Pink Potatoes and Green Spaghetti

What happens when you put talented creatives, hipster millenials, wacky families, and hyper kids together?

Some BTS of the short film Solano Community Church¬†is making for the upcoming Christmas season… This is the beautiful result of a church coming together to create. What a blessing it is to be a part of the process… (or Process?)



Stay tuned for the film!


Shot with: Canon 5D Mark II, 50 1.4, 24-70 2.8

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Pink Potatoes and Green Spaghetti

Johnny Yoon Music Video Debut PARTY!

A Johnny Yoon original!

My friend Johnny had a release event for his new single “If I Had a Day” and a music video debut a couple weeks ago featuring Miguel Castuera of Before the Brave, and Tim Ouyang of Tim Be Told. Here is a glimpse of the beauty that happened that night:


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See the music video produced by Tim Ouyang: If I Had a Day

Story behind the song: https://johnnyfromcostarica.tumblr.com/

Shout out to Johnny on his wonderful new single and music video.


Artists:

      Miguel Castuera Р@miguelcastuera, Soundcloud

      Tim Ouyang Р@timbetold

      Johnny Yoon Р@yoonjohnny, Youtube & Soundcloud

Venue: SoDoI Coffee House


Shot with: 50mm 1.8

Johnny Yoon Music Video Debut PARTY!

@KDTrey5 in Downtown Chinatown

Earlier this week, I was SUPER fortunate to be able to attend a community event featuring the Warriors organization and Kevin Durant for Oakland Chinatown thanks to an invitation from my friend Theresa (shout out to Theresa)!

Kevin Durant and his charity, KD Charity Foundation, have been building and refurbishing indoor and outdoor courts around the country, and Oakland Chinatown was their latest community to give back to. My friend signed me up as 16 and surprisingly I passed (good thing I shaved that morning) LOL. I got a free shirt. I got to sit with the kids in a special section. I got to shoot and do some drills on the court that the chaperones could not do. It pays to look young I guess. ūüėÄ


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Oaklandish Brand Sponsored Tees
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Starstruck
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KD Trey 5 Speech
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All In for the Kids

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KD Fan
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Basketball Never Stops
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Community Driven

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Perhaps one of the biggest class acts off the court, Kevin Durant gives back to all the communities he has been in. In Oklahoma, and now Oakland, he has always worked closely with the underserved schools and continues his close relationships with them by lending a helping hand during the busy NBA season.

I got to see Wanda earlier this year, and now I got to see her son as well. This year has been pretty cool. ūüôā

I’ll be the first to admit, the quality of my shots went down and I was¬†more biased with the shot selection simply because of the subject (a superstar NBA player) that is in it. I’m like, “Oh cool shot, Kevin Durant!” when in reality it was a boring shot because I am distracted and I forget about all the technique and composition. I think that happens with all of us depending on what we’re shooting. I was so starstruck, and at the same time, I was so preoccupied with trying to take in the experience and trying to get the best shot I could possibly get of one of my favorite players all simultaneously, and that is a recipe for spraying and praying. You shoot many more shots than you need to, while the quality of your shots goes down because you don’t really take your time. I only used a 50mm because of convenience and portability, but I wish I had a zoom lens for this occasion.


Shot with: 50mm 1.8

@KDTrey5 in Downtown Chinatown

#FilmIsNotDead

One of the great things about photography is the connection with people, especially fellow photographers.

Imagine.

You are moving around on the street with your hipster brown leather camera strap hanging off your shoulder with¬†one hand gracing¬†the camera grip as your eyes survey the surroundings. You are¬†ready to prow on your next prey (a random person on the street that will be your next victim in your upcoming series of candid street portraits, #MakePortraits #PursuitofPortraits). Then, you see someone at the end of the street walking towards your general direction. They have nice, slick hair and they’re wearing skinny jeans and boots. You look up and you see they also have a DSLR, AND¬†they also have the same hipster brown leather camera strap. You think to yourself, “They¬†probably have more followers than me… I bet they’re instafamous and are always featured on @feedbacknation, @artofvisuals, and @livefolk.” Your paths are about to cross so you decide you should look up and make eye contact to give them a head nod or greeting because you guys are the only ones with cool cameras on the block, and you guys got that super tight photography connection that everyone with a camera has. They’re getting closer and you feel like this could be your next Instagram follower.

Then, you shy away because you’re an introvert and you don’t feel like socializing with strangers that day so you look away after making seemingly long eye contact and carry on with your photography life.

If you made it down here, thanks for reading all that. You’re probably wondering how that was related to the title. It actually¬†wasn’t directly related to the title. Sorry for misleading you. This post is just about someone I met at Golden Gate Park a couple months ago. It is actually an excuse to post a couple portraits of him to show you guys that I am not like the person in the paragraph above. I am all about that friendly connection with fellow photographers because:

We are one. United we stand, or united we shoot. Lol.

