The Moment Of Zen


Photojoaquin the streets of downtown Oakland. It was Saturday morning and the streets were empty, it felt as if Oakland was all mine to capture. I walked up and down Broadway for almost five hours simply snapping away at anything that caught my eye, even taking the time to sit down and watch life pass me by. This was my “Zen Moment” finding peace and clarity doing what I absolutely love.

Don’t Be Scurrred! 


Don’t be scared! Shake things up and embrace change! Once you set your mind to something everything will fall into place. That’s what I told myself when I decided to pick up the new iPad Pro 256gb with plans of using it as a laptop replacement for my travel photography workflow. Yes the concept is a bit hard to accept, especially if you are the type of person who has traditionally taken photos, copies them to a computer to edit, backup and share to various social media sites. I’ve been doing that for years! There was a time when I used to go on trips carrying a 15″ MacBook Pro along with a DSLR and a handful of lenses and never once complained about it. So why change?  Well thanks to technology we now have amazing mirrorless cameras and tablets that weigh almost nothing. I’m tired of traveling with all that heavy equipment, I like to keep things as simple as possible and move freely from place to place. (Bad experience when country hopping in Europe)

Here is a description of what I had in mind for my new workflow. While traveling (to other countries hopefully) I’ll take either my Fuji X100T or Fuji X-T10 (both have built in wifi) then I’ll select the photos I’m happy with and WiFi them over to my iPad. Once on my iPad I’ll create an album to organize them, then do some photo edits if needed. By doing that I’ll have photos organized edited and ready to post to my blog. Usually if I don’t do that during my downtime on a trip it will take forever for me to get the photos online. Now on my memory card in the camera I will have a copy of all the photos I took in jpg and raw format while the iPad will have a backup of the selected jpg files I’m most happy with. Once I get back home I can then backup my memory cards to my external hard drives and cloud using a computer. No doubt it will take me some time to get adjusted to this new way of doing things, but if I can get it to work out the pay off will be huge for me.

As for my iPad setup, I got the 256gb iPad Pro, with an iPad Air 2 rooCase Origami Slim Fit shell/Smart Cover (smart cover feature doesn’t work on the iPad Pro) along with a Microsoft Universal foldable Bluetooth keyboard. Funny that the keyboard is made by MS but it works great and feels just like the keyboard for the Surface Pro just no backlight. Oh and if you’re wondering why I didn’t just go with a Surface Pro? It is because I just don’t really like it, I have ran into all kinds of strange little issues with it while testing. By the way, the blog post I created called “Fuji X-T10 x Canon FD 28mm mashup” (http://http://andrewwongphoto.net/?p=2488) was completely created with the iPad using the workflow I had described above. Using the iPad Pro will be great a great tool as long as I embrace what it can do and not worry about what it can’t.

Fuji X-T10 x Canon FD 28mm mashup


More fun with vintage manual focus lenses! The Canon 28mm f/2.8 FD lens is another favorite of mine that stays on my X-T10 80% of the time. I was able to pick one up from eBay dirt cheap several years ago when I was looking for a wide angle lens for my Canon AE-1 film camera. Since the Fuji has a 1.5 crop factor the lens basically becomes a 42mm lens.

Here are some photos I recently took with this setup. 




The Fuji Film X-T10

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(photo of a Russian Helios 44-2  lens mounted on a Fuji Film X-T10 taken with the Fuji Film x100T)

Recently I decided to pick up a Fuji Film X-T10 (body only) with the sole purpose of shooting with old vintage manual focus lenses. I really loved the picture quality that my x100T produced so going with the X-T10 was a no-brainer for me. Why these old vintage lenses? Well for one thing, they are dirt cheap and still produce excellent quality images. For example I was able to get the Russian made Helios 44-2 58mm F2 lens pictured above from Amazon for lens than $70.  The Helios is known for creating some wild swirly bokeh. Below are a few photos I took with that setup:

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andrew@andrewwongphoto.com

24 Hours in Milan

24 hours in Milan Italy, the Fashion Capitol of the World. Unfortunately not by choice, we were unexpectedly booted from our flight shortening our stay in Milan. Normally something like this would be pretty upsetting to me, but it was all part of the journey. Besides the only goal I had was to explore and get lost with my camera, nothing makes me feel more alive than that!

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The obligatory selfie in the hotel lobby. (Hotel NH Collection Milano President)


Hey Siri! One of the best things I did in preparation for this trip was to rent an international MiFi hotspot. If you plan on traveling abroad I highly recommend using one on your trip, unless you don’t care about using public WiFi with the chance of getting your data compromised. I went with a company called XCom Global which only charged me $15 a day for unlimited usage.


An interesting restaurant sign to come across when you’re actually an American.

Another good reason for getting the international MiFi is so you can use Yelp when you’re starving! Here are a few dishes from Mozzarella e Basilico, first meal in Milan and it was damn good!
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Sausage pork with potato puree

Saphron risotto with prosciutto

The “Double Malt”

The signature risotto dish

Calzone wrapped with prosciutto

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Milan definitely has their share of interesting street performers. Although I did find some of the street vendors to be a bit annoying in the tourist areas. These were the types of people who would walk right up to you and nag you to buy a “selfie stick” from them.

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Duomo di Milano

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For dinner we heard good things about Da Vic – Ristorante Guerrini so we decided to call and make reservations. Good thing we did! We saw a few visitors like us get turned away because they were all booked, they even mentioned it was their last night in Italy. Da Vic turned out to be a great choice, the Chef/owner came out to greet us and talk to us for a bit which was really nice. I can’t say enough about how great the food and service was. It’s always a special feeling when you feel welcomed when you’re so far away from home.

