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

Reveal, and More Night Snow

I love snow. Is that weird? I used to live in Montreal and I would be kind of sad to see the ridiculously cold winters end. Now that I'm in California I take any chance I get to go see snow. And then the camera comes out with a vengeance!
Ok, so I left you hanging for a while. I never explained what the difference was between my two pictures of City Hall. Some commenters got pretty close, but since no one really completely nailed it, I'm afraid I won't be giving out any firm handshakes yet. :) Sorry Ron, I did want to come to Australia and see some of your Snow. Maybe next time.

Anyway, my anonymous commenter got it the rightest. (Yes, it's a word. English is my day job so I get to make the call.) The secret was a special lens that I rented for the week of Thanksgiving from Borrow Lenses (who were adequate, but I was not completely pleased with their service; that's a subject for another post perhaps), a 17mm tilt/shift lens. Tilt/shift means that I can move the front of the lens up and down or right and left and therefore make sure that all vertical and horizontal lines are straight in my photograph. It's particularly useful when photographing architecture, which is full of straight lines. If you go back and look at the two pictures you should be able to see the difference. Here's with my 17-55 regular lens (which I still love) and here's with the tilt/shift lens.

Anyway, it was really fun to play with, and I was sad to return it yesterday. Perhaps it will be somewhere in my future; we'll see. It's not cheap.

Unlucky Dog

Why did they bury me in a snowbank?

Snow At Night

For four days without work it has been surprisingly busy. My apologies for the lack of in-depth blog posts; I'll write a longer one tomorrow, I promise!

Can't See The Wood for the Trees

Happy Thanksgiving!

I've eaten way too much pecan pie to say anything useful. Regular blogging will resume tomorrow.

City Hall, Can You Figure Out What's Different?

A slap on the back and a firm handshake to the reader who can tell me what I did differently this time as opposed to before.

Another View of the Bridge

Hopefully, this view you haven't seen done to death a million times before. I love these mysterious hatted men! Bring me more, please!

City Hall, Another View

Shot from inside Davies Symphony Hall
I may, or may not have mentioned my small addiction to coffee on this blog before. I know, I sound like a broken record. Anyway, there is now significant evidence that this addiction is creating a negative effect on my life, and isn't that when you know you have a problem?

So last week Evan and I went to see Rufus Wainwright sing with the San Francisco Symphony (a little history:  I have had a major musical crush on Rufus since high school, and this is probably the fourth or fifth time I've seen him live. In fact, I bought the tickets thinking it was going to be him doing his own show, not even realizing that the symphony was going to be involved).

Anyway, it was Friday night after a long week and we walked by a Philz coffee, which I had never tried, and so I figured no time like the present right? Even though they don't have lattes on the menu I got them to make me one, and then we walked the next few blocks to Davies Hall, where the symphony plays. I am a slow drinker so I determined to break the law and smuggle my coffee into the hall in my camera bag. And then there may or may not have been a small accident when I stood up to let someone pass us in our row.

Long story short? My bag still smells like coffee, even after I washed it out, and I may have learned a new life lesson: drink faster!

In the Dark

Not my best image, I'm afraid. It was just toooo dark for my poor little camera without a tripod, so the image quality is not the best. Still, you can get some idea of how gorgeous it was there.

Souvenir Foto School: Back in Session! Also, Amatomy of an Image, Week 6

If you recall, I participated in Souvenir Foto School once before, when the theme was the alphabet and the challenge was to photograph it in 30 days. That was difficult, but I made it through. The photos from that challenge are all on my Flickr photostream here.

This time the theme is food, and the challenge is to photograph your food at least once a week for six weeks. The week's photos are due by Sunday, but as I have a busy week ahead of me I wanted to get this one in now so I didn't have to worry about it. And what better excuse than to use it for my weekly Anatomy post?

So here we go!

Lens: my trusty 17-55mm f/2.8 at 55mm, never go anywhere without it (as you know)
ISO 200 (I was trying for a clean picture)
Aperture: f/2.8
Shutter Speed: a fairly fast (for me) 1/100 of a second
Lighting: ambient plus an LED ring light that I actually didn't use as a ring light, I just held it to the front left of the yogurt bowl with some tissue paper to diffuse it, and as close as I could to get the softest light possible

The Story
So you may have noticed that I'm kind of an ambient light gal. I pretty much always try to use natural light to my advantage and at the moment I don't even own a flash (although that's about to change, since I ordered one today, congratulate me!) But I do own an LED ring light, mostly because the price was pretty awesome and I can't resist new camera gear from time to time. (You can see it on Amazon here, if you're interested. The price is kind of ouchless. I haven't used it extensively, so I can't really speak to its quality. But it so far seems worth the price.)

