Thursday, March 31, 2011


Day 90/365: Big Sky, Montana

If you've checked the comments in my Flickr album, you already know where I am - Big Sky, Montana! Big Sky is very lovely. The weather has been pretty nice. Today was the most strenuous exercise for me-snow shoeing & zip lining! My legs were willing but my lungs were just not having it.

On 3/31/2011, I couldn't do any spot removal or any other post processing where I am.

This photo was replaced on April 3rd to remove the spots from a dirty sensor and the foreground was brightened using an exposure layer in Photoshop. The original file is located in the comments in my Flickr album.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


Day 89/365: Guess Where I Am

I'm back in a cold place but nowhere near as cold as Alaska. Can you guess where I am?

Here are the clues:
1) The timezone of the photo
2) I saw a moose today!
3) Damn, Yellowstone is closed!

This photo was edited in Adobe Photoshop Express on my Motorola Droid X.   Adobe Photoshop Express does not save the camera EXIF information so here's the EXIF information from the original photo:

Exposure: 1/10s at f/5.6
ISO: 1600
Exposure Mode: Manual
Focal length: 35mm
Lens: Nikkor 35mm f/1.8

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


Day 88/365: High Tide at Haskell's

It's been a while but fortunately, I was able to get out this evening and catch another beautiful sunset.

Monday, March 28, 2011


Day 87/365: Get the Lead Out!

I got this mechanical pencil the other day and knew I wanted to do something with it but couldn't think of anything. So today, I kept thinking about this pencil and was saying over and over in my head, "Pencil. Lead. Lead pencil."

Then I heard Sherman Hemsley as George Jefferson saying, "Get the lead out, Weezy!"

Right after taking this shot, I started to not feel so well which made this shot even more ironic because George would say that to Weezy when he felt she was dragging (walking too slow) and I started dragging (lugging around) going to post process this photo so then that phrase became my motivation.

I shot this using two strobes but I don't remember the settings. Sorry no strobist info but I do know the post processing.

Edit Info:
- Exposure +1
- Darken text inside bubble
- Crop

Sunday, March 27, 2011


Day 86/365: Walt Disney Concert Hall

I finally decided to go get my sensor cleaned since I had a coupon to get a free cleaning in Los Angeles.  I get to the store and present the coupon and the guy tells me, "Sorry that coupon is only good during the week.  Sorry it doesn't say that on the coupon.  You're the third person today to come in here with that coupon!"  So I'm thinking, "Oh great!"  But no worries, I love Los Angeles anyway so going down there is a treat in and of itself.

I knew I wanted to take my photo of the day in Los Angeles and I knew just where I wanted to go.  After seeing my Flickr friend Neil's photo of the Brain Institute in Las Vegas, I knew there was only one building that could go toe to toe with the Brain Institute as far as design - the Walt Disney Concert Hall!

Edit Info:
Spot Removal
Shadows/Highlights & HDR Toning Adjustment

Saturday, March 26, 2011


Day 85/365: United Colors of Thread.

I wish that I could tell you that this shot was inspired by United Colors of Benetton. I wish I could tell you that my creativity was flowing tonight. And I wish I could tell you that this shot came straight out of the camera like this and the only thing I added in post was the green banner. I wish I could tell you all of that but I would be lying.

*Letting out a deep breathe.* The truth is I had to darken the background, modified the levels on the spindles of thread, do some spot removal (because my sensor has still not been professionally cleaned), use the Lens Correction Filter in Photoshop to change the angle of the shot, and it was until after I took the shot that it reminded me of United Colors of Benetton.

There you have it - the whole kit and caboodle!

Friday, March 25, 2011


Day 84/365: Pink Splash

Today was not my most creative day. I was thinking about my shot all day and everything I tried didn't turn out how I wanted it to. I'm not going to beat a deadhorse about what a non-creative day today was so I'm going to spare you the details and wish you a good weekend!

Strobist Info:
- SB-600, 85mm, 1/64, camera right
- LumoPro160, 70mm, 1/32, camera left

Thursday, March 24, 2011


Day 83/365: Without Picking a Flower

I got this shot without picking a flower because these are artifical flowers. I llike flowers and love photographing real ones but I just don't really like picking flowers. It's something about cutting them off of their stems that makes me feel like I'm ending a life. Call me sensitive but I cringe if I do it so I get florist to do my dirty work. :)

Strobist Info:
SB-600 bare, 85mm, 1/64th power, camera right

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


Day 82/365: Ponti Dry Vermouth

I finally bought a second speedlight so I decided to do a Strobist shot tonight!  I got the LumoPro160.  So far, I'm loving the flash.  This shot was originally shot with the bottle straight up and down but I used the Lens Correction tool to compose the bottle to look the way it looks in the final image.

Edit Info:
- Increased blacks in ACR
- Hue/Saturation layer to decrease the black background in PS
- Lens Correction filter to angle the bottle

Strobist Info:
- Two white foamcore boards angled toward the sides of the bottle
-SB-600, bare, 35mm, 1/16th power, right & below camera, facing white foamcore board
- LumoPro160, bare, 24mm, 1/8 or 1/16 power, left of camera, angled upwards at white foamcore board

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


Day 81/365: Pink and Green

I saw this pattern in my book of pattern papers and thought it would be great to use in a water refraction.

Monday, March 21, 2011


Day 80/365: Before the Storm

At yesterday's Digital Days workshop in LA, Marc Reis made a statement that I hope stays with me forever. He said, "As a photographer, sometimes we're always looking for a photo of what's in front of us. Sometimes the photo is behind us, to the left of us, or the right of us." As soon as he made that statement, I realized that I too am sometimes guilty of tunnel vision and need to make a conscious effort to keep exploration in the back of my mind.

When I first got my D-SLR, exploration was all I did! The camera stayed in Auto and everywhere I went I was actively exploring my environment for pictures. Now that I'm a little more advanced and working on my 365 project, my camera is either always in aperture/shutter priority or manual and I find a shot and become fixated at times at capturing exactly what's in front of me. I'm not saying that's a bad thing...planning and preparation are definitely essential to what I do as a photographer. It's just that I'm going to make a conscious effort to continue exploring even though I see a shot right in front of me. Who knows, my big money maker could be right behind me or beside me - actually my first money maker since photography doesn't pay the bills yet. haha

I put Mark's advice into action today with this shot. I took a series of photos to create an HDR image and said to myself, "I'm going home. I've got my shot." Then as I started to drive home, I looked to my right and saw this scene of the approaching storm clouds coming over Goleta and knew I had to have this one.

Sunday, March 20, 2011


Day 79/365: Cover Girl

This photo was taken at the Digital Days Workshop in Los Angeles, CA. Read my review of the workshop.

Digital Days Workshop

Today, I attended a Digital Days Workshop hosted by Popular Photography and sponsored by Sony in Los Angeles. I had the worst drive down there trying to get through heavy rain, low visibility, and minor hydroplaning. I'm thanking my lucky stars that I made it back safely through all of that.

Back to the subject at hand - The Digital Days Workshop was a two-day event (Saturday and Sunday). Saturday included a Beginner Video Workshop and a Beginner Photo Workshop. Neither of which I attended but from what I heard from those who did, they really enjoyed themselves and it was very informative. I attended the Sunday workshop which was an all day 9-5 Beyond Beginner Photo Workshop. The Beyond Beginner Photo Workshop included two sessions to discuss slightly more advanced photography skills: achieving the right exposure, framing, knowing your subject, background, using manual mode and shutter & aperture priority modes, just to name a few. It also a few minor breaks, lunch, an hour long model shoot, the 30 minute critique of the model shoot, and learning a little bit of image editing.

I must say that I was very pleased with most of the shots I got from the model photo shoot and I was pleased with the pace of the photo shoot. The models were excellent. The models went through several dress changes combined with variable backgrounds, lighting setups, and challenges such as capturing motion to offer lots of variety in the shoot. The lecturing photographers were also right there by our side to offer assistance and suggestions to make sure that everyone went home with at least one quality shot. It does get a bit crowded in the model shoot and some other photographers do not make apologies for jumping right in the middle of your shot. I felt a little out of place saying, "Excuse me....Sorry...Am I in your way?" Every photographer in there is trying to get that money shot so be prepared to feel as though you're a sports photographer standing on the sideline fighting to get that shot or a fashion photographer during Fashion Week.

At the end, we wrapped up with seeing favorite photos shot by the lecturing photographers, Mark Reis and Leslie Fish. Both of whom were excellent at presenting the material and very entertaining. Phil Mistry, the Director of Digital Days, was also on-hand assisting during the model shoot and taking care of the logistics of the entire event. The rapport between the pros also made it a very comfortable and pleasant event for us all.

For me, my knowledge was a bit more advanced than the topics covered. Everything they discussed, I already knew but I really enjoyed the opportunity to shoot models. If you're new to the world of digital photography and want to learn the basics fast, I would strongly recommend attending a Digital Days Workshop.


Day 78/365: Not A Good Day.

Nothing was really wrong. It was raining. I didn't get a chance to photograph the super moon. And when I tried to do a macro shot, the extension tubes kept dragging my tripod down and wouldn't keep the aperture. I guess today frustration just got the best of me. Sometimes it's just good to get it off of your chest. Now I feel much better.

Friday, March 18, 2011


Day 77/365: Cloudy with a chance of Full Moon

I waited all day today to take a photo under the full moon. I was so excited when night came! Then, I walked outside and saw that my chances of actually seeing the full moon long enough to take some long exposure shots were slim to none. I took three shots and only liked the composition of this one but didn't like the shadows cast on the ground from me, my tripod, and the buildings behind me so I knew I had to do some work on this shot. I have never seen selective coloring on a landscape/seascape before so I decided, WTH, and went for it!

That's what my Project 365 is all about - experimenting to see what works and what doesn't and most of all taking chances.

Thursday, March 17, 2011


Day 76/365: Seaweed and Footprints

Low tide, a full moon, seaweed, and footprints - that pretty much sums up Goleta beach tonight. Goleta beach is not my favorite beach but it's pretty nice. I like the restaurant that's on the beach...Beachside Cafe. They have the best shrimp soup!

Edit Info:
- Changed white balance to Fluorescent in ACR
- Added the border and sharpened bottom half of picture in PS

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


Day 75/365: California Wildflowers

Last year, I spent some time cataloguing California's wildflowers. Now I'm a little more knowledgeable about the ones I see along the road. But I have to be honest, I have not ID'ed this one yet.

This is the only place I've lived [so far] that just explodes with color and blossoms at springtime.

Technical Info:
Nikkor 60mm micro, 36mm extension tubes

Strobist Info:
SB-600, 35mm, full power, thru homemade Stofen-type diffuser

Edit Info:
- Adjusted white balance in ACR which created the blue background
- Spot removal and sharpening in PS

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


Day 74/365: Earrings

Today, I decided to do a strobist shot to practice light and experiment with Photoshop. My goal was to make the earrings stand out from the background. I'll let you be the judge.

Strobist Info:
- SB-600, bare, 85mm 1/64th power, right of earrings
- white paper used as reflector on the left side of earrings

Edit Info:
- Lowered saturation and adjusted hue and lightness on the background

Monday, March 14, 2011


Day 73/365: Riddle Me This

I can't wait to read your answers! I'm thinking I might start a Riddle Me This Series.

Strobist Info:
SB-600, 85mm, snooted, 1/16th power, pointed directly at smoke, right of smoke

Sunday, March 13, 2011


Day 72/365: Those who look for beauty find it.

Today, I went looking for beauty to photograph and I found it! I have seen these bushes with these flowers several times and as a whole, the bush is not very pretty to me at all. I decided to snip one of the flowers and studied it for a while to find the beauty in it to capture in a photograph.

Technical Info:
- Nikkor 60mm micro with 36mm extension tube

Strobist Info
- SB-600, 85mm, 1/16th -0.7 power, bare, pointed down on flower, positioned right of flower, camera directly above flower
- used snoot on flower left to reflect light back into the shadows of the flower's left side (used snoot because it's made with white Gaffer's tape and it was the closest to my hand at the time)

Edit Info:
- Auto adjustment in ACR

Saturday, March 12, 2011


Day 71/365: The Heavy Load

Yesterday, I spent all day looking for insects to photograph. I looked around my place, drove to parks, and came back empty handed when all along ants were scurrying around under my feet on the sidewalk.

Today, I decided to give them a shot and see what I could get from them. As you all know, ants are extremely fast and they don't stand around waiting for their picture to be taken. They've got work to do! But so did I! So I came up with a way that both of us could get our jobs done and not be in each other's way.

I evaluated their trail to see where would be the best place for me to kneel and snap some pictures of them doing what they do best. By the best place, I mean the best angle for the shot and out of their way. The last thing I wanted was ants crawling all over me as I'm trying to take their picture.

Day 71 Alternate: Ant Down

Getting that close to the ground means very awkward positions for your body so you had better stop being self conscious fast if you are.  If you've been into photography for a while, you've probably already crossed that bridge.  Another thing - I wanted to use my lens hood to stop myself from hitting the ground with my lens, even though my UV filter is on my lens, but with the lens hood, I couldn't get as close and I wanted to.  Most of the shots I took today were without the lens hood.  My two best shots probably aren't the sharpest, have the most detail, or the best lighting, but I am pleased with the shots I have today and I am still learning.

Same info for both shots:
Technical Info:
Shot handheld Nikkor 60mm micro with 68mm extension tubes

Strobist Info:
SB-600, fired above camera on top L camera bracket, 50mm, 1/2 power with homemade Sto-fen diffuser

Edit Info:
Text, Crop & Vibrance/Saturation in PS

Friday, March 11, 2011


Day 70/365: Yellow & Blue Make Green

Edit Info:
Crop in ACR

Strobist Info:
SB-600, 85mm, 1/4 power, snooted

My heart and prayers go out to everyone who is affected by today's earthquake in Japan. As I am sure most of you know, Santa Barbara is under a Tsunami warning based on these events. Currently, our status is still at warning and we are not currently under evacuation.

Thursday, March 10, 2011


Day 69/365: Exploring Water

I was trying to create a collison water droplet shot tonight but the only one I captured wasn't in focus. Ahhhh! I don't have one of those machines that allow the water to drop at specific intervals. Currently, I'm using whatever I have to do my water drops such as a turkey baster, a medicine dropper, plastic baggies, bottles, etc. I haven't decided whether I want to buy one of the machines because I'm not sure if I'll photograph enough water droplets to justify buying one.

This shot reminded me of a person in a water exploration vehicle.

Strobist Info:
SB-600, 85mm, 1/16th -0.3 power, bare, pointed directly at background

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


Day 68/365: Sexy Black

This shot makes me think of my sexy black dress, my sexy black strappy heels, and my sexy Black by Kenneth Cole.

Strobist Info:
SB-600, 70mm, 1/16 power, snooted, pointed directly at background camera right

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


Day 67/365: Ruby Red

I believe the last time I took a water droplet shot was last December when I rented the Nikkor 105mm macro (old version) lens. I decided it was time to take another one. I take great pleasure in macro shots. I believe perhaps it's the precision and near perfection it requires to execute them which allows me to focus on just that one thing and block out everything else in the world.

Strobist Info:
SB-600, 85mm 1/16 power, snooted, pointed directly at background

The Stolen Scream

This video was shared in one of my groups on Flickr and I decided to share it with all of you.  Make sure you check out to keep a watchful eye on your photos.

