Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Down By The Seaside

Shot with my mighty point and shoot. It's mighty because I dropped it at the Sebaste River and it still works. I'm giving it away this Xmas to Irene Conui Polido because her camera sucks. Well maybe it's not her camera (heh).

© 2012 Rob Castro

The Ocean

Don't know why I called it The Ocean.  But the title sounds cool.  This belongs in my Boring Abstract Series. (I used to have a bunch in my portfolio until they graduated to the So What Series).  I don't understand why this image is getting featured on some on-line sites because it doesn't really say much.  I'm not complaining.  Just confused.  The ones I really like don't even get noticed.

Bit under the weather today so my mind is a haste.  Hope your day is going well.

© 2012 Rob Castro

Monday, December 10, 2012

Oxford Comma

I call it the Superman colors: Red, Blue and yellow.  The gray concrete represents his hair.  I think he must be 73 years old by now,  maybe older.  I'm trying to get away from this kind of photography as I want to focus and concentrate on my black and white street images but I guess this kind keeps showing up on my camera.  Sorry, but I can't help it.  I blame my camera.

The making of Oxford Comma.  Mimi watches my back to make sure I don't get interrupted.

Techie Notes and my secret to shooting Oxford Comma:  I used a 20mm lens on this one.  One of the tricks I employ in using wide angle lens is to shoot the subject at very close range.  I mean really close to maximize the potential of the lens.  If your camera has a live view, use it to get that snappy sharpness in your shots.  The other photo shows how I used my wide lens on Oxford Comma.  Mimi watches my back to make sure I don't get interrupted.  She gets paid to do that.  So, she's not doing it out of loyalty.  Her motivation is her compensation.  Smart kid.

Hope your day goes well.  Cheers.

Friday, December 07, 2012

The Soprano

Somebody must have been playing with my PC monitor setting as all my images looked awful.  I mean my monitor is bad to begin with.  But it seems to have become worse.  The black and white photos appear to have a purple tinge.  And they are all dull.  The sharpness for the most part are gone.  Everybody looked like they have gained an extra 10 pounds.  Is anyone experiencing the same issue?

Anyway, I hope your monitor is not as bad.  This lady is certainly not fat.  And she was not singing the blues.  I just don't know what she was singing.  It was in a local dialect that I hardly understood.  All I could hear were the "Rrrrrs!"  Mimi could probably understand that language.  Mimi by the way is our dog in case you've forgotten.  But I could tell by the singer's gesticulations that she was very happy.  Maybe she was serenading me.  Oh dear.

Have a good weekend.

© 2012 Rob Castro

The Girl Next Door

She's the girl next door.  That is if you live in Canada.  Except she is in China.  Or somewhere.

Hope your day is going well.

© 2012 Rob Castro

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Angst and Uncertainty

A Sample Slide Show of Angst and Uncertainty Series, angst and uncertainty, angst and uncertainty, angst and uncertainty, angst and uncertainty, angst and uncertainty, angst and uncertainty, angst and uncertainty, angst and uncertainty, angst and uncertainty, angst and uncertainty, angst and uncertainty, angst and uncertainty, angst and uncertainty, angst and uncertainty, angst and uncertainty, angst and uncertainty, angst and uncertainty, angst and uncertainty, angst and uncertainty, angst and uncertainty, angst and uncertainty, angst and uncertainty, angst and uncertainty, angst and uncertainty, angst and uncertainty, angst and uncertainty,

I feel like an ant

Don't know but I'm a bit despondent right now.  Maybe it is the Fall Season.  It is still Fall, right?

Most people would have preferred to leave out the silhouettes.  To me the guy walking away is as important as the leaf.  In fact, I waited for that opportunity before I hit the shutter.  In my view, there is a melancholic relationship with the guy, the other people and the leaf.  The guy walking away from someone or something.  The other people apathetic.  The leaf symbolizing solitude.  Without these elements, the image would just be another boring postcard imho.  But not a lot of people see that.  And I'm cool with that too.

The ant is practicing the Tao of Photography :-)

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

My guest blogger Mimi

Please let me introduce to you my guest blogger: Mimi.  This is a great photo of her snuggling up.  I didn't take the picture though but her mom did.  Cute, huh?  The original had a bit of problem.  The blanket was sharper than Mimi but with a few adjustment in PS, I was able to balance the focus.  I darkened the edges to create a vignette.  The final result: priceless.

Somebody once said, it's hard to compete with a cute dog.  Except Mimi does not think she's a dog.  She's thinks she's a girl.  If you want to get to know Mimi, check out her blog here: http://www.travelswithmimi.com/

Hope your day goes well.


