Zim Photography Blog

Photo Tip #1: Move Closer 6/08

Posted: 18 June 2008 . / Categories: Photo Tips

First photo tip! Move CLOSER! Many people ask me to look at their photographs. Most do not solicit opinions because they really don’t want to know, but in my head I keep thinking to myself “MOVE CLOSER!” The most common mistake in day to day photography, including those dreaded vacation pictures, is that people are too far from their subject matter! Whether it’s candids of the children or that statue of the soldier on the horse! Take several big steps closer and you’ll be much happier with your photos. Never mind buying a zoom lens either. I mean get off your rear and move closer to your subject!

Well’s Street Art Festival @ Chicago, IL

Posted: 11 June 2008 . / Categories: Where's Zim?

Tomorrow I’m headed off to the Well’s Street Art Festival in Chicago, IL (June 14-15) It’s gonna be a long drive; hope to arrive mid day on Friday with an overnighter in OHIO! See ya there!


Washington DC – sort of a vacation.

Posted: 07 June 2008 . / Categories: Where's Zim?

In the end DC was great. It did turn out to be part vacation part work. Since it was really really hot outside and we mostly walked everywhere, and I carried my equipment it felt like work. But on the otherhand I only did it for one day; after I got all the photos I really wanted I ditched the equipment in the hotel and that was that. Although there was a lot to photograph in DC I decided to just have fun after I got some images I was happy with. So follow this link to see the photos. Below is some footage of the Library of Congress’ Jefferson Building and the other is the US Postal Museum. (these clips do take a little while to download so please be patient)

A Real Vacation to DC or is it?

Posted: 05 June 2008 . / Categories: Where's Zim?

Well I’m headed off to DC today. No shows involved and no volunteer hours to give, but I am bringing my camera and hope to bring home some nice images of buildings and monuments from DC. I hope to see a couple of friends while I’m there and to get some down time with my spouse. But I do have it mind to get me some picchoores; so I guess I will still be working but it’s what i love…. poor me! :P

I’ll try to post some before the weekend is out otherwise it will be next week.

Fine Arts Fiesta @ Wilkes-Barre, PA

Posted: 15 May 2008 . / Categories: Where's Zim?

Hi All! I’m headed off to the Fine Arts Fiesta in Wilkes-Barre, PA this weekend. It’s a four day show starting on Thursday. There’s always lots of great music and boy those potato pancakes are deeelish. See ya there! (booth #1)


15 Minutes

Posted: 02 May 2008 . / Categories: Where's Zim?

Well folks, here is my first installment on the 15 minutes of fame Andy Warhol promised. While in Vietnam last month I was interviewed by one of the national tv stations about my involvement with the Vietnamese Nom Preservation Foundation. I was there on behalf of the Foundation supervising a training on the digitization process of the ancient Nom collection at the National Library of Vietnam.  (btw there are only national stations) This was broadcast last week.

video 15minutes

Adventures in toilets.

Posted: 19 April 2008 . / Categories: Where's Zim?

I have a facination with poor/broken signage and all things that are not common to life in the US. Most of the time it comes in the form of modern conveniences. So while I was in Seoul today on a lay-over I discovered that the entire world keeps the same time as Seoul does…. today.

Then there’s always the toilets. What is an etiquette bell? it’s a device which makes an elctronic flushing sound when you push the button:

Then there’s this the automatic seat cover thingy. The toilet seat is covered in plastic right? push the button on the left there where the arrow is and a mechanism on the right takes up the used plastic seat cover while fresh covered is dispensed from the left! cool!

and in case you are wondering who’s responsible for keeping the place tidy? you can see her picture above the hand dryer!

All I can say is, I can’t wait to be in my own bathroom where the shower has real water pressure and I don’t have to worry about where to put my stuff when I use the toilet; and then there’s the comfortable bed. Can’t wait to put my head down on my own pillow!

Take a Ride

Posted: 16 April 2008 . / Categories: Where's Zim?

