OOF!

March 24, 2011

I’ll be out of office over the weekend, leaving Chewy in charge.  Which reminded me of this photo.

chewy ordering custom blinds for his dog house and negotiating pricing. circa october twentyten.

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Babies: Lucy

March 23, 2011

This past weekend, the Mrs. and I had the privilege of meeting Lucy. If you haven’t met her yet, you should, because she’s great people. Between almost rolling over for the first time, melting our memory cards with sheer cuteness, and snacking on her delicious left and right hands, I asked her:

“So, where do you see yourself in 5 years.”

She responded with a look that could only mean:

“Well Mr. Jocson, hopefully by the end of year 5 I will have successfully launched my 3rd multinational company.  I will likely keep this one privately held, since my first 2 companies would have been public, and while a great learning experience, it would be about time to take a slightly different route.  I would maintain control as much as possible to the best of my abilities, and stress the importance of participating in important, albeit not necessarily profitable activities.  For example, I would hope that said company could maintain strong local ties to the community, play a part in furthering landmark public policy, and serve as an advocate for the disenfranchised that need a voice.”

Sooo cute!! It’s great to see social consciousness so alive in today’s youth. After our shoot, we stopped off for some bubble tea, Ms. Lucy balanced my checkbook, reallocated my 401(K) elections, and promptly fell asleep. I tell you people, this girl knows how to live.

auntie+uncle tagging along for fun

i stole a moment of mom+dad stealing a moment while uncle+auntie stole lucy

Triplets

March 21, 2011

Monozygotic triplets can happen when a single zygote splits into three embryos, each carrying the same genetic material.  It occurs naturally, within nature, at a rate of 1/892 or approximately at a rate of 0.013%.  Certain factors appear to increase the likelihood of multiples, such as age, use of fertility drugs, and association into and within a West Coast Media composite of photographically-inclined creativs.

That’s right.  In gearing up for this year’s season, we’ve adopted triplets.

fast asleep, fresh home from the nursery

Unfortunately, we’ll have to split the trips, with Cindi and I keeping 2, and the third moving down to LA where a loving home awaits.  However, we will be forever bonded through holiday greeting cards, birthday parties, and sequential serial numbers.

dispersed up and down the left coast to better serve you. we've got your photography needs covered

Our inaugural with these bad boys is set to be with Stephanie this weekend, but the forecast calls for rain… let’s hope for surprise sun.

You know those people that you don’t know, but you do?  I think I first met Karen almost a year ago, toward the end of the summer.  We ever-so-briefly worked not-quite-together-but-within-the-vicinity-of-each-other on a project, where we traded jokes, war stories, art projects, wedding plans.  Yes, wedding plans.  The wifey and I were nearing the end of our wedding planning, and Karen+Josh had just begun theirs.

Those of you that know me (or don’t know me) know (or don’t know) that I rarely share such personal details so readily — but Karen is just so gosh darned easy to talk to.  Dangerous.

A few months later, we crossed paths at an event, where I met Josh for the first time.  And the Mrs. met them both.  It was love at first sight.  These crazy kids are just so fun, and the world needs more of people like them.  But only if they’d hang with C+C on the regular.

in typical seattle fashion, this day started at a coffee shop. a coffee shop of luuurrvee. or coffee. perhaps just coffee.

How do I … No you’re not showing me, you’re just doing…. No wait, where?… How did you…. what?

That’s typically what it sounds like when the wifey asks me how to do something.  It’s usually promptly followed with “You suck at teaching.” and the absence of thank-you-cake.  And I love me some cake.

I LOFF CAKE!! little jocson likes biiig cake

Unfortunately for me, it’s true, I’m not the best teacher.  But I AM trying to get better.  Continual improvement. It’s a process really.

Fortunately for you, I have, here for you, a special treat.  It’s not cake, but 4 out of 5 pediatricians agree — studies show it’s potentially better than cake.  It’s our first guestblog of recent history, brought to you by none other than Ami of ami’s in LA Photography!

So, you say you want to kick up the level of awesome in your shots from ‘epic’ to ‘sweet merciful justice?’  Have no fear, let’s have Ami help get us there.

