Saturday, July 23, 2011

Andy's File

Norton Simon Museum, Pasadena, California, Panasonic DMC- LX3

Yesterday was Rose's birthday.  So she took the day off.  I also took part of the day off.  We had lunch at Old Town Pasadena (I forgot the place but it was Italian and they have a couple of glasses of great Pinot Noir -- asked the waiter what it was and he told me it was Hahn -- that for some reason I remember).  We headed to Norton Simon Museum.  We've been there so many times and I always see this family at the gate.  I decided to document this family but I'm not sure who they are and who created them.  Somebody reading this - please let me know if you do.  To the artist, I apologize for not giving you credit.  I do give credit to my immediate boss at work for his words and penmanship that appear on this image.  I wonder if he'll recognize it.  Cheers.

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Before the Storm (ii)

Diamond bar, California
Fujifilm Neopan Acros 120 iso 100
120 film medium format

I tend to always go back to this image.  It was taken a couple of years ago when i got into lo-fi photography.  Taken with the Holga. This is one from a series I made entitled Before the Storm. The Holga may be considered a toy camera but I really like the softness it produce.  although there is a sense of foreboding in this picture, the soft focus seems to tame the eminent -- a storm brewing. 

The picture was actually taken around noon but the weather condition cooperated with the vision I had in mind.

Hope you enjoy. Thanks for looking.

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Thursday, July 21, 2011


Two images stitched, Panasonic DMC LX3

and we may never pass this way again...

Honestly, this image exists nowhere else but only in the sunshine of my mind.  I was almost ashamed to say that this photo is actually a composite of two different images taken at different places and different times. By trial and error, I was able to stitch together the upper half, which was taken in Diamond Bar, California around fall last year - with the lower half, which was taken in Philippines late last year. I guess one can say it's an image where West meets East in a stream of ever changing water. 

Why the title?  Somebody asked.  I think of nature's way of decaying gracefully.  In the western world, the leaves turn brown and start to fall towards the end of the year.  But in the Far East where the sands are really from, the water begins to recede.  Things get to dry up during that time of the year.  In my mind, I call the process ruination of a universality.   Obviously, I've failed to convey that message in this image.  But that doesn't matter... because anyone can interpret it the way they want.

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Tuesday, July 19, 2011


San Luis Obispo, California, Canon Power Shot SD40

You exist in my reality
You tell me things
That make me sick
You are cruel
Whether you know it or not
It’s hard for me to believe
that you don’t know it
You are a liar
You deceived me all the time
I will subtract you
from my reality

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Monday, July 18, 2011


Canon 60d, Carl Zeiss 100mm Makro, f3.2, 1/125, iso 800, no flash

I really like taking candid photos of people.  Geoff doesn't realized that I captured his image while he was talking to my daughter.  Maybe now he does.  Heh.  We see him here wearing a blazer and a tie.  Very GQ.  And the outfit really looks good on him.  But in reality he hates suits and ties.  Probably the only reason he wears them is the dress code for elders in our church.  In a few years, he'll be retiring from serving as an elder and for sure he'll ditch the outfit and go back to short sleeve oxfords and perhaps a James Dean jacket in case of cold spells.  He really is a cowboy in a twisted kind of way.  Actually, he takes care of his cows - that is milk producing cows.

This was taken inside the church kitchen, which surprisingly has great lighting.  The windows opposite him and the lights above provided the soft lighting for this shot.  You can see some reflection on his head, and his face has enough shadows and highlights that I think make this photo work.  Considering that he is wearing  eyeglasses, I'm surprised to see that I can see enough details on his eyes.  Usually, it's hard to get good definition on portrait shots with people wearing eyeglasses because of the reflection.  I think because his head was facing slightly side way help avoid any harsh light from the window that may have added unwanted reflection on his eyeglasses.  Also, since he is looking to his left -- this and the combination of his broad shoulder help create a nice masculine appeal.  (They say it's the opposite for women.  You want them looking to on the right.)  The details on his hand is awesome.  I love that you can see the knuckles.

Everything was shot manually - focus and exposure.  Not much post processing was done except tweaking the curves and employing noise reduction in Lightroom 3.4.1.  I used to avoid shooting over iso 400 but with LR, I'm able to easily remove noise at iso 1600.  Conversion to BW was done using Color Efex.  Typically, I use Silver Efex, which is great for vintage film effects,  but for this one I wanted to get a more modern BW look.

I'm really happy with this image.
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Sunday, July 17, 2011

Polikwaptiwa (Butterfly Sitting on a Flower...)

Canon 5D, Lensbaby

She looks like a Native American Indian in this picture.  Maybe she is or was...

Taken with the 5d and the Lensbaby double optics f5.6 at 1/40 and very high iso (1600 or higher).  I'm not really sure why I'm indicating the exif data here as I know most people reading this post don't care.  Maybe in case I forget I know where I could find the data.

This is another re-work of portraits that I'm studying.  A couple of years ago, I have entered an early version at one of Lensbaby Speed Challenges, and it won first place.  (No prize money, just bragging rights.)  That version is buried somewhere in the thread.  I wish I still have the original file so I have more information to work with.  The image above was reworked from a 450kb jpeg file.  I stretched it so I may be able to offer it to Arcangel-Image or some book cover deal.  Dream on baby.. heh. 


