Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Shooting in the Dark | Personal

The MINI Cooper S was the funnest car I've owned and I think about it every time I see one zip by on the freeway. What I miss most was the control that driving a 6-speed manual allowed me - selecting the right gear and accelerating hard out of a sharp turn; negotiating steep hills with engine braking; cruising to a stop light in neutral to save gas. You can do all these with an automatic but that's no fun.

In the same way you have so much more creative control shooting photos in Manual. For a long time I completely favored Aperture Priority on my camera because I didn't want to have to think about image exposure. However, my rate of success at getting the shot composition that I envisioned in my head was low. I ended up shooting a lot more frames just to get the shot I wanted. Shooting in Manual opened up a new world of composition for me and it was like falling in love with photography all over again. It takes a little more time to setup a shot but that gets easier with time. The best part is that when you set it right the first time, you shave loads of time on post-processing since the exposure settings stay the same in a group of shots. You can just apply an edit to that same batch of photos. I only wish that I started shooting Manual when I first picked up an SLR camera!

2 Saturdays ago I shot a live performance of Carlos Xavier performing songs off his upcoming album. The lighting proved to be really challenging because there were hot spotlights and colored cells that would hit the band and be constantly changing. Shooting in Manual was definitely invaluable to not getting my exposure thrown way off with all the dynamic lighting situations.

Carlos prepping right before taking the stage - 35mm | f/2 | 1/60 | ISO3200

35mm | f/2 | 1/80 | ISO2000

50mm | f/2 | 1/320 | ISO2500

50mm | f/2 | 1/200 | ISO2500

50mm | f/2 | 1/200 | ISO2500

50mm | f/2 | 1/100 | ISO800

35mm | f/2 | 1/60 | ISO3200

It was interesting to see all the interaction going on in the dark - 35mm | f/1.8 | 1/50 | ISO3200

35mm | f/2 | 1/50 | ISO3200

It would've been quite a challenge getting this silhouette shot in anything other than Manual mode - 35mm | f/2.2 | 1/160 | ISO3200

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Cal Academy of Sciences | Personal

We finally made our way into the California Academy of Sciences after a little more planning. Though there was no 2 mile long line out the front door like last week, it was still pretty crowded; albeit fun and entertaining. We probably spent the most time in the Steinhart Aquarium as the aquatic life was so diverse. Man, these animals live on such prime real estate! I think our next trip will have to be to the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

Here are some photos from our day out:

I could go for some unagi rice right now

Claude the Albino Alligator - I didn't see him move the entire time - what a life.

the living roof was not as cool as I expected

the underside of the living roof looks much cooler

frisky frogs

reminded me of Night at the Museum

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Family Day in SF | Personal

We felt like such noobs expecting to be able to go to the Cal Academy of Sciences on the day before the official July 4th holiday. Everyone and their grandmother was waiting in line just to get into the building even though we arrived early. Our Cal Academy plans got bumped to sometime in the near future but this didn't get us down on our day-off.

We headed down to the Mission to find a supplement to our quick breakfast.

The maple bacon donut at Dynamo Donuts was as good as I imagined but $3 per donut is a bit steep.

Eating is always a highlight of our days off so why not eat some more? Tani's Kitchen is literally a hole in the wall japanese homestyle joint. Definitely worth a visit if you're in Daly City - I know we'll be back when we're in the area.

After lunch we stopped over for a visit at grandaunt and granduncle's place.

Nat was checking out grandaunt and granduncle's brand new LCD TV.

On our way home we stopped to pick up some goodies for a BBQ at ma's house tomorrow.

Nat's excited for our 4th of July BBQ!