JDB Creativity: Blog https://www.jdbcreativity.com/blog en-us (C) JDB Creativity [email protected] (JDB Creativity) Mon, 16 Mar 2020 06:34:00 GMT Mon, 16 Mar 2020 06:34:00 GMT https://www.jdbcreativity.com/img/s/v-12/u418794168-o156635323-50.jpg JDB Creativity: Blog https://www.jdbcreativity.com/blog 90 120 Muir Woods Photo Walk https://www.jdbcreativity.com/blog/2013/9/muirwoods MuirWoods_34


Recently I decided to go out and take a drive up to Muir Woods North of San Francisco for a solo photo walk among the giant redwoods. It was a spur of the moment decision, and I decided that I wanted to be alone with my spotify playlist and my trusty Canon 5D Mark 3. 

When I arrived to the entrance of Muir Woods around 10:30am on a Tuesday morning, I was surprised how many cars there were in the parking lot of the main entrance. It appeared quite full, so I bypassed it and headed down towards the overflow parking area. It was also full, so I ended up parking on the side of the road about a quarter of a mile down the road past the overflow parking area. Oh well, this had better be worth it. I was already a bit concerned about the weather as it was really overcast and a bit foggy.


MuirWoods_1 As I made my short trek to the visitor entrance, I noticed just how full the parking lot was with a few cars waiting for people to leave so that they could swoop in and take their spot. Hah, good luck with that! Nearing the entrance were several long empty parking spots reserved for tour buses and vans. Hmmm, I thought to myself, next time I decide to come out here I should probably park someplace where the buses can pick me up and not have to worry about the winding drive up and battle for parking. Or I could just leave earlier, like a lot earlier.



Once I paid my $6.00 admission into the main grove, I had to fight my way through throngs of consumer camera wielding tourists cluttering up the boardwalk that winded its way through the giant trees. Families, couples, school groups, and others made their way in and around these humble giants. I with my tripod and camera walked among them looking for shots that inspired me. These days when on a photo walk, I tend to shoot a lot less than I use to. Quality over quantity is my goal.



More than a few times I overheard people talk about me as they passed by, muttering in low tones that they thought I would not hear things like, "He must be a professional" and "Look at that camera!" Most be people though would leave me be, as they could see I was busy being one with nature and meticulously trying to setup my shots.



All in all I spent about four hours hiking through the vegetation. It was great taking some time to shoot for myself and not because I was paid to for a change. The air smelled fresh and I enjoyed the silence once I was far enough past all the tourists. I can't wait to go back again!MuirWoods_10

[email protected] (JDB Creativity) HDR Muir Nature Redwoods Trees Woods https://www.jdbcreativity.com/blog/2013/9/muirwoods Fri, 06 Sep 2013 18:00:00 GMT
Photo Shoot with Dacia https://www.jdbcreativity.com/blog/2013/8/dacia DaciaPurpleTop_6

A few months ago I had the pleasure of doing an outdoor photo shoot for Dacia. I met her at Ohlone College while helping my friend Lawrence with some video production work. Lawrence recommended that Dacia contact me to shoot her head shots as she is looking to update her photos.



I met with Dacia across the street from campus and asked my friend Megan to help assist with lighting. I could have done the shoot solo, but things are a whole lot easier when you have an extra hand to hold reflectors and small speedlite flashes. We started our shoot around 6:00pm both in order to capture the interesting late day sun and also because I didn't get off work until 5pm. We started simply enough, as I placed Dacia in open shade and had Megan hold a reflector to add some fill to her face and create a catchlight in her eyes.




After a quick wardobe change, I had her stand inside an archway so that I could get some texture and color in the background. There was no light to reflect back at her, I had Megan hold an off camera flash, my Canone 430EX speedlite off the camera left in order to light her. In order to create the above shot, I metered for the background, set my settings on manual, and adjusted flash intensity until I got a good exposure.




We then proceeded across the street to the Ohlone campus, which is fairly picturesque. I placed Dacia in the enter of a row of trees, known as shady lane that had some great leading lines. Again, since we were completely in shade, I had Megan standing off to the left of the camera position with my 430EX speedlite providing fill, and mounted on my 5D Mark 3, my 580EX speedlite that served as a key light.




Walking down shady lane we came across one of the school buildings that had a great farm house feel. I shot a few of her on the front porch playing with the golden light of the setting sun. For these I went back to having Megan hold the reflector, but with the gold side instead of the silver that I had used before.




The last thing we shot, after one last wardobe change, was on some bleachers near the softball field. I like the archtectural look of the metal benches and I thought that we could do some cool shots on it. The only issue is that the sun had set by that time and any interesting light had gone. So I went with the use of my two speedlites and hoped for the best.





[email protected] (JDB Creativity) Dacia light natural outdoor portraits speedlites https://www.jdbcreativity.com/blog/2013/8/dacia Sat, 31 Aug 2013 01:40:25 GMT
Quick Gear Review - Tokina AT-X 16-28mm F2.8 Pro https://www.jdbcreativity.com/blog/2013/4/tokina-16-28mm_Review Tokina-5D

I very much enjoy shooting wide angle photos, particularly of beautiful landscapes. I just love the drama of wide angle and the interesting perspectives one gets especially placingthe camera low and shooting up. However since I moved to the full frame Canon 5D Mark 3, my older 12-24mm lens would no longer work as it was designed for crop sensor cameras


So I recently bought an ultrawide angle lens to fill the void. I opted for the Tokina AT-X 16-28mm F2.8 Pro FX. The lens currently cost about $749 through Amazon. Fortunately I only paid about $500 after $300 worth of Amazon gift cards I got from my Mom for my birthday!

Here's a quick review of the lens: 

What works...

  • Optical Quality, photos taken with this lens look great! The quality easily meets, and may even surpass the similar offering from Canon the 16-35mm F2.8L II, which costs nearly twice that of the Tokina.
  • Build Quality - The lens is built to last! Mostly made of metal, it will take a lot of abuse and keep working perfectly. It feels great in your hand and the zoom and focus rings are smooth to operate
  • One-touch focus control - A rather unique design in which you can change from autofocus to manual focus by simply snapping a ring forward and backward.
  • Large, "Fast" constant aperture - I love that this lens features a maximum aperture of 2.8 throughout the zoom range. This makes it useful when hand hold shooting during events in dark environments. Although I'll most likely use it mostly on a tripod for landscape work.


