Saturday, December 31, 2011

Reflecting and moving on...

Before moving on to 2012 and the blank slate it presents, waiting for us to write our own futures, taking a moment to reflect on the past year of 2011.

Events we celebrated. Moments of tragedy. Friends we have gained. Family and friends that we have lost. New contacts. Ideas. Challenges. That we can do this, because of the sacrifice of others. Take a moment to appreciate what you have, and not to worry about what might have been.

Wrap that up into a nice package. Make it a part of you. Cherish it with your heart and soul as, for better or for worse, it is now what makes you, you.

Have a Happy New Year in 2012, folks.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, 2011!
Safe and happy holidays. May you each find your peace. Enjoy your time with the ones closest to you.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Shooting again!!!

So nice to be outside. Almost forgot what it was like. I was watching the sky all day, literally, hoping the sky would hold. Rain is in the forecast for the week, so this would be the front end of things. Supposed to be a good time do things that involve the sky. Seems to hold true, no?

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Oahu Photographers: Lysandra Cook Photography

If you plan to be on Oahu, and are looking for a photographer, here is another wonderful option:
Lysandra loves working with couples, seniors, and families. It will make her extra happy if you bring your pet!
Serves all areas of Oahu and she loves to travel so just ask about outer island services.
I can personally attest to the fact that she is intelligent, witty, engaging, beautiful, and...what am I missing? Oh yeah, she's a great photographer!

(Lucy, I swiped your header; sorry!)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Get your 2012 DOMO Calendars!

Hey, guys! A "must-do!" If you, or someone your know and/or love like DOMO, you have to get your copy of the 2010 DOMO calendar from Amazon! Get both!

Better, get many! :)

(Disclaimer: I know the photographer, Chris Gritti, and love the heck out of him and his family!)

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Playing with Lens reversals, stage 1

Since the fabulous Roni has made me revisit (and like) the world of lens-reversal close-ups, I thought to push it a little.

Took the standard setup, and inserted 68mm of extension tubes into the stack. Extension tubes help to decrease the minimum focus distance, so you can get even closer. Use with caution; you can get so close that you block light.

(Wobble-focus technique is in play for all of the following. Yes, I did have and carried a tripod, but I really need a focusing stage...)

Anyway, pointed the stack at a known reference: a U.S. quarter dollar coin
Testing, Reverse 50mm onto extension tubes, Known reference

Then pointed it at the ever-available Agapanthus bloom:
Testing, Reverse 50mm onto extension tubes

(this is the same bloom, sans extension tubes)
Testing, Reverse 50mm onto extension tubes (control)

And then, one for fun
Testing, Reverse 50mm onto extension tubes

At some point, I will try this with a bellows extension. Definitely need a tripod for that, but the bellows has a built-in slide, so it should be a little easier.

Now excuse me while I go clean my filthy sensors...o.O

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Escape & Recovery

Wow. A sunset. Without power lines.

Been out of the "real" photo-taking circulation for about 2 months. Couple of things kinda messed me up. Made do with miscellaneous "junk" shots nearby.

Today was the first time I felt comfortable getting out. Not my best work, but it was just so freakin' nice to just stand there and watch.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Vision, Color, or the lack thereof

Between the copyright/fair use hullabaloo, photographer's block (like writers block), the endless stream of blog posts and articles, I have been pondering what my vision is, or if I even have one.

Vision, for me, is what's in my head. I am aware that there usually something in mind when looking through the viewfinder, to the point that the vision in the head colors what I am seeing through that viewfinder. Which can be bad; there is prejudice there, which can prevent the whimsical, the moment, from happening for me. Too controlling, maybe. Serendipity is my sometimes savior; expensive way to get artsy, though. Absolutely, just capturing the scene in the viewfinder, however, is not what I do, or desire. Photo-journalist, I am not. Even in grade school, I had a decided slant towards the abstract; it's one of my more vivid memories from the art academy.

How I developed my vision? I'm pretty sure it was from looking at the work of my betters, predecessors, friends, along with my own personal views and feelings. Possibly matches my food preferences; big, bold flavors, not much on pretty. Although, I can be influenced/coerced by pretty :)

I know that I visualize as I read. Which is usually science fiction or fantasy. Plausibility gets in the way of me enjoying other genres. The farther from possible reality as we know it, the better. Then the images that form in my head are rather fanciful, both bright and brooding.

Another thing possibly coloring my vision or perception is my desire for privacy. I know, I'm writing a blog, and I post on the World Wide Whatevers; what's privacy? I guess I, as a person, desire some control over what I reveal about myself, and what I keep behind closed doors. As such, I tend to respect the rights of others to do the same. Makes things like street photography a bit difficult. Again, faceless portraiture, I can do. Don't seem to have a problem with that.

So, execution of my vision. That's where the reading, researching, discussions come into play. But in the end, I really need to get out and shoot. Apply all this stuff, find out what works for me, and what doesn't, but may work in the future. Don't really know anything until I try. In the trying, I have come to the following interim conclusions; things change, after all.
  • Product shots. It's about control and repeatability. It's about seeing light, when there is none yet. This, I can do, but gets boring very quickly. Don't have the mindset to do this for a long time. Maybe to incorporate it as a part of a package
  • Landscapes. Seems to be what I do, it's the "comfort zone." Being able to just enjoy the view is the big benefit. But that needs to be stretched; different places, different perspectives, different focus.

  • I have pretty much determined that I am not a portrait person. Which is interesting, as you have a willing subject in front of you, asking to be made beautiful. Maybe that's the problem, can I make them beautiful, objectively, without judgement? Don't know. Character flaw on my part. Recently tagged along on a shoot, piggy-backing some setups, hopefully without getting in the way. While doing some post-processing, I caught myself "seeing" forms that weren't there. Revealing.

    I can do stuff with people in the scene, but seem to have issues with a person as the subject. And even then, the people need to be faceless, unidentifiable. Not having kids may have something to do with it, lacking that carrot to desire to capture people as the subject. Maybe I have to twist that thought, and look at it as an emotion, with people as the vehicle, so the focus is on the "doing," not the person. That might work. Something to work on.
Work in progress. Definitely.

(It's my personal web log. I should be allowed to blather, right?)

Monday, June 20, 2011

Chicken Gumbo and Cornbread @ Soul Patrol

(Note: I skipped a menu item I tried last week. I have my reasons)

Chicken Gumbo. Options were Rice or Cornbread. Knowing cornbread people tend to be proud of their product, I went with that. I held off on the sauce, so I could taste the base product. Got it with their Sweet Tea.

Chicken and what I assume is andouille sausage. A fairly mild version; just a bit of heat. Still, maybe not quite child-safe. Teens, maybe. Good overall flavor, even if the chicken gets a little lost. Which is fine, considering it is a relatively bland flavor on it's own. A little light on the salt; that is a good and bad thing. Something to keep in mind for the future.

Cornbread was unsweetened, as I think is should be. Soft, nice crumb, moist. Drizzled with honey which, when paired with a kicked-up gumbo, would be a good counterpoint. Very good.

Sweet tea is really sweet, but not sickly sweet. Cooked-in sweetness, very smooth flavor. You call.

Overall, definitely good stuff! I suppose I need to get down to gumbo country to compare, but this works for me. Having tried it "straight up," I can safely add more "flavor" (hehe!).

Oh, side note: don't put this on your lap. Recycled containers are environment-friendly, but they don't do too well with liquids, you know? I mean, not like it was leaking, but there was a lot of sweating. Just saying.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Soul Patrol is now Downtown

Soul Patrol has come to Downtown Honolulu, at least for the time being. They are occupying the space on the corner of Beretania and Alakea Sts., in that corner parking stall.

Been awhile since I tried anything from the truck, so I started with the basic Chicken and Waffle. The chicken is really good; flavorful and crunchy. The waffle is a little thin, especially with the availability of Belgian Waffles. However, this does not come from Belgium, so I dispensed with that prejudice. It is served with syrup, which kinda grossed out a co-worker; don't know why. Sweet and salty; what a killer combo!

Hope to work my way down the menu in the coming weeks/months. :)

Sunday, June 12, 2011


Oooh, dead air! Need to fill some space! Good thing I have something to say.

