I'm so glad you found me! I'm a San Francisco photographer, and this blog charts my journey in the ever-evolving world of photography. One of the things I love about photography is that it's a journey, not a destination. I'm constantly learning and meeting wonderful people. Please peruse the blog to your heart's content, then check out my website and feel free to contact me! (I love hearing from you.)

“Which of my photographs is my favorite? The one I’m going to take tomorrow." – Imogen Cunningham

“A portrait is not made in the camera but on either side of it.” – Edward Steichen

2009 Top Ten

It's been a crazy, amazing year. I lived in Thailand, traveled to Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia (for five hours!), England, Belgium, Italy, and the Czech Republic.

I learned how to speak Thai (some).

I learned how to eat spicy food (just keep at it).

I learned how to withstand a 16 hour bus ride, not to mind middle of the night layovers, unexpected delays, and trying to figure out just what is going on when the announcement is made in a language you don't understand about why there is no forward movement at the moment.

I adopted a cat, and brought her back from Thailand to San Francisco. (Right now, she's sleeping under the covers at my feet. I think it's safe to say she might not have adjusted for the temperature difference yet.)

I helped to destroy a kitchen.

And mostly, I fell further in love with photography. Enough so that I will definitely be keeping this blog going into 2010, and I have some thoughts and ideas for expanding the content.

But I won't bore you with that. Here are my top ten favorite images from this blog in 2009. (At least, top ten for the moment. It was tough. If I had to choose again, who knows.)

Agree? Disagree? Let me know. And if you have your own favorite images post, feel free to link to it in the comments.

Hue, Vietnam

Truckee, California, USA

Ho Chi Minh City Area, Vietnam

Sapa, Vietnam

Koh Chang, Thailand

Sam Phran, Thailand

Sam Phran, Thailand

Sam Phran, Thailand

Chiang Mai, Thailand

Sagaing, Myanmar

Happy New Year's Eve, everyone! I hope you ring it in with gusto, wherever you are.


I love them. After everyone else has gotten tired of bubbles, I'm usually off in a corner blowing some more.

Or in this case, making someone blow bubble after bubble just so I can get a cool picture.


Some more links I collected, just for you.

Some good examples of simplicity in photography from Photography Served Projects. Sometimes, less is more. Most of the time, in fact.

A reason to be proud of your bad ideas, over at Seth Godin's blog.

A free Photoshop Action from MCP Actions. (Full disclosure, I haven't tried it yet, as I haven't really caught the texture everything bug. But it does look like fun to play with.)

And, last but not least, and having nothing to do with photography but everything to do with deliciousness, I am dying to make this hot chocolate recipe from Tartelette. The only thing stopping me is that it seems a bit much to go to the grocery store and spend about $20 on ingredients for something that can be made much more easily for about a dollar. Or less. But I am going to try it someday, as I just love spices in my cocoa. (If you're not a hot chocolate fan, her photography is also beautiful, so check that out, too.)

That's all for now, I hope you are all enjoying this holiday season, and looking forward to New Year's Eve, just around the corner.


A view of some bottles in a brewery in Belgium.

From Above

Now I want to bring a ladder with me on every shoot!

Merry Christmas!

Evan and I woke up this morning, gathered our boxes of gifts and drove over the Bay Bridge to my mother's house in Berkeley. Interestingly, our neighborhood in SF was completely empty, but Berkeley was jam-packed! We spent an amazing day there. We started with a delicious brunch, then did some gift exchange (it always ends up being more than we thought it was going to be, somehow), then we went for a walk by the bay, which was so beautiful. I left my camera at home, but the sky and the water looked like they were merging into a soft blue haze. Gorgeous!

Then we hung out some more, had a quick dinner, and then Evan and I flew to Denver!

Yes, Colorado. So we got beautiful sunny weather and snow, all in one day.

It was the perfect day. Thanks to everyone who made it so great, you know who you are. I'm off to bed, and I will be back with more pictures tomorrow.


I know it's Christmas Eve, but when I saw this among my still not quite organized pictures from Vietnam, I knew I had to post it. I took this in Mui Ne, Vietnam.


A shot from San Francisco tonight. I was so pleased to capture the long exposure light stars. I rested the camera on a trash can (true story! but it was pretty clean) to keep it steady. Specs are:

Shutter: 1 second
Aperture: f/9
ISO: 200
Focal length: 50mm


A view of the memorial at the Killing Fields near Phnom Penh. These skulls are what is left after the Khmer Rouge massacred their own people there.

A Few Links

I have some links I've been meaning to give you, so I think I'll just give them all to you at once. Most are photography related, some . . . not.

Thanks to Evan for sending me this photo of the cutest still life I've ever seen.

Like Abstract Photography? The Photo Argus has a great collection of 40 Abstract images. Worth checking out.

Need something to remind you of some basic photo guidelines during a shoot? Gavin Gough has an interesting looking photo card over on his blog. Probably worth printing out and bringing into the field with you.

Feeling a little burnt out from the holidays? Shutter Sisters has a list of 10 Holiday Pick Me Ups. Although, unless you have very steady hands, I'm not sure I recommend cutting your own bangs.

