Thursday, May 31, 2012

I'm Looking For a Hard Headed Woman

"And if I find that hard headed woman, I know (I know) my life will be blessed (yes.. yes)" - Cat Stevens

Stumbled upon this hobo guy with his girl friend while sauntering the street of Old Town Santa Barbara in 2009. Back then, I was totally into Blurism as a style of art. To get that Impressionistic look, I used the Lensbaby here. I've used that camera lens exclusively between 2009 and 2010.

Once in a while, I'll return to this photo and right away the Cat Stevens song would fill my soul. The man does kind of remind me of Cat Stevens -- that's before he converted to Islam and became Yusuf Islam.

Techie Notes (you may skip this paragraph if techie stuff bores you): This image is a reprocessed version. Just recently I picked up a copy of Scott Kelby's the Adobe Photoshop CS5 book and have tried some of his techniques on my older photos. The book is good stuff and there is enough to glean to improve one's photos.  (I don't make money off his book but in case you know somebody who's in market for these kind of materials I highly recommend it.)

Happy Thursday.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Do you promise not to tell?

Woman: I think the photographer has a crush on me.

Man: Ask him how much money he makes.

Woman: I think he wants my slice of cake.

Man: Let him get his own.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Hold It

Hope your day is going well. Somehow today feels like Wednesday. The Memorial Day Weekend messed up my circadian rhythm - not necessarily in a bad way. There's merit to losing track of time. For instance, when Thursday comes, I'll think it's already Friday. Since Thursday is my fave day of the work week and thinking it is Friday, it would provide a healthy illusion of looking forward to the weekend. Does that make sense?

I was originally taking pictures from the back of the car.  When the bridegroom saw me, he was gracious enough to give me full access.
Here's one I took last Saturday. It's at old town Fullerton. Rose and I were looking for Old Town Orange but MapQuest gave us bad direction so we ended up circling Anaheim, Placentia and Fullerton. But no Orange. After driving back and forth, I began to feel like I've lived in those cities for ages. The street signs are permanently tattooed in the closet of my mind. We settled at Fullerton because we know the place better. It turned out to be a pleasant place for photo op.

Friday, May 25, 2012

4 and Elliot

Somehow I associate Memorial Day celebration as a great opportunity to get a good deal on mattresses. Not sure what I'll be doing this year but I'm not buying a mattress. There are still many reasons to celebrate Memorial Day. Its raison d'ĂȘtre has obviously evolved but regardless people still want to be reminded of things. So what does this picture of tattooed fingers have to do with Memorial Day? By tattooing arcane symbols on his fingers, the dude probably wanted to be reminded of certain things. As near as I can tell, those are real tattoos. They are so poorly marked that he probably did them on his own. I have yet to find out what those symbols mean. What do you think?

Have a great weekend. Cheers. - R

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Here's my solar eclipse shot (not for the fainthearted)

Just kidding. But wouldn't it make a great story if this was shot during the recent solar eclipse?

I have plenty of reasons to be happy today. It's Happy Thursday, which is my fave day of the work week. And I found out that my photo will appear in the 14th issue of Fotoblur Magazine.

[It's the the one in the bottom left.]

[Here's the web post.]

Yay. God is good. This is my second contribution that will be published soon in the photography magazine. The photo is originally from the Angst and Uncertainty book series I did in 2010. Back then, I tried to sell the book but nobody seemed interested. I think because it was too depressing. My style has evolved since then.

Cheers. - R

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

How's your drink?

Photographing people in candid moments has its reward. But once in a while, a posed capture can be double the fun. Such as this one here. The boy on the right must have slipped something funny in the other kid's drink. Boys will be boys. Taken at a wedding reception last month. Everyone else appeared bored except these two kids.

Have a nice day.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Just play that old time rock and roll

Growing up as a young lad in the city, every so often I would be awakened by the sound of a marching band parading our street. I would ran out with all the other kids in our block to witness the parade. Always been fascinated with the whole gig, especially with the musicians marching along with their instruments. They weren't flashy musicians but the diverse sounds coming from the instruments were captivating to my unlearned ears. This was my earliest exposure to musicology as far as I can remember.

Techie notes: Taken at a Turkish Parade last year while getting lost in the streets of New York. Black and white rendition using Silver Efex Pro 2, motion blur courtesy of Starbucks, and background music of old time rock and roll -- the kind of music that soothes the soul.

Hope your day goes well.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Het Stille Meisje... My first book cover sale

God is good. Praise him. I made my first book cover sale today.

Kamilah is becoming internationally known... well at least her photos are getting international exposure. [Just the other day, an anonymous buyer in Australia bought a big print of another artwork Kamilah modeled for me.]

The book cover is the Dutch version of Tess Gerritsen's The Silent Girl (Het Stille Meisje). Gerritsen is known for her Rizzoli and Isles series in TNT.

Kamilah is a true daughter of the Dutch... that is the Dutch Reformed Church.

I'm still smiling. Cheers. - R

Friday, May 11, 2012

She Dreams in Numbers

When I was teenager, which would be eons ago and I've forgotten how to count, my mom brought a small book at home that would somehow change my life. I wasn't sure if she had read it but the title caught my attention. At that age, it took a lot to get my attention. I didn't need anyone to tell me to read it but the small book seems easy enough to read that I thought even I could tackle it. [My choice of reading at that time was mostly confined to comic books and the last book of the Bible "Revelation" but that's another story for later.] The title of the book was "Man's Search for Meaning" by Viktor Frankl. The book is divided into two parts: the first one is the author's own account while in a German concentration camp; the second is his thesis on man's psychology.

Years later, I realized how Frankl's experience and inquiries on why things were happening to his people [the Jews] would echo a universal theme. I think however we choose to deal with it or not, the ugly reality of life is here. But beside that ugliness, there is hope and beauty and redemption. This is truth that is timeless.

To this day, I am grateful that my mom brought that book at home. Perhaps she planted it. Who knows? Whatever it was, it made me into a thinking person.

Folks, remember your moms. Have a happy Mother's Day.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Meaning of Onions (Part II)

I thought I would further test the Fujifilm Finepix x100. So when Rose and I went to the market the other day, I decided to perform my test there. This time I focused on some vegetable macro shots. The x100 is ideal for stealth situation because it’s a small enough to be unnoticed but performs well like most DLSRs with APC sensors. One trick I've learned is I would wear the camera on my neck and shoot without lifting the camera. Just face the subject and push the shutter button from where the camera is hanging. It takes some practice but can be very effective. Some call this style "shooting from the hip." I call it "shooting from the belly." Just prop the camera where the fat belly protrudes and you're all set. The bigger the belly the more stable your camera will be.

After a few shots, I could tell that Rose was getting nervous. It would only be a matter of time until somebody approaches me and calls my illicit activity. After all, it's mostly illegal to take pictures of products in shops. I guess that makes me a petty criminal (heh). Fortunately, that concern never materialized, and I was able to take some good test shots.

My conclusion: The x100 does fairly good macro shots... considering that the images are fake. You see, the lens is not truly a macro lens. The camera electronically converts the image with some kind of algorithm, and gives the image an appearance that it was shot at close range.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

The Meaning of Onions (Part I)

Since some people have difficulty understanding the meaning of yesterday's post "Reckless Abandonment May Have Its Charm", this is a follow-up post to it. Similarly, this image has no meaning like the last one. It is something that the viewer must make sense on his own accord. In other words, the viewer is on his own. The viewer may niggle and cry out, "that is not fair." But in his sound and fury, all he will received back in return is at best an echo of retarded gibberish.

Wednesday is a strange day. Hope it's Friday soon.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Reckless Abandonment May Have Its Charm

"Factually crippled broken, useless, rigid in its structure yet light for a mind, suggesting willingness and capability of suddenly becoming airborne." - Henrique Nascimento
Viewer: Sorry, I cannot recognize it. It is too abstract. So, what is it?

Juzno: It's a portrait of a melting soul pouring out its angst. Crying to the sky, "Vanity of vanity! Life is meaningless!" Or just a broken champagne glass.

Techie notes:  Canon EOS 5d ii, Carl Zeiss 100mm Makro, two Canon 580ex ii flashes, Manfrotto Tripod, black Urban Outfitter cardboard box, broken champagne glass,  much confounded abstractions and melancholic thinking.

Monday, May 07, 2012

K and a random event

Hope your day is going well.

An anonymous buyer just bought a large print of my artwork "K" that I have posted at Redbubble.  Really random, I think.  I had intended the image as a possible submission for a book cover deal at Arcangel-images, which I still have a contract.  Kamilah thought the picture was scary.  Well, that was how I intended it to be.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

The gods must be crazy (part iii)

In the meantime, I was still hungry and thirsty.  Iceberg lettuce didn't sound too enticing.

"And then what happened?"  I again asked.

Franco continued with his story, "You see those people over there?"  He pointed to a group of middle aged people raising their arms.  From my perspective, they could have been ex-hippies from San Bernardino.

"Foreigners..." Franco added.  "They came to this island a year ago and offered strange fire to the gods.  Don't know what it's made of but it surely changed things real fast.  Thanks to them we now have centralized heating in our houses.  We have clean air and running water."

"Who are they?"

"They say they worship the goddesses Ephea, Akmad and Barawalenga.  Known as the un-wholly trinity, they brought back order to this island on condition that we would not eat the transfat from any meat, which would have to be offered along with the strange fire that only the Kurios (that's what we call them) know how to make.  That is why any meat we have goes to the offerings."

By this time, my head was starting to spin.  And all this talk about lettuce and cold weather and pagan rituals was not improving my situation.  I needed a smoke.  I was reaching for my Cuban Cohiba to fire it up when Franco grabbed my arm.

"My dear friend, I need to remind you that we have no smoking policy on this island.  You know.. part of the deal we made with the gods."

(To be continued)

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

The gods must be crazy (part ii)

"You got to be kidding me," I shot back.

Franco's catfish moustache flexed as he tried to explain, "No, no."

I nearly drop on my knees trying to suppress my laughter.  Watching Franco's syncopated whiskers and toothless babbling was just too much for me to bear.  I needed a strong drink and it wasn't even five o'clock yet.

Franco was used to this kind of inquiry. "You see years ago this island was different.  Neighboring islands would be prosperous ... but no, the gods cursed this island and turned it into an Iceland if you will.  It was always cold no matter what time of the year it was.  The only thing that would grow here was Iceberg lettuce, which the goats won't even eat."

"And then what happened?" I inquired.

(To be continued)

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

The gods must be crazy (part i)

The sun has been up for hours when we got off from the boat.  Franco our guide has been waiting for us at the shore.  He greeted us with his toothless smile.  It appeared that years ago he took care of his dental problem.

Shaking his hand, I said, "I'm hungry."

"In this shabby town of the island of Patmos, we have very good calamari pugitas," he replied back.

"Dude, I'm an American.  I can't eat them bottom feeders.  You got some hamburgers?"

"Not on this island.  If ever we have meat, we would sacrifice meat to the gods.  Otherwise, they get really angry."

(To be continued)