Camera Life 6
Part 6 - Lightning Strikes Twice
Fraser Smith 2020-08-13

Lightning Flashes Across The Sky

If you have been following my sporadic posts about Camera Life, you’ll be aware that I’ve been a camera owner (and therefore a hobbyist photographer) for over fifty years. In that time, I have only managed to photograph lightning successfully twice. Each time I used a different technique and each time I succeeded… eventually.


Time for a Break

Fraser Smith 2020-04-22

Random people sitting on a bench

“I’d never join a club that would allow a person like me to become a member.”

― Woody Allen


Springtime Haiku

Fraser Smith 2020-04-09

Camera Life 5
Part 5 - New medium, new eyes
Fraser Smith 2020-04-02

Landscape with Terragen

It’s hard to believe that a hobby program from a student at York University would be the catalyst to get me back into photography, but that’s exactly what happened in the late nineties. I cannot deny that, photographically, I’d lost my way at that time. In career terms, things were going well, I had left the offshore life in 1994 after a year posted to China and started working in the newspaper industry as an advertising systems engineer. On the personal front, however, it was pretty awful. And that is all that I’m going to say on that subject. It’s water under the bridge.


Life Under Lockdown 6
A bit of excitement
Fraser Smith 2020-03-25

An empty road in Shanghai

With most of the world seemingly under lockdown now, I didn’t think there was much scope for another “Life Under Lockdown” post. I was even toying with the idea of a new series, “life After Lockdown” based on the improvements to our situation here in Shanghai. However, events of the last weekend served as a reminder that, even if we’re not totally under lockdown, China is, and it’s getting stricter.


Camera Life 4
Part 4 - Olympus XA 1984...
Fraser Smith 2020-03-18

Olympus XA Camera plus film

Nothing could have prepared me for the intense heat and humidity of Houston, Texas, in the late summer of 1984, when I arrived there for my first overseas posting. Even the TV weather forecasts couldn’t cope when screen weather tickers topped out at 99% humidity for the simple reason that they couldn’t handle the three digits required to display 100%.


Camera Life 3
Part 3 - Minolta XG/M
Fraser Smith 2020-03-11

Minolta Camera

I often think of the XG/M as my first SLR camera. It wasn’t. I’d had a Praktica SLR for some time already, but I had no lenses other than the kit lens and it used a screw mount which was notoriously tricky and slow to use. So, the Minolta with its bayonet mount was the first SLR that I had additional lenses for, the first one that I took seriously. However, this post isn’t about that camera (well, maybe it is a little).


Five Things to do Under Lockdown
Shanghai Lockdown 5, keeping occupied.
Fraser Smith 2020-03-04

Time to learn to cook some garlic

So here we are at post number 5 about life under lockdown in Shanghai. As the situation shows signs of improvement in China but deteriorates in other countries, I bring you some suggestions, in no particular order of importance, for those about to experience their own life under lockdown.


Life Under Lockdown 4
Shanghai Lockdown, signs of improvement.
Fraser Smith 2020-02-26

A Childrens Train Ride under wraps

Perhaps the final update about life under lockdown in Shanghai. While it will probably be a few weeks before normality returns (if it ever does return), there are signs of improvement in Shanghai.


Life Under Lockdown 3
Shanghai Lockdown, the New Normal
Fraser Smith 2020-02-19

An Empty road in Shanghai

When I wrote the original post in this series, I assumed it was going to be a single post. After the second, I thought that would be it. However, the situation is always fluid. Things change. So here we are with post number 3.


Life Under Lockdown 2
Shanghai during the Coronavirus Covid-19 Crisis
Fraser Smith 2020-02-12

Looking up at Skyway Hotel

When I wrote the original Life Under Lockdown post a week ago, I didn’t plan on making it a series, but here we are, one week later and I’m writing an update.

It’s been a week of reflection, a week of getting enough sleep, a week of boredom and, sadly, a week marred by tragedy. It’s also been the week in which I completed my 57th orbit of the sun so yay for me.


Life Under Lockdown
An update from Shanghai during the Coronavirus Crisis
Fraser Smith 2020-02-06

Author in Mask

Living in Shanghai during the current coronavirus outbreak, I’m often asked by overseas friends, how we are doing. The short form answer to that is, “We’re fine”. But here’s a longer update on the situation to date from the perspective of an expat in Shanghai.


Camera Life 2
Part 2 - FED 4, Russian Rangefinder, 1978
Fraser Smith 2020-01-31

FED 4 Camera

Second of a series of posts dedicated to the many cameras that I have owned over the years. While some posts may focus on my thoughts about the camera itself, for others, I hope to dig up some remote memories and anecdotes from the time when I owned it.


Mayflower 400 - Mayflower II

Fraser Smith 2019-12-22

This morning I learned, through a retweet from @NickLewis of a tweet by @Mayflower400Uk, that 2020 will be the 400th anniversary of the voyage of the Mayflower. It reminded me of a family link to the Mayflower and a personal anecdote from about 20 years ago related to that link.

Mayflower Replica


Chrome Dark Mode

FrasSmith 2019-10-23

Google Chrome version 78 has just launched. I was having a look at the “chrome://flags” page and discovered that it’s now possible to enable dark mode for all sites in the browser.

As mentioned, enter “chrome://flags” in the url bar and then, when the page loads, search for “dark”. You should see the two settings shown in the image below.

<img src=”/img/ChromeDarkMode.png” alt=”Chrome Dark Mode “style=”width: 80%;” />

Select one of the choices for “Force Dark Mode for Web Content” from the drop down menu on the right and click the button at the bottom right of the screen to relaunch your browser. I’m not sure what all the options do, but I found that “Enabled with selective inversion of everything” works quite well.

If you want to switch it off again, just repeat the above and set the dropdown to “Disabled”.



Camera Life 1
Part 1 - Kodak Instamatic and the Embarrassed Sheep
FrasSmith 2019-10-17

Kodak Instamatic

This is the first of a series of posts dedicated to the many cameras that I have owned over the years. While some of the posts may focus on my thoughts the camera itself, for others, I hope to dig up some remote memories and anecdotes from the time when I owned it.


Posting to Instagram from the Desktop
A short "how to".
FrasSmith 2019-10-15

One of the biggest frustrations for photographers when using Instagram is its mobile only ethos. For any photographer, uploading images to Instagram can be a chore as a typical workflow would be to transfer files from camera to computer, process files, export to jpeg and then, find some way to transfer the jpeg files onto a phone to upload to Instagram. It’s almost as if Instagram doesn’t really want serious photographers on its platform.


TIDAL Automatic Playlists

FrasSmith 2019-10-14

I was re-acquainting myself with The Stranglers’ Aural Sculpture album this afternoon on TIDAL. When TIDAL finishes playing an album, it automatically generates a playlist of similar artists and plays that next.


Fidgeting for Focus
Learning to be more productive from ADD kids.
FrasSmith 2019-10-01

The following is an article that was first published in 2010 on Edexpat is long gone, but thanks to the internet archive, the text of this article was recoverable. What follows has been edited and slightly updated