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


Recently Evan and I have been talking about adopting another kitten to have a companion for Mouse. At the moment it's not feasible, because we simply don't have enough space for two kitties. But when the remodel's finished, we will. (Hope that's soon! Evan . . . )

So, you know, as we do sometimes, we've been on the internet, trying to figure out what kind of cat we want to have. We've almost decided on a Bengal, because it would look a bit like Mouse, and they have super cool personalities. Some Bengals like to swim, they're very active, and they're beautiful.

But part of me also feels like it would be better to rescue a kitty from a shelter (like we rescued Mouse from the streets of Thailand). And so I went down the dangerous path of looking at Petfinder for cats in our area that need homes. This one in particular stood out for me. She seems super sweet, and like she really needs a good home. Anyone want to adopt Tia??

San Francisco Afternoon

There's this great light by the water in the afternoons. Alois and I met up there and walked along the water taking pictures for a couple of hours. I had the Lensbaby on the camera (I promise, I'll start using other lenses soon!) and it was really nice. Kind of meditative. I love that quote on the lower picture. I don't know what an island light is, but I agree. We have it.


Fun with shadows. 50mm, f/13, 1/1000s, ISO 1000

So I've been spending a fair amount of time in front of my computer, just staring at the screen recently. No, it's not writer's block. I'm not pretentious enough to think that if I wait some better sentences will come out of my fingertips. It's also not pondering the universe, questioning the meaning of life, or having a narcoleptic attack. (I hope.)

Instead, it's that nefarious brainchild of Chase Jarvis, CreativeLIVE. Long story short, they broadcast photography classes live online for free, and then you can buy them to view and download afterward.

The first class I bought from them was Wedding Photography with Jasmine Star. I'm glad I bought it, because it took me about 3 months of watching it at odd intervals to really make it through it all. 3 days of solid information, and watching her shoot a real wedding. If you're at all interested in wedding photography, it's definitely worth it.

And then last December, CreativeLIVE was offering a deal on all of its weekend classes, basically at half price each. I'm a sucker for a deal, so I bit the bullet. Aaaand then life intervened, so I never really watched much of them. But I got reminded recently, when Jasmine did her second class, on the business of photography, and I watched it live. (Great class, but I'm glad I didn't have to buy it, because a lot of the information was repeated from the first class.)

Then I watched Zack Arias's Studio Lighting class. I don't have a studio, and I don't have the space for one, but I could not stop watching! He is a force of nature, and I learned so much about lighting from this class. If I ever have enough room to set up some white seamless I am SO THERE. Great class.

Anyway, all of this to say: if you've been living under a rock, and you didn't know about CreativeLIVE, well, now you do. And Zack's teaching another course this weekend, called Foundations of a Working Photographer. (See his great ad for it here.) So if you want to hang out on Saturday, well, I might be busy. Sitting in front of my computer, staring at the screen.

And taking mad notes.

Lensbaby Sweet 35 Optic

Ok, so remember that kool-aid I talked about drinking a couple of days ago?

On a (dangerous to my wallet) whim I shelled out for the new Lensbaby Sweet 35 Optic. It fits into my Lensbaby Composer, and has the same selective focus as my regular Lensbaby optic, but it's wider - 35mm instead of 50mm - and it has adjustable aperture built in. For any Lensbaby aficionado this is BIG NEWS because the other optics: double glass, single glass, plastic, fisheye, etc., all had aperture rings you had to insert manually with a little magnetic thingy.

Kind of cool, yes. Certainly made you think about changing your aperture. A bit of a pain? Also yes. You had to really want to change your aperture. Also, I mislaid mine last week, so I can only shoot at f/2.8 now. Forever.

With the Sweet 35 I can change it on a whim. The camera still doesn't electronically register my aperture because I change it on a click wheel on the lens, but metering works just fine. However, that means I don't remember what aperture any of these images are. Oops! Sorry.

One of the first places I took it was the California Academy of Sciences. I liked this shot of the dinosaur in the entryway.

You'll notice that the glass is sharp where it needs to be, but it's also really contrasty. This makes images have a certain pop, but it also creates more blown highlights and blocked shadows than I would expect with another lens.

The oval bokeh is fun to play with. And like any Lensbaby optic, you can move the spot of focus to fine tune your composition.

I also happen to think it's a great lens for pets. The wide angle gives a bit of distortion close in, and the selective focus is really fun.

A shot from a Passover Seder I went to this past weekend.  I really enjoy the simplification that the spot of focus gives a crowded composition.

And a shot from an Easter celebration! Also a fun lens for flowers. Can't wait till Lensbaby makes a macro lens for this one.

