Friday, March 29, 2013


Just got back from Iceland! It was a pretty amazing trip.

Band Photo

Quick aside, project 365 died. I was too behind on uploading and then missed a day by accident. But regardless I'm going to keep taking photos and see if I can find a new edge.

For Iceland I rarely took off my 28mm lens which puts me at 44.8mm on a crop body (Rebel T1i) which is pretty close to an actual 50. It was so bright outside I was getting speeds higher than 1/100 sec at f/22!!  

The 28mm was a xmas gift from my wife and it's quickly becoming my favorite lens. Having a fixed has really forced me to think about composition and to walk around my subject if I don't like the framing instead of just zooming in and out.

While I didn't have 1 photo I thought was spectacular, here are some of my favorite pics from Iceland:

Time to Leave ├×ingvellir :)

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Project 365: 13 Days In

Well a successful start to having a photo a day but a slightly disappointing time I think.

The major focus of the first 13 days is to try to get into the habit of taking photos every day. I tried really hard to not just go out for a "365 photoshoot" but to take photos throughout the day. 

As expected, work days are the toughest and I rely more on my phone for them. When I get home it's already too dark for any sort of outdoor photo. 

My biggest hope to get through the weekdays is to assign a weekly theme to focus on. My first weekly theme was "introductions" to sort of ease into the whole thing, So I took photos of myself, my camera, my cats, etc.


Day 1 - Self Portrait Day 2 - The Camera Day 5 - Tube Cat Day 6 - Cat Number Two

The theme for week 2 quickly became iPhone photos as I tried to play around with how to creatively take photos with the phone. It produced some interesting results, especially with KitCam and its selective focus and fake "tilt shift" lenses:

Day 7 - Commute Day - 8 I Have A Messy Desk Day 10 - Snow

My theme for week 3 will be "bokeh" since I received my lensbaby aperture pack 2. That should hopefully turn out pretty interesting. Possible plans for week 4 include something that can be done around the house (dark outdoors) maybe a day each of something I own or photos from the perspective of the cat.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Project 365: Reboot

So… Lets go this going again :)

I'm inspired to start anew at the beginning 2013, 3 years after the failure of my last 365 project. Life kind of swept me away and I allowed myself to get really busy. While I never stopped talking photos after the 365 failure, the difference was that I was learning something nearly every day and pushing myself to go to new places. 

Time seemingly slows down for those 3 months in 2009 and in a busy and chaotic world, I feel that's important.

If I'm going to start again, I must realize what I did wrong and what my challenges were that I can overcome them again. I will state them here.

Goal: By Jan 1st 2014 I should have 365 photos, one for every day of the year. For the days I went somewhere or did something unique the photos should reflect this. For the days –most days– where I go from home to work to home again, a new strategy will be necessary to avoid filler and burning myself out.

Here is my strategy:

1- Simplify. Don't overcomplicate things.
2- I have 2 cats now. Don't fill it up with cats. I fear this time around I will have a 365 photos of cats.
3- I will not lock myself down to thought-out, artsy, well-exposed, or otherwise great looking photos from an SLR. But I must also resist always going to the phone for a quick filler pic. 
4- Experiment. Be scientific about things. Shoot something 90 different ways and with different lenses. Learn and re-learn my equipment.
5- Try something new. Collect photos and ideas from other sources and keep notes.
6- Simplify. Don't take it too seriously. Fill it up with cats if I have to… ;)

Wish me luck.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

365 Project Update - Month 2

37 (1012)Month two was even harder than month one. There were many days that I just phoned it in and I struggled to take photos on some weekdays. It would be 10pm at night and I would still have no clue on what to take a photo of.

So I came up with an idea to theme my weekday photos and try to tie them together. I had a week of just dinners and a week where the subject was soft glowing light. Hopefully this should help me. I think I need to stay focused and make sure I'm not doing this as a chore but to represent my year as well as try new techniques and learn my camera.

I am happy to say that I am using my camera's manual mode more and more. There are times where I just don't like how the camera meters the light and I need more control. Even in Av mode I will use exposure lock more now than ever before.

