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Thirsty Thursday

'Nuff said.


I was originally going to do a tip & trick Thursday but I have too many finishing touches to put on my girl scout presentation I’m giving tomorrow about photography so instead, you get a picture of what most twenty-somethings in midtown will be doing tonight. Be safe, and happy Friday Eve.

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always on my mind and in my heart

Her name was Matilde, or Mati, most people called her Tilly or Mati.
I called her grandma.

3 years ago today she passed away from a really scary form of liver cancer (hepatocellular carcinoma). Losing her was the hardest thing I’ve probably dealt with. She was the grandma I was closest to, not that I don’t love my other grandma a ton because I do, but my grandma Figueroa and I were very alike and we got along really well.

I remember she and my grandpa would take me for drives along the river, we went to Rio Vista once and ate at this restaurant with a bunch of dead animal heads on the wall, I was little so it was really cool. They took me everywhere and I loved staying with them. Every sunday for some time she would make menudo and we would come over, my aunts, my family, and we would all sit and eat and bullshit and just enjoy a lazy sunday with my grandpas music blaring in the background. She was stern but had a real heart of gold, and could drink her ass off and party like a rockstar. One of my favorite memories of her is from a tamale day way back when I was in my preteen days and her and my aunt Victoria (her sister, who passed away later that year from another odd cancer) got drunk and were dancing like young girls in the front room, it was hilarious and something I’ll always remember them for- having a “fkin good” time.

Seeing my grandma in her final days was one of the hardest things I’ve witnessed and I really don’t talk about it much, none of us do because it hurts too much. I still get emotional talking about her and that time, and only recently I’ve been able to think of her and not cry immediately. I took this picture just days before she passed away. I don’t really know why I did it, or why I even thought to take it. Maybe I just wanted a memento, not of her dying, but of her life, of her peace. I wanted a piece of her to keep with me. This picture breaks my heart every time I see it, but its so… moving for all of us related to her because we were there. My family camped out in the hospital for a solid month being there with her, trying to keep each other strong and keep my grandma lucid. I did it for them I guess. This is the most personal picture I’ve ever taken and its a lot to share it with you all here. Continue reading always on my mind and in my heart

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the getaway

SB Highway 1

I haven’t been in a very post-y mood lately, mostly because I’ve been broke, working a ton so I’m not broke again, and taking care of life in general, but I have been craving a nice little escape. I think I might need to take it sometime soon before the summer is up. Seeing the ocean for a day won’t cut it this time around I think.

This is another picture from that road trip I took with my friend Nathan and his buddy Artimeo. This is somewhere between Monterey and San Luis Obispo. You could see the ocean for miles and it was so bright blue, it really makes me want to go on that drive again, just for the heck of it. Maybe I will soon.

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Friday Postcard: Big Hill Lookout, take two

Union Valley Reservoir, in color!

If this looks familiar, good job! I also took this on 35mm Kodak HIE Infrared film (the only true infrared film that is now discontinued), a couple years back. Right about now is when I begin my countdown to the big thaw in the Sierras so I can begin my road trips up to Loon Lake, Ice House, and Big Hill Lookout. The mountains were my first retreat, then I learned to love the ocean and I started sharing my time between the coast and forest.

I haven’t gotten much work  around here, and I failed to shoot and print for the May VoxSac show but I did develop the black and white roll from Petaluma & Bodega cemeteries and this week I’m going to try to find time to print them. I am so stoked to see them in black and white!! Also I got some awesome news that I’m going to be teaching some girl scouts about photography to help them earn their photography badge in June. And to top off my week my lovely customer/blow follower Lora Lynn was so kind and playing santa claus and got me those bracelets I wanted! I think I may have screamed a little when she showed me today! Thank you again Lora!

Have a good weekend guys, I may or may not be posting. Tonight is my very best friend (since birth)’s 25th birthday and I’m smack dab in the middle of another 8 day work week, so lets just pray I make it to see next week.

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digital rant: why I hate instagram

I’m about to step on a lot of toes and for that I am sorry, but these are my opinions. This is quite possibly the most controversial post I will ever write about, but I have to share because it eats me up alive every time someone posts a picture. Also, to my friends who use instagram, this is not directed at you but in general so I apologize if I offend you.

I hate instagram. Yes, I will confess it. Every time I see one of my friends/companies I follow on twitter post pictures of their beautiful children/dogs/beers/whatever using instagram I feel so… disgusted.

Yes, its great that now in the digital age, everyone can have cool photo effects, and when I shoot on my phone I sometimes use filters and programs to tweak the pictures, but with the total widespread use of instagram I feel like the actual art behind the IDEA of instagram has been totally and utterly lost and blasphemed. Almost all of the pictures I’ve seen people post are totally misusing the filters, and yes I know “art” is highly subjective, but what bugs me is that actual learned TECHNIQUES are being mistreated and repurposed for a quick fix and half the time it looks awful. Most if not all of the tilt-shift pictures I’ve seen aren’t even being used properly. Tilt-shift isn’t for selective focus on normal “flat” pictures, its so the plane of view looks TILTED, and you shift the lens, hence the name TILT SHIFT. If you wanted a selctively focused shot you can use a macro setting on your camera.

The thing that bothers me is the users of instagram aren’t and have probably never been photographers, the reason they are misusing these settings is because they have no idea what half the crap means!!! UGH…I know this is one god awful rant, but I KNOW other real photographers out there who actually know how to do these techniques BY HAND are as frustrated as I am with this. This is one step beyond digital convenience, this is total decimation of artistic technique.

The tilt shift thing is just one example. It bothers me deeply that the things I know how to do BY HAND in the lab or by adjusting my lens, using different lenses, whatever analogue style, is being mass produced by instagram and people are using it without even knowing how to really use it which results in really shitty “photography”. Whats even worse is that I’ve seen actual flickr sets dedicated to “digital photography” with people using instagram for their filters. HOW LAZY. SERIOUSLY HOW LAZY CAN YOU BE?!

The real thing, I think you were going for this? A great example of amazing work by Andrionni Ribo via flickr

Really I’m only writing this to get it off my chest, but if I can purpose this post into anything, it will be that hopefully you instagram users out there will actually take the time to read up on the filters and techniques that the program allows you to reproduce and LEARN about them and how to really use them well to take full advantage of it. Please, that is my only request of you instagramers out there.