Monthly Archives: March 2009

Daily Pic Challenge

Well not much to add. It was a busy work week, and on top of that my friend Neil and thought it would be interesting to do a daily picture challenge. Which officially starts tomorrow! Chrissie and I thought it would be cool to kick it off since she’ll be free on Sat morning, so we’re going to try to wake up early in the morning so I can catch a sunrise.

I think it’s been great so far. I’ve forced myself to take or try shots that I’ve been meaning to do but too lazy to implement. And also I’m taking walks and exploring my surroundings again, just like I used to do waaay back in the day when I first got my camera. I just drove around looking for things to shoot, and I think to some extent, when I started doing it professionally it became less fun. But I think the challenge is a good opportunity to hone your skills. Experiment, and have fun!
I have a few zany ideas I’ve been wanting to try out, and i’ve finally dusted off my macro lens. Most of the shots below were taking with a 100mm macro.

Up till now we’ve been doing practice runs. Here were my entries for the past week.

Ipod. Think Organic
Splashes of Blue<br
Purple Sunshine
Twilight Fades


My First Male Model!

As with every “firsts”, you always think you’d suck at it, (which is expected), so I was excited about this photo shoot. Traditionally I’ve shot primarily brides, or groom/groomsmen, sprinkle in some portraits of children, but never really a ‘male’ photoshoot. So this is a TFP (trade for photos), which essentially means the photography volunteers their time and the model does the same. Free photos all around, they get to use it for their portfolio and so do I…ergo, Everyone wins.

I’m glad we ended up doing the shoot. I was going to cancel it on account of it being a gloomy dreary day. I thought the photos would end up being flat and dull, but we went ahead anyways, and I think it turned out pretty decent. Next time I now want to shoot in the rain. I guess the main impetus behind not canceling is, hey…being a wedding photographer, you can’t choose your weather nor the venue, so if I’m going to let a few clouds keep me home. Well I must suck, because the conditions ‘must be right to take good pics’. Pssssshhhhh. Anyone worth their salt will make the conditions work for them and be adaptive! Bruahahha, so alas… I got out of bed and said, what the heck. I don’t want to get rusty do I?

I found Bob via an ad on CraigsList. What’s interesting was, at first I was a bit apprehensive to ask, “hey can you show a little more underwear”, or “can you stick your ass out some more”. But I think fundamentally, after about 30 minutes into the shoot, you start to get the flow of things, and it just gets more easier and comfortable. Which reinforces my notion of the first 10-30 minutes of ‘any’ photo shoot will yield crappy photos. On average (at least for me), It just takes awhile for the model to warm up to the photographer, and vice-versa, until –if you’re lucky– it’ll just literally click, and there’s a rapport between subject and photographer. Sometimes, it just doesn’t happen at all. That’s life, and the nature of business. Again, re-enforces my thoughts that brides who choose wedding photographers based on price alone will get screwed in the long run. If you don’t click with your photographer, doesn’t matter how good he is. They’ll end up sucking because there’s just no connection, and you’ll see it in the end result.

However, with a standard photoshoot, good connections aren’t really ‘required’ as opposed to a wedding, or a big important event. Because lets face it, portrait sessions last about an hour and everyone moves on with their lives and goes about their separate ways. Totally different set of rules than for wedding work. But I’m really glad I’ve done those weddings. If anything, it has taught me to deal with crappy situations, and just exposes me to a variety of styles n shooting environments. I think everyone who’s into photography should at do a few weddings, or at the very least, 2nd shoot for some. I think of it as glorified boot camp, as it exposes you to soo many different environments. It covers the whole gamut to some degree: scenery, landscapes, portraits, groups, macros, still-life, indoors, outdoors, low light, harsh light, drunk people. You get it all!

Bob and I did talk briefly about what he wanted, and it was decided early on, at least for me, to try to stay away from the standard ‘smile and look happy shots’. There were a few in the set, but they ended being too ‘boring’ for me, I think because that’s what I’m used to when taking pictures. Smile…So I thought creatively, this was a bit more unique. The last portion of the shoot, we ended up adding eye-liner, just to mix things up a bit, it ended up looking pretty decent! I think I’ll definitely work with Bob again.

There are some themes that I’d like to explore, which initially had a female protagonist, but I think after this experience, it can be either male or female. I wanted to explore addiction. Whether it be shopping, drugs, alcohol, hand bags, gambling, the whole gamut, and start a set or photos that will fall under that theme.

