Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Attempts in Light Painting

Moving (very slowly) forward with my photo backup project, I keep finding old shots that are interesting and worthy of sharing here.  Since I am not really shooting much at the moment (just a couple of weeks to go till the new baby!), I might as well keep you entertained with old photos.  

The series below are my first attempt in light painting.  Slow speed + long exposure + flashlight = fun!  I never really perfected this method, but it's worth revisiting in the future.  I must research more about how to actually get a word properly spelled with a light source, and figure out the best conditions to shoot in.  Certainly something to look forward to!

Taken against the bedroom window in our crappy Victorian house in London in 2010.

Monday, July 21, 2014

No Minute Gone Comes Ever Back Again...

...Take Heed and See Ye Nothing Do in Vain.

These are some of the very first images I took with my 50mm lens.  It was late December 2009 and I was exploring the city of London in its holiday attire.  No snow of course but many, many wonderful lights and sights.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Portraits From Half Moon Bay

My Dad is here and we have been touring our immediate surroundings as best as we can in the past few days.  The State beach at Half Moon Bay was on our list today.  We had a good time - my Dad hasn't seen the sea in over 20 years, so he really enjoyed the salty air and the sound of the crashing waves.  The lighting conditions were really weird; it was blinding and dark all at the same time! 

I am nine months pregnant now, and it really shows in my work - I can't bend, lean, kneel, or duck easily to take a shot, or keep the horizon line straight, which is rather funny.  I used to literally lie in the middle of a busy city intersection for a good PoV.  Ah, well.

This time we didn't see any whales, but I am once again super huge, just like I was about a week before Johnny was born. The Instagrams from that day were considerably sunnier, though....

Here are some of the Nikon images, the ones from my iPhone will of course go on my personal blog soon.  

Monday, June 30, 2014

Lots of people talk to animals. Not very many listen, though. That's the problem.

Zoos are, for the most part, sad and scary places - I was never a fan of having wild animals trapped and kidnapped from their natural environment, caged, and exploited for entertainment purposes - and some zoos are in fact soul-crushingly cruel, like the recent Copenhagen Zoo giraffe incident, and other instances we have seen in the press from foreign zoos of horrors.  So, by default, I do not endorse or support such organizations, neither circuses or water parks like Seaworld.  You gotta put your money where your mouth is - I have learned the hard way.  

Luckily, the whole concept of a zoo has changed in recent years, and there are many facilities around the globe that provide shelter, conservational habitat and rehabilitation for many endangered species, thus doing more good than harm.  San Francisco Zoo is of the latter kind, and even though I found some of the animal enclosures to be morally outdated, most animals seemed well taken care of, and provided with adequate room according to their needs.  There was an energy saving educational booth, a lovely playground, a real train on tracks and a carousel for the kids.  

We had a great time - it's not quite obvious from the photos as I mostly shot the animals, but I promise you we did.  I only wish I had brought along my telephoto lens....

Hint: CuriOdyssey members get 50% off of the admission fee.

P.S. I kept thinking of this National Geographic article while visiting the zoo.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Chasing Light

As I was saying recently, I am lucky have many great photo opportunities, but lately they have been limited to capturing special moments rather than special lighting conditions.  Most of the time it's either a work gig or an outing with Johnny, both which inevitably end up happening in mid-day sunlight and although I try to make the best of it, it's been months since I've captured anything during a sunset/sunrise, or at night.  In other words, thanks to motherhood and pregnancy my light hunting days are temporarily over.  

It's just so hard to get out of the house only to shoot I try staying in to chase the light.  We work  best artistically with limitations, don't we!

Here are a few pre-July Fourth shots representing my usual subjects - kids, cats, and naturey crap...but with a bit of a bokeh/flare twist.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

America is a tune. It must be sung together.

~ Gerald Stanley Lee, Crowds

This is the first of many images from the archives I will be posting here in the days to follow.  Finally got around to carry out a massive backup project, and I would like to share my favorite candid photos.  

I took this one in the winter of 2008.  John and I still lived in London at the time and since we got married earlier that year, the California trip served us as a Honeymoon as well as a visit to John's parents.  We has a swell time - rode horses, (sort of) swam with dolphins, had a Chinese Tea Ceremony, and drove all the way down to LA to see the sights.

The Golden Gate is something to behold, and seeing it for the first time was quite a memorable experience.  So it was for these Tibetan monks, I believe.

Taken with my old point and shoot Kodak.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Mary Had a Little Lamb

After a long long week of sickness, sleep deprivation, and worry, we decided it was time to have some fun. 

It was the last day of the San Mateo County State Fair, so we drove over to see the sights and enjoy the spirit of the event.  It was truly wonderful - all sorts of people mixed together, loud, a bit drunk with excitement and high on sugar and carbs from the abundant food trucks (deep fried everything), entire families crowding the arcades or romantic couples strolling about, funny stuffed toys, lights and music, carnival rides and, of course, a giant ferris wheel!  

It's a juvenile kind of entertainment, but boy, don't we need it from time to time when life becomes a bit too serious.  Johnny was still too small for most of the rides and we only did a pony round and went straight to the farm animals and petting zoo area.  Which also happens to be my favorite part of the fair.

I was glad to see that all animals were treated well and kept appropriately, and I got yet another confirmation that my lifestyle of not eating animals is absolutely and wonderfully right.  I mean, have you even seen a cow?  Cows are AWESOME. 

The light was lovely as the weather was rather overcast and I am super happy with how these turned out.  The only other best scenario would have been if we had visited at night - oh, the kind of bokeh I could have captured then!

Here are the photos I took today amidst the craziness of the fair.  Enjoy and happy Father's Day!

Saturday, June 7, 2014

The Londonist

I'm almost, almost ready to post a bunch of forgotten but quite awesome archive images from all over the place before I disappear into obscurity (read: have that baby and go into hibernation mode) for awhile, and then return with a vengeance and about a million newborn photos.

These are from London, and judging by the fact they were taken with my old point and shoot Kodak, they date from 2007 and 2008.  Just a few random street shots I find funny!  And no, I have no idea why the profane graffiti in the last one seemed so hilarious to me.

Hope you all are having a wonderful weekend!


Sunday, June 1, 2014

Oh, Deer!

Nothing ever happens in my neighborhood...and this is why I like it so much.  Belmont is quiet, clean, and very very safe, and it has the feel of a small country town rather than that of suburbia.  I love the hills and the small steep streets, the creeks and the trails, the abundant forest-like parks, and the deer that live in them.  They come out in the early mornings or just around sunset, slowly nibbling on fresh greens, not even a bit afraid of people.  

It's a good place to live and raise children.

Here are a few shots I took of the deer last night.  I wish I had time to mount my telephoto lens on, but oh well.  

Saturday, May 31, 2014

A Visit to the Firehouse, Take Two (Success!)

This morning we finally succeed in meeting our local firefighters at Belmont's Fire Station 14.  It was such a lovely experience for Johnny, who is particularly obsessed with fire engines, and for me as it reminded me a bit of my work for the Police Force back in Bulgaria.  

There's something about firemen, isn't there?  They are cute and fit and heroic and always smiling kindly, as if they know some secret about life that the rest of us don't.  I wish I had asked them to pose for me more formally - next time I will!

These images have very little artistic value as I just wanted to report the visit without turning it into a photoshoot; I was too afraid I will somehow offend the honor of the profession if didn't act respectfully.  I didn't take exceptional photos today but Johnny's face says it all nevertheless.

Thank you, Station 14 officers, for your hospitality and for your service in the name of our safety!