For the most part I used to and still advise people to avoid mopeds and motorcycles in vietnam, as it’s dangerous and until last december they didn’t believe in helmets. Since then I have felt more comfy about taking a ride. Here when you pay someone to give you a ride they call it “Xe Om” (translation: “vehicle hug”, in otherwords “hugging vehicle”). In Thailand they call it a motorcycle taxi. They are generally faster from point A to point B than a regular taxi and since you negotiate before you take off there’s no such thing as a fast meter. So on my last day in Hanoi I took a motorcycle taxi and filmed these clips over the guy’s shoulder!

In the first clip at about 40 seconds in, you will notice the woman in black is dialing her cell phone! ayup. Then in clip 2 you will see tourists in their cyclo. It used to be that you would fit 2 people into one of these… I remember taking one 14 years ago to get to the airport. I rode with my cousin and my luggage. Yes there was enough room! But as you can see… The last clip is just pretty basic traffic. Notice the people crossing the street, the vendors with their baskets of food etc. In the last clip, just over halfway through I’ll enter an intersection. Remember there are no stop signs in Hanoi.

video ride1, ride1, ride3

You never know where the road will take you!

Posted: 15 April 2008 . / Categories: Where's Zim?

You never know where the road will lead you.

On Sunday I had a day off and had planned on heading to a place called Ninh Binh to see the sites and to get some pictures. But as I was making plans with the front desk of my hotel the clerk asked if I wanted join her and her husband for a day trip out to her village. I couldn’t resist and said yes.

The transportation of choice here is a moped (see posting on Dec. 23, 2007). So they talked one of the door guys into going with us so that I would have a ride. Luckily it poured cats and dogs that morning so they finally agreed to my offer of hiring a regular taxi to take us. A 1.5 hour ride on the back of a moped in a country where an ambulance is also known as a taxi did not intrigue me.

So off we went to the parent’s house. There we were met by her brother, sister-in-law, nephew and parents. They were farmers. They owned a small plot of land where they grew mostly peanuts and had fruit trees; they also kept a pig, a cow (for fertilizer), and a fish pond to supplement the diet. Although these people were not as poor as I have seen in other places they were not what one would call well off either. Her mother prepared a nice meal for all of us; and as there were guests (the door guy and myself) and her daughter and son in-law were home for their once a month visit, it was a special meal with more than 5 dishes. It reminded me of my mom’s house. With the exception of sitting on the floor sitting on straw mats and the fact that we were living in the bedroom, living room dining room area; and then there was the home made rice whiskey they were passing around.

I find it interesting that everywhere I go VN they always think that this is the poorest place in the world. They also assume a lot about the US as well. Yesterday I was invited for another family dinner with other people. this is the third time in a couple of trips I have been invited for family meals and the questions/comments are always: “you’ve never seen anything as poor as our house have you? This is a modest meal isn’t it? There are no poor people in America are there? The government provides for all of the needs of the elderly and poor don’t they?” Then when they discover that I do not have children they say, “Americans are not concerned with having a family because they don’t need to have children and grand children care for them when they get old.”

While I was out in this village we walked to the village center and had a treat. As we sat there passers by would stop to say hello, as my host grew up there and basically knew everyone personally or knew who they were. Including the local crazy guy; who was busy bothering a shopkeeper. When I asked who he was her husband started making fun of him; she quickly told him to stop. I guess in every village puts up with one.

Although I did not see anything spectacular I did get to spend a relaxing day with the locals learning about village life (so did the door guy – who promptly got lost walking down the road by himself and had to call our hosts on his cell phone to get back). This is something you can not buy. Below is footage of the farm area and the three who brought me there; we did eventually walk out about a 1/4 mile into that field so that I could take pictures; and although not in this footage there were many farmers out tilling their fields and children letting their cows graze. And once again my host was able to introduce me to anyone I wanted to talk with. It was a fun day.

video ninhbinh

Back to Hanoi

Posted: 11 April 2008 . / Categories: Where's Zim?