If you are on Oahu:
  • Have a gander at the work of Sara J. Smalley, Natural Light Photography. Her work is impeccable, and her presentation of eyes just make me nuts. If you are a Facebook fan, please "Like" her fan page. If you are not on Oahu, you can "like" her page, anyway!
  • To help Nikki Jennifer Photography celebrate her upcoming first anniversary, appreciate if you gave the business a little love and "Like" her Facebook Fan Page. Tell your family and friends! Even if they're not on Oahu!
  • Nikki Jennifer Photography is also looking for 2012 Senior Class Reps. Please go to her announcement page, and if you think you, or someone you know, has what it takes, submit an application. Hurry! Tell your family and friends! Deadline: July 8, 2011
  • Oh! Chris Gritti has started a Facebook Fan Page! For those that know him, you know how important this is. Much thanks to his significant-other! You should like this, no matter where you are.
  • Someone to keep an eye on: SKS Photography (the Hawaii-based one). Dude can shoot. And light. When he feels like it. We're working on that. He's gonna hate that I did this. Wonder if I should hide...

In other news:
  • Keeping an eye on 500px, that seems to be setup as Flickr for Professional Photographers. It is a full-services site: galleries, blogs, forums, storefront (basic, pro levels). Since I am not quite there, I am still in the "kicking the tires" stages.
  • Got a RedBubble account. Still trying to get my feet under me there. So many places; what have I done? o.0
  • Got e-mail interviewed, related to one of my pictures on Flickr. We'll see what happens, like if she dies laughing or something. Hope not; she's good people.

Dang. I think I'm missing a lot of people. And stuff.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

A nice evening out with friends

Went to Shokudo for a small celebration with friends. Amazing number of them had never been there, others have been there many times. Lots of "so, what's good?" going around. The lines are going to be longer now...

Much fun, good eats, great peeps. Need to do this more often.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

(Re)Experimenting with reverse-lens close-ups...

Since some of my Flickr friends have been playing, and exhibiting their substantial prowess, with reverse-lens close ups, I thought I would revisit the technique.

I found my adapter (the BR-2A, for Nikon people), mounted the 50mm f/1.2 AIS (because it was on the desk), and proceeded out into the drizzly morning. Since it was an initial foray, I dispensed with the support system, which was probably a good choice.

Chive blossom, anthers only
Wobble-focus technique was the play of the day; not enough focus leeway to make a difference, especially at f/1.2. And I found myself leaning over obstacles, like for the image at the top of this post.

Still, it was interesting. And since I always have a 50mm with me, I'll just throw the adapter in the bag. It's just a ring, so not much more bulk.

If you are looking for extreme close-ups, you may be better served with extension tubes, close-up adapters, bellows, or reversing a lens onto another. But this method is quick, easy, and inexpensive; you can even dispense with the adapter and handhold it.

I shall have to look into this further. ;)

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Nikki Jennifer Photography is soon to have an anniversary!

A fabulous photographer, a mother and a good friend, will soon be reaching a milestone. Nikki Jennifer Photography will be 1 year old within 2 months!

Nikki is an Oahu, Hawaii-based "natural light" photographer who will bring out the "you" in you. She is very easy to get at ease with, has a unique photographic style, and cares very much about you, from contact to the final delivery. Put yourself in her care, and she will deliver. Not to worry; you will get what you pay for.

Gotta tell you; she has this crazy knack of "finding the light." Astonishing.

To help celebrate this upcoming achievement, check out her:
Website and Galleries - See what she does and how to get in touch!
Facebook Fan Page - "Like" to show her some love!

Please spread the word. If you like her work, please consider giving her your business.

Hmm, we need to throw a baby luau, or something...

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Playing with some camera protection


Noting that I seem to be in increasingly rough conditions with my gear, e.g., rain, waterfall spray, surf spray, etc., I thought to look at some protection. A condom for the camera, if you will.

I have had the Op/Tech Rainsleeve for quite awhile, for emergencies. Of course, I never seemed to have it on hand when said emergency happened, so I either ate it or bailed. Fortunately, most of my gear is weather-resistant, salt notwithstanding.

