Saturday, July 31, 2010

July 31 - Yama Unagi

I've been wanting to try Yama Sushi for quite a while. It totally lived up to expectations. The fish tastes fresh and delicious. A must-order from the All-You-Can-Eat menu is the seafood salad. It's basically a big plate of sashimi in a mild or spicy dressing. I don't know any other AYCE menu that has sashimi. Of course, it's just traditional for me to get an order of Unagi.

We didn't go crazy, but here's the damage:
  • Miso Soup
  • Edamame
  • Seaweed Salad
  • Seafood Salad
  • Soft-Shell Crab
  • Salmon Kama
  • Unagi
  • Ikura with Quail Egg
  • Yama Roll
  • Roger Roger Roll
  • Soft-Shell Crab Roll
  • Dancing In The Sheet Roll
  • Mochi (Strawberry, Mango, and Chocolate)

In case you're interested, here's my Yelp review.

July 30 - Beer Goggles

On our way to the Green Valley Ranch, we stopped by Khoury's Fine Wine & Spirits to sample some craft beer by Uinta. I came up with the idea to do a sunglasses photo and have beer bottles in the reflection. The bottles were shot separately and added in via Photoshop. It turned out OK. I'm noticing a couple of things I could have done better.

July 29 - LEGO Inception

We fashioned a spinning top out of random LEGO pieces. Not much more to say other than, if you haven't seen Inception yet, you're missing out.

July 28 - Cake Or Death

We had a little get-together for Gavin's 9th birthday. They bought a cake and let him decorate it himself with his LEGO. And yes, that's Lots-o'-Huggin' Bear on top of the castle tower.

(If you're not familiar with Cake or Death)

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

July 27 - Tubig Spray

I originally shot close-ups of my drip irrigation emitters. I'm glad I checked the results because I wasn't all that happy with them. So I did another quick shoot with my kitchen faucet. I just lay it upside down and sprayed it upwards. Not that you can tell in the photo which direction the water drops are going.

Monday, July 26, 2010

July 26 - Smoke Aliens

I've decided that smoke art is fun. I'll probably be playing around with this again before the year is up. The photo above is a combination of two photos. After I duplicated and inverted the first shot, I saw a "torso" so I figured it needed a head. The shot below is just a single photo.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

July 25 - Cathedral Rock

Josh and I did a late morning hike up at Mt Charleston. We decided on Cathedral Rock. A few minutes into it, we came across an alternate route. Although it was much steeper and slightly slippery, it turned out to be a shortcut. It proved worthwhile because we came across a refreshing little waterfall on the way up. It wasn't very hot (about 80 degrees as opposed to 100+ in Vegas), but standing by that waterfall felt so good - like a natural mister.

The photo above is an HDR. I deliberately kept the "HDR-ness" to a minimum. The photo below is nothing special. I just wanted to document the waterfall. :)

July 24 - Cloud Sandwich

On my way to the gym, I saw this interesting cloud formation in front of me. I thought it looked like a sandwich. I'm usually pretty lazy and hesitant to stop and take the photo. However, whenever I can predetermine the blog post title, I know for sure that I have to capture it.

July 23 - Kiwi Reggae

OK so this photo has nothing to do with reggae music from New Zealand. Josh and I were heading down to the Hard Rock for an Open Bar event featuring Katchafire (a reggae band from New Zealand). The sun was setting behind us. I enhanced the look using a Lomo photo walkthrough I found on the interwebs.

July 22 - Popcorn Bowl

My Uncle makes old school popcorn and it seems that there's always a big bowl of it whenever I come over. I saw it as another opportunity for a macro shot. I strobed underneath the kernels for some backlighting.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

July 21 - Dollar Wood

This is one of three wooden puzzles I bought from the dollar store a while back (the quality matches the price). There's actually a modicum of artistic inspiration going on here. I saw this particular puzzle on my shelf and it somehow reminded me of the film Inception. In short, it's a mixture of the Escheresque scenes and the idea of architecting a dream world. I went with a extremely shallow depth of field to enhance that dream-like feel.

If you don't buy that explanation, well that's all I got.

July 20 - Air Max

This Vegas heat is not only killing my car's gas mileage, it's making me lazy to go outside to take photos. I've been falling back too much on these macro shots of random household objects. This one is a close-up photo of my gym shoes - a pair of Nike Air Max Torch+ 5s that I got from Zappos a while back. By the way, I love it when I barely have to do any editing. This one is pretty much how it looked coming off the memory card.

July 19 - Shade Texture

OK. Wow! This uber macro photo of my downstairs lamp shade turned out a lot cooler than I expected. I used my 70-200mm with my 50mm reversed in order to get super close, but I honestly didn't think I'd be able to bring out this much detail. There are many days where I'm just not that motivated to edit because I think the photo sucks. This started out as one of those days.

Monday, July 19, 2010

July 18 - Boba City

After watching Inception (great film), we decided to grab some Boba to combat our popcorn-induced extreme thirst. I'd like to point out that I overexposed this photo on purpose. It's been crazy hot in Vegas lately and I wanted to convey that, in stark contrast to how refreshing these drinks were.

July 17 - Beer Fest

A bunch of us went to the beer fest at South Point. It was slightly disappointing in that the beers were pretty much just megabrewery stuff. Still, we managed to enjoy ourselves and find some tasty brews. More significantly for me is that I got to try a sake that I actually enjoyed (I'm not usually a sake fan). Of course, the interesting illuminated bottle isn't for their sake, but rather for their liqueur.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

July 16 - Lazy I

At the last minute, I ended up with free tickets to the Silversun Pickups concert at the Hard Rock Hotel. They totally rocked! Unfortunately for this blog, I didn't get out of there until about 11:30pm and I didn't have a photo yet. I went the lazy route and simply went across the street, hence the title of this post. It's a pun off the Silversun Pickups song called Lazy Eye. (No, not "lazy one," though that works too I suppose).