Well here I am back on the road to VN. Oh the joys of sitting peasant class! Although I did get lounge access today and there is power at my seat on the plane so I can keep working while in the air. I must say my enthusiasm for long trips abroad has been deminishing! What is it that they say? Be careful what you wish for?

I think i’m getting old. With every trip I feel like I’m getting a little more jaded and a little more grumpy.

As I am traveling alone I am spending a lot of time people watching. I was observing at JFK the various personalities of the people sitting near my gate; presumably they’re getting on my flight. The next gate down is a flight for Alitalia. The vast majority of the ones sitting near my gate were Asian and the vast majority of those sitting near the other gate are of European decent. They seem to be rather different physically but they all seem to fit into the few basic groups. There’s the young family with children under the age of 3 whom you pray not to have to sit next to. The couple looks stressed and on their faces the look of dread of having to get into this confined space with their children who were already bouncing off the walls. There is a mother feeding her kid hawaiin chocolates – what is she thinking? please god, don’t let me sit next to her.

Then there’s the classic dude, commonly known as Euro trash. You know, the hipster. The guy with slightly tight black jeans, black shirt and black velvet smoking jacket (I kid you not) strutting around on his cell phone, waiving his arms a bit. Trying to pretend to be quiet but not. Because he’s “important” you know. Saw that guy in a couple of different colors. As in Korean, black, white etc.

Then the older American couple, probably retired. You know, he’s wearing cackies that with a collared shirt and plaid sweater. His wife (presumably) in her decorative sweater and pants that are little too tight and a little too short. Did i mention the fanny packs?

Then there’s the group who don’t travel too often and who feel the need to rush the gate as soon as the boarding call is made. Why? because if they don’t someone will magically take their seat!

Then there are those who don’t travel too often but just often enough to make them feel like they are high falootin’ jet settin’ world travelers. They look at the “peasants” sitting in peasant class with disdain. They wonder why it is they have to stand in this line and it’s because THEY ARE amoung the peasants. Cause they ain’t sitting in the front where they think they belong. What creaps!

During my three hour layover in Korea, I am wondered which group I fall into and I realized ‘Ohhmagawd! I’m one of THEM!” I’m one of those creaps! oiy. not good.

I’m coming to realize the only solution to this is clearly private jet. Yeah baby.

Anybody want to buy exclusive rights to images from Vietnam?… for about 1M each? I do give volume discounts. Just ask.

15 hours down, 5  more to go! I’m ready to put my head on a nice pillow.

Jury Duttttty

Posted: 18 March 2008 . / Categories: Where's Zim?

Well I’m sitting in jury duty at the Queen’s County Central Court room. I’m just waiting. My name has not been called. I’m just waiting, so I’m bored, I have internet access and I thought I would blog, and share some unsolicited opinions.

First I had told myself that I would not write anything on this blog that was of a particularly personal nature, however I just can’t help myself right now. So here goes.

When I tell people I am on jury duty they grunt. They pity me. But I tell them that I want I actually don’t mind. First of all it’s not all that inconvenient for me, the court house is within walking distance from my home. Secondly, they honored my request of doing this now rather than in the summer when I’m busiest. Thirdly, if this is the price I have to pay to have the right of citizenship and residency in this country then it’s a small price! A few days of my life every 4 years? I want to know why I am in a room full of angry and pissed of people? They act like we are being tortured. There are large screen tv’s visible by everyone, and although the “The Price is RIGHT!” is showing…. and there’s limited internet access at the back of the room, and there are only 30 choices of snacks and 10 different drinks in the vending machine… and you are bored out of your mind… but this ain’t torture! Can I just say GET OVER IT PEOPLE!!

Website update & new images!

Posted: 13 March 2008 . / Categories: Where's Zim?

I just spent the last two weeks completely revamping my website. Not only is there a new look but there are also new images. If thare are any broken links or problems please email me with the specifics.

Here are the images from Arizona: http://www.zimphotography.com/fineartphotography/north_america/usa/usa_clr.html

Ohhhhh SUN!

Posted: 24 February 2008 . / Categories: Where's Zim?

Although not as warm as I had hoped, it sure does beat being at home! So can’t complain! Arizona is great. Got some wonderful images today of cacti! I’ll post them when I get home.

On the road to Arizona.

Posted: 21 February 2008 . / Categories: Where's Zim?

I must say that arriving at home last month felt great. The feel of your own pillow and your own familiar bed was a wonderful thing. And now I can’t believe that I’m going to be in the air again today! This time off to Scottsdale, AZ.

I hope to get a little bit of shooting in. The cacti out there should be good. But I’m mostly looking forward to the warm weather; it’s cold here in NYC.

Homeward Bound – Seoul, Korea

Posted: 05 January 2008 . / Categories: Where's Zim?

I’m finally on my way home. It’s been a long 4 weeks. Had lots of fun and got lots of work done too. I’m beginning to feel like a really disgruntled traveler. A woman sitting behind me on the plane last night kept on grabbing and pulling on my chair. I had to ask her to stop twice. Arggg. Going to different places, meeting different people and doing different things is all great and i wouldn’t trade that I just wish we could take the traveling part of it out. I’m tired. I haven’t slept much in 24 hours. I don’t want to deal with these people anymore. Someone tried to kick me out of the ladies room insinuating that i was a man. double argggh.

Back to Hanoi (& video clip from Laos)

Posted: 04 January 2008 . / Categories: Where's Zim?

So I’m in Hanoi again. The weather here has turned “cold” I’m actually wearing my real jacket. It’s a whole 60 degrees here. For those of you who are on the East Coast, don’t even start in with me okay? The way I see it? It’s a good way to ease myself into the bitter reality I am about to face in NYC; 19 degrees, argh. The hotel staff is told me that when the temperature drops below 50 degrees here, you can expect to hear about a number of deaths due to the cold! geesh. Wonder what would happen if they came to the Northeast USA?

Anyway, here is another video clip. It’s from Laos. This is in one of the caves we visited.
Video cave1

Hiking with Monks

Posted: 31 December 2007 . / Categories: Where's Zim?

This morning I spent some time at a temple at the end of the Luang Prabang’s main street. I had been there 2 days earlier and had spent some time with some of the novice monks. Many have asked “Is it forbidden to take pictures of monks? is that why you always show them from behind?” The answer is no. I often show them from behind because those images are about an idea not a person.

Anyway, I invited the monks to join us on a trip to see some temples across the river. They agreed to go with us and here some footage of that trip through the forest. TOO FUN!!

VIDEO - speedboat1

Parade of Monks – Luang Prabang, Laos

Posted: 30 December 2007 . / Categories: Where's Zim?

Here is what you see if you get up early enough in Luang Prabang:

And the local natural wonder. And yes, I did hike up to the top of the waterfall.

Download Video

Sunday morning NFL: Laos!

Posted: 29 December 2007 . / Categories: Where's Zim?

Turned on the tube this morning and AYUP, it was LIVE NFL FOOTBALL! Patriots go 16 and 0 in LAO!!! Here it is folks! check it out.

[video http://zimphotography.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2007/12/laosnfl.AVIÂ click here if you can not view video]

Arrived in Laos yesterday from Hanoi.

Words & Photos can not describe (Hue)

Posted: 28 December 2007 . / Categories: Where's Zim?

Yesterday we took the long less traveled road to the City of Tombs near Hue. I can not even begin to describe what I saw and while I was there I knew that there was not a photo I could take that would come close to giving you the size and scope of this place. I’m posting only one photo below. The “City of Tombs” is basically a grave yard. But over the past several years as Vietnamese ex-patriots have returned to attend funerals, bring home ashes of loved ones, etc. they have decided that perhaps the best way to bury the dead is to erect these huge tombs. And while at it, they have also decided that perhaps it would be best to make sure theirs is better than their neighbors’. And so the match ensues. This site goes for what seems to be several miles. It’s absolutely incredible. I just can not begin to describe this site. I wish I could have taken a photo from a helicopter.

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