Wednesday, May 09, 2007

From a distance


Family at breakfast
Laval, Quebec, December 2006

Quick note from Carmi in China: I'm still here, fighting the sleep demons that would have me believe that I ought to be awake (it's 3:25 now...I should be sleeping, but can't.) I DID get about 4 hours of sleep just now, so I should be good for another few hours of zees when I'm finished posting this. Don't worry Mom, if you add up all the hours of sleep I'm getting, it amounts to a lot. It's just not coming when I either want or need it. All part of the adventure.

This is a global event, with people coming in from all the regions where HP does business. I'm surrounded by a team of people from Canada who not only answer every business question I've got, but who have taken the time to ensure I had TWO birthday cakes along the way (remember, my birthday's 36 hours-long this year...I've got another 8-and-a-half-hours of celebrating left, woo-hoo!) I'm always amazed at the kindness that people are capable of showing, even for something as simple as a birthday far from home.

In the end, I brought the Nikon in addition to the point-and-shoot. I paired the DSLR with the longer (75-300mm) lens and am using the pocketcam for wider images. Between the two of them, I'm capturing storytelling images of this remarkable place. Shanghai is so overwhelming in scope and pace that it's difficult to absorb the meaning of the things I'm seeing and experiencing. But that will come.

I've been using Google Talk to keep in touch with the folks at home. It's a godsend, allowing me to talk and talk without paying any attention to time or data rates. How neat it is that by being away, I have reconnected with people from all aspects of my life - close and not so close - in all sorts of technologically cool ways. This stuff really is magic.

Which brings me to today's themed image. So far this week, I've focused on family, because it is family that keeps you grounded even when you're zillions of miles away. I took this image a few months back on a trip home, and grabbed it right before we said goodbye to them and hit the road. It has a warmth to it that reminds me why I so love being part of this family, something that is larger than I am, and makes me feel whole, all at the same time. Enjoy...

The rules of composition supposedly dictate tight framing of a given topic and a minimum of extraneous space. We're supposed to go in close to avoid repeating the mistakes of past generations of snapshot photographers, namely tiny little people in the middle of gigantic, monotonous vistas.

For the most part, I follow the tightly composed mantra. But for this image, I broke the rules. I lagged back away from the breakfast table and captured my family - wife, kids, parents, in-laws - in a way that just wouldn't have been possible if I had zoomed in any closer. There's something to be said for keeping a bit of distance.

Your turn: Standing by the edge of the room and quietly taking it all in. Please discuss.

One more thing: I took this picture at our kids' favorite breakfast place, Allo Mon Coco. Family tradition dictates that we go there for breakfast before we embark on the long drive back to London. I wrote about it here. If you look closely, you might recognize the light fixtures.

14 comments:

kenju said...

Taking a photo that has a slightly wider angle than usual allows you to take in all of the action, and you will remember the day and the moment better. Hope you're having a great birthday, Carmi!

Anna said...

I am so grateful for technology Carmi. I see my mom and my sister all the time thanks to my iSight on my Mac and it has made the world of difference in my adjustments here.

I am glad you took both cameras...I think that you will be glad that you did! :)

Take care. Get rest. Have fun.

Jeremiah said...

Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday dear Carmi
Happy Birthday to you

Greetings from Montreal

Jeremy

tommiea said...

Despite moving five times in the last ten years, we have been lucky enough to be near family for part of those years. You never realize how much they mean until you are 3500 miles away!

Enjoy the remainder of your birthday!

MileHighDivaCyn said...

Wow China! I'm behind on blog reading. What a great adventure for you. I wish my mom could have had a computer and we could chat via computer and share photos. But alas, she left us for another vista before she could do that.

MileHighDivaCyn said...

Oh oh Happy Birthday!

Diane Mandy said...

I went to China for my 38th--one of my best trips ever. Hope you are having as good a time.

Lisa said...

I love the orange-y, yellow tone to this picture... It makes it so warm and inviting, that it makes me want to walk right in...

Lori said...

I haven't been on for awhile so had some catching up to do. China...wow!

Hope you're having a wonderful birthday! Enjoy the moment, Carmi...and safe travels on your way back home.

Bob-kat said...

Glad to hear that you have been able to celebrate your Birthday and got two cakes! Technology is great for keeping in touch with people adn I am glad you are able to stay in close contact (if not by distance) with your family.

I can't wait to see Shanghai through your lens!

JAM said...

I love this shot. Despite it's public location, it has an intimate, homey feel. Recording such get-togethers, is to me, just as important as getting out and finding neat things to photograph. I like the wider angle, looking back at childhood photos, such "space" allows my siblings and I to investigate anew the places we lived as kids. Seeing the paintings and whatnot our parents had hung, knick-knacks on the shelves, etc., is as much fun as seeing our childhood selves in photos. In my parent's case, it was just that they weren't good at handling the camera and were further away than they needed to be, but we're glad for it. It allows us better looks into the past through the stuff around us in the photos.

Hope your trip is going well.

daisy said...

Happy belated birthday!

Ravvy said...

I forgot to say - happy birthday for this *the day i'm postin on*'s day...
happy happy 'lordieth' birthday!!! *secret squirrel - no one knows!*

I hope it was super deleriously exciting because you were/are/was in China town - Shanghai to be exact!

Enjoy the sleep deprivation!!!

mar said...

Happy belated bday!