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

Chris Orwig and Visual Poetry

Today I took advantage of Adobe being in town (which, by the way, is super cool) and I saw Chris Orwig speak. Now, you may have heard of Chris before (he's the author of Visual Poetry, published by Peachpit Press who are in Berkeley and publish all sorts of cool photography books).

Anyway, his talk was truly inspiring, and I wrote copious notes. Ever since I got out of school I've discovered that I really love taking notes; organizing someone else's ideas on paper is very satisfying for me.

[Side note: sometimes Evan swears that I am secretly OCD, because I get annoyed when he does things like put my pens out of order (I arrange them by color), and I also get peeved if he puts groceries away in the wrong place. I counter that I am only SELECTIVELY OCD, because in most other things chaos doesn't bother me, and I can leave dirty dishes in the sink overnight. You know, if the dishwasher's full or something. End side note.]

Some of the things he said that really stuck with me:
      -Use your camera to listen. I love this idea. When I'm happiest with my camera, that's what I'm doing.
      -Bring your passions together. Shoot what you're passionate about. This is something I had never really examined in my own shooting before. I think I already do, but maybe not enough. It's something I'm going to work on.
      -Surround and immerse yourself in what you love. I already probably spend too much time reading, thinking, breathing, and practicing photography, but I guess I appreciated someone telling me that it's ok to do that.
      -Reduce, simplify, and deepen.
      -Be engaged, focused, and alive.

As a teacher, I appreciated his lecturing style. Several times he asked us to discuss something with the person sitting next to us. Not only did this spice things up, it also made us more into participants and less into just watchers and listeners. I also came away from the experience knowing my seatmate (hi Terry!) and that's always good. If you can have community building and a lecture, then excellent.

Also, I really loved this question he posed. "How can you shoot basketball so that someone who isn't a basketball fan likes the shot?" The question is perfect for me, because I'm not a basketball fan, and much basketball photography leaves me cold. But some doesn't. What's different about the pictures that bridge the gap?

That, I guess, is the million dollar question.


  1. I love your blog! I receive it every day in my inbox and it's great :). I am an aspiring photographer and have taken some beginning photography classes, but I get so disappointed in some of my shots!

    I have a cannon SLR but only have the tiny 18-55mm lens. I very often get "could have been amazing shots" had the color been right or not blurry! This past weekend i went to my sister's wedding and got some great shots, except the indoor photos were mostly blurry. I don't like to use the flash in my camera because the photos come out like they would with any other point and shoot. I guess what I am trying to ask you is what lens would you recommend for a "starter" and also what flash/strobe is good to start with? Thanks!

  2. Hey Marisol, it depends how much you want to spend. Frankly, I think a flash is more trouble than it's worth, because you don't want to use it on the camera, and then you have to buy a lot of other equipment.

    If you have $130, I'd buy the 50mm f/1.8 lens. For the money, it can't be beat. It'll also let you shoot in much darker areas. If you have $350, I'd buy the 50mm f/1.4. But either 50mm will be an obvious step up in quality from the kit lens.

    As I said, I'd leave the flash for later, but if you feel like you really want to have one then probably the 420EX/430EXII are a decent buy, because you can let the camera do most of the hard work for you. If you do buy a flash, the idea is to use it off the camera, but then you need to buy a radio trigger like these: http://www.paulcbuff.com/cybersync.php, and also a lightstand and an umbrella or other light modifier.

    Hope that helps! I'd start with the 50mm lens and go from there. Careful, it's addictive.

  3. Also, practice holding your breath when it's really dark. I'm kind of kidding, but kind of not. It makes your photos a lot less blurry. :)

  4. Haha love the tip of holding your breath! I have done that too :)

    Thanks SO much for the advice this helps a lot!! Keep up the awesome blog!


I love comments! I read and cherish every single one. Go ahead, make my day.