Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Asking People

This evening, a young guy from San Jose high school came to our house to get us sign up for newspaper subscription, which will contribute toward his college fund. He seems sincere and honest, so I signed up just to help him out. I'm happy for my education donation ku-tho.

Later it got me thinking what David asked Un the other day about my Project52 -- how I could get people to take their pictures.  I start to see that high school kid as myself asking others for taking their photos.

Asking other people for something is definitely not easy. But there are many many nice people out there who just want to help others. Today I happened to be one of those. Many people allowed me to take their pictures so far just to help me out with nothing they want in return, not even their own picture.  It's Karma.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Portraits 4/52

This week is my failure. I was chilled out too much till last minute that when I went out to shoot on Sunday right before sunset, it's too short of a time to get something I am happy with.   People are still nice and corporative at Ponderosa park; it's just that there aren't many people there and no time.

I should do it on Saturday (or weekday evenings) so that I have another buffer day.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Portraits 3/52

At Sutro Baths in San Francisco. The background is just so pretty so
They are already chilled out and relaxed so no need to pose them naturally.

This other couple dressed up so city-like together that they caught my eyes right away. They said it's not their first time being stopped for photos. The guy is shy a bit when I told them to talk as usual or fake laugh.
But he's a natural as soon as I said 'get close'. And bam! Got it.  Again, super nice people.

Backlit Sun flares

Backlit sun flares
I've been obsessed with backlit photos with lots of sun flares.  For backlit photos, spot-metering saves my life from having to manually meter and adjust. I really should start using a reflector to fill in.

My recipe to edit those backlit photos (in lightroom):
- increase exposure until subject is correctly exposed. Background somewhat blown out.
- bring back the details in the subject by adding contrast, clarity, sharpness etc)
- warm it up by temperature slider (sun rays are supposed to be warm!)
- add some vignette at the corners to bring back the blown out background.
- add some yellowish haze by clipping blacks in curve and dragging blue channel highlights a bit to add some yellow  (like this from 2:55 to 5:05)

This is a short and simple tutorial to add artificial sun & lens flare in photoshop. (can't find it for lightroom).  I haven't used it yet. It might come in handy later if I barely miss the sun.

Sun rays from the window
I've been wanting to shoot rays coming through the window.  The only time I stepped upon that light setup naturally was in a dark windmill in Neatherlands.
Turns out I can add those sun rays by this photoshop tutorial. It might come in handy sometime. But that's probably too much work for me.

Split Toning
I always love the sophomore guy's cold bluish toning for a long time.  And now I found an easy split-toning method to resemble that look.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Portraits 2/52

I came to realize that this project is not as easy as it seemed. I got to see how people feel of being photographed. This is the first time I got a couple of rejects when I asked people outside 99Ranch to take their pictures for my project. Even I'm never in good mood going to grocery stores, so it's understandable that their mind is occupied. I'm glad that I didn't get rejected on my first week portraits, which was at the park in San Francisco. Everybody I asked there was okay. Location is important!

I saw this father and son waiting outside of 99Ranch for a long time. So when I asked, they agreed to take a pic.  The kid is actually very cooperative and excited to be taken pics of. They made my Portraits 2/52.

This week I'm training myself to be comfortable with taking my time posing other people rather than shooting whatever they pose. People actually like it when I tell them the poses I want as they don't feel awkward of not knowing what to do.

I also shoot three highschool girls in downtown San Jose the same weekend. I love their energy and cooperation. They boosted my confidence back.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Hello Ladies....

I've been living in bay area for more than 10 years straight, but haven't seen the painted ladies till last weekend. Doh!.

I saw San Francisco differently through a different set of eyes last week.  We've been busy exploring Europe and India that we haven't been to the city for months!  I'm falling in love with SF all over again.  It's beautiful with hills, filled with small, cute townhouses.  Did I not notice them before or not appreciate them enough since they are always part of my regular life?  After walking/driving around the city last weekend, I don't miss Amsterdam's gable houses so much now. After all, my city is only a short drive away.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Portraits 1/52

My new year photography project for 2013 is to take other people's portraits for 52 weeks. One per week.  I took many portraits this weekend, but I'll count only a good one toward 52. After my 365 in 2011, I got tired in 2012 and ended up without a specific project. I'm happy to take on a project. I This project is inspired by, tailored to what I'd like to accomplish.

This couple is super super super nice. I love how natural they look in this shot. They are my 1/52.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Time to focus on Portraits

After two-three years of shooting whatever I love, I have found my focus. This year, I will focus on shooting portraits. No more dead objects even if they have perfect lighting and composition. They helped me learned a lot in my photography skills and I'm grateful that I did 365 and shot all still and live objects in last two year.  

Friday, January 4, 2013

Best of my Project365, 2011

After exactly a year, I should be done cleaning up my 365 collection from 2011.  Although I took a photo a day for 365 days correctly, I was behind in selecting the final picture of the day and there are a lot of pictures backed up in my computer.  Now I've selected my favorites.  I am surprised that I didn't like them as much as I did in 2011. Hopefully that means I've grown in photography taste and skills during 2012.