Friday, December 25, 2009

Day 116: Holidays In SF

(San Francisco, December 2009)

Every holiday season I always try to get to San Francisco to see the decorations and the big tree in Union Square. This season I was able to take the trip on Christmas night with my friend. Hot chocolate and lots of walking, what a great way to end the night.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Day 115: Back....Home?

(San Jose, December 2009) 

When does it stop being home and become your parents' home? It is my hometown, is it my home? I will come back in due time. I wonder about that every time I come and go.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Day 108: Holidays In The OC

(Newport, December 2009)

Monday, December 14, 2009

Day 105: Adventure Awaits Us

(The Photo Family, Yes, they are silly, December 2009) 

(From 52 Students to 25, December 2009) 

Today was also our last class and saying goodbye to it was bittersweet. Although we are all glad we have made it, I will miss it very much. We shared our final projects with each other and had a mini holiday party. It was great seeing everyone's work and seeing their concepts come together.

This class challenged me creatively and mentally and I feel I am better for it. My work schedule and life schedule changed drastically for this class, but I happily did it because I looked forward to working on all my projects.

Besides the knowledge I have gained from this class, the friendships I have made are invaluable. With the understanding of friends like Shannon, Maurice, Ricky, Jerod and Courtney, and others, I was able to share frustrations and achievements and only they truly understood because they were going through it as well.
I am proud to say that I was able to get through this class and am fortunate to have met our instructor, Agatha. Her knowledge and expectations is the driving force of this course. We are all better because of this and I am grateful that I have gained a mentor I can go to.

Although the class has come to an end, all of us are continuing on. I look forward to seeing where everyone's path takes them. And I am looking forward to when our paths crossed for the many adventures we have planned. From Yosemite, to San Francisco, Asia and beyond, we have hopes of coming together once or twice a year to do photography and catch up.

I plan on keeping this blog going and continuing with posting of pictures and I am happy you all will continue on with me. For the next few weeks I will be researching and visiting places to find inspiration for my next photo project and I will be sharing with you what I find.

Thank you for all the memories friends and classmates. Cheers to you!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Day 101: "How Could it Hurt You When it Looks so Good" -Hollywood, Madonna

(Hollywood Blvd., December 2009) 

While my friend was in town, we took a trip to Hollywood Boulevard for her to see the area and the stars on the sidewalk. As we were driving there, I warned her that Hollywood Blvd. is more gritty than glitzy. How it's portrayed on television is completely different when you see it person.

To me, Hollywood Boulevard is where dreams come to die. It is evident in the faces of many of the street performers who don on costumes and pose with tourists. Spiderman, Batman, Superman, Catwoman, Yoda, Spongebob, Indiana Jones, etc. These characters gather in front of the famous Chinese Theater and solicit visitors to take pictures with them. After a picture is taken, a tip is usually given for their "services." They do not work for an agency and are there on their free will.

Cat Woman became hostile because nobody wanted to pose with her. She started demanding people take her picture and said "Are you going to make me stand here all day? Somebody take my picture and pay me."

The more popular characters had plenty of people to take pictures with them. Others, walked around, edging their way closer to big crowds, many did not understand the boundaries of personal space. There were more than 4 Spiderman, all standing a few feet away from one another.

As the sun was setting and we were getting ready to leave, a man who was we had seen earlier jumping around in Spiderman costume, pull his mask off. He was not the 19 year old Peter Parker we've seen in the movies, he was a rail thin 40 something year old man with straggly hair, deep set wrinkles and pale skin with unfriendly eyes. He saw someone filming a project and yelled at them saying, "You are not allowed to film me, I don't want to be filmed. You have to pay me!"

Taking a closer look, I saw the costumes were not as bright and new as I had thought. They were tattered and dirty and many did not fit properly. But they continued on, walking the street, making their rounds with the thinning crowd.

"Ready, smile!" Flashing lights, picture after picture, these people are a part of many families vacations pictures which they will show their family and friends. And their friends will think of Hollywood as a wonderful and fun places because you can find Spiderman and Batman readily available for pictures.

