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!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

A Visit to the Firehouse, Take One (Failed)

Our entire family has been very sick for the...I want to say past few days, but in reality it's been at least a couple of months - ever since Johnny started daycare.  It's tough but I guess there's no way around it.  My immune system hasn't been great either so I catch every bug that happens to float around, and it takes me ages to recover... 

My point is, we were planning this visit to the Belmont Fire Station 14 on Saturday morning, but we were all too tired to get organized.  Same on Sunday morning...till yesterday, Monday morning, when we finally felt a bit normal.  Johnny sported a firefighter top and red shorts, and even brought his firetruck along!  And I brought my camera.  

Unfortunately I also have something called "pregnancy brain", which basically turns even the brightest woman into a complete moron.  Monday was Memorial Day and of course the Fire Station wasn't open to the public.  Tough luck.  

We made the most of it, though.  We took a detour to the local park and took some bokeh-galore portraits.   We are going back to the Fire Station next weekend.

Here the photos, enjoy our silly faces :)

Saturday, May 24, 2014


I shot the interior of Beautique Beauty Bar this morning for an update of their Yelp page.  I have professed my love for the place many times, and I don't mind doing it again because they are pretty much the best salon I've been to.  My habit of coloring my own hair at home notwithstanding, I have gotten the greatest haircuts in my life there, and that's a big deal.  Usually I go to a salon, pay insane amounts of money, and tell them what I want only to have my hair chopped off the way they want, or can.  Which says a lot, considering that my hairstyle is really quite unsophisticated.  But no, really - all advertising aside - how bad you must be in what you do to screw up a simple short bob on a straight hair?!  

So believe me when I say that you will get exactly what you need after a visit at Beautique, thanks to Giana and Shanelle's skill and talent.  Not to mention that they sell mineral based makeup and next generation hair products.

Some technical notes: 

Shooting commercial or personal spaces is a favorite type of work, not just because it's easier than shooting people, but also because I have the opportunity to explore my own sense of place, and to experiment with perspective.  It seems quite straightforward but photos of cosmetic products can get boring pretty fast, so I did my best to make things look beautiful and fun.  Capturing the character of a place is the biggest challenge in those kind of gigs.

Here I have added some images I won't be giving to the client, mainly the selfies (go ahead, judge me - I'm just a pregnant woman trying to have fun at work!), and have left out most of the formal photos.  

My personal favorite? Giana's headshot at the end.  She's a real modern-day Mona Lisa, don't you think!


Monday, May 12, 2014

Mother's Day Adventures

Yesterday we all went on, as Winnie the Pooh puts it, an EXPOTITION, and of course I brought my camera along to capture Johnny's face as he rode on a train for the first time in his life.  Another first was Belmont's Farmers' Market - after eight months we finally got organized enough to visit it.  

It was a wonderfully warm but fresh Sunday, and we had a great time despite that Johnny fell and scraped his chin in the first ten minutes, and that a 15 minute-wait for the Caltrain seemed like an hour due to his incessant figeting.  

This might sound immodest yet I can't help but feel proud of the way my photography work is developing lately.  I shot about 70 images and I'm posting 45 here, which means that, without counting the photos I chose not to share, there were very little outtakes or unsuccessful shots.  It feels reassuring to be good, and it feels good to have such confidence.  I am looking forward to photographing my new son in less than 3 months, to new travels and new EXPOTITIONS.  

Hope you guys had a great weekend, too!

P.S. One of my favorite moments was when I noticed that this girl on the train was watching Game of Thrones on her laptop.  And that Burlingame is exactly 16 3/10 of a mile away from San Francisco.  And the way Johnny was stuffing his face with fruit samples at the market :)

Saturday, May 10, 2014

And We'll Never Be Royals

One of the reasons I love photography so much is because it mixes work with pleasure perfectly!  

Last weekend I attended my friend Annabelle's baby shower, and besides having lots of fun (and binging on delicious Persian food) I also took some photos with my new camera.  Thanks, Annabelle, for opening your home once again, and for sharing your lovely friends and family with me!  I can't wait to meet Tristan soon!

Technical notes: I used my Sigma Macro lens as I had a momentary trouble mounting my 50mm Nikkor and I panicked a little... but it performed excellently even in the low light indoor settings.  This also necessitated the use of flash, and I really really need to get me a speedlight sometime soon (and learn to use it - I'm exclusively a natural light photographer and indoor events get me in a lot of trouble).

Nikon D7100, minimally processed to sharpen and convert to .jpg, otherwise mostly SOOC.  With the exception of the black and white images, for which I used VSCO for Lightroom.

P.S. This crown-shaped cake was simply heavenly!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Photography deals exquisitely with appearances, but nothing is what it appears to be.

~Duane Michals

Showcasing the work my new camera does: Nikon D7100, Nikkor 50mm f/1.8

I couldn't be happier with it.  It's so sharp, performs extremely well in low light settings, and the tones are so warm and vivid!  The first test was at a baby shower I shot last weekend, but the event was indoors and I wanted to see what the camera can do with natural light.  Johnny and I went to the park this morning and here's what happened:

P.S. Happy 33rd birthday to me!