Locations

Top speed on the Maglev in Shanghai...

Top speed on the Maglev in Shanghai...

I posted a picture of the external view of the maglev in a previous posting. Here, we see that the maximum speed attained in a typical trip is 431km/h - that's attained in a little over 3.5 minutes, and it only stays at that speed for a few seconds before the train needs to slow down on approach to the airport. The 30km trip takes just over 7 minutes!

Pudong Airport - Shanghai Airport

Pudong Airport - Shanghai Airport

This photo just demonstrates the remarkable engineering feat to build such a structure that relies on tension to stay together.

In my opinion the best features of airport are the symmetry of the structure as well as the use of natural light within the building.

Bumped into General Cosgrove at the Airport in Beijing

Bumped into General Cosgrove at the Airport in Beijing

Here's a photo of our General Peter Cosgrove. General Cosgrove and his wife happened to be on the same flight from Shanghai to Beijing as the one my tour group was on.

My mum was the one to first recognise him - her being the news obsessed person she is (!). As we were boarding the airplane he was seated on the first seat to the right - in business class.

Anyhow, upon disembarkation of the plane, we approached him to say hi and ask for a photo. His wife was happy to take this snap with my K750i.

Who is General Cosgrove??? I hear some people say...

Huangpu River from the TV tower

Huangpu River from the TV tower

This photo was taken at the TV tower in Shanghai. The view is of Huangpo river in Shanghai.

I feel as if I fluked the feeling of this photo. It really was not intended to look as if it were a glum photo.

Before processing this photo in Photoshop, the photo looks like any other tourist landscape of some city taken from a tower.

I think it was the smog and the fact that it was a cloudy day that contributed to the whole look of the photo.

You may want to visit this page for more information on Shanghai.

Some Fish from Shanghai Aquarium

Some Fish from Shanghai Aquarium

What kind of fish is this? who knows... Wish I knew... That's what you get when you're with a tour group rushing through the whole experience.

Picture me, trying to take a great picture - setting up the camera settings, waiting for the fish to be in the right spot, making sure the photo is in focus, making sure the flash reflection isn't eveident in the photo... it was great that a few photos actually turned out decent after that rushed experience.

I used an off camera flash - SB-800 with the on-camera flash on the D70 working as the commander. I angled the off camera flash in one hand - while taking the shot with the other. Obviously the angle of the flash was trying to prevent the flash reflection. I also used the 50mm f1.4, as it was the fastest lens I had with me. I tried to balance the speed of the lens (consequence is that the faster you set it the less depth of field you get), the speed of the exposure/film (ISO 200-1000? - consequence is that the faster you set that, the more grainier your pictures will look).

I think I also played with the effect with setting the camera to shutter priority but it didn't really give me the results I wanted as it always wanted f1.4 which meant a really shallow depth of field.

So what I decided was to get a good enough exposure, with enough depth of field to cover the subject, with the least grain I can get away with, so that I can play with it in photoshop to overexpose it slightly.

This photos is the result of a little cropping and curves in Photoshop.

Tour Group Photo with Shanghai skyline

Tour Group Photo with Shanghai skyline

A photo with a part of our tour group.

This was taken with a digital SLR on AUTO mode. I then crudely photoshopped it to slightly overexpose the foreground. The foreground was severely underexposed due to the cloudy weather and the weak on-camera flash which wasn't powerful enough to fill-in the foreground.

If I had an off-camera flash, it may give better results - but since it was cloudy - the photos would look a little dull nonetheless.

Shanghai Scroll Writer

Shanghai Scroll Writer

I found this scroll scribe at the back of a tourist shop just busy copying a scroll - BY HAND!

I wonder how many people in the world still make copies of a text totally by hand?

Shanghai and a Boat with Fairy Lights

Shanghai and a Boat with Fairy Lights

50mm f1.6 1/100s A view of a boat with fairy lights on the Huangpo. The building behind had somesort of glowing billboard that dynamically changed every second like a TV.

Shanghai Skyline - the Bund

Shanghai Skyline - the Bund

f1.6 1/100s Manual Mode. Shanghai skyline. Note the colonial style skyline.

This couple made an intersting website detailing their tour around Shanghai - includes a nice pictorial.

Don't expect anything like that here. :P

Shanghai skyline - Tilted?

Shanghai skyline - Tilted?

Another Photo... f1.4 1/160s... Manual Mode. Sharp. It seems that the TV tower is on a tilt though. Not sure if its an optical illusion or just my lacking Photoshop abilities (!)

Shanghai Night Skyline

Shanghai Night Skyline

Using my 50mm f1.4 lens at f1.6 , 1/125s on Manual Mode. Beautiful and Sharp photos of the night skyline on a ferry on the Huangpu River. You can even see airliners lining up to land in the top left of the picture.

