Park Life

Caught some street life in China Town on a recent business trip to San Fran early in the morning one day. Processed in LR3 and Nik Silver Efx 2. Lens was a 50mm. I decided on different crop for this image as I liked the two guys to the left and right. I thought i would try more of a HD feel to get them in but reduce the noise and focus on the women.

I think this crop really helps make this a more interesting image as you get a little lost in looking at the still life in the park. Let me know your thoughts and suggestions.


Nuff said

Using my 50MM and Photoshop for a Different Perspective




Photo inspired by the work of local AZ photographer Jon Matthies. You can see Jon's work here at his website.

In this image I forced myself to shoot with my 50mm on recent trip to San Fran in an effort to try and develop my eye. I have never fallen in love with my 50mm and have used my 60mm far more but most prefere my 28-70mm zoom.



It was good challenge and experience as it did give me some different perspective. I also forced myself to try different camera angles and of course new approaches to post processing.

In this image I processed mostly in LR3, and then brought it into CS5. I applied a levels adjustment but used the lightness bar at the bottom to remove practically all light. I then used a brush at about 10% opacity and just got creative with painting back in the normal image exposure to a degree I liked.

Its a cool technique if your shooting the mundane and want to get some sizzle in your imagery. I then brought it back into LR3 and applied a blur fileter with contrast. Thats it maybe 10min tops in post.

My First Cinemagraph

A few weeks ago I got turned on to an artform called cinemagraphs and perfected by photographer and graphic designer Jamie Beck & Kevin Burg. What is a cinemagraph? I think supermodel Coco Rocha said it best “it’s more than a photo, but not quite a video”. To see what this artform looks like taken to its highest level see below and then make sure to visit their webiste

I enlisted the help of a friend to begin experimenting in trying to recreate this form factor. We knew it was a gif but the output didn’t look very gif like in the work they were doing. I also really wasn’t inclined to buy Adobe AfterEfx or other expensive software packages. We centered our efforts on using the animation capabilities in Cs5. You will need extended version of CS5 for this. My first attempt is below. I got carried away and started some photo adjustments before knowing what I was fully doing and you will see a unprocessed area under the flag. Of course my masking of the photo and the video is a little jerky and closer to a gif than a real cinemagraph.


My First Attempt

(give me a break its numero uno)


There are some tutorials starting top emerge and I found these two good posts by photographer Fernando Jbaez  and Christopher Matthews blog, also  Amit Agarwal features a video tutorial by Russell Brown which is excellent and I urge all to watch this video. To aid you with this I took notes from the video which you can cut and paste and use to remind you of some steps. My inital learnings:

  • Less is more. I think really subtle movments are best and find those will be key
  • Masking the video into the still will also be important
  • I think you can add some dimension by adjusting the timing of the individual animiation frames themselves.
  • I’m looking to to do more and try to improve.

Nuff Said.


Creating a Cinemagraph Tutorial Notes on Russell Brown Video.

Open video file from Cs5  and assign your calibrated monitor as the working space


Then open the animation window by going to menu-window-animation. You must have CS5 extended for this to work.


Pull the time line scrubber across top of time line. Goal is to isolate particular region and play in a loop. Keep file size small as possible.


  1. Go to fly out menu and click on document settings and change FPS to 15.
  2. Isolate in on area you want to work with and find a starting point.  You can view the video by moving your time line scrubber line and see the frames pass you by. Once you have found a good start point (this will be your stationary frame) leave your time line scrubber there.
  3. Then go back to the left and click and hold the work area start point tab and pull it to where you left your scrubber. Hold down you shift key and snap it into place.
  4. 4. Capture 12 frames of video. Want to use as few as possible. Go to base of panel and click the next frame play button 12 times.
  5. Grab work area end point and click and hold and drag to left and snap it to scrubber line. Play button will only that section.
  6. Select fly out menu again and then select “Trim document duration to work area” This cuts the rest of the video out.
  7. Now you need to freeze the frame you like to be stationary-find frame you like. The  menu-select-all. Then menu-edit-copy merged, then menu-edit-paste.goto edit and copy merged, from edit goto paste and paste new frame onto layer.
  8. Now to quick mask mode and paint in the areas you do not want to move. The areas painted in red will not moved
  9. Now press q key for selection

10. Goto layer panel and deselect the video layer

11. Press option/alt key and press mask button to create a mask. You may need to play around with inverting the mask to get it the way you like. I then played with the mask to get a better effect.

12. Add some layers now but in my first one I had to much movement and my adjustment didn’t take hold underneath some areas of movement due to my masking.

13. Now turn into animation

14.  Now goto fly out menu and choose flatten frames into layers.

15. You see that all the frames have come into there own layers and that your original working docs have been turned off. Go ahead and toss your original docs.

16.  Now at the base of the animation panel find the “convert to frame animation icon” looks like three windows.

17.  You will see only one frame appear yet you will have one less layer now. So go to fly out menu again and select “make frame from layers”

18. This will now animate all your layers into frames. Click play button. But the frames don’t loop yet.

19. You will see that there is a time associated with each frame. Click on the pointed arrow icon and select “no delay”. This should make all time tags zero seconds now.

