Shanghai is the first time I’ve visited China. As a Taiwanese-American who has been to Taiwan numerous times, I could write profusely about the differences in the people and culture that I noticed after this one trip. Interestingly, Shanghai in itself is a battle of contrasts: old vs. new, wealth vs. poverty. But my first and lasting impression of Shanghai was power and wealth. And what better way to symbolize that than Shanghai’s growing army of skyscrapers
This was taken from the 85th floor of the Shanghai Grand Hyatt, one of the tallest hotels in the world, located at the top of Jin Mao Tower. The hotel itself doesn’t have an official observation deck but you can take the guest elevator up to the highest floor for this stunning scene. For those afraid of heights, be wary!
The best part about photography in RAW format is the freedom of post-processing. Whereas jpeg photos are automatically processed by the camera and have limited capacity for retouching, the sky is the limit with RAW files, which contain raw sensor data with extreme flexibility for interpretation using a program like Adobe Lightroom. I first started shooting RAW in 2010. It would be really interesting to revisit photos from years past and see how my current self would process those photos.
I was going through my hard drive looking for a photo to print and came across a favorite from last year. I tried re-processing it from scratch and wow, what a difference.
My edit from today
My interpretation a year ago
This illustrates how my personal tastes in photography have changed. One might think the new edit is more fanciful and less realistic, but currently my tastes are bolder and more saturated. Who knows, my edit in 2015 will likely be completely different. At the moment, I feel this best captures the mood of the scene as I experienced it, basking in the ocean breeze and setting sun.
As a Los Angeles native, I visit Las Vegas so often that on recent trips I’ve started looking into day trips outside the city. Valley of Fire is a brisk sub-hour drive away and I especially recommend it for landscape photography enthusiasts. The sandstone formations provide dazzling colors that look from an alien planet.
Fire Wave used to be a secret location known only to informed hikers and photographers. But it became so popular in recent years, with more people parking on the sides of the road and hiking to the spectacle, that a couple years ago the park service forbade people from parking off-road and unofficially laid out a hiking trail with guideposts. I say unofficially because Fire Wave is still not labeled as an attraction on the park map (although it’s featured on the map cover *wink wink*). The only way people can accidentally stumble upon it is by chance seeing a small sign in a small parking lot pointing in the direction of Fire Wave.
The hike is an easy 0.5 miles and well worth the walk. For photo purposes, I was hoping for better clouds and a more interesting sunset. Nevertheless, it made a strong first impression on me, and I will certainly be back.
Hello, Internet. Have you missed me? I recently went on a two week trip to Taiwan and Shanghai, China. Rather than doing my usual trip photo dumps, I’m going to divide photos into more focused posts. This way I can have semi-regular content rather than an update every 6 months =D
Taiwan is rather notorious for the ubiquitous show girls present at any and all expos. Not unlike booth babes at E3, show girls try to drum up attention at their respective booths with dancing, sexy clothing, and free swag. An interesting subculture has evolved alongside the show girls, whose schedules are followed by dedicated fans that show up en masse for photographs and videos. A couple dedicated people I subscribe to on Youtube are SGLoveJacky and ikkiknoles, who seem to attend all the big expos.
Attending Taiwan expos is one of my favorite things to do because it’s always such a spectacle. I was lucky enough to visit the Photography Expo in Taipei, alas only for a little more than an hour before closing time. I could stay at these expos for entire days, they’re so much fun.
Swarms gather at every stage show, armed with high power camera gear
Bixby Bridge on the absolutely gorgeous Pacific Coast Highway
On a rare break from work, I escaped to Northern California for a quick vacation. The primary mission was to relax, of course, but I was also motivated to practice landscape photography. Despite some fairly in-depth research and planning, I was quickly humbled by Mother Nature. Landscape photography is definitely not easy, and uncooperative weather doesn’t help for sure. So I missed a bunch of shots I had envisioned, but this was a great learning experience.
Here’s a few photos. Rocks and water were the theme of this trip, evidently. Hope all is well! Work hard, stay positive, be brave.
Creek downstream of Bridalveil Fall in Yosemite National Park
In my line of work, 60 hours is considered a light week. I am halfway through my first year of residency and have learned tons, both medically as well as personally. The benefits of an internal medicine (IM) residency are that the field is tremendously broad and you can find niches that cater to your interests as well as lifestyle. For IM doctors who want to make a lot of money, cardiology and gastroenterology are generally speaking the well-known juicy targets but of course they pay for it in terms of time commitment and stress. It’s crystal clear that what’s important to me isn’t money but free time to pursue my hobbies. This was a lesson I learned the hard way my very first week, when I was stuck in MICU, completely exhausted, working near 80 hour weeks. Stories for another day… =)
Refreshingly delicious air of Estes Park in Colorado, on the way into Rocky Mountain National Park
Anyway, that’s just a preamble to say I’ve been quite busy and one of the first casualties was this site, obviously. A lot has changed since I last posted. Got my first smartphone with a data plan (Nexus 4!!), moved into my new house, became wiser, stronger, faster. Lots and lots of material to chew on for ProtocolSnow.com. Unfortunately, I don’t have a ghost writer so updates will come when they come. I don’t know if I’ll ever resume a regular posting schedule, but I’ll do what I can. Following my Twitter account is probably the best way to keep up with what I’m into, thanks to the low commitment of a tweet vs. full blog posts. That’s the sad reality!
Sunrise at Monument Valley, Arizona from The View hotel
I’ve only recently had the chance to edit my roadtrip photos from June 2012(!) and sent them to my parents, so here’s a few more photos to whet the appetite. More to come, hopefully soon!
One of the best things about being back in Southern California is all the tasty food. When I was on the other side of the country, I would jealously read SoCal foodie blogs and take notes for my brief annual trips home. Of course, now that I’m an overworked resident with scant free time and a meager salary, it’s difficult to indulge as much as I would like. So the dream is still not quite fully realized, but a little delayed gratification only makes the pay-off all the more sweeter, right?
Luckily, after starting off with an arduous schedule and the most difficult rotations in my residency, I finally have a light month and can breathe a little. This weekend I went to the 626 Night Market with much anticipation. Modeled after the famous night markets in Taiwan and other Asian countries, the appropriately named 626 Night Market is held in San Gabriel Valley, which boasts the largest Taiwanese-American population in the USA.
Some of my fondest travel memories involve Taiwan night markets: late nights wandering crowded streets lined with loud neon signs, delicious aromas wafting through the air, snacking on comfort food while shopping for cheap cute gifts to bring home. 626 Night Market seeks to replicate that experience stateside. They fall short because clearly the atmosphere here is quite different and more akin to a county fair. But while there are definitely improvements that can be made, particularly with organization and service, I’m glad this event exists and hope it can become a regular fixture for our community.