What’s For Breakfast?

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Last week, the Financial Times ran a very interesting column by Patti Waldmeir about what people in China, Shanghai in particular, like to have for breakfast. (hope that link works…)

“Nobody loves things western more than the Chinese, but when the sun comes up on any Chinese city the east dominates the breakfast trade. Like their ancestors before them, even the most westernised Shanghainese queue up before bamboo towers of steamed buns, spitting woks of crispy bottomed dumplings and steaming vats of rice gruel, to eat food that proudly declares its Chineseness,” Patti writes.

During my couple of trips to China – Beijing and Shanghai (worlds apart though in the same country), I saw this first-hand. I’d get up early, so that I had some time to wander around before our work/shoot day started. I like being in a foreign city and watching it wake up.

I’d walk the nearly empty, but slowing buzzing, streets, and see where people were going. In and out of little markets, or stopping outside of a “take out” window for some early-morning sustenance.

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While there are KFC’s, McDonald’s and even some Dunkin’ Donuts in the cities, the longest lines are those for the soup-filled steamed buns called shengjian mantou.

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After trying one of these buns early one morning, I have to say…they’re great. Especially in the morning. Warm, salty, tasty. Hits your belly and makes you feel great. May not be the breakfast of champions nutritionally speaking, but it is the breakfast of China.

Apart from that, there are snacks and sugar buns that appeal to the sweet tooth. I tried these as well, but I’m more of a savory guy rather than a sweets guy.

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My plan while on my walking around was to see which booth or market had the longest line or the most people coming and going. Figured that meant they have best food.

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Of all my street-food excursions, though, I have to say…one of the best breakfasts I had was back at the Puli Hotel in Shanghai. I had been walking around for a couple of hours, saw the sky turn from black to flat sunny. Got a text from my crew saying they’d be in the restaurant as they were all just awakening. I worked my way back from The Bund to the hotel. Past the men flying kites there, past the older folks doing early morning tai-chi in the parks. The city was start to awaken. I got back to the hotel, made my way to the Jing’An Restaurant, scanned the menu, and went with some breakfast noodles.

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Absolutely scrumptious. I ordered seconds.

Breakfast, anyone?

© Mark V. Krajnak | JerseyStyle Photography | All Rights Reserved 2015

Winter In New Jersey

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After a demure winter up to this point…it’s now bearing down on us. A winter Nor’easter for the tri-state area that they are already calling “historic.”

We’re battening down the hatches.

Last week, Joe McNally put up a post about Winter in New York. Talked about how he enjoyed shooting weather while a photojournalist.

I concur. My hate of winter has been pretty well documented…but I’m coming around a little. Thanks in part to my Winterscape Gallery Series, I don’t hate it as much.

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Now I see it more of an opportunity to get out there with camera, and capture something that maybe I wouldn’t see if I stayed inside. Even the quiet scene of the photo that leads this post.

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Saturday, we got a little taste of winter. While parts of the state got significant snowfall, we had about an inch or two of heavy, slushy mess. Prime snowman and snowball snow, though. After clearing the driveway, me and the kids did just that. After a couple of snowmen, a snow fort and some lightly thrown snowballs, we trekked across the road to the woods. It’s always a nice, quiet place to be after a a snowfall.

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This one…this one sounds like I’ll be out there shoveling quite a bit. They’ve already closed schools down for tomorrow. We knew it probably would be…but I remember waking up and having to listen to radio to find out if school was cancelled in NEPA. The DJ would run down the alphabetized list, and you’d keep eating your cereal, hoping to hear your school. A couple of times, I even got all dressed for school and it wasn’t until almost heading out the door that my school finally cancelled.

It was like getting a pardon from the governor.

© Mark V. Krajnak | JerseyStyle Photography | All Rights Reserved 2015

JSP Visual Week In Review | 01.24.15

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Woke up this morning to about 2-3 inches of heavy, wet snowfall. Looks to be a rainy/sleety type of day from here on out. Not a great Saturday, but we’ll make it work.

Birthday time around here. My mom (hi Mom!) celebrated hers yesterday, and my wife works her way through her 30s on Monday. A little glimmer of light in an otherwise dark winter slumber.

