Fotoeins Fotografie

location bifurcation, place & home

Posts tagged ‘signage’

Chinatown, International District, Seattle, WA, USA,

Fotoeins Friday: King and Maynard (Seattle CID)

I’ve been fascinated by the origins and appearance of words and characters since I learned how to write in both Chinese and English languages. Thanks to a variety of websites (particularly one about Berlin), my eye has recently been tuned to typography.

In front of the Fortune Garden restaurant in Seattle’s Chinatown-International District (CID) are bilingual street signs which have been widespread throughout the area since 2013. North of Jackson Street, street signs switch from Chinese-English to Japanese-English; east of I-5 and 10th Avenue, street signs switch from Chinese-English to Vietnamese-English.

In the picture, the combination of Chinese characters have little meaning. But where transliteration to Cantonese is concerned, each Chinese character is an individual “vocalization” representing a syllable in English. South King Street becomes “南景街” which is pronounced “naam4 ging2 gaai1” and in literal terms is “south – view/situation – street”. Maynard Avenue South becomes “南美拿大道” which is pronounced “naam4 mei5 naa4 daai6 dou6” and in literal terms is “south – good/pretty – take/use/capture – big – road”. (See the note below* for more.)

I made the picture above on 11 May 2016 with the Canon 6D, 24-105 glass, and the following settings: 1/800-sec, f/11, ISO1000, and 47mm focal length. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotografie at as

* Arriving primarily from Guangdong province in southern China, people began building Chinatown settlements in North America in the 19th-century; most of the new immigrants spoke Cantonese. With my own intermediate proficiency in Cantonese, I’ve used CantoDict for the transliterations above. The numbers associated with Anglicized pronunciation of Chinese words correspond to six tones in the Cantonese dialect. A summary of the six Cantonese tones is provided in this video.

Rotary Grocery, neon sign, Pike Place Market, Seattle, WA, USA,

Fotoeins Friday: Grocers Neon (Seattle Pike Place)

In Seattle, Washington, the Pike Place Market is one of the most visited and photographed locations. If you’re looking, there is an abundant variety of themes, objects, and people to observe, and frankly, you should never run out of things to photograph. One of my favourites is neon signs. With a wide aperture and the background deliberately out of focus, I’ve managed to snag multiple neon in this frame.

I made the picture above on 5 January 2015 with the Canon 6D, 24-105 glass, and the following settings: 1/1000-sec, f/4, ISO2000, and 73mm focal length. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotografie at as

Tai Po, New Territories, Hong Kong, myRTW,

Fotoeins Friday: Tai Po street scene (Hong Kong)

12 June 2012.

This is Tai Po in the New Territories, and I’m walking southeast on Kwong Fuk Road (at Tsing Yuen Street). The white tower at left-centre is the Wing Shing Building (149-155 Kwong Fuk Road), and visible through the haze in the background is Ma On Shan (馬鞍山) mountain.

Where is everybody?

June in Hong Kong is hot and sticky, and on a blazing muggy afternoon, many are inside next to fans or air-conditioning. I’m one of the foolish few to wander the streets, but my reward is relatively empty streets framed by signage and street lines. There are “classic” Hong Kong elements: the row of air-con units outside and tucked next to windows, commercial signs big and small hanging over the street, familiar traditional Chinese words and characters, “no stopping” and “no left turn” signs to accompany driving on the left, aluminum scaffolding and bamboo poles, and women with open umbrellas to provide shade from the scorching sun.

During my year-long RTW, I made the photo above on 12 June 2012 with the Canon 450D, 18-55 kit-lens, and the following settings: 1/800-sec, f/5, ISO100, and 43mm focal length (69mm full-frame equivalent). This post appears on Fotoeins Fotografie at as

South Jackson Street, International District, Seattle, WA, USA,

Fotoeins Friday: “Waiting on red” (Seattle Inter. Dist.)

Where past meets present.

Where West meets East, and in this case, that meets the western Pacific and Asia meets the eastern Pacific and North America.

Where Japantown merges with Chinatown.

Where trolley buses and the streetcar have their say on South Jackson Street in the International District.

I made this photo above on 11 May 2016 with Canon 6D, 24-105 zoom-lens, and the following settings: 1/1000s, f/11, ISO800, 24mm focal length. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotopress at as

San Francisco, California, United States,

San Francisco on the last day of 2011

Above/featured: BART station El Cerrito Plaza, at sunrise.

Dropping off my friend at 830am at SFO Airport on their way to México was a great opportunity to have a look at the airport itself. Even better was catching some visuals within the city on a relatively quiet day …

( Click here for more )

Lost minds, lost carousels : Flughafen FRA Airport

How to be ridiculous, in perfectly good Denglisch

Date: 2009 October 10.
Location: Terminal 2, Frankfurt am Main Airport.
State: “unorientation”

Something one often forgets is that they might want to pay attention to the public-address announcements : the next gate for a connecting flight, or where to pick up their luggage.

After disembarking the plane from Prague, it’s obvious from the overhead signage in the terminal about whether I should be going to baggage claim D or baggage claim E. Now if I’m actually paying attention, that’s an entirely different matter.

Nonetheless, I stride boldly and confidently into luggage claim D.

Conclusion number one? I have chosen unwisely.

