Wednesday, February 25, 2009


Maisie, originally uploaded by blister gone.

Maisie was a wonderful model and a pleasure to shoot. She is fun, playful, nice, and single. I'm not sure where the line starts, but you better find out and get in it!

Shot with D700 + 85mm 1.4 with a sb-800 on camera left with the dome diffuser. I tried to cover up the flare with my hand, but I was unable to block all of it. Overall it looks pretty cool though.

Make up was done by Audrey.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


Mason, originally uploaded by blister gone.

Come on ladies, how can you resist? Mason is a MD... Master Director of Human Resources. He herds sheepish people like you and me onto the road of success.

He is seriously one of the nicest people I've met; his kind, gentle, and playful spirit really shines through.

Shot with D700 + 85 1.4, natural light.

By the way, I've always thought the Nikon 85mm 1.4 to be not very sharp at f/1.4. Boy was I wrong. I think my previous attempts at using this lens were full of fail due to insanely low light, crazy high iso (talking iso 4000+), and barely passable shutter speeds (1/80s). Shooting in broad daylight at 1.4 was a treat.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Japanese Garden - Ripples of Reflection

It's important to keep things in perspective, to reflect on your life - and if you're dumb like me, you need some ripples to trigger that reflection. Been pretty down lately just because it feels like we've lost our way. Talked to Audrey earlier tonight, and the feeling was mutual. We both miss a lot of things we had at the beginning of our relationship. Things change, people change, we've both lost our way in the scramble of things.

Tonight, we reflected and reminisced about things that we missed, things that have changed, and things we would like to have back. This is so important because now we know what we need to do to make each other happy again.

This photo I took at the Japanese Gardens in Portland, Oregon reminded me of how important it is to step back from all distractions and reflect once in a while - where is my place in this world? What is wrong, and what is right in my life? How do I make it better?

Anyway, enough about my ramblings - this photo was taken with the D700 + 80-200 2.8 AFS, natural light. No strobist stuff today since I went on a free admissions day and it was insanely crowded. So much for going to the garden for peace eh?

Have a great day/week, until next time.

Monday, February 16, 2009

I'm in a BOX!

This is abnormal (in more ways than one), but I have done a mini shoot up in the middle of the week. The topic this time around was, "Body part in a cardboard box." The picture above was the first thing that popped into my head.

Obviously I took several pictures and did a composite in Photoshop. The set up was quite simple: 1.) Set up boxes 2.) Take picture of box on tripod 3.) Take picture of self as close as possible to boxes on timer 4.) Erase/Mask unneeded parts.

The important thing is that you use identical lighting in all of your shots. This makes things a lot easier. The shot above was with a SB-800 with a shoot through umbrella camera left. Shot in commander mode at ISO 800 1/15th at f/8.

Also, if you want to do any adjustments, do adjustments on one picture, then synchronize settings across all images before working on the composite, this will save you a lot of work.

Here is my friend Steve's take on the subject.

I also went to the Portland Japanese Garden today, but I will save that for another day. (Don't expect much because I'm terrible at landscape work)

Saturday, February 14, 2009


Run!, originally uploaded by blister gone.

It's Valentines Day, I'm waiting for Audrey to finish her study/volunteer time, so I'm at home doing nothing. My shoot up friend Steve decided to do a subject shoot from an ordinary object. Today's subject was - Shoes.

The Process
I started by shooting a couple shots with the concept of the common problem of "which shoes should I wear today?" with a row of shoes, and my feet standing in front of them. The shots were ok, but it wasn't really working for me. I knew I could do better. By this time, I had set aside my Gitzo because it was not low enough for the perspective I wanted. So I went and got my Gorilla Pod. I shot a couple more frames, but still was not happy with it. I guess the shots didn't come out as cool as I thought they would.
what to wear?

Then I thought, I wonder if I can create a Shoe Monster with my Gorilla Pod. Hm, it needs a head. So I went and got the good ol' photogenic rangefinder and put it on there, and stuck two of the legs into the shoes. One of the arms is stuck out ready to seek and destroy.

I've shot a couple of these Gorilla Pod monsters, but they were all kind of boring. There's no action or drama, it just sits there. So I somehow got the idea to use my lego guys from my Millennium Falcon as the victims.

Boy, it is hard getting those Lego characters to keep upright.

So I had everything set up and ready to go. Now the challenge was the lighting. I had been shooting one SB 800 off camera, but I knew I wanted some kind of backlight for the monster, and some fill light for the lego characters. So at first I tried placing the SB 800 in the back to send light forward, and having a reflector to bounce back light back into the legos. Not nearly enough light. I tried several configurations before I gave up, because I had to knock out the ambient light as well. So I said screw it, and went upstairs to grab my B800.

