About W Brian Duncan

HDR Photographer, techie, vegetarian, fitness enthusiast, dreamer, creative and all around nice guy. Lover of wine.

I Heart Shanghai


Pudong and The Bund feel a bit like a circus. Not because there are hawkers at every turn (there are not), but because of the massive numbers of people gawking at Pudong. You literally wade through people to get to an open viewing spot. Often you have to wait for a viewing spot, though if you just get away from the main stairs you will own gawking will be much easier. Once you are at the rivers edge, you are greeted with thew awesome site that is Pudong, if the Ringling Bros. were architects, they would be proud.

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Walking Around Koutoubia Mosque in Marrakech

Beauty of the Desert

I don’t think until my travels this year to Morocco and Arizona did I fully realize the beauty of the desert. What from a far seems barren and lifeless is minimalism and essence, pure form. It is a place teaming with life, if you only bother to look. To survive you have to adapt and be strong, but there is a pureness to the place, an elegance.

I wasn’t allowed in inside Koutoubia Mosque, but I was of course allowed to walk around the grounds. It’s a HUGE structure seemingly in the middle of the old city, and the Minaret is one of the tallest things around, so you always seem to be drawn to the Mosque.

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Street Art in Chinatown, NYC

Finding A New York State of Mind

I took a trip to New York City last week. It was a busy week and I didn’t have much time to photograph (despite lugging my camera everywhere I went). Business took me though Chinatown many times during my four day visit and one the last day I was struck by this scene. I probably walked by five or six times, but only after 4 days did I actually SEE this great street art. Why do we let the busyness of life keep us from seeing the beauty of life?

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Gondolier at Sunset, Venice Italy

Dark Shadows

I recently talked about the feeling of a photo, and trying to capture how a place felt. I don’t say things like this often, but today’s photo might well be one of the best I have ever done. I am not speaking of the technical aspects of composition or even timing. This is how Venice FELT to me this last winter. Dark shadows, muted, cold. I long to go back. I can’t begin imagine the place in the summer. Winter in Venice seemed to fit me perfectly. Hopefully I can visit again this January or February, wandering, a bit lost in the icy cold air, with a copy or Watermark in hand. Feeling the city that is not separate from the sea.

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YuYuan Garden Building


I have sat in this spot twice now. The first time, I was watching a cat. We had a wonderful chat, though we didn’t seem to speak the same language. The second time my furry friend was sadly absent, but I again sat, this time waiting for Pamela, who was I think a bit awed by her first visit to Yu Yuan Garden in Shanghai. There is a tendency to rush when on vacation, but I think all this travel has started to teach me to find a good spot…there are SO many around. Sit, feel your surroundings, watch, smell, listen. Have a chat with the locals, even if it is a cat. You never know what you might learn.

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Joan Miro Exhibit

Empty Halls

A quick post today, complete with no tourists! I was both ecstatic and sad to see the National Gallery in Washington D.C. so empty. It was deathly quiet…I almost literally had the place to myself. The Miro exhibit was fantastic as was the permanent collection. One might expect this from the National Gallery. Though I might lament too few people seeing master works that day, I totally appreciated the unobstructed view!

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Washington D.C Pyramid

Older Works

I don’t constrain myself with only processing photos from my latest trip. I like to process what catches me at the time when I sit down on a Sunday afternoon to prepare photos for the blog. This photo was from my first solo trip. It grabbed me for some reason and I think it reminds me of another photo that I processed years ago of the Glass Pyramid gracing the front of the Louvre. It is a bit unfair to compare them, but both were designed by I.M. Pei. I personally think the photo at the Louvre is better. Perhaps that is an equally unfair comparison, but both were taken by me.

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Pea Ridge Cannon

History Lessons

We almost didn’t stop, but the sign on the Pea Ridge National Military Park said it was National Park’s weekend and admission was free. I turned around three times before we finally firmly decided to stop. We would have been better off with more time and a more dedicated understanding of the history of the battle fought here, but despite our military ignorance, we found a number of really cool places at the park. The Elkhorn Tavern and the Civil War era cannons scattered around the park were wonderful. It goes to show, even if you don’t have the proper time to dedicate to a place, a quick stop will tell you if you should come back for a more through tour!

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Sunrise at My Favorite Spot

Favorite Places

Do you have a favorite place?

I usually have a hard time picking a “favorite” anything. Favorite country, favorite animal, I even find my favorite color problematic! There though is an easy answer to my favorite morning…Lanikai. I exist in a world of movement. I am constantly going places, most of which I will never return to, but I keep going back to Hawaii and specifically back to Lanikai Beach. If I have the morning in Oahu, I will always do the same thing. I hike up the Pillbox Trail, then go and swim at Lanikai Beach. One day, I hope Pamela and I will live out my remaining days on Oahu, watching the most perfect sunrise, knowing, there is no place on this Earth we would rather be.

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In the Depths of Union Station

Metro Walls

I love the tube, the metro, the subway, the L…public transit is the way I like to get places. With the exception of Hawaii, I generally hate to drive in unknown places. Public transit lets me see people going about their daily lives, how they get places in a way no other transportation can. I am also fascinated by the honeycomb-like walls of the D.C. Metro system. I often wonder if this was an aesthetic choice, of one that provides stability to the tunnels. Anyone know?

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