Monday, December 30, 2013

Retrospective 2013: No holds barred


Juzno:  What were your highlights for 2013?

Rob:  A lot of things.  We are so blessed by the Lord.  I think my photography is better.  I've learned a few skills.  I made some new friends.  I am not as stressed as I used to.  I am also not as angry as I was before.  Kamilah is doing well in her pHD program.  And Rose is growing strong in the Lord.  After 36 years, I finally got in touch with my cousins.  Etc.Etc.

Juzno:  What were your low moments?

Rob:  Some disappointments, of course.  Rejection.  But I am not as bummed as I used to.

Juzno:  What changed?

Rob:  I realized that God has not rejected me.  So even if people rejects me, I know I am still ahead.

Juzno:  You talked about rejection.  Can you elaborate?

Rob:  Growing up I was rejected by the most important people in my life.  My father initially rejected me … that was before I was born.  My step family rejected me at one point in time.  Except my brother - he always treated me as a brother - though I'm not sure what that meant at that time.  Eventually I think I got accepted by some people but I am not sure how to respond to their kindness.  I've build a wall from all those years of rejection.  I am learning to remove bits of the wall but it's a slow and painful process.

Juzno:  When was the last time you were rejected?

Rob:  I think of my art and I am disappointed that not too many people appreciate art.  Even those at church, there are those who are theologically astute and yet think that art is dangerous.  It is as though art is not part of the Christian sphere.  I mean if Christians are to redeem life and the world - why is it that people find it hard to recognize that art too can be redeemed for the Lord?  But that's the way it is.  You would think that Christians should be more open to art than nonbelievers.  But you know that's true across the board.  The world in general is suspicious about art.  That's because it has always been in the realm of the secular and the profane.

Juzno:  Do you have other beef with your fellow Christians?

Rob:  Of course.  But by God's grace I am learning to restrain myself.

Juzno:  Do you feel that sometimes you have more in common with non-Christians?

Rob:  Sad to say yes.  Christians can sometimes dwell in the goody-happy view of the world.  To think of dark things is anathema.  Yet the writer of Ecclesiastes talked about the darkness and the meaningless of this world.  To ignore that such things exist is I think burying one's head in the sand - so to speak.  Years ago when I was going through depression people would tell me that I didn't have much faith because my outlook in life was bleak and dark.  This it seems to me inflicts much pain to the person suffering.  Fortunately I have not come across too many people like them.

Juzno:  What are your wishes for 2014?

Rob:  I hope Obamacare would be repealed - but that's not going to happen anytime soon.  I wish for the economy to get better.  No matter what the media reports, the economy is far worse than ever.  More importantly, I wish that people would repent from their wayward ways.  The last couple of years, I've noticed that sin has been diminished.  People refer to it as "mistakes" or "shortcoming".  I believe that the reason this country is so messed up is because we deserve it.  We did this to ourselves.

Juzno:  There are those who will say that you are hypocritical and bigoted and racist.

Rob:  That reminds of G. K. Chesterton, "What people call impartiality may simply mean indifference, and what people call partiality may simply mean mental activity."

Juzno:  Please explain.

Rob:  It's all in the head.

Juzno:  Thanks for taking this time.  Have a happy New Year.


Rob:  And blessings to you, my friend.

The night I met the three wise men


Juzno:  Hey, you guys are the famous three kings.

Magi:  Actually, we are not kings.  We are really Magi.  And we are actually four not three.

Juzno:  You know I never knew what your names are.

Magi:  I'm John.  These blokes here are Paul and George.  Ringo is sick so he couldn't make it.

Juzno:  Where are you headed right now?

Magi:  We are going to pay homage to the newborn king but first we plan to stop by Times Square to observe the dropping of the ball.

Juzno:  Cool.  I've been meaning to ask - how was Herod like?

Magi:  A bit of a stiff we suppose.

Juzno:  So is it true that you guys are also musicians?