Anyways, this is Vlad, and when I saw him, #FilmIsNotDead was literally the first thing that popped up in my head. He really embodies the #FilmIsNotDead movement (is it a movement?). He is a super colorful dude, literally and personality-wise! I am glad I got to meet Vlad and chat with him for almost exactly five minutes. He even pointed out different places to shoot at in SF and told me his secret go-to spots.


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Shot with: 50mm 1.8

#FilmIsNotDead

Firsts: Red Lights, Haze, and Earplugs

Last week, I attended my first Indie Folk concert, AND I got to dip my toes in concert photography!

My¬†brotha Miguel (bassist for @BeforetheBrave) hooked it up with the opportunity to shoot their concert in the city, and they even got me an ultra exclusive, all-access press pass! Well, there wasn’t an actual press pass that I got to wear at the venue, BUT¬†I did have a press pass next to my name on the list so I guess it was unofficially official, only people around me couldn’t see it.¬†One day, I will get to wear a press pass somewhere. One day. (Coachella 2020 I’m coming for you)


Here are some of my favorites:


Concert photography is a whole new playground with the same set of rules.

Here are a few quick points from my experience:

  • Lighting at concert venues can be REDiculous
  • Put in ear plug, your eardrums will thank you later
  • Processing in¬†black and white is more addicting than ice cream

The inconsistent lighting was what made it complicated, but it was also what made¬†the most unique shots. I learned beforehand that it was important to anticipate lighting so I tried to¬†anticipate the lighting throughout the concert, but it changed patterns every few seconds, and from song to song as well so I couldn’t anticipate (I’m blaming the lighting guy lol). I had to hop on an angle as quickly as possible once I saw cool lighting that I liked,¬†like¬†an ultralight beam¬†from above or backlit subjects. The haze was¬†also really cool because it¬†gave the lighting a more visible effect, and it gave a faded, foggy appearance.

Then, there’s the red light, which is the most irritating color of light ever. I noticed it mostly in the highlights during post. I forgot the sensor is much more sensitive to the red and blue light¬†because¬†it only detects red, blue, and green, so you have to really underexpose to make sure the highlights aren’t completely blown out when there is so much red light on the skin. Often,¬†the light wasn’t on the face either, but it was shining on the outline of the head or body. I was so tempted to make all my shots black and white because it fixed all the coloring/lighting issues (except for blown out highlights), and I loved playing with the shadows and contrast for black and white.

Fortunately, I had a full frame camera and a fast lens¬†because concert photography is generally dark so I was able to crank up the ISO before images got really grainy.¬†I generally shot manual around 1/200 at f/1.8-2.0 and ISO 1600, but I’d probably go higher in shutter speed for the next time depending on the stage lighting.

These are the areas I want to really really really pay more attention to for the next time:

  • Focusing
  • Movement and action
  • Underexpose
  • Facial expressions

Finally, I just wanna say this was SUPER fun (so shouts out to Miguel and Before the Brave for the awesome awesome opportunity). I was definitely nervous since I’ve never even attended an Indie Folk concert, and here I was taking pictures at one. I definitely loved the challenge of finding shots in a very unfamiliar and unpredictable environment, and all that while listening to some really good music.

Check them out if you like Indie Folk and don’t like overplayed mainstream radio music!


Bands:

Madi Sipes & the Painted Blue Р@madisipesmusic

The Singing Limbs – @thesinginglimbs

Before the Brave – @beforethebrave, check them out¬†on Spotify (I highly recommend their track Poet’s Prison and Hand Holding is Encouraged ūüôā )

Venue: Rickshaw Stop


Shot with: 50mm 1.8, 80-200mm 2.8

Firsts: Red Lights, Haze, and Earplugs

Firsts: Mount Tamalpais

Nature’s got curves, and¬†of all the peaks in the West Coast, Tamalpais has the curviest of curves if you know what I’m sayin’… ūüėČ

I still can’t believe that¬†in the twenty-two¬†years of my life in the Bay Area, I had never hiked Mount Tamalpais, even though it is a semi-short sixty¬†minute drive from my home (which feels like thirty if you’re driving with some of your funnest friends). Either that, or I was just too young to remember if my parents ever took me there. We will just say that this is the first time I have consciously, on my own will, hiked up the luscious, green hills of Mount Tam. I got to venture up there with my bro Dakota last Friday on a clear, spring day to get away from the city¬†for a few hours.



If you hadn’t noticed yet, I ordered the set by daylight, from the ascent up Mt. Tam in the afternoon sunlight to the peak of golden hour, and then to the end of the descent back down at sunset so you can visually¬†hike along with us. ūüôā

Typically, when I see pictures of Mt. Tam on Instagram or elsewhere, I think of the rolling hills and fog and clouds through the hills and trees, but I wanted to see if I could grab something different since it was such a clear day. Dakota made that easy because I was always able to use him as the subject and capture his experience as well as mine together. Thanks Dakota.

I’m definitely bringing a date up here one day, and then I’m gonna blog about it here… ūüėõ


Shot with: 50mm 1.8

Firsts: Mount Tamalpais