Tokina16-28-LensCap1 What could be better...

  • Weight - This thing weighs a little over 2 lbs, so when attached to my Canon 5DM3 with the grip and if you add on a flash, that's a recipe for sore hands and arms.
  • Integrated Lens hood - I kinda have a love/hate feeling for this. I like that the hood is built-in so you can't lose it, but that makes the lens cap huge, which you cannot fit in a pocket, and also you can't use any filters on this lens.
  • AF Motor is a bit noisy - No where near as quiet in comparison to the USM motors in my Canon lenses. Might be a bit of an issue when shooting in delicate situations like a wedding ceremony.
  • Lack of image stabilization - Not too big a deal, as you'll rarely need it at this wide a focal length, and i'll probably be on a tripod most of the time, but could be useful during event work.





Bottom Line...

So far I'm quite pleased with the lens and it will be most useful for my landscape photography. It will also be handy to have around for when I'm shooting events indoors or at night. The weight isn't too bad as my Canon 5DM3+grip serves as a good counterbalance. I'd be hesitant to put his lens on a smaller camera body such as a Canon Rebel series camera or even a 60D. It would probably be okay on a Canon 6D or 7D however. Optically it kicks butt, and at half the price of the Canon 16-35mm F2.8L II its a no brainer. Despite the fact that it doesn't take filters doesn't bother me to much as I usually shoot HDR and deal with stuff in post.


Here are some shots that I took recently with the Tokina at Miramar beach off Highway 1 near Half Moon Bay.


Miramar Beach Sunset 1, Shot at F10, at 1/100th of a second at ISO 100. 5 shots processed in Photomatix Pro & Aperture.


MiramarBeachSunset_2 Miramar Beach Sunset Vertical, Shot at F10, at 1/80th of a second at ISO 100.
5 shots processed in Photomatix Pro & Aperture. 


MiramarBeachSunset_4 Miramar Beach Sunset Path, Shot at F10, at 1/40th of a second at ISO 160. 5 shots processed in Photomatix Pro & Aperture.

[email protected] (JDB Creativity) 16-28mm HDR Tokina Tokina AT-X 16-28mm F2.8 Pro review landscape lens review miramar miramar beach sunset https://www.jdbcreativity.com/blog/2013/4/tokina-16-28mm_Review Mon, 29 Apr 2013 03:23:57 GMT
Bambu + Prometheus Brown Behind the Scenes Video https://www.jdbcreativity.com/blog/2013/4/bambuBTS-Video  

Here is the behind the scenes video that I produced, shot, and helped edit for the Bambu, Prometheus Brown music video in collaboration with Kidheroes Production and Crew 152 @ Ohlone College.

View a gallery of production photos here.


[email protected] (JDB Creativity) Bambu Kidheroes productions Music video Ohlone College Prometheus Brown https://www.jdbcreativity.com/blog/2013/4/bambuBTS-Video Tue, 16 Apr 2013 17:49:13 GMT
The Embarcadero - San Francisco Night https://www.jdbcreativity.com/blog/2013/3/embarcaderoSF Recently the Bay Bridge in San Francisco has become the canvas for a two year long art exhibit. The Bay Lights exhibit is the worlds largest LED light sculpture which adorns the Western span of the bridge which can be seen from dusk through the night until 2015. I recently took a trip out to the bridge to photography the lights as well as scenes of the San Francisco skyline.

All photos were taken with my mirrorless subcompact camera the Canon EOS M, and the 18-55 STM IS kit lens. For the night shots, I used the Joby Gorillapod Focus.  


Bay Bridge Panorama - Shot at ISO 1600 f/3.5 at 1/4 of a second.



Bay Bridge Panorama - Shot at ISO 400 f/8 at 8 seconds exposure time.



SF Skyline Night - Shot at ISO 1600 f/8 at 1.6 seconds.


SF Pier Skyline - Shot at ISO 100 f/10 at 1/200th of a second.



SF Pier Skyline - Shot at ISO 100 f/10 at 1/250th of a second.

[email protected] (JDB Creativity) Bay Lights' Night Photography", Panorama Panoramic San Francisco Skyline https://www.jdbcreativity.com/blog/2013/3/embarcaderoSF Sat, 30 Mar 2013 16:58:46 GMT
Sightseeing in Southern California https://www.jdbcreativity.com/blog/2013/3/my-trip-to-la View from Mulholland DriveMulhollandView

View from Mulholland Drive, Shot at ISO 100, at f/9.0 at 1/200th of a second.


Recently I took a few days off from work for a mini vacation down to Southern California and stayed with some friends at their new home in Los Angeles. I planned on doing a bit of sight seeing and wanted to goto Disneyland, California Adventure, and see some of the sites around town. My good friend that I met in college, Melanie and her husband Patricio were kind enough to host me and take me around. These are some of my favorite shots I took during my stay. All shots were taken with my Canon EOS M with the kit lens the 18-55 or the 22mm prime. Enjoy!



Griffith Observatory, Shot at ISO 100, at f/8.0 at 1/200th of a second.


Griffith Observatory 2GriffithObservatory4 Griffith Observatory 2, Shot at ISO 100, at f/7.1 at 1/160th of a second.


Disneyland CaféDisneyCafé Disneyland Café, Shot at ISO 100, at f/5.0 at 1/80th of a second.


tomorrowlandTomorrowland Tomorrowland, Shot at ISO 100, at f/8.0 at 1/200th of a second.


Cali-Adventure Flight ShopFlightShop California Adventure - Flight Shop, Shot at ISO 100, at f/7.1 at 1/125th of a second.

