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

Rear View Mirror

Another Florida shot of the lovely Phoebe. ISO 100 68mm f/2.8 1/80s
Summer came to San Francisco today after weeks of rain and drab gray skies. It felt like what it was: a reprieve. A chance to wear short sleeves, to go hang out in the park, to wander the city streets after dark, just because.

I met up with a friend for a long-awaited reunion, some chardonnay and a piece of peach pie. After a lot of good conversation, we walked home and we could see the stars. It was still warm enough to be wearing one layer.

Sometimes, freedom is as simple as not having to worry about being cold when you step outside.

On the Water

At sunset. What a life, right? Not too shabby. (Better to be on the water. I was on the beach, sand fleas devouring myself and my compatriots. LOTS of big itchy red bumps the next day. But worth it for a shot like this, eh?

Study in White


Coastal Dawn

Lap Time!

Mother and Pup

Some of you may recall my famed 'Sausages on the Beach' photo. Well, here's a closer view of some of those sausages, seeming even a little energetic! Mother sausage clearly felt it was time for a sand bath. And baby sausage is having a bit of a stretch.

(For those new to the blog 'sausage' is my endearment for elephant seals. And it doesn't mean I want to eat them. Heck, I'm a vegetarian! And they don't look like soydogs to me.)

Silver Efex Pro 2!

Since I bought Silver Efex Pro in January, I got the free upgrade to Silver Efex 2, and it is a lot of fun! I'm really enjoying the messy borders right now, and the files look so nice. Mmmmmm. Delicious black and whites! See here and here for the previously blogged color versions of these images.

*Disclaimer: I am in no way affiliated with Nik (the company that makes this software), although if they offered to pay me a large sum of money in thanks for this blog post, I probably wouldn't turn them down.*

The Magic of Dusk

85mm, f/1.8, 1/1250s, ISO 2000 (oops! a little higher than necessary)

Thanks for all the kind comments after my little mini blog meltdown yesterday. I'm feeling much better today.

The light on the evening I took this photo was almost too good to believe. And I happened to be out in it mostly because I was walking home from work instead of taking the bus as I usually do. I'm a firm believer in the benefits of transporting yourself on your own two feet: some exercise, yes, but also an opportunity to reflect and to see parts of the place you live that you otherwise wouldn't.

Also . . . I'm considering starting a personal project, or at least coalescing something I'm already doing into project form. It's something I've been thinking on for a while, but I like the way that John Paul Caponigro put it in his recent post on Scott Kelby's blog about the importance of projects for defining and organizing your photography.

I'm generally so driven by what I find beautiful in the moment that I generally fail to plan or see any organization in my photos. Still, I'm sure to an observer there must be some common themes or objects or events that crop up.

What about you? Have you started any projects yet? Finished any? Don't believe in them? I'd love to hear your thoughts on the matter.

Blogging Ennui

50mm, f/1.8, 1/250s, ISO 400
My friend Lara recently attained Yelp Elite reviewer status, and they invited her (plus guest, lucky me!) to an event at Project 1 in SF. The theme of the event was tiny cupcakes, new art inspired by Andy Warhol, plus some wine and a dj. It was a fun night, and I liked this picture I ended up with.  
I admit that recently, the blog hasn't been number one priority. What with Florida, and being sick (flu, I am not a fan of you), and general life intervening, it's been a bit of a struggle to put a post up every single day. Taking images for the blog is never tough, as carrying my camera with me and pulling it out when I feel inspired is pretty second nature by now, but organizing them into coherent and hopefully helpful or interesting posts sometimes feels like a chore.

Also, and I have no idea why, there haven't been many comments lately. Probably this is because all of you have lives too! But sometimes I feel like I'm talking to myself. I know people are reading the blog, (Google Analytics is a great way to track your blog traffic, if you aren't already doing so), but the commenting numbers are down. I know I don't mention it a lot, and I don't reply to comments nearly as often as I should, but I do really appreciate every single comment, and I visit all of your blogs too. I know who you are. And I thank you for coming back to read my inane ramblings every day.

Anyway, to thank you for reading this far into my musings, here is a video you HAVE to watch. No exceptions. I guarantee you will absolutely love it. I would die to produce something even half as amazing. And it's shot on Canon DSLRs and Red cameras. Nice. Here's the link. And since you're going to want more after you watch it, here's a making of video as well.

Tree Branch

Moment of Silence For Japan

I've been kind of nonstop for the past few days and it was only tonight when I sat down after work that I realized how tired I was. And cranky. I sniped at Evan about being nice to me in the wrong way. Yes. Exactly. There is NO wrong way to be nice, but that's not how I was feeling.