Just the other day, I tried to resurrect my former approach to art but in my mind I failed.  I asked myself, so what?  The best I can attempt is vain and futile work.

I  think part of my problem is my body of work is eclectic.  Right now I feel I'm in a phase of out-between - a word I created as an antithesis of in-between - if that makes sense.  In my world, reality is a mixed of the obvious and the unseen, and perhaps that is what I'm trying to convey.

When I see other people's art, I want to be impressed.  I want it to be "impressive" - I use that term in a different sense. I mean I want to think what is the artist going through, what was he thinking.  Why did he do that?  This is what I how I want my audience to respond.

Sorry, I'm probably not making sense to you.

© 2012 Rob Castro

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Man Against Nature

I've always come to this photo. I've reworked it so many times that only I can notice. It's not a regular waterscape picture -- most people have difficulty appreciating it in the past. I'm cool with that. I'm cool if people don't notice it. I'm appreciative if they do. You see the central theme here is not just Man struggling against nature -- but it echoes the same theme akin to Captain Ahab and Moby Dick. I think ultimately it is about Man against God who is creator of nature.

© 2012 Rob Castro

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Wish you were here

Do you hate this weather because you can't go out?  I may just have the photo for you.  Now crank up that music.  Sit back and relax.  Maybe play Rodrigo Y Gabriela's cover of Metallica's Orion.  If that's too loud, perhaps, Beethoven's 8th Symphony.  Country fan could play anything by Brad Paisley.  Hip Hop?  Don't know.  I never listen to it.  The closest I know would be Stevie Wonder's Higher Ground, which may work.  As for me, I'm listening to The Beatles Twist and Shout (The Ferris Bueller version).

Techie Note:  Stitched from four images shot with the Fujifilm Finepix x100.

Note to self:  Include this picture to my Boring Postcards series. LOL.

Hope your day goes well.  Stay dry.

© 2012 Rob Castro

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

In My Life

When I look at this picture, what comes to my mind is that Beatles song, which goes "there are places I remember..." The irony of that song is John Lennon penned most of the lyrics when he was in his early 20s. He would have reflected his own conviction from somebody like this person on the photo. My thoughts is the old man has a lot of stories to tell. I would love to hear them even though I don't really know him. And he doesn't know that I shot his picture.

I posted this photo online and it has been featured on a few photography websites. This poor man doesn't know that he has become somewhat famous.

A crazy thought: What if John Lennon faked his death and he was actually this guy?

Hope your day is going well.

© 2012 Rob Castro

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Flowers Fiesta

Hope your Thanksgiving was great.

A friend sent this bouquet of flowers to us. Rose made it the centerpiece in our Thanksgiving table. In these days of instagram and iphone camera, the normative is to take a picture of one's centerpiece. So naturally being the photographer at home, I was requested to take a picture of this. I don't do well with this style of photography but after looking at the result I think I did a pretty darn neat job.

Truth be known, I probably wanted this shot to botch as I felt I was just going through the motion. That's code word for boring subject. Well, at least that's what was going on in my mind as I was evaluating the appropriate composition. The ambient lighting was bad, and I just couldn't get a grasp at what a good composition would be. So instead of using my 5D, I opted for the Fujifilm Finepix x100 Point and Shoot. But the camera delivered a wonderful bokeh of blurry effect and sharpness on the right areas. Never underestimate a Point and Shoot.

In the end, contrary to my instinct -- it came out okay.

Enjoy your day.

© 2012 Rob Castro

Monday, November 26, 2012

Men in Tie

Tips to wives and girlfriends: Please do not buy us any more ties for Christmas. We men prefer to be left alone so we can watch sports so a day set aside for this would be nice. We also want to upgrade our tools. A camera would also be great -- just make sure you ask us about the model before buying it.

Hope your day is going well.

© 2012 Rob Castro

Thursday, November 22, 2012

A blessed thanksgiving to all.

In famine or feast, You are there.
In sickness or in health, You are there.
In prosperity and in destitution, You are there.
You are the God who never slumbers nor sleeps.
You are there and you are not silent.
Thank you, O my Father.

A blessed thanksgiving to all.  May you continue to experience the joy of God's manifold blessings.

© 2012 Rob Castro

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Real men drink their coffee black

Sometimes one can be having a bad day.  And there is nothing in the world that can fix it.  Except maybe a cup of finely home brewed hot coffee.  Such is the panacea that this fine gent employs.  I'll have one too -- make mine double.

Hope your weekend was great.  Cheers.

© 2012 Rob Castro

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Little Red Hut

© Rob Castro 2010 - 2012

Most people know that the Dutch Masters excelled in painting landscapes.  But what most people do not know is that their landscape paintings always contain human element.  Survey their paintings and you'll find that there is at least an element of human activity -- whether that may be farming, a house, fishermen.  There may not be people in the painting but it would be obvious that man was or is there.

The idea goes back to their Christian roots that all of the creation was giving to man to have dominion over it.  The concept that man was absent from landscape paintings was totally foreign to them.

Arguably, most modern landscape depictions are rooted in pantheism.  I surmise that they would have been shocked to have seen the photographs in National Geographic.

Photo Tip of the Day:  This little red hut sitting in the middle of a fish pond is an oldie but I decided to rework it.  Taken a few years ago during my trip to the Philippines.  The triangular geometry is one of the forms that is very effective in composition.  Something about triangles that our eyes are drawn to.  Look for geometrical forms when you compose your picture.  It will make a lot of difference in your composition.

Hope your day is going well.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Moving On

Shot this a couple of years ago and never really cared for it until now.  Sometimes it just takes time for an idea to brew.

Sometimes the emotion is already expressed by the subject -- but oftentimes in search for the human soul, I would realize later on that what I'm searching for is already there.  It is under one's nose - so to speak.  Then it hits home, everything connects.  I realized that my own personal emotion is reflected in an image I've shot some time ago.

This man could have been thinking, "I've lost almost everything -- my house, my lot, my business.  But I still have my dignity."

Hope your day is going well.  Have a good weekend.

© 2012 Rob Castro

Friday, November 09, 2012

I'll Make It Through... It's how I feel every Friday

Juzno:  So how have you been, old man?  It's Friday.

Mr Sven Norvank:  Yes, yes.  Friday.  My favorite Friday of the week.

J:  You probably meant this is your favorite day of the week.

MSN:  No, no.  Every day is Friday.  So this is my favorite Friday of the week.

J:  I see.  So where are you headed?

MSN:  To the bank.  See this sack?  It's filled with all the pennies I collected at the fountain.  I'm going to be rich.

J:  Are you gonna make it?

MSN:  It's Friday.  I'll make it through.

Photo Tip of the Day:  A subject that is in the middle of the frame is usually boring.  To add dynamics to your picture, apply the rules of third.  Imagine dividing the frame into nine equal sections. Now, align your subject where two lines intersect either to the left or to the right of the frame. Most philistines who will inspect your photo will remark that you don't know how to frame a picture.  This will be your opportunity to evangelize to them about the merits of this rule.  Educate them that great painters like Gustave Courbet and Eugène Delacroix applied the same rule.  Never mind if you haven't seen any of their works.  The uncultured person will be so impressed that they will always come to you for your vast knowledge in the art.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Hannah, Big Red Loretta and Sister Jane

The three sisters went shopping for Halloween costumes.  Hannah was going to be the Revlon Girl.  Big Red Loretta was going to be Josie without the Pussycats.  And Sister Jane was going to be ... well, plain Jane.  As soon as they get to check out their buys, they were told that their 80% discount coupon had expired last year, and the total for the entire items was outrageous that it cannot be printed here.  The three sisters walked away after deciding that they would each have a miniature Louis Vuitton handbag to safeguard their sims cards for their refurbished iPhone 4s.  Next month maybe they can upgrade to iphone 5.

Photo tip of the day:  Shooting from the hip -- such as how I captured this - can be fun but takes some practice.  For this shot, I preset the camera to f16 at aperture priority so the camera would select the best shutter speed for an acceptable exposure.  Then I up the ISO to 1600.  At this setting, anything I shoot with good lighting will practically be sharp so I manually pre-focus the lens to infinity.  The camera was just at the waist line level so I was able to get a low angle shot.

Hope your day is going well.

 © 2012 Rob Castro

Friday, October 12, 2012

Tres Chicas

"If your pictures aren't good enough, you're not close enough." - Robert Capa

Chica 1:  Wow, is that a Fujifilm Finepix X100 equipped with a Fujinon 27mm lens that can take super sharp images even at f2.8?  The tonal range that camera produces is to die for.  I need to get my hands on that one.  Daddy'O....

Chica 2:  No, I think it's even better.  Looks like a Leica M3 equipped with a Sumicron lens -- similar to what Henri Cartier-Bresson and the rest of the Magnum Photographers have used in the past.  That just got to be a vintage camera.  You can't get it anywhere.  It's priceless.

Chica 3:  I don't trust this photographer.

Have a good weekend. - R

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Hoy Americanos

While Bob hangs out with the boys, Mary watches the kids.  At times, they just looked everywhere - trying to find something.  Where have all the cowboys gone?

Photo tip of the Day:  It pays to know your camera and lens well.  On this one, I knew f5.6 was the sweet spot on the lens mounted to the camera that I was using.  At that aperture, I know I can get reasonably sharp focus on the subject - in this case, the mom and the children next to her - and still get a nice bokeh on the background.  (Actually, the focus was locked at the kid wearing the baseball cap.)  Any aperture higher would result in a sharper background, which is not a bad thing - but I wanted to project some depth in the picture.  I wanted to distance the children from behind.  I think a slightly blurry background worked well on this one because it fools the eyes in to thinking the picture was 3D.  This is the way we normally see.  Sometimes a totally blurred background works better if one wants to isolate the subject.  It gets tricky at wider aperture as the focus on the subject has to be dead on.  Missed it by a few inches and the focus will be somewhere else.  Hate when that happens.

Assignment:  Shoot at different apertures of the same subject and notice how the background changes.  Make mental notes of the results.  Next time you take a picture, recall which aperture you think is appropriate for the shot.  YMMB.

Hope your day goes well. - R

We finally sold the Chevy
When we had another baby
And you took the job in Tennessee
You made friends at the farm
And you joined them at the bar
Almost every single day of the week
I will wash the dishes while you go have a beer

[Paula Cole, Where Have All The Cowboys Gone]

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Waiting for the Rain

My soul thirsts for God, for the living God; When shall I come and appear before God? (Psalm 42:2)

Hope you are keeping cool.

The dried up Rose is anxiously waiting for the weather to cool down. I think it wants it to rain.

Don't know what it is about dried up flowers. I always end up taking pictures of them. Yesterday morning I set out to test my 70-200mm zoom lens. I'm really not a big fan of zoom because I'd rather just use my legs to get close to the subject. After much wavering, I took the leap and bought one as I thought it might be a good addition to my street photography. (I always use a wide angle for street shots.) Anyway, at first I thought I'd shoot some hummingbirds but as soon as I got out with my big lens all birds flew away. The ones I could spot were farther away. I realized I need a longer lens. I also realized that I have no patience taking pictures of birds. They are elusive. I decided I would take pictures of dead flowers. They don't complain much. They really can't because their dead.

I've stray away from taking this kind of photography but it felt good to go back. I like the black and white treatment. It seems to take me to another time. I think I'll be a black and white photographer. That could mean losing half my viewers. Some people don't like black and white. It's one of the hardest to get good result. One has to think about the forms all the time. The Dutch Masters painted in monochromatic tone and yet were able to bring out a lot of details in their painting. In fact, some of them thought that colors were distractions and used by lesser artists as crutch for getting the details out.

I like black and white. Hope you like it too.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Boy Blue

He is the most optimistic person in the world.  At least at that moment -- when all that are in his mind are ice cream, candies and cute puppies.

There is something about a boy dressed in blue.  Ever noticed a lot of paintings have been made depicting the Blue Boy?  This could well be my version.

Street photography is 90% candid but once in a while that 10% or less are unavoidable.  In my experience, when people on the street see I'm taking their picture their reaction is they just move away or ignore me.  This is not the case in other countries.  In the countryside of the Philippines, most people will actually stop and pose when they realize they are being shot.  That is fine but I usually want to capture candid shots.  I heard this is the same situation in some parts of India.  People will stare at the camera when they find out that their picture is being taken.

I've noticed this same reaction with children.  A young boy or girl sees me taking their picture, and the look at the camera is filled with fascination.  Perhaps, early on they have been conditioned to respond to the camera this way.  Parents would coax their children to always smile for the camera.  Later in life, children obviously grow and so goes away this kind of reaction.  The boy in blue is a case in point.  Notice his older siblings.  They are focused somewhere else.  After they saw my camera, they just turned away.  Not so with Boy Blue.  This is a less candid moment that I don't mind.  I hope he doesn't grow up.  I like him this way.

Happy Thursday.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Dadaism No. 6 and Random Thoughts on Modern Art

I found this while sauntering through the street of the LA Art District.  It may not look obvious but it's really a metal trash bin that have been decorated, perhaps with the permission of the owner, with graffiti and urban art.

Just how many times have we seen an enlivened portrait of Marilyn Monroe? On this one, it seems that the urban artist made sure that the Hollywood icon would be recognizable. Aside from the fake wayfarers and the red colored title, anyone looking at the picture knows who it is.  For others, it may even seem tasteless.  I may be the only one who ever noticed it.  Yet I'm fascinated by it.  In honesty, I'm quite intrigued as to how artists in the last few decades have been attempting to re-create from the past.  This approach in rendering a new Monroe is old...  yet it is somewhat new - or at least it's trying to be new.  This is the sad state of modern art in my opinion.

It reminded me of a post I made some time ago:

Van Gogh never sold any art in his lifetime.  No, I take that back... he did sell one but he bought it back.  Poor Theo, he could not sell any of his brother's work.  The irony is that people would not have understood or appreciated Van Gogh if his art had been kept in storage.  It would take many years before the public would begin to appreciate his work.  What sometimes bothers me is just because somebody said it's art, we are suppose to agree.  It's the cult of personality.  Okay, perhaps Van Gogh is not a good example. Andy Warhol?  Cristo?  Were they art geniuses or were they just good in marketing their art?

"There is nothing new under the sun." Ecclesiastes 1:9

Hope your day is going well.

Marilyn by Mr. Romano.  

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Scenes from Dream Street

I love the idea of diptych. It's brilliant. Combining two unrelated photos to tell a coherent but different story -- different from the original context. Diptych has been around sin
ce antiquity and continues to be useful in modern art. Compare Andy Warhol's 1962 Marilyn Diptych. Triptych is more wonderful but very difficult to execute effectively. [That's pronounced "trip - tick". No it's not the one on the Steak House's menu.]

Taken on the street but at different places. Different times. Yet they could have been be playing together.

Hope your day is going well.

© 2012 rob castro

Saturday, September 01, 2012

Angst and Uncertainty Re-published

I've re-published my first Photo Book entitled "Angst and Uncertainty" with new additions. I'm pushing the book for $35. Sixteen (16) artworks printed on high quality archival paper. Hard bound. Please let me know if you or anyone else you know is interested. And please click the +Google button if you like what you see so that the post can be shared with others. Thanks.

© 2010 - 2012 rob castro

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The fastest food service in the west

The scene was captured at Nolas, a New Orleans style restaurant located on Third Street at the Los Angeles Art District.  The people just barely ordered their food, and the guitarist was about to change from the G-chord to the C-chord, when out comes their waiter Speedy Gonzales with their orders.

Nota bene on how the picture was taken:

Firstly, and most importantly, Nolas's food meets or exceeds the ultra high standard for discerning palates developed through years of source testing - i.e. source testing the food (heh).

I don't know the owner but I really like the place.  They have jazz music noon time and in the evenings.  It's practically on Little Tokyo so it's quite easy to find.  I think there's a brewery close by but I can't remember what it's called.  Give me a couple of beers and for sure I'll remember.

In capturing Speedy, no tripod was used.  I set the camera at f16 and lock it on aperture priority.  The camera automatically selected 2.5 sec at iso 200.  I set the timer mode for a 2 sec delay and the shooting mode on continuous.  Then I placed the camera on the edge of the table.  Press the release button and the camera started shooting continuously frame after frame.  It's easier to show it than write about it.

At this slow shutter speed, the movement of the waiter was captured blurry.  At first the waiter was not in the frame so when he came over, I thought that shot was botched because I was trying to take a picture of the group.  But I ended up liking this amongst the rest.

Hope you enjoy.  Cheers.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Early Days Published

I've just published my third photo book entitled Early Days. The book is a hardcover 8 x 8. I've selected over 16 photos from Juzno of the Day posts. The photos are printed on thick archival paper that is designed to prevent fading, and guaranteed to withstand the most brutal abuse of a two-month old puppy. Most of the photos are from my early works but I've also included a few newer ones. The difference of this book from previous ones is that on this one each photo is accompanied with musings.

I'm pushing the book for $35 as an introductory offer. [If I get famous, the book will be worth more.  But that's big "if".]  Please let me know if you or anyone is interested in this. Or simply forward the link to your friends and tell them that you personally know how good is this artist.  [Heh.] 

Preview the book above. Click on the image to flip page.  Hope you enjoy.

Friday, August 17, 2012

The drink is on me

This young mixologist insisted that I should sample his newly invented drink.  Should I or not?  I politely declined and offered to take a picture of his soon-to-be famous cocktail.

Juzno has not been active because I'm trying to get past some issues right now.  All these shall come to pass.

Have a great weekend.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

What We did This Summer No. 3

What We did This Summer No. 3:  This was the last thing I saw while in Skagway, which was our third cruise stop.  We were on our way back to our ship and I saw the nice snow capped mountain framed unto the dock, the bridge and the embankment.  In my opinion, Skagway is not a perfect place but I think its imperfection makes it inspirational.  The greenish water is most likely glacier fed, which is really muddy water from the silts but looks kind of cool.  I think the north really has cool looking mud.  The cloud formation appears to be a sign that strong winds are ahead.  I was told Skagway meant "Northern Winds" because it's always windy there.  It's located at the northern end of the Inside Passage.  It was very calm the whole time we were there.  So either we got ripped off because it was not windy or we were blessed.