[email protected] (JDB Creativity) Disney Disneyland HDR Los Angeles Southern California sightseeing https://www.jdbcreativity.com/blog/2013/3/my-trip-to-la Wed, 06 Mar 2013 18:23:04 GMT
San Francisco Timelapses - Stowe Lake https://www.jdbcreativity.com/blog/2013/2/SFTL-StowLake StowLakePagoda2

Pagoda @ Stowe Lake, Shot at ISO 640 at f/8 at 1/500th of a second. HDR shot (5 exposures)


Recently during a day off I decided to take a drive up to San Francisco, specifically the Stowe lake area of Golden Gate Park. Stowe lake is the largest manmade lake in the park and features paddle and row boat rentals, as well as an electronically pumped waterfall located on Strawberry hill.



Waterfall at Strawberry Hill - Came across another photographer doing an engagement shoot, Shot at ISO 640 at f/8 at 1/40th of a second.


It was a nice sunny day in San Francisco, so there were a ton of people out enjoying the sunshine. At first it was a bit challenging to find parking near the lake, but I lucked out and found a spot not too far from the waterfall. As I arrived, I noticed a higher number of people walking around, as well as renting boats. I thought to myself that this is a perfect opportunity to do some time lapse videos!


Here's what I normally do:

  • I bring a sturdy tripod and  a wired remote that has an intervalometer.

  • I set the focus manually at a point far in the distance and then switch to manual.

  • I then set intervalometer to take a photo every 1 to 3 seconds depending on how fast the action is.

  • I start the timer then sit back and either listen to a podcast, audiobook, or to some good music.

I set my camera to about half the maximum resolution (10mp instead of 22mp) and in jpg instead of RAW. I shoot at a lower resolution both to save space on the memory card, and the fact that you don't need that much resolution for video. I shoot jpg instead of RAW to save space on the card, and to reduce post production time. I usually shoot at a given location for 5 to 10 minutes, then move on to find another interesting angle or location. I also will keep shooting in a given location if something interesting comes along and will wait until that person, or object leaves my frame. 



Feeding the Ducks. Shot at ISO 100 at f/8 at  1/80th of a second.


Once I get my images back to my computer, I import them into Apple Aperture, and separate each timelapse into albums. I do adjustments and corrections on one photo, then lift and stamp those correction onto the rest of the images in the set. I then export the images to a folder at the original resolution. I'll then use Quicktime 7 to open the first image in the sequence, then export the result as a high quality quicktime video ready for editing in Final Cut Pro X in which I'll edit them together, add music, and titles.


Here's the resulting video with added sound effects and some music. (Hana by Jake Shimabakuro)




[email protected] (JDB Creativity) golden gate park nature san francisco stowe lake timelapse timelapse video waterfall https://www.jdbcreativity.com/blog/2013/2/SFTL-StowLake Wed, 13 Feb 2013 03:11:12 GMT
A promotional video for Roseli https://www.jdbcreativity.com/blog/2013/2/PromoVideo  



I recently shot and edited a promotional video for my friend Roseli. The video I did for her is part of her entry for a contest for entrepreneurs hosted by Scion. The video was pretty simple to produce. I went to her home and filmed her in her home office. Luckily there was a window close by and I the colors of the walls and desk were warm and fit in well with what she was saying. All I had to do was supplement the natural light with a small fill light to fill in the shadows of her left side. I utilized an LED light which had a built-in dimmer switch as well as the ability to change the color temperature from daylight to tungsten. I dialed in the color to match that of the walls in her office.




Roseli did a great job with her script. She sounded very natural and hardly made mistakes. I had her two a few takes, and decided to reframe the camera towards the end to focus more on her and a less on the background. After completing the filming of her. We then did an over the shoulder shot of her sketching down some of her ideas.




When editing the video, the biggest challenge was making everything fit within 60 seconds. After laying down everything the total run time came to about 1 minute and 10 seconds. In order to fit the required time, I had to speed up everything to about 120% of the actual speed. This took me a bit of time. I added a vignette to some of the clips softening the edges and putting the focus more on Roseli. Lastly, after receiving the photos of her two mentors, I did a bit of motion graphics adding some movement to the images and quotes, as well as putting in an animated background.


Here is the video. I've embedded the version that has not been sped up.




[email protected] (JDB Creativity) Roseli Scion promotional video video videography https://www.jdbcreativity.com/blog/2013/2/PromoVideo Sat, 02 Feb 2013 06:13:57 GMT
Headshots with Terisa part 2 - San Francisco Adventures https://www.jdbcreativity.com/blog/2013/1/terisa-SF JDBL7980

Terisa at the Embarcadero Pier. Shot at ISO 100 at F/9 at 1/125th of second.



For part two of Headshots with Terisa, this time around are goal was to make it up to San Francisco and shoot at various recognizable locations. Our first stop was to get a skyline at Yerba Buena gardens from an elevated location. We decided to shoot from a second story stairway off the Sony Metreon building. After a little while of lighting setup and Terisa touching up her makeup we took a few warmup shots. Unfortunately at that time, we were asked my the security what company we were were with and if we had a permit. The shoot we were doing was very informal, and we did not have a permit, so we had to stop. Strike 1. At least the security lady was nice about it. So we grabbed out gear, and make out way down the stairs towards the MLK memorial and waterfall. I figured that if we went down there we would get a similar view that we had on the upper level. After only a few minutes of setup, and a couple shots, we were asked my a couple of maintenance workers again if we had a permit. Strike 2. It became clearly evident that we probably couldn't have shot anywhere in or around the Yerba Buena garden area without being harassed.



The second story view we wanted to use.


The one shot that was okay downstairs near the MLK memorial.


I think the reason we were bothered so much is that we looked too professional. Normally when I go out solo and take photos of landscapes, I’m usually left alone. However on such occasions I only have my camera and one lens, and a tripod. During our photo shoot I had not only my camera gear and a model, I also had an assistant (thanks for your help Sean) who helped movie two lighting speedlites around or held a reflector/diffuser to help control the light. It was pretty obvious to me that with all that gear it was the perception of the security guard and the maintenance worker that this was an official photo shoot and it was their job to butt in and find out what I was doing. I don’t fault them in this, its just a shame that we weren’t allowed to continue, when I know that if I had shown up with a smaller camera, with no assistant and no lighting that they wouldn’t have cared.


