Tuesday, February 28, 2012

from a far shore...

Last summer, during the month I spent in Korea, I traveled from Seoul to the opposite coast--to the port of Sokcho, on the NE coast of the country. After spending several hours sitting on the bus, I was eager to walk around and explore--and one of the first photos I took is being featured this week on the homepage of the travel website afar.com

This little photo (taken with my iPhone) won last week's 'rendezvous'-theme competition, which means I'm a finalist in the competition for a trip to India! The full highlight is below, followed by a link with more information about the contest..

For more information about this afar.com travel photo/highlight contest, click on the link below:

if you scroll down on this week's afar.com homepage, you'll also see,
in the 'thumbnails' section, 
the middle photo in the bottom row:

See the photo of Seoul?
Here's the full posting...

Thursday, February 23, 2012

a link to Guanajuato...a sombrero-and-serape tomb

This week, on the homepage of the afar.com website, a photo I took in central Mexico a while back is featured as part of a 'highlight' slideshow:

From that link, you can go to the 'highlight:'


Thursday, February 16, 2012

planting a seed...

So I'm starting a new blog--in addition to this one--one of the estimated 175,000 created every day...why?

Because I couldn't find one out there that specialized in what the new blog is going to feature: 'snapseeded' photos.

Since getting the snapseed app a couple of months ago, I've been continuously amazed at the creative possibilities of photo-editing on my iPhone--at home, on the go, on my lunch-hour, or even while taking a stretching-break during a trail-run--I literally have a digital darkroom in the palm of my hand! And instead of being a one-trick wonder, snapseed allows the iPhoneographer/iPhotographer to do play with a whole range of powerful, creative editing.

I spent a good portion of last summer abroad, and I ended up with hundreds of snapshots on my iPhone, almost as many, in fact, as I took with my 'real' camera...As soon as I downloaded snapseed, I began to experiment with those travel photos...and then after a few weeks I began to e-mail some 'regular' photos, including old, scanned pics to my iPhone just so that I would be able to edit them with snapseed.

Whether I'm traveling elsewhere, or just in my home city, I'm always on the lookout for details and a sense of place. Proust's well-known statement, "the real voyage of discovery consists not [necessarily] in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes," is often in the back of my mind as I look around...and so I include a paraphrase of his quote in the new blog's title:
...'seeing with new eyes'--with a digital darkroom in the palm of your hand"

Random musings will continue here...'snapseeded photos' from now on, there.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

a French take on K-pop

In case you don't know what "K-pop" is, here is its Wikipedia definition"a musical genre consisting of Pop, dance, electropop, hip hop, rock, R&B and electronic music originating in South Korea.  In addition to music, K-pop has grown into a popular subculture among teenagers and young adults around the world, resulting in widespread interest in the fashion and style of Korean idol groups and singers."

I am not an apologist for this pop-music phenomenon. The genre is just not my thing.
And yet the phenomenon itself fascinates me.

(I really don't get the guys' hair...)

A French friend sent me this link to an article that was in this past weekend's LeMonde newspaper. Oui--the venerable LeMonde, the New York Times of France, if you will.
Who knew that K-pop was becoming such a trend in Europe?
A couple of excerpts, below, which I'll translate:

POURQUOI ÇA MARCHE ? Calibrée pour le "mainstream" (la culture dominante), la K-pop propose un univers sexy mais pas trash. Les jupes des filles sont courtes et les mèches des garçons travaillées, mais on ne se roule pas dans la boue en string comme dans certains clips de R'n'B américains. Bref, tout pour plaire aux ados sans choquer les parents.
L'expansion culturelle coréenne illustre le dynamisme du pays, passé en quelques décennies du sous-développement à l'ultramodernité et pointant aujourd'hui au quinzième rang mondial en termes de produit intérieur brut. Compétitivité économique, attractivité artistique... et taux de suicide record : si on aimait les formules toutes faites, on dirait que la Corée est le nouveau Japon. Un pays, en tout cas, avec lequel il faudra compter à l'heure où le centre de gravité du monde bascule vers l'Orient.

WHY IS IT WORKING? Calibrated for the mainstream, K-pop offers a sexy but non-trashy universe. The girls' skirts are short and the guys' hair is all done-up, but you're not rolling around in the mud in a g-string as in certain American R'n'B music videos. In short, everything to please the teenagers without shocking the parents.
Korean cultural expansion illustrate the dynamism of this country, which, in just a few short decades, has leaped from third-world to ultramodern, now poised to become the world's 15th largest economy in terms of GDP. Economic competitiveness, artistic attractivenes... along with a record suicide rate: if you like ready-made formulas, you might say that Korea is the new Japan. A country, at any rate, that is to be reckoned with at a time when the world's center of gravity is shifting to the East.

In one of my classes, I have a Sudanese student...on her cellphone, I saw a Korean face--her 'wallpaper' is a photo of a Korean actor. I asked her how she knew about Korean dramas. She replied: "oh, all of my Nepali friends and me, we love watching Korean dramas on the internet."

Immigration and Globalization. Korea meets Africa meets the Himalayas, all here in Tucson. Wild.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Hey there, 'Bob'...fifteen minutes of a wild feline encounter: 'lynx rufus' in our backyard

A couple of evenings ago, I was in the kitchen and my wife was in the living room--which has big sliding glass doors looking out onto our back courtyard--when she said, "Come quickly and look!"
Well hello there kitty! BIG kitty...
our first outside-of-a-zoo bobcat sighting!

He was leisurely perusing our patio, sniffing my sandals...
I grabbed my iPhone and the best we could do was to try and see
if any snapshots would turn out through the window--
we figured if we opened the door we would scare the bobcat off...

I did manage this one halfway-decent shot--taken through the sliding screen door.
The bobcat spent several minutes stretching and cleaning himself in some shrubs,
and then, before walking slowly toward the back wall, he stared right at us: 
 ...and then after an effortless hop on to the wall:
 ...checking things out...
 ...he spent a few more minutes catching the last rays before sunset...
 ...before finally walking along the neighbor's fence...
 ...and away for the evening...
It makes us wonder--how many times has this cat (or others) visited our neighborhood? We often hear coyotes at night...and I've seen hawks and javelinas all around our neighborhood--but bobcats--we didn't think we lived ''out enough" to see them from our window...

Our little backyard, with its birdbath and occasional ground-squirrels--are we part of this cat's 'territory?' Voilà the thrill of the week...