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Food Photo in Natural Light

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Practicing food photo, I avoided using flash this time, just utilized available light. It's a cloudy, snowy day, but there's enough light from the reflection of the snow coming through the window.
Prop - raw bokchoy, sushi dish, cutting board, granite tile, Santoku knife, few sage leaves, all sitting on our breakfast table, which is made out of recycled wine barrels.

E500 with kit lens 42mm at f5.6
First attempt - I placed the bokchoy on the granite tile, but way too much reflection, I can't control it too well. That's out.

E500 with kit lens 42mm at f5.6
Bokchoy on the sushi dish, looks better than the granite tile. But this shot's way too boring. Nothing in the background, the table top is out of focus, but its not enough interest.

E500 at 42mm at f5.6
I placed the cutting board behind the main subject, and it doesn't look too bad this way, I may crop out some of the foreground space.

E500 at 42mm at f5.6
Placed the cutting board in front, but the sushi dish is a little obscure, and knife is hidden.

D70 with 35mm at f1.8.
I like this shot a little better, but I don't know if the bokchoy should be in focus or the knife. The sushi dish is easy to see in the background, and well out of focus, just as I like it. Now I am looking at this shot, I wish I had tilt the cutting board a little, so the grain would be more of a diagonal, just to see if there's a difference.

My biggest problem was composition, placement of my props is hardware than I thought. The other issue for me was the details. This time, at least I cleaned up the table surface before I start to shoot, but that's something I typically would overlook. But I should have seen that the dish was hidden from view when I have the cutting board in front. When I was looking through the view finder, I was too busy seeing what's in focus, rather than seeing the whole picture, there was plenty of time, I should've taken my time.

here's the site that inspired me for today's exercise: Mitong. It's in Chinese, but the pictures are really nice.
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Duck Perm :)

Thursday, November 26, 2009

there are a couple of ducks with this crazy hair-do (feather) around the small lake by our house. I wonder what causes this.

it's 45 degrees, but sunny, which is very different than the Winter season up north.
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SF - China Town - Color

Here we have taro root (poi), egg plant (Chinese, Japanese, take your pick), and some type of cabbage.

The Sign on the left says "Natural Color printing/development".

The vertical green sign says something about Ginseng (or man root, due to some roots are shaped like human). It is said to boost energy in a person, I just remember that I took some in tea form when I was young, and it gave me major nose bleed, maybe too much of an energy boost...

Scarf stall.
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SF China Town B&W

more shots from my trip to Hayward, CA.
Hopped on the BART, and spent a few hours in San Francisco.

This is a bakery, a line formed for fresh, just out of the oven goodies.

It says: New Hong Kong Restaurant

Can't remember the name of this street, but it was lined with whole sale meat and vegetable markets. This guy was having a lively conversation with a shopper across the street.

Lower Antelope Canyon

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Just now find some time to upload additional pictures from the Page visit.
We've been to the Upper Antelope Canyon before, that's the trip where you have to go with a guided tour, and the guide will take you there on a 4x4 across the dry, sandy creek bed to your destination. The visit was an hour, but the main issue was the crowd. This time, we decided to visit the Lower Antelope Canyon. The cost is $26 per person, and if you bring a tripd that is longer than 1.5 feet, you can get a photographer's pass, and you can stay for around 4 hours. If you don't have a tripod, a guide will take you through the canyon, and you can only visit for an hour and then you are out. I don't know why, but the place is not well marked. I sort of remember how to get to it from the Upper Antelope Canyon visit, it was luck that I found the place. I am sure someone in town can give you good direction.

Here's the entrance to the Lower Antelope Canyon. I just had my camera and tripod, no bags or anything, which I am glad I didn't have that on my back. It is fairly narrow, but manageable.

While we were there, there is a group of photographers who signed up for a photo work shop. The instructor came from Sedona area, but I didn't ask for his name. This lady here was shooting a Canon 5D and a big, wide L series lens, various people have fancy gears, expensive carbon tripod, etc. What recession, right? :)

Unlike the Upper Antelope section, there are some fairly narrow spots in this canyon. It wasn't too windy this time, so we were not showered with sand like the last time. I don't think I got any sand/dust on the sensor, but the camera was covered with sand from the first trip.