Magi:  We are jacks of all trades.  Paul is the talented one and George is the silent one.  Ringo is ringo.  I am just the Walrus - coo coo co choo.

Juzno:  What is your message to the world?

Magi:  Give peace a chance.


Saturday, December 28, 2013

What I Like About You


The struggle itself towards the heights is enough to fill a man's heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy. - Albert Camus


Life.  What is it?  It is fleeting.  It is short.  Life is like a cigar.  It is smoked and it reaches a point when there is no more.  Okay, that is so retarded and corny.  Let me try again.

I had lunch with a friend the other day and he complained that his wife does not understand him.  He has been married for over 23 years and he still could not connect with his wife.  Whenever they have a disagreement he  would make amends by buying her gifts - a Louis Vuitton bag or maybe a Cartier watch.

He tells her how much he loves her… what it is he likes about her.

Yet he couldn't connect. 

I wonder what she is thinking. Why is it so hard to connect?

Man has always been alienated with fellow man.  Man has been alienated with God.  Man has been alienated with nature.  This has been the problem since the beginning.  This is the pattern of life.  So why do we go on?  Since this is the case, it would seem that life is meaningless.  I know it is.  Man's attempt to provide meaning is futile. 

And yet we must undergo life. 


You cannot create experience. You must undergo it. - Albert Camus

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Bear Christmas


Juzno: What did Santa got you for Christmas?

Bear Christmas:  I don't believe in Santa anymore.

Junzo:  Really?  What do you believe in?

Bear Christmas:  Amazon and UPS.

----------------------------------------------

Hoping your Christmas be merry and bright.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Georgia on my mind (Indifferent to the world)


Georgia randomly talking to herself: "I bifurcate. One moment I was glad to break away from Russell. But now I question myself -- why the heck am leaving him? Leaving ... is that the same as running away? (I think the creep with the camera has been taking my photos. Doesn't he know that it is illegal to do that? Or is it? How does he know what I'm thinking? I digress...) It feels like it's going to rain outside. Why do people talk about the weather when there is nothing else to talk about? When is Mayer going to make another album? I can't wait. Am I there yet?"

Saturday, December 07, 2013

In my life (iii)


Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies. – Nelson Mandela

Monday, December 02, 2013

Cyber Veggie Monday


While folks are scrounging for cyber deals, I got the best deal this cyber Monday.  Cyber Veggies.  They were the same items that Starship Enterprise took with them on their voyage to the last frontier.  It was rumored that Spock's favorite was the Vulcan squash.  Can you identify which one is it in the photo?

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Harvest 2013


A blessed Thanksgiving to all.
© 2013 Rob Castro

Orange is the new Black


Juzno:  How are you guys doing?

Oranges:  We need to work more on our tan.

----------------------------------
Hope your day is going well.

© 2013 Rob Castro

Friday, November 22, 2013

And she saw it was good


Anne:  Beautiful colors, Juzno.  You are a great artist.  The pomegranate is very nicely done, too.  But I've never seen a green pomegranate.  Did you alter the color?

Rachael:  Someone asked me the same thing.  I just said, "Its art.  Juzno does some great work when printing his photos."

Juzno:  The pomegranate is from our tree.  It is really green though not that vivid.  More like yellowish green.  But I wanted it to turn to emerald green.  My wife and I were waiting for the fruits to turn red because it would mean they are ripe but apparently the fruits started cracking before they ever turn red - maybe never.

Rachael:  I am still waiting for my winter melons to turn whiter, but they are as green as ever.

Anne:  I thought winter melon doesn't turn white?

Rachael:  So that is why they are still green after three months.  I should pick them.

Anne:  I don't know, I only know that the skin of the winter melon in the Chinese market is always green.


Juzno:  While growing up, the folks would knock on the melon to check if it was ripe.  Not sure what kind of sound they were listening for.  If the melon asked, "who's there?" then you should immediately drop it on the floor.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Fashionista Isadora and her new diet


Juzno:  Nice hat.

