached by Chinese star player Lang Ping from the 1984 Olympics Gold Medal team. The current Chinese team is mostly of a newer generation, and they are competing in Japan in the 2010 World Championships.

I was very happy to be able to watch them play at Tokyo few days ago (picture above), in round two of the 2010 World Championships.
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Categories: News, Photos Tags: , ,

Aloha from the island of Kauai

October 24th, 2010 5 comments

Spirituality on Poipu Beach

Kauai is one of the most beautiful places on planet earth. I have just returned from a one week vacation on the island with my family. The vacation has given me a chance to step away from blogging and put a pause on every day life. You might begin to wonder how this post is going to relate to China. While on Kauai, a number of thoughts did occur to me. Before getting into that, I’d first like to share with you the wonders of this incredible place.

(You may click on any images on this post for an enlarged view.)

Above is a traveler meditating to sunset at Poipu Beach at the southern coast of Kauai. It is easy to imagine why such landscape or seascape draw all sorts of inspiration; romance, artistry, and, apparently spirituality. By the way, the woman in the picture is really beautiful. A thought to interrupt her to get a portraiture did cross my mind, but I decided otherwise.
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Map of World Population, Year 1AD, 1500AD, and 2000AD; and some questions.

September 15th, 2010 No comments

“The Worldmapper Team” has recently released some astonishing cartograms, illustrating various aspects of humanity on this planet. Cartograms are land maps usually with some demographic information expressed on them. Their maps are fascinating to look at, because they help expand our imagination and allow us to ask some profound questions without feeling silly. Of particular interest to me were the world population maps, and for reference, here is year 2000 (which should be familiar as India and China are the two largest populations):

Worldmapper Population Cartogram (Map 2) © Copyright SASI Group (University of Sheffield) and Mark Newman (University of Michigan). Sourced under Creative Commons License.

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On “Civil Disobedience” and commonality between Mohatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr.

July 9th, 2010 8 comments

Henry David Thoreau's Cabin Site next to Walden Pond

What’s common between Mohatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr? Henry David Thoreau. That’s because Gandhi’s successful non-violent struggle for Indian independence from the British and King’s successful non-violent civil rights struggle to free African Americans were deeply influenced by Thoreau, especially his essay, “Civil Disobedience.”

(How does this relate to China? Don’t worry. I’ll get to it soon enough.)

“Civil Disobedience,” published in 1849, “argues that people should not permit governments to overrule or atrophy their consciences, and that people have a duty to avoid allowing such acquiescence to enable the government to make them the agents of injustice. Thoreau was motivated in part by his disgust with slavery and the Mexican-American War.” (Wikipedia.org)
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India at the Shanghai World Expo 2010 and its significance in Sino – Indian Relations

June 10th, 2010 No comments

In the midst of the concrete and steel jungle that is the Shanghai World Expo, stands the Indian Pavilion, the ‘greenest’ of them all, built entirely of environment-friendly materials, showcasing India’s unique brand of Culture, History and Soft Power and offering an unprecedented opportunity to further improve Sino-Indian relations and India’s Soft Power in China.

The Expo has finally come to China. A largely forgotten event in most parts of the world, it has been rejuvenated, on a scale in which no other country could even dream of. A record number of 192 countries and 50 organizations have registered, the highest in the Expo’s history. Most people hadn’t even heard of the expo before it came to China.

The verdict is clear – The Expo needed China as much as China needed the Expo.

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陈海汶 (Chen HaiWen): Pictures of China’s 56 Ethnic Groups

March 22nd, 2010 2 comments

陈海汶 (Chen HaiWen) lead a team of 14 photographers, traveling over 100,000 km from 2008 through 2009, photographing all 56 ethnic groups making up China.  They took roughly 570,000 photos during this period.   It was a massive undertaking. Over 150 people, including historians and cultural experts worked with Chen to come up with the final compilation, “和谐中华——中国56个民族剪影” (“Harmonious China – Silhouette of China’s 56 Ethnic Groups”), officially released in the Shanghai Book Fair on August 18, 2009.


[Click on image to launch slideshow of the individual ethnic “family” portraits.]

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How a Chinese photographer sees Tiananmen Square

February 28th, 2010 5 comments

“Tiananmen Square” conjures up a great deal of negativity in the West about China, and most people in the West remembers it as the site for the 1989 protest. A picture is certainly worth a thousand words, and today, I’ve come across one taken by a personal friend, Ming, of Tiananmen Square (with his artistic photo retouching), where the place is functional, alive, and colorful. This image is a reminder for me that the Chinese people have largely “moved on” regarding Tiananmen, but most in the West are still stuck in 1989; a reminder of the gap in the view of the world between the Chinese and the West.

Categories: Opinion, Photos Tags:

【每日歌曲】中华大家庭 (the Big Chinese Family)

February 16th, 2010 39 comments

China has 56 ethnic groups. They include Russians, Mongols, Uyghurs, Koreans, and many others. Here is a modern Chinese take on all of them: 中华大家庭 (the Big Chinese Family). The lyrics actually enumerate the groups individually.

Categories: culture, music, Photos, video Tags: