Never Say Never

Life points us in a direction we don’t always envision for ourselves. It’s definitely been very true for me for the past 8 months.

In short, I thought I was meant to settle down in the states with the hubby. But as fate would have it, China kept calling us and pulling on our sleeves until we finally caved in.

So as of next week, I am moving back to Shenzhen, China. I’m excited and nervous about it all. I feel like I’m re-reading a favorite novel and looking at it with new eyes.

I’m quite excited as that means I get to continue to photograph places I wanted to before I left. It means I get to collaborate with the cool people I’ve formed friendships with but didn’t have the time. It also means that I’ll pursue more yoga in Asia, and try to learn more Chinese in order to learn more from the teachers that are awesome and talented.

See you soon on the other side of the world!

Ruined Shots #2

I love photographing children. I love their smiles and how unabashed they seem, particularly the ones in Asia.  Most of them pretend to be shy until they see your camera (in my case anyway).  They find it curious that you’re interested in what they’re doing.  One of the things I also love about photographing children in Asia is that they seem to be happy playing anywhere, no matter what.

As much as I love photographing children, it’s a bit hard at times when they’re running about and you have a manual focus camera.  If I have my TLR, they normally stop and stare at it, which makes it easier on my part. Unfortunately, with my rangefinder, kids barely notice that I’m there and I can’t seem to focus fast enough. I sometimes get confused between the focusing ring and the ring where I adjust my aperture (they’re literally beside each other). It’s even harder sometimes with my TLR, and worse if I actually get a shot in focus but fail to take the photo like my last ruined shot.

I still like the photo below, but I kind of wish I was faster with my focusing.  I’ll just have to practice more.

mumbledjumbles-sarah li cain - lou hu1


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I'd love to learn to read Sanskrit someday
I’d love to learn to read Sanskrit someday

I vividly remember details anytime I see images I took in Tibet.  I also find that the images I like the best are the ones that evoke such strong memories of when I took a photo, like the exact moment. It’s a bit eerie.

I think the main reason why I have favorite images is because of the honesty involved in it.  Anytime I am honest in my life (either doing something with an honest intention or actually saying something honest) life changing things happen.

I remember sitting in my old apartment in Shenzhen as I was taking a photo of the city. I remember thinking that I was ready for a serious relationship and get married. I met my future boyfriend, then husband the next day.

The more I think about it, the more Tibet evokes such memories for me is because I was brutally honest as well. I had a very candid conversation with my then boyfriend. I remember crying. I also remember that I had to truly be open in order to move on.  A few weeks after that, I got engaged.

I find it funny how events happen to me. I also like linking my photographs with happy, sad, or vivid memories.  It used to be about the perfect photo, but the more I continue with my hobby, the more I find that it helps preserve what I’m afraid I might forget.

I’m going to be honest again, and I vow to be honest from now on. I haven’t updated in the past because I got lazy. I was also going through the motions from lots of life changes and wasn’t convinced that walking around a park with my camera was going to help me capture beautiful images. I was also sad about the lack of film photography resources around where I am now. Yes I know, these are excuses.

I can still post because I have a lot of images from China and other travels I haven’t posted yet. I’m also going to post the not-so-perfect ones so I can learn why those photos didn’t turn out in the first place. As the weather warms up more I will go on walks and capture the beauty in what I  thought were boring places.  I’m also changing the direction of the blog a little to include some posts about yoga and my journey in it.  I hope to take photos of myself in yoga poses.

I’m happy and relieved to be writing this. I am looking forward to all that comes from now on.

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Ordinary Wonders

back alley of a restaurant

It’s interesting how much more you photograph when you are in a foreign country. I think that if a similar scene presented itself here in the USA, I probably would pass it on by. I wonder why that is? Is the trick to good photography to train yourself to look at all the scenes around you as new and foreign?

Even looking back when I was in foreign countries, in the beginning I would scoff at taking photos of such scenes. I wanted to take cool scenes of people and what I thought people would like, and not what I found interesting. It wasn’t until I started wandering around by myself that I let my guard down about having to take ‘wow’ photos and just looking around and analyzing what I thought was intriguing.  Clicking the shutter almost became intuitive at that point. I also learned that every photo I looked at, I could remember the exact moment I took it and why I liked the scene.

So perhaps photography isn’t necessarily about taking that great photo, but to appreciate all that is around you.  Capturing the photo is just a tangible way to show everyone else.

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Ruined shots

Anybody have a story where they’re lining up a shot, you make sure that timing and composition is right. Then….someone comes in and ruins it! I’ve had times where I press the shutter and someone bumps into me, or someone steps in front, and there isn’t really another chance for me to take a similar shot again.

I don’t quite remember how I wanted to compose this shot initially, but someone decided to try and pet this bird when I pressed the shutter. *sigh*

sarah li cain-mumbled jumbles-ruined shots01