Isadora:  Thanks.  I'm getting ready to show off my new outfit for a soiree.

Juzno:  People will notice how sexy you now look after you've lost weight.

Isadora:  Really?  Cool.  I knew that weight loss program would work.


Techie Notes Only:  Fujifilm XE-1, 14mm lens, XF-20 fill flash, make up by Tabasco Hot Sauce Company, wardrobe borrowed from Prince, hat by Duck Dynasty

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

R...


Sometimes a window light is all you need.

Hope your day is going well.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Spike gets Spiked


Juzno: Nice Haircut.

Spike Dee:  I have a photo op with Helmut Newton.  He said he can use an assistant.  Wanna come?

Juzno:  Nah, I'm doing the Dalai Lama.  I heard he wanted to show off his new perm.

-----------------------------

Shot with Original Lensbaby. Hope your day is going great.

Featured Comments:

Glenn:  I recently saw a Helmut Newton exhibit at the Annenberg Space for Photography in Century City.  It was a bit awkward seeing some of his photos with my daughter, but in was interesting for her nonetheless.  I like how the spikes appear out of the bluish blur in the photo... some more Photoshopping magic?

Juzno:  Cheers, Glenn...  I know what you mean about Helmut Newton.  I simply used that reference because he was the first that came to mind when it came to glamour photography.  Interestingly I read that he never used artificial light in his photo op.  Just available light and that was it.  For the longest time I tried that approach and learned a lot about lighting.  But I felt there are situation when artificial light can improve the shot.


The spiky plant is the one near the district library.  I shot it last Friday after talking with you.  Actually my last shot for the day - which tends to be the best because I already warmed up.  No photo manipulation.  Just changed the white balance for cooler temperature and played with the saturation in post processing. Some dodge and burn on the corners to create vignette.  The blurry effect is in-camera using the Lensbaby.  Real simple approach.  Too simple that it surprises some people who think I spent hours in post-processing when it only took a few minutes.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Lily Gaga


Juzno: Your arrival is kind of late.  It's already Fall Season.

Lily:  I'm dressing up as Miley Cyrus for Halloween.



Hope your day is getting better.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

In over Jerry's head


Juzno:  How does it feel to play Mr. Mistoffelees every week in Cats?

Jerry:  Actually I'm quitting that gig.  I have a job offer to be the Vice-President of Marketing for a Fortune Top 20 company.

Juzno:  Neat.  What are the perks?

Jerry:  I speak truth to the powerless.


Hope your day is going well.




Techie Notes:  Both eyes are green in his real life.  I added a graduated color defined filter to warm the right side of his head - just to make it a bit interesting.  The blur is created by making a duplicate layer in Photoshop.  From it, I just clicked on the default motion blur preset in PS. Erased the middle part so the original layer underneath shows up un-blurred.

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Rosa on Raising Children


Juzno: A penny for your thought?

Rosa: It is the time you have wasted for your rose that makes your rose so important.

Juzno: Antoine de Saint-Exupéry?

Rosa:  No, my tax preparer.

Hope your day is going well.

Featured Comments:

Glenn:  I suppose tax preparers have lots to say about wasted time.

Anne:  Very nice.  I love roses.  Perfect lighting.  How do you make the background dark?
May I keep this one for a card later if I need to make one for emergency?

Juzno:  Thanks.  You can use this for your card, Anne.

There are a number of ways to make the background dark.  I used to just shoot as-is, and burn and dodge in post processing.  But usually the result is artificial.  The best way is to do it on-camera.


The trick is to be able to find the right background so the red on the rose would pop out.  I just keep looking on the view finder until the lighting on the background looks good.  I shot this on manual exposure: f4 at 1/200.  On auto, my camera wants to shoot at f4, 1/80 but I decided to underexpose it so I can get the background dark.  In Photoshop, I selected the red channel and pushed the red back up in the Curves Overlay.  This way only the reds are affected.  It’s really easier to show it than it sounds.

