Saturday, June 30, 2018

Two Old Friends and a Bicycle

They have known each other for a while.  They first met at the Woodstock Festival back in 1969.  Carla who rides the bike used to be a roadie for Janis Joplin.  It is the same bike that she has back then.  She would buy Southern Comfort Whiskey and Strawberries for Janis.  Darla who is holding an old newspaper used to be a nurse volunteer.  One day at the Festival, she attended to Janis when she had too much to drink.  That was how the two women met.

Hope your day is going well.

Friday, June 29, 2018

Bicycle and Three People

I love shooting bicycles.  Old ones, new ones, don't seem to matter.  They are simply photogenic.  Add a few people passing along, and the image is transformed from a still life to street photography.  I sense that the two women may be talking about the guy who passed by, or they could be lost, or they could be talking about me.

Hope your day is going well.

Thursday, June 28, 2018


This is how most people in the third world cook their food.  In the Philippines where I grew up, I have first hand experience with this kind of cooking.  The local folks get whatever wood they can find to fire up the makeshift stove.  An iron kettle, which is called Kawali in most dialects, is used to practically cooked anything.  The smoke from the firewood is terrible as they are mostly humid.  Air pollution control was unheard of.  Growing up, I would stand by the fire - fascinated how things were done.  By the time it was all done, my face would be black with soot and my eyes hurting from the smoke.  This practice continues to this day.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

The world through a cheap camera

I have tons of images that are just waiting to be found.  This was shot in 2009 in Laguna Beach, California.  Like my other images, it has never been edited until now.  That was because back then I had no idea how to edit photos in post production.  The camera was the Canon a590is, a cheap point and shoot camera.  I bought it cheap then, and it is cheaper now.  One can get it for $35 at eBay.  I still have it. For this shot, I mounted a wide angle converter to get a fishy eye look.  Hence, the tacky looking vignette caused by adapter.  It was also a cheap converter.  Must have paid less than $15 for it back then.  A year later I picked up a Lensbaby and took photography seriously.

Weather has warmed up quite a bit here in Southern California.  The image above pretty much reflects the same mood we have today.  Hope your day is going well.


Monday, June 25, 2018

Film Noir Stairway

The image reminded me of an abandoned house on our compound years ago as I was growing up.   I must have five years old.  I and other kids from our neighborhood would go inside the house to explore what was inside.  I always experienced a dreary feeling whenever I was there.  At times I would dream about the place.  But that did not stop me from going back.  I was one curious sort probably too adventurous for my own good.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

A Study on Lighting

Photography is really all about using the light.  How much light does the subject needs?  Will an absence of light in certain parts of the image enhance the photo?  Where is the light coming from?  Is the light harsh or soft?

The image above was shot with the afternoon light coming from our window.  The guitar pedals were just laying there.   Didn't mean to take a picture of  them.  I might have been watching Netflix or something from YouTube.  Then I noticed how the light fell on the pedals.  I loved how the shadows created depth and dimension.  My x100F was close by so I snapped a few photos.  This image was the very first one I shot, which I think was the best.  That usually happens to me.  The first take turns out to be always the best.

Hope your day is going well.

Friday, June 22, 2018

When not to ask men for advice

Agent 1:  I need to buy an anniversary gift for the wife.

Agent 2:  Does she need a new washing machine?

Thursday, June 21, 2018

en jij en ik (seeing with aging eyes)

This has been buried in my archived.  I think I shot the image in 2015 in Amsterdam.  Shot with a 35mm x-mount lens mounted on the Fujifilm x-pro 1 at f/16.

Several times I tried editing the image but I was not satisfied with the results.  Until now.  Don't know what really changed except that my reading eye has gone worse but my far sighted eye has improved.  I have this condition called Anisometropia – a condition where the refractive power for both two eyes is unequal. Both eyes' conditions don't match; one is myopic, or nearsighted and the other eye can be hyperopic, or farsighted.  Rose has Isometropia, which is the opposite; both eyes having the same refractive power.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Ready for the World (ii)

I find that simplicity is always the best.  In capturing the image above it was a matter of being in the right place at the right time.  It was shot with the available light coming from an open door from the left side.  I positioned the camera equipped with a long lens so that I can get enough highlights on the left side and still have enough details on the other side.  It was pure and simple.  And I like it.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Vintage Pedals

When I am alone, I talk to our dog Mimi.  When she’s asleep, I talk to my toys.  Meet Wilson, the old guitar pedal from the 70s.

I've been playing the Fender Strat more and more that I decided to use my older guitar pedals.  Actually, I've had the Phase 100 and the Envelope Filter for a while but had not used them.  Bought them years ago from somebody's uncle who used to be a leader in a musical band.  I offered to buy his equipment.  But he had gambling problem so he blew the money in a few hours.  I am digressing though.

