Sunday, November 24, 2013

There's nothing that can help you understand your beliefs more than trying to explain them to an inquisitive child.

~Frank A. Clark

I finally got around to doing this gig and I am glad - we scheduled it for 9 am and the light was just right.  The park provided a wonderful redwood tree background bokeh and my subjects were, as usual, picture perfect.  I love doing family shoots, and this particular family is one of my favorites, probably because they are all so radiant and easy-going, but also because their numbers have been growing steadily in the past three years, and the more the better.  The last time I photographed them their baby girl wasn't even born yet, and the brother was just starting to walk.  Gosh, time flies when you are having kids!

I have two technical notes to self: the 30mm, f/1.4 Sigma lens is actually digitally flawed and failed to autofocus in about 35% of the shots.  I believed that it performed well at first but I was shooting in dim light, and this occasion was more than sufficiently lit.  It could have been a major problem but I was lucky (this time) because in exactly the same 35% of the shots I was not able to get all of the family members to look into the camera at the same time, so they became discarded outtakes.  Which brings me to the second thing - always bring a colorful or noisy toy to wave over your head when photographing children in order to capture their attention.

So, here are my favorite shots from the series.  Enjoy!

Friday, November 22, 2013

I hate cameras. They are so much more sure than I am about everything.

~John Steinbeck

I had two photoshoots scheduled for this week, plus a good number of chores and engagements planned, but they all fell through when I got sick, followed by Johnny, so we spent many days sitting at home nursing our coughs and fevers.  Adding to my horror of getting up a billion times at night (and having to deal with a very cranky, very stubborn toddler), I was faced with the failed opportunity of using the Sigma lens I had rented for the occasion of my cancelled gigs.  It's a 30mm, f/1.4 glass of near perfection, and I was dying to try it out.  Luckily, I refused to accept such an anti-climatic development of things, and I started shooting whatever I had and saw right here at home, with no regard of elaborate artistry.

The lens performed exceptionally well in the low-light indoor conditions at home; on top of things it finally rained and it got dimmer than ever.  Still, I am quite happy with what I came up with.  The following images are practically representative of my life in general - Shelby and Johnny, my Mom and John, the daily routine of cooking and bathing and reading and watching the gardeners and the garbage trucks and hanging out, and the occasional walk around the neighborhood.  Not too shabby, after all.  Not too spectacular, either, but full of love, which is much more precious to me in the big scheme of things!

I still can't get over the way Blogger completely ruins my image quality.  I'll try and post some of the shots on Flickr for a better viewing experience!

Oh, and the headshots of me?  Johnny took them :)

So welcome to my world, thanks for visiting, and enjoy!

P.S. Johnny has discovered his "camera smile".  It's crazy to think that he is becoming increasingly self-conscious even at that early age.

P.P.S. Roseola sucks.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower

~Albert Camus

Today was not a good day for me personally, but it was a splendid day for photography, thank god for small favors.  The light was subdued and filtered nicely through the clouds, and while I was watching Johnny play in the leaf pile outside, I decided to take a few images.  He, of course, refused to pose and proceeded to go for my camera.  Boys and gadgets is all I have to say.  At the end I was forced to provide him with a camera of his own, hence the presence of the Olympus and the smile on his face (in fact, he was so happy he could be actually seen drooling in one of those photos).

This trusty old point&shoot was actually loaded with film, so I shall post the photos he took, given that there are any successful ones.  Considering that Johnny is just 18 months old, I think anything that doesn't have his finger over the lens could be called "successful".

Here are some of the best shots.  Enjoy, and don't forget - all November photo sessions are 20% off!

P.S. I have two gigs lined up next week and I am super excited!  I rented a f/1.4 lens because it is about time I put my hands on this baby.

Monday, November 4, 2013


Indoor kids Birthday Parties are always a challenge to photograph.  I hate using flash (that's because I really need to get on with the program and procure a speedlight), and whenever I crank the ISO and the exposure to compensate for it, there's a lot of noise and the focus gets fuzzy.  The only good thing about artificial mall lighting is that it is bright enough most of the time.  To add a subject insult to technical injury, kids usually  just don't ever stand still.  Those gigs are difficult but also fun, especially if your clients are also your friends.  This takes most of the pressure away, and I am able to try being at least a bit artistic while capturing the event with a reporting accuracy. 

This weekend I shot Abby's 3rd birthday while Johnny, John, and my Mom were also in attendance and enjoyed an awesome pink frosting cake and the company of a group of Bulgarians.  It was all such a treat!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

November Goodness

While I am somewhat terrified at the speed time seems to fly by the older I get, I still get a very pleasant thrill out of starting a new month.  November is here with golden trees and promises for festive days with family, and for a different quality of light as the sun descends and our hemisphere moves towards winter.  We gain an hour this weekend, and I am enjoying the warm spell before the rain comes next week.

In the invigorating spirit of this fresh beginning, I am excited to announce this month's special Thanksgiving discount of 20% off on all photo sessions

Happy November, y'all!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Hip Hip Halloween

Working as a software engineer at a San Francisco/Silicon Valley tech company today, in my mind's eye, is the equivalent of being a rock star, or at least of being a professional lounge chair tester (only with a bit more cerebral activity involved).  It is absolutely amazing what's going on in the technology world right now, and those who are a part of this community are lucky because they have the chance to practice their mad skills, to make a good deal of money, and to participate in the process of making people's lives better and easier.   

Sure enough, the inventors of, say, apps such as Candy Crush Saga (or even Instagram for that matter) would most probably not go down in history as great contributors to the progress of Civilization and the wellbeing of mankind, but there's no denying that in our increasingly digitized society, in almost every sphere in life there's a technological product of utmost importance that has been first envisioned, developed, and launched by some guy or gal who speaks programming code.

We are way beyond the terms "geek" or "nerd culture", and we have entered the Information Age where technology is not just something out of a sci-fi movie or only accessible to governments or corporations. Technology is everywhere, for everyone, and the future is now.  Good times.

Celebrating Halloween with this particular crowd is a thing to behold.  I finally managed to go up to the city and visit John's office.  John works with the HipChat team, as part of Atlassian, and aside of being very good at what it does, the company has a great taste in designing work spaces.  I had such fun last night, and I took some photos to share with you.

The highlights of the evening:

* The steaming Midori punch which I decided to call the "Hello I am Drunk" cocktail.

* Getting lost on my way to the restroom after a couple of the aforementioned cocktails.

* Meeting hobbits, Pokemons, The Artist Formerly Known As Prince, Bruce Lee, Tony Stark, The Phantom of the Opera, Superman, Prince William, Peter Pan, Buzz Lightyear, giant pandas, nuns, various Star Wars characters, sexy witches, regular witches, and other monsters.

* Meeting half a dozen puppies, also in costumes.

* Eating apple-peanut butter-marshmallow treats shaped like toothed mouths.

* Taking photos of hyperactive kids who were high on sugar.

* Upon being asked who I was with at the party, I took tremendous pleasure in observing the look on people's faces when I answered: "Oh, I just randomly wandered in here."

* Taking equal pleasure in answering that I was John Pfeiffer's wife.

* Realizing that I am doing the right thing by choosing not to live in the city.

* Having my Mom with us.

So Happy Halloween, my friends, and thanks for visiting. Enjoy!

P.S. If any of you recognize yourselves in the photos, shoot me an e-mail and I'll send you the original images for keepsakes :)