Tuesday, January 24, 2012

In my own private mind

Hope your day is going well.  It was foggy this morning, and it reminded me of this picture taken a couple years ago.  There are still pockets of pastoral activities in Chino Hills.  I remember when Kamilah was younger, and I would bring her to this place.  It's only a stone's throw away from where we live.  Back then, there were more cows and a couple of horses at the other side of the fence.  We would call them with our urbanized version of moows.  The barn is still there and have a few cows.  In a few years, the bovine activity is probably going to be replaced by gentrification and suburban sprawl.  It is what it is.

The picture was captured in 35mm film.  The photo quality is immaculate compared to some of my digital captures.  I still like to use film.  Maybe it's the funny smell.  Maybe it's the lack of LCD feedback screen that makes it mysteriously exciting to operate.  Maybe I'm just an old fashioned luddite.  Definitely old.  Hah.

Hope you enjoy this. - R

p.s. It's Tuesday so I'm running another Tuesday Special on 8x12 prints for $25.  Obscene profit announcement but it does help pay for this silly photo blog.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Nothing is Real at the Parking Lot

The clouds are not real.  They were inserted during post processing.  Those expensive looking SUVs cannot run on the freeway.  They are actually cheap cardboard cut-outs borrowed from the Public Advisor office.  And the trees are really wilted lettuce obtained from the Cafeteria's Salad Bar.  They have been smeared with mustard.  This is not really the District parking lot.  In fact, your computer monitor is not real.  What you see is but a dream.  Go back, sleep in and enjoy the weekend.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Monday Morning Salad

Here in SoCal one of the best times to do a landscape shoot is right after it rained.  Usually, the smog would have been cleaned out.  And if you're fortunate, you might be able to see some lingering clouds for those gorgeous skyscapes.  Well, Sunday it rained.  So naturally Monday had potentials.  Weary from the flu, I managed to drag myself out for an early morning walk.  I was wrapped in layers of layers under my hooded wind breaker.  Still, it was cold.  It felt that way.  But it was worth it, I think.

The image here was from the park, a few blocks where I live. It's actually a composite of several images.  I shot this way so I can get better details.  The stitch program in Photoshop doesn't always do a seamless stitch.  If you look closely at the high tension wires, you'll notice some break ups.  Apart from that, no photo manipulation was employed except for some clean up, dogging and burning.  The creamy white cloud covering the mountain is as real as the whip cream on your cafĂ© latte.  The purple sky is as tangible as the plum from Albertsons.  The greens are as fresh as your garden variety Cesar Salad.  The white fence is plastic -- like the forks down at the cafeteria. Heh.

Featured Comments:
Cindee:  Nice picture - I like how you get just a glimpse of the top of the mountains peaking thru the clouds!

  Thanks, Cindee.  Like Charleston Heston, I just waved my staff and commanded the mountains to hide behind the clouds.  Oh, wait, was that Moses?

Cindee:It's supposed to rain this weekend and I have to go to Hemet - could you part the clouds for me?

Scott:  Great pic and write-up, Rob  ☺  Just for the record, the wires are “distribution” lines (brings power to houses) not “transmission” lines (brings power from generation to substations).  My wife has worked for Edison for over 30 years and this stuff is drilled into my head!

Juzno: Aha!  And I always thought they were placed there for the Trappist Monks to walk on.  No wonder they never showed up.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

How to turn your Avocado Breakfast into Art

If I had told you that this photo was taken by the famous Dada artist Man-Ray, do you think it is worth exhibiting at the Museum of Modern Arts in New York?  Neither did I.  Apparently, there is a lot of debate in what is considered art.  One of the prevailing postmodern theories is that the process of making art is as important as the product itself.  In other words, the entire process beginning to end is part of the art.  To illustrate, here is how a postmodern artist would have created this picture:

1.      Order an exotic coffee at an avant-garde cafeteria.  (No, Starbucks is not avant and skip the creamy froth.)
2.      Find a nice clean table preferably next to the window.  (It's important to be seen from the outside.)
3.      Look haughty while sipping coffee.
4.      Place point and shoot camera on the table next to the coffee along with the Jack Kerouac hardcover purloined at boyfriend's apartment.
5.      Point camera at ceiling.
6.      Sip coffee.  Make sure that that little finger is always pointed upwards as coffee cup is raised.
7.      Fire camera with the other hand preferably with little finger also pointed upwards.
8.      Repeat step 6 and 7 if necessary.
9.      Admire the result while bopping head left and right.  (Man, I'm good.)
10.     Call it art and give it an inscrutable title that no one will understand like "Still Life with My Avocado-Inspired Breakfast".

Hope your day is going well.  Enjoy.- R

Featured Comment:

11. Note to self: Avoid green eye shadow and embrace frothy mustaches. - Martha

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

River Sebaste

Hope your day is going well.

In case you may have noticed, Juzno of the Day had to take a few days off last week because I was out with a flu.

I took this picture last year when I visited the Philippines.  The same camera that fell on this raging river.  In fact, it's one of the last few images that the camera saw before taking a dive.  The picture is deceiving.  It may look like a refreshing haven but the stream was raging and the water seemed to be rising.  The roaring sound was deafening.  There was a huge rock in the middle of the river where I propped the camera so I can take a long exposure.  It was difficult to hold the camera steady as the water current was dragging my feet away.  The things we artists do to get the perfect shot.

Hope you enjoy.  Cheers. - R

p.s. A couple of people have approached me for a print of this image.  I'm running a Tuesday Special for $20 on an 8x11 print in case you know somebody is interested.  Heh.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Old Rose Holly

Hope your day is going well.

Today is my sister's birthday.  I printed this image the other day and sent it as a birthday card to her.  When she gets it, she'll probably complain that the image is blurry.  She'll probably lecture me on how expensive my cameras are and how I couldn't shoot a decent picture with them.  She's one of those people who doesn't understand my art.  I'll tell her that I sent it to her because she might forget her birthday.  I'll also tease her that she needs new glasses because she couldn't see the image well.  I think I'm one of the few people who make fun of my family publicly.  But I love my sister.

This image is a rework of an old one I shot when I started dabbling seriously into photography back in 2008.  You may have seen the original though I don't think you would remember.  It was one of the photos I posted down stair at the lobby a few years back.  This reworked version has more definition in colors and tone.  It's still blurry.  It was intended that way. I shot it with the Lensbaby, which allowed me to selective focus on the subject.  Conventional wisdom would dictate that the focused area should be the rose.  But I am non-conventional so I chose the holly instead.  If I were to shoot this again I would do the same.  Don't know why but it seems to look better that way -- at least to me.  I know some people would not like the blurry effect but I like it because it imitates the impressionist style.  It also reminds me of how I see things when I get out of bed in the morning, which is basically blurry.

Hope you enjoy. - R

Friday, January 06, 2012

Leaf Doggerel

run dry.
Time for renewal,
refreshment and stay happy.
Weekend seems like
a good

Featured Comment:

Glenn:  Taken with your IR camera, I presume?

Juzno:  To get this shot, I used a converted disposal camera (that was on sale at Target since Kodak was dumping their items before they go bankrupt).  I duct taped the camera to a can of Pringles Mr Potato Chip (empty of course) and further duct taped to my expensive Carl Zeiss 100mm Makro.  Now if only I could just remove the Zeiss that's stuck in this gizmo.  No, I'm kidding... yea this was with the converted IR.  Cheers

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Unfazed and Looking Heavenward

Sometimes there are no obvious story to tell about a work of art.  Sometimes, one just have to look beyond the aesthetics and see with the heart and not the eyes.  This image has no exciting story.  There is not much narrative to tell as it is a tree that is relatively young (compared to Oak trees and Sequoias).  When I reflect on it, I think of how I need more time to grow.

I hate being rushed.  I prefer to take my time.  I don't want to be pushed around.  I don't do well when I'm subjected to stress.  Trees are different.  Change usually produces little stress on them.  Sometimes, I want to be like a tree for that reason.  This particular tree reminds me of what I would like to be.  Even though the wind tries to sweep the leaves away, the young tree is unaffected for the most part... laidback and resilience are its strength despite its inexperience.  On this image, I see this one leaf drifting away from its branch.  Eventually, all leaves will fall but new ones will grow.  Obviously the tree knows that.  She doesn't mind.  She knows how to be still.  Ah, we can learn so much from her.

Happy Thursday.  - R

Nerdy philosophical note:  Taken last November at the District parking lot with the converted IR camera.  We really don't have to go that far to appreciate nature.  Sometimes we just have to look below our noses.  In this case, we may have to look above our heads.  Hope you enjoy.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Happiness is a warm car

Hope your day is going well.

Some old cars don't die... they just get dirty.  I couldn't find a clean flashy car for a photo op so this will have to do.  It's actually very clean compared to what it was like a few days ago.  Rose took it out for a wash and wanted me to take a picture of it.  Always looking for a photo op, so I did.

My benevolent loving sister-in-law and her husband gave us this car last year.  It's a 2001 Acura TL.  About 95k miles with a major transmission problem when we got it.  It was going to cost them more to fix it than sell it.  It was on its way to charity when I was able to convince them that the best charity would be The Castros.  At that time, we were in need of a third car because Kamilah was returning to California and needed the Integra back.  (We gave her that car years ago but she never took it to Baltimore -- so we're able to use it for a while.)

So we were happy to have the Acura.  Truly God sent.

What's interesting about the car was we didn't know that it would nearly give us four heart attacks, one for me and three for Rose.  Sometimes at high speed, the clutch would disengage and the car feels like its skating out of control.  One time it went on a Limp Home Mode (LHM).  It's actually a technical term from the car manufacturer because it will literally limp on your way home as a safety feature.  The experience of driving in this mode was like riding on a wild bronco at a Texas Rodeo.  One has little control of the car once it automatically goes on that mode.  I was forced to drive it on LHM going down on a steep hill, and I began cussing myself for procrastinating in doing my last will and testament -- something I should have done a long time ago.

I think we finally got it fixed.  And now our blood pressure is not as high as it used to be.  Yes, we love this car.

Cheers. - R

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Going to California

Diamond Bar, California
New Year's blessings to you!

I shot this using my converted Infra Red Canon EOS Rebel Xt last Thursday at one of my fave places (you guess - the rooftop of the District 5-story building where I work).  It was late in the afternoon when everyone else were sauntering to get home and probably to stop by the store to stock up for New Year's Eve.  Hence, this was the last image I captured for year 2011.  So, I thought this image would be my first post for the year 2012.  I uploaded the image on my Facebook page on New Year's day and have received modest hits.  In fact, it was probably the most that I've received since I started posting in FB.  Not bad to start the year for photo blogging.  Hope you have a wonderful start like I did.  Cheers and enjoy. - R

p.s. On the eve of New Year, I kissed Rose, danced with her and the dog, drank Moscato and smoked the Romeo Y Julieta corona that I have stashed for a nice occasion.  What did you have?

Monday, January 02, 2012

F22 and forget about focusing

Taken during Thanksgiving.  These two young adults were fighting on who gets the wishbone.  Heh.  I love the story here even though I just made that up.  I also like the selective motion blurs as I think it makes the image more dynamic.  The trick is to get the rest of the elements in the image sharp and detailed.  Maybe you know how this was shot.  Anyway, here's how I did it:

I shot this at smallest aperture on my 35mm lens - which would be f22.  I think the shutter speed was at 1/15.  The slow shutter speed gives this image that ghostlike motion blurs.  And yet everything else is tack sharp.  That is because the camera was on a tripod and I had the flash on.  Since the aperture was very narrow, it didn't matter where I focused the camera given the depth of field I was shooting into.  In this case I set the focus on the turkey but even then as you can see everything from the foreground to the background is pretty sharp.

Try this next time -- maybe on your New Year's eve party.  But wait until everybody had a lot to drink.  That way you can be sure to get those motion blurs.

Cheers - R