So rather than strike out, we decided to move to our next location within San Francisco to get some shots in a more public venue where we wouldn’t get chased away. I chose a spot near the “Cupid’s Span” art a public art piece along the Embarcadero. We got a few shots with the Bay Bridge in the background. Then a few near the huge Bow and Arrow. It was challenging getting some decent shots dealing with the sunny lighting conditions. During the first shoot, it was mostly cloudy, so no matter where you shot the light looks good on the model’s face. When dealing with direct sunlight, you have to be creative in placement of the subject in relation to the sun. 


Cupid's Span along the Embarcadero


Shot with a diffuser held over her to soften the light.


Here are some tips:


  1. Try placing the subject with the sun at their back, and then either use a reflector of sort to light their face, or use your camera’s flash.
  2. Find a spot in the shade, people’s faces look much better with the softer light in the shade.
  3. If you want to shoot them in direct sunlight, find some sort of diffuse material, like a white pantyhose that you can stretch over a frame. You can make one out of PVC pipe, or maybe wood. Or you can buy 5 in 1 reflector diffuser.


All in all it was quite exciting during our San Francisco photo adventure. I must say that I liked the photos towards the end of the shoot near the Embarcadero the most.



Terisa at the Pier near the Ferry Building. Shot at ISO 100 at F/9 at 1/200th of a second.


[email protected] (JDB Creativity) Bay Area San Francisco headshots location photography outdoor portraits https://www.jdbcreativity.com/blog/2013/1/terisa-SF Wed, 23 Jan 2013 19:30:00 GMT
White Balance - The Color of Light https://www.jdbcreativity.com/blog/2013/1/white-balance Palm Tree - WB

The upper left part of this photo is set to 'daylight' while the bottom right is set to 'tungsten'.
Shot at ISO 400 at F/2.0 at 1/30th of a second.


One often overlooked aspect of photography that a lot of newbies don’t think about is setting the appropriate white balance on their digital cameras. What exactly is white balance, and why should I care about it you might ask?  White balance is what your digital camera does to correct the color balance so that objects that are white appear white rather than yellow-white or blue-white. To understand this concept, you have to understand that the color temperature of light varies depending on the time of day (morning, afternoon, evening), weather conditions (sunny days, cloudy days, being in the shade on a sunny day) and the type of light (incandescent bulbs, daylight bulbs, fluorescent bulbs, etc).


To understand white balance fully, you have to understand a color temperature. Color temperature is measured in Kelvins. You may remember this term from Physics class. Basically the lower the values (1000-2000 K) the warmer the color of the light is (yellow), while the higher the values (5000 - 6000 K), the cooler the color of the light (blue). 


Our eyes do a really great job at adapting to whatever lighting conditions that we are in. No matter what type of light we perceive, white looks white. Digital cameras aren’t as sophisticated as our eyes, and can often be fooled when set on the AWB (auto white balance) setting. So camera manufacturers cleverly put in several presets that can help. 


AWB  - Auto white balance is great for general use, but only is accurate within a certain range (3000 - 7000 K). It can be fooled at times, especially when your shooting in mixed lighting situations, for example if you have daylight streaming through a window and have the lights on in your house.


Custom - pictured with two triangles and a rounded rectangle, custom is where you take a picture of something white or neutral gray, and the camera uses it as a reference so it knows what the color should be (most accurate)

WB table

Kelvin - pictured with an upper case ‘K’, for advanced users that know what color temperature is, and can be used creatively to dial in a color they want.


Tungsten - pictured as a bulb, this setting is generally used when taking photos under household light bulbs that are generally warm in color.


Fluorescent - pictured as a long rectangular light fixture, this is used a lot in buildings with fluorescent lighting such as schools, offices, commercial buildings, etc.


Daylight - pictured as the sun, daylight is used when its sunny outside typically during the the mid part of the day, not as useful during the sunrise or sunset hours.


Flash - pictured as a lightning bolt, is used when the your camera’s flash, (built-in, or one you attach to your camera, or triggered remotely) is the main light source.


Cloudy - pictured as a fluffy cloud, is used when its overcast and the sun is blocked by clouds. 


Shade - pictured with a little house giving shade, is used during sunny conditions and you are shooting under open shade.


So what do I do you may wonder, when it comes to white balance. I always shoot Auto White Balance (AWB) because I save all my photos in RAW format. Shooting RAW enables me to choose whatever white balance I want when I get the photos back to my computer. If you shoot your images and save them as Jpeg’s then its far more important to choose the correct white balance setting in advance. Because once you do, its much more difficult to change your mind after the fact.


Sea Lion - Custom

White balance set to 'tungsten' which matched the
lighting here. Its okay.

Sea Lion - Tungsten

White balance set to 'daylight' although not exactly
accurate, I like the look a bit more.



Sailing the Bay - White balance set to daylight. Shot at ISO 100, at f/9.0 at 1/320th of a second.

[email protected] (JDB Creativity) AWB cloudy color temperature flash fluorescent kelvin shade tungsten white balance https://www.jdbcreativity.com/blog/2013/1/white-balance Mon, 21 Jan 2013 20:55:40 GMT
ISO - How sensitive your camera is to light part 2 https://www.jdbcreativity.com/blog/2013/1/iso ISO-examples_1

Seahorse at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, shot at ISO 6400