Saturday, October 05, 2013

Golden Years


Not much of a story here except that they were once little orphans who were left to fend for themselves because their parents were uprooted and taken to fight against the evil Lord Tutu.  Fortuitously, the parents left them with a hefty tax-free inheritance through a Federal Program called Uniform Gift to Minors.  As we can see, they are now enjoying their golden years.

Have a great weekend.

Techie Notes:  Pretty much on a plateau with Street Photography right now.  Even looking at other people's SP work does not seem to inspire me much.  So yea, you could say I'm taking a break from SP.

This is really an old photo I dug from the grave (my archives).  Rose saw this and suggested I shoot with the Lensbaby (the lens I used for this sot) again.  The halo and blurry effect is on-camera.  Was not done in post-processing.

Probably shot around 2010 when I used the LB exclusively.  When I saw the file name it suggested to me that I used the original LB.  Since then, the lens manufacturer has come up with different versions.


I just reprocessed this using better tools and fresher vision.  I've been doing that nowadays - revisiting my old work and see how I can improve them: either re-shooting or re-processing.

Thursday, October 03, 2013

I'm going for a new look


Juzno:  New hairdo?

Rosalee:  I asked for a trim but my hair dresser thought I would look good with this style.

Juzno:  Goes well with the season.  Reminds me of Audrey Hepburn meets Sinead O'Connor.


Rosalee:  Agree.  Now I need to try a new wardrobe to go with it.  I'm thinking earthy rust color.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Chillin'


These little ones have found a way to keep cool when they walked right into my studio.  Fortuitously, the lights and camera were already set up - so all I need to do was click the shutter.

Friday, September 27, 2013

I love NY (the day everything sold for $1)


We were on our way to MOMA one Saturday morning when somehow we stumbled into this street filled with vendors.  Almost everything was being sold for a dollar.  Food, drink, T-shirt… You got to love New York for that.  Things may be expensive all around but once in a while one can get lost (just as we did) and find things that are sold on a cheap.  One Dollah… one dollah. 


A rework of previous post, which I thought was kind of busy.  Busy?  It's New York.  It's supposed to be busy.  At least that's one of the commentators told me.   I wanted to focus on the people and the T-shirt display was drawing some of the attention.  It's where the title of this post came from.
...

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Why I will no longer post my artwork in Facebook



Why I will no longer post my artwork in Facebook


http://asmp.org/fb-tos#.Uiv3pMakplx

Sometimes dried leaves are just dried leaves (or why a caption is not always beneficial)


Warning:  Reading the following can be a total waste of time.

The sun was already out when I got out of bed this morning.  It was forecasted to be a hot weather today.  I am told that the easiest way to predict a weather with decent accuracy is to assume that it will be the same as the day before.  In which case, one does not need to have a degree in Meteorology to be a weatherperson.  All one need is a pretty face.  Preferably with a curvy body.  Or if one is guy, a strong shoulder and a Burt Reynolds mustache.  I already know that I have no chance of growing thick facial hair.  I blame genetics.  Maybe even blame evolution that went extreme.  My guess is that my Neanderthal uncle had evolved into a hairless human far too quickly compared to his still evolving counterparts.  Yet there are many advantages of being hairless.  Especially in this hot weather.

These are days when I could sense my inside filled with patchwork quilt of loose dried leaves.  One gentle step to it could easily shatter the leaves like  Captain Crunch breakfast flakes inside the mouth of Charlie Sheen with a bad hang-over.  I understand Charlie.  Indeed, at times I tend to sympathize with him. Only today, I really don’t care about him.  Like my apathy with Charlie, I am so far detached with my shattered dried leaves.  Not much to care about.  Just like that Captain Crunch flakes.  I don’t care what happens to them.  As King Solomon once mused, “it’s meaningless.”  These are one of those days.

Lately I don’t want any confrontations.  Which is a good thing because I’m usually contentious.  But there is a difference between being deliberatively non-confrontational and being an escapist.  The former weighs in before committing oneself to an idea.  An escapist is well – an escapist.  I have found refuge in escapism.  Which leads to isolationism.

