About W Brian Duncan

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

High Key Ramp

White Ramp

How much of your vacations do you end up leaving to chance?

I found MACBA Museu D’Art Contemporani De Barcelona within walking distance of my hotel in Barcelona. I just wandered to it the first day I was visiting. It was there and I just went in. The space is all gleaming white, I can’t imagine a better blank canvas to display art, but what caught me was the space itself.

When you travel have a plan, but don’t be afraid to abandon it on a whim. Your plan will be there when you return back from your mystical journey in the clouds.

There is a joy in discovery. There is surprise and wonder just waiting for you out there. It’s worth leaving flexibility in your travels. Serendipity is a wonderful muse!

Photo Technical Info

Fiery Sunset on Waikiki

Worth the Time

I know when I come back from trips, I have a huge number of photos and a good swath of them I label in my head as unusable for publication. Maybe you do too and I want to challenge you to think differently about those photos. Something originally grabbed your attention and caused you to snap the picture. It was worth taking and recently I have begun to believe there is value in working on these less than stellar gems. Experimenting in processing allows for a world of new results.

Today’s Photo

I was originally drawn to this fiery sunset on Waikiki, a subject I have looked at numerous times, but much differently today. I discounted this shot because there were so many people and so much clutter. Instead, I upped the contrast and rendered the bulk of the foreground in silhouette, all the while creating a surreal sunset giving everything an unworldly red/orange hue. The great thing is this was processed entirely in Lightroom 5! Try taking a fresh look at your unusable images. Focus on what drew you to take the shot in the first place, then find the photo!

Photo Technical Info

Red Telephone Box London, England

London Calling

When Pamela and I decided to go to London, I will admin, I was specifically excited to get a photo of two things. The first was Big Ben and Parliament at sunset. The second was this photo of one of the red telephone boxes that are all over London. I have no idea who uses these today with the ubiquity of mobile communication devices, but I am glad this icon is still around!

Photo Technical Info

Remembering You

Beauty and Tragedy

One of my favorite things about Hawaii is the freedom. It exists deeply in the place. All of the beaches are public and free for everyone to enjoy. Often access to these places are difficult and people tend to look the other way when you go someplace you shouldn’t. Signs give warning, but often these are ignored on the islands.

I love this section of cliff in Oahu. I have been several times…I like to sit and take it all in. I also know this is a place of tragedy. The ocean below is treacherous and a fall from the cliffs would be all too easy. There are a few memorials like this and I have always put off processing them, but I think perhaps the danger, the beauty, the harsh reality of this place is what draws me to it and to ignore the tragedy is to ignore part of the freedom that live gives.

Photo Technical Info

Metal Leviathan

Red Letter Date

A few things are significant today. First it’s the start of a new travel year! There are so many places to go, but Southeast Asia (yes I realize its the rainy season) is high on my list for the first part of 2015. This is also my 300th blogged photo! When I happen to notice how many photos I have processed over the years for this site, I am always taken aback. Maybe it’s because processing is SO FUN, it doesn’t seem like work.

Class Five, Maybe Class Six!

On my first trip to Seattle I met up with a few friends. My buddy Justin took me several places to photograph. I had almost forgot about these crazy sculptures by the Ballard Docks. I don’t work with black and white enough, and Justin specifically always says I should more, so this photo seemed like a perfect opportunity so work in tones.

Photo Technical Info

The Flavor of Buenos Aires

Pick Me Up in BA

I had spent the morning scouring the San Telmo Sunday Fair. I had expected much less then I got. The fair goes on and on, almost without end and as much as I love looking for deals, I also don’t leave much room for anything in my travel backpack other than the essentials. By the time I made one massive loop around San Telmo, I was hungry and this cafe had just what I was after.

Local Fare

It was still morning and I was justified in ordering a cappuccino (no self respecting person would drink coffee with milk in the afternoon)! I also ordered the local staple, medialunas. These sweet crescent shaped rolls are magic. One of my greatest joys in traveling is experiencing new food or new takes on familiar treats. This inexpensive indulgence fortified me and soon I was off to explore an entire different part of the Sen Telmo Sunday Fair I had previously missed. Seriously, it’s a day long event.

Photo Technical Info

New Mission Theater San Francisco

The Mission

I have an interesting history with The Mission in San Francisco. Today The Mission is undergoing gentrification (and has been for some time). With property SO expensive in San Francisco, it’s inevitable that eventually people will start purchasing properly in the more run down parts of the city. When we first visited, we stayed at a hostal and I trotted out in my purple Tommy Hilfiger shirt and white shorts (it was the early 2000). I didn’t QUITE fit in with the crowd.

Today The Mission is the “COOL” part of town. Some of my favorite places to eat are here and what is still my favorite breakfast place in the world is here. I always made a pilgrimage to have vegetarian biscuits and gravy any time I visit the city by the bay.

Photo Technical Info

The Lanikai Pillbox Hike

Every Time I Visit Oahu

If there is time, and usually there is, I do a morning hike to the Pillboxes overlooking Lanikai. It’s an easy hike, as far as hikes go in Hawaii. I wouldn’t suggest taking any little ones up unless you are confident of their skill. There are points that can be treacherous in muddy conditions and plenty of opportunity to plummet to your death if you don’t take reasonable precaution. Make sure to have reasonable shoes, though I have seen everything from hiking shoes to flip-flops. One trip, I was passed by a man doing sprints up the path, he was wearing trail runners.

The mountain has little opportunity for shade, so it can be exceedingly hot at times. The best part is the beach waiting below. Lanikai beach is my favorite beach in Hawaii. The black sand beach in Maui comes in close, but it’s not quite as comfortable and further away by car from where you will inevitably stay. After a hot hike, there is nothing like the calm waters of Lanikai…it’s what they mean when they call Hawaii, heaven. I can’t think of a more perfect morning.

Photo Technical Info

In the Choir of La Catedral

Happy New Year!

As crazy as the last two years was, 2015 looks to be even crazier for me…at least travel wise. I hope the best for all of you in the coming year!

Really Big Churches

I waited outside La Cathedral in Barcelona Spain for some time, while the guy taking money argued with a German backpacker. It was funny really because the cashier at the church seemed to speak only Spanish (or Catalan) while the German argued with him in a mixture of German and English. The backpacker only wanted to see the pamphlet describing the roof walk, but the cashier would only hand one over for 3€. He seemed oddly distrustful for someone working at a church! After paying I let The German look over mine, to which he said thank you but decided the jaunt to the roof wasn’t worth the cash. I guess when you are backpacking around the continent you have to be careful with your funds and sometimes that requires arguing in incompatible languages.

Photo Technical Info

Grand Staircase of the Vienna Opera House

Ask and Ye Shall Receive

I was only in Vienna one night before my flight to Paris the next morning. I wandered the streets, finding some interesting things along the way. I was about to go back to my hotel, which was directly across the street from the Vienna Opera house, when I realized the doors to the massive building were open. When I entered in I heard the orchestra playing and only I and two young ushers were in the lobby. I asked if I could take a photo, and one of the ushers shrugged, turned around and wandered out of the scene. I ascended the stairs, setup my tripod and grabbed a few photos. Always ask before you assume photos are forbidden. You might be pleasantly surprised.

Photo Technical Info