And, because it's that time of year, and I can't resist, a couple blossom shots. As I mentioned before, it's fun to move the focus point around and really get your composition exactly the way you want it. With the 50mm double glass optic, it seems much sharper in the center than at the edges, but I didn't feel that way with the Sweet 35. It seems equally sharp just about anywhere.

So, a fun new toy to play with. And the secret behind yesterday's post! Definitely a specialty item, and not one I'd recommend to everyone. But I'm enjoying it.

*As I've said before, Lensbaby has no idea who I am, and I buy all their stuff with my own hard earned money. But if they wanted to sponsor me, I'd be all over it! Lensbaby? Call me.*

Mouseover Monday!

Mouseover the image to see it in color. 

Ok, ten points for the person who can tell me what special piece of equipment I used to take this photo.

The answer to be revealed tomorrow!

Wrought Iron


50mm, f/1.4 ISO 100, 1/8000s

Wide open. Oh, how do I love thee. This is my pretty 50mm lens, all the way wide open at f/1.4.

Oops, just checked the metadata. Turns out I was at 1.6. Probably because I was at my fastest shutter speed , 1/8000s, and couldn't open up any more without overexposing. Still, pretty lovely. Has its disadvantages, though. See that white blob to the right of the fishing pole? It's a bit hard to make out. That blob was a sailboat once upon a time. And then I made it almost disappear with my magical aperture.

Anyway, what about you? Do you shoot wide open? Do you care? What are your thoughts on that?

Personally I've come to believe that absolute measurable sharpness isn't that important. What's more important (for me) is relative sharpness in a picture. So, is my subject sharper than the background? Yes? Good. No? Not so good. Could the whole picture be sharper at f/8? Oh, definitely. But then I'd lose my relative sharpness, because my subject and the background would both be in focus.



When I got to Florida last month, I really wasn't sure exactly what to expect. I knew Phoebe was going to be awesome, but otherwise I was a little unsure. Call it jitters, I guess. I'd never shot any real video before; I'd never spent so much time with a client before, and I'd certainly never done it all in two weeks a few thousand miles from my home.

It was insanely lucky, then, that Wendy was so incredible. Not only is she an amazing musician, she's also a fabulous hostess, a super bike rider, excellent at swimming with a drink in her hand (not easy, folks!), and a superb cook. One day maybe I'll share her garlic salad dressing recipe with you all. It's to die for.

Anyway, Wendy Webb is awesome. You should go check out her website here, and a YouTube video of her song Only For Love, if you want to hear what she sounds like. She's got great pipes!

Here are a couple of shots from the trip.

Lensbaby at f/5.6, I think. Hard to remember. ISO 500, 1/50s. 

85mm, f/1.2, ISO 800, 1/100s (I was borrowing the lens. GREAT glass.)


Blossoms, Fisheye Macro Style

Oh, I officially drank the Lensbaby kool-aid. Don't know when exactly it happened, but it must have been recent. I've been feeling all woozy, and like I.must.play.with.any.Lensbaby.optic.right.now!

These are with the Lensbaby Fisheye optic, focused with the flowers almost touching the glass. That is an AMAZING focusing distance, and deserves some kind of celebration. Probably a party.

I'll invite you when we decide on a date for the shindig, ok?

(Oh, and by the way, Quotidian Photography has its very own Facebook Page! I know, I'm drinking everyone's kool-aid. Check it out, though! I'd be tickled if you would like it.)


Leaf Bokeh

Bokeh's one of those words that photographers just throw around. It makes us feel smart, like we know something other people don't.

"Hey, nice bokeh!"

"That looks like a great lens. But what's the bokeh like on it?"

"Oh, I can't concentrate if the bokeh's really harsh in a picture."

Oh, silly photographers. All talk, no action. (Just kidding.) But bokeh is actually a useful concept. Basically it's the quality of the out of focus (blurry)  parts of a picture. Generally speaking, the smoother the blur, the nicer the bokeh. At least in my opinion.

For the Wikipedia article on bokeh, see here. And for TOP's take, a little more technical maybe, go here.

Sutro Baths

So last week I was lucky enough to go on two photo outings, and this is from the first one. Sutro Baths is one of my favorite places in San Francisco; it's just stunningly beautiful.

In the news: Zack Arias has a new blog, and has started doing critiques again! Be still my heart. If you are even thinking about having a photography website, you must go check this out!

Also, an interesting article about declaring war on friction in The 99 Percent.


Ok. So, yesterday I wished you Happy International Pinhole Photography Day. I may have been in fact a touch overexcited. Turns out that the real event, technically called World Pinhole Photography Day, which usually falls on the last Sunday in April, has been extended to a week, namely the week of April 23-May 1 this year. For instructions on how to participate, see this link.