When I pulled out of my parking spot, I wonder, what is the story with these street performers and do they enjoy doing what they do?

Honeysuckle, she's full of poison
She obliterated everything she kissed
and now she's fading
Somewhere in Hollywood
I'm glad I came here
With your pound of flesh

-Celebrity Skin, Hole

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Day 100: Happy 100 Days of Photography and to Many Many More

(Huntington Beach, December 2009) 

You may recall my ongoing project that started in October. The concept was to capture shoes in their environment with the intent of telling a story about the person based on their shoes. I am at the conclusion of my project and I feel accomplished and proud of it.

This project required me to interact with a variety of people and I have learned that one of the easiest way to break the ice with strangers is asking, "Can I take a picture of your shoes?"

A puzzled look usually follows my question and a few have asked if I have a foot fetish. I just laugh and tell them about my project and then my models seem more relaxed about the idea. So many people have patiently waited as I photograph their feet and when I'm done have wished me luck. I am grateful for these strangers and their patience.

I am most thankful for my family and friends who have gone through this process with me. Shot after shot of their feet and they still keep me around as their friend. They have given me ideas, advice and encouragement, especially when I felt defeated with the project.

I have realized that when you fully immerse yourself into a project and see it day in and day out, you have to take a break or you will want to hate your project. I was fortunate to have friends tell me this and encourage me to keep going.

Now that this project is concluding, I am brainstorming for my next one. We'll see where it all takes me.

P.S. Thank you to all my followers and supporters of this blog. Please leave me your thoughts and suggestions on photography, the blog or just a hello. Here's to many more days of photography!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Day 99: Season of Change

(San Jose, November 2009) 
While driving to pick up my friend, I drove past this tree. I remember thinking it was gorgeous. I thought about taking the picture, but then drove past it. After 2 blocks, I turned around and came back to the tree. I knew if I didn't take the picture, I'd regret it.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Day 97: Can't Forget to Have Fun

(Alice in Wonderland, Disneyland, December 2009) 

It was extremely busy this past week and I started to feel overwhelmed. I didn't know if I would have enough time to do everything I had wanted to do. However, after sitting down and creating a plan with scheduling of every task I needed to get done, I felt much more relieved. I also scheduled in fun time considering my friend was in town from San Jose to celebrate her 25th birthday, I needed to make sure fun was high on the list!

After getting all my work done for photography on Saturday morning and a bit on Sunday morning, her and I were off to Disneyland.

I've only been to Disneyland twice, and both experiences were not as magical as promised, so I hoped that third time really was the charm. I am happy to report, it was! I had a lot of fun with my friend and the park was very festive with all the holiday decorations.

This past weekend was a great lesson for me, I cannot forget to have fun. As hard as we all work, we also need time to put that aside and enjoy our time with those we love.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Day 93: I Fall In Love Every Time

(San Jose, November 2009) 

San Jose has so many nooks and corners in it, it's amazing what we can find. I've lived there practically my whole life and I still don't know where a lot of places are. This past weekend, I was home for Thanksgiving and my cousin and I took a short drive from her place down White Road (a road I have gone down many times) and we kept going. The road led us through a the foot of a mountain that I had no idea would be so close.

It was a short trip, but during that time we were able to stop and take some pictures, catch up and just enjoy it together. She is very special to me because she was the one who introduced me to photography when I was a child.

Photography has always been a part of my life, from toy cameras, to my first point and shoot. I owe a lot of this to my cousin. She was constantly taking pictures, and from her, I discovered the beauty of photography. When she was taking a class in college, she took me along with her to the dark room and I remember thinking, I will process my own film one day.

She was the one who I went to when I told her I was going to start taking classes and she was the one who helped me find my first SLR for 35mm. It was really special to take a photo excursion together in our hometown and do what we both love, photography.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Day 92: How Far We Have Come

(Los Angeles, January 2009)
Happy first of the month!

This goes out to my friends and family who have experienced a tough year. We are down to the last month and we are still standing. We are better than we were and for that we should celebrate.