Gepaeckausgabe, baggage claim, signage, photo by Claus Wolf at FRA

Gepäckausgabe | baggage claim. Photo by Claus Wolf (CC2.0)


I flag down one of the luggage porters in the claim area …

ME : Entschuldigung … ich bin gerade von Prag angekommen und ich suche ja die richtige Gepäckausgabe. (Excuse me, I’ve just arrived from Prague and I’m looking for the baggage claim.)

HIM : Welcher Flug? (Which flight?)

ME : Czech Airlines, O-K Flugnummer 5-3-6.

He nods and gives me a look of sympathy … or … is that pity …

HIM : Sie sind im falschen Bereich. Sie müssen in die Halle-E hingehen, um Ihr Gepäck abzuholen. (You’re in the wrong area, you have to go to baggage claim E.)

ME : Ach, für SCHEISSE … (You really don’t need that translated, do you?)

HIM : Kein Problem, bitte gehen Sie draussen zum Information hin und da gibt es ein Angesteller, der Ihnen helfen können wird. (No problem, just head on out to the Information booth.  Tell the clerk there about your situation, and they should be able to help you out.)

ME : Alles klar. Danke sehr!

HIM : … a final look of sympathy …

I leave baggage-claim D, out of the security of airside to find myself in front of the Information booth. I’m telling my sob story to the lady at the booth, complete with boarding card and passport as visual confirmation of my folly. I receive another look of sympathy, or maybe this time, it really is pity. A quick decision made in her mind, she commands me to follow her.

(Yes, ma’am …)

We slip past the crowd of people “landside” waiting for their loved ones to come out of the baggage claim area “airside”, and we pass through two sets of doors into the correct luggage-claim area E.

I’m gobsmacked, because we’ve just “casually” walked from an unsecured-landside area to the secured-airside baggage-claim area without going through security checks. No, it’s all about authority, her authority: a badge on her uniform, her electronic pass-card, and her faith in the truth of my story – all three elements, each equally vital. As I’m not completely out of my mind (yet), what little I’ve left is conjured to thank her for her help. She smiles, and she’s off on her way, back to her realm at the Information Booth.

I don’t bother to look back to see if she’s shaking her head at me … in sympathy … or pity.

Five minutes later, my luggage is out on the carousel. Because apparently, I’m made of magic today …

And that’s just the first part.

Someone needs MY help?!

After retrieving my baggage and leaving the security-area a second time, my plan is to take the monorail to Terminal 1 and the regional train station (Regionalbahnhof). I want to take suburban rail S-Bahn to Frankfurt central train station (Hauptbahnhof). As a trip from airport into the city is about 4 Euros with the S-Bahn or about 30 Euro with a taxi, I’m going cheap today.

As I leave the baggage area, a stranger walks up to me, asking me in German if I can help him and about how he can get to the Hauptbahnhof.

The first question in my head is: “why are you asking me this question?” There are tons of other people around, leading me to the second question: “why are you asking me? Do I have “loser”, “sucker”, or “Dummkopf” plastered on my face?

Must be, because thankfully, I’m keeping my piehole shut.

I find myself helping the poor guy, as I manage to talk to the guy out in passable German. He’s got to get to Wolfsburg, which, at 300 kilometres from Frankfurt, is not a trivial schlep. I ask him to follow me to the Regionalbahnhof, where we’ll hop on the S8 or S9 S-Bahn train for the short ride to the central station downtown.

Throughout the short ride, he keeps looking at his slip of paper with information about his train connection to Wolfsburg. He looks up and asks: “Sicher?” (Are you sure?)

In my head, I’ve got a snappy, if not snippy, reply.

“Look, you asked for my help, why would I be yanking your chain, to go this far, to take the train from the airport to the main station, where in fact there is not only graphical signage inside the train showing us where we’re going. Have you also not noticed a nice lady’s voice over the public address system: nächste Haltestelle: Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof (next station: Frankfurt main train station).

Instead, I nod dumbly, and point to one sign indicating the route of our train between the airport and downtown, and to the display indicating what the train’s next stops will be, including the central station.

It’s only natural he’s asking; I’m a stranger, he’s a stranger, and I’m helping out another stranger.

Mercifully, we arrive at Frankfurt central station. We leave the S-Bahn underground level, and we ride the escalators up to the “Fernverkehr” (long-distance trains) at ground-level. We’re standing in front of the departures board to look for his train. I lead him to the correct platform, I shake his hand and wish him well. Viel Glück!

Conclusion number two is having to learn the differences between two verbs. When you tell someone to follow, the correct verb is “mitkommen,” (to follow or to accompany; i.e., “Kommen Sie bitte mit“). The other verb is “folgen”, which is generally used to mean to follow something or something to cause some kind of following result.

Conclusion number three is this. “Frankfurt am Main” is Frankfurt on the river Main (pronounced “mine”). This prevents confusion with “Frankfurt am Oder,” located on the other side of the country next to the Polish border. So, if you see or hear “Frankfurt am Main main train station”, don’t panic. Your eyes or ears are not fooling you, and you haven’t lost your mind.

Just be sure to check the overhead signage …

Originally posted on Posterous, 2010 April 28 and adapted from “The 25” on Facebook, this post appears on Fotoeins Fotopress at as

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