Searching for the Miao Goddess

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It’s a funny thing, how these little things in life lead us to places. When I left china at the end of 2013, I forgot to exchange some of my Yuan bills (Chinese local currency). When I was traveling in China, we used to call them “Mao bills”… 20 mao, 50 mao, 100 mao due to the big Mao Zedong portrait on them. As I was struggling to find entertainment during the 12 hour flight, I started looking at the bills and that was the first time I noticed it, something I didn’t see before: every bill has a beautiful painting on it. each showing a different place in China. In a way, with these bills in your pocket, you carry a “piece of China” with you wherever you go.

Originally, these paintings were the inspiration for my 2014 photo project entitled “The Yin-Bou fishermen of China”. In January 2015 I decided to follow the bills once more. This time it was one of the smaller bills that got my attention and directed me to my next photo project – “The Miao Tribes”

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How Breaking the Ice Can Lead to Incredible Photos

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Asher Svidensky travelled to south China to photograph the Yin-Bou fishermen. Famous for using cormorants birds to fish, and located in a gorgeous setting, the fishermen are quite the attraction for any photographger.

After capturing the “right” and “pretty” images in the same location as every other photographer who goes there, Asher asked to move to another location to get better lighting.

The fisherman immediately refused stating that’s not how they do it, so how did Asher get them to change their mind and end up getting astonishing one-of-a-kind photos? Believe it or not, but with the then-viral ice bucket challenge.

You don’t need to drench yourself in water, however, and you’re not limited to trying it in China, so check out Asher’s story in the video below to see how it can help you become a better photographer.

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The Pros and Cons of using Cheap China Brand Lights

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My first ever off-camera flash was a Nikon sb-24 speedlight (1988), which I got. After a while I bought my first ever Nikon speedlight an sb-600 (it was around $250 back then). I was very happy with it until I wanted to get a studio strobe. There weren’t many choices to pick from here in the Philippines; its either you get one that cost around $300 per strobe or you can buy a “kit” with 3 off brand studio lights, light stands and softboxes for around $220. I got the latter.

(As a reference, a 400WS Broncolor Siros 400 which is one fine branded strobe – yet one of the cheaper branded strobes – will set you back $1000. A Cowboystudio 400WS strobe will only cost $150. A Square Perfect 400W/S strobe will only set you back a $100 or so. Those 3 are obviously not comparable strobe)

CHEAP doesn’t always mean bad, I have used these lights for more than 6 years now, and I want to share with you the pros and cons of using cheap off brand lights.

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Daredevil Climbs The Unfinished Skeleton Of The Tallest Building In China. ‘Aerial’ Photos Are Amazing

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I am not even sure how to tag this one. 26 years old Daredevil Keow Wee Loong snuck into the yet-to-be-finished Ping An International Finance Centre in Shenzhen, China. When it is complete, it will be the tallest building in China, and second tallest in the world at 660 meters. For now it is “just” a 660 meters tallest under-construction site in China. If you are thinking of pulling a similar stunt, know that it is not easy (and may not be legal):

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Faceless Portraits Of 4th Graders Offers Telling Look At Family Life For Children Around The World

All images ©judygelles

All images ©judygelles

While volunteering in a fourth grade reading class in the United States, Judy Gelles found many of the students couldn’t relate to the stories they were assigned to study. To help get the children more interested in reading, Gelles had the idea to ask each of the 9 and 10 year old students to tell her their own stories. Gelles took it upon herself to write down all of their individual stories before reading them back to the children.

Gelles was intrigued almost instantly by the touching, and often sorrowful stories the children would candidly explain. Already an established photographer, Gelles was driven to share the poignant memoirs of modern childhood the most impactful way that she could. Thus, Fourth Grade was born. A five year long photography project that would take Gelles to classrooms across the US, India, China, Korea, and England, meeting with fourth graders and asking them all the same three questions: [Read more…]

Dramatic Aerial Views Of Hong Kong Taken From A Chocolate Delivery Drone (Plus 5 Essential Flying Tips)

drones-eye-view1Admittedly, I’m not wild about the idea of “delivery drones”, but this video taken with one is pretty cool. The video condenses the 14-minute trip from Kowloon to Hong Kong into a 2-minute array of sweeping coastlines, dramatic cityscapes, and serene hillsides. While the drone did successfully deliver a chocolate bar, the real purpose of this flight was to bring attention to safe UAV flying habits, which the producers accomplished in the well thought out description of the video on it’s YouTube page. Definitely worth a read, but first, check out the clip: [Read more…]

Photographing Portraits, Lifestyle, And Counterfeit Fashion With A $9 Budget Per Shoot

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A lot of photographers dream of shooting high fashion and all the expensive couture that comes along with it. Unfortunately, unless you’re shooting specifically for a brand, that kind of budget just isn’t a reality for many photographers. Or is it?

Living in China, the leading manufacturer of shanzhai (i.e. imitation/pirated goods), photographer, Quentin Shih, wanted to undertake a project that would explore the everyday life of the individuals living in the small, poor towns at the forefront of the shanzhai industry. Thus, he started the “$9 Fashion For Photography” series. A collection of portraits for which he budgeted a measly 9 bucks to accessorize the models for each shoot.

“I want to create some humor using fake luxury goods, and the vivid color of these goods is also what interested me, but the fake stuff is not the whole topic I want to explore—young people, life, portraits are what I’m looking for in this project.”

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Stunning Photo Series “Stacked” Shows Bustling Hong Kong In A Different Light

peter_stewart_the_grid_hong_kongAfter picking up a camera for the first time in 2009, Peter Stewart wasted no time in assembling an impressive portfolio of images. Inspired by his travels and an urge to document them, Stewart quickly took to photography. In his series of photos, aptly titled “Stacked”, Stewart takes viewers on a captivating journey through public housing in Hong Kong–a city bursting at the seams with people.

Not your typical travel shots, Stewart’s eye focuses on symmetry and geometry topped off with a healthy dose of color theory. Primarily, Stewart shoots on digital, but says he has been experimenting with film and taking an interest in street photography, the latter of which is reflected in some of the images from Stacked.   [Read more…]

More Bad News for Nikon as China Orders the Company to Stop Selling the D600

Graphic by Maaz Khan

The Nikon D600 has to be a curse; it’s been causing too much trouble and more bad news is still coming in for the DSLR manufacturer. This time, that negative attention is coming straight from the likes of media giants like CNN Business after a China Central Television show aired an episode focusing on Nikon. The criticism and accusations voiced in it didn’t put Nikon under a spotlight; they placed the company on concrete under a magnifying glass on a hot summer day. [Read more…]