Ramblings and Reflections

My Chinese Zodiac is the Dragon, and 2012 was the Year of the Dragon, so I almost expected things to go a little more smoothly for me than before. While I did make a lot of great memories and had some fun, it just was not my year at all. Between losing jobs, family drama and everything else going on I even lost all my motivation to pursue the things that do make me happy. Things aren’t much better now but with the coming of a new year comes a sliver of hope that the worst has passed.

Calico Hello Kitty Maneki Neko Lucky Cat

A lucky cat above my bed for wealth, happiness and hope. The first cat I was ever really attached to was a calico named Maggie, so this is extra special to me. Plus it’s Hello Kitty. Bonus points.

I got a new lens for Christmas and that has seriously helped rekindle my love affair with my camera. I was in a serious slump about the quality of my photos for a long time, and I felt that I had outgrown my D4o too much to get any joy out of it anymore. I know I can do better, and I know a better camera would solve a lot of the issues I’m flailing over right now… but it shouldn’t have affected my overall love of taking pictures.

I have two good cameras (a Nikon D40 with a great new lens and a Canon Powershot S90), four if you count my Galaxy S3 and iPhone-turned-iPod. What’s really holding me back is my personality. I’m pretty shy when it comes to taking pictures in public. Even around my friends I’m usually sneaking pictures of food or other interesting things.

To hell with that. I’m tired of looking back on trips and events and thinking about all the pictures I missed but could have caught if I had just picked up my camera. Any camera.

Crab and cheese potato croquette at Izakaya Honda-ya in Little Tokyo, Los Angeles

Crab and cheese potato croquette at Izakaya Honda-ya in Little Tokyo, Los Angeles

I just want to take pictures, and I’m really going to try to take more. It’s not just a New Year’s resolution. I want to change a part of me that I’ve been irritated with for a long time.

I hope I can.
I’m really cripplingly shy sometimes…

mochi ice cream

Mochi ice cream at Beard Papa’s in Little Tokyo, Los Angeles

I’m looking forward to a hopeful 初夢 (hatsuyume).

HDR Garden

I’m working on edits from a recent photoshoot I did with a local photography group, but I have some new toys and techniques to play with so its taking some time.

So as a filler, you can have this.

This is an HDR (High Dynamic Range) image I made some time ago of the garden centerpiece at the Getty Museum in LA. I split the original RAW file into 3 different exposures, processed and tonemapped them in Photomatix, then made final edits in Photoshop.

There’s something about it that makes me feel like its not really that good… The framing, the cropping, the edits, the colors… I’m not really sure, but it doesn’t do justice to the actual scene. Maybe I just stared at it for too long.

Well, I like how the water came out at least. I’m very proud of that little patch of HDR water (   ゜∇゜)