Aside from understanding aperture and shutter speed, the third most important setting on your digital camera that is important to understand in improving your photography is how and why to use the proper ISO setting for the right condition. For those of you who remember the time before digital cameras when photos were recorded on to film, you probably remember having to decide what speed film to buy for your camera. Common film speeds were 100, 125, 200, 400, 800, 1600, etc. Generally if you wanted to shoot in darker environments, you would need to purchase a higher film speed, usually 800 and higher. However this would result in photos that would be grainy. If you wanted to have sharper less grainy photos, then you would buy a lower speed film, say 100-200 speed range, but would need more light in order to get a decent photo. If you translate this to a modern digital camera, you now have the ability to change that ‘film speed’ or in this case the camera sensor’s sensitivity to light, which functions basically the same way. 
Jellyfish at the Monterey Bay Aquarium shot at ISO 1250
The major benefit is that you’re not stuck with the same speed film for an entire roll of film. On a digital camera you can change the film speed, or ISO anytime you wish. Incidentally ISO stands for International Standards of Organization or something like that. 
So the point to all this is that when taking photos, it would be a good idea to look at adjusting your camera’s ISO setting to match how much light is available to you when you’re taking a photo. As a general rule, I tend to keep my ISO low at around 100 when shooting in very bright or well lit conditions, (broad daylight or its equivalent). When I’m shooting indoors someplace, I usually have to set the ISO somewhere between 400-800. When shooting in very dark conditions, say at a concert or at night, I’ll typically have the ISO range from 1600-3200. The great thing about shooting with a decent DSLR is that even at higher ISO settings the photos aren’t too grainy or noisy. If you have an older or lower end DSLR, or are shooting with a smaller compact camera or camera phone, typically you’ll have much more noise at higher ISO settings. 
Underneath Monterey Pier - Shot at ISO 400
Normally your camera would take care of the ISO automatically, but I challenge you to switch your camera to Program mode, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, or even Manual and play with the ISO settings and see what you get!
[email protected] (JDB Creativity) ISO film speed https://www.jdbcreativity.com/blog/2013/1/iso Tue, 15 Jan 2013 03:54:20 GMT
Headshots with Terisa https://www.jdbcreativity.com/blog/2013/1/headshots-with-terisa TerisaHeadShot_20

Shot at f/7.1 at 1/160th of a second at ISO 160 at 180mm. Lit with a Canon 430EX speedlite from camera left.


I recently did an outdoor photo shoot for my friend Terisa's website. Originally we were planning on going to San Francisco to a few different locations, but decided at the last minute to change the location to the Niles district in Fremont near where I live due to rainy weather. I was supposed to have an assistant help out, but because of the last minute change it didn't work out. I would have had them hold a reflector or a secondary flash had someone been there, but since the weather that day was overcast I made due with having a secondary flash on a lightstand that I was able to trigger wirelessly with my camera mounted 580EX flashlite.


When shooting outdoor portraits in overcast or cloudy weather, the white diffuse light works well and does not cast harsh shadows. The only drawback is that with everything soft and diffuse, photos can sometimes end up looking flat, so for this photo shoot, I decided to use small flashes to create more interesting light, and to introduce more depth and shadows. I had one flash attached to my camera that acted as a master flash that served as my key light, and also to create a small catchlight in Terisa's pupils, and a secondary 'slave' flash to act as a fill light. I shot with two lenses, my 24-105mm F/4L and my 70-200mm F4L IS. For the wider shots I went with the 24-105 when I wanted to show some of the interesting backgrounds around Niles. When I wanted to isolate Terisa more from the background, I switched to the 70-200.



Shot at f/4.0 at 1/200th of a second at ISO 100 at 67mm. Lit with a Canon 430EX speedlite from camera left.


After the shoot while Terisa and I had a quick lunch at the Nile Café, I downloaded the photos to my iPad to let Terisa view and rate the ones she like the best. Afterwards, I downloaded the photos to Aperture to organize the photos that I liked the most, then did some basic color grading and retouching. I usually start with an auto enhancement, then I go in and tweak things that I feel need a bit more work. Sometimes I'll adjust color balance to be a bit warmer, especially when shooting portraits. I think everyone looks better with warmer skin tones. To give the photos a bit more pop, I'll add just a bit of mid contrast. Finally, I'll use the retouch brush to fix and glaring skin blemishes and then run each of the final picks through Color Efex Pro and run a skin softening filter.



Shot at f/8.0 at 1/160th of a second at ISO 250 at 105mm.


TerisaHeadShot_17 Shot at f/4.0 at 1/200th of a second at ISO 100 at 191mm. Lit with a Canon 430EX speedlite from camera left.

[email protected] (JDB Creativity) Terisa headshot location portrait portrait session https://www.jdbcreativity.com/blog/2013/1/headshots-with-terisa Wed, 09 Jan 2013 01:27:39 GMT
Rule of Thirds https://www.jdbcreativity.com/blog/2013/1/rule-of-thirds  

Oregon PumpkinsOregon-HDR 7

Using the rule of thirds, I focused on the rightmost pumpkin and the smiling hay bale behind it. Shot at F/6.3 at 1/100th of a second.



One of the first things that one will learn in order to take better photos is the rule of thirds. The basic principle of the rule is to imagine the viewfinder or screen on the back of your camera broken up into thirds both horizontally and vertically creating 9 equal squares. The rule which isn’t exactly a rule, but more a guideline to improve the composition in your photographs is that you should place the subject of your photo at one of the 4 intersecting points of the grid. If you are shooting something like a landscape, place the horizon line at either of the horizontal lines. If your subject is something vertical, like say a person, than try aligning them with one of the vertical lines. More often than not, you’ll find that playing with placing your subject along the intersection points and/or along the lines instead of right in them middle will provide for more interesting photographs.




Following the rule of thirds often creates a sense of balance, without making the image too static or boring. It can also create a sense of complexity, but without making the image too busy. 


EdwardsReserveCrane 2 Here I placed the post in the foreground on the left third which balances the red boat on the right third, even though the horizon
 is in the middle the photo still works. 
Shot at F/7.1 at 1/250th of a second



I’ve found that the more you shoot and practice the rule of thirds, that over time its use becomes second nature, and I tend to frame my photos unconsciously looking for interesting compositions that utilize the rule, but not always.



PorteroHillOverpass 3

San Francisco Skyline place at the top third, with the lights of the traffic that lead your eyes towards it. Shot at f/6.3 for 3.2 seconds.


Now like most rules, there is always a time and a place to break the rule of thirds, but its always good advice to understand the rule first, and if you’re going to go around and break the rules, you should have a good reason for doing so. For example it may work for certain photos to center your subject if your goal is to show how symmetrical it is.


Yosemite 8

 The redwood is placed in the middle because of its symmetry, is balanced by the sign in the lower third. Shot at F/6.3 at 1/40th of a second.




[email protected] (JDB Creativity) composition rule of thirds https://www.jdbcreativity.com/blog/2013/1/rule-of-thirds Mon, 07 Jan 2013 05:36:46 GMT
Bokeh - The aesthetic quality of the blur https://www.jdbcreativity.com/blog/2012/12/bokeh  

Roseli & JacobRoseli&Jacob
Roseli & Jacob - Shot at f/4.0 at 1/500th of a second.

When you have a photo of something that is in the foreground while the background is out of focus, or blurry, the quality of that blurry background is known as bokeh, (pronounced boh-kay). The term comes from the Japanese term "boke" which means blur or haze. Bokeh occurs when the background of t
he photo is outside the depth of field. Shallow focus techniques are often used to create images with prominent out-of-focus regions, especially when doing portraits. The reason bokeh is discussed in photography is because when you have a subject in the foreground that is sharp and in focus, having a pleasing soft focus, creamy background is less distracting, and does not draw your eye away from the subject.
I believe that the reason people are attracted to photos with bokeh, is that it is something that our eyes simply do not see in real lift. When we look at scene in which we view for example someone standing in front of background who is a good 20+ feet away, our eyes automatically focus on both the person and the background and everything appears to be in focus. We can certainly switch our focus back and forth, and whatever we're not focusing on will appear a bit softer. But when we look at the scene as a whole, then everything appears in focus. 
In order to achieve pleasing bokeh generally happens when using large aperture lenses (f2.8, f1.8, f1.4 etc). See my blog post on aperture priority for more info. 
Annabelle - Shot at f/4.0 at 1/100th of a second.
Cowgirl - Shot at f/5.6 at 1/250th of a second.
Alan GradAlanGrad
Alan the graduate - Shot at f/3.5 at 1/200th of a second.
[email protected] (JDB Creativity) boke bokeh depth of field https://www.jdbcreativity.com/blog/2012/12/bokeh Sun, 30 Dec 2012 19:54:40 GMT
Merry Christmas 2012 https://www.jdbcreativity.com/blog/2012/12/merry-christamas-2012 Merry Christmas everyone! Enjoy some holiday themed photos. All of the photos posted in this blog post were done with my Canon EOS M, and edited in Aperture. Season's greetings everyone!

Stanford HolidayTree-1

Interesting angle of a Christmas tree at the Stanford Shopping Center. Shot at ISO 100 at f/2.0 at 1/100th of a second.


Stanford HolidayTree-2

Closeup of an ornament at the Christmas tree in the Stanford Shopping Center. Shot at ISO 100 at f/2 at 1/50th of a second.


Macy's Xmas Tree

Christmas Tree at the Macy's near Union Square, San Francisco Ca. Shot at ISO 100 at f/4 at 1/50th of a second.


Xmas Window 2 Window display at the Macy's near Union Square, San Francisco Ca, Shot at ISO 100 at f/2.0 at 1/100th of a second.


Xmas Window 3 Another window display at the Macy's near Union Square, San Francisco Ca, Shot at ISO 100 at f/2.0 at 1/50th of a second.


Xmas Window 1 Another window display at the Macy's near Union Square, San Francisco Ca, Shot at ISO 100 at f/2.0 at 1/100th of a second.

[email protected] (JDB Creativity) christmas holiday xmas https://www.jdbcreativity.com/blog/2012/12/merry-christamas-2012 Wed, 26 Dec 2012 00:17:51 GMT
Behind the Scenes at Bambu's "Books" music video https://www.jdbcreativity.com/blog/2012/12/BTS-Bambu  

Bambu & Geo strut their stuff.

On the Saturday before the Christmas holiday I had the honor of documenting behind the scenes video and photography for Bambu (formerly with Native Guns) and Geo (front man from Blue Scholars), two well known hip hop artists. The video was produced in collaboration with Kidheroes Productions and Xylophone Films, with production by Crew-152 at Ohlone College. I can't give any specific details about what the video was about, but I'll say that it was a lot of fun, quite funny, and had a positive message. 


Officially I was part of the crew to do behind the scenes video, however I also took a few stills as well, mainly with my walk-around camera the Canon EOS M. With this little guy, I shot solely with the EF-M 22mm F/2.0. I shot the behind the scenes video with my main camera the Canon EOS 5D Mark III. On this full frame body, I shot everything with the tank like 24-70 2.8mm F/2.8L. Since I was alternating between video and stillsI had to move fast and document the action both on and off set I didn't have time to switch lenses. However having lenses that were fairly fast, I was able to shoot using the available light. Although I can’t show any production stills yet, our cast / crew group shot can be seen above.

Here are a few more photos okayed by the director to be released in anticipation of the video release. I'm currently working on the Behind the Scenes video as you read this!
BambuBTS_Book11 One of the members of our dedicated production crew Mark, looks on.
BambuBTS_Book57 The crew working hard as our director PG guides the ship.
BambuBTS_Book9 Bambu & Pat working together to perfect one of the hilarious scenes.
Books Music Video Production CrewProductionCrew-BambuBook
The illustrious production crew
[email protected] (JDB Creativity) Behind the scenes bambu blue scholars film production geo music video native guns ohlone college video https://www.jdbcreativity.com/blog/2012/12/BTS-Bambu Sun, 23 Dec 2012 06:13:52 GMT
The Hobbit - in Real 3D at 48 FPS https://www.jdbcreativity.com/blog/2012/12/the-hobbit  

