Wednesday, June 20, 2012

b&w to the rescue

Sometimes converting a photo to B&W is not entirely an intuitive and creative choice, but a reality.

My Nikon D70 is 8-years old and the ISO technology back then is nothing like the DSLRs today.  So when I photograph in low-night situations, I have no choice but to crank up the ISO setting and that just means the photos will end up with lots of unwanted noise.

The B&Ws here are the outcome of these situations.  I've spent a lot of post-processing time on these because the originals are just awful.  I was not happy with the color in the originals but I am quite happy with I was able to salvage by turning them into B&Ws.

Sunday, June 17, 2012


One of the things I've learned to photograph at art museums, is a more candid way in which viewers interact with the art works.  At the beginning, I have the tendency to capture people looking at arts and just accept what are being presented.  But now, I am more interested in how people and arts co-exist in the frame, more like equal partners.

These were taken at MOMA on a Free Friday Night.  Note to myself - Free Friday Night is a perfect time for people watching and photographing but definitely not a good time to enjoy arts quietly!

street portraits in baby steps

Thanks to the mobile madness these days, I am able to get some street portraits without too much difficulties.

I'm a coward, I know.  Taking advantage of people that are engrossed in their mobile world is taking the easy way out.  I know...

Of all the styles of photography, taking portrait photography is my biggest fear.  This is why I am inspired to be any type of photographer but a wedding photographer.  I don't think I am capable of handling so much human emotions in one day and still be able to create beautiful images of supposedly the most important day of people's life.

I know one day I'll have to overcome this fear and embrace it.  I know I will.  Hey, at least I've stop shooting people from the back all the time.  But in the mean time, just let me take a few more baby steps...

Friday, June 15, 2012

chicago by day

There is one thing you can't possibly avoid when photographing Chicago - magnificent skycrapers.  Your neck can seriously hurt by aiming the camera up all the time.

My AAC instructor Lisa pointed out before how I love shooting reflections.  Looking at the photos posted here, I have to admit that I am indeed a sucker for all sorts of reflections!

chicago by night

I love how darkness and light play in a mysterious way in Chicago's nights.  This city is modern yet full of old-school charm.  I brought my tripod with me on this trip and had a lot of fun with it.

These three are my favorites from this trip.

forms and structures

This year my photography learning plan is ambitious:  learn to create better B&W, learn to use tripod for night photography, and learn to use external Flash tastefully.

What I've done so far:
  • After purchasing a solid tripod and learning the settings of my camera timer, I've managed to start shooting more landscapes at night.
  • For B&W, I've put more attention on how light/shadow and texture impacts the image, and have been looking at more B&W photography books to get inspirations and ideas.
  • As for using external Flash, I bought myself a nice Nikon SB-700 speedlight as a birthday present, read a few blogs and watched a few youtube videos, but that's about it...

May not look like I've accomplished much, but my latest trip to Chicago did result in a few decent B&Ws and one of them was shot at night (Wrigley building).  So I'll say that my learning plan is still on track?


It's been a while since I did my last post.  Lots went on since then - taxes, traveling, family visiting etc.  Happy to say that life has been good and I've been continue shooting!

Since my cherry blossom and neighborhood project, I did another assignment in March before finishing the photography class at AAC.  I chose to use my flimsy little tripod and spent a few consecutive evenings outside of National Underground Railroad Freedom Center.  What a beautifully designed building and I am amazed at how successful this exercise turned out to be.  I've learned a lot and this has ignited my interest in both night photography and architecture photography.

While I was there, I thought of an interview on Michael Kenna's Hokkaido project.  Of course I'm no where near his caliber but I realized at that moment how much I enjoy shooting things like this and similar to Michael, I can spend a long time, alone, framing the shots, trying different exposures, and experimenting different perspectives.  Just being able to explore the serenity of a place with no distractions is already a wonderful experience on its own.