Tourist in My Own Town

Blur -WP Photo Challenge

Blur… sometimes life moves so fast it is all a blur. If you try to capture it on film you lose focus. Last week we showed ephemeral (here and here); mine was lucky shots of a quick passing moment in focus. This week we are asked to show something in a blur. It could be purposely out of focus or accidentally out of focus with cool results. Usually I deleted such photos, but surprisingly I had a few tucked away.

Of course I had to show Willow. Many photos of her in a blur because she is always moving.

Willow in a blur

Willow in a blur

 

The next photo was an accident with the camera as it wouldn’t focus and was over exposed. Kinda cool effect of a busy alley way in Tianzifang.

Blur of Shanghai

soon Shanghai will only be a blur of memories

 

Lighted Pagoda

Lighted Pagoda

Last night we went out for dinner at this interesting restaurant. We go dropped off at the wrong location, but a happy accident since the view was great. As we waited for a ride to the correct location I snapped a few pictures of the lighted pagoda across this small lake. I purposely moved the camera to create blur and this cool effect.

Shanghai skyline

Shanghai skyline

The view of the Shanghai Skyline from our apartment is beautiful. I always pause and soak it all in because one day it will be a blur of memories. The clear sky with soft colours proved difficult to focus with the changing and flashing lights creating a blur.

Shanghai Totems of recycle piled high

Shanghai Totems of recycle piled high

Since we arrived 5 years ago we were stunned by the small motorised trikes piled high with things to be recycled. We always tried to get photos of them, but they move so quickly by the time you pull out a camera or smart phone they are gone. One night my husband spotted this one gaining on us as we sped by in a taxi. It is in such a blur that the bike and man is invisible. Something I am sure he would wish for in real life because the police have started to monitor these ‘totems’ and limit their height and movements.

I have kept some photos even though they are blurry because of the subject, memory or cool effect. What do you do with your blurry photos?

Stay tuned…

 

 

 

Categories: China, Tourist in My Own Town, Weekly Photo Challenge | Tags: , , , , , ,

Ephemeral -Shanghai Silly

Time and life is fleeting… As Ferris Bueller said “If you don’t stop and look around once and awhile – you will miss it.”  Our time in Shanghai has become ephemeral, fleeting and lasting for a short time. Sure it has been almost 5 years, but now we are down to months. Three more months. As I reflect and look around I try to soak up those sounds, smells and sights that I want to remember. What will I see and do for the last time? What do I want to hold onto? Counting down the days is bitter-sweet. I am excited to go home and start a new adventure, but want to savour the last days here too. Enjoy it while I can.

As you know there is always things in Shanghai that you may never see anywhere else. That awe and wonder is what made the little daily things fun. It kept us sane as we would laugh and say “Now that will make a good post!”. I didn’t want to lose that feeling, but after a few years many things became normal and part of the every day. Somethings still stood out and once I finally invested in a smart phone I was able to capture more of those fleeting moments that only could be seen to believed.

What do you notice about this picture?

What do you notice about this picture?

One day I was out walking and it was a beautiful sunny day. At the light we waited for it to turn green, so we could cross. A large truck did not advance when the light changed and as we stood waiting I realised the driver had his shoes off and feet on the dash. Ok…

I thought I had seen it all, but napping at the intersection coming off a major highway? NOW I have seen it all.

I thought I had seen it all, but napping at the intersection coming off a major highway? NOW I have seen it all.

as I crossed the street I noticed in fact he was sleeping at the intersection! Now that was worthy of going back and snapping a pic. Another Shanghai Silly, ephemeral…

What is the funniest thing you have seen at an intersection?

Stay tuned… and check out WP for other interpretations.

 

 

Categories: China, Chinese Adventures, Tourist in My Own Town, unique experiences, Weekly Photo Challenge | Tags: , , , , , ,

Spring Fresh

This week’s theme for WP is FRESH. I could use some fresh air… living in a large city which has issues with pollution it is something we all wish for. The thick smoggy air blocks out the clouds and blue skies, something most of us would take for granted. Due to smog, rain and fog over the last 7 weeks we have seen full on bright sun only 4-6 days. The less than fresh air has lead to another cold and sinus infection. Down right depressing.

As the saying goes April showers bring May flowers, where in Shanghai it must be February and March showers. The beautiful magnolia tree, outside my building, started to bud just the other day. I thought about capturing its progress and here is the first shot.

March 12th first buds. Spring is finally coming!

March 12th first buds. Spring is finally coming!

…..  6 days later you can tell what colour they will be. We just need some sun and warmth.

March 18th they are opening! Not long now.

March 18th they are opening! Not long now.

Finally temperatures started to rise and become seasonal. We have also had a longer winter and over the last 4-6 weeks below average temperatures. However, change is in the air. One day this past week we even peaked at 18c a few degrees  above normal. Finally! Look what it did!

March 20th after 2 warm days they have started to open, but today is a bit chilly. Happy to stay closed a little longer.

March 20th after 2 warm days they have started to open, but today is a bit chilly. Happy to stay closed a little longer.

