After the dazzle the grey can consume…

The end of the Chinese New Year has arrived, and the decorations are being taken down. There is sadness in the air. Maybe that’s me.

It is the year of the OX.

‘In Chinese culture, the year of the Ox is about being hardworking, honest and forthright because of the attributes associated with the Ox, which is a valued animal in Chinese culture because of its role in agriculture.’

Walking around Beijing today on a grey day, as the decorations are being removed or wilted, there is a distinct feeling of change in the air.

Between the end of the cold dark winter, energised by Christmas, New Year and Chinese New Year, and the start of Spring, this moment is a moment of grey.

In the West, we know this moment. It is when the final New Year celebrations die, and the full new working week starts. 

Not the part week, but the full working week. The one that starts on a Monday. Yes, you know that feeling.

Beijing is grey today, the weather is changing, but as it moves towards blue skies and more palatable weather, there is always that dull, misty day to get through.

This ‘dull day’ is today.

Roaming around the city is usually my get-out for any feeling of frustration, doubt, or my desire to change the scene for the day so that I can change the mood. 

Today though, it is not helped.

Upon reflection, my mood is feeling good.

My creativity, however, is what is feeling low. 

Seeing such beautiful things removed, wilted or lying in boxes awaiting removal to storage is not an inspirational image.

There is a sadness in that.

In ending. A finality that reminds me of the fragility of life…

F*ck that was deep.

A bit too deep. So what am I doing no?

I have put down my camera and taken my MacBook to the nearest Starbucks to write this blog.

I wanted to write this as I captured a new mood. 

I reflected on the thoughts as I wandered, but now looking to kick start my creativity for the day, I needed to reset.

So this, sh*ty coffee in the uncomfortable Starbucks is my escape.

Side note – I wish there was less sh*t Starbucks in the world and more of a selection. You know, some things with character and not a ‘Starbucks Reserve.’ (FF’s)

But then this was my choice. And so is my mood.

So time to set a pallet cleanser in motion.

To think differently. Change the perspective.

The destruction of the Chinese New Year decorations is what I understand as an end instead of what it should be, a new beginning.

Again my choice. 

The discarded lanterns and shiny objects can be as inspiring as the ‘bag in the wind‘ scene in the movie American Beauty. 

Beauty is in how we frame it. 

I now realise that I am framing it wrong this fine morning. 

So, how do I do a reset? How do I change the picture?

My thoughts are exactly that. I go to the source.

I go directly to the picture.

In this case, the pictures, the source, is what I have captured on my camera. I go there and make the adjustments. I quickly crop and flip, filter and boost the vibrance.

Fewer shadows and more highlights.

I create my own version of the world. 

I use the filters to enhance away what is the reality and paint a more enjoyable narrative.

It doesn’t take me long, but it takes effort.

Wow, the pictures now look amazing. Fresh, exciting and engaging.

No more limp images, only dazzle drawn from the way the light bounced of the grey.

I have learned a couple of new features in the moment. I have created a new impression of the day with some simple adjustments.

The pictures tell a lie, but I am f*cking cool with that. It is what I needed. But to what extent do they lie? Was it I just was not listening and seeing correctly. Was it how I was receiving the message?

Sometimes you have to reset using the tools that you have at your immediate disposal to paint a whole new picture for the day.

Sometimes you have to tell yourself a little white (grey) lie in order to set the mind right.

Record it as a little white lie and know the adjustments that you made, and at any time, like a photograph, you can reset back to the original.

But reset when the time is right. 

When the sky is blue.


Experience Sanlitun, Beijing, through the day and night.

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