actually it's 40d yang now
Sunday, August 31, 2008
  my neighbors think i'm crazy

i implore you to look at a larger version of this shot. please. you can't appreciate how hard i worked to get this in focus until you do. also, you can see more stars.

i really love the look of night shots. they're hard as hell.. which makes them that much more rewarding. no AF, live view is worthless, and i have no tripod, so i have to improvise a stable base.. then i had to set the mirror lockup to eliminate any camera shake. took a freakin hour and a half.. but i got it. i like the look of the green and the purplish tint from the sky.

neighbors came out and asked what the hell i was doing on the top of my car with a computer and a giant stack of books and a camera. they must think i'm trying to shoot into their windows and hack into their internet connections or something. aside from them, though, it's real peaceful out here. i like.
Saturday, August 30, 2008
  hack job

in an effort to prepare ourselves for the great automotive challenge that will be lemons, we decided to mount a rear sway bar from an integra ($30) using end links from a civic si (another $30, each) onto a civic ex. at least, that's what we told ourselves. ran into the requisite hitches--i think the linkage really all depends on how long the ball joints on the endlinks will last, since they're at a pretty large angle from the normal. also, the control arms were really far from the bar when we were linking them up.. i suspect this just means we just added a lot of spring rate to the rear. which is apparently where you need it in a fwd.

can't wait for that miata.
  when you don't want to go home
i think it was getting close to 3am when i took this. saw the lights and the glow from the fog and i thought, man.. that's gorgeous. i should've lowered the ISO, since i would be shooting long exposures anyway--you can clearly see the noise in the sky. tried a couple different angles to get this scene.. there are two more shots on my photostream. suffice to say, i really wish i had a tripod. i think i'd just keep it in my car. the white balance for this shot was also a little frustrating. i wanted to capture the warmth of the scene, but when i uploaded it, it looked too warm and too green. finally settled for using the neutral picker on the fringes of the lamp, and adjusting the tint a tiny bit towards the purple. i guess it's okay. i also realize i've been using grayscale as a crutch sometimes.. when i'm too lazy to try and make the colors cooperate. it's so easy.. one click, problem solved.

i love hunting for subject matter. especially at night. i love fiddling with the settings, sitting there alone with the crickets chirping. it was very serene there. i kinda felt like a sniper. don't judge me.
Thursday, August 28, 2008
can you believe she's read them all? also, finding interesting subject is hard. had to stop down to 5.6 to get the books.. and it's not that sharp. stupid light.

thought this shot was interesting b/c it's like a summary of everything jamie. except not. the urge to use fartsy grayscale was also resisted. but i don't think the colors really do anything special here.

date edited for thursday. i got an extension, gimme a break.
  just to spite ed
eat artsy fartsy!! neener back!!

to be honest, i am getting a little tired of the b/w bokeh artsy fartsy stuff. time to swing to the other end of the spectrum and take some stunning landscapes. sigh, if only.

seriously though, i need some better subject matter.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
  frisbee is too much fun i have to dig into old shots. i don't really understand why no one liked this shot very much. or this one, for that matter.

i thought they showed nice parallelism, with the guitars and jerseys. can anyone tell me how they would improve these shots?

note to self: dont' eat before frisbee.
Monday, August 25, 2008
  words cannot prepare you for the awesomeness

okay i'm gonna cheat and edit the date for monday.. but let it be known that i do indeed owe ed another lunch. sigh.
anyways, nothing special or technical today.. in fact, it's a little out of focus/shaky (was shooting with the kit) but the sheer awesomeness of an optimus prime potatohead makes up for it all.

so today was the first week of small groups. rode with keefe to dapooh's house in his scooby. at one point we got to talking about his turbo, and the torque band on his engine. i didn't believe him when he said peak torque was at 3k rpm, so he put his foot down (in THIRD)... i have never felt so much acceleration in my life. i expected it to push me back for like a second, and then he'd have to shift. but no. there was torque everywhere. it was ridiculous. from like 3k to 6.5 (i think that was the redline) i was eaten by the soft leather of his very nice seats. just thinking about it gives me goosepimples. uguugughghgogogoog.

i was expecting bible study (i think that's next week) and was surprised to find that we were going to be frying things in cake batter. CAKE BATTER. there was beef. and sausages. and green beans. and mushrooms. and pizza. fried in cake batter. at one point i ate a peanut-butter-and-ham sandwich.. fried in cake batter. my intestines are so mad at me.

