Category Archives: photographic

company holiday party

the company had a halloween potluck last week. i dressed up as a disgruntled employee instead of being the usual happy employee that i usually am. or was it that i told people that i dressed up as a happy employee instead of the usually disgruntled employee? hmmm, tough call. =P

one of my co-workers brought in dry ice to put into apple cider. i asked him if it was food grade dry ice and he looked at me like i was on crack. dude, there is such a thing! and they make it because the normal dry ice isn’t meant to be consumed. right??

guitar hero 3 – enter the addiction

i think christi’s new goal in life is to get as many other people addicted to guitar hero as she is. i think that i’ve pretty much gone as far as i can in the game, but i’ll give it another whirl. i still have to 5 star the songs, most of my attempts are in the 3 star area. what does it all mean? it just means i have a lot more to play.

we had a few friends come over for a volleyball review/coaching session. after watching the video of the games that i had recorded, guitar hero was broken out and a good time was had. the above picture is aimee rocking it out, complete with head banging goodness.

super salted steak

after reading an article on how to turn cheap choice steaks in gucci prime steaks, i knew that i would have to try it out.

it’s easy to do: super salt your steak for about 15 minutes, rinse, and cook. i got 4 costco steaks, cooked two in the normal way that i would normally cook them and two in this way. the instructions require you to use sea salt or some other coarse salt, but i didn’t have any, so i decided to really oversalt my steaks, hoping that the table salt would be enough to encourage the moisture from the steak to come out.

the results? the super salted steak really did seem to be more tender than the control group! pretty amazing. i think i waited too long after i had salted them, though. i think next time a 10 minute salting will be more than sufficient. i will also marinade it with other seasonings because it was just salty, good, but i can definitely see the potential for it to be GREAT.

the lesson learned here is that when using a dry rub, let the rub work its way into the meat at room temperature. 10 minutes can make a huge difference!

everyone else was doing it…

so i just had to start stacking rocks on the beach because i saw so many other rock stacks there. i didn’t get very far when i was called away to take a picture, so it isn’t as impressive as it could it. i think that with more practice i could stack more interesting rocks, but oh well.

i’m trying to remember where in the bay area i saw all of the cool rock stacks on some beach… it was so long ago…

black straws snoot – the construction and first use

constructing the black straw snoots was much more time consuming than i had anticipated. i ran into many obstacles. my first obstacle was the lack of proper tools. but before i get too far ahead of myself, perhaps i should explain just what a black straws snoot really is.

simply put, it is an attachment added to a flash that will make your flash output a tighter beam of light. this accessory for your flash can be used to create a spotlight effect. this is good for creating dramatic lighting. after i play with it a little more, i’ll show some examples.

now, apparently, there are snoots that are commercially available that you can buy. i don’t know about you, but, for me, making your own snoot is just cool.

so, anyway, it’s an accessory for photographer’s flashes. ok, great. i thought i had the tools that i needed, and i thought that i could do without a ruler, but you really, really need a ruler. i tried to do it with a tape measure, but it was just too hard. so i went out to longs and bought a 79 cent ruler. worth. every. penny. at least! i had some cardstock lying around and used that instead of the cereal box cardboard. looking back on it, i think the cereal box cardboard may be better suited for this, but i don’t eat cereal.

i actually made the colored version of the black straws snoot which basically allows for a color filter to be installed in the snoot. i built the snoots for my canon 550EX. i built 2 snoots, a 2cm length straw and a 5cm length straw. the 2cm snoot needed about 12 black straws. the 5cm length straw required (shockingly) about 30 straws. i hear that you can get black straws from panera bread or boston market. i haven’t tried boston market, but the panera bread that i went to had plenty. they are individually wrapped straws. let me say that again. individually wrapped! talk about such a waste of resources.

the measurements for my 550EX were a little different from the directions on the lighting mods web site. mine were 1cm, 4.5cm, 7.4cm, 4.5cm, 7.4cm x (6cm and 9cm) to fit the 550EX. it fits quite snugly.

i used a hot glue gun, ruler, straws, black duct tape, and cardstock paper. the black duct tape is optional, but it sure does give the snoot a little bit more credibility and it ups the coolness factor. many people use gaffers tape, but i kind of like the shine of the black duct tape.

the next, tedious step, is to cut the straw to the right length. let me tell you, trying to cut 2cm pieces of straw is a lot harder than you would think. so you cut a bunch of 2cm straws and then you are ready to glue.

let me talk a little bit about glue. glue is something that i don’t use very often. in fact, the last time that i used glue was a long time ago when i first moved into the house and i was changing the shower head. the shower head had an attachment that you glued to the wall. that was months ago. before that, i don’t recall when i used glue. it’s been that long.

so when it came to putting this snoot together, i bought some glue. actually, i bought two types of glue. elmer’s glue, which is very slow drying and i found to be a little too cumbersome for this task. i needed a glue that was quicker to harder, but still easy to work with that would not melt the straws. some solvent based glues might just melt away at the straws.

i decided to try using a hot glue gun. i’ve never really used a hot glue gun before, but i figured it couldn’t be that hard to use. boy was i wrong. it is actually quite hard to use. i was making a mess, burning myself, and gluing myself to the snoot. after a while, i started to get used to it and it was all good.

the snoot was made and it was time to try it out:
the first image is without the snoot.

this next image is with the snoot. see the nice spotlight effect and the falloff? the flash was about a yard away from the subject at about 1/128th power. pretty nifty, eh?

now pointing the light in different directions and at different angles ought to give a rather pleasing effect. i’m going to try it out later tonight after i charge up my flash batteries which all died so i had to stop taking pictures. ahhh, the power to manipulate light. i feel so powerful.

so slow…

i’ve been really slow and lazy about adding a comment feature to my gallery. i guess i have just been a little reluctant to add the code because i wasn’t sure how many community features i really wanted to add to the gallery. a part of me wants to rewrite sites like flickr and zooomr, but really this gallery is just to show pictures i take, so i think i’m going to go less community-centric.

i went to take some pictures of the roller hockey game that greg set up. i couldn’t find my blades and i found out that my mom threw away my hockey stick. oh well, it’s probably for the better, my wrist STILL doesn’t feel the same from the fracture i got back in high school.

sharpcast shoot

adam referred me to do a shoot for sharpcast‘s launch party hosted with gigaOM. i asked christi to be my assistant and we set up one stationary shooting booth for portraits and then i roved around the crowd taking pictures of the event. it was pretty fun and i think i got some decent pictures at the too-dark for my tastes club. they had a mad hatter/alice in wonderland theme and they bought a bunch of funky hats for people to wear. it was pretty neat, the live music was cool, too.

hawaii – day 1

i went to hawaii the week before last and had a blast. i’ve been to hawaii a few times already so all of the touristy things have been done. i got to do a lot of things that i haven’t done and that was quite a treat. i don’t think we ever set foot on waikiki beach. that is a first for me. christi took some pictures while we were there too.

the first thing that we did when we got in was to go to the dive shop to pick up the materials for my scuba certification. i was bummed to find out that there was so much reading material that needed to be done. the classroom work started the next day and i needed to have read the entire scuba certification manual and done all of the tests at the end of the chapter. i refused to call it homework and asked everyone around me to refer to it as “happy fun reading time”. it wasn’t that happy. =P

we stayed at ben and sonya’s place the first night and ben and sonya celebrated their one year anniversary by going out and having a nice dinner. christi went to alisa’s bridal shower, so i was all alone that night…

all alone at this gorgeous beach house whose backyard is the ocean. the ocean! all alone reading about pressure groups, o-rings, and other stuff that i didn’t really care so much about.

but i struggled through the chapters and finished the tests. ben and sonya came back, we chatted, and christi finally came back from the bridal shower too. we went to sleep tired from a long flight. the next day would be the first of three days of scuba certification.