Friday, March 31, 2017

Dandelion outside our house

Taraxacum is a large genus of flowering plants in the family Asteraceae, which consists of species commonly known as Dandelion. They are native to Eurasia and North America.  This one happens to be one among the many wild plants that grow almost anywhere outside our house.  It sticks out on bricks and concrete.  People for the most part don't like Dandelions.  I happen to think they are wonderful.  And they make great photo subject.  Is it just me - but doesn't it look like a Galaxy?  Or maybe the Great March Comet of 1843?

Hope your day is going well.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Long Time Gone

Must have been this time of the year.  The cool December breeze.  Early in the morning.  Everyone was still asleep.  The sun was always late.  I could smell the coffee brewing.  The sound of eggs frying tickled my ears.  She was humming the same old tune.  I could never make out what song it was.  I never asked her.  It doesn't matter anymore.  She's a long time gone.

#existentialism #momentintime #longtimegine #melancholy #rumination 

Monday, March 27, 2017

Coexist:  Art House and the White Trash Design 

Manhattan, New York
An important element of postmodernism is its acknowledgment of previous works: living, working, and creating on the backs of those that had come before.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

One never steps on the same river twice

Canon EOS 5d, EF 24mm, f22, ND filter

The water and rocks image was composed under the tree to even out and soften the lighten.  I used my 24mm lens set at f22 to get as much depth as I can.  In my opinion, wide angle lenses are forgiving at any aperture size.  Had this been a 50mm the sharpness would have been compromised at aperture smaller than f8.  So I think the 24mm set at small aperture has something to do with the structure of the rocks captured.  Also, I made sure that the sharpest focus was on one of the rocks (I think the middle one).  The calm water is a result of exposing at 2 seconds, which eliminated the harsh luminance bouncing from the stream.  I increased the EV to 1.3+ so I can get a longer exposure.  The image was post processed using Nik Viveza to adjust the levels and increase the structure a bit, and Nik Color Efex Pro to squeeze out the color.  As I’ve mentioned the Viveza is one that I would have if I have only one choice.  The Color Efex is superfluous but it makes editing easier.  I think I could have gotten the same results by just playing around with the RGB levels.

Friday, March 24, 2017

The Secret to My Success

Juzno: What is your secret to your photography success?

Magnum Photographer David Hurn: A good pair of shoes.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

The Existential Moment of Señor Hugo

One day at Los Angeles's Fashion District

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

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Black Hipster in NY

Yo... you dig?  Ja know yellow is da new black?

There are trending street photography styles that I refuse to be a part of.  One style is heavy on the shadows and lots of blacks in the image.  I believe it's a style borrowed from Alex Webb.  The problem is everything else looks the same.  I try to do the opposite and bring up the highlights instead.


Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Monday, March 20, 2017

The Doctrine of Daisy: She loves me ... she loves me not.

iphone 7 plus, Lightroom Mobile

Still doing our morning walks at the nature trail close by our house.  So far so good.  No body aches, no coyotes, lots of dog and horse droppings along the way.

Went back to posting my photos in Instagram.  Being in IG has been a fascinating experience for me.  One day, I would get 5 or so followers.  I doubt they even seriously looked at my feed.  The next day, I would have lost 10.  By the end of the year, my follower stats will be in deficit.  They love me.  They love me not.  Daisies, I love to turn you on.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Look Out New York

New York in 2011.  Not much have changed. Cosmopolitan city.  Densely populated.  A financial Mecca.  Blah.  Blah.  One thing I dig here is the preponderance of billboards.  I suspect that the city is in the Guinness Book of Records for having the most billboards in the world.  You got to see this city.  It was the same many years ago.  It's still the same now.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Dirty Dish Done Dirt Cheap

Shot with the iPhone 7 plus, Lightroom Mobile
Imitating the great Josef Koudelka.  

