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

Best of 2010

It's been quite a year. Last year about this time I had just come back from Thailand, and I was settling in, finding work, and transitioning to being back in the Bay Area, and not in Asia any more. It's amazing, it seems like so long ago, and also strangely present. I still talk about Thailand a couple times a week, and I think about it probably even more. Really though, it's just another item on the list of places I've lived, loved, and then sadly, left. (Montreal, Budapest, and most recently New York City are also on that list.)

The main differences between Thailand and San Francisco?
     a) I can understand and have conversations with people on the street! It was like a sigh of relief when I realized I didn't have to use the 20 or so Thai words I know but can't really pronounce for all of my communications with strangers any more.
     b) The food is not as spicy, and maybe not as delicious. When I came back I could eat anything spicy and not even notice. Now I'm back to my usual puny taste buds. Despite the 14 pounds of curry paste Evan and I brought back with us, we haven't cooked much Thai food since our return.
     c) The weather is so much more livable. I can go for a walk during the day without being drenched in sweat, and at night without being attacked by wild dogs, and also without concerned Thai people pulling over to the side of the road to offer the crazy farang a lift. (very awkward to try to explain that I just like walking when they can't understand me, and culturally it's a bit taboo to just go for a walk).
     d) No more beautiful beaches! Or gorgeous jungle. And certainly no more elephant rides.

Anyway, I love living in San Francisco. Cities get my blood moving, and I love public transportation and being able to walk places. Plus there's a vibe here that you just don't find anywhere else. And a kindness and generosity, a willingness to try to do the right thing that I find inspiring. Not a perfect city, by any means. But a pretty good one. Much easier to live in than Bangkok, certainly!

It's been a great year. And also a year where I really feel like I've improved my photography skills, and started branching out into a few different genres. Sure, I still have a ways to go, but I feel like I'm making progress. That's huge.

This year I:
   -lived in New York City for 6 weeks
   -spent waaaay too much money on new camera gear for
   -the new photography business I've just started! (so exciting)
   -lived in a construction zone pretty much the entire time . . . still waiting for real progress on that front
   -made a book using Blurb, which was very satisfying
   -started singing again, after a few year long break, which was great (I'm not a soloist, but a pretty good choral singer, if I do say so myself)
   -made some great new friends, and reconnected with old ones after being out of the country for so long
   -discovered an affinity for Goat's Milk Caramel in my coffee
   -got a picture published in a newspaper
   -learned how to use a tilt-shift lens (mostly. some more practice certainly couldn't hurt), and
   -had a blast!

Anyway, here's a few greatest hits from the year. I tried to narrow it down to ten, but I just couldn't. So instead I arranged them by month. I can't tell if it's just attachment or progress, but I love the later photos so much more than the earlier ones. (I think I'm going to call it progress until someone stops me.)

To see my best photos of 2009, click here.








Stop and Go, originally uploaded by quotidian photography.

Lunchtime!, originally uploaded by quotidian photography.






The Last of Autumn

Also taken with my 85mm at f/1.8 to get the shallow depth of field. 
One thing I sometimes love, sometimes hate about living in California is that our seasons get all wonky. For example, here it is December, almost January, almost 2011, and we still have leaves on the trees that look like this. And no snow. At least not here in the Bay Area. In other parts of the country, leaves that look like this are long gone.

Anyway, when shooting leaves it's always best to shoot them backlit so that you can get some of the beautiful veins and structure to show up in the photo. So I found an angle on this one that let me shoot into the light, and that had a relatively clean background. Then I did a little exposure and curves adjustments in Lightroom and Photoshop, and voila! an image that I am very happy with. It's a great orange.

Anatomy of An Image, Week 7

Ok, so this time for Anatomy of an Image, I'd like to try something different. In the past I've chosen pictures I was pretty happy with, and then talked about what was right. This time I'm choosing a shot that I mostly like, but that could be improved in a few ways, and we'll talk about what they are.

Time of Day
The blue hour, civil twilight, whatever you want to call it. Basically this is the time about half an hour after sunset, and for obvious reasons it's one of my favorite times to take pictures. Since it's winter, this particular time it was about 5:45, but obviously that depends on the time of year and your latitude. If you live near the equator, this will always be the same time for you, but you won't have that cool difference between summer and winter light, and you'll never have incredibly long shadows near the middle of the day. But I may be getting a bit off topic here.

The Story
After I moaned about not having anyone to shoot with now that Miguel has flown back to Colombia, my dad offered to come walk around the city with me and take some shots. Or rather, I would take some shots and he would just chill out. Since it was Dec 23rd, downtown SF was mobbed with people doing their last minute shopping, so we decided to make our way to the waterfront via the historic F line where it would be a little quieter. When we arrived the light was just getting fantastic. First I took some blah shots of the ferry building, and then I took some shots of the Bay Bridge, and then I decided I wanted to shoot the traffic against the buildings, the traffic blurred and the buildings sharp.