News of a Flickr plugin for Lightroom over at Canon Blogger. Think I'm going to check it out.

And, in honor of my recent return to San Francisco, Pictory (an interesting new online photo mag that showcases photos which have a story to tell) has created a new feature on SF. Just kidding. But I am going to pretend they did it for me.

And last but not least, check out these edible Santas. I want to make them, but I think they'd get eaten in five seconds around here, and I might not be able to take it.

All right, that's it for now. Hope you're having a great weekend!

Getting Rid of Clutter in Your Photos

(Please, ignore the fact that my Before photo isn't really in focus. It was getting dark. Thanks!)

Sometimes the little things can make a big difference. For example, this leaf. I spied it on a street in Berkeley, one lone yellow leaf among lots of red leaves. Reflexively, I took a picture.

But my yellow leaf was getting lost among the clutter. So I sat down, on the street (fortunately no one else was really around to wonder why, but if they'd been there, I would probably have done the same thing) and pushed all the red leaves out of the frame. A little extra contrast to darken the background, and a bump up in saturation in Lightroom, and my yellow leaf kind of pops.

So next time you're taking a picture, try to get rid of the clutter. Either frame so you can't see it, or actually get in there and move it out of the way. I promise, it makes a world of difference.


We've started demolition on some parts of our new apartment. It's kind of amazing how fast it goes, when you think how much time went into creating it all.

Anyway, there's some saying about how when you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail. I think 'they' are right on the money with that one.

Wish List

Christmas is around the corner. With that in mind, I thought I'd share with you a few of the things I've been lusting after. Most of these are under the $50 mark, but not all of them. Sorry. Wishes are free. Fulfilling them isn't always.

Any book by David duChemin. Don't worry, there are only two. I haven't read either one, but I really want to. Within the Frame (about $26 from Amazon), his first book, talks about the process of composing images, and shooting thoughtfully. What should be included in the frame, and what should be left out? How do you find your own photographic vision? I think almost any photographer thinks about this, no matter how long they've been shooting.

VisionMongers, also $27 from Amazon, his second, profiles some professional photographers who have successfully marketed and stayed true to their vision. Zach Arias, Chase Jarvis, Gavin Gough . . . you can't go wrong.

Commercial Photography Handbook
: Business Techniques for Professional Digital Photographers by Kirk Tuck ($23 from Amazon). This looks to be a practical and fairly thorough resource for anyone looking to get into the photography business, or maybe someone who's just starting out.

The new fisheye optic from Lensbaby. $149. Lensbaby is not only about the blur now, and I have a feeling that this optic would fit into my Composer perfectly!

Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM Lens $989 from Amazon. A little spendy (or A LOT!) but I would just love to be able to walk around town at night and capture some street shots that are not at 50mm and f/1.8. Hey, this is a wish list, right? Nothing wrong with a little wishing.

And, last but not least, almost anything from Photojojo. Most of their products I find a tad overpriced, but they are also brilliant. I have been salivating over the Super Secret Spy Lens ($50-$55) for ages, and the magnetic photo rope ($12) would work well in my new open-space-challenged apartment, perfect for showing off all those prints that I can't afford frames for.

Anyway, the holidays shouldn't just be about shopping. But if you absolutely must shop for a friend who's caught the photography bug, you might just want to spring for one of these.


A reflection seen in a brewery in Brussels, Belgium.

Hue, Vietnam

I never got to post any photos from Hue, because they just stayed on my memory cards too long in Vietnam.

For this photo I waited about 5 minutes for the right woman on a bicycle to ride by and complete the shot. Evan was very patient.

Also, totally unrelated, a photographer named Joey L has come out with a hilarious (and kind of catchy) song about a relationship between a Canon guy and a Nikon lady. I recommend it, unless you don't like rap or are easily offended by innuendo. Here's the link.


Seen last week in Golden Gate Park.

Oh, and check out these photos of architecture using whole trees from the New York Times. Pretty cool.



Think this is a gecko, but I don't remember what kind. I took this at the California Academy of Sciences.

Age is Just a Number

A very cool Vogue article you should check out: the same model with different hair and makeup to look like she's 10 to 60 years old.

Here is the link.


I got to the end of the day and realized I needed to post something here. Since it's raining in San Francisco I thought I'd take a shot out of the window. Since the room was so much brighter than outside it's mostly a reflection shot (you can see our two elephant heads from Thailand behind me), but some of the street comes through as well.


This is an old photo, taken almost exactly three years ago inside the old prison at Alcatraz. If I were to take the same picture today I would probably compose the shot a little differently, but I think this illustrates a good point: even point and shoot cameras can capture beautiful light. My camera at the time was a little Nikon E5200, and it was fully automatic. But it still took some pretty nice pictures.


After almost two months away from the cat, it's nice to see her again, although I think she prefers the warm climate of Thailand to the damp cold of San Francisco. At least it makes her more friendly, she's always trying to climb into our laps to warm up!

I shot her lying on the back of the couch in front of the window, so this is really shooting against the light. I'm not sure I totally love the effect, but I am working on getting better at handling backlit situations, so I figured this was good practice. And it is certainly a different look.


I know I said no more pictures of the snow, but I lied. Sorry. This is the last one, I promise.