I have been a closet recluse for some time now. Rose tells me that I need get out of my isolationism.  That I ought to get back to writing again.  It’s difficult when one has not done it in a while.  All these random things kept creeping in every other words I typed.  But one has to start somewhere.  Hopefully, by end of this silly monograph things will get more coherent.  Maybe.

I find that writing tends to flesh out things.  It forces one to question the point of getting a message across.  This is why I have stopped writing for a while.  I have no point to get across.  Or rather I refuse to get a point across.  Because if I did I would have to face things.  Mainly my excess baggage.


I can tell that this monograph is going nowhere.  At least I would hope that the crusty looking dead leaves pictured above would make up for this gibberish.  You have been forewarned.

Monday, September 02, 2013

A Mother Writes to her Daughter


Hi Baboo.

I'm finally sending you two versions of our family portrait.  The idea of having a family picture came about when Mimi turned eight last August 5th.  That made us a household of senior citizens and Dadoo wanted to have a portrait of our aging family, especially with Jerry turning 15 years old (105 cat years) this year.  However, we were not quite sure how best to capture the right image that would be representative of our family?  Well this is what we did.  First, we picked the time and day to do our portrait.  Sunday after church was chosen since everyone is typically relaxed, Dadoo and I are already in our Sunday clothes and our two pets are excited to see us and eager to partake of lunch and yummy treats.  The set up to do portraits was already in place, so Dadoo just needed to make a bit of adjustment and then use the remote control to click the shutter button that was synchronized with the flash.  Since I got Mimi already on my lap, I suggested to do a trial run without Jerry.  Jerry was already watching us from afar, closer to the base of the stairs.  So the three of us (without Jerry) posed in front of the camera but nothing happened.  Ooops, the remote control did not work.  Now, we have to use the camera timer.  Dadoo took Mimi from my lap, asked me to grab Jerry, then set the timer on.  As soon as Jerry heard his name and the quiet tick-tick-tick of the timer, he ran up the stairs as far away from us.  I was closely following him, then I took out a big piece of romaine lettuce leaf in my hand to lure him back.  Jerry stopped to smell the leaf and I grabbed him.  He tried to leap out of my hands but I got him pinned down to my chest while running down the stairs to take my seat before the 10-second camera timer turns off.  I got seated with Jerry held close to me, Dadoo with Mimi in his arms already waiting, and then click -- perfect timing.  We loved the image but Dadoo did not know what was the green thing that I was holding in my hand, so he removed it via photo-shop's content aware.  I still prefer the picture with the green leaf, so we're sending you both so you get to choose which one you like.

Have a blessed day!

Love,
Mamoo

Original shot with Jerry's salad.  Notice how Jerry is ready to claw on Mamoo's chest.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Test shot with Rose and Mimi


Last Saturday, Rose helped me set up the huge black background for my portrait photo op. The background spreads to 12 feet wide and 8 feet high. I didn't know what I was thinking when I bought this but that's another story. Then I fixed the lighting. One strobe at the back as the master to provide the rim lighting. The other strobe is the slave facing a white umbrella. I set this at about 45degrees from the subject and angled downwards. I needed to make test shots so Rose and Mimi became my test subjects. I really like how the rim light works here. Very minimal post production. Just burning the background to darken some stray lights.


My client didn't show up so we just ended having fun with the lighting set up the next day. More of that on my next post.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

There are No Fat People in New York


The word fat is banned in NY so one could only refer to them as Plus Sizes and Gravitionally Challenged. Also, because of Bloomberg, New Yorkers have to go to New Jersey to access transfat filled diet. Cheers.

Brooklyn, New York
© 2013 Rob Castro

Fujifilm Finepix, XE-1, XF 14mm

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Red at work



Art usually reflects the worldview of the artist.  Sometimes it's not as obvious.  But there are times when it's undeniable.  I took this picture at the Chalk Walk Festival in Old Pasadena.  Care free posture, just taking her time.  From my perspective, I thought that the artist was creating a mirror image of herself.