The Specs
Shutter Speed: 1 second. To make the passing cars properly blurry but still identifiable.
Aperture: f/16, to get the necessary shutter speed and also make the lights go all starry.
Focal Length: 17mm on an APS-C crop sensor, equivalent to about 28mm on a 35mm sensor camera.
ISO: 800. Why? I'm not sure. Seems high. I guess I really wanted f/16, and it's tough hand-holding for longer than a second.

What I Like
I like the colors. Blue and yellow, especially the versions of those that you find at twilight, always work for me. I like how the yellow of the streetlights is echoed in the yellow of the taxi. I always prefer my lights to star like this, so I like that. I also like the perspective. I was sort of squatting on the pavement and I think this would have been a different photo taken at normal person height. Also, I like that arrow in the corner. It just speaks to me a bit.

What I Don't Like
The photo is a little busy for my taste. Simpler is almost always better, and this is not really simple enough. If I could cut out about half of those trees, I would do it. Also I don't like that huge pole in the center, and I really don't like that the light on it is pretty blown out. I'm kind of on the fence about whether I'm ok with the building lines converging. It doesn't bother me too much, but this would have been cooler shot with a tilt/shift lens for sure. Also it's not as deadly sharp as I would like. It's ok, especially considering the speed I was hand-holding at, but it could be better.

Anyway, as always, I'm interested to hear what you think. Let me know in the comments!

Some Pictures That Make Me Happy

A picture doesn't have to be perfect or beautiful to make me happy. Sometimes the subject matter is more important than the skill of the photographer. Obviously, we photographers might not always want to think so . . .

Anyway, here are a couple of pictures of things that make me happy.

Some Goat Milk Caramel, which I love. A spoonful of this in my morning coffee turns it from blah to yum! Decadent, but oh so lovely. If I liked ice cream, I'm sure this would be great on that, too.

And my miniature live Christmas tree, complete with one ornament. It's the perfect size for my house! Plus, I've always hated killing trees for Christmas.

Any pictures you love? Feel free to share in the comments.


I'm sitting here at my computer with a ridiculously large grin on my face. Oh yeah, the best Christmas present ever has arrived: my photo in a newspaper! And not just any newspaper, one of my favorite publications, in fact, the SF Chronicle. You can view the photo and the story here.

Basically I did a job a couple of weekends ago photographing some interiors for a cool loft conversion project in West Oakland. It's a wonderful project, and pretty unique for the area it's in. The spaces are incredible: high ceilings, exposed beams, great natural light, some brick walls, and beautiful wood flooring. The team working on it seem great too, like they've really considered and thought about every detail. Here's the Cigar Factory Lofts website, where you can see more of my photos. The only ones that aren't mine are the images of Unit 1, which were taken by another great local photographer, Scott Hargis.

Here are some more shots.

A Winter Walk

Went for a walk on Christmas Eve with my family. Took a Canon 85mm 1.8 lens with me. Surprisingly nice lens considering the relatively low price. Managed to snap these shots on the way. As you can see, it's a pretty sharp lens and has some nice bokeh. And it's got a great angle of view for just walking around. The only problem I encountered with it is that you really can't focus and recompose at f/1.8, especially if you're close. Throws your subject completely out of focus. It's better to set your focus point where you want the focus in the shot to be.

Thought this house was a good candidate for some holiday bokeh.

I love taking guerrilla pictures of animals when I'm out and about. There's something about pets and animals in general that I just find irresistible. This cat reminded me a bit of Mouse, as it has a bit of the tiger vibe, and although it looks a little fierce was really a sweetheart. Walked right up to me and asked for a scratch behind the ears. And then proceeded to chase off another cat who also wanted a pet.

And then this pooch was so sweet looking! How much is that doggy in the window? A great California Christmas scene, somehow.

There's nothing better than a walk with people you love (and a camera to capture it all!). Here's hoping you're having some of both this holiday season.

Merry Christmas!

It's been a lovely couple of days. Yesterday Evan and I spent the day with my family, leisurely cooking, taking walks, and just hanging out. (Plus, we may have exchanged some gifts, in the spirit of the day.) We ended it all with a delicious meal and some good conversation. It was nice to have some time to spend together that didn't seem jammed into the schedule of a hectic workweek.

Then late last night we drove up to the snow, arrived about 1 am and collapsed into bed. When we woke up, it was Christmas. And time to hang out with Evan's family, have cookies for breakfast and take some more walks, snowy this time. It's feeling like the right place to be, and at the right time.

I just wanted to take this moment to thank all the people who come here and take their precious time to read my silly little blog. Without you, it would be harder to keep it all up. I hope your holiday season is as good as mine, and that you too have some time to just relax and unwind.

Merry Christmas!

Happy Christmas Eve

I've always been a fan of 'Twas the Night Before Christmas. It's a pretty well-written poem. Vivid, pictorial, has a great narrative. And some really wonderful word-painting. Some of my favorite lines:

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow

Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below,

Now, granted there's no moon and no snow in this picture. And maybe it doesn't even look exactly like mid-day. But there is luster, you have to grant me that. (And I am NOT British, so I will not spell it lustre. No matter how many times you try to force me.)

