Updated Every Friday

Friday, December 28, 2007


1/1250" at f5.6. ISO 400
June 30th, 2007

There is an old story about six blind men who were asked to touch an elephant and guess what it was. Each placed his hands upon a different part of the elephant and described what they were touching.

The blind man who felt a leg said the elephant is like a pillar; the one who felt the trunk said the elephant is like a tree branch; the one who felt the ear said the elephant is like a hand fan; the one who felt the belly said the elephant is like a wall; the one who felt the tusk said the elephant is like a solid pipe; and the one who felt the tail said the elephant is like a rope;

If you don't like your photograph, then change your perspective, you might get an entirely new view of the scene.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Merry Christmas

1/125" at f5.6. ISO 100
November 27th, 2007

This is a shot I took for photography class with the intent of using it for extra credit. One of our options was to use a studio or product photography shot, so I thought I'd try and create an ad for Baileys Minis. My idea was to include a tagline along the lines of "What's better than leaving milk and cookies for Santa?"

I brought in a bunch of Christmas decorations and picked out a couple of them to put in the shot. The cookies themselves were baked by my wife a day or two before, delicious! I'm pretty happy with how the shoot turned out in the end.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Friday, December 14, 2007


1/125" at f8. ISO 100
October 25th, 2007

Usually I like to keep my photos as I shot them. When I work with them, I'll adjust them for better color and sharpness, but generally I like to keep them realistic without all the artistic filters available in photoshop. Still, sometimes while playing I come across an effect that, in the words of my photo teacher, really blows my skirt up. Yes, he really does say that all the time.

The combination of settings I used while working with the details of this water tower created the look of a painting for me. The separation between each leaf and all the grain in the wood look real and unreal at the same time. The picture is actually of a little gold panning thing for kids out in Calvares County. You can buy a bag of sand and minerals and pan for gold. Each bag is guaranteed to have something interesting in it, just $5.00!

Friday, December 7, 2007

The Teacups

1/25' at f4.5. ISO 100
December 3rd, 2007

Cristina and I took a vacation to Disneyland this past weekend. Disneyland at Christmas time is always a lot of fun. There's less people, they've got the whole park decorated, they have a huge tree, and all the fun of a normal disney trip.

One of my favorite rides growing up was the teacups. Now I have to admit, these days I'm a little too big for them (not in maturity, in leg room), but its still fun to go on them. So it was only fitting that I used them to capture the spirit of disneyland. Its a whirlwind of sights and colors with a big grin thrown in for good measure. Most of all its about fun and just letting yourself be a kid again!

The Bay Bridge

1/400' at f4. ISO 100
November 18th, 2006

I was out of town last week, so this week its double posting. The above picture was taken from Coit Tower in San Francisco. The golden gate bridge is one of the most iconic views of the city, most people see it and instantly know its San Francisco. Growing up, I always liked the Bay Bridge better. I drove over it every week or two with my family going into the city, so its always been the first thing I think of when I picture San Francisco.

When you live in a famous place, you probably take the touristy famous things for granted. I didn't go to fisherman's wharf or ride a cable car till years after I'd moved away. Instead I identify with all the little details in this photograph. The sailboats on the water, the style of the buildings, even the type of tree in the foreground. All the small things that make up a city.

Monday, November 26, 2007


1/3' at f5.6. ISO 100
November 10th, 2007

Last week I promised something from the inside of Railtown's workshop. This workshop is a building that contains all the original tools and machinery used in 1897. The folks who maintain this park have allowed it to fall into a controlled disrepair. So they make sure its not falling down, but otherwise its allowed to age naturally.

I chose this shot to showcase the sense of decay present in the building. The metal is rusted and covered in cobwebs. The dust has built up over time, covering everything in layers of greasy grit. Rather then show the whole workshop, I thought this close up gave the impression of a place fallen into disuse.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Railtown 1897

1/8" at f16. ISO 100
November 10th, 2007

Todays shot is a little unusual. Its not some of my best work from a composition or lighting standpoint, but its something I really wanted to share. If you scroll, you'll see its an almost 360 panorama taken of a train yard.

