202 housing units are now under construction on the former San Carlos Caltrain Station parking lot. Last Thursday representatives from Caltrain, the Valley Transportation Authority (VTA), and Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) presented [PDF] current plans for building housing and offices on top of station parking lots, at the San Francisco Bay Area Planning and Urban Research Association (SPUR) in downtown San Jose. Caltrain is working with those cities that have already completed station area redevelopment plans and adopted appropriate TOD zoning near stations to support mixed-use developments.
A long-term lease agreement is now being negotiated with Sares Regis Group to develop 100 to 150 apartments on the Hayward Park Station parking lot, along with at least 50 parking spaces available to Caltrain passengers, 29 electronic bike lockers, and space for six SamTrans buses.
BART and VTA are developing real estate at their stations on a much larger scale than Caltrain.
Highway 101 facing north from Ralston Avenue in Belmont is part of a 14-mile segment that may be widened to ten lanes. MTC says traffic will move faster in all lanes, and carry more people in fewer vehicles, if the existing left-most lanes are converted to Express Lanes instead. Public transportation becomes less accessible for low-income Peninsula residents and workers this year with fare increases for both Caltrain and SamTrans buses. Caltrain officials estimate the fare increases will bring in $8 million more per year, which they say is needed to keep up with rising costs.
But transit advocates have long noted that the agency’s Go Pass program, which sells all-zone, unlimited-ride tickets to large employers, provides far too steep of a discount, ignoring a major revenue source. Millbrae Avenue at El Camino Real in Millbrae, slated for expansion with even more traffic lanes despite its location at San Mateo County’s busiest transit hub. Commuters in SF and the East Bay are ditching cars faster than anyone in the nation, as evidenced by regular crowds packing on to BART at 19th Street in Oakland. Commuters in the Bay Area ditched cars faster than in any other major metropolitan area between 2006 and 2013, according to a new U.S.
The report looked at work trips in the San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward Metropolitan Statistical Area. Commuters in the New York City-centered metropolitan area were least likely to use private cars to get to their jobs in 2013, but even so, a majority – 56.9 percent – still did. Housing for about 850 new residents and offices for 868 workers are slated to rise where these Millbrae Station parking lots currently stand — but so are more than 2,000 new parking spaces. The projects are expected to bring over 2,000 new residents and 2,000 jobs within walking distance of San Mateo County’s busiest transit hub. New residents and workers are expected to drive for 69 percent of trips, according to the environmental review for a proposed update to the Millbrae Station Area Precise Plan, which must be approved by the City Council. The Caltrain Board of Directors voted today to increase the share of space on its future electric trains devoted to bike capacity, though the trains may lack bathrooms. More room for bikes on Caltrain’s electric train cars will let more commuters board with bikes, but they may not have a bathroom on the ride.
The Caltrain board rejected a proposal from its staff to include one bathroom on every six-car train while maintaining the same seat-to-bike ratio that exists today of ten-to-one.
The board also requested a report on the costs of adding more bathrooms and bike parking at stations. Redwood City’s vision for a dense, walkable downtown would be undermined by its plans to induce more driving. As Redwood City plans to develop a more compact, walkable downtown, the city is ramping up efforts to encourage transit, bicycling, walking, and carpooling to avert the surge in car traffic that many residents fear would come as a result. In December, the City Council considered increasing allowable office space downtown from 500,000 square feet to 670,000 square feet while reducing space for housing and retail development, but hasn’t gone through with the proposal. Aaron Aknin, Redwood City’s director of community development, said the city can accommodate this growth without increasing traffic. Under Redwood City’s TDM ordinance, businesses with 50 or more employees would have to figure out a way to reduce solo driving.
When High Speed Rail begins operating in 2029, passengers will access Caltrain via the upper set of doors (yellow) at stations shared with high speed trains, and via the lower set of doors (blue) at all other stations. The insistence of California High Speed Rail officials on running trains with floors 50 inches above the tracks threatens to reduce the capacity of Caltrain and hamper the benefits of level boarding for the commuter rail agency. Last Tuesday, Caltrain officials gave an update on the electric trains the agency plans to purchase next year, which will begin operating in 2021 [PDF]. High Speed Rail Authority officials insist on the high-speed train industry standard floor height of 50 inches above the tracks. In order to achieve level boarding fully compatible with High Speed Rail, Caltrain will need to allow passengers to board at the 50-inch height.
Copyright NoticeThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. So ever since I fell into the depths of Taoism and learnt the philosophies of doing less (everyday subtract 1 thing you do rather than add 1 thing) – this has helped me gain a lot of focus in my life.
I think one of the biggest constraints that has helped give me focus, direction, and concentration in life is knowing that time (and life) is the biggest constraint.
I often find that thinking a lot about death is one of the best ways I stop dicking around, and focus on my life’s task– and my life’s work (which I think is writing for this blog, spreading the love of photography and philosophy, and building communities and bringing people together). I’ve had a few near-death experiences (one being a car crash that if my front bumper was pulled to the curb just 1 more foot, I would have probably died in a lethal T-bone collision) and another foolish time I switched lanes on the freeway, and almost hit a 18-wheeler head-on (but I swerved away in the nick of time). Other instances are actually seeing other people have near-death experiences (or lying on their deathbed). Even though I am 26 years old, healthy, and with no major illnesses– I never know when I will die.
