Sunday, February 24, 2013

Adrenaline rush

Earlier this week I set out with my friend Rose to take some portraits in an interesting location. The one thing I really enjoy about shooting on location is the one thing most studio photographers hate, unpredictability. Studio work is all about a controlled environment, and with that controlled environment comes comfort. Most studio shots are in a decent room with climate control and all the privacy you could ask for. You can change background and lighting angles at free will without interruption. Working on location is quite a bit different. There are multiple factors to take into account. What angle is the sun at? Is there any sunlight at all? Are there people watching you work? Are you trespassing or breaking the law? Will the model possibly fall off the bridge shes posing on and tumble to her death? You get the idea. As a result of shooting on location, we had the treat of getting a shot with Rose standing on the train tracks while the moving train is speeding right for her. Her face is priceless and she was pretty scared but it was surely worth it. The build up to that particular photo was interesting in that we were actually standing at the upper section of the train tracks. We saw the lower train coming along and decided it might be our best chance to get said photo. Being at the upper section we had to run down the hill and down a rocky dirty road just to make it in time to set up for the photo. I think it came off cool and we both enjoyed the photos taken that day. Last night I worked my cousin's quinceanera down in Nogales, AZ. Expect my next post to about that. Until next time, have a good weekend and stay shooting.

Under the tracks

Le train


Cross Process


Monday, February 18, 2013

Le Chao looks death in the face

This is a somewhat different type of post for me but I feel like it needs to be done. Last week I was driving home from work around 6:05pm and by 6:10pm my car is beyond smashed. Driving through the bend in the road at golf links my rear end started sliding and spinning me around. I did my best to control the car and drift out of the turn but as soon as my wheels caught traction again I was pulled into the median. The car jumped onto the median and started sliding sideways through all the huge river rocks. As I'm sliding through the median I realize there is a tree that I'm surely going to hit. BAM!! I crashed into the tree and bounced into oncoming traffic. Luckily traffic stopped and I was able to push the car into the gore area to call my dad and the police. I'm alright physically but somewhat drained mentally. Things could have been alot worse and I could be dead so I can't complain. I put alot of effort and hard work into buying a car I longed for since its introduction. I know it's in the past and there is no looking back or changing it now, but it's hard not to think about what you could have done differently. Mostly likely the car will be totaled due to extensive damaged but they're going to take it away for evaluation. Overall is was an interesting night I was not expecting and at the moment certainly changes alot for me. Until next time, thanks for stopping by.

She's done

Monday, February 11, 2013

Looking through the "Magic Canonball"

The past five days I had the pleasure of testing out a member of Canon's "Holy Trinity" of prime lenses. I'm of course talking about the 85mm F/1.2L II USM. The other two members being the 35mm F/1.4L and 135mm F/2.0L which I will also be reviewing in the future to round out the trio. First of all this is a very special purpose lens and with that being said, it requires some getting used to upon using it for the first time. After mounting this bad boy on your camera the first thing you notice is, it's simply massive and heavy. The large front glass element required to get the fast 1.2 aperture is extremely sexy and pleasing on the eye. After you come to grips with the sheer size and weight, the next thing you notice is shooting at 1.2 can be quite difficult. The depth of field (how much of the photo is in focus) is razor thin. So thin, it's actually quite possible to take a portrait and only have the tip of the nose in perfect focus whole the rest of the photo is blurry. This is a "high risk, high reward" lens, meaning often you might miss a shot due to such shallow depth of field making it blurry. Best advice is to just use continuous mode and take alot of photos. After overcoming said obstacles the next thing you'll notice is the photos this lens produces are simply stunning. When you nail focus at 1.2 it's just so dreamy and hard to get enough of. Autofocus performance suffers a bit from having to move such a huge piece of glass in and out. Autofocus is not terrible but this isn't nearly as fast as Canon users are accustomed to. Manual focus can be frustrating at first with such a long focus throw but it does feel quite nice turning that massive focus ring with one finger. Bokeh from the 85mm F/1.2L is truly stunning. You could do a photoshoot in a dirty nasty alley and as long as you have enough room to work with, it won't matter. Backgrounds simply melt and ooze away into nothing. At the end of the day this lens isn't going to be for everyone that's guaranteed. It's sheer price, size, and ergonomics keep it out of reach for most people. The people considering this lens know who you are. The 85mm F/1.8 lens is a real bargain for the price when compared to the 85mm F/1.2L but there is no denying the mystic and allure that come from knowing there is an F/1.2L version out there waiting to be used. If you're going to be shooting stopped down to F/1.8 or smaller like F/8 you might be better off with the cheaper options. This beast is meant to be shot at 1.2, using this lens at smaller apertures is like buying a Ferrari and only driving around at 10mph, you're having fun but not using it to its potential. All the photos on this post were taken with the 85mm F/1.2L. Canon refers to the 85mm F/1.2L as their "definitive portrait lens" and I simply couldn't agree more. Get your hands on one and enjoy. Enjoy the finer things in life and take lots of photos, you won't regret it ever.