Have a cool weekend.  Cheers.

Thursday, August 09, 2012

My Bonnie Lies Over Pike Place and First Street

They say Grunge Rock was invented in Seattle.  For those who don't know what this music genre is, think of the unshaven Curt Cobain, torn Levis and plaid shirt bought at the Salvation Army Thrift Store.  The music was very popular in the 90's.  This street musician is a throwback from that era.  Maybe she didn't get the memo.  She's definitely into the Grunge thing mixed with hipster elements - (notice the skinny jeans and the sailor's cap).

As people were was watching the fish throwing ritual at Pike Place Market, this musician was singing Nirvana's Smells Like Teen Spirit while accompanying herself with the accordion.  Brilliant.  Again for those who haven't heard this song, I suggest you YouTube it and you'll probably appreciate the irony of this charade.

For this image, I rendered it as a fake HDR that I thought would be appropriate for the grungy scene.  Taken with the Fujifilm X100 point and shoot.  Hope you enjoy this silly post.

Happy Thursday.

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

What We did This Summer No. 2

What We did This Summer No. 2: Boarded a ship so I can take a picture of Seattle from the sea. I think the ship was the perfect place to have shot this. The timing of the day couldn't have been better. (Usually it was raining.)

This is a composite from I think 3 or 4 images stitched together. I could have gotten a similar picture by buying a postcard at the drug store. I could have but I didn't.

To my Socal Freinds: Hope this takes your mind off the earthquake. Cheers.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

What We Did This Summer No. 1

What we did this summer No. 1: We traveled 1887 Miles so we can check out Ketchikan's outlet store. Bought silly items that were made in China. What a great deal.

Techie Notes: The wooden fence provides a leading line that makes the picture look 3d. Once I composed what I wanted to shoot, the trick is to focus on the foreground - in this case the wood - and set the aperture to the smallest opening (mine went up to f/16) so that the rest of the background stay reasonably sharp. Cheers.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Are you dreaming my dream?

Most of us were busy taking pictures of the glaciers when I accidentally stepped inside a rabbit hole and found myself in a different world.  Maybe it was the tea I had that morning even though I remember drinking a couple of Americanos.  Taken at Mendenhall Glacier with the Finepix X100 point and shoot.  Hope you enjoy.

Pop Candies on a Summer's Day

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Happy Camper

Surely he has a good reason to be smiling. He might just be the happiest guy around I know. Taken here at work with my wife's Fujifilm Finepix x100. This point and shoot rocks. I might just engrave my name on it (heh). I placed the model by the window, which seems to provide decent lighting. In post processing, I converted the image to black and white using Silver Efex Pro 2. Then I burned the background to get that studio shot look. Increased the details with Nik Software Detail Extractor. Threw in some left over mojos. Brilliant.

I'm trying to build up my Black and White Portrait portfolio. Any volunteers?

Hope your day is going well.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Pico Canyon

One of the perks of being an engineer at the district is one gets to go out and visit places.  This one was shot while inspecting an oil and gas production plant up in Newhall.  It takes one up on the remote hills that resemble the landscape of the old west.  [Insert Rawhide song here: Rolling, rolling, rolling ....] I was told that the area has been used in shooting the television series CSI and Lost.  The place may have been visited by the Manson Family.  Yikes.

The wildlife activity or inactivity looks deceiving.  Apparently at this time of the year there are rattle snakes, coyotes and who knows.  The whole time we were making noises with our shoes to ward off the snakes.  By the time I got back to the office my brown shoes turned ashen gray.  So was the bottom half of my jeans.  Once we saw a jack rabbit and a squirrel.  Our host said that those were good signs because they would mean that we were safe from coyotes.  Next time I'm bringing a gun.  Okay, I'm kidding on the gun part but not on the critters.

Techie Notes:  The picture was stitched from three images taken with the Fujifilm Finepix X100.  If you pretend to draw vertical lines and divide the picture into three sections and look closely.  You'll notice that there is darkening on the blue sky where the imaginary lines fall.  This is because the individual shots have vignette cause by the camera lens.  Vignette is apparent in all lenses but some are more obvious.  I tried to lighten those parts but since I was doing this just for fun I didn't spend much time on them.  Now if this was something I'll submit to a photo contest, then I might work at them more.   

This is one of the few ones I didn't do much processing. Tweak the contrast on the details of the hills and applied neutral density gradient on the sky to darken it a bit.