Like last update, I went through and picked three of the photos I really like but did not include because another photo won out that day. This is kind of cheating, I know, but oh well :). I find ritually going back over a months worth of photos to find overlooked gems is encouraging and inspires me to do better.

The rejected photos:

Rejected- Rejected--2 Rejected--3

Monday, November 2, 2009

Alum Rock Park

IMG_1018Did some light mountain biking yesterday at Alum Rock Park, one of the oldest (if not the oldest?) city park in the valley. It's fairly big in size and provides a decent amount of trail. It was really easy to get to which is good because even with the time change we were getting a late start. Plus everything seemed to be going wrong that morning, including someone stealing my bagel at the coffee shop. I'm surprised the bikes didn't fall off the Amigo.

We started at the parking lot just outside the gates and went up the main bike trail (marked Bicycle Path on the signs) that goes the length of the park. Donna's head started hurting so we stopped at the visitor center playground area for a rest and took some time to take some photos for my 365 project.

IMG_1024Donna not feeling up to it, I left my pack with her and continued along the main path until the end where it's open to horses and hikers only. Lots of old stone bridges line the trail and I almost regretted leaving my SLR with Donna (almost :), I still had my powershot). There is also a bunch of remains of old hot spring baths.

It's a pretty level trail, it's a very gradual uphill going in and a fun downhill going back. On a warm sunday the trail from the parking lot to the visitor center is pretty crowded so we had to take it slow on the way back or risk running into children :).

I would have liked to explore the other trails but we'll have to go back.

Click for Route:
click for gps track

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

365 Project - One month down.

18 (0923)My Amigo is in the shop. I'm really thirsty for mountain biking, but it will have to wait until I can get my car back. My 365 Project (dubbed "thirty-one") has now gone on for 1 month and has kept me busy. It's cool to see the last month in photos and I feel like it's definitely helping me learn more about what I can do with my camera.

Some days (most days?) I really struggle coming up with a new photo and one or two of those days I think I've really phoned it in. I can't imagine what will happen when I run out of things inside my apartment to photograph. I need to take my camera everywhere I go, I suppose.

Other days I take so many photos that it becomes hard to choose just one. So I decided since it's been one month from when I started this thing I would create a flickr "reject" set and choose three of my favorite photos that didn't make it in.

The first two of these three were taken on the very first day. I had about 4 or 5 photos I just could not choose between. I may have even chosen the wrong one :). I really liked this piece of machinery. I can't remember what the machine was anymore though:

This photo looks good in color or duo-tone, but I like the contrast just a little bit better in the one without color. I'll probably say differently tomorrow:

And last is a photo that I completely overlooked until today. The day I took this photo I put 4 photos to choose from side by side on my monitor and this was not one of them:

Thursday, October 1, 2009

San Jose State Normal School Tower Hall

tower hall-2Been a crazy busy September, full of wedding venue visits, busy with work, etc. Haven't been able to get out much at all. Plus my Amigo needs some work done on him before I dare take him mountain biking.

September was also the month I started my 365 photo project. I'll post an update on that after 30 full days. It has really got me reading and thinking a lot about photography.

tower hall-3A quick background about me and photography: I love photography but have never really tried it until recently. I am especially a big fan of industrial and architectural photography (still or motion) from the early days of cameras. I love watching Edison's earliest films on the streets of New York.

In Manhattan about 4 years ago I purchased the book New York Changing: Revisiting Berenice Abbott's New York. It's a stunning photography book where the author recreates the setting of the 1930s photographs almost exactly and shows them side by side. He had figured out the exact perspective, the time of day, and even used the same camera so you can focus only on what has changed.

tower hall-1While I could never do it with the same precision, recreating old photographs seems like a great way to study perception and the difference between "zooming" in using greater focal length vs actually stepping forward.

I wandered through the SJ Library's digital archive of their California Room looking for photos of San Jose and SJSU. I came across a circa 1915 photo of Tower Hall. I believe his would have been less than 10 years after it was constructed to replace the old building. Last Sunday I decided to shoot the building with every lens I had and also try to recreate the old photograph. Here are my results:


tower hall-4

Obviously I didn't get it exact. I should have stepped more to the left and angled the camera more to the right and I was around 5 minutes too late for shadows. But I think it was a decent enough first attempt and a good learning experience.