He's carrying some packages

I love how the street light above acts as spotlight to single out the cyclist on the dark road

He asked me if I could take his photo and put "fuck the world." Here ya go buddy

His drunk friend could not resist joining in the photo

He started throwing up gang signs. I started laughing

Something a little different. What do you think?

War Cry

She asked if I could take their photo

Twin sandwiches


Riding dirty

Downtown street soccer

Dude was pretty damn good

Turning on the style


Tired Love

These kids were performing on the sidewalk in front of The Chicago Store downtown.



Shot while driving

He intrigued me

4th ave

Shot while driving

What a gentleman

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

City of Angels Vol. 2

My second day in LA was all about shooting. I woke up fairly early and decided to go for a walk and see what kind of photos I could get. The higher my power of observations becomes I find myself getting better photos and a higher percentage of keepers. I try to work on this every time I go shooting, think about your shots more and more yet act quickly because the moment doesn't last. During my walk I encountered a few different people who I was able to get photos of in completely different manners. After eating some lunch I headed south on the 110 freeway for San Pedro. I really like that area and it's atmosphere. Maybe one day ill find myself out there. Something I have been doing alot of recently is shooting from the car while driving. You do see alot of interesting things driving and I feel it's a solid way to go about that certain style. I arrived at Ports o Call harbor and was excited because I knew great images were just waiting to be had. Ports o Call is a place with tons of fresh seafood and stores for people to enjoy while they watch the boats go by. Some of my personal favorites from the trip came from my visit to Ports o Call so it's something ill always remember. As I left San Pedro I felt happy with the shots I was able to get. Following some rest began my cousin Victoria's sweet 16. I took a few photos during the event but my cousin Michael was all over the photos so I wanted to give him some space. After some time at the party I went with some friends down to Long Beach. We stopped at an Irish pub to get a few drinks relax. I spent some time walking around the area. I must say it's always fun being in a different place and just getting in the zone while shooting. Overall I would say I had an absolutely fantastic time in California and I can't wait to return to the City of Angels.

First shot of the day


To me this photo isn't about the boring valves. Its about how the red color on top of the green grass pops and the slight rain adds some texture

Torrance Fire Department

I saw these two guys talking and laughing outside starbucks so I had to introduce myself and ask if I could take their photo. They agreed

Hard at work

Rain drops

I like this photo because of the bright pink on top of the shiny black wet asphalt.

Skate or Die

All kinds of shit goes on here

Get your grub on


Day and Night this place is always busy

After taking the first few photos. I had to ask if I could get one of him holding up a crab. He agreed

work work work

According to this gentleman this is tallapia with special garlic butter

Giant spider crab. He agreed to hold one up for a photo

Not to be outdone by the ridiculous fog that ruined my sunset photos. I went back to my old ways and improvised.

Ranchos Palos Verdes

Long Beach, CA

Kent's baby hands testing the minimum focusing distance of my 50mm. Bokehlicious!!!

The majoe tungsten lamps from the Wilmington refinery along with the heavy clouds caused some very cool colors in the sky at night.

Lester squatting like a main lander