Archive for October, 2011

Hopefully everyone got a chance to get out there and photograph all the little goblins and gremlins. Well, I guess now day it’s a little bit more commercialized. It’s more about Buzz Light Year and Spiderman. At least my son ended up being just another Buzz Light Year. But this post isn’t about the family snap shots. And yes, I did start to shoot more of my kids. But after all the walking between the malls and on the street for trick-o-treating. I’m beat. Maybe I’ll do a post Halloween in the future. In the meantime, I decided couple of the shots I took a few weekends ago in the city was fitting for such costume festive.

This is a shot I took of a window display. Of course the skeleton caught my eye first. I’m guessing they’re getting a jump on the whole Halloween festive. But then I realize this could make an interesting shot leveraging the layering composition technique. Look closely, the reflection all of the sudden is becoming the background. Creating almost a ghostly effect on the rest of the manikin and the skeleton.
Title: Stitch
Stitch

The second picture was more of a test on how well the 35mm lux and the M9 do at night. I must say, amazingly well!! Of curse, the glistering character does create an interesting break to the dark white, vertical line symmetry.
Title: Glistering
Almost

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Just another day

Posted: October 26, 2011 in Uncategorized

I spend an wonderful weekend in the city.  Walked around the shopping district looking for interesting things to shoot.  Here is the first set of many more to come.

I notice these wanderers with guitars sitting by the light pole as I walked a crossed the cross walk.  Having been reading all the leaks about Steve Jobs’ new biography and how much of a hippy he was, it was only fitting to snap a shot of this with the Apple store in the background.  This is my ode to Steve Jobs!! RIP!

Title: No Jobs
No Jobs

I notice this lady was trying to take a picture of her friend while the businessman on the cell phone was too busy to notice that he was about to be part of someone’s memory as part of their SF visit. This is something we always get as photographers. I know I typically duck or wait just so people can have their moments.

Title: Blocked
Blocked

While I was waiting for the wife to do her shopping, I decided to wait outside and see what I can capture. Here is another common theme we see always in the City. People with backpacks reading a map. I guess maybe I should have helped him, but I was too busy taking picture of him instead!

Title: Lost
Lost

Here is the last one of the set. By no means do photography have to be PC (Politically Correct). AS an artist, I’m here to show the world what I see and feel. Not what the world want me to see and feel. As I been shooting more and more, I have notice that my motto, my mission statement, is true. The world is my canvas, and my Leica Camera is my paint brush, albeit an expensive brush. On to the controversy. I do not know who this lady is nor do I know anything about that dog either. Just the way she walked right pass me make me pass judgement on them.

Title: Bitches
Bitches

Hope you enjoy the set. I’ll be posting more in the coming days.

Leica Akademie just posted their 2012 schedule for 2012. Looks likes it’s going to be a very exciting year. I’m going to start blocking off my calendar so I can attend a few of these. Maybe in different cities.

Here is a snap shot from their website

Leica Travel Photography with Lonely Planet
Date: Venue: More Information:
January 21, 2012 Los Angeles, CA Click for more information
Leica M9 Owners
Date: Venue: More Information:
January 20, 2012 Los Angeles, CA Click for more information
March 9, 2012 New York, NY Click for more information
May 10, 2012 San Francisco, CA Click for more information
Leica M9 Shooting Experience
Date: Venue: More information:
November 4, 2011 Washington, DC Click for more information
February 17, 2012 San Francisco, CA Click for more information
March 3, 2012 Miami, FL Click for more information
March 14, 2012 Washington, D.C Click for more information
March 17, 2012 Houston, TX Click for more information
April 18, 2012 Austin, TX Click for more information
April 26, 2012 New York, NY Click for more information
May 5, 2012 Montreal Click for more information
Leica Compact Camera Photography
Date: Venue: More information:
March 9, 2012 San Francisco, CA Click for more information
March 15, 2012 Washington, D.C Click for more information
March 25, 2012 Los Angeles, CA Click for more information
April 27, 2012 New York, NY Click for more information
Leica Street Photography
Date: Venue: More information:
November 5, 2011 Washington, D.C. Click for more information
May 18-19, 2012 Washington, D.C. Click for more information
June 22-23, 2012 New York, NY Click for more information
July 20-21, 2012 Vancouver, BC, Canada Click for more information
August 3-4, 2012 Chicago, IL Click for more information
August 24-24, 2012 San Francisco, CA Click for more information
Leica Digital Black & White Photography
Date: Venue: More information
March 24, 2012 Los Angeles, CA Click for more information
May 17, 2012 New York, NY Click for more information
June 13, 2012 Washington, D.C. Click for more information
July 14, 2012 San Francisco, CA Click for more information
July 18, 2012 Seattle, WA Click for more information
August 10, 2012 Boston, MA Click for more information
Leica Weekends
Date: Venue: More information:
December 6-8, 2011 Miami, FL Click for more information
December 9-11, 2011 Miami, FL Sold Out
February 24-26, 2012 Las Vegas, NV Click for more information
March 30 – April 01, 2012 Palms Springs, CA Click for more information
April 20-22, 2012 New York, NY Click for more information
May 11-13, 2012 New York, NY Click for more information
June 15-17, 2012 Toronto, Canada Click for more information
July 20-22, 2012 Los Angeles, CA Click for more information
August 17-19, 2012 Denver, CO Click for more information
Leica Destination
Date: Venue: More Information:
April 23-26, 2012 Big Sur & Monterey, CA Click for more information
Leica Available Light Photography
Date: Venue: More Information:
March 02, 2012 Miami, FL Click for more information
May 16, 2012 New York, NY Click for more information
May 17, 2012 Washington, D.C. Click for more information
June 22, 2012 San Francisco, CA Click for more information
Contact: Leica Akademie

Email: akademie@leicacamerausa.com
Phone: 201-995-0051

Here is the link to their website for more up to date information.

http://us.leica-camera.com/service/leica_academy/

So here is the last set I had of the fun day at the park. This is more of interesting thing my camera told me to take. The Central Park in San Mateo had a nice Japanese Garden. Hopefully I’ll get a chance to go back soon to do a full set like I did with Kelley Park in San Jose.

I’ll start the set with something HARD. This tree was just begging to get taken out of context. Childish, perhaps but definitely no ED over here.

Erect

Here is a sign that’s very low to the ground. I think it was a sign to tell the kids not to feed the fish. Yes, I know. This would probably be an award winning picture if there was actually a kid in the picture. I didn’t have a kid handy at the time, but I love the geometric shape and the wood texture with the burnt carving enough to get on the ground to snap the shot.

Starving Koi

This was a little sitting area in the Japanese garden. Once again, the juxtaposing of the circular paper screen with the vertical wood planks and the branch breaking the harmony of the scene.

Log

Rocks! I love the rock formations in Japanese Garden. It always gives me a sense of serenity when I look at it. Especially how the collective tiny pebbles contrast with the large stone steps.

Stoned

That’s it for this set.

I actually got a challenge from GetDPI.com on my post about Movie Look. I will be writing about that shortly. Stay tune!!

So here are couple abstract shots I took during Fleet Week. I know I’m jumping chronologically on my post but I didn’t want to start posting these abstract shots in comparison to my people shots.

Anyways, this first one is of a vendor stand. It was a hot day and I thought this would be a great opportunity to put some of my product shots experience into this to make it look like a soda ad. I will be doing more write up and pictures of some of my product shots in later blog posts.

Chilling

This 2nd shot is part of my attraction to doors. If you been following my flickr or blog, you probably seen me shoot a bunch of doors. For some reason, I feel that different types of doors just create different type of opportunities and it’s always a mystery on what’s behind the door. It is hard to tell a story just by looking at the door, but a worn out door tells a story as well as a brand new door in vibrant colors. Hopefully I will collect enough doors to make it a set on my flickr one of these days. In the mean time, check out this door.

DUOr

My next set of pictures will be abstract as well as landscapes. Stay tune!

Once again, using any excuse to go out and shoot!! Day at the park with the kids turned into a great photo opportunity. Kids always makes good subjects for photography. I remember I mention during the Leica Akademie that I rarely shoot my kids. I shot everything from Formula One Racing to Studio Portraits to Weddings and everything in between. But rarely do I actually take picture of my kids. Taking picture of kids area all about capturing that decisive moment. Kids have expressions that are so natural. No wonder Henri Cartier-Bresson uses them as his subject all the time. I figure today would be a good day to start taking pictures of kids. I’ll eventually get around to take more pictures of MY OWN kids!!

Here are 5 shots that I thought was interesting.

Here is a mom that’s trying out the new full 8 megapixel iPhone 4s camera. Ok, the reason I know that was the brand spanking new iPhone 4s? I stay up till 3am to pre-order it for her so she gets it on launch day. I wonder how that picture turned out. I should have reminded her to take off the back plastic that was covering up the camera on the phone.

iPhone 4s

Here are two girls that I saw trying to get a drink at the fountain. They were really playful and just looks like a great photo opportunity to capture the moment.

Sip

I really like this picture. I’m always on the look out for the composition. Foreground, midground, background. Ok, this picture was not originally intended to be a violent picture. I had my son jump around by the bridge and I was trying to capture the two girls on the left side looking at him. This shot I got him right when he was jumping and spinning around. It just look like he was about to do a soccer kick on that little kids ass. In reality, he was no where near him!!

I'm gonna Kick your Ass

This one is probably my favorite of the set. I notice these two looking over the bridge. They look like siblings. The lighting was great and I found a gap between the trees that perfectly frames up the two.

Friendship Bridge

Here is a fun shot of the playground. I thought it was interesting to see someone play with the tic tac toe.

Tic Tac X

It was a fun day. I had fun taking pictures. I will be posting up another set that have more abstract scenarios without kids. Stay tune!

Here are some more street shots from Fleet Week 2011 in San Francisco. These are just things I found interesting while walking around in the crowd.

I found his gesture as well as all the typography on his shirt and store front very fitting. It was a decisive moment!!

“Yesterday won’t slow me down because I’ve been blessed with Today, a New American!! Doh!!”
Doh!

Here is another from the BART. I’m sure we see this a lot. But I just love the concentrated look on this women. Must have been a good book!
Shhh!

Not to talk Politics or if the title of this picture is PC or not. I must admit, I saw the shirt first. It was just ironic that a Black lady was wearing a black t-Shirt that depicted a “White” Obama. Then, considering how the economy is right now, I find this Obama ’08 slogan quite contradictory. I only wish she was standing next to a sign of Uncle Sam pointing fingers with “I WANT YOUR” “CHANGE”…

Leica-3.jpg

What drew me to this picture was something Will Palank told me during one of the Leica Academie Photo shoot. Always look for contrast. Whether it’s the basics like color, shape, etc. or more abstract like people. One of the example he gave was he would shoot a couple that has someone that’s tall standing next to someone that’s short.
Well, the first thing I saw when these couple was walking by was how straight up she was standing next to the gentleman with the walker. Of course, the age contrast, the race constrast. One thing I found interesting was how they both wore similar color pants and cloth.
Leica.jpg

I have couple abstract picture I shot that I’ll post up soon. Like I mention in the last blog post. I guess I’m taking Fleet Week as an opportunity to shoot people and not planes!!

I never knew riding BART was so dramatic.

This was Fleet Week in San Francisco. I promised the kids and wife to take them to see planes. Knowing traffic and parking was gonna be a pain, we decided to take an adventure on BART. I will be posting more Fleet Week pictures later on, but I figure this would be a good set to start with. Don’t be expecting your normal plane across the Golden Gate Bridge or Bay Bridge picture. I know my limits. Armed with the M9, I doubt I’ll be able to catch anything that’s flying faster than 5 miles an hour, let alone a fighter jet cruising at 700mph.
I knew I need to capture some interesting pictures within the limitation. Also, knowing that I will be walking around pushing a stroller, I’m even more limited on how and when I can shoot. So, what’s better than to see what interesting characters and scenes I can find on BART while the kids are strap to the stroller?

Starting with this pic. What feeling does this picture invoke for you when you see it?

Scream

I notice this mom and kid sitting across from me. Talk about “Decisive Moment”. As the door open, I notice they both turned their head. *Click* caught it. Since this is a set about Movie Look, I should digress a little bit here regarding my color treatment here. Ever since I started playing with Color while editing video in Final Cut Pro, I started to study more and more of movies and how color play a role in creating the drama. You can read about my video venture in my autobiography part 3.

Since street photography is about capturing a moment, about capturing a picture that tells a story. What’s better to augment the picture with color to build drama. Of course, the picture will need to have some substance in it, but by tweaking the color for that Movie Look, it will help develop the story even more.

Back to the question before you saw the picture. What feeling does this picture invoke for you when you see it? Now, are you curious on what’s going to walk through that door next? Does it invoke fear and anticipation? Could this be a scene in a horror film?

Here is the next picture. Once again, What feeling does this picture invoke in you when you see it?

Leica.jpg

I notice this gentleman walking in and resting by the door right in front of me. I knew I had to take a picture. Focus, *Click* Got it right when my kid turn to look at me. I’m sure this is a very nice man just waiting for his stop, but the contrast between the look on the kids face and the veins popping out of the fist of the man make me want to create a sense of fear and sinister in this scene. I gave it a cold blue tone. This is actually not too far fetch from the cold fluorescent lights that typically white balance on subways in New York. The cold tone also complements the man’s blue jacket and blue push cart.

Looking at people on BART used to be one of my favorite pass time. I used to commute on BART 5 days a week, at least 1 hour each way. Typically crowded during commute time. What do you do for 2 hours day? Look at people of course. I used to pick an interesting subject per trip and start to study them. Start with their look, their outfit, their gender, their age, their body language, their facial expression, what they’re doing at the moment, etc. Trying to figure out what they do. What’s the story behind them. And hopefully before they get off on their exit, figure out a story for that person. Of course, I never approach anyone to confirm what my observation told me. All in all, it was an easy way to kill an hour.

Here is another one. What feeling does this picture invoke in you?

NekoJin

I first notice her ear. NekoJin!! I love Cosplay!! ok, that and in many other ways! But this was interesting. She sat parallel to me on the other aisle. I had to do some pre-focusing and shoot with the camera rested on my leg.

This picture could easily be a sci fi anime movie remake into live actress scene where she’s feverishly checking her iphone. Perhaps to see where her next destination is? Or to make sure she doesn’t loose contact as she goes through the tunnel. Yet another picture with the color quality that creates drama. Creates anticipation. Once again, telling the story.

Here is the last shot of this set. What feeling does this picture give you?

Matrix

The title of this picture gave away what I tried to accomplish. The greenish Matrix Movie Look of course. I notice this Asian guy standing between the crowd. His hair, his leather jacket, his demeanor. I had to take the pic. I actually already packed up the camera since it was crowded and I’m sandwich between my kids stroller and bunch other people. But I knew I need this picture. I already had the Matrix words scrolling down my eyes. Put the camera to the eye, focus and *Click*. Then quickly put the camera away again.

As you notice in this picture. I tried to capture the scene with foreground, Guy with ear phone one to show high tech, our main “talent”, leather clad Asian NEO, and the back ground, questionable guy Agent Smith checking out NEO. The green shade just put this picture into the whole Matrix context.

Once again, another picture that’s able to tell a whole story.

Overall, I must admit, this is probably one of the most interesting set I done so far. I’m sure a lot of Leica purist frown upon doing too much “Photoshopping” to the picture. In fact, Everything I done was in Lightroom. Everything you see here is just a matter of playing with white balance, contrast, and crushing the black to give that Movie Look. If I do get a lot of interest, I might write up more of a tutorial on how I achieve these looks as well as provide my presets. But do note, you will still need to tweak your own picture since lighting is all different.

Is the Movie Look still true to the heart of Street Photography? I think so. Street Photography is about capturing that “Decisive Moment”. It’s about making a picture tell a story. It’s about invoking a feeling when you see the picture. The Movie Look enhances all of these criteria without adding/Photochopping to what’s already store in your Camera RAW file.

Feel free to leave comments if you agree or think otherwise!!

It’s been raining cats and dogs for the past couple days. But the sun came out this morning. It’s a bring your car to work employee car show that’s been in the planning for months. The turn out was only so so. It used to be parking lot full of exotics and vintage. But I’m glad there are still a few motor heads at work. Also, having some of the local dealers bringing their Mercedes, BMW, and Porsche help round out the lot.

I used to participate when I had cars that was worthy of showing. A fully done Tommy Kaira Nissan 350Z and a fully done up “GOLD” Porsche 911 C2. That was the good old days. Now it’s just another run of the mill 50 mpg commuter Prius.

At least I can still shoot pictures!!

Here are a few shots I took for the show today. Of course, the show stealer was one of my dream car Mercedes 300 SL Gullwing. Though, it wasn’t in the exact color I would have dreamed of. The show would have been complete if someone bring my other dream car, the 1957 Porsche Speedster.

Anyways, here are the pics straight out of the camera with only Cropping done. I love my new 35mm Summilux. The color and the sharpness is really out of this world. I don’t think I could have made the pictures any better post processing.

Enjoy!!

An Arlene Ness Chopper. Love the purple!!
Damn!

A few shot of my dream car! 300SL Gullwing

Dream

I love both the BW and color version of this shot so I figure I post both. You guys decide which one you like better!!

BW

Color

Another interior shot of the 300sL
Classic

I think purple is the theme here
Gullwing

I’m just drawn to the interior of these classics!! Great job!!
Vintage

Red Red RED!!
GTO

Here are a couple street shots from last weekend as well as one shot I found digging through the Leica Akademie sets. These are all shot in downtown San Francisco.

I figure while waiting for Apple to let me spend money on the new iPhone 4s for the wife, I might as well update my blog.

I just converted these to BW in Lightroom.

This is a shot of a friend while hanging out at the local Hooters. It’s fairly dark inside.
M9 + 50mm Summilux

Rey

This was shot at a breakfast cafe. This old man was sitting at a bench near our table. I had to grab a quick shot since the contrast between the old and the kids picture as well as the multitude of head shots.
Another one shot with M9 + 50mm Summilux

Head Shots

This was a shot taken a few weeks ago during the Leica Akademie. The picture came to mind after I recently saw a video about Conflict photos and photographer shooting photographers. I actually saw the photo and film crew earlier on another street corner shooting a video as well as some stills. There were 2 models total then. As I walk around and settle in on a corner, I saw them again. This time with one model walking. I had my M9 with the Noctilux ready the 2nd time.

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