July 15 - Corpse Pose

Camila had free tickets to Flo Rida's concert at the Palms. I don't particularly care for him, but I don't usually pass up free tickets. We got lucky and found two empty chaise-type thingies. We pretty much just lay there the whole time, savasana style (the "corpse pose" in yoga). That's right. Flo Rida is that entertaining.

As I stared up at the sky, I saw the Palms tower and quickly snapped a few shots. I'm not proud of this mediocre photo of the day, but it gave me another subject to play around with in Photoshop.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

July 14 - Crescent Turtlehead

When I left Bikram Yoga yesterday, I noticed how awesome the moon looked as it set above the Spring Mountains. Unfortunately, I didn't have my camera last night. I did Bikram again tonight and made sure to have my camera with me this time.

I had about 45 minutes before the moon would set, so I drove towards Summerlin. As soon as I saw the weird shape of Turtlehead Peak, I knew what I would name this blog post. Unfortunately, taking the photo a day later meant the moon set later and the mountains and sky were much darker. This didn't help with getting a good exposure on the mountains and the moon at the same time. I ended up bracketing and using a combination of two exposures in Photoshop to get this photo. It's on the dark side (no pun intended), but I'm fine with that.

July 13 - Faucet Flow

This is my poor attempt to recreate a photo I once saw online. It's basically water flowing out of my kitchen faucet. I tried to get the water to stream at just the right rate so that I would get strange patterns like what you see here. I put a blue blanket in the background and bounced my flash off it to give the photo a blue hue. I'm sure this photo could be much better. I had trouble focusing on the stream. I'll probably try again down the road some time. In any case, I like the abstract look.

Monday, July 12, 2010

July 12 - Betta Bamboo

This is yet another reversed 50mm macro photo. In fact, this shot is very closely tied with the previous day. This is the bamboo that is inside the betta fish's bowl. It caught my eye yesterday, so I returned to photograph it.

July 11 - Single Rainbow

I've actually photographed this fish before (April 13), but this time I'm using my 50mm reversed lens for a closer look. I simply used on-camera flash for this shot. I was surprised at how colorful it is. I bumped up the in-camera saturation for even more dramatic colors. "It's so intense!"

(The title is a reference to this video)

Sunday, July 11, 2010

July 10 - Smooth Jazz

Camila texted me about practicing her violin, so I couldn't pass up the photoshoot opportunity. She is brushing up on her skills for when local jazz musicians invite her to play with them. She's actually blinking in this photo, but I like the way it makes her look like she's playing with a lot of feeling. You know, Bruce Lee style. (Don't concentrate on her fingers or you will miss all the heavenly glory).

July 9 - Blue Rave

We went to Blue Martini to celebrate Rina's birthday. I knew we'd be there late, so I decided to get a quick photo beforehand. I parked behind Rave and snapped a quickie of the building. That highlight in the clouds is from the Luxor.

July 8 - Tobiko Caterpillar

After (sort of) watching Hoobastank at the Rio, I let Camila choose where to have a late night, late birthday meal. We ended up at Kobe Sushi Bistro for happy hour! I was a little disappointed at the quality of the food on this visit. The Tobiko with Quail Egg above was very good, as was the Seaweed Salad. The issue was with the rolls, such as the Caterpillar Roll below. I'm hoping this was just an isolated incident. You can't beat their happy hour prices.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

July 7 - Electric Violin

One thing that helps me keep this thing going is to be efficient with my time. Since it was past midnight when I dropped Camila off, I decided to get my next photo right away. This is her awesome looking electric violin. I figured a simple black and white photo would best highlight the instrument's interesting curves.

July 6 - McCarran Miniature

I picked up Camila from the airport, so I figured I'd get my daily photo there. Upon arriving, my immediate thought was to go upstairs and get a tilt-shift candidate. I somewhat like the photo as is, but I miniaturized it anyway. Not sure if this one really works that well though.

July 5 - Mangan Tana!

After being so hyped about the Avatar movie for the last couple of weeks, I wasn't sure if I'd even watch it in the cinema after all the negative reviews. I ended up seeing it with Ate Sarah and Tita Ria at the South Point, but only after we enjoyed a delicious homemade store-bought Filipino meal of course.

P.S. "Mangan tana" means "let's eat" in Kapampangan (the dialect of my mother's side of the family).

July 4 - Fire Bending

My 4th of July was pretty lazy too. I just went to my cousins' place, ate some good food, and watched them set off some fireworks. Then again, Christine and I later visited the Fukuburger truck for their grand opening and ended up hanging out until 5am. Fun times.

P.S. I've been obsessed with Avatar references lately.

July 3 - EVO Portrait

To be honest, this was a pretty lazy day. So I took a picture of myself taking a picture of myself. And that's all I've got to say about that.

July 2 - Barbecue Bristles

This photo has the same setup as the previous day. I'm still playing around with it and trying to find interesting tiny objects to photograph. Pictured are some metallic bristles on a free motorized barbecue cleaning brush I picked up from The Palms a while back. The magnification is pretty dramatic.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

July 1 - Furikake Macro

This is a highly experimental photo. I bought some more lens filter attachments. This time, I got a combination that allows me to reverse my 50mm lens in front of one of my other two lenses. In this photo, it is attached to my 70-200mm. When zoomed to 200mm, this produces a gargantuan magnification ratio. You are looking at some Furikake seasoning, which primarily consists of sesame seeds, nori (seaweed), and salt. Unfortunately, a lot of vignetting is present, but I cropped most of that out. It's also extremely tough to get things in focus.