The Hobbit I just got out of a screening of Peter Jackson's "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" of which I decided to watch in 3D at 48 frames per second. I'd like to share a quick review and my perspective of the movie shown at the twice than usual 48 FPS instead of the traditional 24 FPS. For those reading this that aren't familiar with the frame rates, up until now, all movies are shown with a frame rate of 24 FPS, in which every second on the screen, 24 still images are shown which gives the illusion of motion. In contrast, TV shows are shown at either 30 FPS, and sometimes 60 FPS in the case of sports broadcasts. 48 FPS in somewhere in the middle, and in the opinion of filmmakers like Peter Jackson and James Cameron, is the future of cinema. In fact Cameron is supposedly going to screen the Avatar sequels in 48 FPS. After watching "The Hobbit" I personally agree.
At first it took me awhile to get used to the 48 FPS look. Admittedly it was a  bit jarring at first. Character movements appeared to be sped up at first until I got used to it.  However the clarity of the images on the screen was so lifelike, it was like I was almost there! The detail was so clear and vivid, with a very high def feel but at the same time still very cinematic.  he sweeping shots of the landscapes were epic and beautifully rich and detailed and crisp. It seriously looked like if you took high resolution stills and created a timelapse video. That's pretty obvious since Peter Jackson shot the movie with 3D in mind with dual Red Epic cameras that have the capability of shooting 5K video. To my knowledge this is only the second movie after Avatar to be shot in native 3D, while most studios choose to convert their movies to 3D later on in post production. I think that it works much better this way.
The screening I saw was at the AMC Metreon theater in San Francisco, and utilized the new Dolby atmos sound system. I found it to be very immersive, much more than typical surround sound. During several scenes, it felt like I was inside the movie, with sounds of the environment coming from all around the theater.
 As for the movie it self, I throughly enjoyed the almost 3 hours in the theater. For me it was slow going in the beginning, but eventually the story drew me in. The great action sequences were impressive in 48 FPS with every swing, slice, hit detailed and clear on the big screen. There were a few funny moments, and the first dwarf song was fun, almost like a musical number, while the second really draws you into the adventure. For Lord of the Ring fans, it was great to see the interactions between Bilbo and Golum and how it sets the tone for later on with Frodo. And finally I  got to see Gandalf kicking ass!  
Now I gotta go and watch The Lord if the Rings trilogy again and get the audiobook version of the Hobbit!
[email protected] (JDB Creativity) 48 FPS The Hobbit movie review https://www.jdbcreativity.com/blog/2012/12/the-hobbit Wed, 19 Dec 2012 02:00:00 GMT
ISO - How Sensitive Your Camera is to Light https://www.jdbcreativity.com/blog/2012/12/iso Bay Bridge NightBayBridgeNight_5

Bay Bridge Night. Shot at ISO 6400 at f/4.0 with a shutter speed of 1/13th of  second.

Those of you that remember using actual film cameras will undoubtedly remember having to buy different speeds of film. You may remember such speeds as 100, 400, 800 and up. Generally, the way it works with film is that the lower the number, the less sensitive the film is to light, the higher the film speed, the more sensitive the film is to light. 


So, if you were to take a picture on a bright sunny day, a very low film speed like 100, 200, or maybe 400 would all that would be needed. However, if you wanted to take a picture in a low light environment, say inside, or at night, you would need a film that is more sensitive, such as film speeds of 800, 1600, or even 3200. 


Now you may think to yourself, what if I only have 100 speed film and want to shoot at night? Or what if I have 1600 speed film, and want to take some shots during the day?  You can certainly do so! One simply needs to set the camera to the proper aperture and shutter speed combinations to get a proper exposure. Now you may ask, why don’t I just whatever film speed all the time, if I just need to set the proper aperture and shutter speeds? Like anything in life, there are right situations in which to use the right film speeds. Shooting at lower film speeds will give sharper and less grainy photos than shooting at higher film speeds. Shooting higher film speeds will enable you to take a photo where a lower film speed would require an aperture and shutter speed combination that would be impractical given the lighting conditions.


Classic Chevy at AlcatrazClassic Chevy at Alcatrax

Classic Chevy at Alcatraz. Shot at ISO 1600 at f/3.2 at 1/4th of a second.


So far I’ve been talking about film speeds, while most of you reading this most likely are shooting with digital cameras. The above-mentioned film speeds directly correspond to the ISO settings on your digital camera. However unlike traditional film cameras, you aren’t stuck with a particular speed of film for an entire roll of film. You can change your ISO at will! So if you are shooting outdoors in daylight, set your ISO to the lowest in can go, typically 100 or 200. If you shoot indoors, or any place where its dark, set it between 400 and 800. If you want to do some night photography, some newer DSLR’s can go all the way up to 6400 and still give remarkably clean photos. My Canon 5D Mark 3 can be set all the way up to 102,400! Although I’d never shoot it that high. 


This may seem a little confusing, but the thing to remember is to use the right ISO for the right lighting conditions. With digital cameras, you have the ability and flexibility to set the ISO to whatever you want, as often as you want. If you can master the relationship between ISO, aperture, and shutter speed on your camera, I’m positive that you will improve your photography!


Fireboat under the bay bridgeFireboat under the Bay Bridge

Fireboat Under the Bay Bridge. Shot at ISO 100 f/8.0 at 1/320th of a second.


[email protected] (JDB Creativity) ISO film speed night photography https://www.jdbcreativity.com/blog/2012/12/iso Tue, 18 Dec 2012 08:57:52 GMT
Shutter Priority Mode - I’ve Got the Need for Speed! https://www.jdbcreativity.com/blog/2012/12/shutter-priority-mode Natural BridgesNatural Bridges Beach

Natural Bridges State Beach, Santa Cruz, Ca Shot at 1/400th of a second at f/10.

What is a shutter you may wonder, and why should I care how fast it goes? A very good question! Essentially a shutter as it relates to photography and your camera is a device that allows light to pass through a lens and strike a film negative or light sensor to create a photo. The type of shutter depends on what kind of camera one is using. A typical DSLR utilizes a diaphram shutter which is made up of a number of thin blades in a way that creates a circular aperture. This shutter can open quickly to uncover the whole lens, stay open for a period of time letting in the light, then close again. This period of time is known as the shutter speed.


Shutter speeds are mostly measured in fractions of a second, and sometimes in seconds. Typical speeds range from:


1/1000th of a second

1/500th of a second

1/250th of a second

1/60th of a second

1/30th of a second

1/15th of a second

1/8th of a second

1/4th of a second

1/2 of a second

1 second +


As you increase the duration by each increment in the table above, double the amount of light is allowed to pass through the lens. Faster shutter speeds are useful when you want to freeze a subject in motion. While a slower shutter speed not only gives the suggestion of motion through blur in the photo, but also is very useful for allowing in more light when shooting in lowlight environments. When using lower shutter speeds, you must be very steady when handholding the camera, or use a tripod, otherwise you may introduce blur into the photos. However, even if your camera is rock steady, and you are using a slow shutter speed, you may still experience blur if your subjects is in motion.  A good rule of thumb to avoid camera shake is to use a shutter speed that is equivalent to the reciprocal of whatever focal length you are shooting. For example if you are shooting with a 50mm lens, your shutter speed should be 1/60th of second or faster. If you are using a telephoto lens at 200mm, then your shutter speed should be 1/250th of a second, and so forth.


