sunset beach

on this saturday i drove to the earl burns miller japanese garden at csu long-beach for a visit. it was my second attempts in as many weeks. on the previous week, i came on a sunday just before 4 pm. i should have checked the hours, because it turned out the garden closes at 4 pm on sundays. bummer, spontaneity can definitely bite.


obesityhelp

i had an opportunity to work with the fabulous jackie guerra and to cover the obesityhelp west coast national event in irvine this past week-end. jackie is the spokewoman for obesityhelp.

character

i went to the "orange cirle" in old town orange, california, where chapman meets glassell that sunday.

i have always like this area since the first time i saw it when i went to cafe felix for cuban food.

it was an overcast day. i had a few hours to myself before meeting up with friends and head up to la. to meet with more friends for dinner so i thought i would explore the surroundings of this circle, looking for possible location for future photography projects.

Characterit was toward the end of my walk, that this man caught my attention. i was standing there, taking in the sights, when seemed out of no where, he pulled up and effortlessly set this large table down outside an antique furniture shop in the circle.

hmmm...now that's cool i thought. and just as suddenly as he appeared, he was gone. arghhhh...where did he go? while i lamented not having taken a photo of him, he reappeared. this time with boxes under his arm.

The Transporterah...i got it. he was making repeated trips transporting antique furnitures between several shops within the circle to show to prospective buyers.

on a couple of those trips, i was lucky enough to capture these memorable shots of him, and everytime i look at them, they prompt me to ask "what is character?"

car wash

my car was so filthy i took it to the car wash during lunch today. i stopped by coffee factory to pick up a small sandwich and my customary double-shot vietnamese coffee, then head to my usual car wash.

as i was waiting for my car, this red lambo out of you-know-where pulled up to thunderous roar of the quad exhaust.


surprisingly, everyone was so non-chalant about it including myself that a few minutes ticked away before acting cool, i took the camera out of my bag and sneaked a couple shots.

it was so beautiful outside today...it's friday. have a great week-end!!!

fab foursome

jenn of jpexposure were sharing some of her four's with friends via email.

below are mine. what are yours?

four jobs:
1. shirt press operator ; )
2. shoes salesman
3. bicycle tech
4. console game programmer!!!

four movies:
1. office space
2. ronin
3. ghostbusters
4. the matrix

four places i have lived:
1. saigon, vn
2. east coast, malaysia
3. caen, france
4. the oc !!!

four shows:
1. csi - vegas, ny
2. no reservation w/ bourdain
3. 24
4. iron chefs

four vacation places:
1. italy 2005
2. tba
3. tba
4. tba

four food:
1. sushi
2. pastas/noodles/udon/soba
3. yakitori
4. rare steaks

four places i would rather be:
1. paris, france
2. tokyo, japan
3. saigon (hcm city), vn
4. prague? budapest???!!!

cheers!!!

studio lighting

i like to photograph people in their environment, but i found my lack of studio lighting experience limitting, so a few weeks ago i attended a studio lighting workshop given by maura lanahan.

(here, maura was going over the finer points of studio lighting when a friendly fellow offered his hound for use in our photoshoot, making for an action shot opportunity.)

maura is very knowledgeable, personable and effective. i found the workshop very informative, and immediately useful. it has also enhanced my desire to incoporate commercial photography into my portfolio.

happy sunday everyone ;)!!!

island blues

i heard koop for the first time at my buddy rick pizza dinner a couple nights ago, and like them immediately. rick sent me some of their tracks, and i can relate to this one the best, except for may be the "too young" part ;( !!! i can sit and listen to it all day long. it's called island blues and this is how it goes:

hello my love
it's getting cold on this island
i'm sad alone
i'm so sad on my own
the truth is
we were much too young (proud)
now i'm looking for you
or anyone like you

(i've never) we said goodbye
with (my swollen) the smile on our faces face
now you're alone
you're so sad on your own
the truth is
we ran out of time
now you’re looking for me
or anyone like me


na na na na…


hello my love
it's getting cold on this island
i'm sad alone
i'm so sad on my own
the truth is
we were much too young
now i'm looking for you
or anyone like you

(ane brun)

so kiss me...

i have completed the photo album for the newlyweds in my previous post.

i titled it "so kiss me" cos, they were sweet like that ;)

check it out...cheers!!!

sweet december

i photographed this newly-wed-couple back in late december of last year. the christmas rush was in full swing, but they were generous enough to spend a few hours with me on the grounds of my old university, the california state university at long beach, pretty much for my own benefits, out of the generosity of their own hearts.

i was just sizing up the old school turf, gauging the lighting, and took a few shots, when the new groom broke one of his sandals. remember i'm in southern california so we can wear open toes almost all year round.