We’re getting there though. Pitches and catchers report in 24 days. That, to me, is the unofficial official first day of spring. It only gets better from there.

It was a busy week at work, didn’t shoot to much. One of my executive portraits is up on Janssen.com now, and the same photo, in color, is here. Nice to see how a quick 10-minute portrait session gets used.

Carry on.

This Week’s Links:

* RIP Mr. Cub. Met him once in the late ’90s at a healthcare event. Still have both of these. The glove is my dad’s from around 1952.

* Unbelievable. Sports Illustrated lays off remaining staff photographers.

* Joe McNally talks about the weather.

* Nice BTS with Flemming Bo and Charlene here.

* Daniel Milnor is…The Professional.

* Good piece here by Dorthy Brown: Walking With Purpose: Niall McDiarmond

* Flannery O’Connor reads A Good Man Is Hard To Find.

* “Some guys can run fast, some guys can sing, I found I could take photographs that people were interested in.” ~ David Douglas Duncan (who turned 91 yesterday)

© Mark V. Krajnak | JerseyStyle Photography | All Rights Reserved 2015

Friday Noir: The Forgotten And The Lost

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Pull it out, turn it up, what’s your favorite song?
That’s mine, I’ve been crying to it since I was young
I know there’s someone out there feeling just how I feel
I know they’re waiting up, I know they’re waiting to heal
And I’ve been holding my breath,
Are you holding your breath, for too many years to count?

It wasn’t supposed to go down like this.

In sickness and in health.

To have and to hold.

Happily ever after and all that crap.

And we waited for sirens that never come
And we only write by the moon, every word handwritten
And to ease the loss of youth and how many years I’ve missed you
Pages plead forgiveness, every word handwritten

Then…it all fell apart.

First the loot ran out. Then you ran out.

Well, I can’t just sit here, right?

Couldn’t just let you go, right?

Let it out, let me in, take a hold of my hand
There’s nothing like another soul that’s been cut up the same
And did you wanna drive without a word in-between?
I can understand, you need a minute to breathe
And to sew up the seams… after all this defeat

Defeat is right. What’s the opposite of winning?


And I’m in Losing Time right now.

Here, in the dark, I cherish the moonlight
I’m in love with the way you’re in love with the night
And it travels from heart, to limb, to pen.

The gat’s on the table, the sawed-off in the closet.

I can’t just let you – and it – and him – go right?

We’re the forgotten and the lost.

Until the action slides simple and true….

And we waited for sirens that never come
And we only write by the moon, every word handwritten
And with this pistol, I thee wed
From my heart to your distress


Been sitting on this one for awhile. I first conceived this back in October for a photo challenge, DEDPXL07, that Zach Arias put out there.

When I was really getting into photography a few years ago, I used to do a lot of the photo challenges that UTATA would put out on their Flickr page. In fact, that’s how my noir photography started, as a result of one of those challenges,about six years ago.

These challenges are fun because your give parameters and you have to work within a certain constraint, and make something happen, be creative, tell the story.

So, I conceived the above photo, not necessarily to be noir, but to be dramatic. Simple goose-neck desktop light was my key light. Knew I wanted to go B&W with it, of course. Oddly, there wasn’t too many black and white ones in the DEDPXL challenge when I posted it. Thought more people would have went this way.

And, as I run, the song Handwritten by New Jersey-based band, The Gaslight Anthem, often comes up on my player. Love the melody and the lyrics. Brian Fallon is one of the best songwriters out there now, and this one has such a melancholy theme. Thought it would be fun to work this into the image. Here’s Brian doing the song acoustically. I altered the last stanza slightly to fit my needs though. I’m allowed.

As an epilogue to this…Zach and his wife reviewed all the submissions for DEDPXL07 in a real-time video. It’s long, but they come to my show around the 1:20:51 mark (yeah, that’s the 1 HOUR mark – they had 300 submissions.) My shot got a grunt from Zach, and then….silence. He says that’s necessarily a bad thing, but in the end I didn’t make the Top 10 cut.

Anyway, it was fun to think up and execut, and it’s fun to post it for today’s Friday Noir.

Let me know what you think!

© Mark V. Krajnak | JerseyStyle Photography | All Rights Reserved 2015


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