Out of all the books I have read on the philosophy of life– there is nothing that speaks more to me than Stoicism. Out of all the Stoic scholars (my favorites being Seneca, Marcus Aurelius, and Epictetus) – Seneca is one of my favorites. My favorite books by Seneca include “Letters from a Stoic” (the best compilation of his letters and sayings to his friends) and also “On the Shortness of Life.” Both should be read (if you want to learn how to deal with adversity in life). I might do another article on “Letters from a Stoic” later– but I wanted to start this article on “On the Shortness of Life” (because it deals a lot with living everyday as if it were your last, and not wasting life). I know in today’s world (unless we get hit by a car or fall victim to some rare form of cancer) we can all expect to live around 80 years old due to modern medicine, surgery, and cancer treatment. However once again as I mentioned earlier– we don’t really know with 100% certainty how long we will live. Anyways, I once read this thing by Steve Jobs in which every night before he goes to bed– he asks himself if he did everything in his possible power during the day to best use his time, energy, and life. I once read something that if you change your behavior just by 1% everyday– that difference will compound in huge investments down the line (if you think of a financial investment analogy).
I know that a lot of us are busy and don’t have a lot of “free time.” But if you ever surf reddit, watch television, go on Facebook – you have free time. I know a lot of people say “time is money.” But rather, I would say that time is much more valuable than money. For example, I know some people who work at companies who take a smaller salary and work fewer hours a week (for a smaller paycheck). I once read something that once you earn at least $75,000 a year (combined income with your partner) – earning more money doesn’t bring you more happiness in your day-to-day life. I know a lot of people who fall into “hedonic adaptation” or the “hedonic treadmill” in which as they earn more income, their lifestyles get more fancy– so they end up spending more money on extraneous luxury goods (BMW, big house, kids in private school, expensive camera, etc). So my practical tip: just earn enough money to live comfortably, then protect your free time at all costs.
Furthermore, rather than trying to earn more money– think of how you can actually get by with less in life.
I recently installed an application on my phone called the “death clock” in which it tells me (roughly) how many days I have left to live.
There is a nice article online called “Regrets of the dying” – in which a nurse who took care of the dying wrote a list of common regrets of the dying. Another thing I did recently which frightened me– as well as gave me immense amounts of focus (for my future self): I downloaded an application on my phone which simulated how I would look like in 40 years.
I got this simple idea from a new book, “The Marshmallow Test” – in which the author talks about when people are shown a simulated older-version of themselves, they are more likely to put more money into their retirement funds.
So try downloading that “death clock” application, and put it on your smartphone home screen or your desktop. I think one of the biggest plagues of the modern world is how we often over-communicate with email, text messages, Twitter, Facebook messages, etc.
Personally even though I get help from my manager Neil in terms of screening my incoming emails, I still get a lot of messages and requests from email and social media. One of the best “productivity” tips I’ve read is this: Don’t check your email first thing in the morning.
Finish breakfast for Cindy, drag her out of bed, serve her breakfast with a kiss, enjoy a nice morning conversation. Have espresso, clean up the kitchen, clear my table, and start writing from around 7am-noon. I know not everyone has the convenience of having a huge chunk of time to do meaningful work in the morning– especially if you have a day-job and need to be in the office by around 8–10am. However even when I was working my day-job, I woke wake up early at around 7am, and still do some writing from 7–9am (2 hours of focused writing is a great chunk of time) – and just get into the office by 10am (great thing about tech companies is that they start late). I know some other writers who are even more hardcore – because they have young children and a day job– they wake up at around 4am and write from 4–6am to get their writing done (when there isn’t any distractions).
But regardless – when it comes to your time, be absolutely ferocious in terms of defending it. For example, if you don’t have enough time to shoot (and have a day job)– I recommend the following: schedule shooting time during your lunch breaks. I know how draining it can be after a long day of work– but see if you can spend another 30 minutes–1 hour shooting after work. If you don’t ferociously defend your free time and set boundaries and limits– people will suck out every minute, hour, and ounce of energy from you (and you will never have the “time” or attention to do anything you’re passionate about). My good friend Charlie Kirk used to work as a lawyer in Tokyo, and would only have free time late at night after work. Now I’m not saying you should take your entire life’s savings: buy a Leica, a ticket around the world for a year, and eschew all of your life’s responsibilities. Rather, what I am trying to say is don’t let saving for the future distract you from that fact that you can truly live a productive and happy life as a photographer and human being RIGHT NOW. I know personally I used to have a lot of “if only” statements when it came to my photography.
If only I had more money, then I could buy a new camera, which would help me be more creative, and finally start making good photos. If only I had a Leica, then I wouldn’t look so creepy shooting street photography, then I would have more confidence, and then I could finally start making good photos. If only I lived in Paris, then I could be inspired by the city, and finally make good photos. If only I had $1,000,000 saved up, then I could travel the world, and escape my boring cubicle office-job, and finally make good photos. Sure not all of the photos are going to be great– but I think the process of shooting everyday is the right habit to have. And once again the beauty of street photography is that we have no excuses– we can do it literally anywhere. Even if you live in a boring neighborhood– look to the work of William Eggleston and Lee Friedlander (who made great street photographs in boring areas). One of the big lessons I’ve learned about happiness and living a fulfilled life is that “leisure” (free time) is best used doing something active (photographing, writing, spending time with loved ones) rather than doing something passive (watching TV, trashy entertainment magazines, etc). There is something in psychology called “flow” – in which when we are totally engrossed in an activity, it gives us a sense of euphoria.
I know a lot of people daydream of finally taking a vacation and just relaxing on the beach with a Corona and lime. When you are tired after a long day of work, drinking a beer and vegging out in front of the TV isn’t going to make you feel better. I think we often make the wrong assumption that doing any sort of activity that is vigorous will just tire us out.
For example, when I go to the gym (which takes a lot of physical and mental energy) – I feel much more pumped-up after I leave the gym.
Sometimes life can feel like an uphill battle, but my suggestion is this: live life furiously, to the fullest, without hesitation, intentionally, and gratefully.
I know a lot of older people who have lived life unpurposefully– and have lots of resentment and regret in their life.