I think that’s the next level of where I want photography to take me. Exploration, and expression.




Cats Eyes


Industrial Steel

reflections of one's life

Bob knew of this abandoned house in Laguna, and it served us well for the shoot. I saw this big for sale sign, not sure what I was thinking at the time. But I wanted a ‘state of the economy’ type shot with homes rundown, and things just poor and in disarray. So the shot below I liked, but realized….damn, it says ‘for sale’ instead of ‘foreclosed’ or something like that. But all in all, I think it achieved the look I wanted.
The state of the Economy

For Sale

W00t! 76 years old

Yup today’s my dad’s birthday. It was a pretty small gathering, my mom didn’t want to invite many people because she didn’t want them to make a big fuss out of it. Very typical mom. We had a shabu shabu style dinner, and his older sister was there (My dad’s the youngest in the family).

I didn’t get a chance to take too many photos, I really regret not bringing my little video camera. But I think I’ll bring that along next time I’m over there. This was a shot before we said a prayer prior to dinner. It was really strange, normally he says it, but since he wasn’t up to it energy wise, his sister gave it. And I thought to myself, man that’s odd…normally dad does it. Anyways, I think everyone there (except for the little kids because frankly they’re just oblivious to the problems of the world. aahhh to be young again) was just silently grateful that my dad is still with us and is here to celebrate his 76th birthday. Just a few months ago we just didn’t think he would make it.

Here’s a shot of him cutting the cake.

He’s in a wheelchair and moves around that way, but it sure beats laying in a hospital bed. After wards he laid there in his bed, and sorta started up at the ceiling, rather contemplatively. I asked what he was thinking about, but he just wouldn’t tell me. He just said that he’s 76, by God’s grace he’s still around right now, and was just silent, as if contemplating the alternative. So I left it at that. I think it was a bittersweet, somber + joyous occasion. Blasts, with my new diet I stayed away from the red meats and went for more of the veggies!

War of the Worlds…the martians have invaded!

Ok, not really. That’s what I thought it would feel like when I went in for a colonoscopy today. Yes, that pictures makes it look rather uncomfortable. And my friend Danny just told me the horror stories of the size of the tube and the huge jars of KY jelly involved while he was working in the hospital. I can tell all you ‘guys’ right now, the worse part is the prep. Liquid diets, no solid foods. I thought I was going to be the unlucky 10% who get to stay awake during the procedure, but the intravenous sedative a cocktail of diazepam and something else I think literally knocked me out in less than 10 seconds. The next thing I knew, they woke me up in the recovery area, and no my tush DID NOT feel all slimy from KY! I can tell you right now the worse is the day prior when you couldn’t eat.

My lovely wife took a half day to give me a ride there, and I’m glad she was there to pick me up. There is a reason why the Dr. said I couldn’t drive myself. Apparently I was babbling and stumbling, and running into things when I was done. She also told me the Dr. showed her a picture of my bumm from the inside out. Haha, now that’s love. When your significant other has seen you from the inside =) I also asked the prior to the procedure if I could go to work after wards, and alas, I now know why they said no. After you babble and stumble your way out of the hospital (actually they wheel-chaired me out) you go home and knock out for another good 3 hours. I think people with insomnia should try to get some of the stuff they gave me.

Well the good news is my colon got a somewhat clean bill of health. The Dr. did tell me I needed more fiber in my diet, a lot more. Plus liquids (which I don’t do), so I’ll be changing my eating habits, and will see them in another 10 years! W00t! As an aside, I sort of cheated and I think I lost 5lbs due to this, so bruhaha. 5lbs more to go! for my weight loss goal.

ray flash

Sitting here in my lame all liquid diet, I have to conserve energy, so I can only do one thing. Surf the internet! So after all the hullabaloo with my father, I did get some time to catch up on some reading. Turns out, this ring flash that I’ve wanted dropped in price! Woot. The
Ray Flash from expo disc finally dropped in price. I think it used to be like $299 or something insane, but it’s now an affordable $199. What does it do you ask? Well it’s a poorman’s ring flash. Well, for 200 clams, it’s not so poor, but it beats the do it yourself ones made from aluminum foil..
Though technically they both achieve the same effect, so haha I guess who gets the last laugh. The guy who spent 8 bucks? or 200?

oooh, the two week purchasing rule is now in effect.
hmmm now i’m inspired to take some pics in the house. Be right back!

