Friday, December 31, 2010

Entry 10: Inertia #15 | A Clean Well-Lighted Place Photo Blog

Inertia #15 A Clean Well-Lighted Place Photo Blog

I just had to share this. I call this style of photography "Drive By Photography" and I do it a lot. Since 2004 digitally. Cool photograph.

Entry 09: Photographer for artist album cover (Los Angeles)

This is a photography blog.  I keep saying that for my own benefit I think.  Just the same, you run across stuff you just want to share with the world.  However, before I do that:

"Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any one thing."
Abraham Lincoln

Happy New Year to all of you!

Ok, I saw this on Craigslist last month, copied it, and saved it.  I didn’t know where I was going to use it or do with it but it made laugh so hard I almost wet my pants.  It also made me really pissed off after thinking about it because I’m trying to use my camera to earn income too.  So many people out there put little to no value on the trade/art form or whatever the title you want to label you want to paste on photography.  Too many of us are willing to work for free too.  It is a tough nut to crack but we have to deal with those that do not get it and that makes it tougher.  I know I am preaching to the choir so here it is just as I copied it:

Photographer for artist album cover (Los Angeles)
Date: 2010-11-28, 7:10PM PST
Reply to: [Errors when replying to ads?]
It's always funny with the people who have no money to always want the best people to do their work for them and also tell the photographers just how long the shoot will take!! How about loading in and out, setting up and breaking down equipment how about outfit changes, downloading Material to computer to check lighting!! Sounds a lot like a 10 hour day to me for what?! Oh yeah nothing!! Split album income, what are the chances of seeing that money!! Ziltch!! F#%*ing Losers!!! Contact an art school!! That's about all the free anything you deserve!

Done with these idiots! 

•Location: Los Angeles
•it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests
•Compensation: You get what you pay for!

This is a photography blog though so here are some photos.  I love it when I have a camera in my hands with my finger on the trigger:

This was nothing special, just a basic shot with my Canon PowerShot A540 on Aug 1, 2010, in the waiting room at the Chevy dealership waiting to get the car fixed.  I shot it from my lap so as not to alert anyone.  No flash and shot in basic Program AE setting (party mode! – a popular setting for me).  I forgot about the photo.  Later after I downloaded the images (I wanted to so say, “after I developed the film”), I looked at the shot for some time.  I thought it was really a cool looking photograph.  It is surreal.  Woman to my left and man to my right.  None of us socializing because we do not do that anymore.  I mean, I was not feeling like talking either.  I think everyone in there was wondering how they were going to pay for the bill.  There is the box of donuts, the coffee station, the flat screen and more stuff.  It is Americana.

This shot was taken in Fort Worth on Jul 18, 2008 with my Canon PowerShot S5 IS.  I think I mentioned once or twice that I am a loyal Canon-nite.  It is one of the angels on the Bass Performing Arts building in downtown Cow Town.  I lived in Texas for 4 and half years.  My longest stay in any one place since I was I was born.  Really.  I find it difficult to comprehend myself but I was a resident at that address longer than any other.  Wow.  Ok, the angel – just a cool picture, man!  I was set on “shutter speed priority” at 1/1600 shutter speed, black & white, at 24.5mm focal length, normal stuff.  It’s a bad ass shot though!

Did I mention that I am an Army veteran of 20 years?  I was in the first Gulf War in 1990/1991 (Desert Shield/Storm).  I was in the war on terror, Operation Iraqi Freedom from February 2003 through February 2004 in Iraq.  Did I mention any of this before?  That is neither here nor there really.  I just cannot forget so I take photos of things like this.  I even did a photography class assignment on memorials for veterans (yeah, I took photo 101 in the fall of 2009 at Tarrant County College – best thing I ever did concerning photography – I was shocked just how much I didn’t know).  I will have to show some of those photos one day.  This one was not a part of that series.  I shot this with my Canon EOS Rebel XS on May 31, 2010 (you can get a good deal at Adorama).  I was using the Aperture-Priority AE mode (my favorite) at F-stop 3.5 (which did not render any real shallow depth of field because I was so far back).  The focal length was 18mm and shot in monochrome (well, black & white is for other cameras, not DSLRs).  What I really need is a good wide-angle lens like the Canon EF 28 1.8 USM so I can really F-stop something – you feel on that, right?