So I think what our buddy Seneca is telling us the following: It doesn’t matter how long you exist, it matters how purposefully you live. Another analogy one of the Stoics give us (forget if it is Seneca or Marcus Aurelius) is that life is like a play: it doesn’t matter how much time we are given on-stage. I once read a story of an emperor, king, or some other powerful person in ancient Rome in which everytime he went to bed, he would have servants put him in a casket, parade him around the palace and say something like, “Oh, he has lived, he has truly lived!” And then the man goes to bed (in the coffin), literally imagining his death in a visceral, vivid way. Funny enough, I heard that there are some people in Asia (not sure if Japan or Korea) where they give “mock funerals” to people who are depressed or feel purposeful in life. I fly a lot– and with all of these news of planes crashing, getting hijacked, etc– I often get a slight tinge of fear (and death) when I fly– especially when I’m taking off or if there’s a lot of turbulence in the air. Thinking about death can come off as grotesque– and talking about death is a huge taboo, especially in the west. So psychologically imagine your death (by closing your eyes, imagining the details vividly, with sermons being given, your family weeping, you being tossed into the grave, etc) – and then open your eyes and tell yourself: “Time to stop wasting time for shit that doesn’t matter.
Upon thinking that– I might literally grab my camera, exit my apartment, and go on a walk around the block and snap photos for around 30 minutes. For example, one of the biggest distractions that I personally face in my photography is being tempted by different equipment.
I think one of the things that has given me the greatest focus and sense of direction is choosing one camera, one lens, one film – and pursuing a single project with it.
For a project I’m doing around my house (just urban landscapes of Berkeley), I’m using a medium-format film Hasselblad and Kodak Portra 400 120 film. For miscellaneous documentary work I do, I tend to shoot black and white digital (either on a Fujifilm XT–1 or a Ricoh GRD V). I find that is another benefit of working on a project: you are working towards something, and making progress.
I think it can often be a bit distracting to be doing too many different types of photography. There is also a similar analogy called the “Helsinki bus theory” – in which a photographer’s life starts off at a bus stop. I think while having lots of options and flexibilities can be exciting– the real creativity comes from constraints, and having fewer options.
So avoid distractions in your life and photography, whether it is spending too much time on social media (Flickr, Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, etc), or blogs (gear rumor sites, gear review sites, reddit), or anything else which distracts you from your artistic purpose. I think the secret to living a life full of energy, fulfillment, and progress is to eliminate what is a distraction from your life– whether it be negative people, bullshit on social media, or anything which pulls you away from what is important in your life (whether it be photography, writing, reading, spending time with people who you love). For this chapter in my on-going “Letters from a Stoic” book, I wanted to write a topic that I am very familiar with– how to deal with negative criticism (and thrive and benefit from it).
For those of you who have followed me and my blog for a while– you will know that I have a fair amount of negative critics and negative criticism. Those are all the ones I can think off the top of my head– but I’ve gotten hundreds (maybe even thousands) of negative comments and criticism over the last 4 years I’ve been running this blog – directly on the blog comments, on YouTube, Facebook, Flickr, Instagram, Tumblr, Facebook messages, email, online forums, etc. The first time I got tons of negative criticism online (a video of me shooting with flash in Hollywood on YouTube)– I literally had a quarter-life street photography crisis in which I did feel like a fake, a wanna-be, a poser, a noob – whatever– and ended up putting down my camera for a month (and didn’t take any photos).
The lessons I’ve learned from Marcus Aurelius (he wrote them over 1,000 years ago) still apply greatly today. Once again, Stoicism has been one of the best philosophies that help me wake up in the morning, take on the uncertainties of everyday, and not just survive– but thrive.
For this blog post, I quoted from a new modern translation of “The Meditations” – titled “The Emperor’s Handbook”. The interesting thing about “The Meditations” is that Marcus Aurelius wrote them in private.
Marcus also puts together some beautiful words of wisdom– in the sense that he will not let anyone’s thoughts or feelings hurt him. I think it is foolish for us to wakeup every morning and expect life to be easy-peasy, and for there to be no conflict in our everyday lives. I think when it comes to street photography, it is foolish for us to think that everything is going to be easy. I think therefore like a Roman Centurion getting ready for battle– we should always go into the battlefield with our full-body armor on. The same way in our daily lives and in our street photography, we should put on our mental armor.
However I think we often get misguided– and fight with one another (instead of fighting together). There have been tons of times where I’ve wanted to shoot a street photograph, but chickened out because I was scared or afraid of the consequences.
Similarly whenever I upload a photograph on the internet, I get a tinge of anxiety– because I know my photograph will be judged. For example, when it comes to the way you shoot street photography – others might find it offensive.
Sometimes I think many of us fall victim to “paralysis by analysis.” Meaning– we worry too much about over-analyzing actions or our words that we fail to do anything at all (because we worry to much about the consequences).
For example, I have silenced myself a lot from speaking my mind because I was afraid of being criticized. To be honest, at the end of the day– no matter how mean or critical others are you, it doesn’t really matter in the big scheme of things. We tend to amplify our own problems, and think that they’re the biggest problems in the world. Whenever I personally have tough shit going on in my life (or what I think is tough) – I remind myself: I am nothing but a tiny speck in this universe, and what I am experiencing doesn’t really matter in a vast scale.
In-fact, whenever I go on a flight and look out of the window– I realize that all of my problems, stresses, and anxieties, and lust after wealth, power, and prestige is really insignificant. So not to diminish your own personal stresses, trials, and tribulations– but realize, we are all going to die one day, and none of it is going to matter.


So next time you have any personal (or photography-related) negativity or criticism or hate, zoom out of your life, and realize that it is not really a big deal– and sooner or later, it will come to pass. I remember when I was a kid and being bullied in middle-school, someone told me: Bullies only bully because they themselves are insecure.
Personally– I’ve met some (former) critics of mine over coffee, and realized that a lot of their past critics of me weren’t about me– but about their own insecurities.
