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Thursday, March 29, 2007

Hard at play...

My buddy, George, was on the same trip I was in China last week, and he sent these images of me on our photo safari. It's funny to see yourself on the other side of the lens sometimes. For me, it reaffirms why I prefer to be a photographer, not a photographee... interesting how some photographers - myself included - feel out of their element when you put them in front of the lens.

Stay tuned... I should have the China image gallery/slideshow up this this weekend if not sooner.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Hidden Gem

There's a church close to where I live that has a couple great spots tucked away that are very peaceful. I took Zoe for a walk this evening and decided to bring my camera with me and grab some images of this little stream that runs through the property. I love the look of the water in these images. The stream leads to a pond in a wooded area behind the church that has a small peninsula that holds a stone cross. Very serene and beautiful as the sun sets.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Children See

My friend, Tina, sent me this video today. It's a very powerful reminder of the importance of walking the walk to have a positive impact on children.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Cool Spot

I was in a cab on the way back to the airport in Shanghai yesterday when I looked out the window and saw this passenger soakin' up some rays in the car next to us.

Flying the Friendlier Skies

I just got home after a little over a week in China. I love flying some of the airlines in the Far East because the flight crews are generally ridiculously nice to you and go out of their way to make you feel welcome. In many cases the cabins & seats are more comfortable, have more amenities and are just better looking, too.

Don't get me wrong, I'm speaking in generalities here - there are a couple airlines in Asia that could certainly give their US counterparts a run for the money when it comes to lack of customer appreciation and/or inefficiency. On the whole, though, most Asian airlines could teach some of the US airlines a thing or three about customer service and comfort. To be fair, I fly primarily one carrier here in the US [ not naming names, but they are based in the Dallas-Fort Worth area ], so my benchmark here in the States may not be exactly representative, but I suspect it's not far off.

On the way home I flew All Nippon Airways (ANA) for the leg from Shanghai to Tokyo, and it was great. The friendliness of the crew aside, the seats were amazing. You could adjust them to about 73 possible positions including an 180 degree recline for sleeping, but the best part was they had a lumbar massage feature built in!

In addition, there were several other simple but awesome design features (mirrors in over head bins to make sure you got everything, built in privacy dividers, individual adjustable snake lights in each seat for reading without lighting up your neighbors seats, built in steps for reaching items in overhead bins, etc) that let you know they 'get' air travel from a customer's perspective. If I did have one thing to put in their suggestion box, it would be to make the leg rest extensions just a little bit longer... apparently I must be in the 95th percentile for height of average travelers in the Far East. All things considered, though, ANA rocks! I hope you're taking notes, American.

Oops... I'm not naming names.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Made in China

If you use it, whatever it is, chances are it's made in China or could be soon. This place really is ground zero for all things electronic (and non-electronic for that matter).

I don't think most people ever stop for a second and think about where the latest widget they bought at Best Buy came from. It's a mind-boggling thing sometimes to contemplate how all the processes, materials, timing and sometimes serendipity come together just to make one of the hundreds of products we 'think' are essential to our every day. We are undoubtedly a throw-away society, gladly tossing out the (not so) old for the latest and greatest that big companies would have us believe we can't do without. I think if people saw the processes and the people that make this happen, they might - at least for a second - have a little more appreciation for all that goes into making the products that make our lives better.

I have had the good fortune of being able to see some of the behind the scenes efforts involved in manufacturing a product in China. Last Friday I was able again to witness a few of the steps in manufacturing a graphing calculator that millions of math and science students use in the classroom every day. It's a very cool thing to see.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Where in the world?... [ part I ]

Several of you have graciously pretended to miss me and asked where I've been the last week and a half. Assuming my 8th grade World Geography memory hasn't completely rusted (a distinct possibility), at the moment I'm about as far away from home as I can get here in China. I'm specifically in Shanghai, and it is truly one of the most amazing cities I've ever experienced.

It's fascinating to me to see the extremes you can find here in Shanghai. Affluence and technological supremacy coexists with some of the most dire living conditions we as Americans can imagine. You can go from 1st world to 3rd world environments in a matter of blocks.

I'm headed home tomorrow, and I plan to put together a slide show of the images I've photographed on this trip. There are so many things I could've photographed that I just didn't have time for, so I tried to narrow my focus to a theme. This time I chose to focus on raw every day life here in Shanghai and some of the surrounding country. That is still such a broad canvas that I haven't even come close to capturing a fraction of all that makes up that chapter.

Check back soon to see the slide show. After being blessed enough to photograph the amazing people that make up the backbone of this culture, I can't help but feel humbled and even sometimes guilty by how well we live in the US. I hope this helps to remind me not to take all that God has given me for granted.

To be continued...

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Cheap Therapy...

Here's a few gratuitous images of my therapist, little Zoe girl. She's the greatest pick-me-up after a long day, and unlike some of the kiddos who see me coming with a camera, she's always happy to see me.

I've read some articles with statistics showing people that have dogs live longer than those who don't. Count me in as a believer... there's nothing this girl can't cure.


I'm currently half way around the world and unable to watch the NCAA college basketball tournament on TV in China, but I bleed scarlet and gray no matter where I am. Truth be told I'm much more of an OSU football fanatic, but as a proud alumnus and lifelong member of the Buckeye Nation, I'm more than happy to jump on the Ohio State basketball bandwagon now that they're the #1 seed in the tournament.

I know, I know... being the #1 seed at the start of the tournament is certainly no precursor of things to come [insert any number of stories here about the OSU football team ranked #1 all year only to be embarrassed in that depressing debacle against Florida in the national championship game], but given the choice, I'd rather be ranked #1 than not. Besides, it's much easier to talk trash to your friends when your team's on top. Now I'm just hoping they don't bow out ungraciously in a "one for the ages" upset to a no-name Cinderella school in the 1st round. Not this year.

Go Bucks!

... I-O!

Friday, March 9, 2007


This week I 'm fortunate enough to be visiting Chicago for a few days for a conference. I don't think I could live here (call me more of a suburbian boy, plus it's just ridiculously cold in the winter), but I love all the fantastic architecture. I could easily spend a couple weeks here, though, and just have fun with a camera.

Unfortunately I don't have much time to play during this trip, but I did meet up with a friend from back home in Dallas for dinner at Devon's. It's a great seafood restaurant on the corner of Wabash and Chicago Ave., and I highly recommend it if you're in town and looking for a hip neighborhood eatery to try out.