Featured Comment by Kamilah Castro:  If you read into it, your photo could be a commentary on beauty or true art.  Maybe art, in her case, is that which she wishes to see in herself.  While she is imperfect, smudged with dirt, hair unkempt, through art, she can create something beautiful, and perfect, and untouched.  Note the way she caresses the woman's cheek with longing.  Wishing real life could be that beautiful, wishing she could be that beautiful.

On a technical note, the composition is great.  Love the angling, the use of reflection (not just the artist and the drawing but also the other pictures of women in the back).  The artist already looks a little cartoonish maybe because of the enhanced definition in the freckling but wonder if you make her more cartoonish it would be cooler.  Like you can't tell if she is a drawing herself.  The artist can't be separated from the art.

How to read a free newspaper


Elliot





Elliot is getting so much nice comments that he is now famous.
Featured at Red Bubble

Monday, July 29, 2013

What I want to be when I grow up


David:  Mommy, when I grow up - I want to be a rock and roll musician.

Mommy: Now David - which will it be?  You can't be both.

Photo  © 2013 Rob Castro
Text borrowed somewhere in cyberspace.
Hope you're having a good day.  Cheers.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

How I turned my artichoke lunch into art


A rework of an oldie.  When I started to get serious into photography, one of the things I practiced on was the  food I ordered in a restaurant.  It was the perfect study.  The food was usually prepared well to look aesthetically appealing.  If I were to prepare it myself, it would be a disaster.
 
Shot using the Lensbaby.  I think I must have used a plastic optics set to f4 - my favorite aperture at that time.


© 2013 Rob Castro

Thanks for noticing.

Rush


My Black and White Street Gallery


More available for viewing and purchase at Black and White Street. Thanks for visiting.


http://www.blackandwhitestreet.com/user/2655

Monday, July 15, 2013

Anilao Contentment (ii)


Anilao, Iloilo, Philippines
Copyright 2013 Rob Castro

Below is a featured Comment from Jun Jacob President/ CEO of Art and Life. Like myself, Mr Jacob is fellow Bosconian (Don Bosco Victorias 1965, Don Bosco Juniorate, Pampanga 1970, Don Bosco College, Canluban 1974.) Hope you enjoy reading.

"The visuals of this photo have so many things going for it. The center of interest (the two men carrying a load on a bamboo pole) is strikingly positioned at the lower left golden mean. It is a much defined one and is without clutter. There are no other elements to compete with it. Although technically there is no layering involved here which would give the image more push towards the SP direction, it looks and feels that way. Perhaps it is the categorically defined perspective as shouldered by the elevated pathway these two men are treading on. The depth that it suggests is just delectably propitious. What is appetizing to see is the bamboo pole in a foreshortened state which also adds to the linear direction towards the vanishing point although in a beautifully curved aesthetic delight. The amazing visuals are actually contributed by the admirable contrasts of all the elements – the dark crop of hair against the gray clouds behind, the left arm happily standing-out both against black on the upper portion and against gray on the lower part. And these contrasts get to be repeated in all directions as if the hand of Michelangelo pressed the shutter with his magical brush! Now, sans the eye-draining excessive post processing, this image is so much like a good movie needing to be seen in a repeat performance from mall opening up to the last full show! An amazingly good job Rob Castro!"

The photo also appears in the main gallery of Black and White Street website for those interested. Thanks for looking and liking.


http://www.blackandwhitestreet.com/node/3769

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Daddy, I don't want to pose anymore


Daddy, I don't want to pose anymore
Copyright 2013 Rob Castro

Steve on Politics:  "I was a Republican who voted for Reagan and Bush Sr. and Bush Jr.  That was the last time I voted.  I would have voted for McCain but he was creepy.  I didn't want Romney because I didn't like his hair style.  No, I just won't vote anymore.  The way this country is going, I think I will join the Communist party and move to Sweden."