20. Now look in the lower left hand corner and you will see the word “once”. Click on that and then select forever, this is how you will get a loop.

21. What’s powerful is each frame of animation is now linked to a layer so the world is your oyster. if you know how to open it.

22. Goto menu-file-save for web and devices.

23. First thing you want to do in this menu is adjust the size of the image. If your not sure. set width to 500-600px

24. Then at the top make sure gif is selected and for color selection make sure “selective” is selected.

25. You will need a dither choose selected and pattern is good. I have also found noise to work in some cases as well. Make sure your gif doesn’t have weird banding if it does go back and play with the dither.

26. Make sure that 256 colors are selected.

27. Make sure convert toSRGB is selected.

28. Press the preview button to view in browser.

29. Then select save and you’re done.





Arlington West

Didn’t sleep well today so I was up very early and decided to go out for an early am photo-walk in Santa Monica. I was shooting on the pier and saw this below the boardwalk. After shooting my exposures I went down to take a few more from a different vantage point when this guy came down the stars and walked right towards me.

I thought I was going to get yelled at for taking photos but he proceeds to go into this diatribe of how he is from kabul and fought the Russians and the US needs to leave etc. I honestly couldn’t tell where the guy stood politically and then when he said he was running for District Attorney I figured he may be a few trees short of an orchard.

Anyway this memorial was named Arlington West and I believe they were going to have a candle ceremony tonight on the beach. It certainly was a powerful reminder on this day to remember all who have served and sacrificed.

About Arlington West:

Sunday from sunrise to sunset, a temporary memorial appears next to the world-famous pier at Santa Monica, California. This memorial, known asArlington West, a project of Veterans For Peace, offers visitors a graceful, visually and emotionally powerful, place for reflection.

Arlington West Mission Statement

In accordance with the Veterans For Peace Statement of Purpose, the Arlington West Mission Statement is to honor the fallen and wounded to provide a place to grieve to acknowledge the human cost of war to encourage dialogue among people with varied points of view to educate the public about the needs of those returning from war.

Spark. Photographing an Igniting Match

Was inspired by an image that a photographer did on Flickr that you can see here at . So I thought I would try photographing a match lighting and see where that would lead me. I didn’t have a macro lens like Erroba but I used my 60mm which did a pretty decent job.




My Camera Settings:

ISO 100
60mm lens

I was about 2 to 3ft away. I also would focus on the match head, turn off my autofocus, and then reposition the camera for different compositions. Its easiest to use another match to light the match being filmed. I shot in camera raw and had the shutter set to continuos. I also used a remote shutter release. My camera is a Canon T2i, and I’m sure that if you have a higher end Canon or Nikon your shutter speed will be much quicker.

I then brought the image into CS5 for some light sharpening, denoise and a levels adjustment. I then slightly adjusted hue and sat to my liking. From there I brought the imageback into Aperture 3 and applied a desaturated film preset that you can find on You can see a video I made of the rest of the imagery here:


For some of the images I broke out a 580exII speedlite and did some multi-strobic flash that turned out great and you can see some of that in the above video. A friend suggested it would have been interesting to film the match lighting sequence backward from lit flame to unlit match and I agree. These are great images that you could no doubt use in your own home for a Spark or just at its a core its a fun project to try on your own.

Nuff Said


Crested Saguaro

I was inspired by Joel Grimes Desert series’ and wanted to try to photograph this awesome crested saguaro with some light play.

First why is a crested saguaro so amazing? The giant Saguaro cactus of Arizona is known for one peculiarity: about 1 in 200,000 cacti is of the “crested” form, rather than the common tall armed form. The crested form usually begins growing like a regular saguaro, but then bulbs and branches in sort of a fan-shaped pattern. These saguaros are valued, and due to their rarity, the question arises of the possible environmental loss if even one of their number is destroyed.

I loaded up camera, lenes, tripod,2 lightstands,2 580exII and placed everyhting on my back as I set out in the hot desert sun to try and find the fabled crested saguaro. I was doing a meet up with some photographers at  a local watering hole and the doorman gave me a tip on the sly as to where this majestic beast lay. Of course that was after a few beers and a few months back.

I hiked about a 1/2 mile in the McDowell Mountain preserve and low and behold I saw a odd looking cactus off in the distance by some rocks. The only issue is I had to bivouac across undisturbed desert to get to it and all I thought about was how many rattle snakes I would meet on the way. Luckily they must have still been coming out of their winter slumber as I didn’t see any.

Crested Saguaro

I reached the cactus and set up my lights. I was shooting in high speed synch. Even though the sun was in the mid to late afternoon it was still bright, and I hadn’t doubled up my speed-lights to try and over power the sun. In that case I really had to shut the sun out as much as possible and that brought me past my normal synch speed of 1/250.

I set my speed lights to camera left and t camera right and triggered them with pocket wizards. So there I was in the middle of the desert with light gear, and then I realized the one thing I forgot to pack-water.

Needless to say it was a long and thirsty walk back, but I got my crested. Nuff Said.

Camera Settings:

Shutter: 1/1600


Iso 200

Lens: 10-22mm