Ip Mon

Well it’s been a good long while since I had a relatively lazy weekend. I spent it watching a movie caled Ip Mon. If it sounds familiar to some people, he was Bruce Lee’s master, aka Yip Man. The film was loosely based on his life, obviously with things embellished. What I did get out of the movie though was well, war sucks. During the second Sino-Japanese war, a lot of atrocities were committed I’m sure from both fronts. But it was fascinating. The Japanese didn’t dare use biological weapons against the westerners during WWII, due to the Versailles peace treaty after WWI and the Hague Convention, however against the Chinese whom they thought were an inferior race, the Japanese pretty much let loose some pretty wicked stuff. Fleas dropped on provinces containing the bubonic plague, and toxic gases were used as well during some battles. What saddens me is I’m sure future wars will involve crazy biological weapons as well, if not worse. We seriously need to all take a chill pill when it comes to not killing each other, but alas. I guess it’s in our nature.

The movie did touch base on some of those details. What was most interesting was the fact that watching him kick butt made me want to start exercising and looking after my health. The thing about good movies, or even a fascinating book. Sometimes they can be inspiring! I hope this burst of inspiration lasts longer than a week though. I really did start to let myself go this past few years. I’m at a buck sixty now, and I can most assuredly guarantee you that it’s mostly comprised of fat cells. If you guys have a chance to netflix it, it’s a pretty decent flick. It isn’t like these newfangled action movies with high wires and jumping around like insane acrobats.

But back to my goal of losing 10 lbs and getting some semblance of definition back. Tomorrow I’m going to take a picture of my fat upper torso, and post it. It’ll be like those silly ‘get buff’ in 3 weeks ads that you see in those muscle magazines, only this time, the person will be me, and no I will not have a ripped body with a fantastic tan, as my picture on the right. I’m sure I’ll be pasty pale as ever, only hopefully I won’t be as fat. And if I fail, it’ll be a somewhat public failure. (By public, I mean the 5 readers that actually read my blog). So that will further my drive to achieve this goal. What better way to fail or succeed than throwing yourself out there. I think I’ll take a milestone every 1.5 weeks, with an upper bound of 3 months. I figure if I can’t lose 10lbs in 3 months, then I just deserve to be put out of my misery.

The Eagle has landed

Nothing much to say but Yaaay my dad was shipped home yesterday at around 5pm. He’s chillin in his posh little ortho electronic med. Nurses are coming and supplies need to be ordered but at least he’s recovering at home. W00t

hip hip! Hurray!!

well, my dad’s not not super duper better, but good enough for the Dr. to say he can finally go home tomorrow! Yaay! He’ll need home nursing, but this means no more trips to the hospital! He can recover from home. I just hope he doesn’t need to go back. 2 months in the hospital really sucks.

From the career front, what’s interesting is I’ve finally decided to try to pick up a new language. Objective C! Coming from a non comp sci background I never really needed to learn C or C++ during school, so I do feel a bit behind in this area, but it’s kind of fun trying to just tinker and learn something new. It’s cool. I’ve been doing Java for a while now, so learning something different is like starting all over again. I’m feeling giddy inside again, so it’s sort of neat. I’ve put photography back on a standby bases. With my Dad sick, I don’t have much time to run amok, but now that he’s coming home maybe I can pick it back up again!


Actually took these on 2-1-09. A portrait session with one of my students outing with one of my students Lynette. We chose 1-2pm (the worse time to shoot), to try to train on adverse conditions. Nothing more adverse than the nasty sun. We did this during a break from me running around the hospitals. I really needed a break to take pictures and to de-stress. I’m digging doing these little engagements much better than hugemo weddings.

These were the pics that the client liked or picked out. It’s always interesting to see what ‘you’ think is good, may not necessarily be what the client likes.


This one below was a completely random experiment, I didn’t think it would turn out well at all, but the colors make the picture.

This one actually ended up being a second string photo that I didn’t think made the cut, but she ended up liking it.

This one was a candid. I was just sneaking a pic behind the tree, while Lynette was going in for the shot.



I hate white dresses, they are very difficult to shoot during the sun. I have to deal with this for wedding work a lot. It usually gets over exposed,

No I don’t have a foot fetish, this was really a random shot. While Lynette and Jamie were busy shooting, I just aimed at random spots and shot. The textures of the floor contrasted well with the shoes.