P.S.  Major thanks to Ami for taking the time to put pen to pad (fingers to keys?) for this one.  It couldn’t have come at a better time, as the Mrs. and I are out shooting both days this weekend, so it’s nice having a blogsitter in while we’re out.

______________________

I’m no expert at post production.  Or photography in general.  I’ll be the first to admit that.  Shout it off a mountaintop, even.  But when Jocson asked that I do a post on the topic, I had no choice but to oblige, because after all, he was kind enough to do a guest post for me, too.  I do love photography, though, and Jocson’s pretty cool.  So, to deter him from coming after me with a spork, and also in the hopes that this post might help at least one person, I present the amisinsLA intro to post production.

The most important thing to me about post is that your straight out of the camera shots (SOOCs) need to be on point as possible.  Meaning, at the time the photo was shot, the image was exposed well and lit properly.  I will tell you right now, personally I find it near impossible to correct a flat, poorly lit image (and trust me, I take my share of those), no matter how much I tinker with it in Photoshop or Lightroom.  I’m sure it can be done, but I can’t do it.  Not just because it’s difficult, but to be honest, after I’ve applied a dozen Photoshop actions, I’ll know that I’ll just look at the image and it will look artificial to me.  Because I have done it.  And it has looked that way.

That’s not to say that I don’t bump the exposure.  Oh boy, do I.  Nailing your exposure is something that takes tons and tons of practice (for me, anyway), so being able to correct it in Lightroom or Photoshop is a beautiful thing.  Especially when you shoot RAW.  Shooting RAW ensures that you have maximum control over editing your photos.  The camera basically saves the conditions of when your photo was taken and saves it all on a file so you can alter it later.  Again, it’s a beautiful thing.  But, relying on that alone can be way more work in the end than it’s worth.  So I highly recommend practicing shooting in different lighting situations and understanding what settings will lead you to a well-exposed shot.

Exposure isn’t the only thing I adjust in Lightroom.  I also alter the saturation, brightness, blacks, temperature and tint.  Sometimes I adjust them all.  Other times I adjust some, and even others, I just adjust one.  The point of post for me and my personal style is to help make the photo to look as natural as possible.  If you don’t know what your style is, my suggestion would be to compile a ton of images that speak to you.  Ones that you naturally gravitate towards in magazines or on blogs and make you go, ooooooh.  Then figure out why you like them.  Is it composition?  If it is, then for the most part, post production (aside from cropping) isn’t going to help you very much.  That’s more of an in-camera issue.  But if it’s colors and light, then post can definitely be a great tool.

So now comes the good stuff.  Once you have a shot that you are happy SOOC and have an idea of where you want to go with it style-wise, you can head to Lightroom (or Photoshop, but I’l be using Lightroom for the purpose of this post).  I also shot the following two images JPEG, so all of the settings start at zero as opposed to RAW that has your exact settings saved for you SOOC.

In this first image, you can see that the before and after are pretty much the same, but the exposure and brightness have been bumped a bit.  This is because the image SOOC was a bit underexposed, but otherwise fine.  The light was hitting Bry’s face from camera right, illuminating his face sufficiently.  I also bumped the temp to +5, because I wanted his skin to have a hint of warmth.  If his face had been too warm, or even had a tinge of redness, I would have decreased the tint a tad.

In this second image, you can see that the original photo was way underexposed and had to be compensated for in post.  I don’t think I was originally even going to bother with this photo, and instead just pass it off as a lost cause, but I liked his expression and the composition, so I tinkered a bit with it in Lightroom.  I bumped the exposure and brightness, brought out the blacks a touch, and desaturated the photo a bit as well.  The purpose of desaturating is  so that when the colors are entirely too vivid (sometimes after you amp up the exposure), desaturation restores balance to the colors.  It can help to essentially create a softer photo.

I’d like to reiterate here that I really believe that you have to understand where you want to go in order to get there.  Sometimes you just don’t know, so you experiment to see what is appealing to you.  That’s great, you totally should.  But first, you have to understand fundamentals (light and composition) and second, learn from others.  I think when you study the works of those that you admire, you start understanding and recognizing patterns.  When you take various patterns from various influences and apply them to your own work, you start creating something entirely new that you can call your own.  You shouldn’t feel like a copycat for applying methods that the artists you are looking at have learned from other artists who learned it from others and so on.  Even the very first artist presumably took influence from somewhere–maybe nature, who knows.  The point is, study, learn, apply, and practice, practice, practice.  I think that goes for everything.  I haven’t been doing photography for a super long time and I’m still learning every day.