Hope you enjoy.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Title: The Wanderer, the Fork and the Soda Can

After being thrown out of his own home by Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt is now homeless and looking for work.  I found him at Old Pasadena.  As you can see, he is obviously not impressed with my camera.  He's probably used to those expensive sets and all the camera accessories that go with them.

Hope your day is going well.

Saturday, July 07, 2012

Tiffany and Remembering Stuff To Do

The picture was taken at Mama's 96th birthday celebration back in 2009 when I have just barely taken photography seriously.  Tiffany was mingling with the crowd.  At that time I was still using my Canon Rebel XT and the crappy kit lens that went with it (the camera wasn't reliable anymore so last year I had it converted to shoot IR only). I like how the image turned out but for some reason filed it on my To-do list.  I've almost forgotten about it until now.  Last night I couldn't sleep and for some reason I remembered that this image was buried somewhere in the archives.  It took a while to find it but was definitely worth the effort.  I did some edits on it and am really pleased with the result.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Jack in Red

If the background were white this could have been a nice piece for a Red, White and Blue theme.  Would have been perfect for the Fourth of July.  But it's not.  Yet the boy in red is in my view a living example of what America is about.  Liberty.  The freedom to express oneself.  Much like Jack.

Hope your day is going well.

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Jazz at the Bank

Captured these street musicians one Friday night at the Village in Claremont.  They played jazz.  (I mean traditional jazz like Count Bassie, The Duke and so on.  Not the quasi-cool one hears while being placed on hold or ones played over the elevator.)  These guys found the perfect place to play at night.  They set up right in front of the ATM machine.  They may be playing for tips but they get to deposit their moneys at the ATM when they're done.  The outdoor lighting on their set was outstanding that this could have been taken inside a New York club.

This one is a keeper for me.  I love the lighting here.  The bass player (guy on the right) is standing in front of the glass window, which I think reflected some of the light from the side -- resulting in a subtle rim light on his head.  I also like how the bank arrow sign falls right in the middle.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Redemption Biker

He's the true Old Man Geezer.  Wits solid as a rock.  Heart as soft as clay.  He'll watch your back no matter what it takes. He' a rock persona idol.  He's a Redemption Biker.

This portrait would have made it in my book Street Encounters but missed it by a few days.  It'll have to go in the expanded version of the book.  Taken at the Chalk Walk Fest at Old Pasadena.  The dude was sitting next to his little daughter who was participating in a children's version of the chalk fest.

I'm still putting a plug for the book Street Encounters in case anyone you know is interested. Here's what it looks inside.

Have a blessed weekend.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Street Encounters (back and front cover)

I'm putting a plug on my just completed photo book "Street Encounters".  It's modestly sized featuring 15 photos of street captures.  The book is hard cover and the print is made of archival quality 8 x 10 paper that is so thick one can use it to fan the grill while barbequing some hamburgers.  It's also fade resistant. Sweet.  I hope to expand the book to 26 photos in the near future but for now this will do.  I'm really pleased with the results.  Here's a sample of what is included.  Both photos appear on the back and front cover.

P.S. Juzno is taking orders in case somebody may be interested in purchasing the book.


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

All Your Dreams Belong to Us

Sometimes any other viewpoint won't do. I ask myself, "is it art if I take a picture of art?" Only when the right elements are there. The passing of time, the weathered wall, the man on the right admiring the art posters and the other man hastily leaving the scene -- all becoming integral parts of the wall art.

Hope your day is going well.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Ready for the World

I feel like I'm scrapping the bottom of the barrel here. For me, the image is the weakest in my street capture series. But I like it because I can remember the experience of taking the shot. At least somehow I feel I've succeeded in capturing what's inside the man: his nervous pent up energy. He was playing for me. He would dance and then stop -- perhaps to give me time to focus and compose the picture. Then he would go in a trance and then stop again. Of all the shots, I actually liked this the best. Not chaotic. No dancing. But his posture looked like he was ready to go wild again. As though he is ready for the World.

Techie Notes: Taken at the Chalk Walk Festival in Old Pasadena. A band was playing Bob Seger's Old Time Rock and Roll. High noon light courtesy of His Grace. Canon EOS 60d, 50mm CZ, and some photo mojo left overs.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

For Love of Country

Shine on you, Marine! This young man just graduated from boot camp. His father asked if I can take a picture of him. I don't usually shoot formal portraits -- in fact, I think I've only done a handful. So rather than shoot traditional style, I thought I would give it my own -- well, twist. This was taken at the side of the church building. All natural light. While shooting, I learned that there were certain military etiquettes that needed to be observed. For instance, the Marine in uniform cannot make eye contact with the camera. (Hence, the faraway eyes.) The Marine cannot smile while being photographed. (I think he was trying not to smile but his slight grin betrays him.) There were other things that the marine cannot do, which I don't remember. I also can't remember how I post-processed the photo but I'm pretty happy with the result. It reminded me of a tamer David LaChapelle glamour shots. Maybe Rolling Stone Magazine will buy it.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Eyes in the Name of Love

Intense.  That's a word that I would describe it.  Both the artwork and the artist hard at work.  From my perspective, it's rather ambivalent who is in command here.  Is it the artist or is it the woman?   Once the artist was separated from the art.  Then both the artist and the art are one.  It would soon evolve -- the artist becomes the art and the art becomes the artist.