I wasn't even sure that the pedals would work.  But they did.  I was thrilled to get that vintage sound.  Funny I call it vintage sound - even though the sound is reminiscent of the 70s disco era.  I suppose for most readers, they will associate that sound as vintage.  Obviously, I'm dating myself.

Now I was not into the disco scene, nor do I plan to start playing disco.  But I was planning to use the effects pedals for a different kind of sound.  I just haven't figured it yet.

More to come.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Impressions on the Apollo App for iPhone 7 Plus and 8 Plus Users

Lately, I've been shooting more with the smart phone.  So I recently got theApollo Immersion Illumination app, which is advertised as adding new light sources to an image to make it look like 3D.  The app does allow one to control how the light falls but it's nowhere near 3D.  Still, I find the results pretty impressive.  It only works on the iPhone 7 plus and 8 plus using the portrait mode.  

The app has even evaluated by dpReview so I wont't try to regurgitate what they wrote.  Rather I'll just mention a few bits on my first impression.

The learning curve is steep.  That is why it has received quite a few grumpy comments.  I think the trick is to know where the original light is going.  Once this is identified, then the light that is being added should ideally be consistent with how the original light fell as in the original image below.

Inside the app, I added two light sources (indicates as two hollow circles below).  In this case, I don't want the third light on the back so I left that alone.


The next step is to play around with the settings - adjusting the spread and distance of light.  I find the result to be magical.  It still needed some fine tuning so I exported the image to Photoshop and adjusted the contrast and the shadows.  

The app has its limited uses.  But at $1.99, it's a cool toy to play with.  That is whenever it works.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Redecorating MOCA

It was too early to drive home from Downtown Los Angeles, and we wanted to avoid the traffic, so Rose and I went for a walk on Grand Avenue after finishing the bottle of Greek wine at the Otium Bar.  The image above is part of the sculpture outside the Museum of Contemporary Art building.  I find that the piece too dull looking to represent modern art so I decided to take creative license and colorize it in post-production.   In truth, I have never liked modern art.  I find them pretentious.

Not sure what is the building in the background.  Maybe somebody can tell me.

Hope your day is going well.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Red Silk Apparel - Wash Cold and with Dark Garments Only

If you wear red tonight
Remember what I said tonight
For red is the color that my baby wore
And what is more, it's true
Yes it is ...

Yes it is, Lennon-McCartney

I have been using the iPhone 7 plus camera more than my other cameras that I think I may end up giving them away.  Not.  Just kidding.  Although I like the portability and the picture quality of the iPhone, it still will never replace the other professional cameras that can shoot with various lenses.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

The Merchant of Venice (starring Jeffrey)

I learned quite a bit from Jeffrey in just a few days hanging out with him.  It wasn't by choice that I hung out with him though.  He keeps looking for me.  He never stopped talking.  I think he was in dire need to an audience.  One of the most useful things I learned was not to pretend you are wiser or better or faster than anyone else.  He would at times play the victim - which he was very good at.  So people assist him a lot.  He always carried a cane and walked slowly.  Most people are sensitive to that so they always give him a break.  I did see him dancing on the boat one time.  Without the use of his cane on him.  Cheeky little rascal is he.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Creme Brûlée

My current go-to electric guitar.  An American made Fender Stratocaster Deluxe.  I think I had it for over 2 years now but wasn't really playing it as much.  In fact, the last couple of years, I had not been musically creative.  Not as much as I would want it.  Except for banging the drum kit every day - which I hardly would call musical.  (I finally got rid of some of the kit parts.  But I kept the snare and the two cymbals - in case I get frustrated with things I can't control.  I do have a control issue.  Always has.)

In retrospect, I never had any intention of posting this image.  Shot on my iPhone 7 plus so I can remember the setting on my guitar while I was writing a song.  But lately I was having sleep issue since I cut down on my alcohol intake.  (The doctor recently warned me of this.)  So one night, when I couldn't sleep right away, I decided to edit some images.  Then I saw this.  To my eyes, it has potential.  So here it is.  Meet Dolly, my Creme Brûlée Strat.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Still Life with Grapefruits

Sometimes Grapefruits are just grapefruits.  Hope your day is going well.

Saturday, June 09, 2018

Wish You Were Here (Artist at Work in Old Town Pasadena)

Artist at Work in Old Town Pasadena

Dear Mom,

I am now an artist in Southern California.  I don't earn much money but it's okay.  I now live with other artists like me.  It's an al fresco style with the bridge on top as our roof.  I think it's called the 605 Freeway.  The rent is free, as long as it doesn't rain.  Which is near non-existent here.  The sun is fine.  Food is adequate for the most part.  I get it down the Mission, which is a few miles away.  Sometimes, Todd would pick up food for the rest of us when he is sober.  He is a swell guy.  He wants to be an actor.  But I don't think I'll marry him.  Besides, he has not proposed yet.  Oh by the way, I found a cute cat at back of the restaurant where I used to work as a bust maid.  I named him Jasper.  I don't know why but he looks like a Jasper.  He roams around at the Old Town during the night, and sleeps during the day.  Maybe I'll see him tonight.  I save a few bits of arugula I picked up at someone's garden.  I hope it stays fresh because Jasper doesn't like to eat it when it's wilted.  I think this is all for now.  Oh yeah, please send my love to little David.  I missed his laughs.

