Thursday, February 19, 2009


Originally I wanted to get a nice reflection of people walking by this puddle with their umbrellas. When that didn't work, I just focused on the raindrops. I love how the colors came out.

Stuff from Jan-Feb

This was for a neighborhood snapshot, and I happened to get a photo of this local preschool group holding hands and looking before crossing the intersection together.

This was from a story about different technologies that are being developed to help the brain in different ways. The wii was included, and I got this fun photo from covering a group of vets trying out the bowling game at the VA.

This set of 3 photos was for a story about pending high speed rail routes that might run through the core of Palo Alto. The bottom two here were taken while riding on the train in Palo Alto to show the proximity of homes to the tracks currently, and how they might have to be demolished completely to make room for extra HSR tracks if the plan is approved. I thought they were kinda cool and abstract, almost makes me want to do a series of photos taken from the train.

By far my favorite photo of the year so far. Believe it or not, the blue ribbon was actually me waving my cell phone on a 3 second long exposure.

Local author

this was for a story about singles in Palo Alto. I like the colors and how it's mostly all dudes in that portion of the bar checking out the scene.

Palo Alto Baylands

A training session showing volunteers the differences in normal tungsten lightbulbs to CFL's.
One of the 3 large oak trees that fell during the last rainstorm. It totally crushed the side of this house, took out power, and smashed the car parked in the driveway. But I really like how the guy from the city cleanup team stood out so much from the green and the grey.

Monday, January 26, 2009


Happy New Year!

And to continue on from the last post, here's some of my favorites from January so far...EPA peace march

Protest against Israeli attacks in Gaza

Car crash on the 280 -all minor injuries
The girl on the right was the driver and is being comforted by her mom.

Photographer whose work focuses on oak trees in danger of succumbing to sudden oak death

Ice Skating at the Winter Lodge

1st day of new student registration

New mural at Addison Elementary

Stanford students rehearse a dance piece called "Crash"

Rehearsal of Chinese Nutcracker

It's Been Awhile

I know, I know, it's been awhile since I posted on here. Maybe it's because this column I read back in October on Sports Shooter made me a little discouraged (just look for reason #2) :
Or maybe I just got lazy after picking up work full time at the Weekly and didn't feel like posting anything after work or on the weekends. Or maybe I was just being my usual procrastination-prone self and kept putting off posting photos until wait, it's January already? Anyways, here's some of my more favorite photos from Nov-Dec -and I don't care if no one is really interested about my blog, I'm doing it for me!

This is a follow-up to an amazing story that was first published in the Weekly in February 2008. The boy on the left is Shawn, a ten year old who had been waiting over 2 years for a heart transplant and finally received one in July. In December, after a rollercoaster recovery, he was finally able to return home to Alaska. Former Chief Photographer Norbert Von Der Groeben did an amazing photo story and slideshow about Shawn when he was waiting for his heart. You should check out the link here:
this is from a feature about a local bus driver who is a hero and got her children to safety when a drive-by happened while she was driving the kids home.

this photo really reminds me of my middle school, MBI, and how we used to have to run the morning tv program. Zero period sucked.Thanksgiving feature...poor turkey made quite the feast I bet.

At Deer Hollow Farm

Fall features

Banjo from WWI

Detail of a mandolin from a story about the Museum of American Heritage's musical instruments exhibit

Sophie and the Enchanted Toy Chest (or something like that) performed for patients at Stanford Hospital in Dec.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Food Porn

When I first started interning at the Weekly back in Fall 2006, I received food and drink assignments a few times a month. Back then I really didn't enjoy shooting still life images at all (I was craving moments and spontaneous spot news). I would show up to restaurants not really knowing what the heck I was doing; hoping the chef just made something colorful and well presented that would be easy to photograph- something that would require little creativity on my part. But my how things have changed. The more and more I delve into studying studio lighting and trying to replicate it, the more and more I relish the occasional food photo assignment as an opportunity to explore my photographic identity. It's starting to become a passion for me: the composition, the lighting (now I have 2 light stands, whoo hoo!), the choice to include background details-or not, and the best angles to make food look at its best. It's a nice change from being the recorder of a scene to its creator; a newfound ability to imagine and produce.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

High school filmmaker

A few weeks ago I was assigned to get a portrait of David Harris, a 16-year-old filmmaker who recently just directed a short film which has won all these awards at various youth film festivals. His film is about a kid who works at a funeral home, so I really wanted the portrait to reflect the dark and moody subject matter David took on in his film. When I told him my idea, he supplied all the props. I shot all these images at his school, the location I chose was down a hallway leading to the boy's bathroom. I was really attracted to the window at the end of the hall, and also that there were no lights. Believe it or not, this was taken right after school in the middle of the day. I used two lights most of the time, at the beginning I had them both shining on David from opposite sides (which you can see in the second photo below). Although I loved how his shadow was coming out on both walls and how illuminated he was, the lighting just wasn't as dramatic as I wanted. So in the end, I settled for one light (held up by his dad) with a gobo attached shining from the far right, then I placed the second light behind to add in the hair light and give him that rim light. If I had to do it again, I would have definetely had a third light for fill on the left side, and really bring out those lights and the chair better. Oh well. Anyways, this was a really fun assignment especially since I had the time and patient model to really work with it on. He is a very driven teenager; I am certain he will succeed well with film in the near future.

Not nearly as dramatic, but I wanted to show the school setting too.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Apples to Apples

I just bought a new toy to play with; my new foldable lightstand with umbrella mount. I think it was my last assignment in which I photographed a 16-year-old filmmaker using 2 lights which had to be held up by boxes and the filmaker's dad that finally pushed me to just go out and get a stand already. I will post the filmmaker photos soon...they turned out really cool I think. So, with my newfound freedom with being to able to shoot with 2 lights, I feel my creativity is just getting started. When I got assigned my latest Food&Drink assignment which was just asking for photos of apples, I thought I'd try out my luck and really take advantage of my flashes. For the shot above, I actually used 3 lights. I cross-lit a row of apples from the sides and used my master flash to fill in the direct highlights. I used CTO gells to give it more of that "autumn" glow. I've also included my set-up shots and technical info in case anyone is interested in how I shot this. Disregard my ghetto studio which is actually a desk in the newsroom that is always overflowing with newspapers and books.

Technical Info:
camera:Canon 20d using lens @20 mm, Iso 100, f5 @1/250.
strobes: Left Canon 550ex, snooted and gelled with full CTO@ 1/64 power
right Canon 430, snooted and gelled with full CTO@1/64 power
Master strobe on camera, Canon 550ex @1/128 power

this one is my favorite, I'm glad I decided to spritz on some water to really give it more texture and eye appeal.

technical info:
camera: lens @35mm zoom, Iso 100, f4 @1/250
strobes: left 550ex snooted and gelled with full CTO @1/64 power
right 430ex snooted and gelled with full CTO @1/64 power