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Mystery House

There are a lot of rumors who actually owns this house. Some said Johnny Depp, Nicholas Cage, but the most common one is the doctor who invented Lasik surgical procedure - the only thing is, no one can agree on who that is, :).

Shot from Chapel on the Rock, with Cathedral Rock in the back ground.
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Lake Powell

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Lake Powell from the visitor's parking lot

Waiting for next season - down stream from the dam, these rafts sit idle and waiting for tourists for next year. This is a really nice trip. 4 hours long, it will drop you off at Lee's Ferry.

A view of the Glenn Canyon Dam from the bridge.
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More From the Regatta

Musical Note

Lift Off.

Backlit shot

Near Collision
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Balloon Regatta Page, AZ

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Cool hardware

Inside view

Time to pack up

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Balloon and Moon

Page, AZ
2009 Balloon Regatta

Gorgeous weather, light wind, warmer than last year, :)
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Short time out from my computers...

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Been busy playing with 2 new computers, 3 new operating systems, dual booting the PC with Windows 7, Linux, plus the Snow Leopard on the new iMac.
I skipped the entire Vista experience, and jumped from XP to Windows 7 directly. It's different, but familiar enough that it's not too difficult. Going from XP, I had to do a fresh install. The installation didn't take too long, it's copying the large quantity of files that take the longest amount of time. It crashed once, but that's when I was running a benchmark software (Sandra), and that was the only time. No problem with drivers, but the machine is fairly new.

Second Partition on the same PC, I installed Ubuntu 9.04 workstation, also 64-bit. I am very impressed by the maturity of this distribution (I am sure it's the same for other distros).
I have to say that the installation process might be the most intimidating, but only because I have to deal with dual booting the system; if I am installing only Ubuntu on a dedicated PC, then I have to say the installation process is a lot simpler. You have to partition the drive with the partition utility that comes with Ubuntu first, then Install Window 7, then install Ubuntu. If I have to reinstall, I'll have to read up on it again, it's not something I'd like to commit to memory. The workflow of Gnome desktop is very similar to Windows (much more so than OS X). Many utilities and productivity software are included, which I can get up and run with it right away. Nice.
Without my prompting, it even recognized my network printer, which was cool. It didn't have the right driver from the install, but it wasn't hard to download the right driver from Brother's web site. Installing updates is also an easy process, it works just like Windows, only difference is that it installed 300+ updates, not a process for dial up connection, :).

I didn't plan on purchasing the Mac this past weekend, but when my wife said go for it, heck yeah, ;). The hardware is pure elegance, and super quite, I really enjoy the silent operation.
I haven't been a big fan of all in one systems, but after messing with my new PC a week earlier, with cables everywhere, I decided to go for the iMac. I was thinking of the 21.5 inch model, but she insisted on the 27 inch model, hell yeah! And they always say that size doesn't matter, :). I could operate the system with 1 cord (power), with the use of blue tooth keyboard and mouse, and wireless network. In real world scenario, I have to add cable to attach my external drive, cables for my card reader, and iPod, still a cleaner work space though. Oh, speaking of the mouse, the new Magic Mouse is really cool, but it is a little too "flat" for me; I am used to mouse that I can wrap my hand around it, using the magic mouse a few hours, I find my wrist started to hurt; also, the buttons, I still like a mouse with 2 physical left and right buttons.
Very different world this OS X is. Have to learn a new work flow, I think that's my first challenge.
Next, a few surprised when I was transferring my photos to the Mac. Using existing external drive, I can read files from a drive formatted in NTFS, but can't write to it; I decided to format a second external drive to native Mac OS, so I can use it for my back ups. As for photo software, for now, I will use Picasa 3, which works really well, and available in all 3 OSs. Eventually, my goal is to switch all my personal work to Mac, not sure how long it will take, but it's too much work to try to maintain different platforms.

To keep it on-topic, I have to upload a couple of pictures while learning on the Mac.....
A view from the Little Colorado River Gorge. Near Cameron, AZ.

East Rim look out spots - People love to stand on top , near the edge, why is that?
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