Shots and Thoughts

Photos and comments as I explore my passion for photography. Written to and for myself as a journal to track major moments and minor observations as I continue to evolve my visual art. 

Kyoto

Back to Kyoto, cold and clear weather. Maybe I will get lucky and it will snow as I have always wanted a set of b/w temple shots in the cold.

Kyoto | 2018

Kyoto | 2018

Pro tip: I have hat, gloves and scarf, ready to shoot.

High School

I had a fun time teaching a high school photography class yesterday here in the SF Bay Area. The kids had a lot of questions and we also got to shoot using the ProPhoto studio lights. Here are some of the images shot by the students.

SF | 2018

SF | 2018

SF | 2018

SF | 2018

SF | 2018

SF | 2018

SF | 2018

SF | 2018

Pro tip: Teaching, sharing is a step on the path to mastery. And of course I learn something from every student.

Layers in Color

A fun day shooting in San Francisco as I was attending a gallery show at SF Leica. Chinatown is close by so I often walk there for an hour and watch for interesting images. Here is a complex layered shot that I love.

SF | 2018

SF | 2018

Pro Tip: This is probably one of my most layered complex shots with a clear foreground, middle and background focus. Interesting that it does not work in b/w as the lady in the back (red) does not stand out. I need to keep shooting these scenes as you don't know until you look at the edit how strong the image really is.

Wrapping Up 2017

For 2017 I had a lot of fun shooting, mainly in Japan with 10 trips. My intention was to shoot the local neighborhood and people in Kyoto along with images from the short trips I made into Tokyo. A full day of shooting for me is 1,000+ digital images, a short day is 300-400 shots. Yes this is a lot (maybe why film does not work so well for me) but I learned this from my teacher Jacob Sobol who does this pretty consistently when in shooting mode.

Checking in with Lightroom it shows I took 46,561 photos in Japan during 2017 (probably an equivalent amount in the US including studio and work projects). I "three starred" 3,822 images and then worked this down to 828 "five star" shots, with maybe 50-60 strong photos. From this there are about a dozen I would add to my on going portfolio. A dozen shots I am delighted to have and show for years to come. For me the key is shooting a lot, lucky I find true joy in this process.

Kyoto | 2017 No filter

Kyoto | 2017 No filter

Pro tip: My intention was to have this focused shooting turn into a book or zine, but I am not sure there is a story line here yet. I may need to step back and look at these shots after some time has passed.

 

 

More Practice

One of the aspects of photography that I find so delightful is the opportunity to not only learn new things, but to then practice them. This exercise of practice is effortless for me, actually brings me much joy. Part of this is that I give myself a lot of permission to fail, with no judgement.

Yesterday I went out open to possibilities in the street, but with a clear intention to practice foreground shooting. Taking it up a level I worked on shooting scenes that developed quickly and finding a way to put a foreground image in play. Not easy but fun to practice. Next level up was to find a gesture then add a quick foreground. This keeps your mind and eyes on alert! 

After about an hour of shooting 100+ practice images, I came across this scene, uncropped.

Kyoto | 2917

Kyoto | 2917

Pro tip: I love the vibe of practicing and when it pays off, all bonus!

Gesture Trumps All

I was lucky enough to start my photography education seven years ago by spending a week with Jay Maisel in NYC. An amazing experience and helped me immensely in understanding not only how to shoot but also what makes a great photo: Light, Color and Gesture.

Palo Alto | 2017

Palo Alto | 2017

Pro tip: Here is light was poor so we moved around in the house until we found a spot under the ceiling sunlight. ISO needed to be 3200 so the colors were pretty washed out. But the gesture was super! Just a reminder that gesture trumps all in photography.

IG Post #700

Now 700+ B/W posts on IG. I have mostly dropped off of FB as the political and paid advertising is just too much for me. IG is much cleaner and full of awesome photographers (for now!)

Honolulu | 2017

Honolulu | 2017

Pro tip: I have been very conscious on keeping my IG feed consistent with content and post processing to maintain an integrated portfolio. All kinds of shots but proud of each of them!

Practice

I have been practicing shooting with a strong foreground, middle image and background to give the photo more depth. 

SF | 2017

SF | 2017

Pro tip: When starting off I find a stationary stable foreground object that is easier to work with. Set this up and see how the scene develops. Looking for foreground, middle and background.