I know, all that talk about Canon this and Canon that and here I am using my BlackBerry Bold 9000 to take a photo.  Well, Canon does not make a smart phone.  Hey, now that is an idea.  I digress: I was making breakfast for my oldest and I and had this idea on Mar 16, 2010.  So I lined up the eggs and took this shot.  No flash.  Cool isn’t it?  I think so.

And a little homage to my first digital camera, my Canon PowerShot A60.  Did I mention that I am an Army veteran…  Yeah.  I took this shot on Jan 31, 2004 in a warehouse on Camp DOHA in Kuwait.  We had just convoyed back from Iraq (Camp Victory/BIAP) to Kuwait and were in the process of cleaning equipment (including vehicles) to get it prepared for the return trip to the states.  That cleaning process took several days and inspections by Dept of Agriculture trained customs assigned soldiers.  Or something like that.  We all were focused on getting back to Fort Huachuca, AZ, back home.  This picture brings up a lot of memories.  This shot was taken late at night after a day of cleaning and stuff.  I took it without the flash at 5.4mm focal length in the ‘landscape’ shooting mode.  If you look at the details, you may see something interesting and other things that do not mean an anything.  It does not seem that long ago.

Well that is it for my 2010 entries.  Welcome 2011.  And thank you Anita for all the kind words and for following my photographic journey.  Thank you too, Aimz, for following my photographic journey.  And Happy New Year to everybody, again.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Entry 08: Art Show and '80s-Music Party

Back on November 4th, 2010, I went to an Art Show and ‘80s Music Party in the Arts District in Los Angeles. I had a lot of fun and took a lot of photographs. I even did an article about it on (the place where I try to write using the AP style). What I did not do was blog about it. Nor did I put up any other photos anywhere else – I took over 40 shots and only used 16 on the examiner story. I still had more than half to share. So, since I am so behind on my blog I thought I catch up with a four of those shots.
In this shot, we have some of Sam Prendergast handmade paper. I saved this photo so that I might lust of the visual imagery without letting the public at large know how much of a dirty middle aged man I am. Oops. Anyway, I shot this entire event with my Canon EOS Rebel XS DSLR camera. Well, that is the official name of the camera. I am hoping Canon will pick me up to be the official trumpeter of the XS model. No, it is not the 7D but it can take some incredible photos. I digress – this photo was shot without the flash and set in my own user-defined setting. That setting as follows: Sharpness set high (4); Contrast medium (1); Saturation medium (1); and Color Tone was high too (4). The Bordello Bar is a very red place so I was trying to counter that somewhat. This setting did not counter much. I was digging that Sam Prendergast paper though.
Now with this shot of the Bordello Bar, I used the standard setting. Do you see how red the place is? I love it though – I just have to adjust better. I used my Speedlite 430EX external flash for this shot synced with the first curtain of the shutter. Man! That sounded so professionally snooty! Ok, first curtain sync is the normal setting for a flash but and I love sounding like a geek. “Clearly you are aware that you can sync you flash with the second curtain to render unexpected trailing light effects when shooting moving images at night aren’t you? Stick with me young lady, I can teach you a lot…” Ok, it did not sound that cool. The Bordello Bar – lots of antique stuff sprinkled with modern things. The old analog phone next to the credit card swiping device; the old style candelabra with its electric lights; the old cash register, the gipsy woman painting (she’s nice), the calculator – a really eclectic scene. I love the place.
Later in the night at the Bordello Bar party, I shot this seen. No flash and no tripod so no great focus – lots of virtual volume though. Also women that are not scrawny – I could not help myself, it’s how I like ‘em. The camera settings were: Sharpness set high (4); Contrast low (-3); Saturation low (-3); and Color Tone was a little low (-2). Not as ‘red’ red but that’s a hard color to work against with photography – you have to work with it.
The last shot I did in black and white. Actually, I shot it in ‘monochrome’ – coolness again. Whatever name you use, you still get the same results. You naturally want to believe the photo is from the turn of the century just because it is black and white and the virtual volume effect with people moving about in the background. Again, shot without a flash. The ISO for all of the shots was 1600. I like doing this type of shooting without the flash because you can generally capture people naturally as you continually shoot because there is no flash distraction. As soon as I get my hands on that Canon EOS 7D I will be able to shoot with an ISO at 12800 – watch out. Ok, I need to get to work and get some gigs for that price tag.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Entry 07: Jeanilee, a sunflower and photoshop

