Whether it’s the best of times or the worst of times…

7 things in this newsletter:
1. Updates
2. A photography test for you
3. Quotes that made me ponder...
4. Da Vinci
5. Photo contest deadline
6. More wolf photos
7. Answer to the test
1. Updates
It felt like yesterday when I had to immediately fly back from LA to Hong Kong back in September because my mom’s hand surgery got complicated...
Now Chinese New Year is coming, I have lots of things to be thankful for.
My mom’s hand is gradually healing.
I’m back to 30 pounds less than my weight in Oct, and my injured back felt a lot better. 
Still no heavy lifting but the severe hip pain and numbness on my right foot is gone. I no longer need to rush back to lie on my inversion table in an upside down pose in agony every day after work.
Can’t even look back at those days.
I’m finally working on something related to deep learning that I truly love.
And the two online photography classes are going well with over 300 students. Seeing them having great success (mostly because of their talent. I am just helping them a little bit) is a special feeling I still don’t know how to describe.
2. A photography test for you (answer at the bottom)
So I have been testing some different compositions and B&W lately, trying to understand more about visual confusion. Can you tell me from this photo:
What animal is this?
Is this the left or right eye of the animal?
Is he/she looking to the left or right?
3. Two Quotes I enjoyed
My thesis advisor recently sent me a link about a 30 year old entrepreneur whose company is valued at $1 billion. Turned out I’m a user of the service of that company, called Canva. Below is an old banner I created with Canva in 30 seconds, for free, and I loved it.
Winter Chamber Music ConcertJanuary 30, 2018, 2PM, Free AdmissionMain Dining Hall, Osaka University
I read some interviews of the founder Melanie Perkins. Very inspiring. I like a quote she mentioned in her interview about how she dealt with being rejected over 100 times by potential investors while starting the company in her mom's living room:
“The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.” – Steven Furtick
While walking towards the gate to board my flight from HK to LA two weeks ago, I stopped by a convenience store at the airport and bought a ton of Chinese books that caught my eye. 
It’s just so hard to find Chinese books in LA and I love the nostalgic feeling of reading paper books in Chinese. 
One of those books was by author Daisy Wong. Yup I confess I love her books. I ended up buying all of her books online from her website few days later after finishing that one. Here’s a quote she mentioned in her book that made me pondered.
"Whether it's the best of times or the worst of times, it's the only time we've got." - Art Buchwald
4. Leonardo Da Vinci
Some of you may know that my recent online course (DTS: Dynamic Tension Stacking) is based on a method that I “believe” is the vision and approach of how Da Vinci painted his masterpieces.
Yes. Call me crazy.
But the results can’t be denied. I have seen many of my clients who took this course almost instantly dominated Instagram and Facebook after incorporating this workflow on their photos.
Anyways, yesterday my good friend Tom recommended me a book called Leonardo Da Vinci by Walter Issacson, the same author who wrote a favorite of mine, the biography of Steve Jobs.
I immediately purchased the Kindle book, physical book and the Audible version (who said I am not obsessed) and have been immensely enjoying the book this morning, while sipping coffee and enjoying a toasted chocolate Croissant at Starbucks (shhhh..). It was a good escape for me, especially after some roller-coaster emotionally in life the last few days.
In one chapter, the author mentioned that Da Vinci came upon a whale fossil in a cave. 
Da Vinci wrote in his famous notebook  (just a part of this notebook costs $30 million) 
“You lashed with swift, branching fins and forked tail, creating in the sea sudden tempests that buffeted and submerged ships.” 
Then he wrote, 
“Oh time, swift despoiler of all things, how many kinds, how many nations hast thou undone, and how many changes of states and of circumstances have happened since this wondrous fish perished.”
Such great imagination.
I think it’s beautiful. And it reminded me of the most famous poem in Chinese by my favorite Su Dong Po.
For those who want to read the English translation of this poem, I just googled a website. Scroll down on that page to see the English.
5. Photo contest deadline reminder
Feb 20 for Nature’s Best Photography Windland Smith Rice International: A journey from the wild to the walls of the Smithsonian’s.
6. Some more wolves
In my last newsletter I showed you links to some beautiful wolf photos by my friends. Here’s a new blog post with high-res photos by photographer Scott Dere. He talked about how it took him 10 years to have this once-a-lifetime opportunity.
7. Answer to the photo
Drum roll...
That’s a bison, left eye, facing to the left. Did I trick you?
By subtle adjustment of the composition it can confuse our brain, don’t you think? I will talk more about creativity in wildlife photography in the next newsletter.
Until next time!
Tin Man

1 Comment

  1. BOnnie Mowlana on August 1, 2018 at 4:27 pm

    I have been an amateur photographer for the last 10 years. I am enchanted with the beauty of nature. Your photo’s truly touch my soul. congrats on capturing the unique beauty of all these wonderful creatures!

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