This past week, we took a field trip to a place called Jamestown. Jamestown has a railroad museum that features quite a few old steam engines and a workshop that has been allowed to sit mostly untouched for the past hundred years. As you can see, they have all kinds of trains. One of them has been used in quite a few movies including Back to the Future 2.

Railtown is also home to one of America's last operating authentic roundhouses. This shot was taken in the center on the rotating center track. I love that it has these trains from different eras all the way around to a rotting railcar in the back.

Check back next week for something from the inside of workshop where tourists normally don't get to go!

Friday, November 9, 2007


1/60" at f8. ISO 100
July 29th, 2007

Meet my neighbor's daughter on a trip to the park feeding the ducks. I'm not a huge fan of freckles. I'm a red head, so I was doubly glad to escape having them. But in Katy's case I make an exception. They give her face a lot of character. With that in mind I wanted to really emphasize her freckles, so I toned down the color and increased the contrast in this photo. I think the end result is quite striking.

This past week I endured (alright, I asked for) a critique of my portfolio from my photography instructor. I respect his opinion, though I was prepared for the worst because he can get pretty intense about photography. He gave very good feedback, and he didn't hold back on the criticism. So as a result, I'm trying to apply some of his suggestions and be more critical of my work.

That being said, if you have any thoughts about any photos posted, feel free to share! Criticism is welcome just as much as adoring praise. Of course, I only give cookies to the people with adoring praise.

Friday, November 2, 2007


1/30" at f4. ISO 1600
October 25th, 2007

You are in a twisty maze of passageways, all different. Actually this cave, the California Caverns, was pretty straightforward in the parts we went through. The atmosphere of this cave feels like something out of disneyland. Parts of it are so beautiful that you expect to round a corner and come across some wee diamond miners.

Its very hard to take pictures in a cave, you generally aren't allowed to bring in a tripod, and the low light makes shooting hand held almost impossible. If I was a professional on a job, then I'd have assistants with a lighting setup. But as a tourist, I get to make due with the bare minimum. The guides were kind enough to allow me to take a collapsible monopod (its like a tripod but with only one leg) to give a little bit more stability. Most of the pictures were still blurred, but I came out with a couple real gems.

Next spring I want to go on a 5 hours cave crawl tour through this cave. The trip includes slogging through waste deep mud and ends with a raft trip across an underground lake.

Friday, October 26, 2007


1/60" at f13. ISO 100 with a strobe
October 23rd, 2007

I love getting into the Halloween spirit. So my choice this week is fitting for the season. The skull is a decoration I grabbed off the mantle on the way out the door. Add in some low lighting and a rose I claimed from someone else's shoot and I got a nice ominous picture.

I tried this shot from all different angles and found that side lighting created a moody kind of gothic look. The positioning of the rose and skull was Cristina's idea. She has informed me that from now on she should be my art director. I promptly agreed since she has a much better sensibility for organizing a scene then I do.

Friday, October 19, 2007


1/250" at f10. ISO 100 with a strobe
October 16th, 2007

I didn't expect to be doing another studio shoot quite this soon. But I also didn't expect to get a shot like this. Kind of funny since I went in prepared with a shot list and a couple lighting setups in mind.

The general positioning was one I'd seen in a book recently, but I wanted to make it my own. I positioned an overhead strobe to give a soft spotlight and asked Elizabeth to wear her favorite brimmed beanie to add a sense of 'her' into the photo. The size and shape of the hat changed her profile really nicely.

The results were exactly what I hoped for. Its like she's looking up into a light from the heavens. I also think the hint of nudity gives it an element of purity and freedom. And yes, it is just suggested nudity, that's my sister-in-law up there so keep it clean.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Storm a-Brewin'

1/125" at f8. ISO 200
September 22nd, 2007

Alright, back to a regular posting schedule. Recently, my wife and I wanted to spend a day out, and after finding that it was going to be rainy all over California, chose Mercer Caverns as our destination.