Today we celebrate our good health and how fortunate we are despite everything we have experienced these past few months. We can only continue to go up from here and we will take on all challenges with a positive outlook.

I post this picture because it was from my first black and white roll in January. I've come a long way from the time I took this shot and I am grateful for my journey despite all the low moments. We are who we are today from our experiences.

Cheers to you all and may optimism find its way to you when you feel there is no hope.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Day 91: Obsession Continues


My obsession with window lighting continues. Last day of the month. It was a tough one, but we made it. Tomorrow will be the beginning of the last month of 2009. Let's end 2009 on a high note.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Day 88: The colors

(San Jose, November 2009)

Fall and spring are my two favorite holidays. They both represent change and the colors during these seasons are fantastic. Fall graces us with deep rich colors of orange, red, yellow and brown. I didn't truly appreciate how beautiful it was until I took a trip home to San Jose and walked around downtown.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Day 82: Assisting

Today I assisted Shannon on her environmental portrait and she was assigned a pilot. We met with him at a small airport in Riverside and had him do various poses. Shannon did a great job and I had a lot of fun assisting. I would love to do environmental portraits professionally down the line.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Day 81: Treasures

I love finding little photo treasures like this one which was located in a restaurant in the Eagle Rock area. Perfect night, lovely find.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Day 80: Strobe Project Take 2

(Photo courtesy of Maurice, great photo assistant)

For my second time around with the strobe project I decided to follow my theme of feet as my calendar and shoot feet in motion. I wanted to do something fun that ties in fond memories of childhood so I had my models do hopscotch and jump rope.

The digital pictures turned out fun and the lighting with the pop of colors makes this one of my favorite shot. I will show the printed versions later once I print them.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Day 79: Meeting My New Client

I was assigned Dancer as my subject for my environmental portrait and I chose to do my  photo on a belly dancer. I have always found them to be exotic and very confident in their bodies. This is something that is very important for many young women to have.

I found Tina, the dancer online and I sat in on her class to see how she teaches and moves. There were a variety of women there ranging from 20's - 50's and everyone had a different body shape.

What was amazing was by the end of class the walls of self-consciousness were stripped and everyone was moving their hips and dancing. What a great way to get people to come out of their shells.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Day 78: Going Back...

(NYC Subway, 2008)
Everyone has a breaking point when you just go go go and go without stopping and reflecting. Yesterday was that day. I felt defeated creatively and questioned my abilities. However, with the help of friends and family, I was able to talk it out and understand that we all get burned out and it's normal.

I was able to take a step back to appreciate everything. We can only come back stronger and better.

I'm ready for more.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Day 76: Rain On My Parade

(NYC, 2008) 

One of  my favorite pictures of NYC. To me, it looks like a painting.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Day 72: Conclusion of Outside Strobe Project

(Photo from all of us) 
Last night was the conclusion of our strobe work outside. These folks have become my photo family. We all bring something to the table and help each other out with whatever we can. Support is extremely important.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Day 71: Leap Leap Leap Away!

(Strobe, Irvine, 2009) 

I chose to do multi strobe motion and have my models do leap frog. I envisioned incorporating childhood games for this project and I thought it came through well. 

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Day 68: Concert

(Jay-Z Concert, Los Angeles November 2009) 

Whether it be an open mic at a cafe or a full production concert in Madison Square Garden, live music is truly magical. In those few hours you and all those attending are sharing an experience by coming together with the common thread of being a fan and celebrating the music.

It can make you jump out of your seat and dance or make you stop and reflect.  Music has always been regarded as the common language across the world and to celebrate it with people from all walks of life is something everyone should experience.

After being a fan for more than 10 years, I attended the Jay-Z concert tonight. I went with my friend Matt who is also a fan and it was an amazing concert. The lights, music and energy of the fans swept us out of our seats and we never stopped dancing to the music. He covered songs from his first album to his current one. I was ecstatic each time I heard a song I loved from years ago. It was wonderful having an old friend there who knew the music and had no inhibitions about getting up and dancing to it.