Love Always,
Mary Jane

Friday, June 08, 2018

Red at work (ii)

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.

Thursday, June 07, 2018

Reposted Again: The Last Place on Earth and the Greed that Threatens It

Originally posted on February 11, 2012 and November 5, 2014

Well, it's not really the last place on earth but that's how I feel about it.  The cow farm that's only a stone's throw away from where I live is threatened with those ugly giant high voltage towers.  Even though the cables have not been installed, they already looked ugly and have destroyed the last few remaining pastoral views that we have in our community.  Edison does not care that those 200 foot towers are less than 100 feet away from some of the houses.  It just doesn't make sense.  If one of the tower falls, it would easily struck down a couple of houses.  No, I take it back.  It does make sense.  I get it... because when you follow the money, it's all about greed.

Pray for the children.
Fight the deceit.
Resist oppression.
Power to the people, right on.
In the meantime,
this too shall pass.

Featured Comments:

Dear Edison,

Bury the cables, make hammers and nails out of towers and go build a barn.


Kissa My-Cow

Anne:  I think I like this photo, but at the same time it scares me.  it reminds me of the future, like that movie with Tina Turner, is it Mad Max & the Thunderdome???  The future where water is scarce, land is barren, the sun scorches, rain is acidic.  Money no longer matters, the possession of food and water gives you the power to rule.  I think it is the orange color, the color of fire, that makes me think of that movie.  Should the color be greenish in the background, it will make me think of Heidi, the girl in the Swedish mountain...

Juzno:  Heidi is now a grandmother, and her granddaughter Heidi II takes after her.  She has a calling to save the oppressed people in Timbuk2 so he leaves her green Swedish mountain and heads off  to meet Mad Max, who badly needed counseling from years of alcohol abuse.  Mad Max is already 70 years old but with Heidi's badgering and cajoling, Mad max goes to a 12-step rehab.  After three days, Mad Max collapses as his heart is too weak to be wean off alcohol.  Heidi II needs help so she calls Juzno.  Juzno says, "No probs.  But I'm kind busy campaigning here.   I'll take care of Timbuk2."

Le:  First, the unusual red color of a peaceful scene of a farmland immediately draws my attention.  I know it's not just because of sunset.  I sense some conflict or anger.  Reading your commentary, I clearly understand why.  You convey your emotion and your thought very skillfully through your artwork.

Juzno: No I wouldn't say I'm angry.  Dismayed at powerful entity without regards to humanity and the creation is what I was channeling thorough my art.  But yes the scene is conflicted in my view. The contrast of "good" and "evil".  (Nobody is truly good.)  Powerful versus the oppressed.  Strong versus weak.  One is led to believe that the oppressed will lose because they have no redeemer.

The concept of David and Goliath comes to mind.  The high towers represent Edison or any powerful entity (you can even put the government in this category).  The David here is the savior of the oppressed that needs to be heard.  David isn't in the picture yet but we know from the biblical account that he will redeem his people.  He is coming.

Techie Note:  The colors are what came out of the camera.  Just some minor tweaks to fine tune the contrast and remove some color cast. Taken with Canon Rebel XT converted to IR, EF 50mm 1.8ii, iso 400, f16, 1/640.  Chino Hills, California.

Tuesday, June 05, 2018

Georgian Door Image Made Me a Few Dollars Richer

That's right.  My image of the Georgian Door in Dublin (and by the way this kind of door is ubiquitous in the city) made me a few dollars richer.  Arcangel had licensed the image to appear in the book cover of Echange Fatal by Siobhan MacDonald.  The book is in French so I could not tell you much what the plot is about but it's supposed to be a thriller.  Unfortunately, for me, the book illustrator only used the bricks and the leaves on my image, and the door got replaced with a yucky plastic red door.  Still, modest as it may be, I would call it my bragging right.

Monday, June 04, 2018

It's Always Happy Hour

Waiting at the Otium bar for the Los Angeles traffic to lighten up.  
It's not even five o'clock yet. 
Somewhere it is.

Friday, June 01, 2018

The Blues Brothers Dilemma

Elwood: There are 2016 miles to Chicago, we have a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it's (almost) dark and we're wearing sunglasses. 

Jake:  Forget it.  I'm taking the Taxi.