Monday, March 24, 2014

Sleepless in Sedona

In January I had the opportunity to travel a bit north and spend some time in Sedona, AZ. It's a beautiful place that blends a bit of an old time feeling with a relaxing landscape. Sedona is known for its famous red rocks and various formations. I had set out to capture some landscape photos and simply explore the area. Having passed through the city before, I had an idea of what it looked like but had never set out to shoot with intention. An early morning departure meant a lot of time to take in the beauty that is Northern Arizona. First stop was a scenic pullout off the highway which provided a good view of the area. Walking around during the day proved to be enjoyable with a lot of different subjects to shoot. It should be noted if you intend to get out there, and get certain angles for your landscape photos, you're gonna put in work hiking. One stop was a church built into the side of a rock which happened to be really cool and had some interesting things to put in front of your lens. As lunch settled we decided to go to the airport for the sunset. The view from the airport lookout (off to the left of the road, hike up to the top of the rock hill) displayed the entire city of Sedona and was pretty amazing. Since it does happen to be a popular spot, it was quite crowded, but I did get some images I really enjoyed. After a long and tiring day it was time to call it a night, for a sunrise was next to shoot. One thing I preach often is make sure batteries are charged and have sufficient film/memory cards. Sadly, I forgot to charge my battery from the previous days and headed to the sunrise location with only sliver of juice. Luckily, I had my iPhone 5s, plus Vanessa is such a sweet heart. She let me use her Canon dslr so I could still shoot. Having just picked up a speedlite flash unit before the trip, I felt it was a perfect time to try it out in the field. I did some modeling and Vanessa shot away as the sun rose over the red rocks of Sedona. Overall I had a great time on this trip. I'll be returning soon to enjoy and shoot the area once more. Until next time

Sedona, AZ
The shadows/highlights remind me of yin and yang

Ridiculous house
Inside of Church (iPhone 5s)

Candles shot at F/4

Spotted this Jaguar E-Type sitting pretty

Sedona, AZ is known for being a spiritual place. Hikers take in the sunset

Famous red rock formations

Golden Sedona, AZ

Sunrise pano shot with iPhone 5s
Delicious breakfast spot, highly recommended
Vanessa loves coffe
Breakfast served proper
Striking Statue
Water continues to amaze me
Often we simply need to slow down, breath, relax, and enjoy the things we have in life

Le Chao

1/100s,  F/9.0,  ISO 100


Friday, March 14, 2014

March to Soccer

As March rolls on and I look back at February, I'm going to miss shooting professional soccer on a weekly basis. The new FC Tucson stadium is quite a venue and provided new angles to capture soccer compared to the old field. Multiple teams came into town and played some great soccer over the month. I got to see my first Seattle-Portland rivalry match, see US internationals Kyle Beckerman, Eddie Johnson, and Nick Rimando. Looking back one year ago, it's safe to say my sports photos weren't that great, but I was out there, getting my feet wet and learning. Now things are a bit different, armed with more knowledge and the infamous white Canon 70-200mm F/4L lens, the images speak for themselves. A conversation I had with fellow shooter Larry Guarno summed up my equipment shortcoming and aforementioned upgrade nicely. Larry: "The focus speed on that L lens must be way better than your old one." Chao: "My old lens was actually manual focus only..." Larry: "WTF! That's ridiculous, even more props." Out of all the games only one day was quite rough, the final day of games. All day the rain and wind did not stop, and neither did the players. Naturally there are some issues to deal with when shooting out in heavy rain. Definitely use a lens hood so most of the rain drops do not get on the front optic. Aside from that I would suggest some sort of plastic bag/cover to protect your gear. Overall it was a fantastic month for professional soccer and I can't wait to shoot the upcoming FC Tucson season. Until next time

P"layers coming out for Portland vs Seattle

FC Tucson defender Greg Carter challenging for the ball

Defensive header clearance 

A lot of Chicago's attacking moves came from the wings

Cross into the center

FC Tucson goalkeeper Victor Rodriguez does excellent to get low and take the ball

Kyle Beckerman fighting for the ball in midfield

Cross from the right wing by #11 Javier Morales of Real Salt Lake

Shot on goal from Colorado Rapids

Excellent save by Colorado goalkeeper Clint Irwin to keep the scores level

#10 Teal Bunbury of New England Revolution scores the opening goal of the night

Yellow card to New England for a nasty foul

Seattle goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann caught completely out of position, tries to win the ball back with a sliding challenge


Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Control Freak

It's been a while since I've posted but that in no way means I've stopped shooting. The new year is already three months deep and it happens to be going very well regarding photography. The beginning of the year saw quite a bit of portrait time come my way. It was useful in that I had the opportunity to continue learning and controlling off camera flash. One thing I love about portraits is the versatility where you can shoot and in the way you can portray the subject. It's no secret I enjoy shooting outdoors near golden hour but I felt I needed to get more studio time under my belt. Being in the studio is all about total control as you can change every setting or angle. I know I certainly have a lot to learn in that aspect but that excites me as it is a challenge. I recently acquired some cheap Neewer Speedlites from Amazon to take flash on location. This has to be my favorite blend, the ability to mix natural light with artificial where you want/need it. I'm loving the portability so much I can't wait to get out and use them more. I'll start by showing the studio images then lead into some outdoor work. Until next time

Bodyscape with Vanessa






Snow shoot with Vanessa on Mt. Lemmon

Sara for Vague Models


Personal Favorite

I had this image in my head for awhile, finally got out and realized it

Four light setup at 1/200s,  F/6.3,  ISO 100