a teatray in the sky

蘭陽博物館 (Lanyang Museum) and 基隆廟口夜市 (Keelung Temple Night Market)

Posted in 5D Mark II, Architecture, Food, Photography, Taiwan by firthefirst on January 19, 2012

Taiwan is definitely not up there on the list of architectural destinations, largely overshadowed by the money-burning frenzy that is the Chinese real estate market and the always-fresh-always-funky world of Japanese contemporary design.  I’ve had the lucky opportunity to work for an excellent architect in Taipei (LWM Architects) and I know that there has been a number of great architectural minds working diligently to improve the design environment in Taiwan for the last couple of decades.  the Lanyan Museum, by 姚仁喜 (Yao Ren Xi, Artech Inc.) is one of the newest examples of Taiwan asserting an architectural personality.  there are faint echoes of I. M. Pei still in the work but the building’s design language clearly responds to the landscape around it, instead of being a purely intellectual geometric exercise.  the interior is logically laid out yet provides a compelling promenade, and even the quality of the construction is meticulous (which is typically so hard to find in Asia these days).  there are some exceedingly bizarre moments (like an unwrapped structural member that emerges randomly from a wall, warty fireproofing and all) which stand out because everything else seems to be so well sorted.


architecture in atlanta

Posted in 5D Mark II, Architecture, Atlanta, Georgia, Photography by firthefirst on June 15, 2011

what happens when you plunk a troop of architecture nerds in a city none of them have ever been in before?  they go see architecture.  lots of it, while discussing architecture the whole time.  do you find yourself avoiding your architect friends sometimes?  that’s the reason why. (more…)

steel city, second take

Posted in 5D Mark II, Architecture, Pennsylvania, Photography, Pittsburgh by firthefirst on August 31, 2010

keeping the commentary on mute today. (more…)

steel city, first take

Posted in 5D Mark II, Architecture, Pennsylvania, Photography, Pittsburgh by firthefirst on August 30, 2010

starting to count down the days before the wedding.  easy week at work? … please.  juggling like a circus act.  wanted to clear out some of the backlog from the trip tina and I took to pittsburgh over memorial day weekend, and realized all over again what a fantastic place the burgh is. (more…)

[lots of] falling water

Posted in 5D Mark II, Architecture, Frank Lloyd Wright, Ohiopyle, Pennsylvania, Photography by firthefirst on August 17, 2010

tina and I took off on saturday morning in opposite directions but for the same reason: the bachelor[ette] party.  given the fact that Randy was responsible for planning mine, and Rachel was responsible for planning hers, you may begin to suspect that the two parties would veer in very different directions.

and you’d be right. (more…)

hide your uwa

Posted in 5D Mark II, Architecture, Photography, Technique and Development, Virginia, Williamsburg by firthefirst on August 4, 2010

one of the best things about going to a full-frame is that all of your standard zoom lenses start at 24mm on the wide end, instead of 27mm equivalent on the APS-C sensor.  is it a big difference?  you betcha.  you may never notice until you’re in a small room how much of a difference those 3 millis of focal length matter.  but what happens when 24mm doesn’t cut it?  you have to step into the land of the uwa. (more…)

Cork & Cap at the Cork Factory Hotel

Posted in 5D Mark II, Architecture, Food, Hotels, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Photography by firthefirst on July 9, 2010

Tina and I have lately been making a series of forays into east-central pennsylvania for a project in lancaster.  one of the surprising discoveries is that lancaster is actually a great place for food.  it’s also a great place to see old buildings from the industrial glory days.  the Cork Factory brings these two things together, with a neatly renovated factory-cum-hotel, and a great restaurant to go along with it, the Cork & Cap. (more…)

2010 Smithsonian Craft Festival

Posted in 5D Mark II, Architecture, Penn Quarter, Photography, Washington, DC by firthefirst on May 13, 2010

tina had the wonderful idea of going down to the national building museum to check out the 2010 smithsonian craft show.  it’s long over by now, but if you’re in town and around for it in the future, it’s worth checking out.  apparently craft shows aren’t just open to any hippie with a bad whittling habit who wants to set up a stand.  these things are deeply competitive and the intensity of the artists is palpable.  even better, the quality of work on display really does reflect that. (more…)

we mortals are but shadows and dust

Posted in 5D Mark II, Architecture, Penn Quarter, Photography, Washington, DC by firthefirst on May 12, 2010

there is a quiet little plaza across the street from the National Building Museum that few people walk through and few people think about.  it suffers from a disease pervasive in DC known as memorialitis:  when everyone and everything has a statue, plaque, or monument in its name, nothing really stands out.  the irony of america is it demands that everyone be deemed special, without realizing that when everything is special, nothing is really special anymore. (more…)

the world’s largest speedlite

Posted in 5D Mark II, Architecture, Defrag, New York City, Photography, Technique and Development by firthefirst on April 29, 2010

… is what I used to take this shot with.  so big I had to gobo it.  it’s not a canon.  or a nikon.  or even a broncolor.  it’s something even more unaffordable. (more…)