Steve on Relationship: "I tell my daughter that she should only marry for the right reason.  What's that?  I'm not sure but she will find out when that time comes."

Steve on Life: "Life? ... is meaningless and is not black and white like this picture here.  Yea I mean this picture is meaningless.  And there is no such thing as true black and white."

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Gypsy for hire



"Do you take request?"

"I only do Heavy Metal."
"Can you play Orion by Metallica?"

"I only do Heavy Metal."

"What can you play?"

"That will be 5,000 Forints."


Fujifilm Finepix x-pro1, 35mm lens
© 2013 Rob Castro

Saturday, June 22, 2013

The Jazzman Signifies



"So you think you can tell ... heaven from hell?"

"Pink Floyd?"


"No, my music teacher."

© 2013 Rob Castro
Prague, Czech

Thursday, June 20, 2013

"You are not to take my... (oh well)"



A man selling ice cream
Singing Italian song
Eh Cumpari, ci vo sunari
Can you dig it(Yes I can)
I've been waiting for such a long time
For Today

[Saturday in the Park, Chicago circa 1972]

Mr. Cowboy said "the Scientology church is on the south side of the next street. Across from it, you'll find Tom Cruise's Bar & Chips. People said the Nicole Kidman's Aussie drink is the bomb. But you might also want to try the Katie Holmes' homestyle fries and the Penelope Cruz' Enchilada burger".

Toy District, Downtown Los Angeles, California

© 2013 Rob Castro

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Real men drink their coffee black (or how Moses got upset)


Location: Somewhere in Modern Day Middle East
Date: 2013

Moses had just come out of the burning bush encounter.  Hair white, forehead shining, eyes squinting because of the Light he just saw.  He scowled because he saw another golden calf the people of Israel made.  He had to have a drink of strong black coffee mixed with kosher whiskey in a disposable non-recyclable cup because he was so upset.  Hand callused with arthritis from praying and holding the staff for too long during the exodus.

Rework of previous post.
© 2013 Rob Castro

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Nancy in a Hurry


After her yoga class, Nancy rushes out.  She gets obsessive about what she wants:

"I need to hurry - the mall is going to close in about half an hour.  That organic cashmere on the one day sale is a must-have.  Darn, I need to find a new laundry shop.  The last one botched my purple shirt and washed it with my blue jeans.  I wonder if they use Dihydrogen Oxide? Note to self - stop by the Vegan store - get a bundle of kiwi and make 'em into ice cream later.  Later.  Oh, and I need to tell Fred to stop feeding the cat with Nepeta Cataria.  She needs to wean herself from that.  I wonder if they have AA for cats..."

Hope your day is going well.

----------------------------------
Fujifilm x-pro 1, 35mm
Prague, Czech

Sunday, June 09, 2013

Haydn and Haden


Franz Joseph Haydn, known as Joseph Haydn, was an Austrian composer, one of the most prolific and prominent of the Classical period.

Frank Joey Haden, known as Joey Had, is an American Techno composer wannabe, one day may become the next Moby and famous in the Post Modern period.


Fujifilm X-pro 1, 35mm
© 2013 Rob Castro
Vienna, Austria

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Bohemian Rhapsody


A blast from the past perhaps.  I've stayed away from this kind of photography and been doing mostly street shots but the ghost of Lady Betsy Albatross kept haunting me to divert my effort at least for a little while on dreamy themes.  As a compromise I said I would do one as long as the back drop is on a street.  She agreed to meet me at a small alley in Prague - a stone's throw away from the Lennon Wall (a photo of that coming soon - maybe).
 

Happy Thursday!

Anne:  Love this photo.  it is like one of those ladies who got killed by Jack the Ripper...

Juzno:  You have a strange way of looking at things.  For somebody who has been murdered, she looks very happy.

