More from the little sub-soi. This man is making fried fish balls. He’s taking them from the fryer and placing them into a bowl. As an old colleague, Larry Meeks, once said in Singapore when he was offered fish balls, “why, fish don’t have balls,” in his very Texas accent.

I guess you had to be there.
Same as usual for me. F8 and try to be there. No heavy over post production and time for soup for breakfast.

Whenever I travel to a new location — or, in this case, and old location but a new neighborhood — I like to take a morning stroll through the neighborhood. In this case, I’m working in the Bangkok district of Silom which is about 5 minutes walk from the legendary Patpong. Unlike, Patpong which is known for its nightlife, the main streets are a banking district. But, the sub soi-s (soi is Thai for street) are a very typical Thai neighborhood. My stroll revealed street food vendors of every type, clothing sellers, shoe sellers, Buddhist amulet sellers and just about everything that you can think of. This man is preparing lunch. He’s washing mushrooms which will be dipped in a light rice batter and gently stir fried. Thailand is known as the land of smiles. Need I say more?

Sheer luck. I happened to make a rather slow time exposure from the driver’s seat. By some quirk, the car in front of me and the entrance guard walls were kept sharp while the sky received the proper exposure to create the dramatic look. Yes. Of course, I added a little something extra. But, not as much as you would think. aside from that, it’s just another day in the life of PAD.

In the old world of stock photo – graphy this was a valuable picture. The image’s content is about choices and possibilities. It is very hard to find. I’m not sure about its value in the world of stock today. However, I am reading reports of editors starting to look in more places for pictures that they really want, rather then just licensing pictures that are “good enough.” Hopefully, that trend will continue.

The image, BTW, was made on NM State Route 41 just north of Moriarty and Interstate 40 and Old Route 66.

and touch somebody, that’s what I always say. In this image we see a Buddhist monk with one foot in the ancient, spiritual world and the other foot in the modern, “things go better with Coke” and a cellphone world. Forget the smile.

This image was was made at Wat Mahathat, in Bangkok, Thailand. It is where young monks go for training and spiritual enlightenment. I guess this young fellow hadn’t quite reached his goals.

birthday and I’ll post what I want to…

I’ve been asking a basic question to some of my friends. The answer came in the form of a New York Times op-ed column today.

“November 21, 2009


An American Catastrophe



In many ways, it’s like a ghost town. It’s eerily quiet. Driving around in the middle of the afternoon, in a city that once was among the most productive on the planet, you see very little traffic, minimal commercial activity, hardly any pedestrians.

What you’ll see are endless acres of urban ruin, block after block and mile after mile of empty and rotting office buildings, storefronts, hotels, apartment buildings and private homes. It’s a scene of devastation and disintegration that stuns the mind, a major American city that still is home to 900,0000 people but which looks at times like a cross between postwar Berlin and the ruin of an ancient civilization.

Detroit was the arsenal of democracy in World War II and the incubator of the American middle class. It was the city that taught mass production to the rest of the world. It was a place that made cars, trucks and other tangible products, not derivatives. And it was the architect of the quintessentially American idea of putting people to work and paying them a decent wage. It’s frightening to think seriously about what we’ve allowed to happen to this city and what is now happening to the middle class and the American economy as a whole.

I was in Detroit with Harley Shaiken, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, who specializes in labor issues. He grew up in Detroit and his love for the city and its people are palpable, as is his grief for the horrors the city has endured.

The popular narrative of what happened to Detroit contains a great deal of truth but its focus is too narrow to account for the astonishing decline of this former industrial colossus. Yes, there were the riots of 1967, and white flight; and political leadership that was not just shortsighted but at times embarrassingly incompetent and corrupt. And, yes, the auto industry was a case study in self-destruction.

But as Mr. Shaiken points out, Detroit was still viable enough for the Republican Party to hold its convention here in 1980, when it nominated Ronald Reagan. And it was not the riots, but the devastating recession of the early ’80s that really knocked the city senseless. “That’s when the place really cracked,” said Mr. Shaiken, “and that was about aggressive globalization and the lack of an industrial policy, not the riots.”

