About W Brian Duncan

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

Curb Your Dog’s Enthusiasm

Signs, Signs, Everywhere Signs

I have to admit that I really love taking photos of odd things, and these oddities do occasionally make it onto the blog. From street art in Buenos Aires, to The Post Alley Gum Wall in Seattle, oddities that make me stop and go…hmmmm I wonder why someone did this…are some of my favorite travel finds. Technically, these street art masterpieces are graffiti or considered defacement by many. Enter this little sign…Curb Your Dog. I don’t know if this New York City sign is standard (it’s the only one I saw) around NYC, but someone had a clever idea to deface it.

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Footprints in the Sand of Honokalani Black Sand Beach in Maui, Hawaii

Footprints in the Sand

Maui was the first Hawaiian island Pamela and I visited. We went before I started traveling heavily and it’s still easily one of my favorite places on Earth. Looking back, many of my favorite places have been one’s I discovered with Pamela. I love exploring on my own. I think it is a basal need for me, but when you share your journey with the right partner, it makes life better.

This particular beach in Maui, Honokalani Black Sand Beach is located near the town of Hana in the Wainapanapa State Park. We took the road to Hana that day and found this gem towards the end of a day of magical Hawaiian wonder. Easily, this beach was our favorite part, not only of the Road to Hana drive, but our entire trip! This place was pure joy the day we visited. Like footprints in the sand, so too are our lives. Enjoy those moments of bliss no matter if you find them on a black sand beach half-way around the globe or if they materialize in your own backyard.

Photo Technical Info

  • Aperture: ƒ/2.8
  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II
  • Taken: 23 July, 2012
  • Focal length: 16mm
  • ISO: 100
  • Location: 20° 47.3383′ 0″ N 156° 0.2118′ 0″ W
  • Shutter speed: 1/3200s
  • Title: Footprints on Honokalani Black Sand Beach in Maui, Hawaii

London Tube Station Sign Heathrow Terminals 1,2,3

Symbols of London

You can probably personally come up with a bunch of symbols of London, even if you have never been there! Big Ben and Parliament, the helpful look right signs painted on streets, the bobbies and their awesome hats, but another symbol stands out in my mind and it might well in yours…the symbol for the London Tube. Often around Europe, the subways are called Metro’s and often represented by a M. BORING! For some reason I just love the London tube symbol. Perhaps because it does actually look like you are looking down a tube…practical and awesome looking…who could ask for more! What are your favorite London symbols?

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Noir Scene at the Vienna Oper House Cafe

On Alert

Traveling all over the world, you have to be alert! Some people are up to no good. Fortunately I have only had two odd experiences that didn’t escalate into something more serious. One was in Buenos Aires, the other was in Vienna. The only time someone has tried to pick my pocket was in the heart of Vienna! Luckily she was a TERRIBLE pick. Her first attempt was an announcement she was interested in my wallet (which was in my front pocket) and not the back pocket she tried to retrieve it from.

The big problem, was she must have decided I was worth the trouble because she kept following me. I was never in any danger in the crowded tourist streets, so I sat down on a bench. She likewise sat down across the street and started begging for money, and watching me out of the corner of her eye. I stared straight back at her! She finally realized I was on to her and let me be. Anytime you travel, you need to be prepared. This particular situation for more comical/sad than anything, but you never know when things might get more serious. I recommend a great book called The Gift of Fear. The world in general is pretty safe, but always listen to your gut and stay safe!

Noir World

It’s no secret I love Noir. Literally meaning black in French, the term Film Noir has been used to describe mostly crime drama’s and have had a number of notable hits including one of my favorite Orson Wells films, The Third Man. I couldn’t help but conjure up gritty black and white fantasies as I wandered the streets of Vienna. My only regret was that the streets weren’t a glistening with a never seen rain. Somehow that would have made the night perfect…along with the running of hard soled shoes across the inky wet desolate cobblestone streets as I was chased into the sewers…but I digress.

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Iron Panda

I Went to the Mall in Hong Kong!

Ok, OK, I know what you are thinking…you went all the way to China and you went to the MALL! Hear me out. I happened to be staying at the Hyatt at K11 and had heard about the strange and very interesting art collection housed at the mall. I assumed it was a gimmick and nothing more, totally writing off a visit. When I was returning from my oh so wonderfully clear night on Victoria Peak, I decided to stop by on my way into the hotel (there are several entrances to the Hyatt inside the mall after all). I was floored! The juxtaposition of their wonderful art collection (mostly contemporary Chinese artists) to those elements purely for consumption had my head spinning with thoughts about where fashion, art, consumption, waste, longevity, youth, sweet shops, labor (on and on) all intersect and interrelate.

