Friday, December 30, 2011

Dec 30 - Desert Skies

On second thought, here is a second post with some non-Camila photos. I didn't quite get what I wanted with the sand dunes, but the color in the sky is worth posting.

And for those who know my photography and are wondering, no these are not HDR. They are single exposures with auto or standard white balance applied. I did play around with curves because I don't have a graduated ND filter yet. (I tried going to Casey's in the morning, but they don't carry what I wanted).

Dec 30 - Desert Dunes

I needed to do one more national park road trip before my pass expired. I visited Death Valley exactly one year ago when I first got the pass, so I figured a revisit would be apropos. My goal was to get a sunset photo of the sand dunes. I did get some nice shots with some fantastic color in the sky, but in the end, I wasn't super crazy about them.

So in their stead, here are some photos of Camila LOL.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Dec 18 - Hawk'r Popup

I attended Great Bao's "Hawk'r" popup dinner event at Bread and Butter tonight. I really do make a lousy food critic—I'm not that picky and I pretty much enjoyed everything. Yes, the noodles were undercooked, but I didn't think they were bad at all. The congee was pretty bland, but that seems to be how congee normally is and it's the other ingredients that give it flavor (not that I am a congee expert in any way). For sure, my favorite was the hamachi, followed by the pork belly bao.

In any case, here is the six-course dinner, in order of appearance.

Beet- and Vodka-Marinated Hamachi, Soy Salt, Lemon, and Horseradish

Seafood Congee, Salted Radish Omelet, Chinese Doughnut

Roast Duck "Tamale"

"Great Bao" - Pork Belly, Preserved Mustard Greens, Crushed Peanuts and Cilantro

Taiwanese Beef Noodle Soup

Spanish Milk Tea with Tapioca

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Dec 10 - Total Lunar Eclipse

My plan was to capture the lunar eclipse through my cheap telescope. Long story short, things didn't quite work out how I wanted. As a result, here is a non-telescope photo of the moon taken around 6:15am (about 10-15 minutes after it reached total eclipse).

I did manage to take some very unspectacular photos of the moon as the Earth was slowly casting its shadow on it. Just for the heck of it, here is one such example.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Nov 30 - Charlie Chaplin

Movember is over! I can finally get rid of this 'stache. But of course, I can't just straight shave it off without having some fun first. I decided a Charlie Chaplin was in order. Luckily, my friend Josh lives just a couple of minutes from me and he has a bowler hat from Halloween this year.

And for those who want to see the actual moustache, here is the final product (before the Charlie Chaplin obviously). I really didn't do any grooming.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Nov 27 - Magical Abstract

I hung out with Lily at the Magical Forest. This is easily the earliest in the year I've ever been. Then again, I've only been twice before. Last year, I was a little disappointed that pretty much everything was the same as the year before. I was pleasantly surprised that there were actually quite a few new things this year.

This first shot is another happy accident. I mean, the photo is exactly as I intended, but I didn't expect to get such an awesome abstract composition on the first attempt. So from that point on, I decided to capture a few more abstract shots.

Nov 26 - Polaris Serendipity

The 5D Mark II continues to impress me. This 9-minute exposure would have been insanely noisy on my old 30D body. Granted, this was taken at ISO 100. But still, this bodes well for when I try to do a real star trail photo some time down the road. I'd like to see how the noise holds up at 30 minutes or an hour. Also, the full frame sensor allows me to get a wider view of the star field (something that used to frustrate me with the 1.6 crop of the 30D).

Actually, this was just a test photo and completely an accident. We hiked to the top of a hill and I basically pointed the lens toward the glow of Las Vegas. Little did I know that the Luxor beam was almost directly beneath Polaris. Very serendipitous. (Yes, I realize that the beam isn't vertical—in other words, the horizon really isn't level—but I like this composition better).

Monday, November 21, 2011

Nov 20 - Carbon Fiber

I've finally graduated from having a cheap tripod to having something resembling a pro setup. Manfrotto had a representative in town and they were offering a $75 rebate. On top of that, they gave an additional $75 off if you traded in a tripod. If there ever was a time to jump on carbon fiber, the time was this weekend.

I ended up picking the 190CXPRO3. I was tempted to pay more for the 055CXPRO4—it has four sections instead of three, reaches a taller height, and has thicker diameter legs—but in the end, I opted for the lighter and cheaper tripod. After all, the reason for purchasing carbon fiber is to save weight on hikes.

Now I just need to find a new ball head to complete the setup. I didn't go with Manfrotto because I would like an Arca-Swiss type quick release and they apparently don't offer that.

About this photo: This is a 30-second exposure at ISO 100 with just my TV and low-powered lamps illuminating the subject from across the room. The fact that it's properly exposed is entirely an accident, but it only took me one shot.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Nov 13 - Prop Plane

I've gone to Aviation Nation three years in a row now. I got some great action shots my first year and then I pretty much captured the same stuff last year. So this time around, I knew I wanted to do something different. Also, ever since the event with Jeff Mitchum, I've decided to be much more selective and deliberate in what I shoot. This will also help with storage space, since the 5D Mark II is a 21-megapixel camera—yes, the files are pretty huge (I shoot RAW).