In preparation for the great day, a few of us met up yesterday to have some pinhole fun, and create our own pinhole lenses, using a body cap with a hole drilled into it, a pinhole taped onto the inside, and then a clear UV filter stuck to the front to prevent any dust getting inside the camera body.

I was a wuss and bought the Lensbaby pinhole/zoneplate optic in preparation, as I was loath to give up any precious body caps. But I did watch a bunch of other pinholes get made.

Seems like the smaller the pinhole, the sharper the image. Not sure if that's totally accurate. Lensbaby says their pinhole is f/177.

Lensbaby pinhole, f/177, 50mm, ISO 200, 1.6 seconds on a tripod.
 If you're at all serious about pinhole photography, a tripod is a must. Exposure times are often many seconds long. Also, it will make you want to clean your sensor. Any tiny speck of dust that's on there will be visible. These images required a bit of spot cleaning in Lightroom.

The long exposure times mean you can do some fun stuff with your models, as soon as you throw out the idea that anything is going to be sharp. Sharp is for other lenses, not for pinhole. But motion is fun.

Lensbaby pinhole, f/177, 50mm, ISO 320, 8 seconds. 

Lensbaby pinhole, f/177, 50mm, ISO 320, 10 seconds.

Lensbaby pinhole, f/177, 50mm, ISO 640, 10 seconds
 The zoneplate function is also fun. It makes everything glow. Also, not sharp. Forget about sharp!

Lensbaby zoneplate, f/19, 50mm, ISO 1000, 1/8s. 
It was great. I felt instantly creative in a childlike way again. If you've tried any pinhole photography, I'd love to see your images. And if you feel inspired to make your own pinhole, there are tons of tutorials on the web.

Happy Early World Pinhole Photography Day!

Poppy Bud 2

Such SWEET light. My second photo stroll of the week with a willing partner. I think this is my favorite image by far.

PS Happy Pinhole Photography Day! I'll be trying my first pinhole shots out today. Wish me luck!



Mouse over the image to see it in black and white. Which version do you prefer?

Mouse over to see it in black and white.  

Walk on the Beach

17-55 lens, 55mm, ISO 100, f/5.6, 1/125s

Another beach shot from the archives.

Had a long day, but this did make me smile.

Blue Flowers

Forget-me-nots? Or something else?

Poppy Buds

Sometimes I think poppies are the most photogenic flower I know.

Case in point:

50mm f/1.4 ISO 320 1/1000s


A view of a ceiling at MoMA. Look, I know I'm having a little bit of a white phase here. I mean, first there was this one, and then there was this one. But I'm pretty sure it's just a phase, and if you wait a hot minute it'll be over. And then I'll be back to photographing cats and flowers and the rare landscape.

Today was a wonderful Saturday. How was yours?


I love museums. I made it to the MoMA again today, and it just always puts me in a different frame of mind. I feel like it expands my consciousness or something. Seriously. It's like the feeling you get after a good run (if you're a runner) or when you hear a favorite piece of music again after a long time.

And I thought this piece of art was just fabulous. I really regret not writing down the name of the artist, because for the life of me I can't remember anything, but the three-dimensionality of it was so cool, and the color is just fantastic.


Anyone an art buff who happens to know?

Lensbaby Photowalk, and Some Brief Thoughts About the Lensbaby

This past weekend I went on a Lensbaby photowalk that I found through Meetup (seriously! great site, highly recommended, especially if you're in an urban area). I already blogged a couple of photos from it, here and here.

Many people signed up to go to the photowalk, but only 4 of us actually showed up. In a lot of ways, this was awesome. It meant we could stay together, but that our group size wasn't too unwieldy to be flexible, and we didn't slow each other down too much.

We met up at the Embarcadero in SF, and 3 of the 4 of us had Lensbabies, which was the stated purpose of the photowalk. (Didn't really matter though. Photowalks are awesome.) I've written about the Lensbaby before. It's an interesting lens, kind of neither fish nor fowl. Basically it's a 50mm lens that has a curved plane of focus, and also functions like a tilt-shift lens. Kind of. What all that means is that only one spot in the image is in focus. Also there are aperture rings you have to manually insert into the lens to stop down or open up. I shot outside at f/8, because I prefer a little less blur on my Lensbaby shots. It's nice to have something that's really in focus, as the images can be a little hard on the eyes otherwise.

It was overcast and so the light was really soft, even though it was the middle of the day. That was great, as the middle of the day is usually not my favorite time to shoot.

A view of the Bay Bridge
The sun came out a bit, and then we had some blue skies.