For example, I have a friend (who used to be a “hater”) tell me that when he was writing a lot of negative stuff about me on the internet, he himself was going through a divorce, going through financial problems, wasn’t getting much work as a photographer, feeling insecure about his photography– and he just needed a place to vent his negative feelings and emotions. Similarly, I’ve once had someone write stuff on the internet not to sign up for my workshops – that I was a hack and charlatan, and just trying to steal money from others.
So nowadays, when I see people writing negative things about me online– I have realized, it is less about myself and what I am doing.
Now whenever I get negative feedback or criticism, or hate– I don’t get angry at the other person.
So the next time someone is negative or critical of you and your photography– don’t take it personally.
For example, if someone doesn’t like vanilla ice cream (and criticizes you liking chocolate ice cream)– nobody is “wrong.” It is just a matter of taste.
So let’s say you like to shoot portraits of people on the street with permission (and someone likes candid photos of people without permission). We take all this negative feedback and criticism personally– but sometimes it really isn’t bad at all. For example, sometimes people say words (without really thinking) – which ends up hurting you.
For example if someone said, “Wow– you lost a lot of weight!” Some people might take it as a compliment, while others might think to themselves, “Wait– that person used to think I was fat? Or if someone says, “The background of your photograph is a bit messy and distracting– I’d ditch the shot” they might just be trying to give honest feedback and critique (intending to help you) – rather than criticizing you. The first strategy is this (given to us by Marcus): Imagine you are working out at the gym, and someone accidentally bumps you in the back of your head with your elbow. There was another analogy I read somewhere: You are rowing a boat in the middle of a foggy lake, and suddenly you feel another boat suddenly ram you in the side, and it shakes you entire boat. Realize that a lot of what we interpret as negative feedback, hate, or vitriol isn’t really so. For example, there are some people out there who have mild forms of Asperger’s (or autism) in which they’re not that adept at social interaction. So once again, realize that everything you experience in life is not objectively “good” or “bad” – it is just what your internal filter thinks it is.
My personal psychological trick is this: Always assume what others say (or do) towards you is positive.
When I lived in Los Angeles, I often got cut-off in traffic by crazy drivers (switching 5 lanes at once). Similarly, when someone ever says anything wrong or negative to you– think to yourself: Have I ever done or thought the same to another person?
It is easy to see how others have wronged us, without reminding ourselves how we have wronged others.
So the next time someone critiques your photos (and says something negative)– think to yourself, “Have I ever critiqued someone else’s photos in a negative way?” If yes, don’t be offended by the criticism of someone else. Similarly– (and this is huge) ask yourself: do you, yourself feel comfortable being photographed in the streets by a stranger and a camera? We should ultimately treat others how we would like to be treated, and similarly– expect others to react the ways we would react.
I think it takes a lot of courage to stand up for your own opinion, your own thoughts, your own art. I think when we become too concerned what others think about us and our work– we start to water down our message and our vision.
Steve Jobs once famously said that the reason that he didn’t do market research when making new products was that people didn’t know what they wanted until they saw it. If you create art though your street photography that pleases others, but doesn’t please you– then what is the point?
And as Andy Warhol once said, while others are too busy judging whether your work is good or not– keep producing more work. Often when I get criticized by others that my photography, blogging, or whatever sucks– I immediately get defensive.
I think whenever we get criticized negatively or wrong is done unto us, we should take Marcus Aurelius’ advice and simply not do as they do. The more negative things we do unto others, the more negativity brews inside our own hearts. When it comes to street photography, when someone negatively criticizes your work– don’t become immediately defense and criticize their work back. I’ve found the more you try to fight criticism and trolls, the more you are pouring gasoline on the fire. However over time, I have begun to actually appreciate and look forward to negative criticism. Whenever in real life, or in the photography world, that someone gives you negative feedback or criticism- first of all don’t take it personally. If what they do say truly has no value– think of those situations as a chance to practice your patience.
Once you start getting negative feedback on what you’re doing – take it as a good sign.  It means you aren’t making boring photos. I know a lot of photographers who are insecure or dissatisfied with their own photography (or life) and tend to take it out on others. I have another simple rule: I don’t take the opinions of others seriously unless I like their photos. However if a photographer (who uses an anonymous pseudonym) critiques my work, doesn’t have the courage to use their own real name, and has no skin in the game– they are merely cowards (they are insecure about their own work), and I should ignore them. Similarly, I don’t really care about the opinion of art critics or curators (who either aren’t photographers or shoot street photography)I because if they don’t shoot street photography, they don’t know how difficult it is, the experience of shooting it, so they don’t really know what they’re talking about.
A) Ignore the feedback from anybody if they don’t use their real name (they have no skin in the game, and are simply cowards who are insecure about their own work). As Marcus Aurelius mentions– imagine yourself like being a stream of pure and water– constantly flowing out. I think it is really hard to deal with negativity in the world– especially when it feels like it is being hurled at you from every single direction.
However remind yourself that you have the ability to stay positive, compassionate, and loving regardless of how the outside world treats you. If people are constantly being negative around you, know that they can’t change your core– who you are. So for example, if people say your photography and work is shit– just stay positive, and keep producing images. So another mental exercise you can have when someone hurts or offends you: imagine that person is already regretting what they said (and are beating themselves up for it). Furthermore, if there are people out there who are truly negative and critical who want to tear you down– expect them to continue to do so. Similarly in photography– there will always be negative people who dislike their own work, are unhappy people, and will try to find every fault in your work to tear you down and make you feel shitty. There will always be a small percentage of negative people in a group of people (let’s say 5%) – and if you have a 100 people in a room, you have to expect at least 5 people to be negative, mean, or critical. Similarly– a lot of these people who are really negative might constantly regret their actions.
So whenever someone criticizes you in a negative way and it hurts you– imagine that they are already slapping themselves in the face for saying that hurtful comment to you.
