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Two way traffic ahead

By | New York City, Photography | No Comments

It’s late summer in New York. We are exiting the M train at the Dumbo stop and are headed for the pier. The afternoon light is soft and the air is placid, easy to breath. We brush past the throng of people, past the humid, piss-scented air and emerge under the cerebral sky overhead. There is a blithely tune playing in my head, syncopated, punctuated, deliberate.

My world is clearer as of late. It’s been a slow and steady process and I’m moving forward, present tense. In the past few months, I’ve gained some clarity of my place in the world: how to lead a deliberate, purposeful life, and to be more kind and observant of the world around me.

There is an economic principle known as Creative Destruction, sometimes referred to as Schumpeter’s gale (German: schöpferische Zerstörung), that describes the idea that when things are stagnant in a country—often economically—it takes a massive disruption of the existing order to improve things and promote growth. Think of it as though a forest, thickened and densely packed together so that no sun reaches the lower surfaces, and everything on the floor starts to rot, catches fire or some other disaster clears some space, and things can start to grow again. I could think of no better way to describe the last year and a half of my life as relating to this principle.

Indeed, almost two years ago a massive gale inundated my life and I am forced to slowly pick up the pieces. Naturally, some pieces are still there, and some others, less desirable, pieces are discarded. I like to think of life as a series of these events. As a result, my ideas are always in flux–I never stop growing, always refining. Though I look at my old self with chagrin, I recognize that it’s taken that part of my life to grow into who I am today. As Big Mama said, “Darling, forever is a long, long time, and time has a way of changing things.

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Into the faraway sky

By | Travel | No Comments

I’m driving east from Devonshire to St. George’s, where my host family stays. In mesmerizing hues, beyond the chimneys and lattice of palm trees, you can see the sun setting in the horizon, a golden disk aflame, stark contrast to the blood-orange water below. An ominous sign on any other day, any other location. In the distant, you can hear motorcycle pistons whirring as Bermudans set home for the day. A baby cries atop a balcony though I can’t pinpoint the location. The crickets’ chirrs echo. A cool breeze approaches. A father and son in a boat approaches the shore.

“Excuse me. What are those pylons?” I ask, pointing to the ominous structures that line the waterway.

The man, stocky, and probably in his 40s, replies in a cheerful tone. He explains that they used to be part of a railway project that would have spanned the entire island of Bermuda. Then came the automobile, the industrial revolution, it was no longer needed. The trains were sold back to England and the rails left to succumb to nature. Nowadays, you can actually hike the trail in a day, which I’d done. Not an easy task, but not impossible either.

I’m satisfied with his answer. We would spend several more minutes talking. My wide-eyed sense of wonder hangs in the air as we exchange a bit of backgrounds and stories. I explain to him that I was there on vacation from New York City. To be honest, I’m not quite sure what to tell you, about why I’m here. I know in the previous post, I relished the fact that I was finally free to travel. I have a good job with high pay. But this is a means, not an end, is it? Money provides me a means to travel, but to what end?

These days, I find myself in the motions, pushed forward by ephemeral motivations. I tell myself I would do these things for x, y, and z purposes, but would often find these change on a whim later on. Perhaps this is life? It’s as though my opinions and beliefs are in constant flux as I go about my daily lives. Always changing, always growing, always refining my ideas.

We say our goodbyes and I get back on my motorcycle, a dingy little single cylinder I had rented hours before from Oleander Cycles. Eighty bucks for a day. Not bad. It’s getting darker now so I flip the switch to my headlight. Houses in various pastel colours surround me, huddled together. Darkness continues to abate whatever light there was left. The crickets’ chirrs are getting ever louder. I will miss this place.

For my GoPro clips of this trip, click here: https://vimeo.com/100598444

The earthly aquarium

By | Life, Photography, Scuba diving | No Comments

This past weekend, I took a trip to Bermuda. I stayed at a cute little Airbnb place by the town of St. George’s to save money. It was the first time in my life that I have seen water that blue and clear, and the second time this year that I have been out of the country. I say that last part with a little chagrin as young professionals my age should travel more, see the world, and all that before mortgage and kids get a hold of you. Although, at the current trajectory of my life, I don’t think I will be heading down that path.

For the first three days, I booked dives with Dive Bermuda, a small shop located by Horsehoe Bay in Southampton. The dives were simple enough: show up at 8 AM, go out on a boat, gear up and sink to 60 feet of clear blue water. We spend 40+ minutes underwater in to look at cool wrecks and corals. As a beginner (I had just got my dive certification last month), I was eager but reserved. I stuck close o my buddy and divemasters. I bought a GoPro H3+ Black and red filters just for this trip. You can see the video above.

The underwater world is fascinating and few (relatively) humans ever get to experience. Here is my first and possibly of many more to come. Down here, you experience all the tingles and excitement of zielschmerz, the feeling of finally doing something that you only, until recently, dreamed about, as you look around. You see no politics, no religion, no hatred, just you, the popping and crackling noises of distant shipping lanes, and the rhythmic pulses of your regulator. It’s peaceful down here.

What’s next? I have my eyes set on Tulum’s underwater sulfur clouds and Belize’s Great Blue Hole.

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I’m usually not a clubbing person

By | Photography | No Comments

You’ll never find me in a club. Okay, I lied.  On Saturday night, I went to The Park in Meatpacking with some friends to celebrate a birthday.  Why you would want to do this, in a club, full dancefloor packed with inebriated strangers is beyond me.  I’d rather have a quiet evening over board games and scandalous stories.  But let’s not judge.

It did give me a unique opportunity to try out night club photography, which was exciting. As someone who is just starting out (and someone who works in the tech sector… more on this later), I view my interests in photography less of an artistic endeavour and more of technical problems to solve.  The lighting at The Park was unique: lots of warm glows from ambient lights among Victorian motifs.  Because it was so dark, a Speedlite is a must.  I start out at half a second exposure to get the background lights.  Without this long exposure, you’d never be able to fully capture the background.  But because of the long exposure, you really need steady hands.  And because people in clubs never like to stand in straight lines, you wouldn’t want to open up your aperture all the way.  I start out at F4 and decrease from there, depending the size of the group.

It was a fun night.  Looking forward to this week’s birthday at the Apple Restaurant and Bom Bar.

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Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind

By | New York City | One Comment

Yesterday, Haeinn and I decided to take a day trip out to see the Montauk Point Lighthouse.  It was an exceptionally clear day: the blue of the ocean hues and the pristine white of snow overpowered our senses (and my lenses).  We hiked a short distance around the base of a lighthouse but had to turn around because it was so cold.  I can’t wait for it to get warmer again.  I miss hiking so much.

How strange life is.  A year ago today, if you had came to me and told me I would get to experience all these things and more, I would at least call you crazy while I laugh.  Within a span of a year, I’ve picked up three new hobbies, made numerous friends, met countless people, and been on so many first dates.  I’ve changed careers, got raises, changed living space.  One of my biggest things is to never stop growing: personally, professionally.  Here’s to another crazy year.  Hmm, maybe I’ll take up hip-hop dancing.