bummer, and right then, i thought of one of the must-have's that may not be obvious when going on a photo session. beside back-up photography equipments, one would also need...yup, back-up shoes ;)

i'm finishing up their slideshow of the photos taken on that day, and as soon as i finish, i will post it here.

the week-end is upon us, have a great one...

happy camper

i'm always trying to look at the bright side of things, because there are just simply too many things in the day that can bring me down if i choose to wallow them.

today i choose to be happy because i had a food photography assignment over the week-end that went better than i expected, despite a week full problems at my corporate job and some heavy introspection on my part.

i'm ok, you're ok!!!

the pianist

this past sunday i went to my cousin's for my niece's birthday. i haven't seen them in a while so i made the effort to be a good uncle to my nieces and nephew, cousin to my cousins, nephew to my aunt and uncle, brother to my sister, son to my mother and father, and grand son to my grand mother and show up. that's a tall order.

as usual there were a lot of food, but food under incandescent light don't usually look very good so i forego the food blogging attempt altogether to save myself the frustration of post processing so i can sleep a little sooner later.

the surprise highlight of the evening was an impromptu performance eric put on the piano. now i have heard eric played before. as a matter of fact, he serenaded my cousin during their wedding, but was i ever impressed this past sunday. i was completely floored by what he was able to do from memory. he doesn't even play that much any more.

on post-processing, as i was flipping through the photos, i noticed how the consecutively shot photos of eric playing the piano would fit well in a slideshow.

it takes another 15 minutes for me to select a song that resembled what eric played, and another 15 minutes to put the slideshow together and toss it on the web. by the way, i apologize for not able to embed the slideshow in this blog. for some reasons, my server doesn't seem to want to serve the content to pages on a different domain.

i added the soundtrack to enhance your viewing experience, but i can assure you eric is up to and above the level of performance of the soundtrack.

eric is the father of my nieces, the husband of my cousin, and i supposed that makes us cousin-in-law.

we went to the same high school together the three of us...they were high school sweet hearts.

ja mata...

low key, high key, just pick a key!

my preferred key seems to be low key, but as my friend jvan pointed out in her comment, whatever key you chose, keep it beautiful ;)

after spending some more thoughts on defining the difference, i now think of high-key as the lighting situation in which the photos come out, well...mostly bright, and low-key as the lighting situation in which the photos come out with more shades and shadows.

i suppose the confusion in terms for me has always been HIGH-key = LESS contrasty, and LOW-key = MORE contrasty. high equates to less, low equates to more, how does that work?

an author also suggests nevermind the confusion...if you photograph your subjects in front of a white screen, it's high-key, and if you photograph your subjects against a dark background, it's low-key ;)

happy friday ; )

the forcasted storm did dumped some heavy rain over southern california yesterday, but for a very short amount of time, and the weather today is glorious over orange county from my vantage point on the 20th floor of an office building in costa mesa.

it's a little windy. the air feels a little crisp, but it sure feels like spring is in the air. i wish i am out there taking photos right now. i hope the weather this week-end is going to be just as nice.

oh i need a beer right bout now...

by late afternoon, i'm usually pretty beat up at work and once daily operation matters have calmed down, i'm ready for a beer.

if i come to work early enough, i could usually leave work and enjoy a couple cold ones with friends at happy-hour before heading home or seeing some other friends for dinner.

well, my office drinking buddies have moved on, one to a new consulting company, and one got let-go.

the circumstance in which the later left was unfortunate. he is my friend. i was his supervisor. for performance and attendance reasons, he was let go by my boss, our third friend ;( !!! ahhhh, how to feel???

so no happy hours for me this past couple weeks, and this evening was the same. i came home to an already opened bottle of "cab," which is an entirely different experience than hanging out with the buddies at the local bar.

in the former, the gratification has to be delayed, i.e. the drive home, and the glasses of reds consumed more thoughtfully as i reflect over the day, while in the later, the gratification is instant as the pints go down rather quickly and most importantly, one is not by oneself and laugh the day away.

i need new happy-hours buddies. until next time, ching ching ;)

dim sum

dim sum are beautiful chinese small dishes that are enjoyed over lunch that often get paraded in front of the guests in small carts until someone decides to save them from the go around, and take them off the carts and put them in their tummies.

wysiwyg lunching, you take what you like and pay for what you eat. and i don't mean you see the dishes, order them, and the waiter brings them out of kitchen a few minutes later. you actually take the dishes off the cart and eat them. it's a revolving sushi bar with out the sushi and conveyor belt, omakase dinning on wheels ;P

that said i realized from my recent outing to a local dim-sum restaurant that of all the decent restaurants in little saigon, there isn't a decent dim sum restaurant among them.

