Tag Archives: Adventure

Seoul and Shanghai with the Sony Xperia Z5

Every camera has its charm and does something better than another. One of the reasons I love to shoot with the Xperia Z5 (read my review here) is the wide angle. It is so perfect for architecture shots that fill up the frame. The series of images in this post were taken in Seoul and Shanghai in July and August of this year.

Shanghai (Sony Xperia Z5)

Shanghai (Sony Xperia Z5)

Two huge world cities. Seoul, for me, feels like the biggest city I have been in. I know Tokyo is probably bigger, but when I am there it gives me the sense of lots of small little towns centred around a train station. Seoul seems to just go on for ever and ever. Shanghai, the world’s most populated city, appeared quiet to us in August. I kept saying to my wife: “Where is everyone?” Sure, there were a lot of tourists around the tourist spots, but wandering around the city over the five days we were there, it did seem a little quiet.

Shanghai (Sony Xperia Z5)

Shanghai (Sony Xperia Z5)

I never will forget the absolute amazement we experienced as we ascended the escalator and came out on the circular walk way in the middle of those skyscrapers in Pudong. Wow! If you have seen the film Her, this is one of the locations they shot in. It is truly like time travelling.

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Shanghai (Sony Xperia Z5)

Shanghai (Sony Xperia Z5)

Shanghai (Sony Xperia Z5)

When you get to places like this you can end up with a pain in your neck as you tilt back as far as you can to take it all in, but you should not forget to look for other ways to see things. I loved the reflections of the skyscrapers in the rainy rooftops of cars.

Shanghai (Sony Xperia Z5)

Shanghai (Sony Xperia Z5)

Getting to see Shanghai from one of these skyscrapers is a sight to behold. We were lucky the day we were there as the forecasted rain never came and the view from the IFC building of Shanghai was quite good. We had been told that the queues to get up to the viewing floor would take about 40 minutes, but we were lucky, we got up in about 10. It was well worth the wait.

Shanghai (Sony Xperia Z5

Shanghai (Sony Xperia Z5)

However, this good weather was not to last and the forecasted rain did come. But hey, rain is just another opportunity to get shots. This one was taken through our hotel room window. You can see the Oriental Pearl Tower is obscured by the heavy and dark rain clouds. It was fun to watch the clouds pass and finally clear over this fabulous view.

Shanghai (Sony Xperia Z5)

Shanghai (Sony Xperia Z5)

A friend had suggested that a great place to get a view of the city was Hotel Indigo, and he was right. We got there just before sunset and the views were spectacular.

Shanghai (Sony Xperia Z5)

Shanghai (Sony Xperia Z5)

Shanghai (Sony Xperia Z5)

Shanghai (Sony Xperia Z5)

Seoul

I spent three days in sunny Seoul this August. Over the three days I walked over 50km in the blistering heat. And I loved it. Seoul is flat and relatively easy to navigate and if you do happen to get lost like I did, Koreans are so friendly and helpful. (Read my experience here.) I loved shooting wide with the Xperia in Seoul. It seemed so perfect.

Seoul (Sony Xperia Z5)

Seoul (Sony Xperia Z5)

Seoul (Sony Xperia Z5)

Seoul (Sony Xperia Z5)

One of the most amazing locations in Seoul is the wonderful Dongdaemun Design Plaza. This is one of the many must-see sights in Seoul. Designed by Zaha Hadid and Samoo, this futuristic structure is a sight to behold, and in 2015 was the most hashtagged location from Korea on Instagram.

Dongdaemun Design Plaza. (Sony Xperia Z5)

Dongdaemun Design Plaza. (Sony Xperia Z5)

Dongdaemun Design Plaza (Sony Xperia Z5)

Dongdaemun Design Plaza (Sony Xperia Z5)

 

 

Posted in Brendan Ó Sé. Brendan Ó Sé photography, photograph posts, Sony Xperia Z5, Street Photography Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Hong Kong and India with the Sony Xperia Z5

Been travelling around India for a few weeks and before that had a few days in Hong Kong. Shooting with the Sony Xperia Z5 is great for those wide angle shots.

Below you can see some photos from the iconic Victoria’s Peak in Hong Kong, Victoria Harbour, the magnificent Taj Mahal, the monasteries of Leh, in the Himalayas, and the stunning Pangong Lake on the India China border.

