Monday, April 27

April 9, 2009

This was quite possibly the most elaborate work party I've attended. After years and years in Northern California, Guillaume Aretos, a production designer at PDI, was moving to the LA studio to start work on his next project. To send him off, the entire department dressed as him, doffing wigs of his trademark spikey, messy hair and wearing shirts emblazoned with WWGD -- What Would Guillaume Do? His good bye card was 3-dimensional (naturally), and everyone could take a picture next to Guillaume's portrait, which was painted as a standee. Above it all presided these very colorful balloons and disco ball. I chose to keep the ball in focus to convey the vast number of balloons on the ceiling, violating the rule to keep the foreground element in focus. In my opinion, the ribbon doesn't detract too much, but I wish I'd taken the shot from a ribbon-free angle or with a bigger f/stop as a comparison.

Friday, April 24

April 8, 2009

My friend Ali's family has a tradition of taking a photo in front of the wisteria in their yard every year when it blooms. This year I got to play photographer. Then I snapped some photos of my own.

Thursday, April 23

April 7, 2009

The fluffy, cotton ball-ey clouds were what initially prompted this photo. I think the spindly and very vertical tree branches in the foreground provide a very nice contrast.

April 6, 2009

Seen in a San Francisco shop window.

April 5, 2009

We finished the food portion of Epic Food Day around 11 pm, just in time for me to convince everyone to go to the Bigfoot Lodge on Polk Street so I could realize my dream of seeing them set the bar on fire at midnight. We had to wait a little longer than that, but with "Welcome to the Jungle" blaring in the background, the bartenders using their soda dispensers as microphones, and fire blazing the foreground, the extra wait was totally worth it.

April 4, 2009

April 4: the day that will forever be remembered among my circle of friends as Epic Food Day. As part of a birthday celebration, we decided to hit as many places as possible on 7x7 Magazine's list of 100 things to eat in San Francisco before you die ( In thirteen hours, we made it to twelve locations. This photo is of no. 25: loaf of bread straight out of the oven at Tartine, soon to be slathered with the bonus Brillat-Savarin cheese from Bi-Rite Market. We had to go to Tartine twice to hit the "straight out of the oven" target. It was worth it. The bread was so hot, you couldn't touch it for long with your bare hands. You can even see steam in the upper left corner.

The complete set of photos can be viewed here:

Tuesday, April 21

April 3, 2009

This is a classic Murray pose. He sits patiently at the side of the table, staring with those big, adorable eyes, silently asking for you to share your dinner. It is very cute. It is also very calculated. Without fail, he always knows to direct his puppy dog gaze at the person most likely to toss him a table scrap.

It's too bad the bowl in front of him is so distracting, especially the blown out highlight on the right.

Monday, April 20

April 2, 2009

It took four months, but it almost happened: The Day of the Forgotten Photo. Nothing popped out at me in the morning. Or at work. Or at the gym. I thought maybe I'd take it once I got home, but I stopped by a friend's house, and suddenly it was late and I was tired. I was just drifting off to sleep when I remembered and quickly snapped a few photos of my lamp before truly turning in for the night. Close call!

April 1, 2009

A few weeks ago, my friends and I established a new tradition: gourmet Lost. It started innocently enough with homemade canneles, then blossomed into kombucha pumpkin dinners, chocolate souffles, and on this particular night, sweet and savory crepes. These strawberries were paired with Nutella. Delicious!

March 31, 2009

I went to the Tattered Cover Book Store in Denver mostly because I love book stores (especially independent ones) and partly because I hoped my photo of the day would be of solemn, gilded tomes beckoning would-be readers from the shelves. The plan failed because (a) my fixed 50mm lens couldn't fit many books in frame, thwarting the desired gravitas of many books together and (b) book stores are not well-lit places. An old typewriter positioned atop giant fake books on the stairwell served as my subject instead. At least it feels bookish in an inferred sort of way.

Tuesday, April 14

March 30, 2009

On the way from the airport in Denver, my cousin told me that she had lots of great photos of Loki, her black cat named for the Norse god of mischief. Her other cat, Kismet, was much more difficult to capture. I knew my DSLR would have better success, so I took this photo and a couple others as a surprise for her.