Jeanilee is my girl!  She is just too cool to photograph.  Jeanilee is a good old fashioned hard working American, a university student close to graduating and an ass kicking mixed martial arts fighter.  Better be careful around this woman and do not let her diminutive size fool you – she will mess you up.  This photo is from our second shoot together.  It is a natural, casual shot we took on a Friday afternoon.  We took a lot of them too but I wanted to share what I did with Adobe’s Photoshop (CS5) on this photo.

I made lithograph out of this shot.  I opened the photo in Photoshop then made a layer copy of the initial photo (background).  I do that because it is better not to work on the original just in case you mess something up.  While on my copied layer, I went to image pull down menu then clicked on adjustments then threshold.  POW, you have a lithograph.

Look at the Texas Sunflower photo I took back in the summer of 2008, in Texas, as a lithograph but inverted.  It looks like a negative.  All you do is the same series of menus but then do it again after it is a lithograph but instead of clicking threshold you click invert - cool.

Here Jeanilee’s photo is converted into an almost ghost like appearance with the “diffused glow” filter.  Same deal as before, you need a new layer of the photo then to the filter pull down menu.  Take it down to distort then click diffused glow and you have it.  Let us look at it with the sunflower.

Here the sunflower is using the same filter and it too has that ghost-land like look about it.  Maybe surreal is a better word but it is a cool affect.  The sunflower is just to show you the difference with a person versus an object.

The last one is another under the filter pull down menu.  This filter is the one called cutout.  Under the filter heading, you click on artistic then cutout and you get this computer graphic drawing look.  I like this filter a lot for its graphic fantasy like look and feel.

The same filter on the sunflower gives it a graphic arts dynamic that cannot be shaken.  This print is now ready for a canvas and a venue.  Just the same, I like the two photos as I originally took them. 

I just wanted to highlight how easy Photoshop can be.  I used all the default settings and nothing was tweaked.  Photoshop, of course, can do some very advanced function and everything in between.  I will show a few more tools of Photoshop on another post but this post was just too hi-light that, as advanced as the program is, Photoshop can do some real basic stuff too.  And it’s fun.

And here is the original photo of the sunflower.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Entry 06: Etta’s Party Binge Newsletter

This is a photography blog.  At least that’s what I keep saying.  I shoot a lot of ‘things’ but I like shooting people more.  My ‘top model’ is my youngest daughter.  She’s a classic ham and camera hog.  She just had a birthday and I captured a lot of it with my camera.  I sent out news letter to family and friends about her birthday with the photos.  They got a kick out of it so I’ll share it here too:
I apologize for doing this in the newsletter fashion but time is very short.  Pirate number two, Etta, had quite a birthday celebration.  As she put it, “this is my best birthday EVER!”  And that’s saying something; she turned five.  It had begun with a birthday party at mommy’s place on Sunday, Nov 28.  She picked up a few gifts (of which the water color paint set has been my greatest source of angst up until yesterday).