View of Victoria Harbour from The Peak, Hong Kong

View of Victoria Harbour from The Peak, Hong Kong

View of Victoria Harbour from The Peak, Hong Kong

View of Victoria Harbour from The Peak, Hong Kong

Taj Mahal, Agra, India

Taj Mahal, Agra, India

Leh, Ladakh

Leh, Ladakh

Leh, Ladakh

Leh, Ladakh

Pangong Lake, Ladakh

Pangong Lake, Ladakh

Pangong Lake. India China border

Pangong Lake. India China border

Pangong Lake, Ladadhkm (this lake borders India and China)

Pangong Lake, Ladadhkm (this lake borders India and China)

 

 

Posted in photograph posts, Sony Xperia Z5 Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Instagram

Instagram is great with numbers. It calculates how long has passed since you posted in minutes, hours, days and finally in weeks. My Instagram feed goes back 238 weeks, which can be more easily understood in 4 years and 6 months. That is a long time of regular posts and a long time swiping up to get to that first Instagram post to establish how long I have actually been using Instagram. There was a big broohaa about Instagram last week when it updated and allowed non-square images to be shared. This was a great update to what already is a fabulous platform for sharing photographs. But here’s an idea Instagram – why not give us a time option so we do not have to endlessly swipe up to see photographs we posted all those hundreds of weeks ago. Wouldn’t it make sense? Put a little calendar icon there for us and let us make that trip down memory lane without exhausting our poor thumbs.

My first-ever Instagram post (238 weeks ago)

My first-ever Instagram post (238 weeks ago)

Instagram, love it or hate it, there has been nothing like it in the history of photography. I could bore you with statistics, but doubt I really would. People love them. Me too. So here goes. Instagram has 300 million active users. 75 million use it every day. I am one of the 75 million. If you are reading my blog, which nearly always has to do with photography, you are probably one of them too. More men than women use Instagram and the second most instagrammed food is Sushi. Now to find the most instragrammed food; well, you will need to google that for yourself.

Here are some of my own statistics as of September 10, 2015. I have posted 2085 images. I have 1840 followers. I follow 266 people, and in the past week or so I have deleted more than 1500 of my photographs. I want, and will, delete many more. Why? Because Instagram is a photography cemetery. Who swipes up for that long to see what you posted 238 weeks ago. Really though, who counts time in weeks?

Despite the tiredness in the thumb, it was great to go back and revisit photographs. So many brought me right back to the moment of the shot – the associated sensation, the excitement,  and immediately I remembered if was I alone or with someone. I found it powerfully provocative swiping though those images; discarding and deleting so many, but some stopped me in my tracks and had me enthralled. In putting together this blog post I could have chosen from many images from hundreds of weeks gone by, but the ones below seem to represent my Instagram journey best.

Photographs of my kids are so special to me. I am very protective of their privacy and nearly all the shots I post of them are shot from behind. I think it is a combination of protection and preparation for when they will be independent of me. This is one of my all-time favourite photographs. One I commissioned a painter to paint and we have it large and framed on our living room wall. Their innocence and intrigue at the passing world outside the window forever captured.

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My children (204 weeks ago)

I was struck recently by this quote from Benjamin Disraeli: “Like all great travellers, I have seen more than I remember, and remember more than I have seen.”  At first, it seems like a contradiction and from that you begin to question it to understand it and then realise how true it is. It leads me to Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s quote about memories: “What matters in life is not what happens to you but what you remember and how you remember it.” 

Looking back over my Instagram images, which are in actual fact only fractions of a particular second, I find they can catapult me back in time to that very moment I shot them. Like this one shot on a rainy, humid day from the passenger’s front seat of a car travelling from Ha Long Bay back to Hanoi. I was listening to The New Yorker fiction podcast of Junot Diaz – How to date a brown girl. I can still hear the low tones of the voice. What should have been a 90-minute journey was taking over four hours. My two travel companions were asleep in the back seat and our driver and I shared smiles and nods as he had very little English and I had zero Vietnamese. Outside the rain fell and fell. The hypnotic windscreen wipers swept back and forth many times before I saw the photograph appear. When I did, I was so pleased. The image shows a fraction of a second of a four-hour journey but from it sparks so many recollections of friendship, fun and shared discovery.

