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

Looking Up - Fire Escape

I was about 20 when I had a friend who introduced me to the joys of looking up.

"Look around," he said. "See all the other people on the street? How many of them are looking up? Will ever look up? Most people only ever look at what's directly in their path, if that."

It's a moment I think back to frequently, because he was absolutely right. Much as we hate to admit our resemblance to scurrying ants, hastening to get our particular bit of the leaf back to the nest, then go out and get another back safely home as soon as we can, the simile is apt.

I like to think of myself as the wayward ant, because I look up quite often, and it's usually worth it. If you go to the top of the blog, there's a drop-down menu  called 'Categories.' It's not as well organized as I would like, and a lot of the older posts are not categorized, but since I started the system I've apparently logged 10 images (11 including this post) that I felt deserved the category 'looking up.'

You should try it too.


Last night I sat down at a table with five other photographers, we opened a bottle of wine, gathered around the curiously warm glow of a monitor, and then we proceeded to discuss lines, curves, black and white conversions, focal points, points of interest, and all other manner of topics that are deadly dull to anyone with any sense.

Fortunately we were not overendowed with it, so we spent a good three hours at the process, on a total of about 20 images (!) . And I have to say it was marvelous. It's rare that I have the opportunity to completely dork out, with others, consider warring crops, argue about color versus black and white, or consider whether an image might be better upside down.

Thanks for indulging me, life, in my peccadilloes. You're pretty good to me, all told. I'll do my best to return the favor.

Truman Part II

If you've been following the blog for a while I think you've met Truman before.

Remember him?

Well, I was lucky enough to get a chance to take some photos of him and his devilishly charming parents once again. We met at the San Francisco Zoo in the children's area, intent on getting some photos with the 'wildlife'.

Of course, we also had to explore the tractors!

One nice thing about being that age is that people are always willing to pick you up and carry you along. Sadly, that doesn't happen to me any more.

I think Truman's got some serious acting chops. He's mastered the 'careful consideration' face. And look at those jazz hands!

No trip to the zoo would be complete without a photo with a goat.

Then it was time for some smooches!

Thanks again for letting me be part of your day at the zoo Truman! Oh, and thanks to mom and dad too. :)


Other People's Windows

. . . Are often fun to take photos of. You just have to be careful that they don't misinterpret!

Order vs Chaos

Order vs Chaos
Tame vs Wild
Manmade vs Natural
Angular vs Curved
Controlled vs Rampant

I'm so glad that both exist.

The Siphon Bar

This is a view of the siphon bar at Blue Bottle Coffee at the San Francisco Mint. You can read about the multi-step process of preparation here. Click 'view steps'. Please. I think my favorite quote is this: "think about the coffee grounds as a school of fish which desires to stay together. So don't cut into the mass of coffee with your paddle."

Also, "we love the effulgent and kaleidoscopic changeability of a well-made siphon pot."

Well said, Blue Bottle. Well said.

Another Piece of Grass

The blur on this one might be a bit much. But I still thought it was kind of fun.

Mouseover Monday 7 - But Not Really

Don't mouseover. It won't work. Scroll down to the next post instead. 

I forgot tomorrow was Monday, so here's the black and white version.  I like both, but I feel like the color version is my true preference. With colors like that, why mess about?


I was a little late. Maybe. I wasn't sure. Exactly how long does it take to walk 18 blocks? About 18 minutes, give or take, right? Less than 30, anyway. Which was how long I had until I met up with Lara. And then with about 15 blocks left, I made a wrong turn. And increased my total count to 20.

But if I hadn't, I wouldn't have gotten distracted by this lovely piece of greenery, stopped to take a few photos, and made myself even later.

Totally worth it though. Maybe not because of this photo, but more just because walking up Nob Hill in the perpetually blustery wind felt so amazing. Just me, against the hill, wind in my hair. Camera in my hand.

And eventually (sorry Lara!) about 10 minutes late. But mostly because I had to dodge so many pedestrians who, like me, were totally blissed out on San Francisco and unable to walk in a logical way at the the same time.

It was a good afternoon. Some strolling, some antipasti, some wine and some coffee respectively, and a chance meeting with a Montrealer. We should always be so lucky. right? Here's to summer!


Care for a Mushroom?

Along the Water

At the cafe

I love Blue Bottle. Makes the coffee snob in me extremely happy.

Mouseover Monday 6

Lensbaby Sweet 35mm, f/?, 1/1000s, ISO 200  Mouse over to see the original in color. 

