Mac Boy

Mac Boy

I was looking at the charger for my iPhone the other day and thought to myself, "If I drew some eyes on this, it would be kind of cute." This is the result.

By the way, I realized yesterday that one of the things I really appreciate when I read other photographers' blogs or check out their Flickr streams is when they include information about how they made the shot. So from here on out I'm going to try to include both technical information about the shot and some thoughts on how I could make it better. The latter is hard sometimes, especially if I'm really happy with how things turned out, but realistically there's always room for improvement.

Technical information: Shot with a Nikon D40 and Nikkor 35mm f/1.8 DX lens, aperture f/10, shutter 0.4s (1/2.5), ISO 200. SB-400 flash at camera left, shot through a homemade diffuser (tupperware and kleenex) at TTL with -2 stops flash compensation. Handheld flashlight at camera right and slightly behind the subject, shining on the keyboard. Crop, curves, overlay, dodging applied in Photoshop CS5.

Thoughts for improvement: Use a white backdrop to provide a brighter background and isolate the subjects more. Three-point lighting (key, fill, background) with better modifiers would help immensely.

Dan the Guitar

Dan the Guitar

One of the things I found when I was cleaning out our office closet was an old book of check duplicates from early college. It was mostly normal stuff: phone bill and credit card payments, a few class fees, one for Girl Scout cookies, and a couple to a friend of mine, presumably to cover gambling debts. (He kept those checks pinned to his bulletin board for years. I'm relatively certain he never actually cashed them.)

The one that caught my eye was a check for $310.48 to Jim's Music, a music store that used to be located in Irvine, not far from Juliette's freshman-year dorm. It's dated January 18, 1998, which initially threw me for a loop because Juliette didn't start at UCI until the fall of that year. Looking at the adjacent checks, I can see that I must have written the wrong year, which I tend to do for the first few months of each year.

That check was written for my first electric guitar, a Danelectro 56-U2. I went into the store looking for a cheap guitar, in large part because one of my roommates had a guitar and I both envied him and wanted to jam. (The fact that I couldn't really play didn't stop me. I still can't.) The salesman showed me this wine red, plastic-bodied guitar, telling me about the history of the company and their signature "lipstick" pick-ups. I ended up walking out with the guitar, a silver strap, a cable, and a "Tube Screamer" effects pedal.

It's funny, I remember that guitar being pretty cheap, but $300 when I was a sophomore in college would have been a significant chunk of my savings--about 10% of what I earned the previous summer. Still, from what I can tell, it may have actually gained value--the site I linked above has them listed at $395. I don't imagine I'll ever actually sell it, though, despite the fact that, as you can see, it spends more time collecting dust than getting played these days.

Fun In the Sun

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Jason's fascination with sunglasses continues. He borrowed these ones from a friend while we were out at a concert in the park. It was a little difficult to convince him to give them back when it was time to go home.

The Light at the End of the Tunnel

The Light at the End of the Tunnel

To make this image, I cut open a yellow peach and removed the pit, then cut off most of the back to make it thin enough for light to get through it. I used a Nikon SB-400 flash with a home-made (tupperware) diffuser, placed underneath the peach pointed toward the camera. I also did a fair amount of post-processing: crop, rotation, color, curves, and sharpening. Turned out pretty neat, if I do say so myself. Even better, it gave me more ideas for the future.

The Messrs. Potato Head

The Messrs. Potato Head

"I can't decide which one of these I should choose for tomorrow's daily photo. The one of Jason is really cute and I like the way it shows his personality. But I also think the Potato Head one is good--it's kind of bizarre and cute at the same time, and it shows his personality, too."

"Can't you put more than one?"

"No. It's a daily photo not daily photos. That's the format."

"It's nice to see a series sometimes, though. That way you get to see different moments and they all add up."


"It's your web site. Do whatever you want."

"I guess I could add the self-portrait and make a triptych out of it."

"A what?

"A triptych. That's when you put three pictures together in panels."

"Oh, yeah, that might be good."

"OK, let's see what I can do with this."

Where's My Coffee?

Where's My Coffee?

This is what I looked like the morning of Jason's birthday, having stayed up until 1:30 the previous night finishing his "Year Two" montage video. But who am I kidding? I look like this every morning. Except when I look worse.

Don't Do It!

Don't Do It

I seem to be unusual among men my age--at least, among men my age that I know--in that I rarely button this button if I'm not wearing a tie. My stepdad told me once when I was a kid that it made me look nerdy, which has stuck with me ever since.

Waiting By The Road

Waiting By The Road

What am I waiting for? A good photo to come along, most likely.

Just so you know, I didn't paint that graffiti. But it's caught my eye on the drive home from work every day for the past month or two.


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This summer, Monday is Water Day at Jason's day care. As you can see, he is all set.

Happy Birthday, America!

One of the things I love about photographing kids is how honest they are. Every little thing they are thinking or feeling is right there out in the open. This shot is from the kids' 4th of July parade in Del Mar. Clearly, she's having a good time.

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