So that’s my brief intro to the steps I take in post production.  If any of the above was unclear or if you have any questions, please leave a comment on Jocson’s site or you can always email me directly.  You can find me at amisinLA at gmail dot com and at my site.  Thanks, and hope to see you there!

What’s your style?

Probably the most-asked question that follows “I’m an artist / photographer / dancer / writer / designer / competitive eater…”

The list goes on, but the question remains the same.

What’s your style?

I don’t know.  I’m not sure how to quite answer that.  Dope? Fresh? Typical? Contemporary? Played?  Retro vibrance with a luminescent tinge of ballet?  Newsjournalistic krump with a hint of basil over nouveau haute socio-political web bboy?  Modern Louis Pasteur?

While I firmly believe it’s important to have a style, I’m less inclined to clearly categorize it.  I have somewhat of a claustrophobic fear of the boundaries that you, or others, may prescribe based on a subjective interpretation of semi-arbitrary adjectives.  I’m also not sure if we ourselves, creativs, can or should be able to say we subscribe to a particular style without unintentionally inhibiting a more natural organic growth.  At least not at first.  Can you really wake up one day and say ‘I will do [activity], and do it [adjective]ly,” having not yet fully explored the boundaries of your comfort with it?

I’ve had my hand in various media for quite some time, and still reach a little uncertainty in explaining my style.  Do I have one yet?  It’s relatively easy for some to recognize my work, point out commonalities and recurring themes, and identify traits of my handwriting written across the spirit of the piece.

At the fore of my mind I probably like to think I’m still distilling my style, digesting my influences, and finding my groove.  In reality, I’m probably like all other creativs — mostly satisfied with my products, but in constant pursuit of elusive perfection through perpetual revision, growth, and rebirth.

In truth I think we all have a particular style whether we know it or not.  We all have a voice, regardless of how low a whisper we think we keep.  Rather than describe the sound of our voice, I think it more meaningful to explore what feeds the words we speak.

And so, for those curious, I’ve taken an introspective look at my own personal influences…

stay tuned. who's got guesses

Genius fever.

March 9, 2011

There’s been a nasty something-er-other that’s been going around locally lately.  I was struck down last week/the week before, at the height of which I vomited out a guestblog over at Ami’s in LA. Check it out.  4 out of 5 feral SeaTac cats are calling it genius.  The 5th cat is calling it bold, with hints of honey, lavender, and tobacco.

And while I’m whoring out non-jocson-blog related appearances, remember that ACAP event?  Check out more about the organization in their latest newsletter from last month.  More of our photos are featured throughout the pub, so check those out too.  Woo!

And, just for good measure, and the sake of a visual, here’s a snap of me + my groomscru from last year.  En route to the bachelor party we figured out how to properly use a tripod.

2AM, and I’m wide awake.

OK, perhaps I should start at the beginning.

We had an AWESOME day today with Diana+Jesse.  Longtime readers may remember Jesse from such posts as this one, and Diana is his lovely wife.  We got a bright and early start to our Sunday with shots all across Seattle, which somehow concluded with unplanned frozen yogurt of spontaneity.

For those taking notes, this is where the gates of hell opened and all its VIPs broke loose to mambo.

The wifey and I have been on a bit of a restricted diet for the past couple weeks, and had cut out virtually all carbs.  This has kept our sugar intake uberlow for awhile, so upon consumption of the wonderous, magical, all-too-spectactular frozen yogurt (and toppings!…oops) today, I think our bodies didn’t know what to do with it.  I hit a fastasgical high for bit, then crashed on the couch in a coma.  For the afternoon, evening, and night.  The Mrs. too.  Aaannnn now I’m awake.  Wide awake.

It was totally worth it though.  And as I think back on the moment of weakness and reconsider whether if I were to revisit the situation again — would I do anything differently?  The answer is most certainly, hands down, no doubt about it:  Yes.  Emphatically, Yes.

I would get more yogurt, more toppings, nuts, and a king sized butterfinger.