Vietnam

Vietnam (177 weeks ago)

It was from this trip to Asia in 2012, that I really became a photographer and the reason being was that for the first time I had a camera with me all the time. In those five weeks in Asia I posted hundreds of images on Instagram from Hong Kong, Hanoi, Seoul, Daegu, Busan, Tokyo and Kyoto. It was so easy. The whole photographic process was made simple on the iPhone and Instagram: Shooting, editing and sharing all on one device. Back then my brother was in hospital for major surgery and Instagram allowed me to share my travels with him and take his mind off things a little. When I look back at those images now, the sense of distance I had from him was shortened with Instagram. It was hard being so far from home when he was so sick, but I knew he would want me to enjoy myself, and I did. It was wonderful to be able to share what I was experiencing with him on Instagram. Thankfully, he made a full recovery.

Busan (178 weeks ago)

Busan (178 weeks ago)

After having so much fun with the iPhone and Instagram in Asia, I decided that when we went for a short break in Barcelona later in the year that I would only use the iPhone. How freeing it was not to have the heavy DSLR and all those settings to manage. With the iPhone I was able to see and shoot and with Instagram edit and share. Perfect. It may be 159 weeks ago, but I would probably shoot this again exactly as I saw it back then. OK, I probably would straighten it.

Barcelona (159 weeks ago)

Barcelona (159 weeks ago)

With the iPhone I moved more into street photography. The camera, which was also a phone, which was also a music player, was perfect for candid street portraits. It allowed me to get in close without drawing too much attention, like in this shot.

Barcelona (159 weeks ago)

Barcelona (159 weeks ago)

How did the iPhone and Instagram help me to develop as a photographer? Well, I went from a situation where I would only take a camera out on occasion to having one always with me. Gone were the moments when you would see an image and curse the fact that you had no camera with you. The iPhone was always with me and because of that I was becoming more and more sensitive and alert to photographic opportunities. This image below is a great example of this. Here’s the story behind it. I was having an argument with my wife – as you do. Couples argue. We were at a function in Dublin and arguing over something silly that I cannot recall. While we were arguing these two cracks in the wall got my attention. The lines seemed in harmony and at the same time not. I was struck at how fixed and permanent they were; how distant, but always together. I got the shot and like always the first thing I did was to show it to my wife. That’s us, I said. She said nothing in reply, but gave me a look. We continued to argue for a little while after that, but I remember being very pleased that I had seen the shot and had got it.

Disagreement (120 weeks ago)

Disagreement (120 weeks ago)

Then there are ones of trees and how those trees need to cheer the fuck up. Sitting in a crowded hall at an education conference in Berlin my attention was drawn to the high glass windows and those trees that shivered in the cold and rain outside. I had not been in Berlin for 6 years. The last time I had been there I had a series of telephone calls that would change my life forever. As I sat lost in those thoughts, I was staring into the distance watching the rain run on the window and the trees shiver ever so gently a little beyond. I broke myself from that melancholy and photographed the scene.

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Berlin (144 weeks ago)

The pleasure we derive from journeys is perhaps dependent more on the mindset with which we travel than on the destination we travel to.”  (Alain De Botton)

Swiping down through the thousands of images I have posted to Instagram over the years, photographs from my travels dominate the stream. It is funny, but the ones that convey the sense of excitement most are shot in airports. Is there anywhere as exciting as an airport when you are about to head off on another great adventure? Although airports are never as exciting when you are making your way home.

Sometimes things just line up for you and you are compelled to see and shoot. This is one of those instances. I was on my way to Germany, via Amsterdam, queueing to board a plane in Cork airport and as we snailed along I saw the passengers embark at the far end of the plane. With the queue trundling along at no great pace, I had time to frame the shot.

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Cork Airport (126 weeks ago)

When I got to Amsterdam, I was snap-happy and shooting a lot with the iPhone. Airports are so often such magnificent examples of modern architecture and have so many elements a photographer looks for like great light and there probably is no other place where you can find so many people from so many cultures. For this image, I crouched down on the travelator and set up the shot. I shot a lot of images from this perspective as I waited for my connecting flight to Germany, much to the bewilderment (and sometime annoyance) of my fellow travellers.

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Amsterdam (126 weeks ago)

Instagram is much more than a photographic document of the past 238 weeks of my life. As I swipe down through the images I am drawn in and swept off to reacquaint myself with past adventures. I see my two children growing up. I see how I want to see and show and share the world around me. I see my photographic style emerge and evolve. I see me.

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Brendan (99 weeks ago)

Kiss the future!

Posted in iPhone, My own favourite photographs, photograph posts, Street Photography Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , |