Friday, November 25, 2011

Appreciate the beauty that life is

After having another setback at my work and feeling a bit blue about the direction I'm going, or not going these days with my current path in life, my friend Inna sent me this video for some inspiration.

It's a video directed by award winning cinematographer Louie Schwartzberg who specializes in time-lapse photography and started out with just his camera and one or two rolls of film and lots and lots of hours of filming flowers and the small things in life we generally take for granted in the big scheme of things.

The cinematography in this video is amazing as is the message. Sit back and relax, take in the world around you, both big and small. Live each day like it's a treasure to be cherished because we have so many gifts that we take for granted. And for me...this video kind of says follow your heart, follow your passion. You are living now, there is no better time than now.

I'm glad I've decided to start pursuing photography and other artistic endeavors in a more professional manner.

Alas, here's the video. Enjoy

Thank you to all that view and keep in touch

I checked my blog stats today and found out I have just reached in the last 24 hours, over 4,100 views since I first started my blog in January!  Not only that, I'm finally back up to my blogs opening viewing numbers of 800/month!  

So I just wanted to say WOW!  I'm really glad you all enjoy my blog enough to come visit it, comment, share it, etc.  I'll keep on writing and promise not to slack off this time like I did while traveling. 

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Dusk falls on Davao

Dusk falls on Davao by LaughingShutter
Dusk falls on Davao, a photo by LaughingShutter on Flickr.

A man makes his way back home after a day of fishing. Davao City

Davao Sunset

Davao Sunset by LaughingShutter
Davao Sunset, a photo by LaughingShutter on Flickr.

The sun fights with it's last breath before succumbing to the laws of nature and falling below the horizon in Davao, Philippines

Travel is Freedom, stories from Costa Rica and Philippines

I found a great opportunity and excuse to write out some of my inspirational travel stories when posted an open call for 111 inspirational and funny travel stories to be published in a single book.Wegetthere is an up-and-coming travel website that seeks to help travelers connect to share information and promotes responsible, meaningful traveling and tourism. In other words, give more than you take when you travel.

I procrastinated a bit like usual but finally came through and came up with two stories that came to my mind as really inspirational and truly memorable.

The first story I wrote happened when I took my first trip by bus to San Jose from Puntarenas, Costa Rica. I ended up in what everyone was telling me is the most dangerous barrio in San Jose! But due to a chance meeting with a stranger I found countless memories and ended up in what one could pretty much call a fantasy world.

The second story and the one I submitted because I have photos to go with it, I don't know what happened to all of the photos from that particular trip, is about my first Christmas in the Philippines back in 2009. I decided to give back in a big way and it is still my favorite and most memorable travel memory to date.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Publishing a photobook

I thought occured to me this weekend after visiting a photo exhibition and seeing reactions of different people when they viewed my recently developed film photos from my Black Sea trip. All of the artists that are exhibiting their work have at one point or another published a photography book showcasing a project of some sort.

When I originally decided to do a European tour the biggest thing I thought about doing was documenting my trip and perhaps doing an exhibition in some city yet I had no clue how to approach that. After traveling and making different contacts I've found that it is very possible to start exhibiting some work once I have prepared it.

However, I really would like to have something permanent out there that showcases the evolution of my photography and the projects I pursue. My trip took me 7 months to complete and had around 10,000 digital images and video along with about 30 black and white film shots.

I've decided to start organizing my work and contacting the people I know who have more experience in these sorts of things. I'd also like to get in touch with some charities, NGO's, etc that I feel passionate about and discuss donating a percentage of the proceeds. I haven't made any decision as I've just begun brainstorming but I think it'd only be appropriate to support a worthy charity in the location that I traveled and perhaps one more. It'd be my way of saying thank you for the hospitality and giving back by promoting and supporting the charity which in turn promotes the book.

There are a lot of things to think about until I finally get everything together but I do know that I'll work on having a photo exhibition here in Istanbul showcasing the photos and the stories behind them during my trip  around the same time I publish the book to reach the widest audience possible.

Here are two photos from my film shots.

An old man plays and sings for pilgrims and tourists in Mtskheta, Georgia

My driver having a smoke while driving me to Northern Turkey

Have you ever purchased a photography book? If so, Why?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

I've had better days

Istanbul has treated me good so far. Sure I haven't completely adjusted or learned the language yet
but I've been able to be comfortable. Found a place before I even arrived. Found a job with great benefits.
Met some really cool people straight away and then again when I took a chance and went on a wild trip for
the holiday instead of staying home and saving money. 

I wouldn't take any of it back

I've felt like the man in this video..jumping, flipping, vaulting through life and taking it all with relative ease.
I may have looked beaten but I never felt beaten, always ready to jump back up and move again, even support a friend. 

But today, well I've had better days.

It reminded me of the song Better days (and the bottom drops out) which I was unable to embed on the blog. Why...cause I've had better days and today the bottom just felt like it was dropping out. It wasn't anything big that happened. It was just all of these small things building up and striking my psyche at once. 

From unruly classes that I used to be able to control and reign in, to complaining teachers that are complaining about the same things that they usually put me through (teaching material that the other was expecting to teach), to printers not being available when I needed them, to issues with different people, and especially to my computer being changed. I'm definately way too connected to this laptop. It's like we weren't detached from birth and with me making the sudden change and needing to reinstall all of the programs today (I didn't have excel installed yet so I couldn't see my class schedule or use powerpoints), I'm sure it had me at my wit's end. 
Then of course it had to be this day that the big boys come in to go over the various 'issues' they've been made privy of over the past few months. With the day I had these issues felt much larger. The first question they asked is if everything is going alright at home because they're really surprised by the complaints they've heard. 

To be honest, these past few weeks I almost wished I was back in a Korean classroom where I could say one or two words..or use one of my class management strategies and it'd work. If it didn't, I could have a co-teacher or a vice principal ready to lay the law down and the students knew it.
Here it is such a different ballgame. They know there is really nothing I can do although at times I've had progress but every day and every class starts with a battle of just trying to make sure they all get their books out but they say they don't want to. A ridiculous problem that should have a quick answer but it's like I have no support and the kids never listen. 

I know I need to find some new strategies...otherwise as the worsts scenario they gave me..I would be out of a job (and unable to find another 'legal' one in Turkey).   Definately not what I needed to hear today. Any other day but today. 

It's days like these that keep you aligned with reality...wake you up from any dream you may be living in. 

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A while ago I learned that I had the slower windows installed into my laptop.
I've been hesitant to take the step and upgrade it to a 64bit system by myself but
decided that now would be the best time since I have a flatmate that's an IT/Computer person.

To be honest though, so far it doesn't feel faster at all. Of course it was getting VERY slow and was a bit embarassing when people would tell me my computer was slow after I JUST bought it. It still feels a bit slow and my system rated itself as a 4.2 on the Windows Experience Index. I can't remember what it was before but I'm pretty sure it was around i'm wondering what's different now. The graphics so far aren't impressing all. 

My system stats are 
AMD Turion II P560 Dual-Core Processor 2.50 GHz, 4GB RAM

Does this sound about right?

I'm currently trying to get my photos back off the harddrive and back onto my system so I can continue working on them. Of course I'm trying to download the useful programs I had before that I've bcome comfortable with.

Something that is really bugging me is that all of the websites are automatically going to Turkish...I can't get Tumblr to be in English at won't even let me :-/  

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Back to the Faeries. Part 1 of Bairam travels

The school finishes up with a national anthem and well wishes for Bairam
It was a chilly November night in Istanbul. Perhaps a little colder from my newly cut hair so I appeared a bit less like a hitching traveler.  I had just finished work and was home by 4pm.

Having packed my bags the night before all I had left to do was burn my five photos for the Istanbul Photo Contest held by Les Arts Turcs, print out the registration form and race against time to drop off the photos at the Sultanahmet office before returning by ferry to Kadikoy where I would meet the people I'd be spending my bairam holiday with. Having the photos in my hand, my backpack stuffed with clothing and a blanket, and a look of urgency I just prayed that there would not be a large traffic jam as is usual at 6 o' clock on a Friday night.
In my rush of urgency I jumped on the bus going the wrong direction and when passengers alerted me of this I got off at the next stop, eyes worried that I would indeed be missing the bus at 8:30pm.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Coming out of the Shutter

I've been hiding behind the 'shutter' for quite some time now.

A few years ago I'd be posting every photo I took on facebook without edits or thought to quality.
After I realized how this looked and that it'd be better to pick and choose which photos to show to the world if I wanted to improve myself and my photography I stopped posting for a while. Actually, I became a bit overwhelmed with the post-editing aspect of photography as I'd see so many AMAZING photos done in post editing yet mine always (in my mind) lacked the punch. I wanted to create what I saw in magazines and the media. These amazing portraits and works of arts that make you just go wow.

It took me quite a while and I'm still coming to terms with the idea that these photos I'm seeing are somebody elses. They're great to get inspiration from and great to learn from but it's pointless to compare. I must develop myself and my own style if I want to create a 'masterpiece'. So over the past year and a half I began clicking my shutter on my new Canon 550D. Occasionally I'd take out the Canon slr rebel 2000 for some black and white photography. I've been in search and am still developing my unique 'look' and 'style' that all 'great' photographers have.

I've heard that it usually comes when you least expect it, almost like an 'ah-ha!' moment when you begin noticing a pattern and comfort with what you are doing. For some it comes after a short while but for many it can take years to really develop.

No matter how long it takes me, I figure it'd be nice to have some moral support and perhaps some commercial opportunities so I have finally opened a photography page on facebook to showcase some of my best work. Facebook is the best medium these days next to twitter for dispersing and sharing information. I look forward to sharing my work as I create it and hopefully inspire others to travel and pursue their own photography while also invite those that would like to be photographed or work with me in a project.

It was about time I came out of the shutter after receiving my first SLR in 2003 when I took my first beginners film photography course.

So for those of you that have been shy about showing your work or having your photo taken, I invite you to come out of the shutter and express yourselves through photography.

Welcome to Joshua Sterrett Photography

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Take me back

Take me back by LaughingShutter
Take me back, a photo by LaughingShutter on Flickr.

Take me back
Back to the time our hands were one
Our eyes did the talking and our fingers did the walking

Model: Ji hyun
Photographer: Me

Location: W Studio in Gangnam

Feb. 2, 2011

Friday, November 4, 2011

Bairam Holiday is HERE!

The 5 day Bayram Holiday is beginning on Saturday Nov. 5th and I don't plan on spending it sitting around home! I decided to make the best of it by joining a trip recommended to me by my friend Mehmet called the Xtra Large trip. It'll be a party bus leaving Friday night (Nov. 4th) for a 5 day trip to the breath-taking destinations of Cappadocia and Olympos, Turkey.

View Larger Map

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Vampires and me


Ever since I was young I have been fascinated about vampires. 
I remember dressing up as a vampire for so many halloweens. 
These creatures that had superhuman strength and speedThe ability to shapeshift into different creatures of the night
They were like the Highlander only superhuman.