I like to visit caves whenever I get the chance, they're fascinating and beautiful, and best of all there's no water falling from above (except there usually is). On our way there, we hit the little town called Murphys that we didn't even know existed. It had some good wine tasting and a classic car show that day.

We decided to have lunch there after visiting the cave (look for a picture in a future post) and found everything from quaint little churches to mardi gras mannequins. The town library happened to catch my eye.

On a normal day, I'm sure it looks welcoming, the shape and the two picture windows kind of look like a happy face. But that day, the rolling storm clouds above and the quality of light gave the whole thing an ominous feeling. If we weren't in California I'd be looking for the wicked witch flying overhead.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Jenna Lee Mercer

1/60" at f11. ISO 100 with a strobe
October 2nd, 2007

This week I got my first chance to shoot a model in a studio setup. Her name is Jenna Lee Mercer and she and her boyfriend came in with their 4 month old puppy. I was warned that working with animals is difficult, but the little guy was sleepy and just sat there with Jenna and looked cute. The model on the other hand moved around a lot and looked cute, which is much more helpful in creating a variety of shots.

This is certainly not something I want to do professionally, but I think I can guarantee this won't be the last studio shoot posted here.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Primal Look

1/320" at f5. ISO 800
June 30th, 2007

I'm currently exhausted and ready to crash, so todays photo is a quick pick from one of the first outings with my camera. Its not the cleanest shot I've ever taken, but it has a lot of power. When I look into his eyes, I can tell his attention was just as keenly focused on me.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Fire in the Sky

2" at f20. ISO 100
July 6th, 2007

I'm not a morning person, but this was worth the grumbles (and the near death experience of twisty mountain roads in the dark while drinking free starbucks). Cristina and I got up at 3 am and drove for two hours to catch the sunrise in the Sierra's. As the sun climbed over the peaks, the entire sky burned.

Friday, September 14, 2007


1/25 at f5.6. ISO 800
July 21th, 2007

Choosing a photo for this week was difficult. The book I'm reading right now has me in a very melancholy bittersweet mood, and I want a picture that reflects that mood. But, since my first reaction to someone hurting isn't to pull out my camera, I don't take very many sad pictures.

When I look at this I get a sense of loss and longing. I see a woman missing someone from a hundred miles away, taking comfort from a puppy who doesn't understand.

Friday, September 7, 2007


1/250 at f5.6. ISO 200
July 28th, 2007

What I find interesting about this photo is the different response it evokes in each person. Being unable to see their facial expressions means you have to read the body language and decide for yourself who these people are.

Is it two lovers coming together after a long absence? Or maybe a sad sweet goodbye of two old friends? Does the ring mean they're married? Does the watch say its time to go?

I like to stay positive in my outlook. For me, its two people being reunited.

What do you see?

Friday, August 31, 2007

Summer Days

1/320 at f7.1. ISO 300
July 28th, 2007

Photography as a hobby can be very expensive. For example, I love taking photos with a telephoto lens but they run in the mid-hundreds for even a decent low end one. Instead I borrow a lens from a friend whenever I can.

When I heard my home town was having a photo contest with a $500 prize, I grabbed my camera and got out there to shoot some winners! (Like I really need a reason to go out and shoot.) The goal was to take pictures showcasing how beautiful Elk Grove is, so I headed down to the little lake at the park and waited for some kids to show up and feed the ducks.

See the ducks? Me neither. They're behind the big wooden pole on the right. I got the kid part though! This photo took me back to the days when feeding the ducks made for a full schedule. I didn't win the prize, but I made a connection with my subject, and thats worth just as much.

Friday, August 24, 2007


1/100 at f7.1. ISO 200
March 24th, 2007

Friday, August 17, 2007

Empire Mine Cottage

1/80 at f8. ISO 400
August 15th, 2007