Photography

Filters – Why do we use them?

Live as if you were to die tomorrow.
Learn as if you were to live forever.
– Mohandas K. Gandhi

Filter is a must! Some might argue with me that filters diminishes the quality of your photo and I agree to some degree. However, it is only noticeable when you are more than 100% zoomed in! It is not really noticeable unless you are shooting directly at the sun or a light source that is huge enough to create glare. Other than that, you can’t really tell the difference.

I use a UV filter to provide extra protection to the front of my lens (water, dust, scratches, etc). Filters are cheaper to replace than lenses! I’d rather spend $50 on a filter than replace my entire lens for $1,000.

These pictures were taken at Salton Sea using a circular polarizer:



To show and demonstrate different types of filters and how they work, please watch the video provided below:

 

I hope you learned something.


Downtown LA Walk

Downtown L.A.Light streak

So last week, my friend Jesse wanted to go out and take pics to try his newly purchased DSLR. I decided to take him to one of my favorite spots to take pictures of the L.A. Skyscrapers. Unfortunately, the Water and Power District Building is currently under renovation (Inception was also filmed at this location, some might not recognize it since it has been altered by CGI.). So we ended up across the street to take pics of the water fountain using long exposure but we were only able to take a few pics since I was using a tripod and the security guards came to inform us that we cannot use tripods. We ended up walking around the block to the Disney Concert Hall and ended the night.
Disney Concert Hall


San Diego County Fair

We saw the Ferry’s Wheel and I just couldn’t pass up the opportunity. Luckily, I didn’t get harassed because I had a tripod with me. Some of these shots were taken using a Nikon 12-24 F4 lens with a shutter speed from 1/10th to 4 seconds.

Slow Motion

Slow Motion

Slow Motion

Slow Motion

Slow Motion


Salton Sea

Salton Sea

This place is beautiful weird. You’ll know exactly what I mean when you visit! From Wikipedia: ”

The Salton Sea is a saline, endorheic rift lake located directly on the San Andreas Fault predominantly in California’s Imperial Valley. The lake occupies the lowest elevations of the Salton Sink in the Colorado Desert of Imperial and Riverside Counties in Southern California. Like Death Valley, it is below sea level; currently, its surface is 226 ft (69 m) below sea level. The deepest area of the sea is 5 ft (1.5 m) higher than the lowest point of Death Valley. The sea is fed by the New, Whitewater, and Alamo rivers, as well as agricultural runoff drainage systems and creeks.

The lake covers about 376 sq mi (970 km2), 241,000+/- acres, making it the largest in California. While it varies in dimensions and area with changes in agricultural runoff and rain, it averages 15 mi (24 km) by 35 mi (56 km), with a maximum depth of 52 ft (16 m), giving a total volume of about 7,500,000 acre·ft (9.25 km3), and annual inflows averaging 1,360,000 acre·ft (1.68 km3). The lake’s salinity, about 44 g/L, is greater than the waters of the Pacific Ocean (35 g/L), but less than that of the Great Salt Lake; the concentration is increasing by about 1 percent annually.

Anyway, the sunset here is spectacular! I’ve never seen anything like it before and the sea meets the water and it constantly changes colors from purple to pink to red to blue to orange, you name it! If you’re ever in that area, stop by and you will see what I mean. It’s a photographer’s heaven!


The Photographer’s Rights

The Cloud Gate - Millenium Park

If you ever wonder what rights do you have as a photographer, the guide below might give you some idea. I literally copied and pasted this information from a PDF file I downloaded from the internet a couple of years ago. I don’t know where I got it but you can download it here: The Photographer’s Rights

About this Guide
Confrontations that impair the constitutional right to make images are becoming more common. To fight the abuse of your right to free expression, you need to know your rights to take photographs and the remedies available if your rights are infringed.

The General Rule
The general rule in the United States is that anyone may take photographs of whatever they want when they are in a public place or places where they have permission to take photographs. Absent a specific legal prohibition such as a statute or ordinance, you are legally entitled to take photographs. Examples of places that are traditionally
considered public are streets, sidewalks, and public parks. Property owners may legally prohibit photography on their premises but have no right to prohibit others from photographing their property from other locations. Whether you need permission from property owners to take photographs while on their premises depends on the circumstances. In most places, you may reasonably assume that taking photographs is allowed and that you do not need explicit permission. However, this is a judgment call and you should request permission when the circumstances suggest that the owner is likely to object. In any case, when a property owner tells you not to take photographs
while on the premises, you are legally obligated to honor the request.

Some Exceptions to the Rule
There are some exceptions to the general rule. A significant one is that commanders of military installations can prohibit photographs of specific areas when they deem it necessary to protect national security. The U.S. Department of Energy can also prohibit photography of designated nuclear facilities although the publicly visible areas of nuclear facilities are usually not designated as such. Members of the public have a very limited scope of privacy rights when they are in public places. Basically, anyone can be photographed without their consent except when they have secluded themselves in places where they have a reasonable expectation of privacy such as dressing rooms, restrooms, medical facilities, and inside their homes.

Permissible Subjects
Despite misconceptions to the contrary, the following subjects can almost always be photographed lawfully from public places:

  • accident and fire scenes
  • children
  • celebrities
  • bridges and other infrastructure
  • residential and commercial buildings
  • industrial facilities and public utilities
  • transportation facilities (e.g., airports)
  • Superfund sites
  • criminal activities
  • law enforcement officers

Who Is Likely to Violate Your Rights
Most confrontations are started by security guards and employees of organizations who fear photography. The most common reason given is security but often such persons have no articulated reason. Security is rarely a legitimate reason for restricting photography. Taking a photograph is not a terrorist act nor can a business legitimately assert that taking a photograph of a subject in public view infringes on its trade secrets. On occasion, law enforcement officers may object to photography but most understand that people have the right to take photographs and do not interfere with photographers. They do have the right to keep you away from areas where you may impede their
activities or endanger safety. However, they do not have the legal right to prohibit you from taking photographs from other locations.

They Have Limited Rights to Bother, Question, or Detain You
Although anyone has the right to approach a person in a public place and ask questions, persistent and unwanted conduct done without a legitimate purpose is a crime in many states if it causes serious annoyance. You are under no obligation to explain the purpose of your photography nor do you have to disclose your identity except in states that require it upon request by a law enforcement officer. If the conduct goes beyond mere questioning, all states have laws that make coercion and harassment criminal
offenses. The specific elements vary among the states but in general it is unlawful for anyone to instill a fear that they may injure you, damage or take your property, or falsely accuse you of a crime just because you are taking photographs. Private parties have very limited rights to detain you against your will and may be subject to criminal and civil charges should they attempt to do so. Although the laws in most states authorize citizen’s arrests, such authority is very narrow. In general, citizen’s arrests can be made only for felonies or crimes committed in the person’s presence. Failure to abide by these requirements usually means that the person is liable for a tort such as false imprisonment.

They Have No Right to Confiscate Your Film
Sometimes agents acting for entities such as owners of industrial plants and shopping malls may ask you to hand over your film. Absent a court order, private parties have no right to confiscate your film. Taking your film directly or indirectly by threatening to use force or call a law enforcement agency can constitute criminal offenses such as theft and coercion. It can likewise constitute a civil tort such as conversion. Law enforcement officers may have the authority to seize film when making an arrest but otherwise
must obtain a court order.

Your Legal Remedies If Harassed
If someone has threatened, intimidated, or detained you because you were taking photographs, they may be liable for crimes such as kidnapping, coercion, and theft. In such cases, you should report them to the police. You may also have civil remedies against such persons and their employers. The torts for which you may be entitled to compensation include assault, conversion, false imprisonment, and violation of your constitutional rights.

Other Remedies If Harassed
If you are disinclined to take legal action, there are still things you can do that contribute to protecting the right to take photographs.
(1) Call the local newspaper and see if they are interested in running a story. Many newspapers feel that civil liberties are worthy of serious coverage.
(2) Write to or call the supervisor of the person involved, or the legal or public relations department of the entity, and complain about the event.
(3) Make the event publicly known on an Internet forum that deals with photography or civil rights issues.

How to Handle Confrontations
Most confrontations can be defused by being courteous and respectful. If the party becomes pushy, combative, or unreasonably hostile, consider calling the police. Above all, use good judgment and don’t allow an event to escalate into violence. In the event you are threatened with detention or asked to surrender your film, asking the following questions can help ensure that you will have the evidence to enforce your legal rights:
1. What is the person’s name?
2. Who is their employer?
3. Are you free to leave? If not, how do they intend to stop you if you decide to leave? What legal basis do they assert for the detention?
4. Likewise, if they demand your film, what legal basis do they assert for the confiscation?

