JamesyAndre.com fan club, in China?

Who deserves my thanks, the people of China, the Chinese Communist Party, both, or neither?. (Spoiler: I do not meet a definitive conclusion, but feel free to read between the lines) (1st draft)

I imagine it surprises few who know me that I’m not particularly a strong fan of your ruling Communist Party, China, but I do admire your citizens.  You’re a country with great people, whose freedom continues to be curtailed, unfortunately, by authoritarian government.  

I owe someone thanks for my the great spike in web traffic to this site.  I will not, however, be giving any thanks or applause to what may possibly be an extension of the Chinese cyber surveillance apparatus.  China, where webtraffic is greatly filtered and distilled into “approved” narratives for the average netizen, has become the second largest source of webtraffic to pages within the https://www.jamesyandre.com domain the past month alone.  Formerly it was not even in my top ten national sources of web traffic.

Year-to-date as of July 28,2019


Year-to-date as of August 28, 2019


I speculate that I (more specifically this personal business site  of mine, which frequently intersects with photojournalism) have become a target of at most bots monitoring information perceived to be potentially transgressive to the ruling elite within the People’s Republic of China.

Now at first guess I would certainly have been unsurprised if my website got blocked in China following my blog post commemorating the, then forthcoming, 30 year anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre of Pro-Democratic student protestors in Bejing by the the overbearing People’s Liberation Army (PLA).  Yet this was posted many moths earlier, on April 20th 2019.  <https://www.jamesyandre.com/blog/2019/4/20/thoughts-on-unofficial-leica-film-revolving-around-photojournalists-while-also-depicting-tiananmen-square-massacre> or the the reposting of the removed link to the Leica tribute to photojournalists on the ground.  This has since been removed too, most likely at the request of Leica which has business relationships within mainland China that make such publicity bad for the company’s continued business endeavors in the country.  <https://www.jamesyandre.com/blog/2019/5/17/o2fcc2ds16v1krcna66jf9r79hajn9>

This, however, does not appear to be the case.  Squarespace Analytics clearly shows the uptick in “web visits” from China (possibly bots, following a particular algorithm, something I’m not personally capable of determining) occurred over this past month.  Now, as I mentioned, I wouldn’t be extremely surprised if my mentioning of the “Tiananmen Square Massacre” were to place me outside the curtained-off internet that is accessible to the average Chinese national.  In fact, bringing up such a factual moment in history up in conversation whilst in China could foreseeably result in the person who discussed it, being forcefully removed from the country. 

Also it is certainly possible the bots filter sensitive materially from the prying eyes viewing the internet through the blinders of Weibow, took some time to identify and categorize my very small online footprint from a massive web of information.  And if it wasn’t flagged for removal from Chinese search results, I’m fairly certain it is now. But then again, why did this trigger more than a hundred page hits over the past month?

I think it is most logical to presume that my site’s twitter feed, which I have embedded at the bottom of each page on the Jamesy Andre domain, has been a rich target for for an increasingly vigilant information scrubbing campaign by the Chinese government- that is actually bred from the internet that is accessible within mainland China.

It is pretty reasonable to conclude that for the past few weeks a prevailing theme of my tweets and more frequent retweeets this past month have centered on the the excellent photojournalism coming out of the coverage of the Hong Kong Protests that have now passed 80 days, in their duration, surpassing the length of the historic Umbrella Movement protests in 2014.  From the immense crowd size that continues to take to the streets, to the severity of of the question of whether mainland China yields any meaningfully legitimate political power in Hong Kong, is for many people, an open question for the first time since It was transferred from the British to Chinese in 1997.  

China’s public communications surrounding this movement have probably not been that surprising to most.  They have acted mostly in a manner that you would expect of an authoritarian regime; that is, an authoritarian regime that knows a lot international viewers have their attention on this and need to act as much as possible behind a coordinated PR front, using the Hong Kong Police they’ve gained an upper hand with to carry out most of their directives thus far.

Nonetheless, the conjecture I’ve made here about the web traffic anomalies for my tiny site in addition to my less than novice geopolitical musings are just these things, pure conjuncture and musings that occupy my mind in these moments.

Best wishes for a free and democratic Hong Kong,


Inland Port Greer

I had the opportunity to capture some splendid scenery earlier this afternoon. I visited the Inland Port Greer to take photos of the the trains and watch as shipping containers were stacked. This is only a 15 minute drive from where I live approximately.