Then today a glorious day with subtle sunshine, but 17c and I captured this. Full bloom. Fresh flowers and sunny days give me energy and lift my spirits. I am suddenly feeling re’freshed’ and have a ‘spring’ in my step.

March 22.... we did it.

March 22…. we did it.

What makes you feel energised?

Stay tuned….

 

Categories: China, Tourist in My Own Town, Weekly Photo Challenge | Tags: , , , , , ,

Walls -WP Photo Challenge

I could show you yet another photo of the Great Wall in China, but you have seen it from me before. Just look up at my banner 😉 Instead I want to show you a lesser known part of China -Tianzifang (pronounced tea-anne -zzz fawn). In the old French Concession part of Shanghai is a maze of little streets. Once a thriving neighbourhood with tightly compact brick buildings, narrow streets and low rise buildings. Areas like this are now rare, from the days of old, as they have been demolished to make way for steel and glass modern skyscrapers. However, this area remains and has turned into a little gem. It is popular with the locals and expats and any nice weather weekend the streets are jam packed. Many unique shops housing handicrafts, galleries with works for sale and restaurants make it a wonderful day out. It is fun to poke around in the little shops looking at leather-bound books, purses and amazing photos of China. Tired feet? Stop at one of the many restaurants with a variety of food tastes from Thai, Indian and local fares. Adventurous and have a quirky sense of humour then try the restaurant called Toilet.

Over Chinese Holiday this year I stayed in Shanghai. A few of us wandered the streets of Tianzifang and I captured some interesting photos which, happen to fit the WP theme WALLS this week.

This sign was interesting and I think it is about the holiday and maybe fireworks related? I did see other signs saying no fireworks. If anyone out there that can translate please leave a comment below on what the sign is saying.

 

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This wall was very unique with the little bottles of grass growing. Decoration? Salad or food toppings? What do you think?

20150226_122702

This last one was a little graffiti maybe…? It was too cute, so I snapped a quick pic.

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If you are in Shanghai, or planning a visit and want to check it out here is the information:

Tianzifang In Chinese Characters 田子坊 and pinyin: Tiánzǐfāng

泰康路210弄, Huangpu, Shanghai, China. In English the address is Lane 210, Taikang Road.

It is a fairly cheap taxi ride even from Pudong (30-40 RMB or $6-8) and the metro is right across the street in a large shopping mall.

 

Stay tuned…

Categories: China, Tourist in My Own Town, Weekly Photo Challenge | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Orange you glad… WP Photo Challenge

This week WP wants us to look at orange. They suggested using 3 photos to show orange as the main focus, or something tucked away in the background. My immediate thought was this incredible sunset I posted a few weeks back.

Citrus Shanghai Skyline

Citrus Shanghai Skyline

Michelle I also like to play with words and use alliteration 😉

Then there is Willow. Our cute 4 legged baby. She is gray with orange eyes… so unique.

Willow with her amber eyes.

Willow with her amber eyes.

Every other week I treat myself to a bouquet of flowers. They are pretty reasonable and smell divine. As the gray dull days of winter wind down I picked a sign of spring with these bright orange tulips.

Orange tulips -unedited

Orange tulips – unedited

I played with my photo editing program and enhanced it a bit too.

photo enhanced to show saturation of colour

photo enhanced to show saturation of colour

Orange is not a colour I am drawn too, but after this challenge I will be on the look out for it more. It is a happy colour that really lifts your spirits.

What is your favourite orange?

Stay tuned…

Categories: China, Tourist in My Own Town, Weekly Photo Challenge | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Rule of Thirds: WP photo challenge

Last week WP told us to look for symmetry, this week we are back to the usual photographic rule; the rule of thirds. When taking a photo photographers suggest visualising a grid dividing your image into thirds horizontally and vertically. Putting the focal point in one of those thirds, other than the centre, it provides visual interest.

Jen H. at word press not only suggested using the rule of thirds, but keeping the main subject in focus and the background blurred, or bokeh.

My first shot is rain drops on an evergreen tree.

cool summer rain

cool summer rain

This shot is one of my favourites of a dewy spiderweb.

glistening dew drops

glistening dew drops

Each shot fits the rule of thirds in different ways, however the background is blurred.What do you think?

Stay tuned…

Categories: Tourist in My Own Town, Weekly Photo Challenge | Tags: , , , , , ,

Depth -WP Photo Challenge

Depth… can be so many things.

Say something deep – full of meaning and inspire others.

Show depth as in something far away.

Depth – maybe an unreachable goal, or something to be working towards.

Can buildings show depth? A view from below looking way up over 100 floors high.

World Financial Tower and Jin Mao Tower, Shanghai

World Financial Tower , New Shanghai Tower and Jin Mao Tower, Shanghai

Maybe if your head is in the clouds 😉

Can a horizon show depth? Maybe if you are dreaming about what lays beyond, or are pondering your future.

Subtle Sunset

Subtle Sunset

I like how this simple photo seems panoramic in this light just as the sun was fading away.  It seems to show depth of the never-ending Shanghai skyline, with the contrast of light and shadow.

It is a little chilly this week in Shanghai and all these shivers have shaken out my creative prose. To see more be sure to head over to Word Press.