San Francisco skyline, Lensbaby style.
After a while I loaned my Lensbaby to another Canon shooter on the walk. This gives you some idea of what the lens looks like - it's pretty small. Which is another nice thing about it.

Not a Lensbaby shot. 50mm f/2.5

It's nice being in a group of photographers, even if we do look dorky. There's permission to take a picture of something just because it might look cool.

Also not Lensbaby. 50mm f/1.8 
So, would I recommend the Lensbaby Composer? (That's the name of the model I have.) I don't know. I really like mine when I remember to use it, but it's manual focus only, and changing the aperture is a bit of a pain, although it does feel nicely old school. But it's a bit expensive for a lens I only pull out every few months. And there are fewer photos I've taken with it that I absolutely LOVE.

But I did see that they have a new 35mm optic you can switch into it (as opposed to the 50mm length of the regular Lensbaby optics). In fact, there are quite a few optics you can switch in and out (once you've bought them). Pinhole/zone plate. Plastic (for the Holga look). Fisheye (which I have, and also almost never use). Soft focus even. For the most part, I think the double glass which it comes with is the most versatile. But your mileage may vary.

You should check out the Lensbaby Gallery though. Lots of amazing and inspirational photos there.

It's All in the Details

50mm, ISO 400, f/1.4 1/80s
Sometimes the smallest details can make a big difference. Like some flowers in a cafe where you wait to get your sandwich.

Suddenly, the wait seems a lot shorter.

Holy New Look, Batman!

So you may notice that the look of the blog has changed a little  a lot. Actually, when I sat down at my computer tonight, that was NOT what I intended to have happen. I did consider a bit of tweaking, though. So I played with a couple of options, and in the process accidentally lost all of my previous settings and basically had to start from scratch.


In general, I'm pretty please with what I managed to pull back together, although some more tweaks are definitely in order. I absolutely need to organize all the widgets at the bottom of the page, and I think I'll probably change the background. It's pretty, but it isn't really me. I'll also fine tune that slideshow at the top. At the moment it's just playing what images I could throw into it at the correct pixel ratio.

Still, change is fun. I'd love to hear your feedback. Since this isn't a change I was eagerly awaiting, I'll take any criticism pretty well. :)

April Goals

Ocean beach 50mm f/22 ISO 250 1/100s
Inspired by Gail Werner, and also in part by the Happiness Project, with its emphasis on goal-setting, I have decided to set out my goals for April for all the world to see:

-Start one new photo project and see it through to the point where I have a few good images for it
-Marketing marketing marketing: direct mail? Perhaps. SOMETHING. Marketing may be my Achilles heel at this point.
-FINISH TAXES. Oh yes. And soon. Must be done in April, absolutely, no excuses. The IRS is a good motivator.
-Get all those photos I've been promising to friends to those actual friends and off my hard drives. This is a worthy goal.
-Refresh the content on my website, tweak it a bit, maybe add something more. I have a few ideas for this percolating.
-Create a really sustainable, easy backup solution that doesn't cost a million dollars.
-Read Enchantment.

-Spend at least half an hour every day outside. Honestly, if I get this one done, I'll be sitting pretty. And I mean quality time, one half hour all together, not five minutes here and there.
-Organize. Get my ducks in a row.
-Go to bed earlier.
-Streamline. Do fewer unnecessary tasks.
-Buy nothing except groceries. I've got all the photo gear I need, and my place is full. So no more little impulse buys. At least for April.

What about you? What are your goals? Or maybe you don't make goals. Or perhaps you call them something else. Either way, I'm interested to hear what works for you.


The squirrels in Golden Gate Park are unnaturally friendly. Pretty sure this one was expecting me to pony up some nuts or bread. He was disappointed. Worked out for me, though, I got this picture!

And, you should definitely check out: Chema Madoz. Surreal, simple, black and white. Just great. This blog post has a lot of my favorite images. (Found via The Online Photographer.)

Oh! And a recipe for homemade spaetzle that I can't wait to try. As a veggie, this was my meal of choice in Germany and Austria many many nights.

Blogger Dynamic Views

Blogger has recently introduced Dynamic views, and I think they're kind of interesting. Basically they're just different ways to see all the posts in my blog. To view them on my blog, just type in http://quotidian-photography.blogspot.com/view, and then you can scroll through them in the blue button at the top of the page.

What do you think? I'm partial to Flipcard and Mosaic, myself. Don't really understand Timeslide. But they seem fun, and I'm all for fun. Why not?


I was recently featured in the Athleta Chi Blog! Check it out! (Oh, and is this the wrong time to link to a post that pretty much sums up exactly how I feel about yoga? Hilarious!