Bonus points if you can tell me how I edited the color version. (It's the first time I tried this and I like it!)



Coffee Update

Breaking News, coming to you live from San Francisco:

I still love coffee.

I'll be giving you further updates as the story progresses.

Bees Among the Lavender

A shot taken walking home the other day. These bees were just going crazy about the lavender. Made me wish I had my macro lens with me. It's always nice to see some wildlife in the city, even if it is thimble-sized.

Black Cloud

You've seen this image before, but it was in color. I've been having a bit of a big with Silver Efex Pro 2, not that I don't still totally love it, but it's been crashing on me lately. And so I was testing out using it under a few different parameters and ended up converting this image, which you may remember from this blog post. And I kind of enjoyed what it became. I'm a sucker for black skies, really. That must be it. Because I do still think that I prefer the color version.

I took a walk today, without my camera. Recently I've been feeling like the camera holds me back from really experiencing walks. It's bulky, it's heavy, it slows me down. So I left it at home. And I made it farther today than I usually do. I ended up at the rose garden in Golden Gate Park. It's a pretty good time of year for roses, and they all smelled so lovely. I'd show you a picture, but the only shots I took were mental. And I'm fine with that. I have plenty of rose photos already, not to mention the billions that other people have shot.

It was also that kind of cool, gray, misty weather that only true San Franciscans love and that even they might get a little fed up with at the beginning of June. It only reminded my how much I love the mist, and I forget that most of the time. The greens seemed more verdant; everything was softer somehow. It's how I like to see my city.

Mouseover Monday 5

85mm, f/1.8, 1/50s, ISO 500 Mouse over to see the original in color. 
Don't forget to look up! We're all so busy looking forward to what's next that sometimes we miss what's around us.

Open Studios First Look

So I had a couple of requests to talk about the photo exhibit that I'm currently part of. It's fun to have my work on a wall that's not my own, that's for sure!

All right, so here's the deal. A couple of months ago I joined a couple of photography groups on Meetup. I went to a few meetups (and I blogged about one here and also here) and I didn't really fall in  love with any of the San Francisco groups, but there was one in Oakland that was run by a really nice guy, Bill McClaren, and that was pretty active and doing interesting things so I ended up staying a member and going to several meetups. The name of this particular meetup group is the Oakland Fine Art Photographers.

I admit, there was a bit of a hitch when I first thought about joining a fine art photography group, because it's a distinction that I'm not really sure could be applied to my work. But then, on the other hand I figured, why not? Who really cares what you call it? We're all looking for arresting images, one way or another, whether you use the moniker 'fine art' or not.

So fast forward a few months and the group had a little contest to see who might put some images up for Open Studios, using Bill's rather generously shared space. We all submitted up to five images, the judges deliberated, and two of mine were chosen, so I printed them and then all the images were hung on the walls. Yay! My first show.

So this morning I went to the studio for a few hours to hang out and try to sell some work. (More the former than the latter.) As it was pouring rain not many people showed up while I was there, but it should get busier as the weather improves.

Anyway, here are a few shots of the prints in the space. It was all set up and hung beautifully.

Also, I loved the reflections from the window on the photos. (Shh! Don't tell the photographers that's what I was really admiring.)

Bill painted all the walls white specially for this event. Turned out looking pretty good!

And he hung a few on gray seamless, artfully draped to give it that 'photographer's studio' ambiance.

And last but not least, here are my two (on the right)! Can you tell that they don't fit in? Everyone else matted and framed their prints, but I'm a maverick and I don't follow the crowd, so I chose to make some gallery wrap canvases instead.

Just kidding about being a maverick. I didn't really know that mine were going to look so different from everyone else's. Really, I'm just a failed sheep.

Anyway, so that's how it all came about. Let me know if you have any more questions!

Tape for Sale!

Evan got a new job selling gaffer tape, so I offered to do the promotional materials. What do you think?

Ok, just kidding.

After the snake debacle, I'm a bit wary of making any jokes on the blog lest they be taken too seriously. I can't tell you how many people believed I had adopted a snake I found under the house. I mean, do I seem like the kind of person who adopts stray animals? An animal I had just found on the street?

Don't answer that.

I was taking some head shots at an engineering firm today and it was pretty tough getting them to smile. I tried all my tricks - making jokes, making fun of myself, making fun of them (just a little) and I would get them laughing, then focus the shot and snap! just like that, they had wiped the smiles off their faces. Fastest smile to neutral I've ever seen. Those engineers are in a serious business. They don't want anyone thinking they might be soft.