Techie notes:  Taken at the Chalk Walk Festival at Old Pasadena.  The light was harsh that day so it was very difficult to capture decent images.  Sometimes it's hard to decide if I should expose for the shadows or the highlights.  I think I've succeeded in this one by making sure that I avoid including most of dark shadows in the frame.

This is the second of the Street Photography series I'm working on.  I'm hoping to publish the series in book form.  I'll probably call it something like Days Turned Out to be Nothing More Than Street Indulgence.  Maybe you can suggest a better Title for the book.  Cheers.

Featured Comment by KC:
  Cool photo.  This was one of my favorite chalk drawings at the festival.  I like the texturizing of the artist.  It mimics the grainy texture of the chalk picture and further delineates the connection between the artist and his artwork.  I also like the contrast of the vibrant colors in the chalk drawing with the muted, almost monochromatic tones of the artist.  Interesting angle.  I wonder what it would look like if you changed the angle.  Did you purposefully angle the photo so that the artist and artwork are side by side.  I wonder what it would look like if you rotated the photo so that the chalk drawing were face up.

Good luck on the street photo album.  Luckily you have captured so many street shots that I don't think you'll have a problem compiling it.

Yea unlike the one yesterday, in here on one hand I wanted to create a sense of homogeny between the artist and the art by obscuring obvious differences.  Yet on the other hand I also wanted to distinguish the artist and his work so I ended up muting the skin tone of the artist.  It's contradictory of course but I think I have succeeded in creating that tension.  At least I'm happy with the result.  I don't know if you've noticed what's not there (hah... an illogical statement).  I mean I've left the right hand corner white to create spatial absence.  At first I did it for practical reason as there wasn't anything there except blurred dirt and unrecognizable objects.  All not very pleasant to look at.  By whitewashing that area and leaving it blank I wanted to lure the viewer into that white hole.  Maybe to provide some relief for the existing tension.  Or maybe just my own perverted trick for my amusement.  I don't know.

The original shot had the artist on top of the artwork.  By rotating the frame 90 degrees to the right, I found a happy position where the artwork and the artist are side by side -- rendering them co-equal.  Again I was thinking homogeny here.  Even for just a moment.  In the end I want the viewer to imagine that the artwork would evolve to be the artist.  A reversal in position.  But I don't think this photo has achieved that.  It is what it is.

KC:  Good call on the white space there.  The Fauvists employed this technique to provide relief from all the vibrancy in the bulk of their paintings.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Rutabegorz House

Legend has it that when the Beatles came over to California they stayed at this house to write stuff that would be the materials for the Yellow Submarine album.  George cooked Bariani rice and served raw onions to John who was allergic to onions.  John hallucinated and claimed that the food would become the inspiration to his song Glass Onion.  The house land lords kept a feisty bulldog named Jude who followed Paul wherever we went.  On one occasion the bulldog ate Paul's journal.  Seeing his journal turning into dog jerky, Paul shouted "Hey Jude!"  The bulldog ran back and bumped into George precious guitar, which fell and broke into several pieces.  George wept and decided he would pay a tribute to his guitar by writing about it.  Ringo only stayed for one night and went back to England because he missed his Octopus Garden.  Legend has it.

Techie Notes:  Rutabegorz, Old Town Fullerton. Fujifilm Finepix x100.

Hope your day is going well.  Happy Thursday.

Friday, June 08, 2012

The King

This week has been a blast for me posting Juzno of the Day. I hope you've enjoyed the photos and the silly stories.  To welcome the weekend, I decided to post an image of an icon who has arguably influenced (for good or for bad) millions of people in the last decades.  I give to you: The King!  Elvis Aaron Presley.

Taken with the noble Panasonic DMC LX3, one of the best point and shoot digicams ever made (only the best for the King).  Listening to "Hound Dog" in my imagination.  Followed by "Love Me Tender" on the flip side of the brain.  Great warm outdoor disco lighting courtesy of Fort Global City, Philippines.