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Loved this dish so much I had to order it again.

i-DdkZZVZ-XLThis octopus was amazing and super tender! I don’t take octopus for granted at all! Whenever I’m in Hawaii I’ll spend my time spear fishing and free diving for these guys.

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Goodbye Milan it was a great experience, until next time!

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andrew@andrewwongphoto.com

Copenhagen


Welcome to Copenhagen, my first trip out to Europe and it was one a good one! Freezing, wet and adventurous are a few words to describe my experience in Copenhagen. Not to mention, Bikes! Everywhere! I really loved seeing people use bikes as their chosen form of transportation. Not only that, it was nice seeing people not having to lock up their bikes since the crime rate is extremely low. (never going to see that in San Francisco!)








Being into the craft of Beers, the Carlsberg Brewery was definitely on the list of places to check out. Lucky for me it was “Culture Night” in Denmark so all museums were open late with free admission.










Tivoli Gardens was another stop on the list, a theme park right in downtown. Pretty cool spot actually, a nice easy way to blow off a stressful day maybe? They do say that Denmark is the most happiest country in the world.








Here are some random photos photojoaqing around town, which of course is always a lot of fun.































On our last night in Copenhagen we decided to have dinner at Resturant AOC, a two star Michelin restaurant. Pricey as hell!!! might as well enjoy this once in a life time opportunity! Here are a few photos from our meal, I really enjoyed how creative and friendly they were.












Sushi Boat Sunday

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My first time trying out “Fuji Sushi Buffet” and I’ll have to say definitely not bad for $17.99 all you can eat sushi boat.  One recommendation get there early! The restaurant opened at 11am and there was already a line of people waiting to get in. Lucky for us, we were second in line so there was no problem grabbing seats at the sushi bar. The service was quick and the staff was friendly, not a bad way to enjoy Sunday.

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This Hamachi cheek was…. “hella good!”

i-xX8XdLQ-XLI didn’t even know they had raw oysters and ordered them by accident, one of my favs.

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One Last Picnic

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About a week ago I found out that the Tomales Bay Oyster Company will be removing their picnic tables and barbecue grills because of a Marin County code enforcement. Sadly their current hours of operations from 9am to 5pm everyday will be cut down to only half days on Friday, Saturday and Sunday effective October 16th, 2015. KPIX News on Channel 5 also showed up while we were there and interviewed the owner along with some of their customers. My family and I visit a few times during the year so we decided to come one last time before they shutdown their picnic area. Here are some photos from the day.

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“Bar Hop x Photojoaq”

(Here is a blog post I posted to photojoaqers.com , a new blog I started up with a few friends.)

Once upon a time there were 5 “techies” (Adrian, Sonny, Brian, Andrew, & Robert from in Austin TX) who loved to take photographs. They said to one another other, “if we ever are at the same location at the same time, we should go on a bar hop photojoaq!”
Well… That day finally came when Robert came to visit San Francisco, we were finally able to make this a reality. First stop on our list was suggested by Brian, the Mandarin Hotel. At first glance the lobby / bar looked pretty simple with not much going on. In fact it looked so boring we were giving Brian a hard time for suggesting this location. We headed over to the bar for our first round of the night. The funny thing was, once we got there we looked at each other and thought ugh…. now what do we do? You know, like that awkward moment when you’re at a school dance clinging to the wall like a “wall flower.” Fortunately for us, Adrian broke the ice and described our mission for the night to our bartender. From that moment on we were ready for an epic night! Now for photos of our first location. The Mandarin Hotel SF, head up to the 38th floor where you’ll be greeted by amazing aerial views of downtown San Francisco. (BTW after seeing these amazing views Brian earned his street cred back with us.)







Next stop on the agenda, the “Rickhouse” which was suggested by Adrian. A nice little trendy looking spot with a hip crowd and decorations with character. There weren’t amazing views of the city here but that didn’t stop us from capturing photos and “geeking out” about photo gear.






Finally our last bar of the night, “The Buddah Lounge.” Yep just as it looks, a total dive bar! Most people walking by probably think “what a dump!” Surprise! It was rated one of the 33 best dive bars in America. Mark the bartender is really the one who brings this place to life! He’s insane, funny, and one really cool guy. We tried to order their signature drink called, “Three Penis Chinese Whiskey,” thankfully they were out of it. Mark ended up bringing out this crazy looking Chinese bottle and poured a round of shots for us. It was definitely a crazy drink with a crazy taste. There was also a jukebox there where I loaded it up with Hip Hop songs from the 90’s, aka the “Golden Era” of Hip Hop. This is one of those places you’ll just have to experience on your own to really know.






 

Lastly we concluded the night by having dinner at this Vietnamese restaurant in Chinatown called “Golden Star,” where Brian repeatedly stated… “this is the best damn 5 spice chicken I’ve ever had!” The food was good and cheap! Two words that rarely go together! All in all it was a fun night with each location offering us a different experience.

SF Rush

SF Rush, “The Challenge Run.” What is it? “The Challenge covers a 4.9k obstacle course where participants must conquer hundreds of stairs, ramps, tire flips, back pedals, sprints, high steps through bungees, combine drills, and bust through padded gauntlets. The races finishes on the field of Levi’s Stadium.”

I have no clue why I agreed to sign up for this! I never work out and for some reason I thought eh, how bad can this be? Well it was pretty damn intense, in the description when they say “hundreds of stairs” I think they should have said thousands of stairs! In the end I’d do it all over again, here are some photos I somehow managed to take.