Throughout his career, Koudelka has been praised for his ability to capture the presence of the human spirit amidst dark landscapes. Desolation, waste, departure, despair and alienation are common themes in his work. His characters sometimes seem to come out of fairytales. 

Juzno's work on the other hand has been vastly ignored.  His ability to capture dark humor,  irony, and viewer's inability to find meaning are not uncommon themes.  His characters are mostly spoon, forks, and inanimate objects that are known to never complain despite the artist's abuse of them.


Thursday, March 16, 2017

Hannah and Her Sister

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.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017


I am seriously getting anxious. Will she come? I made sure I wore my best suit and newly bought pink bow tie. She may be coming soon. Oh, but I need to go to the toilet. Like now!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Wild Flower ... Please to meet you

Shot with the iPhone 7 plus, of course, on Lightroom Mobile
Ever since the weather has warmed up, Rose and I have gone back to our morning walks.  In Chino Hills where we live, we are fortunate to still have some nature trails close by.  Such as this one.  It's a stone's throw away from our house.  I rarely bring my DLSRs or my mirrorless cameras.  Nowadays, all I need is a big stick in case we get ambushed by a coyote, an expired pepper spray in case we encounter a bad guy, and of course my iPhone 7 plus in case there is an opportunity to take a picture.

I've been using the iPhone 7 plus in combination with the Lightroom Mobile, which allows me to shoot in RAW format.   It is now capable of shooting HDR in RAW format.  How cool can that be.  I have been very impressed on what it can do.  The tele capability makes easy macro shooting.

I've used other smart phone apps but thus far the Lightroom Mobile is in my opinion the best.  The app is capable of manual camera operation.  The photo editing tools are very useable.  I can't wait to take the iPhone with me on our next travel adventure.

Hope your day is going well.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

The New Yorkers as Abstraction (2005)

Cross street in Manhattan, somewhere close to Times Square.

Must have been 2001 or 2002, Rose bought a point and shoot camera.  It was a Canon PowerShot S40.  I think it had only 3 mb resolution.  I was not even thinking of seriously going into photography.  We got it so we can document our travels.  I look at the images that this little camera produced, and I'm still amazed.  The above image was taken around 2005 with this camera at a long exposure time for the blur to show.  By then, I was taking more pictures and had familiarize myself with some basic photography skills.  The S40 camera is still with me, but it has stopped working.  Not quite sure why I'm still keeping it.  Maybe by some magic, it might resurrect and serve me well again.  Below is how my S40 now looks like:

Friday, March 10, 2017

27 mm for the Fujifilm XE-1 ... my new toy

Shot with the iPhone 7 plus, Lightroom Mobile Pro mode

Rose uses the original X100 and from time to time I would also use it.  It's a great camera for traveling.  I love the Fuji x100 and have thought of getting the upgraded X100F.   What I like is its compactness, classic styling, and the 23mm lens (35 mm on a full frame sensor).  Then I heard about Fuji's 27 mm detachable lens.  It's close enough to the 23mm.  I said to myself I could just get this lens and swap it with my 14mm lens attached on my Xe-1. It will just be like the X100.   In fact, the size is comparable.  On our last travel, I used the Xe-1 and 14mm combination, and was great for landscape.  My new Xe-1 and 27mm will be my next travel camera.  We'll see how this kit works out.

Thursday, March 09, 2017

Beer and Coffee for Breakfast

Shot on iPhone 7 plus on Lightroom Mobile HDR

Blogging is hard.  At times I wonder why I even do it.  It makes it harder knowing that there is only a small audience.  That's why beer and coffee sometimes makes more sense than blogging.  Maybe that is what makes blogging more sensible.  I don't know.

Today my Lightroom Mobile app told me that there is a new feature in the app.  It is now capable of shooting HDR in RAW format.  How cool can that be.  I have been using the camera feature of the Lightroom Mobile and have been very impressed on what it can do.  The tele capability makes easy macro shooting.  I still use the stock camera app of the iPhone 7 Plus for portrait mode but the Lightroom outshines my other apps.