my favorite dim sum restaurant in town is actually more or less, a deli that offer dim sum to-go. it's true. i find their dim sums to be the freshest and tastiest in town.

i used to stop in on them from work and bring some back to my friend at the office who was always too busy to go out. i haven't been back in a while, and i don't even know the name of the place, but they are located in a small plaza at the south-east corner of brookhurst and bushard in little saigon. come early for the best selection. they usually sell-out of the most popular items by noon. drop in on them when you are in the neighborhood and see what you think.

cheers...

tet / lunar ny

thank goodness for president's day and the fact that it's the monday following the lunar ny week-end is an extra blessing. i was working through the week-end to get a slideshow out to a couple that i shot late last december. i hope they like it. i will share it later once they have a chance to see it.

so it was only last week-end that i attended the david jay photojournalism workshop at brooks institude of photography in santa barbara. boy that was a mouthful. this week-end i applied everything i learned from dj to roll the slideshow project out in record time. needless to say, it was time well spent for me and i got to meet some real cool peeps. i don't do endorsements, but dj has my vote of approval ;)

alright, what about tet / lunar ny? i was so darn focus on getting projects out that i thought about skipping out on the festivities all together, but luckily, i reached a milestone sunday morning around 3 am that allowed me to sleep in until 10 am, waked up, worked some more, and hit the street of little saigon looking for fireworks and dralion performances around noon.

i have been trying to avoid driving through downtown these past couple of weeks, knowing traffic would be snarled up, because vnmese take their tet seriously, but on this morning, i went down town looking for action ;) and boy did i find some.

once i find parking and walked 1/2 a mile to where i wanted to go, i ran into some serious traffic, foot traffic.



oh the humanity of it. what are all these people doing here? they don't seem to be trying to go anywhere. hmmm...and then i found out.



apparently makeshift games of bau cua ca cop, which is identical the game chuck-a-luck, have sprouted out of no where in front of shops, spilling onto parking lots, with players making bets and on-lookers cheering them on, a spectacle and quite surreal at the same time.

cool...

firecrackers went off sporatically accenting the festive scene, reminding me i needed to be looking for dralion performances. once i negotiated past the crowd to the main parking lot at the front entrance of the asian garden mall i had this empty feeling that i had missed the dralion performance. there was a small stage in one corner of the mall entrance with a vnmese folk-singer crooning away; sweet, but not quite on a par with a dralion performance.

wait, i saw a young dralion performer out-of-uniform running across the parking lot to meet more buddy dralion performers out-of-uniform. i caught up with one and asked when they will be performing.

"oh sorry, we just finished" was his replied. "where are you guys going next?" i asked. "first & harbor."

arghhhh...early birds get the worm. late birds get none i see ;(

i dropped my head, aimlessly playing with the on-off control of my camera slung over my right shoulder.

wait again, what's that across the street way in the distance? i focused on these gold and red objects that appeared to bob up and down, visible above the cars. oh my goodness, i think they are dralions ;)

and the rest of the story as it goes, is in the photos. 5 dralions in all, and i caught the performance from start to finish.

chúc mừng năm mớ...gung hay fat choy...happy lunar ny...cheers!!!



yawn...

i count myself among the fortunate daily commuters who do not have to be at work by a specific time in the morning. of-course, not having to leave work at the end of the day in the twilight is also nice, but that wouldn't be right. there ought be certain balance in life.

what that amounts to is i stumble into work between 9 am and 10 am, and leave around...well, well after most of the people i work with have gone home.

i'm usually very ambitious at the beginning of the day, thinking i will do all these chores i pile-up for myself to do after work, but more often than not, i'm so low on energy by the time i leave work that everything, even the ride home is a blur...



...yup, by about now it's nevermind-the-sport-car, give me something cushy with just the stop and the go button ;) !!!

omg, you wouldn't believe how many miles i put on my car just around the oc. try 30k miles, but that's another blog entry.

happy valentine!!!

happy valentine my friends ;)

i just got back from lunch with my photographer buddy rick at kaisen katen for some very reasonably priced sushis. we talked about photography of all things ;D

i woke up with a miserable stomach ache that lingers through early afternoon from super spicey thai take-out the night before ;(

wife of a co-worker made some gorgeous valentine themed cupcakes and i was able to take some photos of them. hopefully they will come out ok. i will post them later today when i get home.

here they are ;)...




ciao...

1st thought...

note to self: hmmm...interesting, the profile viewed counter does not exclude one's own click from counting. narcissisism is a personality disorder.

2nd note to self: refrain from taking and posting self-portraits. the world would be a more beautiful place ; ) !!!