Human Figure class

I had the chance to attend a workshop on photographing the human nude about a week ago, and I’m so glad I was able to go.  I may have studied photography in school but since I didn’t go the route of professional photographer I need to remember to constantly make the effort to improve my skills. 
 I haven’t done much of human figure/nude photography before, it’s quite intimidating to have a naked person stand in front of you, waiting for you to give direction.  Luckily most of the models at the workshop had the experience I didn’t; one was a dancer, one looked like she had done plenty of modeling before, and one who just was having so much fun with the whole process it made my job easier.  In the end, I thought the dancer was almost too easy to shoot because all of her poses were beautiful, and reduced the challenge.

I have to say, a room full of nude female models sure brought out the dirty old man in many participants of the workshop.  There was at least one rather rude gentleman (I use the term loosely) who bossed the rest of us and kind of ordered the models around.  The rudest of all was the equipment salesman at the workshop (from the sponsoring company.)  He had brought lenses for people to try, and was so kind as to “help” me with the equipment (in that “Let me help you there, little lady” way), insulted my camera as an antique, and let me know the perfect lens to use in case I wanted to you know, zoom in on a nipple.  The cherry on top was when he  proceeded to make a few remarks when the model was on the ground reclining, and I also lay on the ground to shoot her from a low angle – about how we were both now rolling around on the ground.  Uh-huh…and you’re a professional salesman?

Using studio lights is always a treat for me these days, as I don’t have access (or pay for access) to a regular studio.  After this weekend though, I’m thinking quite seriously about investing in a kit of my own, because it’s just so much fun to use!  And I have a garage now, so some limited room to actually just use them at home.  On the whole I had a great time at the workshop – I learned a bit and came away with lots of inspiration, which is exactly what I wanted!

For the full portfolio, click the photo above, or follow this link – and remember, this was NUDE human figure so don’t click if you’re not ok with it!

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Jen and Paul’s Engagement Photos

 I had the great honor of shooting Jen and Paul’s engagement photos a few weeks back.  I’ve known them for about eight years now; though not so well in the beginning as we started bumping into each other through mutual friends.  I have to say, I totally thought Paul was a thug and kind of scary when I first met him due to buzz cut bleached hair (turns out that hair was “gold” to go with the blue and gold colors of Cal).  Later on Jen, Wei-Ling and I were roommates in one of the most fun apartment I’ve ever been in, 3 gals together – 4 if you count Charcoal!

The photos were taken around Berkeley in the Rose Garden, a few in downtown, and down by the Marina.  We totally crashed someone else’s wedding down in the Rose Garden (don’t worry! They were just setting up.)  I hadn’t done a formal shoot or a location shoot in awhile, but the light was perfect and I was reminded just how much fun it is!  I imagine it was more fun for me than them, because I didn’t have to face up to giant camera lens staring at me; and I started getting a bit gleeful in telling them to kiss again…and again…and again.
Mwahaha THE POWER, er, all in the name of getting a good shot!

Doing a photo shoot is a great way to test that wedding makeup and hair before the big day  Jen had gotten her trial run done right before; and I think we all quickly figured out that the updo was pretty, but it made Jen look like not-Jen.   And on your wedding day, it probably helps to still look like you, especially for the pictures!

Special guest appearance by Charcoal in these photos; I can’t really imagine Paul and Jen without her there too.  I had a blast…I can’t wait for their actual wedding day!   

For the full gallery, take a look HERE.

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Public places, lonely spaces

Last weekend I took a crack-of-dawn flight up to Canada to visit some family. In a favor that trumps all favors, my lovely roommate dropped me off at the airport about 4:45 am (meaning we got up at 3:30 after staying up really late watching Bring It On – probably a foolish idea). 4:45 am is an interesting time to see an airport.

I’ve always had a fascination with being at a place normally bustling with people during the deserted off hours. I think it started with school playgrounds during the middle of summer, my parents’ ice cream store after closing, even your own home in the wee hours of the night. It’s like seeing someone you know only from work on the weekends in a T shirt and shorts playing football in the park with their kids (or your teacher at the grocery store – what, you have a LIFE outside of how I know you? What is this third dimension you have?)

The airport is particularly interesting to me since it for the sole purpose of moving people from one place to another. When I think of an airport I think about excitement, joy – because I’m always trave
ling on vacation or really happy to be home. When it’s empty you realize that all the feelings you have associated with a place were brought there only by you to fill that space. What does it do when no one is around?

For me it’s somewhere between beautiful, sad, and eerie – seeing a secret face. When you’re the only other person there it’s rather intimate.

There’s another Doris Cheung out there from Vancouver who already did a whole series of photographers about places like airports with know people so I’ll refrain from making a dramatic, symbolic statement with an art exhibit and just leave you with these. I think 3 am would be an even better time, and if I only had a tripod…

This one is my favorite…taken when rushing to my proper terminal! It seems awfully symbolic to me but I will leave it to you all to find whatever meaning you like. :) I think the lighting could go moodier, but that’s just me – although there’s something about the slow shutter speed-drenched with light look that draws me too since I know it’s pitch black outside!

For a full album view of the pictures I took, the link is here.

And in a case of life imitating art, I found out that the West End of Vancouver (Stanley Park, I think?) looks just like that famous Seurat painting that is always getting parodied, Un dimanche après-midi à l’Île de la Grande Jatte:

I just need a few people with umbrellas and that’s it!

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