Shanghai Maglev Train (Pudong Airport)

Shanghai Maglev Train (Pudong Airport)

This shot was taken from a tour bus driving along the highway beside the maglev line.

"The highest speed achieved on the Shanghai track has been 501 km/h (311 mph), over a track length of 30 km."

When I was on the train the fastest speed I saw on the LED sign announcing the speeds was 431 km/h.

So the world's fastest rail speed record hasn't been broken by the maglev. But in my opinion, since the TGV tracks are way longer than the 30-40km's of track for the Shanghai maglev, so the TGV has the unfair advantage of a 'runoff'.

Wikipedia article about the technology

Article about the Maglev line in 2002:

This site has great photos of the train! He definitely had time to wander around!

Take this professor's experience from riding the train.

Fastest Railroad
The highest speed recorded on any national railroad is 515.3 km/h (320.2 mph) by the French SNCF high-speed train, TGV (Train a Grande Vitesse) Atlantique, between Courtalain and Tours, France, on May 18, 1990. The Train a Grande Vitesse, which means high-speed train, first entered commercial use in 1981, between Paris and Lyon in France. At the time it was the world's fastest train, with a top speed of 370 km/h (236 mph), but it has since been superseded by newer generation TGVs.

Running the streets of Shanghai

Running the streets of Shanghai

Was on the tour bus in Shanghai, China when I noticed these two people playfully running around.

Had the digital camera out, White Balance set to Auto. Using the 50mm f1.4 set to f2. Due to the rapid transition of the shot across my window, the lens didn't quite focus on the right spot - if you look carefully the background it sharper than the subject.

As far as I know, the focus was set to Continuous mode - since the subject was moving, so maybe I simply pushed the button then the focus rectangle was over the background.

Philippine Airlines

Philippine Airlines

Philippine Airlines. The country's flagship airline. The airline code is PAL - which people jokingly say that it stands for "Philippine airlines Always Late".

But hey, you have to remember that this is Asia's oldest arrier!

Someone even wrote a nice article on Wikipedia for it:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philippine_Airlines

On the Photo side of things, you may notice a bit of dust on the top right. Of course I could have cleaned it up - sometimes I can't be bothered. But here I want to make a point about digital SLR's - that this a major drawdown for digital compared to film, as in these new cameras, dust just seems to love to attach themselves to the camera sensors.

Chinese Communism - "The People's Socialist Republic of China"

My 1986 edition of World Book details Communism as "a term that has several meanings. It can be a form of government, an economic system, a way of life, or a goal or ideal. Communism is also a set of ideas about how and why history moves, and in what direction it is headed. these ideas were developed mainly by Lenin from the writings of Karl Marx. Lenin was a Russian revolutionary leader of the early 1900's. Marx was a german social philosopher who lived in the 1800's."

Why do I want to explore this topic anyways?

It was when I was in China that I realised that I didn't know enough about Communism even though I thought I did.

Wikipedia entry on Communism

It can be argued that China is on a thin line between Communism and Socialism. It is said that both Communists and Socialists seek public ownership or control of the principal means of production. But while most socialists favour peaceful methods to achieve their goals, the Communists have often prepared to use force. (Tibet... wink wink - There was actually a Current Affairs program in Australia that played a segment about Tibet - See below for TRANSCRIPT... )

In Shanghai and in Beijing it is apparent that there is a Socialist Government in control as there is ruling that no private entity can own any land. All land is rented out to the people, as the land is owned by the government. The government also enforces a one child policy to control their population numbers.

The following question lingers in my mind - if China was a Socialist Government, why are there still beggars on the street?

Wikipedia article on Socialism

Anyhow, one can argue that the Australian government is a Socialist government... "Socialist ideologies tend to emphasize economic cooperation over economic competition; virtually all envision some sort of economic planning." We pay our taxes, some of it get distributed in our Social Security System... they make laws to protect us, the consumers and laws to protect Aussie companies from overseas competition.

Who am I to say it's a bad system? Then again, Communism, Socialism and Capitalism all has their own scales ranging from extremism to moderate and mild applications and all their different theories... That I can't be bothered to look at...

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TRANSCRIPT:
China and Tibet's spiritual struggle Broadcast 3/9/2005

As China celebrates the 40th anniversary of the creation of the Tibetan Autonomous Region, Beijing and the exiled spiritual leader of Tibet, the Dalai Lama, are in a contest for control of the Tibetan soul. The decade-long clash centres around the Panchen Lama, the person who will one day lead the search for the Dalai Lama's reincarnation. China installed its choice for Panchen Lama, and the boy chosen by Tibetan Buddhists has been hidden by China for years.