Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day

This post was created in honor of the soldiers - past, present and future - who put their lives on the line to protect their country. Remember those who lost their lives in the line of duty and give thanks to those are still alive, even if it is a complete stranger. This day shouldn't just be about BBQ food, beer and parties.

While I do know people who are in the services, I do not know anyone who died in the line of duty. For any military personnel reading this, thanks for your services.

I visited the Los Angeles National cemetary and paid my respects today. I also took some photos.

Los Angeles National Cemetary
950 S. Sepulveda Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90024

Day 103 Of 365 Project:

Click here to see more photos from the cemetary.

By the way, I attended a Vietnamese bridal photography workshop yesterday. Click here to see an update.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Lunch With Joy

I had lunch with my friend, Joy, in downtown Culver City, CA this afternoon. We live about 35 or so miles from each other, but we still don't hang out with each other very often, maybe like once or twice a year and usually around our birthdays. This needs to be changed. :-)

Anyway, we went to "
Ugo, an Italian cafe". I ordered the Spaghettini Bolognese and Joy ordered the Fettucine Funghi. Both plates were very delicious!

Day 102 Of
365 Project:

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Out Of Town Visits From Relatives

My cousin is visiting Los Angeles. She is from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. I have many relatives who either live in Canada somewhere (Vancouver or Calgary) or New York. So when we get to visit each other, it's nice to hang out with them since we only get to see each other every five years or so.

So anyway. My cousin arrived in Los Angeles on Monday and she will be leaving tomorrow. She got to do many things during her visit as well as visit many of her relatives who lived here.

Day 101 Of
365 Project:

We had a family get-together with my relatives who lived in Los Angeles for the Memorial Day holiday weekend. We didn't have any relatives who served in the miliary service, but this was my cousin's first time doing something for an American holiday.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Dinner With Friends

I enjoy hanging with my friends, whether they are photographers or not. After a "business" meeting tonight, we went to dinner. Not that I didn't have a life or any friends before, but since I have made many friends in the photography industry, I have been doing more social/fun things. Sometimes, I get very busy with stuff that I get overwhelmed, but it's nice to do something fun with people you like.

Day 99 Of 365 Project:

Last night, I went to a business photography meeting. Click here if you're interested to know what it was about. We went to dinner at Avila's El Ranchito in Costa Mesa, CA afterwards. Everyone in the above photo were the same group. I had some fun conversations with the few people that were at my table.

I'm having some problems trying to down the software from Ninja Noise. I wanted to try it out on the above photo, but apparently, I'm having some issues understanding what to do with it.

Day 100 Of 365 Project:

Tonight, I went to dinner with the Asian Animal Lovers meetup group and we had dinner at Tibet Nepal House in Pasadena, CA. This was for our montly dinner meetup and it was the second time I attended dinner with the group. It's always fun to see familiar faces and meet new ones. The food there was also really good. It was very similar to Indian food.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Kajukenbo Belt Promotion

There have been a few students getting promoted to the next belt recently. I was asked by a student to take his pictures during his belt test..he was promoted to blue belt. He bought his camera along for me to use, however, I had some issues with it to where it wouldn't focus at all. He didn't know how to fix it, even though it was his camera. I didn't know how to fix the problem because it wasn't my camera. Luckily, I had my camera with me because I like to take Karate pictures for our website and for myself. He was ok with me taking his pictures with my camera and I promised to have pictures on a CD for him next week. There is no class this Saturday or Monday because of Memorial Day holiday.

Day 98 Of
365 Project:

This was Alina who got promoted to yellow belt and received her certificate this evening as well. Her parents didn't ask me to take pictures, but she is a cool kid and she really does practice hard. I'm sharing this one because I like her and this is one of my favorites.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Running Bandana

I got a bandana for running two summers ago. I wanted to use it and wear actual ice cubes on my head while I was out running to keep myself cool. Two summers ago, it was very hot and humid that I would be soaked and covered in sweat from running at 6:30am!

Anyway, wearing ice cubes wasn't successful at all because not only did the ice melt within ten minutes of running, it didn't stay on my head because of the weight of the ice. The bandana didn't even stay cool/cold for very long either because I was hot from running on top of the very uncomfortable weather. So I gave up wearing a bandana on my head until recently.

I take turbo kickboxing classes at the gym and the instructor always wears a bandana. I never see him without it. He's like Bret Michaels (from the band Poison) who's never without one either. I decided that I would give the bandana wearing a try again, but this time without any ice. Treating it like a sweat band was a nice idea because it worked and helped keep most of the sweat away from my face.

Day 97 Of
365 Project:

I only look like this when I'm running

Monday, May 24, 2010

Noise Ninja

On Saturday, I attended a workshop in Temecula, CA. At the end of the day, Nick Gruber (one of the photographers who attended) did a raffle drawing and gave away a free hardcopy of "Noise Ninja". He picked names using the photographers' business cards. Guess who won? Yours truly, ME! At first, I didn't know what to do with it and I didn't want it because I had never heard of this kind of software before. After reading the description on the CD case and getting a brief explanation from Nick, I think it will come in handy very well and I want to keep it after all! It basically reduces the noise/grain in the photos because they were taken in low lighting and high ISO.

Day 96 Of
365 Project:

Speaking of which, are you interested in seeing photos from the workshop? Click here to view.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Family BBQ Picnic

Today was the first time that I did a BBQ picnic with my family. We usually have family get-together (with extended family) at someone's house or meet at restaurants, but we rarely have any kind of family outings like a picnic (or amusement parks, etc).

Day 95 Of 365 Project:

Want to see more photos from this? Click here to view.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Wine Country

I spent some time in a wine country in Temecula, CA with a great group of photographers. While I like to visit interesting places, I didn't do any wine tasting there. Temecula is known for its wine country and wine tasting, but those who are not familiar with the area or are not wine drinkers, wouldn't know this about Temecula when they drive by on the highway. It is a very scenic area just to visit.

Day 94 Of
365 Project:

Friday, May 21, 2010

Google - Pacman

This morning, I noticed the Google homepage had Pacman as the logo. What I didn't know that today was Pacman's 30th birthday and you can play the Pacman until someone on Facebook pointed it out! I used to love playing Pacman. I didn't play all day, but because the 80s kid me came out, I did play a few times.

Day 93 Of
365 Project:

This was a picture of my computer screen

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Ipod Shuffle

This is my second Ipod Shuffle in two years. The first one died because I accidentally killed it by putting it in the wash when I was doing my laundry. It holds one gigabytes worth of music, podcasts and other audio. Eventually, I will get a two gigabyte Ipod Shuffle. I'm not interested in getting a larger one because I just want a small one that can clip onto my clothes (not in an Ipod holster/case that goes onto my arm) while I'm out running or at the gym. Hopefully, it doesn't short circuit and die sooner than expected because of the amount of sweat that I produce during exercise. I don't like the idea of having something like a holster or case wrapped around my arm. It makes me feel unbalanced when one arm (because of the holster) is sweatier than the other. Having an Ipod that is very small as such comes in handy in other situations sometimes because it can fit in a shirt pocket. Who wants to have an Ipod when it can't fit in a shirt pocket or if you have to carry it in an Ipod holster/case on your arm or carry it in your hand?

Day 92 Of
356 Project:

I went to a photographic educational meeting this evening. Want to know what I learned? Click here to find out!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


Part of Kajukenbo involves grappling because of the Judo and Jiu-jitsu that is in Kajukenbo. Karate, Judo/Jiu-jitsu, Kenpo and Chinse Boxing (Kung fu). We usually only do grappling stuff in the intermediate/advanced class, rarely ever in the beginners class. In the second class after some of the students practiced what they would be tested on (for either this Saturday, next Monday or next Wednesday), we did some grappling this evening. We haven't done this in awhile during the weekday intermediate classes.

Day 92 Of
365 Project:

kid students grappling

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Are You "Barking" Mad?

Kiko likes to catch/fetch the ball. When you hold the ball too long or just bounce it rather than throwing it for her, she will bark to make you hurry up and throw the ball because she wants to play.

Day 91 Of
365 Project:

Kiko ready to bark

On a side note, click here to see my blog about "Getting To Know Big Lights".

Monday, May 17, 2010

Karate Kid

This is seven year old, Javier, and he is one of the "Karate Kids" in my martial arts/karate class. While he is a cute little kid, he's very good! So, watch out for him!

Day 90 Of
365 Project:

We offer classes three times a week which are on Monday evenings, Wednesday evenings, and Saturday afternoons. On each day, we have a beginners class and an intermediate/advance class. Both classes and all class days are ages six and up. There is no maximum age limit. The only difference between a beginners class and an intermediate/advance class is that white belt students start with the beginners class and they are not allowed in the intermediate/advance classes unless they are given permission and they are very good. Many black belt students, particularly female black belt students such as myself, will attend the beginners class to stand as role models for the little kids. I'm not an instructor, but I do like to assist any way that I can.