So as I thought back over the day, I remembered how much fun Diana+Jesse were/are.  I couldn’t help but tear into the photos to pick a few to sneak peek.  I’m sure Cindi will do the same over on her blog, once the coma wears off, and we’ll toss a few onto our Facebook page (don’t forget to ‘like’ us, if you haven’t already! /end shameless plug) as well as we work though our culling and processing.

These kids are so durned cute!  And so in love, you can just see it radiate in every motion.  They’ve been married for a few years, but never got the chance to do engagement photos.  We’re firm believers that every couple should have a good set of photos to mark the start of their relationship / joint-life with.  Not for narcissism’s sake, but because as you nest nothing bring as much warmth and personalization as family photos, there’s great fun in looking back at them in later years, and the great grandkids will get a kick out of them in generations to come (I know I wish I had more photos of my parents…let alone my grandparents, great grandparents and beyond) … and, OK, for narcissism’s sake.  We’re all dead sexy in this world, every last one of us.

They may not technically be ‘engagement photos,’ but we hope they’ll bring as much excitement, and do this gorg(eous) pair justice.  We’ll have to see what the moms think…

on 3.. 1...2....3awwwwwww

well, at least jesse think's i'm funny

so effing fierce... be careful if you click to view fullsize, you may get shanked

 

Being sick, I’ve spent a lot of time at night recovering.  By recovering, I mean sitting on my ass working my thumbs out on my iPhone.  Which reminded me, I hit an all-too-amazing landmark the other day….

…pause for suspense….

You know those leaderboards in games.  The High Score screen in Pac Man for instance, that everybody at the arcade would stare at, hoping to one day land a top slot so that they could carve in a 3 letter naughty word of their choosing?

Well, they’ve come light years into the future since the Pac Man-ing days.  I’ve always wanted to land near the top on one, but now with online gaming, they pull scores from across the country, so it’s soooo impossible to score anywhere near ‘high.’  That is…it was, until…

yeah, 680.4 doesn't seem that high....

..until you see the next screen, which proclaims it the most EPIC amongst all scores!...

 

I actually scored the 839.3 time as well, and hit #1 first with that, but I couldn’t figure out how to change the name. =(.  So I played it again, still couldn’t figure out how to enter my name, and then gave up and just screenshot’d it.  =\  Shameful… but still a success!!  Not very exciting, but exciting for me 😉

….I’ve used way too many smileys in this post.  Never again.

My face feels like it’s on fire.  Inside and out.

It’s the kind of heat where I’m almost certain smoke is emanating from each nostril (perhaps my earstrils as well), and I have 97.38% certainty that if I close my eyes for 3 minutes I will end up with perfectly soft-boiled eyes.  Nice firm whites.  Nice thick-running yolk.

On the outside it feels as if I’ve worn my nose and surrounding areas down to the hypodermis and beyond… the only upside spin I could possibly attempt to try to place on this is that I must be leaking adipocytes at a rate that can only spell surprised-unexplained-weight-loss-success.  Also, this morning the DEA stopped by to see if the voluminous amounts of pseudoephedrine in my possession was indicative of a quaint homestyle meth lab, and you know, visitors are always nice.

Between bouts of chills, I find myself either feeling incredibly hot (in temperature, not sexiness.  .. OK, sexiness too.), or having a nosebleed, or both.  I went in to work today for a meeting, and en route I thought I had my car’s heater on blast… until I noticed that whenever I coughed I could see my breath.  Yep, that’s not the heater.  That’s the AC.

If i had a steady stream of dedicated readers, this is where I would ask you all what your tried and true home health cures are.  But instead I’ll ask what I should purchase next.  Because nothing feels as great as shopping from the comfort of my couch.  And also because of all inquiries to not receive a response to, that would be the one.  My wallet is continually weeping.

To round out this completely disconnected and nonsensical post, I urge you all to sneak over to check out Lisa’s blog.  She and the wifey run in the same blog circles, and her husband and I seem to share a ton of random hobbies — tuning to boarding to tooling to koi-ing.  He even shoots with the same cam I usually do.  Lisa happened to throw up a fabulous little post on us yesterday, which was totally awesome and such a pleasant surprise in the middle of these nonpleasant mucusy days.  She’s also published, which is ahmaizing, so snag that for your Kindle.  Now, onto my shopping…