Friday, November 11, 2011

Nov 10 - Jeff Mitchum

To be honest, I had never heard of Jeff Mitchum before Misti set up this event for us. Any time you get to learn a few things from a master photographer, you take the day off from work and you go. At a young age, Jeff was lucky enough to learn from none other than Ansel Adams. Jeff still shoots on film and his work is spectacular. I look forward to seeing his prints in person when we visit his Bellagio gallery next week.

This first photo is just a fun snapshot I took while he was giving us tips and explaining grad filters. My actual photo from this event is nothing spectacular, but it was definitely a worthwhile trip out to Red Rock. I find myself gravitating toward landscape photography lately and though I have a long way to go before being anywhere near Jeff's caliber, I certainly learned some key points today.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Nov 9 - Mo Bro

This photo is significant for a few reasons. First off, I just wanted to document my "Movember" progress. If you didn't know, Movember is a fundraising effort for prostate cancer. It's my first year trying it and I haven't raised jack. If you want to help out, please go here. I'm one-third of the way through the month and my 'stache is pretty pitiful, but it's for charity, so who cares.

But the real significance is that this is my first time actually testing out my new 5D Mark II. In addition, I tethered the camera to my PC in order to ensure proper focus—it's something I've never really played around with before. Finally, this photo was shot at ISO 6400 and the noise level is remarkably well-controlled.

I must say that I'm already LOVING the full frame sensor on this bad boy.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Nov 5 - Fake Lake Foto Walk

It was a beautiful day out at Lake Las Vegas. Admittedly, I went overboard with the HDR on this first shot, but I actually kind of like how surreal it looks.

You can view the photo walk flickr group to view more photos.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Oct 30 - Inverted Raiden

Welcome to the 2nd annual Halloween self-portrait. If you didn't catch last year's super saiyan silliness, you can check it out here.

I've had this rice hat for a few years. I'm not exactly sure how it came into my possession, but I just knew it was one day destined to be used in a Raiden costume. My version of Raiden is actually inverted. More accurately, it kind of resembles Sub-Zero wearing Raiden's hat. I bought a cheap ninja outfit and since it's black, I decided to make a white sash thing to drape over me. Yes, I actually did some novice sewing for this costume.

(The real Raiden outfit is a blue sash over a white base).

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Oct 29 - Siphon Coffee

Terri—the "Yelptern Graduate"—was in town for the weekend so we met up with her at Cafe de Japon for lunch. And by "we" it was really just Anthony M and me. Cafe de Japon is a cute little cafe. I was intrigued by the whole "siphon coffee" thing, so I ordered it and snapped this photo. It looks like a chemistry set.

Incidentally, my Canon 30D is officially dead. The shutter end-of-life'd at the end of the Dry Lake Bed photo shoot. I'm glad it didn't die until the end of the shoot, but obviously I'm uber-bummed. It lasted almost precisely five years and who knows how many shutter actuations. I'm currently borrowing a friend's 40D until I figure out which direction I want to go.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Oct 23 - Dry Lake Bed Shoot

The Las Vegas SMUG Meetup group held a photo shoot for us out at the dry lake bed along US95 toward Searchlight. Scott Bourne brought his Corvette and a couple of models for us to shoot. It was so much fun, it almost made me want to be a real photog. The first photo is probably the best portrait I've ever taken.

Thanks to Scott and Yasmin for a fantastic couple of hours out in the desert.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Oct 22 - Occupy Gardens Park

The title is in reference to an apparently not-so-small altercation the group had before I arrived. Long story short, there was a large party next to us that thought they had a right to our picnic area even though we had people already sitting there for an hour. We stood our ground. Security got involved. We prevailed.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Oct 15 - Fun With Fall Foliage

I decided to bust out my jury rigged macro gear for some leaf photography. Kudos to Anthony for finding this awesome tiny spider. And of course, I couldn't leave (no pun intended) without getting my customary hammock photo.

Oct 14 - Kyle Canyon Campground

Quickie overnight camping trip up at Kyle Canyon. We really roughed it—teriyaki chicken, kalbi, wine and brie, hot dogs on ciabatta. And of course, s'mores!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Oct 13 - Well Hung

I absolutely love my new canvas gallery wrap. It took me almost a year to finally take a vertical photo that I thought was worth blowing up to 40x60, but I think it was worth the wait (I actually paid for the canvas during a Black Friday sale last year).

It looks crazy awesome in person. This photo doesn't do it justice. By the way, I only posed with the canvas to give it some scale.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Oct 9 - Remiyel Sora

Just a candid photo of my sister's daughter with Uncle Robert at Fiesta Filipina. And by sister, I really mean my closest cousin. It was a lucky shot, with Remi laughing and the nice rim light.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Oct 9 - Sloppi Jo's Last Call

Jo brought up a good point. I was there on her first day (even before her grand opening). I needed to be there on her last day. Actually, it's just the truck's last day. Jolene isn't quite done with Vegas just yet.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Oct 8 - Paddle For The Cure

This year's turnout was fantastic—probably fifty percent greater than last year. I was a little wary of shooting the same stuff as last year, but why not. Anything that helps increase breast cancer awareness is a good thing.