Amazing night with great company.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Day 67: Early Risers Get The Best Shot...

(Huntington Beach, November 2009) 
Today was an early morning. We headed to Huntington Beach to get some shots for our calendar project. I thought it went pretty well. I set out to get pictures of the feet of surfers rinsing off after showering, bikers and possibly runners. It was a perfectly overcast day.

As I was leaving the parking structure, I saw this and I thought it was serene. What a great sight to start the day.

I'll post the calendar shots when they're all done.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Day 64: Matt's Photo Shoot Contact Sheets

These are some of the contact sheets I developed from Matt's photo shoot. I am happy I was able to capture a lot of his mannerisms. The lighting came out how exactly how I wanted.

What made this photo shoot flow so easily was talking to Matt as I was taking pictures. We talked about our friends back home (we're both from the same area), work, life, family, goals, his girlfriend (which you can tell when we were because he would have a huge smile on his face) and so on.

I enjoyed this assignment and would like to pursue doing more portraits along with other fields.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Day 63: Matt's Photo Shoot

The photo shoot with Matt went so well! We ended up doing 11 rolls of film. I felt surprisingly very comfortable with setting up the Tungsten lights. We ended up shooting at his place because I figured it would be more at ease for him to be in his environment.

Matt has a lot of mannerisms that I wanted to capture and I think it came across very well in film shots. During the shoot I moved around, shot from above, side, had him stand, sit and lean. The time went by very quickly and when it was done, I felt very confident with it.

Unfortunately I only took 4 shots digitally with my iphone. Looking forward to seeing it on film.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Day 61: Little Model

(Huntington Beach, November 2009)

Today I met with a friend's friend to shoot her daughter's feet for my calendar. She was a wonderful model and was very easy to work with.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Friday, October 30, 2009

Day 59: Because It's 1, 2, 3 Strikes You're Out.....

(Oakland, October 2009) 

Baseball was not a big part of my childhood like many other children. I knew what the sport was and we had played t-ball and softball in elementary school, but we didn't have outings to the baseball games and my dad did not throw the ball around with me. We did other sports and other activities. However, I was always drawn to the crowd of baseball and the excitement of it. It isn't fast pace like football, which I grew up watching, but it definitely has its exciting moments.

Two of my favorite childhood movies were centered around baseball. The first was The Sandlot and every time I watched it in day care, I remember feeling that desire to join a create a neighborhood team and play baseball all day. The second movie was A League of Their Own. I saw the women as strong and powerful and I wanted to be like that.

I didn't attend my first baseball game until I was about 20 years old. I remember thinking, this is exactly how I had envisioned it with all the sights and even smells.

"Ice cream for $4! Lemonade, get your cold lemonade! Peanuts! Get Your Peanuts!" All these moments cannot be captured at home watching baseball, that's why I really enjoy watching the games live.

Another fun part of attending the games is seeing who attends. It always warms my heart to see a family taking time out on a sunny Saturday to enjoy a game and each other's company. Those children will have fond memories to look back on when they're older.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Day 58: Old World Photo Shoot Day

Today we shot the Old World Portrait. It was my first time working with Tungsten lights and I thought it went well. The clothes, hair, props and mannerism came across exactly how I had envisioned it.

This image is from instant film using the 4x5. I'll post the final one when I develop it.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Day 57: Making Pies Fly

(San Francisco, October 2009) 

It's not the big landmarks that makes a city special to me, it's moments like these.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Day 56: Tungsten Assignment

We were assigned our next assignment last night, a portrait using the Tungsten light kit and it would have to be in the studio.

For this project I wanted to shoot a male so I asked my friend Matt to be my model. Matt has a an urban street feel to his style, but also enjoys hitting unpaved trails to hike. He embodies hip hop music and incorporates it into his style of dress. These were all the aspects I had in mind to capture.

Before shooting him next week, I put together this image board to serve as inspiration for my shoot and it also gives him an idea of what I am going for.