Of course, that might not be the reality– but it is a practical psychological tool that will help us find more serenity in life. If you bought a brand-new Leica, would you trust it to a hobo in the middle of the streets? If you had your happiness held hostage, would you trust that to a stranger (or worse, an anonymous troll on the internet?) Hell no.
Know that ultimately you have the freedom of choice– to be happy, to interpret other peoples’ actions the way you want, and to live the life you want. Are you going to live your entire life trying to please others with your photographs (and not yourself)? Know that ultimately you have the power to control your own opinion of yourself, and your own happiness. I sometimes see people on the internet giving (unnecessarily) harsh criticism and critique on photos.
Here is a large collection of some noteworthy cheat sheets, infographics, and printables for photographers. Enjoy this compilation and don’t forget to bookmark this page for quick access to this exhaustive cheat sheet list. Learn the basics every photographer must know and save some useful tips and camera settings for quick reference.
Rail station parking lots offer the ultimate in “Good TOD” – Transit Oriented Development that guarantees new transit riders while providing housing and commercial space that can be conveniently reached car-free.
The long-debated San Carlos Transit Village, now under construction, will bring 202 apartments to the former San Carlos Caltrain Station parking lot along with 26,000 square feet of commercial space. Free for buses and carpools, and available to solo drivers for a toll, express lanes have cut traffic on Highways 680, 880, 580, and 237 by maintaining a congestion-free lane even during rush hours. TransForm published a study in 2013 [PDF] making the case for converting existing lanes to express lanes on Highway 101 rather than widening it. Caltrain tickets go up by fifty cents on February 28 while SamTrans bus tickets were raised by 25 cents on January 10. While Caltrain has long maintained that electrification of the passenger rail service would reduce costs by switching from diesel fuel, its operating budget is projected to rise from $128 million today to $182 million by 2021, when the new electric trains begin running. Go Passes are sold for $190 per year per eligible participant, usually employees who work at least 20 hours per week. Without the Go Pass program, the university would be paying either $1,512 per year (two zones) or $2,148 (three zones) for most of their workers. Demand for riding Caltrain is at an all-time high, and free transit passes are an increasingly coveted perk for tech workers.
The traffic expansions aim to cram even more auto traffic through the area, worsening already hazardous conditions for people walking or bicycling to and from the station. Ithaca, NY, had the second lowest use of cars, 68.7 percent, followed by the San Francisco Bay Area. Record-breaking transit ridership on BART and Caltrain have continued to make headlines over recent years (though, per capita, ridership has declined over the last 20 years). The developer in the running for one of the sites promises it would become an urban center friendly for walking and biking. At the same time, the city plans to spend tens of millions of dollars on infrastructure that will pump more car traffic into downtown. To enable level boarding for Caltrain passengers before and after CAHSR raises platforms to be compatible with its 50-inch floor trains, the new design has two sets of doors at different heights. Building trains compatible with this specification, however, will diminish both the speed of Caltrain service and its capacity, though the scale of these effects has yet to be determined.
But a lower 25-inch floor height above the tracks is needed for the main section of each car in order for the trains to have both a lower and upper level, like today’s newer Bombardier models, without being too tall to operate. This will increase the length of time people spend boarding and alighting, especially people carrying bicycles or luggage. This book is much more philosophical in nature– and combines the philosophy of stoicism and street photography. I try to read at least one self-help book, philosophy book, or anything else of interest every 1–2 days.
These can be constraints in terms of having time constraints (only having 30 minutes a day to shoot in-between work and family life), constraints in terms of equipment (only having one camera and one lens), or in terms of subject matter (focusing on a project). I don’t want to be on my deathbed and ask myself: “Eric, you wasted your life– you could have done so much more with your energy, time, money, and attention. Who knows, I might be driving to the gym, and some guy who is texting while driving might run a red light, T-bone me, and boom, I’m dead. And I don’t want to be that guy who didn’t live life to the fullest, and really suck out the marrow of life. You might get a drunk teen driving-and-texting to hit you while you are driving, you might get attacked by a random wild bear that mauls you to death (who knows). At the end of every day, I imagine that it is the last time I am going to bed (that I will be dead the next morning).
I think it is better to shoot consistently for 5 minutes everyday than just shooting once a week for 5 hours.
Or some employees who voluntarily spend their money to buy more vacation days from their employer. Long story short, the businessman tries to teach the fisherman business advice so he can get bigger boats, catch more fish, and earn more money. Once I earn enough money to comfortably pay for my rent, pay for my film and coffee, and put a little money into savings– I try not to trade more time for money. But because you earn $40,000 a year, it doesn’t mean you need to work harder to earn $75,000 a year– it just means that the law of diminishing returns on money go drastically down after $40,000 a year. But the irony is that the more money they earn, the more time they spend working, and the less time they have to shoot. If I still worked at a company, I would just do the bare minimum of work (without getting fired) and once the clock hits 5:00pm, I leave immediately (not staying late at work trying to get a raise or whatever). So ask yourself: could you sell your car and get by on just a bicycle and public transportation (which means you don’t have to pay as much for a car payment, gas, insurance, etc) – and you can end up working less at work? I am running out of years to live– and it is a constant reminder that I don’t have that much time on this planet, so I shouldn’t procrastinate in my life’s duty and to focus all of my time, energy, and effort effectively for the common good. You essentially take a photo of yourself, and it makes you look old (adds wrinkles, droopy features, color skin blemishes, etc). But the problem is this: it is very easy for someone to send you a message requesting some of your time, attention, and focus– but it is very hard for you to send a response. At times it can be quite overwhelming, to the point that sometimes at night before I go to sleep, it gives me anxiety. The reasoning is this: it distracts you for the rest of the day, because you start off responding to other peoples’ requests– rather than focusing on your own important work. Do not (please) have a “working lunch” in which you buy a burrito, and sit down at your desk and eat, while answering emails. If you drive to work, perhaps take a different route and park your car somewhere, and snap some photos.