Disclaimer
This is a general education guide about the right to take photographs and is necessarily limited in scope. For more information about the laws that affect photography, I refer you to the second edition of my book, Legal Handbook for Photographers (Amherst Media, 2006).

This guide is not intended to be legal advice nor does it create an attorney client relationship. Readers should seek the advice of a competent attorney when they need legal advice regarding a specific situation.


Palm Springs Aerial Tramway

TramPalm Springs

Earlier this month, Kathy and I decided to go on a spontaneous trip to Palm Springs, Salton Sea and San Diego. We started at Palm Springs and get on the Aerial Tramway. Palm Springs Aerial Tramway is the largest rotating tramcar in the world. It takes 10 minutes to get to the Mountain Station (8,500+ft elevation) from the Valley Station (2,600+ft elevation). They say on a clear day, you can see the view of the Catalina Island and the light beam of Luxor Hotel in Las Vegas on a clear night. Too bad, the mountain was full of snow and they closed some of the trails. The mountain station offers a spectacular view of the Palm Springs valley. The weather in the mountain is about 30 degrees less than the valley.

If you want to get away and experience something new, head to Palm Springs Aerial Tramway and enjoy a day hike or book a dinner reservation and enjoy the view.



Product Photography

VuqoVuqo

My brother came in town and we were supposed to do a photo shoot at this new location I found in Downtown L.A. but it got canceled due to the weather. We wanted to do a photo shoot with him in a nice European cut suit while smoking a cigar and holding a bottle of Vuqo Premium Vodka. So instead of going out in the rain, I stayed home and took pictures of the bottle and a few other items that I will post at a later time.

For those who who have not yet tried this vodka, please go out look for this fine vodka at a store near you. Some stores might not carry it at the moment but they will be soon! In the meantime, click at the following link to view a lists of stores that carry their product (Store listing)  Well, before you click the link, let me give you a brief history of Vuqo:

“The history of VuQo Premium Vodka dates back at least four centuries. VuQo Premium Vodka is based on an ancient technology practiced in the Philippines long before Spanish conquistadores set foot on its shores. It is the same technology that Filipino seafarers brought to Mexico through the Spanish Galleon trades to create the now popular tequila. Coconut vodka was the drink in those ancient times, on those far eastern shores. It was, in a manner of speaking, a tribal drink, one that sealed brotherhoods and with which the day’s bounty was enjoyed and shared. It is this spirit that VuQo Premium Vodka hopes to recreate and celebrate today.”

Try them for your next gathering and you will not be disappointed. This vodka is smooth and can taken straight or mixed. To try some of the Vuqo Mixes, click here

Here’s a couple of my shots from my gallery:


Lake Havasu

 LONDON BRIDGE | LAKE HAVASU, AZ
We all tend to trust things that are known let downs.

We trust consuming manufactured products with unknown ingredients. We trust the consumption of beef when cows have been known to go mad, pork and chicken when facts support influenza.

We trust to live by the letter of the good book (bible) that has all along been written by men of historical failures, swearing that their influences are heavily supported. We trust that a baby’s breath doesn’t stink. We trust our world leaders to not let us down when they’re only human just as we are. We trust in our hopes and doubt our faith.

We trust animals of the wild to be our pet. We trust the boarding of an aircraft to soar the skies or the engine in a car fueled by an explosive product. We trust the air we breath, being polluted daily by factories creating more things for us to trust in. We trust doctors to make the right diagnosis or the surgeon to have a steady hand. We trust medicine. We trust electricity but fear lightening.

Believe in yourself and all your capabilities and abilities. Believe in YOU!”

One thing we tend not to trust in is ourselves. I encourage you to TRUST in YOU. Each of us was born with a gift of trust and trust coming from yourself is a sure guarantee. Believe in you and all your abilities. Trust yourself without thought or doubt, just trust in you.
My friends and I went to Lake Havasu in Arizona for the weekend. It was our second visit and I think we had more fun this year than last year. First, we didn’t crash a jet ski.. Second, there were more of us.. Third, we found out that the casino sells Corona’s for $2.75!!!!.. That’s right!!! $2.75!
I will be going to Oregon this week to see one of the world’s clearest lake, Crater Lake. I will bring my camera with me so check next week for the pics from my trip. 
I took plenty of pics from my trip this past weekend but I will not be able to upload them until next week so check back soon. 
In the mean time, click on the links below for a little history lesson on:
Here’s another view of the London Bridge:

Las Vegas

“Truth: You can bend it and twist it…You can misuse and abuse it…But you can never change it! “

It’s been a while since I’ve taken pictures of the hotels in Las Vegas so I decided to bring my camera on my last trip (about 2 weeks ago). I didn’t get to walk around to take pics of all of the hotels so I only have a few from Bellagio, Mandarin Bar (part of the new City Center), Aria, and Paris.