On side note which has nothing to do with martial arts, click here to see prom photos for Steven and Pam.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Colima Burgers

Dave and I went to Colima Burgers this evening. One photographer friend suggested this place since she went to one in Covina and she liked it. I also went on Yelp to see the reviews for the Diamond Bar/Rowland Heights location, and it got a lot of good reviews! So I ordered the Chili Chesseburger and Dave ordered the Cheeseburger. The food wasn't as exciting as the Yelp reviews made the place and food to be.

Day 89 of 365 Project:

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Prom Season

I originally had planned to do prom pictures for one couple. I recently decided to open up and work with college and high students who wanted photos that were more fun. Who knew that I would end up doing prom pictures for more students? Who wants the standard/generic/same-as-everyone poses? That's so boring!

Anyway, one of my model friends, Tiffanie, contacted me for a last minute photoshoot and asked me to take some prom photos of her and her entourage this afternoon. She didn't want that many prom photos, just mainly group photos and a few couples photos. There were something like 20 or so people meeting at Tiffanie's house in Diamond Bar before the limo arrived to whisk them away for prom. I used to be afraid of group photos and directing large groups. It wasn't as scary as I thought!

While Tiffanie is a Senior in high school, she does some modeling for several photography workshops which is how I have met her.

Day 88 of 365 Project:

So, I think I will be doing more prom photos for college and high school students in the future. I was hesitant on doing this kind of photos, but it's really not so bad afterall!

Friday, May 14, 2010

A Picture With Kiko

I don't have any pictures of myself with Kiko. I'm usually behind the camera while she's in front of it. So, I got a picture of us together while working on self-portraits.

Day 87 Of
365 Project:

By the way, this photo was light and color corrected in Lightroom. The other clean-ups/editing and added text were done in Photoshop 7.0 because light/color corrections is all that I know how to do for now. So that's a start because I didn't know how upload an image when I first got the software.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

PGNI - Photo Girls Night In

Photo Girls Night In (or PGNI) is a small group of photography female friends who get together once a month at someone's home for social and fun. This group lives in the L.A., O.C., San Bernandino and Riverside counties....basically we are all local. I'm a member of this private group. Basically what we do is meet at someone's home for a small party/get-together every month just to have fun, party and have drinks/food. The party was tonight and I did not host it, but it was in Tustin, CA. It's not that often that I get to hang out with a bunch of girls, so tonight was the first time that I did that and had a ton of fun.

I also had plans to bring a homemade dish with me to the party. It was called "Oreo Shazam Bars". I'm usually a good cook/baker and this dish sounded good. I've come to realize that I'm not good at making desserts or making recipes with sugary ingredients. I made some peanut butter cookies before, but they came out as a disaster. I made meatloaf, taco salad, beer biscuits, and baked tofu with soy sauce marinade before, and these items came out very well. I didn't show up with the Oreo Shazam Bars like I had planned, but I also didn't show up empty-handed. Other than getting frustrated with my food disaster, I still had fun at the party.

Day 86 Of 365 Project:

Because of the condensed milk and all the sugar-loaded ingredients (four out of six ingredients had some form of sugar), the dish was very sticky and hard to make into bars....bars like Snicker Bars. Also, the oreo made the dish look more burnt than it really was. I suppose this is a good lesson on what NOT to cook/bake/make?

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

"Help" Books for Lightroom 2

I "upgraded" my camera last year. I might as well upgrade my Photoshop software and I think now would be a good time to do so anyway as I'm getting more serious with photography. I had been in the "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" attitude and had been using photoshop 7.0 for over five years. Wow, I feel so old and so behind when I tell people which software I was using!

I got two "help" books with the Lightroom 2 software. The books were "
The Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 2 Book: The Complete Guide For Photographers" and "The Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 2 Book For Digital Photographers". Photoshop 7.0 and Lightroom are so, so different from each other. While I'm a bit overwhelmed and discourage with such a difference, and I don't even have a basic knowledge on how to do basic editing, I have to realize that it will take some time for me to finally do a decent job at editing my photos and it won't happen overnight. Eventually, I will need help from my photography friends on how to use it better, but in the meantime, I have been reading these books.