Work would be so stressful and difficult for him that after a long day of working, he would have all this energy that he wanted to spend on shooting. They always look into the distant future and say, “Oh– I’ll be happy once I get that promotion, once I get that new car, once I get that new camera, once I get a million dollars in the bank.” They work more and more, put in more hours, put on weight, put on more stress, in the hope that somewhere in the future– they will finally have enough time and money to retire to a island somewhere in Hawaii where they can start to “truly live”. We are constantly told that we need to save up more money in our 401k, retirement funds, money so our kids can go to college, etc.
Presumably you already own a camera (even a smartphone is good enough), and have at least 1 hour of free time a day (if you say you don’t have at least an hour of free time a day I call bullshit).
When I have a camera in hand, I am much more cognizant of the beauty around me, and it forces me to live life more purposefully. But ironically enough that doesn’t bring us real happiness (despite what the advertisers of alcoholic beverages and hotel resorts want you to think about). I think this is the wrong assumption– as activities that we are truly excite us tend to envigorate us and give us energy.
Similarly when I often don’t feel like going out and shooting, I just tell myself that I will go on a walk (and I bring my camera along).
Everyday when I was feeling shitty, tired, or unmotivated– I would look at those words, and it would suddenly give me a fire in my belly.
Not only that but even though we seize the day– time still slips away in-between our finger-tips.
Be present in whatever you are doing, and be gracious of every moment time has given you to live your life. For example, someone who is 30 years old (and discovered that he only has 2 years left to live) and spent those 2 years living meaningfully and purposefully could die happier than someone who lived 80 years (living a life full of regret not doing what they’re truly passionate about). Who cares if you live to be 100 years old, if you just spend all of that time watching television, listening to the demands of others, and never making time for yourself and what makes you feel truly alive? I think he did this to remind himself that death was just around the corner, and that he should live a virtuous life. They literally invite the entire family and give a fake funeral, with friends and family giving speeches in terms of how meaningful the person was in their life, and how much they were sad that they were dead. But what I am saying is that everytime you go to sleep at night– literally ask yourself, “If I died tonight in my sleep, would I regret anything in life?” And if you say “yes” – write down or think about what you will regret not having done more (taken more photos, published a photography book, done an exhibition, traveled more, wrote more, read more, spent more time with friends and family, etc).
So when I’m taking off on my flight (and the cabin crew yells at me to turn off my phone or iPad) I close my eyes, relax, and imagine: If I died on this plane, is there something in life I would regret?
However the more I think we can have mature conversations about death– it can give us a huge upside: focusing more on life and living intentionally. The future is uncertain (we don’t know what will happen), the past has already occured (we can’t change it). I might go to my library and pull out a random photography book that inspires me, and delve into it– and gain inspiration that way. While I do believe in the idea of experimentation– sometimes experimenting too much can detract us. When I started shooting, I did everything: wedding, portraiture, macro, landscape, HDR, selective-color, and street photography.
Whenever I read a negative comment (can even be constructive criticism) – my heart rate instantly spikes, and I start breathing heavily. It was the first time in my life in which tons of people said lots of negative, hurtful, and even violent things towards me, and I didn’t know how to react. He followed the philosophy of Stoicism (not seeking for happiness in externals, but internals) all in a world filled with chaos (death, back-stabbing, and uncertainty).


I don’t think in the last 2,000 years human interaction, society, or conflict has changed much at all. It isn’t as faithful a translation as the other ones out there– but much more readable and understandable. The fact is, sooner or later (if it hasn’t happened already) – people are going to give you shit for shooting street photography.
Whether verbally (or non-verbally) people are going to think your photos are boring, that they’re cliche, that they’re shitty, that they’re uninspired, that they have poor composition, whatever. So the next time someone critiques you, yells at you, threatens you– whatever, remember: he is your brother or sister.
I know that some people will think my photos suck, that they’re not as good as my “old stuff”, or just critique me for being me. Everybody is different, so let us not compare our actions and thoughts and words with others. Or similarly, I have missed thousands of potential street photography opportunities because I was afraid of being negatively judged (or criticized).
A co-worker or boss yells at us and criticizes us and our work, a former lover cheats on us, a hobo chases us after (wrongly) assuming we took his photograph. What kind of sadness, pain, loneliness, and depression must that individual go through to go to the lengths to anonymously criticize another person on the internet (that they don’t even know in-person)? I almost want to sit down with that person and ask them, “Hey bro, you’ve been putting a lot of negativity out there. But it isn’t exactly the words that the person said which hurt you, but it is your own interpretation of the words. So they are very direct with what they say (because they don’t have the ability to understand facial expressions or social cues). Assume that they are trying to help you, compliment you, or guide you in the right direction. I used to have moments where I wanted to have road rage, but calmed myself down by saying: “I can’t blame that guy, I’ve probably done something similar before.” Or who knows– maybe the guy has a wife who is pregnant and is on the way to the hospital?
If the answer is “no” – perhaps you should rethink about why you expect others to feel comfortable of you taking candid photos of them in public. Furthermore, we shouldn’t be angry or upset for others reacting the way we would react (in a similar situation). By learning how to realize that we are all coming from the same place, we can better learn how to empathize with others, their feelings, and the way they see the world. We need to have courage to stand up for what we are trying to do, and not just try to create art to please others. Stay true to your own opinion of yourself and your work, and let others form their own opinion. I want to yell at them, look at their work and tell them that their work sucks, and spew negativity back at them. I think I once read a quote that said revenge or harboring negativity or grudges against somebody is like drinking poison and hoping that the other person dies. The best way to extinguish it is to let the fire die out by itself, by not giving it additional fuel or oxygen to survive on. I feared the hate and vitriol that would come from my articles, the photos I took, and the thoughts I shared.
After all, sometimes what people say does have some truth (or I can learn from their negative feedback).