This cocktail drink has 24k gold sprinkled on it: 

At Bellagio:

Here’s a link to the album:


Las Vegas 2010


View from Mulholland Drive

“You will get there but it is up to you and you alone. It is what you are willing to do and how you are willing to get there. It has to be relentless, you must never deviate, and pursue at all costs; so that one day, you will bring your dreams to life”

Every time I go up to Runyon canyon to run, I see a lot of tour buses going up Mulholland drive and stops at this one particular location with a parking lot that fits maybe 6-8 cars. Around May of 2009, I decided to bring my camera to snap some pictures. I really didn’t know how to work my camera that well at that time so my pics came out over exposed. Fast forward to two nights ago, I decided to bring my camera at the same place and took some pics. Here’s a pic I took two nights ago:

and here’s a link to my old Flikr album: Click here to see my old pics


Downtown L.A. Night Shots Part Duex

Become addicted to constant and never ending self improvement.” – Anthony J. D’Angelo

A view of downtown L.A. from the Water and Power district near the Disney Concert Hall.

I seriously can’t wait to go to New York and take pics! Only a few more days and my memory cards will be filled with pics from NY. I have always wanted to go to NY to see what the fuzz is about. When I think of NY, I think of “Sex in the City” and I seriously remember the time that movie came out and every woman I know talked about it! They even dressed up just to go see the movie! I didn’t get it at that time but after seeing the movie… Yes, I saw the movie out of curiosity and I really think that Carrie should stop hanging around with her friends, Samantha, Charlotte and Miranda! and stop asking them for advice! That’s like asking a blind man to walk another blind man..

Anyway, here are the pics I took earlier:

Click the album below to view from my Picasa Album

LA Night Shots 2


Wine Tasting @ Solvang, CA

“Through humor, you can soften some of the worst blows that life delivers. And once you find laughter, no matter how painful your situation might be, you can survive it.”

 

I figured I’d start with a quote since yesterday was Valentine’s day. :) The last time I went to Solvang was 7 years ago, nothing really changed in that little village except for maybe the ridiculously priced cookies!!! $3 each for a cookie that is a little bit bigger than a fortune cookie!!!

I don’t drink wine but I really enjoyed wine tasting on Saturday. It wasn’t the wine that I really enjoyed, it was the company of friends that I really enjoyed (awwww…). It doesn’t really matter where we go, as long as I am with my friends, I am happy. — I have a toothache now… this is so sweet.. haha..

Sometimes when I’m bored, I send my friends text messages that goes like this:
Me: Knock Knock
Them: Who’s there?
Me: It’s me…your friend, John.. I just wanted to let you know that i’ll always be here for you. LMAO.

Click the link below to view my album

Wine Tasting @ Solvang


The pictures below are the ones that I really like:


Griffith Observatory


It’s been a while since I went to the Griffith Observatory so my friend Richard and I decided to come up here and take some pictures. I would say tonight was a bad night to take pictures since it was so cold (my hands were numb and I could not feel the buttons on my camera) but I didn’t want to make any excuses not to go out and take pictures of the beautiful things that surrounds us. People from different parts of the world come to the Griffith Observatory every single day and I bet there are people out there who live locally that have never even been to the observatory.

If you would like to learn more about the history of the Griffith Observatory, please visit: http://www.griffithobservatory.org/obshist.html

I think my next shoot would be in Chinatown or somewhere in Downtown L.A. (maybe the art district.. hmm..)


Random Night

A few nights ago, my friend Richard stopped by my house to show me his new Canon DSLR. He is also getting into photography and wanted to get the most out of his camera rather than just shooting in “auto” mode and the other camera presets. He also wanted to try out other lenses, particularly the 50mm. (by the way, I am trying to convince him to buy the 50mm since it is very inexpensive and can do a lot of things)

Coincidentally, he had his 9mm gun in his bag so we decided to take pictures with it. I’ve always wanted to create a “poster” like image so I thought I’d try it. I picked up my D40 with the 50mm and started shooting away.

I am going to show you two pictures with before and after photoshop edits.

BEFORE:
AFTER:

And here’s another shot.
BEFORE:
AFTER: