Monday, August 30, 2010

That's a big hole

Last Friday was a momentous day around my house. It was the first day of digging on our new pool! That's right, we're gettin' a cement pond out back. We've long had the idea of getting a pool and to see it coming to fruition is just awesome. Wouldn't it be great if someone had taken a time lapse of the digging and set it to music? Well what do we have here?

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Glow from below

Revisiting the beautiful Getty Villa today. This is a follow up image from a few weeks ago. You remember this one right? This is shot from the second floor, showing all the awesome glass and stone. There was so much light pouring in from the window and open space downstairs that it gave a warm glow to the whole space.

Staircase upper

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Landscape Tilted

I had so much fun doing the iPhone/iPad blog combo the other day that I thought I'd try it again. Today's picture comes from the backseat of a moving car. I was coming home from a rafting trip and there were these beautiful hills right next to the freeway. I decided to whip out the 'ole phone and give it a shot. Get it, shot, camera....see what I did there?! Anyway, it turned out alright. Don't be afraid to take chances, you might get something great!

Landscape Tilted

For those that are wondering which I'm apps I'm using for all this techno trickery, here's the rundown. On the iPhone I used TiltShiftGen to get that tilt shift lens look and to add some saturation and contrast. I used Photgene to crop for a wider look. On the iPad I used Photogene again to add my signature and the border. To upload to Flickr I used this super cool app called FlickStackr. I do all my blogging via the Blogger website, so Mobile Safari takes care of me there. Et voilĂ , new blog post without a laptop or desktop!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Testing the waters

So I thought I'd try something new. I've got this iPhone and this iPad, why not throw down some synergy and try a blog post with just those. Well folks, here it is. I took a picture with my iPhone, sent it to my iPad, and did all the editing, resizing and uploading from there. And now I'm writing this here blog on my virtual keyboard. Can't you just hear the hunting and pecking?! Is this totally necessary? Of course not! Is it geeky? You bet! I do want to start using my iPad more for blogging while I'm on the go, so this is a bit of a test case. I 'spect you'll be seeing more of this in the future.

leaf and shadow

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


I shot this in downtown Los Angeles. I'm not sure what the 100 is for, but they're very proud of it!


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

mirrors are fun|nuf era srorrim

I took this at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco. Great museum by the way if you're ever up that way. The roof is covered in grasses and plants! Anyway, I was checking out this mirror and my kids did the whole Scooby Doo stack up cute thing and presto! Always carry a camera with you.

mirrors are fun

Monday, August 23, 2010

Last flight

And now something completely different from yesterday. I took this down at Will Rogers State Beach on a beautiful evening. Paid that gull 10 bucks to fly through the shot.

Gull and beach

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Product Shootin'

So my wife's a big Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan. Truth be told, I'm a bit of a fan myself. The show's been off the air for a while, but occasionally some cool products or collectibles come out that need buyin'. Enter Jones Soda. They came out with this sweet line of Buffy themed sodas and my wife ordered up a set. But this is a photography blog, you say. The tie in's coming. Sooooooooo, the sodas show up and they're lookin' all cool, so my wife suggests that I take some pictures of them in all their coolness. Can do.

Is making highly reflective glass bottles filled with colored soda look good a simple task? It ain't brain surgery, but it's not plop-your-camera-down-and-shoot easy either. You're gonna need some stuff. Let's go to the setup shot.

Jones setup

Ok, so we need a camera on a tripod. Why? Because you need repeatability and consistency. This isn't going to happen if you're hand holding your camera. Second, we need light. For the main light, bigger is better. This umbrella is the biggest I have, so I went with it. If you have a big softbox, even better. A long, narrow soft box is best, but your main concern is just broadening out the light. You could do this with just one flash but it wouldn't bring the awesome.

Almost forgot, clean your products thoroughly before shooting! Nothing worse then loading your shots up on your big computer monitor later and seeing all that dust and all those fingerprints. I used a cloth that came with my iPhone. You are not gonna clone that stuff out later. Trust me.

The next things are kinda to taste, but can really elevate your shot. Something reflective to set your bottle (or other product) on. Black acrylic is great, but I didn't have that, so I improvised. My wife has this clear acrylic piece used for holding paint while you're painting. Preferably with a beret. The poster board in back is there to bounce the rear flash off of and give that high key look. The board on the left is there to bounce some of the light from the umbrella onto the shadow side of the bottle.