March 29, 2009

I love taking photos of babies. They have no sense of embarrassment. If you put a camera in their faces, they usually look straight at it. Or if they don't, once you take a photo and show it to them, they want to see more. I took some great photos of my cousin's daughter that way. This is my favorite.

Sunday, April 12

March 28, 2009

This photo was taken at the Broken Spoke, a honky tonk bar in Austin that says it is the last of the true Texas dance halls. It was a perfect Texan evening, with lots of great country western music, two-step dancing couples, and cowboy hats. The low lighting posed a challenge for getting clear photos, but I eventually found two areas of the dance floor that had better lighting than the rest. I really like how this photo captures the connection between the two dancers.

March 27, 2009

My sister and I decided to round out our Austin experience by wandering around the many bars and clubs of 6th Street on a Friday night. This photo is from a club called Pure. I thought it was funny that a place called "Pure" would have a white first floor and a red third floor, almost like an inverted heaven and hell. My point and shoot did a pretty good job of capturing the ambiance of the club. I think the graininess adds rather than detracts from the overall feel of the image.

March 26, 2009

I went to Austin for a long weekend with my family and was amused to find a Hooters across the street from our hotel (which, coincidentally, was the nicest budget hotel I've ever stayed at). This is a cropped version of the photo. For some reason, upside down reflections of lights tend to show up on my photos of them. Does anybody know why that happens or how to fix it?

Here's an example:

Saturday, April 11

March 25, 2009

Too often photos seem to focus on flowers and leaves, with branches taking a blurred backseat in the background. I liked that this photo subverts that tendency.

March 24, 2009

This is a photo of discarded IMAX 3D glasses from after the ASIFA screening of Monsters versus Aliens at the Metreon in San Francisco. We were being shepherded out of the theater so I didn't have much time to take the photo. I like the jumble, but I wish I'd had more time to compose it.

Sunday, April 5

March 23, 2009

Taken at the Redwood City Costco. I liked the way the tires were stacked.

Confession: I converted the photo to black and white to get rid of the greenish tint in the original. It's funny how manipulating it like that serves to create the look you'd expect to get anyway.

March 22, 2009

Photo of a photo, taken at the Monsters vs. Aliens wrap party at Le Cercle Super Club in Los Angeles.

March 21, 2009

This morning our house hosted friends for brunch and board games. I knew it would be a good occasion for the day's photo, but I was tired of clicking in the background and constantly being on the look-out for the perfect photo opportunity. I wanted to not think about photography. I wanted to participate. I took a half-hearted photo of the omelet preparations and declared myself done. But the end result -- this is an artichoke, mushroom, feta omelet, topped with avocado and chipotle Tabasco sauce, and paired with a mimosa and coffee -- was too delicious-looking not to document.

March 20, 2009

The happenstance nature of my recent photos of the day was starting to frustrate me, so inspired by a friend's Facebook photo album, I decided to go to the Redwood City Marina after work to try my own hand at taking photographs there. I really started to get into it after about five minutes, and I was especially happy with the last photo I took. I was sure it would be the one posted here. Upon review, it turned out to be only my third favorite. It just goes to show that you never know until you see them big ...

Second favorite:
Third favorite:

March 19, 2009

I was on my way to pick up Thai take out for my housemates and me when these cherry blossoms distracted me. I liked the delicate, simple beauty of the flowers and tree lights and wondered if I could capture it in a photograph. I tried a lot of apertures and compositions, and this is the one I think turned out best. The blurred lights on the bottom and the in-focus bottoms on the top give it a nice sense of depth.

March 18, 2009

DreamWorks likes to celebrate with cupcakes. These were distributed after our CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg led a champagne toast congratulating the Redwood City studio on our work on Monsters vs Aliens. The left cupcake represents a key scene in the film that takes place on the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, and the second represents ... well ... aliens. I decided to stage the photo in front of my keyboard to symbolize the dual nature of what "work" means at my work.