Looking forward to this shoot!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Day 55: Over Propped

Today we turned in our CD covers and had a critique. Although a lot of people were receptive towards my picture, the instructor thought it was heavily propped which took away from each element that was in there.

After stepping away from it and looking at it, I can see where she was coming from. There were so many things going on, it was hard to appreciate one thing.

I learned a lot from this assignment. Learned that I am good at finding props when needed, so there may be a future in styling and props. I learned to step back and look at the subject in various ways, sometimes the best shot is the one where there is only one thing. I learned that I am capable in envisioning a scene and seeing it all the way through. This has been a problem for me even when I was doing art. I didn't allow myself to sketch out ideas for paintings and I never saw the value in it until now. I was able to see understand my abilities and I appreciate them much more now.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Day 54: Old World Run Through and Idea

(Westminster, October 2009)

A few weeks ago I did a test run with the 4x5 camera for the Old World Style Portrait assignment using the instant film back. I was able to try different poses and lighting styles and see them right away. This also helped me become more comfortable with the camera. It is indeed a gentle giant and requires an immense amount of patience.

Doing the run through also helped my model, my roommate, become more comfortable with the setting.

The theme for my old world is Old World Vietnam during the early 1900's which was during the later years of the French Colonization of Vietnam. During this time Catholicism was introduced to the country.

My portrait centers around the idea of holding onto tradition and religion which will be portrayed through the model wearing the traditional ao dai and holding the Buddhist prayer beads and prayer book.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Day 53: CD Cover Photo Shoot

(Newport, October 2009)

Today was the photo shoot for the CD cover assignment. Our assignment was to create a CD cover based on listening to the song twice in class and the words we associated with it.

When I first heard the song in class I visualized a box of emotions due to the rapid change in the music composition. I felt sadness, happiness then excitement and mystery. I then thought of Pandora's box and wanted to use that as my inspiration. I then thought of a treasure chest containing this being found on the beach with it's own world locked inside it. My original idea was to have a world of trees, birds and water inside the chest. However, as I gathered my props, the idea evolved a little.

I started my day early, wanting to make sure to shoot when it was still overcast, this would allow me to have the best lighting, especially shooting outside. My friend Shannon met me to assist during the shoot and she did a fantastic job.

It was a lot of fun setting up this shot. I haven't done still life for awhile, since art class and I've never set up still shots for photography.

Everything came out exactly how I had envisioned it. Whether or not it is what the Art Director wants, we shall see. I am happy that I was able to plan, sketch, find and execute this shot to almost exactly how I and envisioned it.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Day 52: Origami Folding

(Westminster, October 2009) 

I worked on some origami last night as props for my CD cover photo shoot. I think I only folded a crane once in my life and that was when I was 8 years old. I pulled out my Japanese Paper Art book and got to work.

There were many half folded cranes and flowers because I could not figure out the folding for a while. After a few failed attempts, I made my first crane, then flower and I was folding like a pro before the end of the night.

I'm excited to see how this will look once it comes together.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Day 51: Guess What I Found??

(Costa Mesa, October 2009)

My very own treasure chest for my CD Cover shoot... Thrift store find.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Day 50: This is What I'm Seeing...

(Westminster, 2009)

Leaving home is never easy and although it's been a year, I have days when I get incredibly home sick and miss the days when I can eat my mother's cooking or call my friend to go drive around and talk.

Staying connected hasn't been difficult due to the internet and cell phones. And from this, my friend Xochi and I would text each other pictures as a way to keep in touch. Pictures have vary from what we're eating, doing or buying and so forth. As of recently, we have been taking pictures of sunsets or sunrises. I would mostly send her pictures of sunrises because I wake up earlier.

I truly cherish these moments. Although we are hundreds of miles a part, we are still a part of each others lives.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Day 49: One Day

(San Francisco, October 2009)

Monday, October 19, 2009

Day 48: This to Me Is Beautiful

(San Francisco, October 2009)

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Day 47: Race Day

(San Francisco, October 2009)

20,000 Runners, never alone on the race track. Amazing route.