2011 "Trees" Photography & Poetry Competition

The Wilding Art Museum in Los Olivos, California is hosting a photography and poetry competition! The 2011 "Trees" Photography & Poetry Competition is currently open for submissions and the deadline for submission is April 1, 2011 at 5:00 p.m. Open to permanent residents of California, eighteen years or older.

$250 First Place Prize in each category

$100 Second Place Prize in each category and $50 Third Place Prize in each category

For more details, visit their website.

Monday, March 7, 2011


Day 66/365: Pouring

Today, I decided to do a strobist shot and have some fun with water. I followed a video tutorial by PhotoGavin. You can find the video here.

Strobist Info
SB-600, bare, fired at background, 35mm 1/4

Sunday, March 6, 2011


Day 65/365: Alaska Souvenirs

These are just a few of my souvenirs...a mug from North Pole, moose salt & pepper shakers, and Moostard, a whole grain mustard. I am still getting over the food poisoning so I barely got this shot taken tonight. I am back home now but the plane ride was tough. I'm drinking lots of clear fluids to stay hydrated. Hopefully, I'll be completely over it by tomorrow.

Strobist Info:
SB-600, 35mm, full power, thru shoot thru umbrella

Saturday, March 5, 2011


Day 64/365: Let It Be

This sculpture was one of my favorites and it took 1st place in the realistic multi block category. This sculpture was carved by Junichi Nakamura, Shinichi
Sawamura, Yoshinori Mabuchi, and Koji Murakami. All of the ice carvers are from Japan.

I was suffering from food poisoning on this day but I drug myself out to the ice championship because that was the main reason for my trip. So I was sick going in and sick leaving out but during the time that I wasn't sick, I had a great time on my Alaskan vacation! I can't wait to visit Alaska again!

Friday, March 4, 2011


Day 63/365: Alaskan Art

This watercolor painting was done by Helen Jane Simeonoff and it hangs in my hotel room. Out of the three paintings in my room, this one captures my attention everyday so I decided to capture it for my 365.

This painting captures my attention because of the native Alaskan it captures and it makes me very curious to know about their history. I can imagine walking up to the person in this picture and having a conversation with them that I would always remember. I visited the museum on the campus of University of Alaska, Fairbanks but I only had an hour worth of time to visit the exhibits before I found out the museum was closing for the day. Even though the museum would be a great place to learn the history of a people, learning about a different culture/person from their personal experiences told through their own words in a conversation in priceless.

Thursday, March 3, 2011


Day 62/365: Rule of Sabanna

This is one of the ice sculptures sculpted from a single block of ice at the World Ice Art Championship. The name of this sculpture is Rule of Sabanna. What is not seen in this picture is that off to the right, 3 meerkats are watching the action. I didn't include the meerkats because the angle needed to include them was not an appealing angle to display the action of the kill. I like this sculpture because of how realistic it is. It was not that cold to me tonight probably because I was wrapped like a burrito or I'm getting used to Alaska's cold.

I also just realized today that I didn't set my camera for AKST so some of my photos appear to be taken on the wrong day. I changed my camera time to AKST today so hopefully thi s photo shows the correct time.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


Day 61/365: Chena Hot Springs Road

This is the beautiful view on the way to Chena Hot Springs. I've seen about 6-7 moose on this road. Two of which I've seen on this road at night which is very scary to have a big moose on the road with you at night when you're in a compact car on a street with no street lights and no cellphone reception. During the day though, it's a pretty pleasant surprise to see moose on the side of the road where you can view them from a safe distance.

I had to go back to Chena Hot Springs today because I left my wide angle lens hood there two nights ago when I was photographing the aurora in -27 degree weather. I was so glad they still had it.

This is the first photo of my 365 taken with my cell phone.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


Day 60/365: Green Glow

Tonight, I saw the aurora again in the sky. Only the green glow tonight. I would really love to see the other colors too. It wasn't as cold tonight. It was only 2 degrees. It's crazy that I even just wrote that last statement. :)