 

 

Categories: China, Photography, Tourist in My Own Town, Weekly Photo Challenge | Tags: , , , , ,

“A Little Polluted” -Shanghai Smog

The Shanghai Daily, a local newspaper, reported Shanghai weather January 25th as …a little polluted with temperatures reaching as high as 17c Saturday. I guess this is a new term to describe weather. It certainly has become part of my daily routine, check the weather and AQI before heading outside. Living in Shanghai over the last 5 years pollution has become more apparent. The first year we didn’t notice it much. The second year we found a few days uncomfortable and you could see it along the skyline. The third year we lived here levels became high where the sky looked an odd greenish grey. Being outside it irritated your eyes, nose and throat. Soon after our school started to report the levels to us and parents. If it is higher than 200 (pm2.5) children would be kept inside. The school also purchased air purifiers for the classrooms.

We started to see more bad air days and higher levels last year (2014). One day it reached a high well over 400, and some reports say closer to 500. Inside even with air purifiers at full speed a haze and acrid smelling air found its way into classrooms. This year we purchased an expensive air purifier for our apartment, despite us leaving in a few months. We decided our health was worth the expense.

The shot on the right shows a little blue sky…levels are around 200.

This weekend reports are saying Beijing, North of Shanghai (5 hours by speed train, few hours by plane) is unlivable due to the air quality. Beijing has always had the bad rap for air since it is in a valley and it is easier for the bad air to get trapped. Shanghai is now starting to see the problems Beijing has experienced, but without the same geography. The local government in Shanghai is trying to cut back on bad pollutants when winds are low and air quality indexes get high in hopes this will reduce the pollution levels in the city. Cleaner coal has been purchased, as coal is still a major producer of electricity here.

The shot of the right is zoomed in and you can just faintly make out the new Shanghai Tower.

My theory for bad air, around this time of year, is the holidays are soon approaching. Chinese New Year is the equivalent to our Christmas. Most businesses can shut for as long as 2 weeks, so workers can go home to celebrate with families. Shanghai has a large migrant community with people moving here to make larger wages or get work. My theory is there is an increase in production and manufacturing to make up for lost time. Is it possible to work over time, extra shifts and 24 hour rotations to stock pile products, so the world can keep on consuming? It may explain the sudden spike in higher levels. For example today at 8AM levels were low/normal for this time of year, around 140. The website I use to check classes that as “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups”. By noon is was around 170, or Unhealthy. As I started to write this post it was 220, or Very Unhealthy. The latest update now pegs us at 337 or Hazardous. Our air cleaner is pumping hard and not able to keep “blue” showing clean air.

Screen Shot of AQI Jan. 25, 2015

Screen Shot of AQI Jan. 25, 2015

Of course we can say China has a problem, but so did north America 30-40 years ago. What changed? Most industry moved here. What isn’t made in China? Something to ponder….

Stay tuned…

Categories: China, Tourist in My Own Town | Tags: , , , , , ,

Shanghai Sillies: Pack & Go

When we first arrived in Shanghai, nearly 5 years ago, we would stop and stare gob-smacked at these men on bikes piled high with all kinds of materials from wood, to plastic containers to Styrofoam. Our guess is they recycle it. What do you think they could be using all that Styrofoam for? Still it quite a sight with the balancing act they must have to perform to get it from A to B.

I never managed to catch the tallest piles on film (or digital media for you <30’s) then they became quite rare. A local person told me the police had started to crack down on such packing. Slowly over the last few months they started to pop up again.

Wide load

Wide load

 

This poor fellow pulled over to the side of a busy road as a passer-by helped tuck something back into place. The pause gave me enough time to get the camera ready to snap a few pics.

 

On the Road Again

On the Road Again

 

Have you see anything silly lately?

Stay tuned…

Categories: Chinese Adventures, strange adventures, Tourist in My Own Town, unique experiences | Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Twinkle: Weekly Photo Challenge

Its been awhile since I have participated. Not so long ago there wasn’t a week that would go by where I posted something. Now as I try to get back into the swing of things I searched the archives for a little twinkle, sparkle and light.

twinkle twinkle little star?

twinkle twinkle little star?

I avoided the obvious with the twinkling fairy lights of Christmas and came up with a bigger bang, if you will.

One of the colourful designs

One of the colourful designs

China has spoiled me on fireworks forever. Done. Finished. Nothing can compare…. EVER! The fireworks here are bright, fancy, intricate designs and patterns like you have never experienced. Shows are not a mere minutes long, but the longest I have seen was over an hour! During the October holiday 3 such shows will light up the night sky. All this right from our balcony and away from the crowds. The typical bangers and balls of light mingle and mix with happy faces, stars, Saturn and flower designs. Light rains down in a continuous fashion with only seconds and minutes in between the next oooohhhhh….. awwwwww….. The best I saw, and boy do I wish I had this on film, was a red accordion style design that poured down from the sky like an elephant trunk reaching down do get a drink. It was unbelievable and I thought I imagined it until someone else confirmed it was real. That was our first year here and each year I hope to witness it again, but no such luck 😦 Maybe one day…

Thanks WP for this week’s theme.

Stay tuned…

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