With the winter weather as heavy as it's been this year (it's rain here, no snow), I figured I should look at a more substantial solution. Which led me to the Think Tank Hydrophobia 70-200. Very substantial. Tried the "don't need no stinkin' manual" approach at first; it's like a new father putting on a diaper for the first time. Hint: read the instructions. It's not long, and can save you some grief. I actually found everything myself, eventually, but going back and reading was a "D'oh!" moment. Still, not something you can slap on quickly, although I can see it getting quicker with practice. And slower with panic.

Anyways, diaper-installation problems aside, it works as advertised. The one thing is the strap system. They have a strap on the outside, with in internal support and storage system, so you can carry this when the shroud is in use. Practically, having a pro body + 70-200mm on a skinny strap is not going to cut it; your shoulder will die. Tripod/monopod use, absolutely great, and the supplied strap can be the "oops!" strap for monopod users.

Getting that internal support strap can be a bit of a bear at first. Pre-fit and practice. The eyepiece requires an additional purchase, based on your camera's eyepiece. In my case, it is the screw-in type, and I use an add-on cup. So I need t unscrew that, put everything together (blind, by the way), then put the cup back on, if you wish. And then, in my case, the viewfinder cover is also the release for the eyepiece, and when you want to take it off, it is tucked behind the heavy rubber weather-seal piece; takes a little digging to get to it to release properly.

Value? I would say it is a "your call." Think Tank is not cheap by any means. If you are looking for the cheap, occasional usage, consider the Op/Tech. Cheap enough to toss after a couple of uses. If you plan to do this a lot, then this may be the way to go.

[edit] Just saw a rather geeky, but interesting possibility if rain is your only concern. Look up "Probrella."

Monday, May 2, 2011

Twin Spouts

Experiencing some crazy weather over the last week. Thunderstorms and showers, and now waterspouts off Honolulu Harbor. Wild!

And I got to shoot bolt lightning for the first time; I usually only get blinking clouds.

The first time I saw waterspouts and lightning was off West Beach, Ewa, some time back before history began. Now I see them both again, together again. How weird is that?

I'll enjoy this while I can...

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Not all trees in Hawaii are green...

For those that didn't know, or are maybe visiting and wanted a Friday evening diversion, the Hilton Hawaiian Village in Waikiki puts on a short fireworks show every Friday at 7:45PM HST.

Met someone last Friday for a fireworks shoot at Magic Island, Ala Moana Beach Park. Started early for sunsets (that didn't pan out due the heavy cloud cover), then turned around for the other half of the entertainment. Convenient, huh? And you get to watch other photographers busy with wedding shoots and stuff while you wait.. General people-watching, too, if you wish.

In general, a nice, slow-paced way for photographers to spend an evening. The beginners get to discuss all the gear and settings, the advanced folk either discuss the nuances of such captures, or roll their eyes at those discussing such. Fun, in a photo-geek way. When the shooting starts, it is a frantic few minutes, hoping you don't miss too much, looking for the big finish. And then it's over.


Friday, April 8, 2011

Nice afternoon, it was

Got a bit of a reprieve from the thunderstorms. Naturally, when there's storms, there are storm clouds to hunt.

Well, sort of. Got clouds, but inconsistent. The afternoon set seemed to work out the best. By the time sunset came around, it got rather muddy. Although, there was a moment that presented itself to later mutilation. Hehe.

It was a nice Friday afternoon.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

This is kinda freaking me out...

A post in my flickr photostream, "Cranking down on the Grey Set", is accumulating views, comments, and faves(!!!), and rising up the Explore rating thingy. It is currently my #3 on the "Popular" rating in my stream.

What is really weirding me out is, I didn't think it was that good! It was just a pretty lame attempt to get something from what was a pretty crappy sunset. Maybe the Magic Donkey got drunk and the the dart went awry or something. I mean, I know my stuff is not exactly greeting card material, and I don't know if I would want it hanging on on my own wall.

I just don't know. So confused.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Won't Let Go

I Am One

Have to check this out. Reflections by Roni is raising funds towards relief efforts for Japan, following the earthquake/tsunami/nuclear reactors triple-disaster. Through her "12 Days, 12 Cards for Japan" project, she will be bundling a set of cards, proceeds which will go towards the effort.

So not only will you be supporting a good cause, but also getting a great set of prints from a wonderful photographer. At the very least, take a look; that part is free.


Reflections by Roni blog
Her Fine Art site

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Printing is not easy

I've been encouraged to print some of my stuff. Finally caved, and am in the process of looking for options.

The first was a "normal" 16x20. Went to Mpix for this, hearing that their work is pretty reliable. Ran it on e-Paper, Lustre Coat and a Standout, White edges. That was a pleasant experience; came out much better than I anticipated.

Continued that with a mission to print a couple of panoramas I had done awhile back. Got a recommendation to go to Graphic Pictures Hawaii Inc, in Kaka'ako. Finally located them. Took a couple of files in for processing.

Meeting Jerry was pretty cool. So much knowledge and history. And Ed. Oh my lord. Ed is such a kick! And, he knows his stuff. Best thing; they proof the work, let you make a decision based on that. They can do small adjustments to touch-up, but I should do that part. Just looked at the proofs, which looked really nice on lustre paper. Will be doing 2 canvases, stretched. 12x52-ish, each. And a paper copy on lustre. Hopefully to be in my grubby paws sometime late next week. Rather excited about this, actually.

In the meantime, ran another print to Mpix. A sunset I have been wanting to print, on metallic paper, 16x24. Wow. 2 days from order to Hawaii. Wild. Did it on double matboard, and it looks pretty amazing.

So much I have picked up, so much more to learn about the print process, and my role in it. Makes my head hurt.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Nikki Jennifer Photography is running a Giveaway!

For those peeps on Oahu (yes, can't afford to ship people in, sorry), Nikki Jennifer Photography is having a "Spread the Love" Giveaway from February 19, 2011 to March 5, 2011. Winners announced on her Blog, Twitter and Facebook pages. So yeah, you need to be a bit into the social networking scene.

(click on the image for a better view. or just go to her blog posting)

See her blog posting for details, prize listing, conditions, etc. And spread the love!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Went to the Museum, finally

Went to the museum, after a long wait. Heard it was renovated, and that the lighting was much better than it had been. They are also now allowing photography, with flash if needed.

Wow. Have to say that Bishop Museum is far from being a large place. It was actually a former estate. But walking into the main hall, I could see some of the work done. Nice work, gang.

Having heard of the new lighting scheme, I set myself for an "available light" session, no flash. I wanted to exhibit the work that was done to showcase the artifacts. I must say that it ended up being quite a challenge. Even with a Nikon D3s at ISO12800, I was getting shutter speeds down to 1/8. Ached for a tripod, but I could see that it would not be practical, with the narrow passageways and people moving around (Hawaiiana classes were in session). Made do with some bracing against pillars, if available, or attempting to handhold. No VR, oh my!

Came out with a lot more usable images than I thought I would, under the circumstances. It should be noted that I made it a point not to take images of anything related to gods or dead Hawaiians. I have seen too much to not believe. Call it superstitious, but I am not taking any chances there.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


It's warm, not snowing, but no surf. Sorry.

From the corner of Point Panic at Kaka'ako Waterfront Park, Honolulu. Been wanting to do this one for awhile now. Wish there were more "stuff" going on; it's usually pretty busy.

Made my notes at the Flickr posting (click through). Hope to try again and build on what I learned, and attempt to avoid my mistakes. Figure I have another couple of weeks before the sun is too far to the right, or I will have to wait till next fall, when it comes back again.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Flying by, slowly

Dear lord(s), this year is streaking by so it really still only January?

Lots of (photography) idea in the head, but the body is not cooperating. Need a break. Need a new body. Need a vacation without the menacing leash, waiting to be yanked.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Stuff of life

Not that I actually do this much (sadness!). But there is something about strong flavors that appeal to me.

Not necessarily "stinky," mind you. Just something substantial.

Maybe I need to work on subtle. Yeah, that could be something to work on.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A Cheshire Smile... quoted in one of the comments.

"Oh, you can't help that. Most everyone's mad here.
You may have noticed that I'm not all there myself"
- The Cheshire Cat

Have a great rest of the week. Hang loose.

Sunday, January 9, 2011


Happy to live Hawaii.

Been in snow; nice to visit, gets old real quick if you have to spend the season in it. Been on my butt; that hurt!

To all of you that are snowbound, something to look forward to. It's nature, and the sun will rise.