Detroit and its environs are suffering the agonies of the economic damned because of policies, crafted at the highest national and corporate levels, that resulted in the implosion of crucially important components of America’s manufacturing base. Those decisions have had a profound effect on the fortunes not just of Detroit, or even Michigan, but the entire U.S. economy.

“We’ve been living with the illusion that manufacturing — making things — is so 20th century,” said Mr. Shaiken, “and that we could succeed by concentrating, for example, on complex financial instruments while abandoning the industrial base that sustained so many American families.”

The idea that the fallout from the wrongheaded economic concepts of the past 30 or 40 years could be contained, with the damage limited to the increasingly troubled urban areas while sparing prosperous suburbia, has now proved as phony as Bernie Madoff’s fortune. Americans, whether they live in big cities, suburban towns or rural areas, need jobs, and when those jobs are eliminated (for whatever reasons — technological advances, globalization) without being replaced, the national economy is guaranteed at some point to hit a wall.

Professor Shaiken and I drove past vast lots filled with rubble and garbage and weeds, past the old Michigan Central Terminal, which was once Detroit’s answer to New York’s Grand Central Terminal but which has long since been abandoned; past a onetime Cadillac manufacturing plant that is now an empty lot.

We stopped at an old Ford plant and stood in a stiff, cold wind, reading a plaque put up by the Michigan Historical Commission: “Here at his Highland Park plant, Henry Ford began the mass production of automobiles on a moving assembly line. By 1915 Ford built a million Model T’s. In 1925 over 9,000 were assembled in a single day. Mass production soon moved from here to all phases of American industry and set the pattern of abundance for 20th century living.”

Professor Shaiken’s grandfather, Philip Chapman, took a job at the Highland Park plant in 1914, earning five dollars a day, and worked on production at Ford until his retirement in the mid-1950s.

We’re at a period no less significant to the U.S. than Mr. Chapman’s early years at Ford. We need a revitalized industrial policy, including the creation of whole new industries, if American families are to prosper in the coming decades. If there is any sense of urgency about this in the hearts and minds of our corporate and government leaders, I’ve missed it.”

My work is done. Or maybe it’s just beginning.

This is the last image that I’ll offer in discussion of tinkering in Photo – shop. Again, it comes from Hong Kong, more particularly Sheung Wan end of LascarRow or Cat Alley. In the 1800’s it was the equivalent of Honolulu’s Hotel Street during World War. Later, it became an arts and antiquities center located just below Hollywood Street and Man Mo Temple. Again, I’m not sure if the post production work helps or hurts. Unfortunately once again, this blogs compression software doesn’t help you to see the image any better. Because of my general sense of Hong Kong as being a vibrant, energetic and colorful place, I think it helps. But, others may not.

Sometimes in my post production plug-in mean – derings I just go too far. Or do I? This is Hollywood Road in the small Chinese town of Hong Kong. It is the fine art center of the island. You can buy every kind of art on this street, including the very latest and most cutting edge artists right down to knock offs of knock offs. I’ve always seen this little street as something that is very bright, colorful and vibrant. So that’s how I made the picture using various Photoshop plug-ins. Is it too much? Like everything, I suppose, it depends. If I’m submitting this picture to a stock agency, then the answer is probably. If, I’m submitting it to a travel magazine with a story entitled, “colorful Hong Kong,” probably not. As usual, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and every picture says a lot about the maker.

Sometimes post production plug-ins go a little too far. Unfor – tunately, the comp – ression software for this blog hid most of the overdone work making it simply look like wet hair. However, if you were to look at a larger image, you would see that the hair blocks up and it looks oily and solid.. not natural at all. On the other hand, the plug-in did extend the contrast slightly andadded some detail to the almost blown out highlights.

Again, the image was made in Bangkok, Thailand using local talent and a spa located in a condo complex where I happened to be staying at the time.