A Spoon Full Of Sugar

Rather uninspired of late, I’ve been opting out from the usual late nights and careless banter over wine to stay home instead. Intended for a much needed session of digital hardware sprucing, I decided to park myself in front of the laptop on this lazy Sunday to research on my upcoming trips; art galleries, museums, parks, bustling night markets and what not. But I’ll be completely upfront with you, whilst I appreciate the historical value and significance of each city I visit, there’s just no denying my weakness steers towards shopping. I can spend hours on end scouring through Chatuchak for a leather studded cuff and skull printed tee. Yes I’m a sucker for material things, shoot me – from my good angle preferably.

Having said that, please do not categorize me as a hoity-toity shopper slash traveler. I’m not fussy with where I eat nor stay, as long as it is clean and I’d rather be caught with my pants down than be seen taking pictures in front of high end fashion stores like Louis Vuitton (seriously though, what’s up with that?!).  I don’t need to be chauffeured around and dine at Michelin star restaurants. Rather, nothing would thrill me more than discovering on foot even if I have to walk hours on end under the blistering sun. Screw embroidered napkins at fancy eateries. I’d rather experience real local cuisine on the side of a bustling road, even if it means sitting on a tiny 3-legged stool while swatting flies and dodging spillover of oncoming traffic. My philosophy is, if it doesn’t kill the locals, it sure as hell shouldn’t kill me. *Not a bulletproof philosophy but it makes for interesting stories.

I digress. Basically what I’m trying to say is, I can’t say no to a good leather bag or a black jeggins, but in all honesty, I’d sooner blow twice as much on a two fold refillable leather journal. My weakness for all things stationary precedes the usual needs of a 30 year old (husband and louboutins).  So to kick off the research session for scenic spots and monuments in Bangkok, Shanghai and Taipei, I made my first pit stop at Patrick Ng’s blog – by far my favorite blog on all things cool for travelers and photographers who love stationary and gadgets. See how its bundled into this perfect slice of web heaven? Its like porn to me. Patrick never fails to inspire. Yes I’m on first name basis with him, though I don’t believe the return is as favorable!

It helps that he’s a rather proficient photographer himself, not to mention a frequent traveler and a father of an equally artistic young tod. I always find his posts a breath of fresh air accompanied by inviting imagery and insightful peek into the inspiring world of creative craft designs. If you love leather bound books (ie Midori), lomography, diy camera and journal hacks, stamping, decorative tapes, pens and all things stationary related, you will absolutely fall in love with his blog and man bag packed with goodies. I’ve even daydreamed of burglarizing his craft room! Lucky for him, he’s based in Hong Kong otherwise Bambi will be all over that station haven. Fact.

Look at me. I’ve deviated off topic once again! If there’s anyone that can take a 3 sentence story and yarn it into a one hour rant, that would be me. So enough ranting for now! The main purpose of this entry is to share with you a particular post I stumbled across in Patrick’s blog. I’m always in search of inspiration and this post inspired me to tear away from a lazy day at home, grab my camera and head out!  Great tips on photo taking while traveling too 🙂  Enjoy!

Extracted from: Travel Photo Cafe 2008 – a talk about photography and travel.

My part was to show participants how they can create beautiful album layouts even when they are taking pictures, yet without losing the fun and instantaneous parts of the travel.  The rules are simple:

  • Force yourself to take at least 3 shots from different angles for the subject matter in mind.  These shots will give fuller stories and sometimes you can find an interesting angle to exploit.
  • Shoot from the floor, or even better explore all shooting angles other than a typical stand-up eye level shot.  All but to create new and refreshing perspective of the image other than what you can see from your naked eye
  • Shoot street signs, direction signs, traffic lamp, sky, road, subway scenes etc.  All these things are not going to be the main imagery of your album’s story, but they are essential to add a foreign taste to your main image
  • Breakfast shots are not lame, shoot what you eat and you won’t regret.  These shots help to strengthen your memory of the place and people you spent time with during the travel
  • A cafe stop every 2-3 hours is essential to review what photos you’ve taken and how you can improve the next round. Best of all, take photo of the cafe and people there.
  • Bring along an analog camera and shoot a digital photo through the viewfinder of your analog camera
  • Photo layout on an album page is about telling a story, prepare a few layouts before you even start shooting
  • Shoot people’s face, shoot as much as you can, they are the souls of the country you visit
  • etc etc etc etc

Read on…

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