Our place is a little bit of a mess right now, what with all the construction and not really having a large living space for the both of us, so I knew a tight shot would have to be it. So I cracked open the pomegranate, got a bowl of yogurt (which I ate afterwards, even though that breaks all the food photography rules), and tried to arrange it all prettily. Then I got up on a chair, held the camera in the right hand and the light in the left hand and tried to contort myself so that I would get a good shot. I won't say it was the most graceful thing I've ever done; I was pretty glad that Evan wasn't there to see it all go down, but in the end I got my photo, and that's what matters, right? I'm kind of pleased that the final image looks a bit dark and wintry, because pomegranates are winter fruit.

Anyway, as always, let me know what you think!

Look Behind You!

So if you can imagine it (and I'm sure you can, since you're all intelligent people. I mean, I know you are because you read my blog!), this photo was taken mere seconds (or maybe a couple of minutes, I don't exactly remember) after the photo I posted yesterday. Basically I just turned around, walked a few feet, and shot. Which is a good thing to remember. No matter how beautiful the vista in front of you is, there might still be something equally amazing behind you!

The Tree

Went out shooting tonight to the Golden Gate Bridge with my previously mentioned Miguel, but before I turned my attention to the bridge I saw this tree (and of course the gorgeous sky) and I just had to take a shot.

City Hall

A view of SF's gorgeous city hall by night. Sorry I didn't post this weekend; I was out of town and I just didn't make it to pre-post any photos beforehand. But I hope this one makes up for it, I kind of like it.

Rainy Nights . . .

I love rainy nights, even though I think I must be the only person to do so. The other night I was on my way to rehearsal and I momentarily considered skipping it in favor of just staying out on the streets and shooting. Unfortunately my sense of responsibility won me over and I didn't, but I did manage to get this shot in. The light in this alleyway was fantastic, and the colorful graffiti just made it that much better.

Barrie . . .

 . . . has the most beautiful eyes.
 . . . and the best laugh.
 . . . and smile.
 . . . and always makes you feel better about your own shortcomings.
 . . . and also inspires you to try something new.

She's pretty cool. And she let me take a picture of her in the pretty light of her kitchen, so of course I think she's aces.

Anatomy of An Image, Week 5

Someone was watching Citizen Kane the other day (hello Andrew!) and there is nothing that this picture makes me think of more than Orson Welles, even though it's in color. Except there's no sleigh named Rosebud. (Which, I'm sorry, he should have just gotten over. No need to be so fixated on a childhood toy.) And because I took it tonight and I'm kind of just really digging all that blackness, it has qualified for week 5.

So, Basics
Lens: my broken but still kinda works 50mm f/1.8
Focal Length: 50mm, duh :-)
Aperture: f/13 (to get the light to do that cool star-thing)
Shutter Speed: 1/8 of a second (I had to hold my breath and practice being a tripod. But I do this so often I'm practically collapsible by now.)
Magic Ingredient: The guy who decided to sit down outside in the midst of my shooting, with the awesome hat. You made the shot, dude! Many thanks.

The Story
I decided to take the bus tonight instead of walking because it was raining. Thanks to daylight savings time it was pretty dark at six o'clock as I was waiting for the bus. I was standing at the stop thinking how pretty all the reflections from the rain were and how I just wished I could find a good subject while I waited so I could take a few shots, and then I spied the cafe across the street. I took a few shots with a wide aperture, just to get a sharp shot, and then I decided that I really wanted the starburst effect so I stopped down to f/13 to get it and just prayed that I could be still enough to capture a sharp image.

Then the man in the hat walked out and sat down and I just thanked whatever gods there are and prayed even harder for a sharp enough picture. Seems like it worked!

It Might Be Fall

The ginkgo trees are turning yellow and it's starting to seem kind of snappishly cold in the evenings. Time for some hot chocolate!

What a Fast Shutter Speed Will Do For Water

Although generally I prefer a slower shutter speed for water, as I mentioned in a previous post, a fast shutter speed can be fun too. This is the fastest shutter speed my camera possesses: 1/4000 of a second. Many newer or more expensive cameras can go faster. But I enjoy how this turns the stream of water into droplets rushing to the bottom, as opposed to the smooth silk I showed you last time.

True Fans

Mouse over to see the original. 

Last week, if you had a stick to shake, you'd hit a Giants fan in San Francisco. Literally. And then you'd probably have to apologize a little, because although people were happy, they still probably wouldn't appreciate being hit with a stick. I mean, who does? Not me! You should have left your stick at home! Very irresponsible of you to bring it outside!

