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in the shadows

Last week, I went “on location” with some of the photography enthusiasts from work. We went to a nearby park, hoping to just capture a few shots and get some pointers from each other.

The great thing was that there was a broad range of experience in the group. From the seasoned photographer, with his fancy Nikon D700 (drool!), to the newbie, just learning the ropes. I fell somewhere in between. I learned how to use the histogram on my camera to gauge exposure, which is specially useful on field shoots. (Ooh, I’ll do a separate post on that!)

The bad thing was we went during lunch – between 12 and 1.  In photography-world, that’s probably the worst time of the day to shoot since the sun is directly above your head.

Needless to say, most of us didn’t get away with very many good shots. But as one of my photo buddies said, “it doesn’t matter where you go or what time of day it is, there’s always opportunity for a good shot if you’re willing to look for it.” With that, I offer the few shots I took:

bike shadow

Nikon D90. exposure: 1/40, aperture: f/22, ISO 200

shadow brake

Nikon D90. exposure: 1/60, aperture: f/9, ISO 200

shadow man 1

Nikon D90. exposure: 1/100, aperture: f/13, ISO 200

shadow man 2

Nikon D90. exposure: 1/200, aperture: f/13, ISO 200

I’ve categorized these in my gallery under projects > shadows. I think there are a lot of creative shadow shots left for me to take! Check the gallery and my blog periodically for more photography project ideas!

By the way, if you want some pointers on how to take photos of people in direct sunlight, Mera Koh has a great post about it. We didn’t take any portraits during our lunch time shoot so I didn’t get to practice her tips yet.

I have been photographing babies lately. Babies aren’t necessarily easy to photograph, but they’re certainly fun, interesting, and – when things go right – very rewarding subjects! A couple of weeks ago, I did a shoot with Baby BooBoo, my friend JoJo’s 11-month old baby girl. I came around dinner time so I was able to get some nice shots of the baby eating.

Last week, I did a multi-day shoot with the Wonder Twins, my friend Lisa’s babies (yes, the same Korean-food Lisa I mentioned in my previous post). It was particularly fun and challenging to photograph the Wonder Twins – a boy and girl with two very different personalities. Baby G was just a natural with the camera, which made photographing her very easy. There was one point when she was reclined in her mom’s arms, drinking from her bottle. As I moved around to take her picture from different angles, her eyes followed me, making eye contact with my camera lens. The image below is one of my favorite images from the shoot because it truly shows off Baby G’s personality.

Baby G of the Wonder Twins

Nikon D90. exposure: 1/25, aperture: f/2.5, ISO 200


Baby B was a different story. He was the serious type and rarely broke into a beautiful dimpled smile. Had I been shooting with film, I would have gone through several canisters just trying to capture his elusive smile! Finally, towards the end of the shoot, I was rewarded with a happy giggling baby. However, I chose to post this pic of Baby B:

Baby B sleeping

Nikon D90. exposure: 1/40, aperture: f/4.8, ISO 200

This one was taken around dusk with some diffused lighting coming in from a window. I really wanted the image to focus on Baby B’s beautiful long lashes and also the serenity of his nap. The angle from above his head allowed me to do just that.

At the end of the week, I had some really beautiful shots of the twins. However, I have to say some of my favorite images were not of their faces. Babies grow up so quickly. There will be tons of pictures of their mugs, but the daily details of their little lives often are forgotten. I wanted to take pictures of those details – their tiny feet and their chubby hands. This one is of the twins miniature feet as they sat reclined in their car seats.

Baby Feet

Nikon D90. exposure: 1/30, aperture: f/1.8, ISO 200

So what have I learned so far on the photoshoots I’ve done with babies?

  • Always have your camera ready. Remember the details I mentioned above? You can’t capture a shot of that infant smile or those precious baby yawns unless your camera is always ready.
  • Don’t be afraid to move around – and above, and to the left, and to the right. Find the right angle for the shot you want to capture.
  • For babies, natural diffused light is best.
  • Avoid flash. I’m not a big fan of the built-in camera flash to begin with, but it’s almost an entire no-no for photographing babies.
  • Take as many shots as you can. Especially when you’re in learning and practicing mode like I am. Believe me, out of those two dozen shots you took is bound to be crisp, bright, and perfect!