 Raquel:  Oh, when I took Jack the Ripper tour in England, I actually got lost, by myself, going from alley to alley thinking "I will be the next Jack the Ripper victim.  I went back to the hotel, which was in a dark alley, you know Ghost Hunters, and got lost for two hours.  The tour was at the hotel before I showed up.  Terrible experience.  Of course, this was a night.

That actually looks like some of the alley walls I walked by.  I had to sit on a concrete wall, pitch black darkness, because there was no place else for me to sit.  Yup, last time I will do that.  


Juzno:  Sitting in the alley may not be the best place because they can have very bad cell phone reception.  Really would be interesting to see Jack the Ripper.  He would be past 100 years old by now.  But maybe he made a secret potion to keep him young and continue to look like Johnny Depp.



Anne: Johnny Depp as Ripper???  Nooooo, he's too cute.  I think Jack Nicholson is the Ripper incarnate..He could be charming and deadly...  

Juzno:  Yea and I heard Leonardo di Caprio has submitted his resume to Tim Burton for the gig.  Mr Burton is interested in the gig but he's eyeing Helen Bonham Carter to play the part of Jack, who was actually a woman.

Sista:  Your choice of song....because of the first lines of the song?

Juzno:  "Is this a real life ... or is it just fantasy ..."

That's a brilliant way of looking at it but my reason is at best random.  I was thinking of Fleetwood Mac's Gypsy or Rhiannon, and then I remember they have a song called Albatross - hence her name became Lady Betsy Albatross - Betsy is short for Elizabeth, who is the poster child of the Victorian Era.  So she's this Victorian woman but she is also a closet tramp.  Her future followers will be Freddie Mercury, Lady Gaga and just recently Psy.  Then I thought this was at a back alley of a Bohemian Bar where the ghost of Freddie Mercury was playing Sally Bowles of Cabaret.




Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Strange Night at Dillon's



"I was enjoying my slider when out of nowhere this big dog, a Scoobidoo look-alike, walked past our table.  He was in a jolly mood, shaking hands with the pirates and the women.  I shouted a big yelp to draw my parents’ attention.  Then the dog’s head fell off and out came the man’s head.  My mom, laughed.  She thought that was funny."  

Excerpt from Travels with Mimi
Halloween Night at Dillon's

This was shot outdoor at night so the lights have something to do with the colors.  They were not altered.  

The photo also reminds me of a comic strip.  There are at least three stories going on if one uses their imagination:  the lady on the chair must be talking to somebody, the waiter is obviously in a hurry, and Scoobidoo is hanging out with his hipster friends.

Photo Tip of the Day:  One neat trick I do when taking candid pictures of people is to position the camera on a stable place, pre-focus and just click when things happen.  No one knows I'm taking their pictures because the camera is not on its usual position, i.e., in front of my face.  

For this photo, I set the camera on the table.  I wanted to take a picture of Scoobidoo so I focused on him.  But I also wanted to take a picture of his surroundings so after I shot him I panned the camera to the left and shot the waiter walking towards me.  In post production, I stitched the two images and there -- a surreal composite.  Since the waiter and the lady on the chair were closer to the camera, the result is more depth to the overall image.  The blurry characters not only add surrealistic feel but also adds a 3-dimensional effect.  Sometimes a blurry element can help improve your pictures.

Hope your day is going well.

 © 2012 Rob Castro

Sunday, June 02, 2013

Red, Freckled and Introspection


freck·le  (frkl)
n.
A small brownish spot on the skin, often turning darker or increasing in number upon exposure to the sun.
tr. & intr.v. freck·led, freck·ling, freck·les
To dot or become dotted with freckles or spots of color.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

My Bonnie



"She's got electric booze, and Mohair snoot, you know I read it in a mag-ah-zay-ine yea... Buh-buh- bonnie and her breath."


A B&W remake of a photo I took of a street performer at Pike Place Market, Seattle.  I think it may have been Nirvana's Come us You Are that was being played.  Shot with the Fujifilm x100, fixed 23mm lens.

Have a neat weekend.  Stay cool.
© 2013 Rob Castro — at Pike Place Market.