And big sister Jennifer (because she tells me she doesn’t like being called ‘Munch’ anymore – also known as pirate number one) made her little sister cup cakes and fruit smoothies.  If that were all she did for her birthday, she would have been very happy.  Fast forward to yesterday, Nov 30.  At school in her kindergarten class, she and some 30 something classmates (wow, how does her teacher do that?) enjoyed cupcakes that I brought just after class began.  Fifth grader big sister, Munch, I mean Jennifer, was able to join her in class (they are in the same school – the first and only time this will happen for them).  Big sister helped with the distribution of cupcakes and managed to eat three herself.  She told me so – two kids were absent and she was given the go ahead ~ so she says.  Etta also got that age-old classic sung to her, “Happy Birthday to You”, and was awarded the ‘Etta’ crown for the day.  Not to mention a new pencil and some other stuff.
On the way home, I asked her if she liked her birthday.  She said it was great!  “I had a party at mommy’s and a party at school”.  She did not yet know there was more to come.  Shortly after we got home, grandma brought in eleven helium-filled balloons for the birthday girl.  I knew there were eleven because we counted them.  Matter fact, we used them as a source for some of the homework we had to do.  Yeah, kindergarten homework – what happened to finger paint?  Once everyone was home, we headed out for dinner – to Charles the Rat (you may know him by one of his aliases – Chuck E. Cheese).
When we pulled into the parking lot, the charade is up; “we’re going to Chuck E. Cheese!!” is all that could be heard.  Pizza, soda, gifts and tokens later – a couple of hours later, we headed for the door.  Munch, I mean Jennifer, and Etta were still fired up.  Whose birthday was it again?  This was when we first heard the proclamation, “best birthday EVER!”  We arrived back at the house to the last act of the celebration – cake, ice cream and a couple more presents.  Oh yeah, and another round of that classic, “Happy Birthday to You”.
Then the reiteration of the earlier stated fact, “this is the best birthday EVER!”  We had run well past bedtime (I was dizzy just thinking about that) and we still had school tomorrow.  Some PJs and teeth brushing and they were off to bed.  The “best birthday EVER!” had closed.  The pictures are from the house and the Charles the Rat portions of the events.

Thank you to everyone who made her day special.


“Each cup of tea represents an imaginary voyage.” ~Catherine Douzel
The power of a tea set.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Entry 05: The Freebee

I was supposed to finish writing about the Bella Style Garden Event – Part 2.  That was so long ago though.  I will complete it because I took some really nice photos.  However, if keep taking photos and at my current rate I will never catch up with myself.  Thus I need to keep making entries.  And I have been looking at other blogs too – some really cool blogs like, “”.  And, man, I talk (write) too much.  Photo blogs are about photos.  Blogs are about writing.  I guess I need to do a separate blog and do some writing.  If you know of anyone looking for a writer, pass my name along.  I saw on “” that Canon has come out with an EOS 60D.  Granted, it is not a 7D but it cost less too – about $400 less, depending where you buy it from.  I am partial to Adorama.  I do not know, I have my heart set on that 7D.  Nevertheless, let us get to the photos…

These four women I shot for this fella, Anthony, for some promotion thing he was doing.  I let myself get roped into this experience that amounted to a lot of work for no compensation.  Well, at least I have the photos.  This was the last endeavor I did for him.  And I never even got these young ladies names.  Here is the first shot I liked.

This is the second shot that I liked.  I was using five lights: two fixed lights with reflectors, two strobes with reflectors, and my Speedlite 430EX external flash on my trusty Canon XS.  I was trying to eliminate shadows.

Here is the third shot I liked.  The “eliminate shadows” thing worked well enough until I shot with the camera tilted 90 degrees for portrait rather than a landscape view.  This is where one of those external flash frames comes in handy.  Or one of those ring flashes would work very well.  A very nice shot just the same.

This is the fourth and final shot.  I shot about a hundred frames (I think) but these were the four best shots (one for each model) in my opinion.  I was shooting for that guy so this was not something I would normally do but these came out pretty cool.  Shadow or no shadow. 

Well, that’s it for now.