I ended up using the SB-800 with a small softbox for fill on camera left, -1 FEC from the ambient, and the B800 camera right to light the shoe monster. I think this worked out perfectly as the light from the B800 acted as a nice kicklight for the legos. It gives nice separation from the background so they stand out.

Here's the set up shot:

set up shot

Any suggestions for a subject for next week?

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Jillisa and Ricky Impromptu

Remember this post? Well, we met up with our friends Jillisa and Ricky the other night and it turns out they saw and loved the picture of Audrey from "Don't forget!" We were in the area eating at Sushi Land in the Pearl that night, so we figured we can go up and replicate that shot with them.

Many things different that night. I shot the picture of Audrey with my 85mm, but I left that at home (long story about my back injuries and minimizing weight on my shoulder). Another thing, Paper Source had actually closed for the night, so the store was extra dim. On top of all that, there were now two people instead of just one. Plus my little 35mm /f2 was one stop slower than the 85.

Hmm, challenges. We shot a couple at super high iso, which was even hitting the limit of my super awesome Nikon D700. I was shooting at 1/80s, f/2, @ ISO 6400 at one point. It was crazy dark.

Then I thought to myself, "Argh, if only I brought a flash with me." Then, to my amazement, I realized I really might have my flash with me. It was in my lighting bag in my trunk from the last shoot. Score.

I had my lovely assistant Audrey hold the flash off camera for me. I was too lazy to bust out my umbrella or softbox (plus I only had one light, and I needed lots of coverage) so I just left my diffuser on and shot with that. Plus, big light source with a window in the background would be very difficult to control. You can see the flash in the window already. I think a grid from above and umbrella/softbox for fill from below would have done nicely. But alas, one light, so I did what I could. Feel free to donate some money for my second speedlight :)

Anyway, we had them pose and shot a few frames. I think it turned out quite nice for the limitations we had. What do you think?

Jillisa and Ricky-0002

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

I want to go to there.

blacksand beach, originally uploaded by blister gone.

Even though I had a bad back, I'm glad I lugged my camera all the way to Maui, drove a ton, and all the way down to the Black Sand Beach near Hana.

Believe it or not, very little enhancement was done to this photo. It really is this beautiful. Unfortunately, at the time I only brought my 20D and the 24L, which is about 35mm equivalent on full frame. So it wasn't very wide. I left my 10-22mm at home. Kind of glad, because this photo is actually made up of 4-5 photos stitched together. Giving me slightly more resolution than I normally would have captured.

I probably won't go back because the drive was just too long and painful (Road to Hana), I'd rather be doing something else. They say the drive is the best part - with all kinds of scenery and wildlife and such. Thing is, I grew up in Oregon, so it felt a lot like going on one of the many hiking trails here, by car.

I'll take the beach any day.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Font Creators - Props to you!

I don't know if many people realize that fonts are really an art form, and not an easy one at that. In addition to coming up with concept for a font, you need to craft it for all the upper and lower case letters as well as numbers and symbols. Most difficult of all, they need to be consistent in size and look. On top of that, they need to flow together in a certain way that they look uniform.

So, props to all you font makers out there.

I tried creating my own font tonight using YourFonts. I even cheated and used my trusty Wacom tablet to fill it in instead of printing and scanning.

The good news is, it completely fulfilled my expectations and then some. The bad news is, my expectations were very low. Here is my ugly font, I call it, Hearts:

Yes, I like hearts. They are neat. The world needs more lovin'.

Create a font and let's see what you come up with!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

The 2009 Change Initiative

The year of Change
2009 will be a year of many changes. From our first black President who is well respected, to the many problems he must try to fix as President. He talked a lot about Change in his campaign, but also talked about us citizens to join in on the effort for change. If we want change in our society, it begins with the people in the society - and that's us.

I am thankful that I have a stable day job as a software developer (so far), and I'm thankful that I'm not one of the many thousands of people laid off this past week. I have the luxury of not worrying about my necessities. I have the luxury of not worrying about finding another job before my savings runs out. I feel very very blessed.

My true passion is in Photography. I had the hopes of transitioning my career from being a software developer over to being a full time photographer. However, with the economy in such a state, I'm not sure this is the best time to do so.

As such, I've decided to dedicate 2009 to charity work.

What does this mean?
It does not mean I will be shooting for free. I will only be charging a relatively small fee, with most of it going to other charity organizations. I will only be "keeping" what was expensed to do the actual shoot.

I am hoping this initiative will spark the change in you to give back to the community as well. I believe we all have different talents - and now is the best time to use your talents to inspire those around you to do more good in this world.