Day 85 Of
365 Project:

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Claremont Dog Park - May 2010

I've taken Kiko to the dog park in Claremont, CA several times in the past before. Today was the first time that I took her there with another person who was Dave. The Claremont dog park was quite nice, well-maintained, and clean. It was nice to bring someone along, so I could take pictures of Kiko playing and chasing the ball around. We went in hopes that Kiko would get socialized with other dogs and perhaps play fetch/catch the ball with me. While she was good at greeting other dogs, she didn't know how to play with them. Also, unfortunately, she didn't want to play ball with me either. I think being around too many dogs made her feel uncomfortable to play with me.

I took her to a dog park in Arcadia last month and she did quite well there. She was less uncomfortable. Perhaps it was because there were only two or three other dogs around. She also seemed more playful at home or at regular parks. I'm a bit frustrated because I would like for her to be more socialized, but maybe being around other dogs in smaller numbers (three or less) is more ideal.

Day 84 Of
365 Project:

Monday, May 10, 2010

Intro To Wedding Photography

I went to a wedding photography seminar this evening in Temple City, CA. The topic was on "Introduction to Wedding Photography", and the speakers were Henry Wang and Doug McNamee. The seminar covered pricing, necessary equipment gear, how to get experience and more. I attended several wedding photography workshops where the lead photographers (usually Doug and Henry when I attend them) explained how to pose the clients/models and which angle to photograph them as well as getting actual hands-on experience and shoot time. This was the first seminar that I attended where the whole seminar was full of information and strictly about the actual business side of wedding photography. Other informational seminars and meetings that I attended, involved the business side of photography in general and touched up on wedding photography. There was nothing wrong with that because I always learned something from them. Anyway, as always, Doug and Henry were awesome lead photographers who provided a great amount of information and I learned a lot from them.

Day 83 Of
365 Project:

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Lightroom 2 Take Two

My friend asked me to take a picture of myself with the Lightroom 2 software. Since I need to work on how I feel with self-portraits and I'm running out of ideas for this 365 Project anyway, I'm taking him up on his offer/suggestion. (Taking self-portraits was one of the ideas for the 365 project.)

Self-Portraits make me feel self-conscious and conceited. I'm not conceited, but if I can get over the self-conscious part, I can work with future clients, who will be strangers at first, in the future.

Day 82 of
365 Project:

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Mother's Day

Official Mother's Day is tomorrow. My mom wanted to go out to dinner today and stay home tomorrow instead. We went to Red Lobster for Mother's Day dinner.

I ordered the Wood-Grilled Peppercorn Sirlon and Shrimp with mashed potatoes and french fries, and a salad that came out before the main entree. And of course, I had to take a picture of the main entree. Since I have been used to Photoshop 7.0 and it is very different from Lightroom, I wasn't able to edit the photo in Lightroom. I still have so much to learn about that Photoshop version.

Day 81 Of
365 Project:

Friday, May 7, 2010

Lightroom 2 Software

Before I upgraded to a DSLR camera last year from a compact point and shoot camera, I was doing photography as a hobby, it was something for fun. I wasn't someone you would call a photographer, just someone with a camera and took pictures for the sake of taking pictures. I was also using Photoshop 7.0 to edit my photos and I had been using this photo editing software for over five years. I never upgraded the software because I was in the "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" mode/attitude. By now, I'm pretty sure Photoshop 7.0 is obsolete, considering that Photoshop 8.0 and four versions of Photoshop CS (with a fifth coming out this year) came out after that.

Recently, my friend purchased an
Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 2 software for me out of the kindness of his heart as I'm getting more serious with my photography and making it into a business. This was something that he didn't have to do, but did so with generosity and kindness of his heart, and I'm very grateful for people like him. So, there have been many changes between Photoshop 7.0 to Photoshop CS4 to Photoshop Lightroom. I have much to learn with this new software.

Day 80 Of
365 Project:

Thursday, May 6, 2010

May 2010 Fast Track Meeting

"Fast Track" is a meeting for photographers to get together and learn (or educate) how to grow their businesses. I went to a Fast Track meeting last month, but I didn't learn anything that was worth remembering (in fact, I don't even remember the topic!) except when it was appropriate to add sales tax.

Anyway, I went to this month's meeting in Costa Mesa, CA because I was very interested in the topic. Today's topic was on "sales" and how a photographers should "sell" themselves without acting/talking like a car sales person, and the speakers were
Derek and Sarah Frenzel. It was a very interesting topic and I've learned a great deal on how to work with clients, so that both the photographer(s) and clients still get what they want without sacrificing something. A lot of photographers struggle selling themselves, and their services and products to clients because they act/talk like a car sales person and you know how annoying sales people are when they haggle you on their services/products. However, I still need to learn how to be a good photographer without annoying people and being pushy.

Day 79 Of
365 Project:

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Cinco De Mayo

Cinco De Mayo is basically translated to 5th Of May for those that don't know, but I think everyone knows this by now. It's a US-Mexican holiday and it's a very big celebration for the Mexicans in the U.S. I live about 100 miles from the U.S.-Mexico border, so there are lots of Mexicans who are residents here throughout Southern California and there are bound to be festivities and celebrations everywhere. I did a google search on the history and I found it very interesting. Click here to read up on the history. From my understanding, people in Mexico do not celebrate this day at all, but it seems like a very big and important day for the Mexicans that live anywhere in the U.S. While the Mexicans have good reasons to celebrate and have festivities, I think for those who are not Mexicans, but live in the U.S., a day like this is excuse to drink alcohol.

I went to Olvera Street in Downtown Los Angeles today. It's not a street for vehicles to drive on, but a small street for Mexican shops, resturants and a cultural museum. I have been here before and if one wants to learn about the Mexican culture, this little area is the place to be at. It's such a cute and quaint little street, and it's very cultural.

Day 78 Of
365 Project:

El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument is near the site of the early Los Angeles pueblo or town where forty-four settlers of Native American, African and European heritage journeyed more than one-thousand miles across the desert from present-day northern Mexico and established a farming community in September 1781. Since that time, Los Angeles has been under the flags of Spain, Mexico and the United States and has grown into one of the world’s largest metropolitan areas. Today, as a department of the City of Los Angeles, El Pueblo is a living museum that continues to fulfill its unique role as the historic and symbolic heart of the city, reflecting the Native American, African American, Spanish, Anglo, Mexican, Chinese, Italian and French cultures that contributed to its early history. Of the monument’s twenty-seven historic buildings, eleven are open to the public as businesses or have been restored as museums.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Squirrel Taking a Lunch Break

After taking Kiko out for a walk this morning, I saw a squirrel at the base of the tree in my front yard. It was eating something in its front paws, and I just thought it was cute while it was eating and staring at Kiko and I before it ran up the tree.

Day 77 Of
365 Project:

Monday, May 3, 2010

Roxy On A Walk

Roxy is a two year old female Pekingese and she is one of Kiko's friends. My neighbor who is Roxy's owner, lives a block from me on an adjacent street. My neighbor doesn't walk her dog everyday at the same time of day, so we see each other infrequently. But when we do, Roxy gets so happy to see Kiko and I.

Day 76 Of
365 Project:

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Renaissance Faire 2010

I went to the Renaissance Faire in Irwindale, CA today. In Southern California, this faire can be held in many locations/cities, and it is currently in Irwindale which is being held between April 10 to May 23 (weekends only). This is also one of my favorite history time periods. This was also my second time attending this faire, but the first time where I was able to really take my time to see everything and soak everything in.

Day 75 of
365 Project:

The Queen, Queen Elizabeth I

I've also decided that I will be entering the Ren Faire photo contest and will be submitting a few photos at the end of the year after the faire has toured the U.S. If you click on the image above, you will get to see more. Please vote for your favorite image(s) to help me pick which one should be submitted in the contest. You can vote for one image or multiple images. They're all numbered and once you have decided which one(s) you want to vote for, leave a comment in this blog post. If you do not have a gmail account, you can still leave an anonymous comment! Thanks and I greatly appreciate any help!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Photography Party

I went to a photography party tonight, where most of the photographers in Los Angeles, Orange County, Riverside County and San Bernandino County came together to drink alcohol and eat some snacks all evening/night. Ok, some of us didn't drink alcohol, but I still had a nice time with the familiar faces and made some new friends. Since we were a group of photographers hanging out, it was natural for us to talk shop. So I learned a few things from fellow photographers.

Day 74 Of
365 Project:

Taken at Garrett Davis' (photographer) studio/office

Eventually, I want to have my own "art gallery" in my own home...not of people or clients, but a gallery of nature/landscapes and different things from travels. I haven't yet decided if I want a public art gallery.