Gaze

I can’t ever get angry with my hamster. Then again, I don’t have much of a temper with animals. I do wish I had the same level of patience and concern with people as I do with animals. It’s tough being mad at a cute-looking critter though. My hamster was arranging “crop circles” of bedding around his home when I took this shot. He prefers biting those paper pellets than resting on top of them. Everywhere he goes, he sweeps them away. He gnaws them when he’s bored too.

Animoo was in the midst of re-arranging his nap area, conveniently located next to his food bowl, when he saw my camera. I do wonder how he feels whenever I show him playback images of shots I took of him. Does he comprehend the photo as an image of himself or does he think of it as just another hamster? He stares really hard at them until the screen blackens, all the time.

Gazex

Typewriter

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Saw this at one of the exhibits in MoMA I think… I’ve never used a typewriter before, although there was one at home. Probably fortunate to have skipped that portion of technology since I’m prone to typos. After all, the correction fluid is my best companion back in school. This typewriter looks like something more recent, probably the late 1970s or 1980s… A bit of sleuthing on eBay led me to the identity of this typewriter: a portable Brother Deluxe 1350. My Mum swears by Brother, which is the brand she uses at work. Such a diligent luddite eh…

Analog Toronto

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There’s always a special place in my heart for Toronto. Strangely the city reminded me of home, for whatever odd reason, when I was studying in Buffalo. My return to this city reminded me how much has changed over the years. There’s even more new construction around. This city has this perpetual urban redevelopment going on… Lots of condos being built at the waterfront of Lake Ontario. I love the bay-and-gable style houses in the city, hope they don’t disappear.

The funky post-processing is a result of some experimenting on Analog Efex Pro. Not a big fan of the plug-in for daily use. It’s not as customizable as other plug-ins from Nik Software.  I still prefer using Color Efex Pro if I need something done fancy. :)

P.S.: I took this shot from a window in Casa Loma. 

Singapore Redux

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Every time I’m down at Marina Bay with a camera, the weather plays foul on me. The sky was grey and overcast the day I took this shot too. Weather seems so finicky these days anyway. Well since the sky was of a dreary color, I decided to go along with that and capture the essence of the depressing mood that seemed to envelop the city skyline. Heard recently from an acquaintance how Singapore is experiencing a recession. Think this picture visualizes her words pretty well. Depressing no doubt, but not all an ugly sight.

Hamster

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My dearest hamster who is formally known as Felix, and casually known as Animoo (Moo Moo at times). How we ended up with a variety of nicknames for this furry critter is lost on me. Then again I’m fond of nicknames myself and have countless aliases under my belt. This photo is taken with my X-Pro1 and paired with my bread and butter Nikkor 55mm macro lens.

It’s rather a pain manually focusing on this camera (way worse with auto focus). I find myself MF-ing much quicker on my D800 than on this camera. I suppose the reasons deal more with my familiarity with the D800 over the X-Pro1, and the fact that the weight of the lens (with attached adaptor) feels disproportionate against the camera body. But I do like how the picture turned out in the end. The color rendered by the X-Pro1 is such a gem.

French toast with roasted berries and vanilla ice cream

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Chunky cuts of french toast garnished with mixed berry compote fresh off the stove, sprinkled with some powdered sugar and mint leaves. If it wasn’t enough, it came with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. This brunch-dessert is one of the limited items of the brunch menu at Open Door Policy. Not sure how it tasted but it was presented pretty well and my friend enjoyed every bite of it. Alas the quality of service at this restaurant was dismal and the seating was horribly cramped. My friend and I were seated at a table the size of a regular classroom desk. Yes, those desk we had to use back in secondary school but this came with a smooth copper finishing. Same goes for those retro school chairs. Imagine the delight of dining under what felt like 18ºC air-conditioning and sitting on chilly chairs… It didn’t take too long for me to start sneezing. The worst bit was that the space between my seat and the next one behind was just millimeters apart. There was simply not enough room for me to get in and out, without causing disturbance and discomfort for the diner behind me. The decor of the restaurant does remind of the many cafes in East Village and Upper East Side, which was the primary reason why I decided to check out the place. However when it came right down to the quality of the table service, you definitely know for sure you’re in Singapore. :|

Cold Drip Coffee

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That’s a one-shot cold drip coffee from Drips Bakery Cafe served in a minimalist Bodum Pavina double-wall glass. Apparently this is the cafe’s house special. The drink sure seems pretty with the sun shining down from the skylight, creating that half under shade sunlight look. Alas it’s such a tiny cup my friend sipped her drink like she was sipping whiskey on the rocks. Yup that was some fancy schmanzy coffee, costing my friend a pretty penny. It’s a cold hard drink for a latte lover, not something I’d like to try.

Cinema

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George Segal’s Cinema (1963) is one of the more prominent pop art sculptures on display at Albright Knox Art Gallery. The last time I was at AK, I only had my iPhone with me and I snapped a photo of this sculpture too, alongside the other pop art paintings near it. AK has a huge collection of artworks from many prominent artists: Gauguin, Kahlo, Lichtenstein, Monet, Mondrian, Picasso, Pollock, van Gogh, Warhol, etc. But my recent visit to AK has left me feeling the collection seems to have shrank in size. Are some of the artworks under restoration or on loan to other galleries, or maybe they’ve sold some of these works again? God knows, but I do hope the missing art pieces are either on loan or under restoration.

Guaranty Building

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There’s nothing not to like about the ornate and organic details on the terra-cotta facade of Guaranty Building. Does makes you wonder why office buildings aren’t build this way anymore. The Guaranty Building was one of the most advanced high-rise office building in Buffalo’s heyday in the late 1890s. It was designed by famous American architect Louis Sullivan, who’s known as the father of skyscrapers and mentor of Frank Lloyd Wright.

I’ve passed by this building countless times from the distance whenever I rode the train to downtown, but it just didn’t stick in my mind. I was first introduced to it when I crashed a schoolmate’s town planning class tour of downtown. If I didn’t remember wrongly (since happened roughly 3 years ago), this 13-storey building was considered a skyscraper back in the good ole’ days. I’ve to admit I’ve not read up much about Sullivan, but I did read up on Wright’s works. That was precisely the reason why I was determined to visit Wright’s Martin House Complex during my return to Buffalo. I’m thankful that I was reintroduced to the Guaranty Building when I met up with my photography professor. The building is a reminder that Buffalo needs to see better days and get back into the game… Those days are coming pretty soon, fingers crossed.

Maid of the Mist

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Double rainbow spotted this time! Maid of the Mist is the definite experience for tourists visiting Niagara Falls. Although the ferry operates on both the American and Canadian side, I personally felt the Canadian ride brought me closer to the Falls. It’s a great feeling having a high pressured face wash. Alas the sediments the water carries reminds me of the ghastly possibility I’ve been sprayed with a mix of poop and dead matter.