And my thoughts are constantly with Japan. I saw some video footage when I was in the Houston airport Monday night coming back from Florida, and it was all I could do not to just start sobbing right there (I was also a bit sleep deprived). I've been to Japan. It's a lovely country filled with beautiful, kind, and supremely polite people. Please, if you haven't, donate some money. Any amount helps. There are many good causes out there that are providing aid. I'm not affiliated with any of them, and I'm not smart enough to know which ones are the best, so I won't provide you with any links, but I'm sure you can all figure out how to contribute.

And to show our support, I won't be posting tomorrow. We'll be having a day of blog silence for Japan.

Happy St Patrick's Day!

In honor of the day, here are some of my greenest images from 2011 so far. Since green is sometimes my favorite color (and sometimes blue, and sometimes many other shades of the rainbow), it seems fitting.

ISO 250 85mm f/5 1/500sec

I Sleep With My Balloon

 . . . doesn't everyone?

House on the Water

Someday I'd love to have a little house on the water. Doesn't have to be anything fancy, just a couple of rooms and the ocean outside. The smell of fresh salt air in the morning, walks along the shore in the evening whenever I feel like it. Simple, useful, small.

And yes. You can come visit me whenever.

More Balloons

Many thanks to Phoebe, who is an excellent model.

Florida From Above

ISO 250 85mm f/5 1/500sec

This is another shot that kind of worked through the plane window. I took this shortly before we touched down at the Fort Myers airport. And actually, now that I'm thinking of it, perhaps a lot of the problems that I attributed to the plane windows were maybe just caused by unclear air in between me and the ground, because this one is pretty good, and we were fairly close. Likewise the SF photo was taken when we had just taken off.

So today marks the 11th day of my March Manual challenge, and I wanted to give you guys an update on how it's going. Honestly, I'm enjoying it a lot more than I thought I would, and I'm finding it easier and faster than I expected. Yes, sometimes when I pick up the camera I forget to check the settings and so I end up with a completely white or completely black frame. But that's happening less and less. (And I've been so good! I think I switched out of manual one time. For maybe a minute. And that's all. I haven't even really been tempted.)

We've been shooting a lot of video as well, and manual is perfect for that. I wouldn't want to shoot in any other mode, honestly. You need the control. I have to use manual focus as well for that, so I'm getting some good practice doing things the old-fashioned way.

One thing I want to be doing, and I just forget most days, is posting my settings with each photo. I love when other photographers do that. Remind me when I forget; I'm going to make a real effort.

So, what about you? Manual? Aperture priority? Shutter priority? (I can honestly say I don't think I've EVER used shutter priority. Aperture is so much more important to me. Program? (P is for Professional!) Auto? Fess up, you auto users. Nothing to be ashamed of, from time to time.

On the Ceiling

Another Victim of the Florida Heat


85mm, f/1.6, 1/60s, ISO 100 (two hot lights) 

 . . . but who's invited?

(Can I just say that I love balloons? And I know they're ephemeral, fairly bad for the environment, and  intended for children, but they're instant fun. The lady we bought them from had the most amazing untraceable southern accent, and she kept repeating, "balloons bring out the child in all of us.")

What's in the Box?

A shot from our shoot today. I am LOVING doing video. Yes, it's a lot more work (not that photography is easy). But it's also a LOT of fun. And working in a team is great. And seeing the shots you envisioned materialise better than you thought was possible is just icing on the cake.

No, I'm not leaving photography. It's my number one love still. But I might just intersperse it all with some video . . .

San Francisco From Above

I'm in Florida for the week working on a super exciting video project. So naturally I took some shots out of the plane window. Man! That airplane window really degrades image quality. That's my story and I'm sticking to it. Because out of quite a few photos, most are really sucky. I see now why helicopters are the vehicle of choice for most aerial photographers. No window = no sucking.

But I liked this one, even so. I was so happy to get a shot of SF with the iconic bridge and a few boats. So what if it's not razor sharp, right? Right?

Light and Shadow

Waiting Outside

SF Courthouse. Exposure info: 85mm f/1.8 1/40s ISO 1250

Oh, arches. You get me every time. Not only are you incredibly strong, you're quite aesthetically pleasing as well.

Wish we all could be so lucky.


Sometimes all you need to float indefinitely is a little bit of a jump . . . and a camera to capture it. 
““Imagine life as a game in which you are juggling five balls in the air. You name them - work, family, health, friends, and spirit - and you’re keeping all these in the air. You will soon understand that work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. But the other four balls - family, health, friends, and spirit are made of glass. If you drop one of these, they will be irrevocably scuffed, marked, nicked, damaged, or even shattered. They will never be the same. You must understand that and strive for balance in your life.””