Iron Panda

This guy is a sculpture of fiberglass and steel and resin by artist Bi Heng. It was this sculpture that initially caught my attention, drawing me into the zigzag that is K11. Iron Panda combines three elements, the giant panda, his iron man suit and tai chi (nature, technology and spirit); his melancholy is apparent beneath his powerfully rugged exterior. Mankind abandoning our heritage in pursuit of technological power, but perhaps balance can save us if we only work to find it (paraphrased from what I recall of the artists statement and my own interpretation).

Photo Technical Info

  • Aperture: ƒ/8
  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II
  • Taken: 26 May, 2014
  • Focal length: 24mm
  • ISO: 100
  • Shutter speed: 1/2s
  • Title: Iron Panda

Overlooking Hong Kong from VIctoria Peak on a Clear Night

The Weather is Unavoidable

When you fly halfway around the world for a photo, the least the location can do is cooperate when it comes to the weather! Truth be told, I have been extremely lucky the past few years (knock on wood!!!). Whether it was January in Geneva Switzerland or the constantly fantastic weather in Hawaii…most of the time I have at least a few good days of mostly sunny (with some pretty cloudiness) weather. Our first trip to Hong Kong was an exception and we kept putting off Victoria Peak because of the blanket of clouds. We chose well as our last night was a clear as it got!

Returning to Capture What I Missed

Sometimes I end up going to a place I have been before. The secret of cheap travel (are you ready for this revelation?) is to go where the fares are inexpensive, not necessarily where you WANT to go. If the fares take you to Milan, Italy two times this year, then just take the train to Venice. If you missed a clear Victoria Peak shot on your first try in Hong Kong…maybe the second try will pan out!

Photo Technical Info

  • Aperture: ƒ/8
  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II
  • Taken: 25 May, 2014
  • Focal length: 16mm
  • ISO: 200
  • Shutter speed: 6s
  • Title: Overlooking Hong Kong from VIctoria Peak on a Clear Night

Walking the Roof of Il Duomo at Sunset

Il Duomo at Sunset

I suppose it depends on the time of year you go, but I went to the room if Milan’s major Cathedral, I stayed up there for a long time. It neared sunset when the guards ran the last of us off and followed us out. It was peaceful up there and not terribly crowded. There is a something special about getting to wander the roof of such and old and central building like Il Duomo. The history of European cities can often be paralleled to the history of their main Church. This is perhaps the single most important structure in the entire city, and I spent the evening in the heavens.

Old Processes

At times I miss the darkroom. The smell of fixer is something you don’t forget. The chemistry one of the things that originally drew me to photography. I found never-ending joy in trying to find new and creative ways to splatter my chemicals to get an uneven result. Eyedroppers, spray bottles, tossing chemicals…I was manipulating WAY before I found Photoshop. I used quite a few processes to get this result today, but I was going for a modern day wet-plate look. How do you think I did?

Photo Technical Info

  • Aperture: ƒ/8
  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II
  • Taken: 5 April, 2014
  • Focal length: 32mm
  • ISO: 100
  • Shutter speed: 1/250s
  • Title: Walking the Roof of Il Duomo at Sunset

Old Bank Vault Timer

Junk

I love mechanical things and rooms full of junk. There is a certain order one can find in chaos…it’s not something you can fully grasp, but little hints of order in the mess sometimes make you feel better about your own messes. I have also always loved taking things apart to see HOW they work.

Take the PHOTO!

When you stop and notice something, when you are drawn to look or look again, TAKE A PHOTO! Seriously. There is something there, if it keeps grabbing your attention. I probably looked at this old bank vault timer 10 times before I finally took a photo! Even it you just snap a quick shot with your mobile, get it…you never know when it will come in handy as inspiration!

Photo Technical Info

  • Aperture: ƒ/5.6
  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II
  • Taken: 6 March, 2014
  • Focal length: 16mm
  • ISO: 100
  • Shutter speed: 4s
  • Title: Old Bank Vault TImer

The Grand Staircase of Teatro Colon

Eclectic Styling

Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires, Argentina is one eclectic place. It took many years and many architects to complete. Honestly from the stories I heard, either the BA of those times was very bohemian or the building levied some sort of curse on the architects responsible for its design. From this entrance, to the golden room to the exterior to the theater itself, you can see many different styles at work.

Photo Technical Info

Massive Supports at the Bangkok Airport

Airport Trouble

I have never had trouble at an airport like I had at Bangkok Airport! SO many things went wrong for me here. I was denied access to the lounge inbound (I just wanted to take a shower after my very long business class flight). I couldn’t get a boarding pass for my next flight. I left the airport and waste some time on my 18 hour layover and on return there wasn’t anyone to check me back in. I got stuck outside the secure area for 6 hours. On checking in I got levied a tax for leaving the secure area! A thai airport cop nearly knocked me over because their entrance signs are poorly labeled. It goes on and on!

What to do when Stuck

I photograph! Sadly I was so upset and exhausted that I didn’t get as much decent work in as I should have, but after the sun went down and the airport lit up a strange blue color, the massive supports at the Bangkok Airport really impressed me!

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