Take a step back, look at what they say and ask yourself, does anything they share have a basis in truth? Honestly, I didn’t start getting any negative feedback on my photography or my work until I started to get more popular and well-known on the Internet. You are making work that affects people (in a positive or a negative way)– that touches their heart somehow. Why should I care about the opinion of other photographers if I don’t think they are making good work? Even though people might throw shit into your stream of water, sooner or later– all of that shit will be washed away. Don’t fight negativity with negativity (fighting fire with fire) – rather, extinguish the flames of negativity with everflowing positivity (sweet water). However once again, their negativity is just who they are as human beings (and photographers). So multiply that by millions– so how can you expect there not to be a few hundreds of thousands of negative people out there, especially when there are internet forums where you can be anonymous and shroud your identity?
Their own self-esteem of themselves is so low that they perhaps can’t help but be negative.
Are you going to let your own opinion and happiness of yourself and your work be reliant on the mere mutterings or thoughts of others? I think giving a constructive critique is immensely important to grow and develop as a photographer.
Squeezed into a set of short tips, schemes, and definitions, a cheat sheet is a quick way to learn something, as well as refresh your knowledge about any particular subject.
From shooting basics to photography marketing tips, every aspect of photography is covered in this round-up. Note, you need to click on screenshots below in order to view the full cheat sheet since most images were cropped for proper fit. I am addicted to the many ebooks available, but your individual posts would be really helpful, like these charts, to refer to when away from the computer, so that notes could be written and observations relevant to the photo or project at the time. It will save lot of unnecessary shots and will serve as a point to point guide to good photography in various situations. Do you have a cheat sheet for calculating the long exposure times when using neutral density 10 stop filters? Unlike Muni, neither agency offers discounted tickets to transfer between buses or between the train and buses, and neither offers a discount for low-income residents or students. However, there will be a concurrent increase in service, capacity, speed and, presumably, riders–so the increased costs should be offset by more revenue from ticket sales. To participate, companies must purchase passes for all eligible employees, whether or not they ride Caltrain to work. With studies showing that car traffic in San Francisco is declining, the report is one more sign that efforts in SF and the region to attract commuters to transit, walking, and biking may be working. Mechanical lifts will also be needed for passengers in wheelchairs to get between the 25-inch and 50-inch levels. If you seek more purpose, happiness, and meaning in your photography, this book is for you. The reason I read so many of these books is that I am often dissatisfied with my life– and I want to be more productive and prolific with my writing and work. Regrets for not studying in college what they wanted to study, regrets for not taking a chance and starting their own business, regrets for not asking out that one person for a date, regrets for not traveling more, regrets for not pursuing a creative project, or regrets of being suck in a job they absolutely hate. Or maybe I have a heart problem or some sort of rare cancer that might kill me in a year or two. Pretty much it is an ancient school of thought in which these philosophers had mental and psychological tricks to help them live in a world of death, fear, and uncertainty– and to not just survive– but to thrive. I then ask myself, “Did I do everything in my power to fulfill the best use of my life?” There are many days that I go to sleep feeling unfulfilled– which gives me the impetus to really focus on what matters in my life (photography, writing, loving my friends and family) the next day.
Whether that is on the way to the grocery store, when I am stuck in traffic in my car (do this carefully), when I’m having coffee at a cafe, or when I am having dinner with Cindy. I don’t have to write 10,000 words a day nor do I need to read a book a day– just a little bit here and there compound tremendously over time. Rather, I think we should take the opposite approach: either use money (or forgo earning more money) in order to have more time. I want to eventually have as much free time on my hands to spend more time writing (for this blog), researching, spending time with friends and family, working on building local photography communities, etc. Can you move into a smaller apartment and save some money that way, so you can save more money and have more time to live and photograph? Realize that every hour, every day, every week, every month, and every year– we are getting closer to our death. And of course with anyone with an overflowing inbox knows how overwhelming it can be responding to all of these requests for your attention and time. There is always an unresponded email that I have yet responded to– that lurks in the back of my conscious.
I have now made it a habit to turn off my smartphone in the evening before I sleep, and keep it off until around noon. Try to book a solid hour of time to have a quick meal – and go out and snap photos around work. If you commute to work via bus or subway, you can always shoot on the bus or subway– look at Bruce Davidson’s “Subway” book for inspiration. And if people ask you if you have time to meet up during that time– apologize and say you have a meeting (it isn’t lying– you are having a meeting with yourself). Even 30 minutes of concentrated activity in shooting, reading photography books, or critiquing the photography of others online is more effective than just dicking around for 3 hours mindlessly. However if we spend too much of our time and efforts thinking about the future, it prevents us from realizing we can be truly happy, and start living RIGHT NOW. People often fall into states of flow (or being “in the zone”) when reading books, writing, photographing, rock climbing, running, etc. However once I start walking, I start seeing photos, and then I start getting excited, and start making photos. Even if we make our best efforts to effectively use our time, attention, and concentration– we are still losing it. Because before long, you will be dead and no longer able to appreciate the joys of everyday life. Or have they been simply making a few snapshots here and there (only on the weekends or when they travel to Yosemite or Paris) over 30 years.
So it is better to be given 5 minutes on stage (and give a great performance) than if you’re given a lead-role and have an hour on stage (and give a shitty performance). And when he woke up the next morning, he literally felt as if God gave him a second chance in life, and would live more vigorously. And if you happen to wake up in the morning, bless God that you were given another shot at life. Fortunately it is most often “no” (I wouldn’t die with regrets) – but there are times it is “yes” (in those cases– I tell myself if I am given a second shot at life and land safely, I won’t waste my time anymore). Or I might do research on a photographer who interests me, and add to my “Learn to the Masters” series for my blog.