This concludes the holiday poetry portion of the blog for 2010. Tune in next Dec 24th, when I attempt to illustrate

And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.

with a picture of a down pillow. Or some such nonsense.

The Ferry Building, and Resolutions

SF Ferry Building, tonight. We had some LOVELY weather in SF today. I may have even seen the sun out for hours at a time!
It's been a long week, I won't lie. A couple of mornings I've wanted to hit snooze, roll over, hide under the pillow, and go back to sleep. But, fortunately for me, I haven't.

And fortunately for all of us, the week is over. (Unless you have to work tomorrow. In which case, that sucks. My sincerest apologies.)

Anyway, it's been kind of an amazing year. Back in January I made some resolutions, and for a while it seemed like they might not happen. But  . . . then actually they mostly did.

Shoot More Portraits. I can still improve on this one, but I have made progress. Like with Miguel. And Barrie. And Lara. And a few others that I haven't blogged. I've been braver about sticking my camera in other people's faces, and that's only to the good.

Get Paid. I did it! I'll be sharing the gory details (well, some of them) with you all soon enough. But I have finally made some money from my passion. Yes!!

Increase My Percentage of Keepers. Well, this one's tough. I think I have. But honestly, if I haven't, I'm not fussed. What I feel I have done, which is more important, is improved my overall photography. And that counts more. 

Print More. I did. And then I made a book. And I taped my prints all over my walls. Check! What I really need now is more wall space. I'm kind of running out.

What's up for next year? You'll have to wait until January to find out . . . .

*So, how did you do on your resolutions? Feel free to confess or brag in the comments section.*

Another Cat Photo!

Sorry I've been MIA, I've had lots of photography-related business recently. I'll tell you all about it soon, I promise!

Happy Tape, AKA the cheapest frames ever

 As some of you may know, my living situation for the past year has been a little unstable. We're still renovating, so the walls I have now are not the walls of my future. Due to that, and the general cost of frames, I haven't put much of my work on the walls.

That  is, until recently. I stumbled across a site called Happy Tape a while back, that sells Japanese paper tape (kind of like blue tape, or painter's tape, but in cool colors and designs. And then I saw a blog post where this delightful tape was used as a cheap alternative to wallpaper.

And I had a great idea. Why not use it as a frame? Wayy cheaper than traditional frames, no holes in the wall. Not going to pull off the paint, which is good. And temporary, but permanent enough. Why not?

So I did. I recommend it. I printed out a bunch of my NY photos, and I also put up some previously printed Thailand shots.
 I used the make-a-frame two pack, but you could probably go hog wild, and color coordinate with your prints, or use silver and gold to make it look extra fancy. The sky's the limit!
Self portrait? With annoying ring flash.

10 Reasons My Cat Is Awesome

10. She's Thai. Not very many people have a Thai cat, so she makes me feel unique. Although, being Thai, she is perpetually cold here in San Francisco.

9. She'll attack anything that moves, or is longer than it is wide. Shoelaces are her favorite. And the fake mice we buy for her. As well as any small insect that is unfortunate enough to make its way into our house.

8. Most of the time, she doesn't attack us. (Except for feet under the blankets. But that's excusable.)

7. She loves cheese. And her name is Mouse. Need I say more?

6. She's friendly, for the most part, unlike some cats who like to hide in the corners when other people come over. She'll come up and sniff you and wait for a pet. And then later if she thinks you're warm she'll probably jump into your lap when you least expect it.

5. She likes to sleep under the covers. If you're asleep she delicately licks your face until you wake up and let her under with you.

4. She seeks out heat in any form. Warm laps, recently occupied seats, a spot in the sunshine or next to the heater? DONE. It was a little disconcerting when we got her an electric bed and she stopped sleeping with us for a while and we realized it wasn't US that she loved, just our body heat.

3. She's perpetually hungry, if you ask her, which I don't recommend. PLEASE, can I have just a little more food?? Pretty please?

2. She's got the best purr ever. When we wake up in the morning and pet her for the first time it's almost like she's going to burst from purring.

1. She's mine. :-)

Window Lights

A simple picture for today, but cheerful. There's something about holiday lights that can raise all but the most dampened of spirits.

Into the Alleyway

Sometimes I think it's time for another trip. Travel is in my blood (literally! two generations of travel agents are in my family tree), and it always seems like a compelling answer. Surely, around the next bend are great photo opportunities. If I head to Paris, or back to Thailand, I can make great photographs!

But the truth is, if I spent as much time really seeing here as I do when I travel, when I wander around places for hours at a time, I wouldn't have to go anywhere. Witness this magical alleyway which I had never seen before but just happened on a few nights ago. Add to that some magical lighting, and I was set.

No need to jump on a plane. Just slip on some shoes, walk out the front door, and keep your eyes open.