FRISBEE TOMORROWWWW--i want to sit out part of the game so i can get some shots in but i'm not sure i'll want to once i start running around.
Sunday, August 24, 2008
  one day i'll get me a man's best friend

that's holly, alan's wonderful obedient affectionate lovely dog. she was so cute.. we left some cheeseburgers on a low coffee table, and she didn't try to eat them at all (well.. with some prompting) and she was lying there all contented while we shouted at each other over starcraft units. it was a lot of fun; i really hope we get together again.

also, i made baby back ribs for everyone. i think they liked them, which is good. i'll have to experiment with different braising liquids and dry rubs.
here they are in their deep-mahogany-seared glory.

applying the dry rub.

ingredients for dry rub.. brown sugar, chili powder, onion powder, black pepper, salt, rubbed thyme.. in 8:3:1:1 ratio
Saturday, August 23, 2008
  rebel buddies

went to YAM (young adult's ministry) and i discovered a wonderful thing. juno's into photography too! he's got a rebel XTi. (aka 400D) i love meeting people who are interested in the same stuff i am. you just connect instantly without the need to go through the motions or anything. it's on an entirely different level with juno though. those of you who know him will understand why..

i felt so liberated to get out my camera and start shooting everyone. it was cool cause we were both walking around, trying to get the best angles for shots. shooting the same thing, but from different angles. i really want to compare shots and see what he was thinking of the scene, and how he wanted to shoot it.

i'm really excited for terrapin photography club. hopefully the folks there will be cool and not pretentious.

(cookout tomorrow! w000000000t i'm bringing baby back ribs. should be great fun)
Friday, August 22, 2008
  call me a narcissist
the thing about being the only one with a decent camera in your group of friends (cough ed cough) is that you never get any shots of yourself. not to say that's horribly disappointing or anything, but hey, if you're taking flattering shots of everyone else, you start to think.. 'sure wish someone would take nice pictures of _me_..'

well, i got my wish (i think). clarence grabbed a hold of my camera and whirled around with the shutter depressed. he was too close to everyone, and since the only lens i brought was my 50mm telephoto, he got mostly blurry noses and stuff. but one of them came out pretty nicely focused.

the eyes are such an important and revealing part about anyone's face. i would go so far as to claim they're the _most_ important part. i mean, i think you can tell pretty easily that i'm smiling my cheeks off here. (it was a fun night =D) lei had on some mascara, and it really made her eyes look really nice. (don't have photo proof.) i think i'll try to take some more shots of eyes to further corroborate this.

no more shots of me, promise. also, note to self.. bring kit lens on group outings.

Thursday, August 21, 2008
  a new season
well, didn't get to shoot anything interesting today. had to get up at friggin 7am to get my knee checked out (still no word) and didn't bring my camera with me. this is one of the shots from the night i went to teens group with bernard. actually it's the only shot that i took that night that turned out well. bernard took a whole host of other shots that were much better.. can't post them b/c they're not mine, but hopefully he will once i get them to him.

anyways i told myself i'd post a color shot, but i couldn't resist. this just works in grayscale. i honestly think i'm going to grayscale any shots that don't have outstanding color in them. i also keep telling myself to shoot with narrower apertures to get some of the background in focus, but the lighting was so poor i had to crank it wide open.

bernard's giving his resignation speech in that shot. i don't know how much he would be comfortable with me disclosing here.. but suffice to say, it's a new season for a lot of us. william's back, trying to finish school. bernard's trying to go to seminary; he's gonna have a kid. my mom and rex are talking about getting married. alyssa is moving to a new job; she's in a new place; her sister's off to college. janice and keefe are fricken married!!.. i'm trying to graduate and get into grad school (i really need to study for that stupid GRE).. i can't wait til i get on my own. thinking about living with jamie in NY.

i'm pretty freakin excited that ed got his d40. now he can finally live up to his blog's name, ha. we're gonna have a cookout soon, so we should both have some good shots of that. can't wait.
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
  milling around

i really like it when i can take a picture that was mediocre and turn it into something i would show other people. i wanted to capture the scene of everyone just milling around before the game started (folks from HOPE met to play frisbee), but the original shot had too many clashing colors, and it didn't really deliver the message i wanted.

what message was that? well, i always found the circle that people form to be quite amusing, especially among folks who don't really know each other all that well. i liked the variety of actions and expressions among the people.. the more introverted stand isolated, aimless, staring at.. something, or perhaps observing the interactions of others. arms crossed or swinging carelessly, feet awkwardly twisted.. fidgeting. that's another thing that i always found entertaining--how people will force themselves to stay in an awkward situation because of perhaps a desire to broaden their social horizons, but aren't able to muster the energy to go and make conversation, choosing instead to fiddle with their cell phone, tie their shoes, or pick the lint off their shirts.. all the while, trying take as_long_as_possible to avoid standing around idly. it's definitely a lot less worse when everyone's waiting for something.. perhaps a testament to the importance of purpose-driven actions.

there are one or two in here that i might say are more outgoing than the rest.

people-watching.. it's addictive, isn't it? i feel guilty for making unfounded generalizations (well.. not completely.. good thing i only have a few readers). it's a little disconcerting to realize my stalker tendancies. i think as long as i shoot in plain sight, i should be okay. i enjoy capturing candid moments.

i suppose there wasn't really a 'message', per se.. maybe just an idea, or a preservation of it anyways.

right--the shot. i thought black and white worked well here. it really helps to simplify things; to get extraneous information out of the way when you want your shot to say something that doesn't require color. aggressive cropping helped too. that's another compositional rule i'm trying my best to apply--fill the freakin frame. don't need to be shootin no trees when you're trying to shoot people. oh, and there's a lighting adjustment in lightroom--'blacks'--that i find to be particularly useful for creating contrasts. i _think_ it just makes the underexposed areas darker.. i'll have to look into it after i finish this stupid paper. anyways, with this shot i was playing around with that. i found it helps to intensify contrasts in the image, especially when it's in grayscale like this one.

PS- click on the picture to take a look at a larger size of the shot; it looks a lot better.
Monday, August 18, 2008

i've always wanted to play piano. more recently, a pretty nice keyboard has made its way into my living room. i need to get a good book and start learning me some music theory.

in this shot is my friend kevin kahn playing his $3000 roland. don't know anything about pianos, but that's got to be one high-end instrument. i've always been afraid of being a dilettante (dabbler)--if there's anything i want, it's to be super good at whatever i do. so i fear i'll have to give up something i'm interested in if i want to pursue piano. =(

we played this cool board game today called order of the stick. it's based on this webcomic: the skills were really funny. i was playing the thief dude--he had some pretty funny ones, like 'verbal abuse', which is a ranged attack, and 'schadenfreude', which heals you when your partymates get hurt.
Sunday, August 17, 2008
  when did i take that?

shooting with a 50mm lens is kind of annoying at times. it's a telephoto lens, so that means you're always zoomed in--and the 1.6x crop factor from the APS-C sensor size makes it actually an 80mm lens. i constantly have to back away from subjects.. or i'm always not close enough. it's a lot less convenient b/c you have to yourself move around if you want to change the "zoom" of the shot.