Brian Dyson, CEO of Coca Cola Enterprises from 1959-1994 (via jeremycowart) and also Ryan Booth

Speaking of Ryan Booth, if you haven't you should definitely go check out Beyond the Still, the whole 8 part movie that was shot using Canon DSLRs. Some really great film-making involved there. Some excellent, moody, evocative lighting, too. (And then if you can come back and explain the end to me, I'd really appreciate it.) 

Non-Photography Blogs I Love, Part 1

I thought this was going to be only one post, but then the list got so long that I think I'm going to split it into two parts. Anyway, here are some of the blogs I love and read that aren't completely photography-centric.

And here's your token image. I kind of liked this half-blown dandy.  Thought there might be a metaphor somewhere in it. 

Dooce Kind of the mother of all blogs, named after Heather Armstrong's typo of the word dude, Dooce is 10 years old but not showing its age. It's still funny and irreverent, and the photography is pretty darn good for a blog that doesn't make it into my Photography folder in my Google Reader.

Flourish in Progress chronicles a year without shopping, but that's kind of like saying grapefruit juice is sour water: accurate technically, but so far off of a true definition. Mostly it's searingly honest and at the same time blackly hilarious. Sometimes the topics are a little nsfw, if you know what I mean. If you're turned off by swear words and risqué topics, probably best to skip this one.

Little Green Notebook I have a tepid relationship with design blogs: they're kind of like porn for the aesthetically-minded. And there are so many of them! (I'm sure someone out there is saying the same about photoblogs. Of course. I hear ya.) But this one I like. There's some DIY, good links to great design projects. Nothing's too expensive for me to temporarily dream about doing myself.

The Happiness Project I subscribed to this one kind of on a whim. And honestly, every day I find it more apt and helpful. Yes, it's a little self-helpy, but thinking about one's personal happiness (and the happiness of others) feels so appropriate in this world of rampant commoditization. It's nice to think that happiness lies in truly knowing yourself and making the appropriate choices in life. Not a new lens, like I sometimes feel. (Kidding!)

Smitten Kitchen One of only two cooking blogs I subscribe to, it's really the best. A bit witty, great photos. Super cute toddler son, who manages to make a cameo in every post. And recipes that I always want to try. Some healthy, some not so much. Most simple, some a bit more complex. But none more complicated than they need to be. And always intriguing and unusual. A few of them (like her barley risotto) have turned into staples.

Tartelette The only other cooking blog I read. In this one, the images are the main show. Her styling and food photography are phenomenal, but her stories and recipes are also well worth the visit. The cuisine is mostly French, but with an emphasis on fresh and novel flavors.

So. I apologize, because now you will be like me and have no more free time! But at least you'll have some good reading material.

March is Manual Month

Ok, I have a dirty little secret to tell you. Most of the time, I don't shoot in manual mode. I am, in fact, usually super happy in Aperture Priority. I set the aperture and the ISO, and my (extremely intelligent) camera does the rest.

And oh! My laziness knows no bounds. If, say, the exposure isn't right on, or the white balance is off, no worries! I shoot in raw. Take that image into Lightroom and ta-da! Right as rain again.

Sometimes, yes. I do shoot in manual. I know how. If the lighting is difficult but constant, if something is heinously backlit, often for wedding ceremonies where the white and black clothing can really confuse the camera, I'll make the switch to manual. Also when I shoot interiors it's all manual, all the time. Because the highlights matter, and it's a naturally slower shoot. And then sometimes, yeah. Manual for fun.

But this month I have decided to try shooting in manual, all the time. Unless it's a paid shoot, natch. Then I'll shoot however I deem best suits the moment.

Anyway, the first thing I have noticed about manual that's annoying: you have to pay attention. To the exposure. Every time the light changes. What's up with that? More breaking news later.

Another Pool

I hear some of you still have to contend with snow. That must be rough. There were in fact some rumors we might see a few flakes here in sunny (hah!) San Francisco, but hell hasn't frozen over yet, and we remain grey, but snow free. Although I guess some sources report that we did see snow.

Anyway, I wanted to share with you a quandary Mr William Randolph Hearst must have sometimes had. Not only was he perpetually saddled with such a name, but when he wanted to go swimming he had some tough choices to make. For example, swim indoors in this pool, or outside in this one? (You might recognize it from that gem of a movie, Spartacus.)

Hard choice. But someone had to make it. Where's your favorite place to swim?