© James Andrew Aston III, 2019

About Greer Inland Port:

“Opened November 2013, the South Carolina Inland Port in Greer, SC extended the reach of the port more than 200 miles into the state's interior. Connected to the Port of Charleston via overnight rail offered by the Norfolk Southern, the inland port handles containerized goods to and from the fastest-growing part of the Southeast - the I-85 corridor.“ -Wikipedia

Applied for an apartment

Today (technically yesterday as of writing this) I found a pretty awesome apartment. I filled out all the applications and deposits. The real deal! This should actually improve things from a photography workflow perspective on things. I’ll be in a generally more centralized location that can diversify my photography locations. Also editing workflow should be optimized with my new work setup.

Jeep outside of apartment . . . Blah blah

Jeep outside of apartment . . . Blah blah

Here is a picture of a Jeep I photographed outside the place for unspecific reasons.  And yes, I know it is a terrible photograph.

Real Estate Photography

practice bedroom shoot . . . Shot at f/11 1/25sec 400 ISO with a combination of a strobe and 3 camera flashes. Can you pinpoint where each was placed?


Your answer goes in the comments! ;) 

Who renewed my interest in photography?

There was a time back in college when I was routinely taking photos on a weekly basis. (some videos, pretty hideous though). This was circa 2005 to 2009. I was shooting on the cheap. Most of the stuff I was shooting was on consumer grade digital cameras or professional loaner old-school film cameras. I wanted to go all full frame digital but that was outside of any conceivable budget range I was able to manage. Then a couple years ago - around 2016 - I stumbled across this wildly entertaining photography reviewer who got me thinking about getting back into the photography hobby and eventually photography business. Meet Kai W.

Back in the day he had a popular camera and photography show on DigitalRev TV.  Now produces content independently on his personal YouTube channel.


and still occasionally with his partner in crime Lok Cheung @lokcheung  . . . 


Intro to Macro- photography and lake relaxation

I’m at Lake Keowee with my family this weekend. I was excited to up my macro photography game, but am having some difficulty finding stimulating subject matter to shoot. I recently acquired my first macro lens, so I’m still a novice in the macro world. I have one photo taken of a snake I wandered upon back in Greenville which I turned my macro lens eagerly upon. A low resolution version is posted on Instagram. It will also be linked here. Anyway, it’s been a relaxing weekend on the lake so far.

I have two pairs ctures that may have semi-great potential. I’ll have to really make that determination when I get home to Greenville and get them processed in Lightroom. I’ll let those be a surprise.

As for my newly purchased macro lens, here are the details. I buy almost all my lenses used and made no exception here. As I may have mentioned already I shoot with one camera body. It’s so great and set me back so much that I will unlikely be buying a back-up for quite some time. I shoot with a Sony A7RII mirrorless full frame camera. This macro lens has been a unique mounting experience for me. I do shoot with some non-Sony lenses but they are all designed for e-mount. This time I purchased Sony a-mount with an adaptor. For those not in the Sony mirrorless ecosystem, those cameras use a native e-mount. The a-mount is a lens designed to give that extra room needed for DSLR mirrors. The design actually goes back to the Konica Minolta era before Sony purchased their professional camera division. The adaptor give internal control of spatter but I must use the lens focusing ring which I kind of prefer anyway especially when shooting macro. I’m really enjoying this lens and enjoy the savings shoping for a used a-mount instead of an e-mount. It is a Sony 2.8 / 100 MACRO a-mount. Ant it is awesome!

Sony A-mount MACRO 2.8 / 100 attached to a-to-emount converter

Sony A-mount MACRO 2.8 / 100 attached to a-to-emount converter

First post

The initial http://www.jamesyandre.com is now active. Forthcoming will be an official Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube channel. Other social media may follow. My Twitter and Instagram handle are both @jamesyPUB. The links for social media are at the bottom of each page. I may be setting up a Patreon to fund some of my more creative endeavors that are mostly experimental and don’t have a more traditional form of monitization. Most of these will entail YouTube Videos.

As this is my first blog post, the ones that follow may take on a much different format. Nonetheless, I want all of my post to relate to photography and videography. Also, I expect to make general reports of the progress of Jamesy André Publications. I will conclude with one of my photographs for this post and all that follow.

Cheers, James

© Jamesy André Publications, James Andrew Aston III, 2017

© Jamesy André Publications, James Andrew Aston III, 2017