Ok, after taking some test shots (which were all awesome but I won't show you) and finding out the settings for my flashes, this is what I got.

Jones Buffy

Blammo! Not bad, eh? Except for a little sharpening, this is straight out of the camera. The rear flash is backlighting all that great color in the bottle and providing a seamless transition from the acrylic to the background. Another key to this is setting your camera up to shoot almost completely level with the acrylic, similar to the effect of an infinity edge pool. I also aimed the flash so the light tapers off towards the top and gives a sort of natural vignette. How did I trigger the flashes? The Canon 7D has a built in flash commander. Aw yeah.

One thing I didn't show in the setup shot was a circular diffuser. For some of the shots I held it in front of the umbrella to further spread the light and get rid of the tell tale ribs of the umbrella. That knocks the amount of light hitting the bottle down a bit, but I liked the slightly darker look. The label, however was too dark. What to do? Why remove the diffuser and shoot another. You can then combine the two in Photoshop. Oh, didn't know there was post processing? It ain't easy lookin' easy.

So I shot two images for each bottle then brought them all into Photoshop. After putting the shiny labels on each one, I brought them all together in one image. I then (painfully) masked each bottle out, and put them on a background that I made to look like the original. Et, voila!

Jones Final

To really be the teacher's pet I should've rotated the bottles so the manufacturing date stamp didn't show. Alas, lesson learned for next time.

For all the tech geeks out there, I used a Canon 24-105L lens at about 35mm, f/8, iso 160. The main flash was at 1/1 and the rear flash was 1/16, zoomed to 105mm.

Saturday, August 21, 2010


Shot this on a walk around the neighborhood yesterday. Yes, yes someday I will get tired of the super shallow depth of field. But today isn't that day!


Friday, August 20, 2010

camera shy

He is such a nut.

camera shy


So there's this photographer, Zack Arias. Music photographer, editorial photographer, educator and all around cool guy. I've been following him for the past couple of years and I find his images and his ideas refreshing. He's a tell it like it is, get the work done kinda guy and I can relate. If you've never seen his stuff, you should head over to his site and check it out.

He does these One Light workshops and I'm totally gonna go to one someday, but I haven't been able to yet. Anywho, before his workshops he does these One Light mixers where anyone can come and just hang with him and some fellow photographers. I saw on Twitter that he was gonna be throwing a mixer in L.A. this Wednesday so I packed some riot gear and drove to downtown L.A. I kid! It's just body armor. No seriously folks, there's no concealed weapons allowed in California. That's why I wear my gat on the outside! West Side!! Enough.

I went. I got to talk to the man himself and he was super cool and down to earth. I also got to meet some other photographers and talk some shop. The coolest part, though was towards the end of the evening, Zack gathered everyone around and gave a little talk. I'm not going to try and explain his points because I'd butcher it, but suffice to say that it was informative and enlightening. All in all, a great evening.

Oh, and the picture? It was taken from the balcony of the penthouse apartment where the thang went down.

Dowtown Night

Thursday, August 19, 2010


Not as exciting as yesterday. You did see yesterday's post right? I really liked the way the light was coming in through these cool stone windows. I also liked that I got a shot with no people in it! That's a real problem with public spaces, always people in them. ;)


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Getty Gardens

I thought I'd go with a theme post today. I post a lot of single images, but once in a while I like to shake things up and post *gasp* two! Well, my friends I'm going crazy today and posting four from my trip to the Getty Villa. Calm yourself. Think of your happy place. I bet your happy place has some flowers like these.

Getty Garden 2

Getty Garden 4

Getty Garden 1

And because I thought this fountain was awesome.

Getty Garden 3

Monday, August 16, 2010

Meteor shower?

I promised ya video, and I got video. Don't blink or you might miss both meteors. I added end credits to make it seem longer. ;)

Did you ever wonder what a camera that's shooting a time lapse looks like? Wonder no more!

camera and stars 3

Is that a meteor in there? I think so!

Here's another angle.
camera and stars 2

And as an extra special bonus for both of you who are still reading, here's another image from that night. I would be remiss if I didn't give a shout out to the guy in the chair. The guy who snored FOR THE ENTIRE THREE HOURS that I was there. I guess he had come to see the show (hah!) and made himself so comfy that he fell fast asleep. Here's to you, snoring guy!