Above is a sample of what it does.  I am also showing my preference for IPA beer.  As for coffee beans, it has to be the Costa Rican Tarrazu.  If you believe that, you'll believe anything else.

Hope you are having a good day.  Cheers.

Monday, March 06, 2017

Throwback Fed 4 (Icons Behind the Lens Series)

 Andreas Feininger's The Photojournalist Behind a Fed 4 (reworked)

A few years ago, I thought I knew what I wanted to do.  I wanted to be a Street Photographer.  It didn't take long for me to realize that I sucked at it at times.  Sometimes I would get fortunate in getting killer shots.  But oftentimes my best shots are miserable lots.  But this is the essence.  Perhaps, that is why I fall back into portraits.  And nowadays when I'm sober I just take pictures of non-moving objects.  They usually don't complain a lot.

Like any other skills, I need to practice taking pictures.  I've always wanted to take photos of vintage cameras.  I do own a few but I felt that I didn't have the right elements to make it work.  Until today.  I just remembered Andreas Feininger's photo of Dennis Stock, the face behind the camera.  Stock went on to become a leading photojournalist with Magnum Photos, which is famous for their street photography.

Which brings me to vintage cameras.  The Fed is a neat rangefinder that kind of works like a Leica, the most coveted camera by every street photographer.  Not really comparable as far as quality.  But it's a poor man's Leica.  I could count with my one hand how many fine photos I've shot with the Fed.    Actually, I'm lying.  I don't have any decent shots I made with it.  But the camera looks cool.  For that, it scores some points.  It has to.

This is my tribute to  Andreas Feininger's iconic photo: A picture of my Fed 4 in front of the picture.

Originally posted December 15, 2014

Friday, March 03, 2017

Jewels of San Antonio (reworked)

Reworked and re-posted

May not be best title for this image.  And it's not one of my best works.  But there's something about it that I like.  I tend to treat the pictures I've taken as my children.  There are bright ones, and there are the middle of the road, and it's always hard to toss away the runts.  All of them seem to tell me something about how I was feeling at the time I took them.  I captured this one morning when I was in San Antonio, Philippines in 2010.  The colors of the wet rocks reminded me of fancy jewels found in 99 cent store.  Trinkets.  I think that's what they are used for.  Trivial.  Unimportant.  Charming only to a few.  Yet sometimes it's those trivial things that we tend to cherish.

Hope you enjoy. - R

Originally posted February 24, 2012

Thursday, March 02, 2017

Looking through the glass onion ... oh yeah

Shot with the Carl Zeiss 80mm f2.8 for Hasselblad
What's the deal with the onion?  Not sure, really.  But when I saw it sitting on our kitchen for over a week now, I thought that to would make a good still life model.

One of the many more test shots using the Carl Zeiss 80mm for the Hasselblad with the 24mm Extender attached to the Canon 5D ii.  The lens does not produce tack sharp images but the unique character I think outweighs the sharpness.  The lens is designed for film use.  Plus it's a hundred years old.  Well, I'm kidding.  Not sure how old the lens is.  But it's old.  It's vintage.  And it puts out a vintage quality unlike most modern lens.  I happen to like it.  And I think I'll continue to play around with it.

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

You're in my frame ... can you please move?

Add caption
Seems like trends in street photography rapidly changes.  Black and white has always been the classic, and so many photographers still render their images in monochrome.  Nowadays, the trend is for the image to have unrecognizable people with a lot of shadows in the frame.  Some photos go to the extreme where the shadows dominate the image - going as far as half the image is all shadows.  These are not the regular shadows - they're all pitch black with very high contrast.  These photos are ubiquitous.  In other words, they're a dime a piece.  Just like some high definition landscape photos.  HDR.  But I thought I would jump into the band  wagon with my own twist on it.  I added blur to make it my own style.  The above is my first attempt.  Hope you'll enjoy it.