A new year with new endeavors

I didn't realize that I didn't start the new year off with a new post, so for starters...

...Happy [belated] new year!

Several things are going on that should be explained. For starters, this quarter in school is one of the busiest yet! It will definitely limit my time taking pictures in and around town. However, it has not stopped me from working on a 365 project:

As cliche as such an endeavor may entail, this project originates though a personal commitment to self development and exploration. The goal with this project is to really fine tune various aspects of my photo repertoire, including lighting, subject / composition, experimenting with post-processing techniques (whether it's keeping it minimal and confined to RAW or even using comping, it'll be depended on the shot) and conceptualizing each shot in a manner that will help define my overall style. I think this will be key in finding not only my niche of what I am comfortable shooting, but I hope to also use this as an opportunity to make the most of situations and challenge myself outside of my own established norms.

In addition, I am also starting a collection entitled "The Essentials," which will be a weekly photographic image of objects, concepts or abstracts that I consider essential in my life. I hope to use this as a way to start thinking more about what I shoot as well as how I can represent things that I value through this medium. Although this project is a bit slower in the making, it will run concurrently with my 365 project.

What sort of projects are you taking on this year and what do you seek to achieve from them? Let's hope I can stick to it all!


"Studio" action with Andrea and Michelle

I haven't done much studio work lately since I don't have a dedicated space (and because this is a fun, time-consuming quarter). I don't have any free walls in my studio apartment - they're either covered with books, pictures, speakers or would make for some odd angles while shooting. My old foam more wall had seen better days and I wanted some more space to work with. I could either finally buy some seamless, buy some fabric, or throw more foam at the issue.

The solution: foam core walls. We're talking rather large pieces of foam more - 48"x96"x1/4" to be exact. With two of these, I was able to cover up the majority of one side of my room so that with the right lens, I can actually take full body shots. I'll just need to get one more of these (and perhaps some glass?) to create the floor and I'll be all set.

To test this all out, my friends Andrea and Michelle came by to test the studio setup. Lighting consisted mainly of a Fancier 300w (softboxed), a Sunpak 120J (white umbrellaed), and two Sunpak 383s to rim.





Blowing a kiss







Michelle can jump!



Law School Lovers - Lauren and Louis - E-shoot

Recently, I had the wonderful opportunity to take engagement photos for my cousin, Lauren, and her fiance, Louis. We shot throughout downtown Chicago, finding spots to capture the lovers and made the most of disappearing light. Once the lights went out, we changed their attire, braved the cold and took the town!

Enjoy the slideshow of what's been processed thus far:


[an actual] Fall in the Midwest

One of the few things that I appreciate about living in the Midwest is that I am actually able to witness one of my favorite times of the year: fall.

Fall on campus

In California, we don't get the same treatment for fall. The late summer - early fall is usually characterized by hot weather as we transition into a cool down that eventually leads to the rainy season. However, the midwest treats you to something more characteristic of a traditional fall - leaves that change colors ranging from yellow to orange and red, which contribute to gorgeous and lavish backgrounds accentuated by bokeh; flowers showing the last bits of their magnificence before they perish with the cool down; squirrels and chipmunks collecting in preparation of the long cold spell. Last year, it felt like we only were able to enjoy a narrow two to three week period of fall before the rain, wind and snow destroyed the wonderful natural colors. With this in mind, I decided to bring the cam with me on campus in the last week to take some pictures of all that is fall.

Fall on campus

Fall on campus

Beautiful Darkness

Beautiful Darkness v2

I had to get my Schwinn in on the action as well.

The Schwinn

The Schwinn

The Schwinn

Finally, it wouldn't be fall without a view of the skies. This was taken right after a large dose of rain brought many of the colorful foilage to the ground. It's a sign of the impending winter looming closer by the day.

Downtown Evanston


Welcoming a fellow west-coast brotha

Carlos Laurie

It's good to have another Cali brotha here in the Chi, especially a good friend from undergrad. Carlos Laurie is originally from LA, attended UC Davis for undergrad, and is currently in the Marriage and Family Therapy Masters Program at Northwestern University. He came by for a quick photosession before a night of sports. All of these pics were taken with one light (and bounce cards for two of the three).

Carlos Laurie

Carlos Laurie
Welcome to the midwest, NU and let's hope you're ready for the winter bro.


What I'm missing...

Hey what's good folks?

It's been a while since I've posted anything, or taken many shots! After moving back to Chicago, I've shifted my focus more towards school, the graduate program and potential dissertation topic, so the photos have and will be taking a back seat for a little bit. However, it doesn't mean that I won't be able to post pics that I've take in the last few months.

Right now, with fall kicking in out here (meaning temps in the 40s and 50s), I'm really missing California and the wonderful weather out there. Besides the people (friends and fam), I really miss driving and being able to enjoy the autumn scenery as I drive throughout Northern California.

This image was taken off one of my favorite roads to drive - Hwy 29 between Calistoga and Middletown. This shot was taken adjacent to the water spot (for those familiar with the area) where you can fill up for free. Calistoga actually fills up across the way from that same spot. Although it wasn't fall at the time, I tried to edit it to emulate how I remember fall to look in that area around this time of the year.

The drive itself is an amazing mixture of uphill and downhill scenery that gives you a good view of the northern Napa Valley while also giving you a taste of the wilderness that would lead many to believe that they're even further from civilization than they really are. As I drove up the road with a friend, I couldn't help but take my time and look around, taking in the rustling of the leaves from the high tree canopy above with the daylight peeking through. At night, it's common to see strands of the Milky Way from this high and away from light pollution. I try to make it a point to come out onto this road each time I'm back in Cali. Whether rain or shine, it's been a long time fav. Especially since I'm currently surrounded by endless cityscape and populated areas, I try to take advantage of roads like these anytime I can.

For those that can, definitely make a drive up there and if you can go topless (top down, t-tops or sun/moonroof off), make it happen!

Until next time, hang easy!


Sindee and Robert - E-Shoot (part 1)

Hey what's good folks?

I had the pleasure of working with Ken of SpotNineStudio to shoot Sindee and Robert's engagement. We worked with the fog and chilly air at the beach to capture moments of the two that they'll remember.

Thanks again Sindee and Robert! There'll be more to come!