Snoring guy

Sunday, August 15, 2010

car and stars

I went to see the Perseid meteor shower and all I got was this shot of my car. Ok, not really, but the meteor shower turned out to be more of a drizzle. I do have a lovely time lapse that I shot, which I'll be posting tomorrow so you can see all that I didn't see. But enough about tomorrow, let's live in the now! This shot was made possible by two passing cars lending their lovely headlights to paint across my car. It's technically my wife's car now, but you don't know that, so I'll just continue with the charade. Anywho, pretty straightforward concept behind this one. Long exposure for the stars, cross fingers and hope that cars come at the right time. Hail mary pass!

Car and stars

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Getty Lily

Getty flower


I had a fantastic time yesterday shooting at the Getty Villa with a good friend. This was my firs time there and I was overwhelmed with all the textures and details of the place. A wealth of photographic opportunities for sure. I will be posting some of my favorites over the next few weeks. This image is part of the support system under an awesome staircase of metal, stone and glass. That depth of field looks mighty shallow. Say, about 1.2. ;)


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Spinning through the galaxy

Here's another night time image from my camping trip. This one was taken pointing at the North Star. From this perspective the whole sky seems to rotate around it. I've always wanted to try a shot like this, and I was super pleased with how it turned out. Next time, with added foreground!

North Star rotation

In the driver's seat

Here's my younger son enjoying his new electric ride-on toy (it's an Escalade). I didn't ask him to pose for me, he just turned around and gave me this self satisfied "look how grown up I am" expression. Love him. Wait, what? Was this shot with my new lens? Why yes, yes it was. I guess we were both enjoying our new toys.

In the driver's seat

Monday, August 9, 2010


Taken on a walk around the neighborhood.


Sunday, August 8, 2010

Over the Kern

Here's a short time lapse sequence that I shot while on my rafting trip. The night time part would have been longer but I was shot after a day of rafting. The music is Jewel.

Oh, and this is my 600th post!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

singled out

Can you tell I love my new lens?

singled out

Friday, August 6, 2010

smoke break

Took this while on the Photowalk around Santa Monica. The leader suggested we look for interesting light and see if something came into it. I thought the back lit smoke was pretty cool.

Smoke break

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Epic Movie

A few days ago, while I was taking the kids for a walk around the neighborhood, I decided that we should shoot a movie. I've got this fancy pants camera that shoots video so I might as well use it. Of course my boys were all over it. We weren't incorporating fairies or princesses in this one, so my daughter bailed. What you'll see is the result of minutes upon minutes of painstaking work and attention to detail. Continuity watchers, take the day off; there's nothing to find here. Script scrutinizers, you'll find no holes here. Quite simply, this is independent film making at it's best. Enjoy.

Swimmin' in the bokeh

Oh man. My family was recently blessed to receive some unexpected money from a family business. To celebrate, everyone in the family got to pick out something fun. I of course was very responsible and gave money to a worthy organization and th...who am I kidding, I bought a new lens! Yes, shocked reader I got a lens that is a veritable bucket for catching light. I give you the Canon 85mm 1.2L.


What's so great about this lens? It has a maximum aperture of 1.2 which means the depth of field is extremely shallow. Backgrounds will be more blurry and distractions will be less. It is also extremely sharp even at 1.2. Most lenses are not their sharpest wide open, but this one is.

What is this lens best for? People. And that's how I intend to use it.

Seamus 1.2

Haven 1.2

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Proposal

The way it should've happened.

The Proposal

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Last Rays

Last Rays

Sunday, August 1, 2010

I'm back!

Whew, I'm back. I had a great weekend of rafting and hanging out/getting to know a bunch of guys. Oh, and I got to take some pictures too! We were in Kernville, which is about 3 hours north of L.A. I could not believe how clear the skies were up there. I have never seen the Milky Way so distinctly. One guy brought a for real telescope and I got to see some of Jupiter's moons! Yes, that Jupiter. That was awesome.

I thought I'd start the picture extravaganza with this star trail one. It looks like the middle of the day, but it's actually about 11 p.m. The combination of long exposure (around 25 minutes) and a bright moon give it that daytime feel.

More to come!

Kern Star Trails