BUT--and this is a big one--it forces you to be 100% dedicated to the shot. the thing that i always disliked about zoom lenses was that it made certain shots too easy. subject matter too far? just zoom in. need a wide angle shot? just zoom out. i am in no way knocking zoom--i think it's just good for any photographer to get away from it for a while. work for your shots.

i think i need to be careful not to overdo it with the bokeh-heavy shots, lest i be categorized as an amateur playing with new equipment... but wait, isn't that what i am?

i can't say i even remember taking this shot... which means i didn't really put much effort into it. on one hand, i'm simply floored by the quality of this lens. on the other hand.. it's like.. where's the artist's inspiration? anyone who spends 80 bucks on this lens could have taken this shot. it's kind of like.. want to get round the nurburgring in under 10 minutes? just buy a gt-r.

of course it'll take time to develop my own style of photography. but at what point can you really call it your 'own' style? aren't we all just emulating the masters.. in anything? i think that's where the fun is.. i'm not trying to be pro or anything, i just want to take good pictures and remember my life.

speaking of fun--i cannot praise RAW enough. the things you can do in post processing.. full exposure stop increases, hue, saturation, white balance.. it's like you just magically put more light onto the sensor, exactly where you want it. i would contend that anyone who thinks that the postprocessing required of RAW shots is a _drawback_ can't really call him/herself (notice my agreement of pronouns there) a photographer, amateur or not.

Saturday, August 16, 2008
  in which we feast and settle

crab feast-1, originally uploaded by sc_yang.

it's not obvious from the photo, but steven's cutting off william's road that he worked.. well, waited quite a long time for. steven won, of course... but not after some not-at-all-hidden collusion from the rest of the incredulous players (i think the most any of us had was 3 points and he had 9 when we decided to forgo fair play.)

outdoor shots in bright sunlight--a lot more challenging than i anticipated. i think 90% of my shots had a background blasted into overexposed oblivion, with the intended subject barely even visible. tried using flash and spot metering to compensate, but i think i got a few good ones from evaluative as well. stopping down the aperture also helps.

on another note, i've finally replaced my rear suspension. the ride is sweeeeet.

Friday, August 15, 2008
hooray! ed and i have embarked on a daily photoblog challenge. head on over to

this should be fun.

  my sister at f/1.8

elise-3, originally uploaded by sc_yang.

here's one of the first shots i took upon receipt of my new canon ef 50mm f/1.8 lens. it's a fantastic peice of glass, but man, they weren't kidding about the build quality. definitely feels like a product of sweatshop labor. but you get more than you pay for, in terms of image quality, anyways. f/1.8 is _gigantic_. i'm gonna have a lot of fun with this lens.

edit: i am aware that this is underexposed.

i've decided to make a photo blog. every real photographer has to have a photo blog, right? i need some kind of outlet to express my frustations and record my growth as a photographer.

i recently broke up with my girlfriend of four years. i won't bore you with the details (this is supposed to be a photo blog) but i find photography very therapeutic. that, and the strokes' 'room on fire' album. when you're trying to compose the shot, find the right exposure, all that.. you just forget about everything. it's the only thing that i can do nowadays that reminds me the least of her. (cooking, drumming, biking... they've all been compromised.)

right, well, on with the photos. i figured i would just comment on a few of my favorite shots from a recent photo adventure i took to ikea after work one day.

this is my favorite shot of the whole set.. just b/c i love the subject matter. i hope one day my kitchen is as nice as this one. i like the splash of green from the plant on the table, and the speck of blue from the bowl on the stovetop. the only gripe i have is that i should've gotten lower--tabletop-height for this shot.
here's another shot that i thought the colors looked nice in. i intended for the main focal point to be that bucket of grass.. or green sticks, whatever. i liked the perpendicular lines of the wall tiles and the utensils.. and i think i'm getting better at keeping the horizon level. didn't have to do much post-processing for this shot.

speaking of focal points.. how are you supposed to select a focal point when you do landscape shots? seems as if everything in the shot would be competing with one another for attention.. and yet i see so many wonderful landscapes. does the whole 'fill your frame, select one major focal point' rule not apply for landscape shots?

this is the last shot i'd show to people expecting some praise. i had originally thought that some straightening was required to make the ceiling beams level, but my friend ed told me that the crookedness makes the shot more dramatic. i can kinda see that, but i'm not sure if i agree. in any case, i like the colors in this one again--it's almost monochromatic, except for the tinges of blue and the red exit sign.

hopefully i'll get some readers soon. i guess for now this will just serve as a record of my adventures. i've got to get out of maryland.

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