To be koi

photo art of koi fishWhen I was little, we lived next door to a koi farm. I used to love visiting the pools of different koi, sorted by pattern, color, and size. I had no idea at the time that these fish could live beyond fifty years.

These two koi were shot at the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park in San Diego. The sun was overhead, so the glare on the water was strong.

Using Photoshop, I reduced the overall glare by playing with an Exposure adjustment layer. The water ripples popped out as a result, creating a graphic feel. I also neutralized the color a bit, to be more consistent with the Japanese tendency of toned-down color.

I really like the gray markings on each of the fish (those are actual markings) and the two shadows at the bottom of the pool.



Photo of a bird of paradise plantThis weekend, I played around with Photoshop. Here I bumped up the Exposure setting and played with the Gamma setting, which gave this photo a more graphic feel. I also added high pass layers to pop some detail.

Not my usual style, but I do like experimenting.


Inspiration: Marty Knapp


After watching this video, I was inspired.

Marty Knapp started photographing seriously later in life. I can relate to that. And I share the belief with him that black and white photography is a way to pay attention to what is there in front of you.

By removing the color, something happens. We start paying attention to the lines, the shapes, the texture of things.
– Marty Knapp

When I started this blog in April, I had an entirely different vision for the content. I planned to post mostly artwork and some photography. Now, I think the shutterbug has bitten me.

Clouds in the mirror

High-rise building reflecting clouds
High-rise building reflecting clouds – shot with iPhone

Southern California skies are usually cloudless. But yesterday, a summer shower came through and left a trail of clouds.

During a drive to an appointment, I passed by an unfinished glass high-rise that was reflecting the clouds, and it caught my attention.

I parked by a curb and grabbed my Nikon L840 next to me. I took about ten shots. As I got back into my parked car, I quickly scanned through the shots. They didn’t look that great. The clouds didn’t look that interesting in the composition. Disappointed and running late, I had to leave. And as I turned my car around and waited at an intersection, I could see the building, in front of me, with the clouds now dancing around the glass!

Arg!! I grabbed my iPhone and quickly got two shots while the light was red. This is one of the shots. The image is cropped about 40%, and it’s not high-quality, but I’m okay with that.

Inspiration: Photographer Giles Penfound

(Via Lynda Kuit’s Photography blog)

Yesterday I was looking for inspiration through the tag storytelling, and I came across Lynda Kuit’s Photography blog. She had posted a video about a British documentary photographer, Giles Penfound. The 27-minute video is poignant and inspiring. The photographer himself tells you the stories behind his work. It’s like listening to a grandfather beautifully recounting the emotional events of his life.

 Lynda is a photography student in Canada. Her blog is a fascinating look at the required documentation for her studies and at her progress as a photography student. If you are learning photography (like me), then stop by and say hello.

Street art

Close-up of some street art

photo of some street artWhenever I walk by this artwork, I always ask myself questions.

Who is the artist? What is the message? What did this piece look like before someone tore off the edges?

I don’t mind the questions. I don’t have to know the answers. I enjoy the wonder.