Anyway, fair weather fans were everywhere. I should know; I was one of them. That's why it made me smile to see this happy couple in their truck: it was clear that they were tried-and-true, dyed-in-the-wool fans. (If you can't read the flag it says GIANTS). And her smile just caps it all.

A View to the Horizon

Oh, two days without a post and my guilt complex is at its peak. I have been trying lately to be sooo good with the daily posting thing, with some success! but life does get in the way. Right now I'm sitting in a room that needs tidying, looking at a long to-do list, and feeling like procrastinating. Because it's beautiful outside today, and so that's where I should be. Not inside, paying obeisance to my machines.

So . . . it's a short post, and a simple photo for today. Hope you enjoy!


It's been a while since I posted a portrait. This is Miguel, he's super cool, from Colombia, and we've been shooting together some recently, so I took the liberty of taking his portrait one evening in the park. He was very obliging, so thanks Miguel!

Making Tracks

Another beach image, the last one for a while, I promise. I'd be interested to hear which one you prefer of the two, if you're in the mood to leave a comment here.

Man! I am totally beat. Today was unseasonably warm here in SF, and I went to see the parade to celebrate the Giants winning the world series. It was hot, and crowded - so crowded that I barely saw the tops of the floats during the parade, and frequently only saw a sea of cameras in front of me as people tried to record what they couldn't see. Still, the energy of the croud was fab, especially when the players showed up at the end of the parade. I really felt like I was there for something historical. And then, you know, what with one thing and another it became a long day. But a good one. Time to hit the sack!

Anatomy of An Image, Week 4

One of the things that I love about this blog is that it forces me to finish things. I'm a big starter of projects, not always a finisher. But every day (or, you know, thereabouts) this blog forces me to finish. SOMETHING. Processing a photo. Writing a post. Hitting that Publish button. The orange one. All you Google worshippers know it (you smarmy, superior, our-blogging-platform-is-so-much-better-than-your-blogging-platform Wordpressers may have a button of another color - yolk, I yolk. No angry comments from Wordpress fans, please).

And once I make promises here I'm much more likely to fulfill them than when I make them silently in my head to myself. Like the promises not to put any more sugar in my coffee in the morning. (So delicious.) Or maybe stop drinking coffee. (Sooo delicious! And caffeinated!) Or always walk home from work instead of taking the bus. (So long and boring.) Or start that gosh-danged ebook we've been thinking about for so long. (So much work! New program learning! Gah!)

This Anatomy of An Image thing has been pushing my buttons this week. If this were week 1, I'd skip it. But because it's week 4, I feel like I owe you something, even though I don't think I currently have any images I want to talk about a lot. But here it is. Warts and all. But here, as I promised. And once I hit Publish I'll feel a lot better.

So, Basics
Lens: My magical, do-everything, now you think I only have one lens 17-55mm f/2.8
Focal length: 55mm
ISO 400 (It was pretty dark on the beach)
Aperture: f/2.8 (Did I mention it was dark?)
Shutter speed: 1/6 of a second (the sun had already set, you feel what I'm saying?)

The Story
I went to Ocean Beach for the beautiful light at the end of the day. Fortunately for me, I don't really like sunset photos, because I got there a little late for the sunset. But trusting in my magic lens, and my amazing handholding powers, I decided to take some photos despite the impending dark.

(Trick: set your camera to continuous shooting mode and take a lot of photos of the same thing in a row when  your shutter speed drops below handholding range. And hold your breath while you do. Guaranteed that at least one of those is going to be sharp enough to pass muster.)

So I took some photos of the waves, and some photos of the rocks, and some photos of the Cliff House. And then I saw this surfer, generously making a triangle with his surfboard, and I knew I had to have him. (Well, that's how the romance novel version of this story would go - in my version I had to have  . . . a picture of him. Not quite as dramatic. Also, probably a lot less messy and eventually heartbreaking when we both realized that I was never going to come out to the beach at dawn to watch him surf and almost get eaten by sharks. Ok by me.)

What I also love about the image is, of course, the colors. They are lovely, dusky colors, my favorite kind. And the curve of the road on the right hand side, and the water that brackets the surfer on both sides, silently gleaming blue. But my favorite part is the figure in the distance on the left side of the image, just looking at the water. It kind of makes the scene for me.

So  . . . there you have it. Week 4. Done! High five! See you next week!

Warm and Cool

There's something about the combination of peach and blue that gets me every time.

(Looking for Anatomy of an Image? It'll be back tomorrow.)