Special thanks to Lisa for allowing me to post some pics of her beautiful Wonder Twins!

I’ve still so much to learn, but I wanted to share with you where I am in the process. What about you? Do you have any tips for photographing kids and babies?

This week we had house guests – my friend Lisa (who also happens to be BGP‘s cousin) was visiting us along with her 3-month old wonder twins. It’s been fun having the three of them in the house. I have to admit it’s been quite an experience having the twins around, but I’ll save that for another blog. Suffice it to say for now that my respect and admiration for parents – esp. single parents or parents of multiples – have been upped several notches.

Lisa is Korean and also went to culinary school. This is a double jackpot for me and the rest of the Roomies because we love Korean food. She has been teaching BGP all week how to prepare some Korean dishes and of course, I was more than happy to be the taste-tester. The other night she made this delicious dish called kalbi-jjim, which is braised short-ribs. If you think regular kalbi (Korean BBQ) is good, kalbi-jjim is even better: slow cooked, tender short-ribs with a sweet finish.  Lisa garnished it with cubes of radish and carrots, which were the perfect companions!

kalbi-jim, traditional Korean dish

braised short ribs with radish, carrots, and scallions

The rest of the week, we were treated to chapchae, udon noodles, kimbap, and home-made kimchi. Alas, the trio head home this weekend and the Roomies and I are all sad for various reasons. Not the least of which is the delicious meals every night.

BUT – hopefully BGP took some good notes and can prep the dishes again in the future. Or even better, pass on the knowledge to us!

handmade totes

I went with BGP to her quilt guild’s open house the other day. Translation: open house shopping on quilt and other arts and crafts goodies for non guild members! I’m not a quilter mind you, but I’m always up for some shopping and some girly-girl, artsy-fartsy time with BGP. I was really glad I went because I picked up two handmade totes made of cool fabric patterns. And they were only $2 each!!

I’ve already designated the smaller one, the blue and brown, as my photography and Kindle bag. You know, so I can “be prepared” no matter where I go.  The larger one, I’ll probably reserve for my lunch bag. I know, I know. Why such a large lunch bag? Hey, a girl’s gotta have room for all  her healthy snacks!😉

BGP has kindly offered to teach me how to make a similar tote. (She claims it’s “easy”). I  haven’t taken her up on her offer yet. But I probably will. Especially since she did give me her old sewing machine a few years ago. If and when I do, you can be sure that I’ll post my latest crafty creation here. You know it’s always good for a laugh!

The S Mode

Window through Time

Streets of Macau, May 2010

I was so excited to capture this shot because it’s the first time I successfully used the S mode (shutter speed) to capture motion. This was taken on a very crowded and very busy street in Macau, China. I was so fascinated by the old European (Portuguese) architecture intertwined with the Chinese culture that I kept stopping along my walk just to take pictures of the juxtaposition.

While this picture doesn’t exactly display the contrast between the Portuguese and Chinese influences, for me it was still a study in contrast.

I saw that window on the old stone building and imagined it standing there silent and unmoving for hundreds of year, witness to thousands of people who have hurriedly walked by. Just as it did on that day that I shot the picture.

Image Specs: Nikon D90, 1/6,  f/22, 18mm, ISO 200

days of summer

We were supposed to grill corn for our 4th of July BBQ, but we had so much food that weekend that we completely overlooked the corn.

We ended it up grilling it the following weekend (yes it was still good). The corn was so delicious – so sweet and juicy. The picture really doesn’t do it justice but I thought I’d share anyway. I liked the soft yellow of the corn and the grill marks on them.

This photo was taken with a 50mm/f1.8 lens, mid-afternoon in our kitchen where we get a lot of natural light. It was easy to make this look good.

Happy summer everyone!

my dilemma.

So here’s my dilemma. I like to blog. I like to blog because I like to write. I really do. 

They say that when you write, you should write what you know. Blogging affords me the opportunity to write what I know: me and my stories.

On the other hand. I’m a relatively private person and am not always comfortable sharing details of my life. I know there’s a certain anonymity on the web. And by and large, I control what I do and don’t share. The question is, am I ok with that?

So with that, I ponder. To blog or not to blog? I think Hamlet had a much easier decision to make.

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