Saturday, July 16, 2011

Waiting to be found

Test shot using the 5d and Voitlander 20mm.  Diamond Bar Civic Center.  It was overcast last Wednesday so it seemed to be the perfect time to test the Voitlander.  This is the widest SLR lens I've owned and I think it has a lot of potential.  I'll post some more from my test shots soon.

I always see pine trees every time I drive through the parking lot at work.  Nobody seemed to appreciate them. Many walked and just passed them by.  I thought I would pay give them the credit they deserves.  I picked this tree for no special reason.  It was probably the closest to my car, and I didn't want to survey the trees.  There was no time for it as I needed to get to work.  I like how the branches curl... as though beckoning whoever passes by.

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Friday, July 15, 2011

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Bad Moon Rising

Supermoon, Chino Hills, California, Canon EOS 60d, EF 135mm L

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Before the Storm

Diamond Bar, California, Holga 120N, Fujifilm Neopan 100, Self-developed


Monday, July 11, 2011

Imperfect Solitude

Sycamore Canyon, Diamond Bar, California, Holga WPC, Fujifilm Neopan 400, Self-developed

This is another rework. The early version was processed using an antediluvian version of PS. This time I applied curve mask layers so get more nuances out of the original. Part of the deal of me getting back to BW photography.

The image was made by multi-exposing the trees three times. Because the Holga uses 120 formal film roll, I was able to blend the three exposures in-camera. In other words, the result here was not digitally manipulated.

The Holga Wide Pinhole Camera (WPC) can provide a wide panoramic at 120 degrees. It comes with masks for both 6×7 cm or 6×9 cm images. For this image, I didn't use the mask so I was able to extend the panoramic view. Whoo-hoo!

I used a tripod for this shot. The cool thing too about the camera is it has a tripod thread, which is nice for very long exposures, such as this one. It must have been about 5 seconds or longer.

There is a myth about pinhole cameras that they only produce dreamy and fuzzy images. Obviously, this is not true.

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Father and Son

Kevin and son, Chino, California, Canon 60d, Carl Zeiss 100mm Makro-Planar

Lately, I have an inkling to get back to BW photography.  There is something magical about it.  I think when done right, the photos come out stronger and powerful.  There is also a sense of timelessness.  Like remembering something from a dream.  That's probably because most of us dream in BW.

I needed to practice my BW shooting so I took the 60d and the 100mm Carl Zeis to church.  I spotted Kevin playing with his son after morning service.  Most of the candid shots were botched, and this seems to be the only one that was salvageable.  It's not a strong image in my opinion but I feel there is still some universality to it -- something that I always strive for in my images (reclaiming the particulars to create a universal).

What the heck do I mean by "reclaiming the particulars to create a universal"?  That's for another posting.  Cheers.
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Saturday, July 09, 2011

Fishermen Family Dignity

San Antonio, Antique, Philippines, Canon Rebel XT, Lensbaby 

Remembering the island she loved.

I just happened to be there at the right place and the right time.  I believe the men are all in one family.  Interestingly for me, the ages of the men appear to decrease from left to right - which tells me that the left guy would be the father and the right guy would be the youngest son in the picture.  I posted this in Flickr and entitled it "Fishermen Family Dignity" because that is how it looked to me.  I'm sure other people will interpret it differently.  But what I like about this picture is personally it seems to convey to me some kind of universality.  Something I always try to strive in my images. 

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A Brand New Day

Anilao, Iloilo, Philipiines, Panasonic DMC-LX3

I've reworked this using curves mask that I just recently learned.  This time I just used curves instead of Silver Efex pro.  See the original post.  I still like the original as it conveys a lot of drama.  But that's not how it really felt like when I was there.  I think this reworked version seems to be more faithful to the mood at that time.  Not necessarily how it looked like but the ambiance was more serene.

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The Skirt

Diamond Bar, California, Canon EOS 60d, Carl Zeiss 100mm Makro-Planar

The yellow poppy was captured indoor.  I snuck it from outside my work place and brought it back to my office.  The poppy is wild here in California so it immediately withered before I could take a shot of it looking fresh so I inverted it and let it dangled behind a black folder.  I didn't use any flash.  No tripod either.  Hand-helding was such a pain that I have to shoot several images until my arms cramped.  The original image looked prosaic but I was able to bring out the texture using luminosity mask in PS - a  new technique that I learned so I applied it.

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The Zen of False Hope

Claremont, California, Canon Rebel XT, Lensbaby

We pretend that they live.  It's easy to think that way.  It's easy to idolize them.  It's easy to think that they have great characteristics that merit praise and even imitation.  We romantacize about them.  We think they were wiser than us.  We want to live like they did.  I wonder what they are thinking now that they are dead.
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Tuesday, July 05, 2011

4 and One

Elliot Moreno, Chino Hills, California, Canon 5d, EF 50mm f1.8

“The word is only a representation of the meaning; even at its best, writing almost always falls short of full meaning.” - from On Writing by Stephen King

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