Anyway, have I mentioned how glad I am that it's the weekend? I'm going to the studio tomorrow to go meet the public (hi public!) and try to sell a couple of prints (fingers crossed), so it should be fun. And although I have a lot of processing to do over the weekend I'm feeling more relaxed about it all. It'll be raining here in SF, so I won't have much better to do. Somehow it's harder to buckle down when the sun's shining outside.

So what are your plans for the weekend? Want to buy some tape?

Do What You Love

I was walking home and this wall caught my attention. As a photograph, it's not going to win any prizes, but just the act of framing it made me happy.

I think it's so important to be doing what you love. Yes, if there's a paycheck involved, people will do most anything. And there are quite a few who choose their life's career based on the size of their monthly deposits.

I happen to think the true test of if it's meant to be is this: what do you do in your free time?

Do you leave a job and just-want-to-check-that-last-thing, hmmm-what-if-I-try-this-next-time, oh-I-think-I-figured-that-thing-out-that-was-bothering-me, or is it more like I'm-so-dead-can't-wait-to-get-home-and-tune-out?

I was walking through a fairly dicey part of town recently, feeling slightly on edge, at attention should anything happen. Then I turned the corner and the light was just so beautiful that I had to relax, and smile and enjoy myself. Before I picked up a camera seriously that never would have happened, because I wouldn't have been watching the light. Wouldn't have always been thinking. "How would I photograph that?"

All this to say, I count myself lucky that most of the jobs I've had in my life, I've enjoyed. Even looked forward to. And the older I get the more important the enjoyment seems, and the less the rest of it all matters.

So, what about you? What do you love? Is what you love what you do, or do you keep the two separate?

PS Check the top of the blog for a note about an art exhibit I'm part of these next two weekends in Oakland. All the gory details are there!


We walked into the room and we weren't quite sure what to expect. Not the numerous red vinyl couches, the offbeat decor and the tealights strewn about. No. That's not what I was expecting.

And I certainly wasn't expecting to leave with a such huge crush on Zach and Jodi Gray, Promise Tangeman, and David Jay. Because all of them ROCKED it!

So what is PASS exactly? That's the one question I definitely wanted answered. Well, basically it's a file delivery system and a way to store images from past shoots. But it's really not basically anything at all, because I think it is going to majorly change how we handle digital files and certainly how our clients view them.

First up: Promise Tangeman discussed branding and website design. I really loved when she talked about doing less than your competitors, not more as we so often want to do. Underdo. Not overdo.

Next Zach and Jodi Gray taught us all how to court our clients. How to build a personal relationship with them, not just a business relationship. I loved everything they had to say. If you get the chance to see them in person, take it! They are so awesome together. I love watching couples react to each other. You get to see the love, but also the running jokes, the things they struggle with and overcome. And they seem like a very evenly matched team, which is not as common as it could be.

By this point the house lights were almost off and I couldn't see my pen any more, but I still kept taking notes!

Then David Jay gave us the skinny on PASS and why it's so white hot. If you have the chance, sign up to hear about it yourself!

All in all, it was an awesome evening. Can't wait to play around with the software some more and finally figure out how to put it all together!

I'm Back

So I think it was last week Thursday when I left the house and locked the door and then looked down.

Only to realize . . . I wasn't wearing any shoes.

And, yep. I think that's when it struck me that maybe I was a little overextended. Perhaps. Just a possibility.

And then on Friday when I started to get a bit light-headed during a job (fortunately toward the end - another reminder that I should always carry a snack with me while I'm shooting), that was another sign that I might want to slow down.

So yeah, I know the blog has been suffering. And I don't like to miss more than a day here and there, but life's been a bit crazy and I cut out what I could, and that happened to be the blog.

But now it's June! A new month, a new beginning, and hopefully I'll learn to manage my time better, and not overcommit myself as I always do. ("Oh, of course, I'd love to do that! No problem! I think I have a few hours in the middle of Saturday where I don't have any plans.")

And one of the saddest things about May, I think, was that I took almost no personal photos. So it's felt amazing these past few days to put the 85mm on the camera, go for a short walk, and just snap a few shots. Play with light and color and shape and not worry about whether the shot turns out or not. Because hey! It's just for me, right?

*So what have you been doing recently that makes you smile? I'd love to hear all about it.*