Honolulu

It was a family holiday but I made some time to get in a few new images. Ruby ended up sick with a head cold for several days so I had some extra hours to shoot. Love the sunrise and sunset shots in Honolulu. I also caputred some awrsome B/W shots posted over on IG.

Honolulu | 2017  

Honolulu | 2017

 

Honolulu | 2017

Honolulu | 2017

Pro tip: Go low, go wide, go early, stay late to help find unqiue images. Shot on the Fuji X100F this trip.

Holiday Photos

Kids and dogs are always a challenge to shoot, but this crew was easy and fun. New pup Rookie was adorable with beautiful coloring and fur.

Los Gatos | 2017

Los Gatos | 2017

Pro tip: For any group shot take a lot of photos and use 5+ locations to get the best results. Keep it light and fun, but there is also a practical limit of about 30 minutes to keep everybody's energy and attention focused.

Polaroid

The new Polaroid OneStep Two is fun, a throwback to the original Polaroid instant camera.

FullSizeRender.jpg

Pro tip: Fun! Fun!  Kids love it, seniors remember it, just plain fun.

Looking Up

I never get tired of this type shot, can’t help but shoot it!

Honolulu | 2017

Honolulu | 2017

 Pro tip: I should move on from these shots or at least stop posting, but I just dig the look and vibe!

Strong Foreground

After the typhoon passed, the Kamo river was running fast and wide. Trying to capture an interesting image, I positioned this guy in the immediate foreground to help anchor the viewer. I shot 20+ frames to get the right composition. I posted this to IG but sadly the limits of photo size cut off a lot of the image.

Kyoto | 2017

Kyoto | 2017

Pro tip: I need to take this strong foreground approach more often as I think it really makes an image pop as it sets it apart from a "snapshot".

Fishing

I saw this cool scene in Kyoto with the merging lines and wet streets, with the 28mm lens I knew it would be an interesting image. The "fishing" starts with light and scene, then waiting for it to develop. 

Kyoto| 2017 

Kyoto| 2017 

Pro tip: The human element, a sense of gesture all help make an image standout for me. Waiting for the scene to develop, then shoot a lot!

Street Portraits

With my love of studio portraits and passion around street photography, I shot some street portraits in Kyoto. For each of these I spent a few minutes with the subject, a lot of fun.

Kyoto | 2017

Kyoto | 2017

Kyoto | 2017

Kyoto | 2017

Kyoto | 2017

Kyoto | 2017

Pro tip: Having a personal connection sets these shots apart, unlike a quick street snap. I think it shows in the image.

Typhoon Arrives

Heavy rain and strong winds arrived in Kyoto last night as the typhoon made shore. Hopefully little damage as there was much warning, but flooding and mudslides are inevitable.

The rain makes for a fun photography stage, although you have to be prepared to get wet. Color seemed to be the play today.

Kyoto | 2017

Kyoto | 2017

Kyoto | 2017

Kyoto | 2017

Kyoto | 2017

Kyoto | 2017

Kyoto | 2017

Kyoto | 2017

Pro tip: People are completely pre occupied in the rain with getting to/from, so feel free to get close on shooting.

iPhone Shots

Sometimes the shot appears and the iPhone is the answer. 

Kyoto | 2017

Kyoto | 2017

Kyoto | 2017

Kyoto | 2017

Kyoto | 2017

Kyoto | 2017

Kyoto | 2017

Kyoto | 2017

Pro tip: All the above shot, edited and uploaded to the blog via mobile app on phone. Some obvious limits, including sequencing of photos as I don't see how to reorder them. The image quality from the iPhone 6 is fine for this format.

Family Shots for the Holidays

It's holiday portrait time and a delight to shoot this Bay Area family again. This year was a studio session along with some great images captured on the studio deck. The had great creative ideas including costumes for the kids!

San Jose Japantown Studios | 2017

San Jose Japantown Studios | 2017

Pro tip: We scheduled holiday photos but also captured some super individual portraits of both the kids and parents. A little out of scope for the shoot but I am delighted to support long term clients. 

Creative Portraits

I had a fun time this week shooting marketing/promotional material for a local musician. The fundamental portrait set up along with a creative twist made for a cool set of shots. It didn't hurt that Mitchell was laid back, handsome and a delight to work with.

San Jose Japantown Studios | 2017

San Jose Japantown Studios | 2017

Pro tip: This shoot went well as I had a capable assistant to help with the lights and creative design. Shooting tethered works so well in the studio. We did three set ups in the studio and two location shots, all good. Having a variety of shots is important when shooting creatively.