For example, if I want to spend more time with Cindy – rather than just saying to myself, “Oh– I’ll take her out on a date sometime” – I’ll do something in the present (give her a phone call or text message asking how she is doing, writing her a card, or surprising her with a bar of delicious chocolate (at least 70% or higher). I was like a Wal-Mart photographer, okay at every genre (but not really good or focused in on one). You hop on one bus (which is a style of photography), but then you might pre-maturely jump off the bus, to simply get on a different bus route (a different style of photography).
Do you want to be 80 years old, on your deathbed, and regret not having traveled more, having photographed more, and having lived life more purposefully? Be selfish and greedy with your time – and invest that energy, time, and attention into doing meaningful creative work.
I start to get tension headaches, and I can feel stress in my body elevate via increased cortisol through my body. If anything, it was a form of self-therapy for himself (the stresses of an emperor is quite great).
I once read a quote (think it is from Marcus Aurelius) that said, “Life is more like wrestling than dancing.” Life is tough. You’re going to have people be suspicious of you and your intentions, you’re going to have people who tell you to ‘fuck off’, you’re going to get threats of physical violence, you’re going to get people threaten to call the cops on you, you’re going to have people call you a creep, etc. We were all born from the same stock, and ultimately– we are all brothers in sisters in this war of life. Think about how tiny our buildings are (which cost millions of dollars) – and how tiny human beings are (they look like little ants that can just be stomped on. But often a lot of arguments happen over “what is street photography– and how others demonize others for doing it the ”wrong” way. You are angry, and look over (ready to yell at the other person) – and realize that it is just an empty boat that happened to collide with you. While that might not always be the case– sometimes fooling yourself can be the best strategy to deal with it, and also make you stronger and more confident in life. Rather, thank them for their feedback, however negative it may be, or simply don’t say anything back at all (just ignore it and don’t respond). Other times, I see the good in negative feedback and hate– that it gives me an opportunity to practice patience.
If there is a Magnum photographer (whose work I greatly admire) criticizes my work, I will respect that and take their feedback into account. However, for myself personally– I don’t really take their feedback seriously (unless I like the photos they themselves have shot). But it doesn’t change the fact that your work is good – it is simply someone else’s opinion of your work. I often hurt my friends, family, and loved ones unintentionally– and afterwards I greatly regret the way I framed the phrase, or how mean I was.
We should always be ready everyday to expect those kind of people who try to tear you down. Are you going to keep uploading images to social media until every person on the internet loves and admires your images?
If we went on a date with our spouse, would you trust your beloved children with some stranger with negative intentions? Moreover, now that infographics are an extremely popular format of delivering information on the Internet, cheat sheets can also be a source for visual inspiration. No matter whether you’re an amateur or an experienced professional, below you can find some really helpful resources, all presented as easy-to-read checklists, infographics, and printable cheat sheets for your advantage.
There are smart phone apps available, however these can’t be accessed in remote locations (at least not in my hemisphere) so a print-out would help take the mystery and trial and error out of the calculation.
It sends us a constant barrage of text messages, voicemail notifications, Instagram and Facebook notifications, we have hundreds (if not thousands) of unread emails, and little red dots all over the place. Or I might be drunk one night, trip, slip on a bannana, and crack my skull on the side of a curb. Instead, he lived a “normal” life and got all the upsides of Stoic philosophy– rather than voluntarily choosing poverty (and embracing the downsides).
Personally I moved into a 2-bedroom apartment in Berkeley ($1800 a month) into a smaller 1-bedroom apartment in Berkeley (utilities included for $1300 a month) – which means I have around an extra $700 a month to spend working less, having more freedom in terms of time, and stressing less about finances. I saw myself as an older man– and it once again gave me a reminder of my mortality– and gave me the thought that my time is ticking. Don’t even waste a second of your life and stay focused on your photography, friends, family, loved ones, and passions. If you work in a boring area– try to see how you can take interesting photos of your boring environment. There is a saying: “Pressure makes diamonds” – having a limited amount of free time (under time constraints and pressure) will force you to focus and do great work. Once I get home, I feel this sense of excitement and glow eminating from inside my body– which makes me feel truly alive.
But everyday I go to sleep and tell myself, “Tomorrow will be a better day.” And when I wake up, I bless God for giving me a chance at another day, and I then tell myself to seize the day, and not waste another moment. After a few hours, they open up the casket– and the person is “reborn” – given a second chance at life.
And true story– I know some people who are older (75+) who do have a fear of going to sleep at not waking up the next morning. If I am unhappy with my physical condition at the present moment, I’ll go to the gym and workout, do a few pushups in my room, or just be conscientious to watch my diet for the rest of the day. We can be tossed and thrown around in different directions, but still end up where we started. The biggest change in my photography was when I realized that street photography was my passion, and I decided to ignore all other types of photography– and to just focus on my street photography.
But the more you jump off and go on different buses, you never really find your style or vision as a photographer. I try to make myself vulnerable by being as honest as I can, but by wearing my heart on my sleeve– I leave myself open to being attacked and wounded.
I am fortunate for my friends, family, and close colleagues who helped me through that part of my life. However the pain we get from negative criticism and critique is still as painful (instead of getting it from back-stabbing political conspirators, we get it from co-workers, colleagues, strangers on the internet, false friends, etc). Who is going to care that there is a random troll who talks shit about on you Twitter or anonymously via the comment sections of blogs, or behind-your-back (in real life)? But they don’t act the way they do to be purposefully be mean– it is just who they are as human beings.
Printing what amounts to a 2-3 page article becomes 18-10 pages with all the extraneous material on the pages.
Apparently this gives people a psychological kick-in-the-ass, better helping them appreciate their lives before they do something stupid like commit suicide by jumping in front of a train or off a bridge. Printing all of these pages in color would cost so much in ink that there would be no money left for the eBooks or a new lens. You then run over, and inhale as much water as you possibly can for those 30 minutes (knowing that there won’t be any more) – and you will have to journey for many more miles on end (without the hope of any more water).




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