When utilizing shutter priority mode on your camera, you decide what shutter to use, and your camera will give you an appropriate aperture. I admittedly don’t use shutter priority all that much, preferring instead to use aperture priority about 80% of the time and use manual control the other 20%. The only time I use shutter priority is when I want to intentionally freeze action like shooting a bird in flight or showing the motion of a waterfall. I encourage you out there to go out and try it yourselves!







Multnomah FallsMultnomah Falls

Multnomah Falls, Oregon - shot at 1/40th of a second at f/9.0


[email protected] (JDB Creativity) blur freezing motion motion shutter shutter priority shutter speed https://www.jdbcreativity.com/blog/2012/12/shutter-priority-mode Sun, 16 Dec 2012 08:52:18 GMT
Aperture Priority Mode - Why use it? https://www.jdbcreativity.com/blog/2012/12/aperture-priority-mode---why-use-it  


Lots of folks ask me how they can go about taking better photos.They ask questions like, how can I prevent my photos from being blurry, or how do you make the background blurry, but not everything else?


What I usually tell people is the first thing to do is to take their camera out of auto mode and to try out some of the more manual modes on their cameras, to really take the time and learn what they do, how they affect the picture. The mode that I use probably the most often is Aperture Priority. With aperture priority, you set the aperture, and your camera will set whatever shutter speed is appropriate given the lighting conditions, and what ISO the camera is set to. 


In order to understand what aperture priority does, you have to understand what aperture is and how it relates to photography. 


In its most basic sense, aperture is the control in your camera lens that determines how much light reaches the image sensor or film negative. Cameras utilize a diaphragm which much like the iris in your eye, opens and closes ranging from a large to very small hole. The size of this opening is measured as an f-number, or f-stop. A lower number f-stop is a larger opening, and lets in more light. A higher number f-stop is a smaller opening, and lets in less light. A good way to remember this is that a larger f-stop stops more light, while a smaller f-stop stops less light. A typical f-stop range is from f/2.8 through f/16.




Now how does this affect your photos? One very important thing that aperture controls, is how much of your photo is in focus. Let’s pretend that we are are looking out at beautiful landscape and want to keep everything in focus. To achieve this you would use a very high aperture number, like f/11 or f/16, or maybe even f/22. Or lets say you’re taking a portrait of your sweetie, and want only his or her face to be in focus, and want the background to be blurry? To do this, you’ll want to use a lower f-stop, like f/4 or f2.8. One thing to be aware of when you want to blur the background, is that you want your subject to be a good distance away from whats in the background. The distance will vary depending on what f-stop you are using.


I would say that I shoot aperture priority about 80% of the time. It gives me the most control over how I want my photos to look. When I’m shooting in low light conditions, for example indoors, or at night. I like to use the larger apertures in order to allow as much light as possible in to the camera in order to take a photo. However if I’m shooting something outdoors in sunny weather, I’ll use a very small aperture to limit the amount of light, to prevent the picture from being too bright, and to make sure everything is in focus. 


I encourage you dear reader, to go out and play with aperture priority. Go make some great photos where you select different aperture settings and see what you get. You may make mistakes, or may not like what you get, but the more you shoot, the more you learn.


Ardenwood-Monarch 21 This was shot in Aperture Priority Mode at f/4 at a shutter speed of 1/800th of a second. The trees behind the butterflies were 15 feet away.


Yosemite 5 This landscape shot of Yosemite valley was shot at f/11 with a shutter speed of 1/80th of a second in order to get a deep depth of field.

[email protected] (JDB Creativity) F-stop aperture aperture priority depth of field f-stop fstop https://www.jdbcreativity.com/blog/2012/12/aperture-priority-mode---why-use-it Fri, 14 Dec 2012 07:31:23 GMT
Canon EOS M - my take... https://www.jdbcreativity.com/blog/2012/12/CanonEOSM

Photo: Night shot of some bike parking off University Avenue in Palo Alto, Ca

Today I'd like to share my thoughts about Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens cameras (MILC). This class of Camera unlike popular compact digital cameras allow you to swap out lenses. Unlike the larger DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras, MILC cameras don't have mirror based optical viewfinders, but sometimes will have electronic viewfinders instead. Canon has released their first MILC entry, the EOS M, which unlike most of the competition offers a sensor that's about the same size as there lower and mid range DSLR cameras. 


Recently I purchased the EOS M, and use it along with its older brother the Canon 5D Mark 3 DSLR. Here are my thoughts.

What I like ... 

  • Size - the things is tiny! I can throw it in my camera bag, jacket pocket, and it weighs next to nothing.

  • Touchscreen - Because this camera is aimed at consumers rather than prosumers, it has simplified its control system with less buttons and added a nifty 3-inch touchscreen. This makes for a fast and fluid experience, like using an iPhone, in order to change settings and review photos.

  • Sensor - Even though the camera is small and compact, it houses a digital sensor that is the same as the acclaimed Digital Rebel series, the APS-C sensor. This results in great image quality overall, and great performance in lowlight, especially using the included EF-M 22mm F/2 STM pancake lens.

  • Video - Just like its bigger brothers, the EOS M is great for taking video. It has the ability to shoot in a variety of different resolutions and frame rates. HD video can be shot at 720P at 50fps or 60fps, and at 1080P Full HD at 30fps, 24fps, or 25fps. Also with the EF-M STM lens, the camera is able to handle continuous autofocus when shooting video.

  • Stereo Mic - This is the first camera that shoots video and has a stereo mic. Most cameras only record in Mono. Pretty cool!

  • Auto Bracketing - Having the ability to bracket 3 shots, with up to 2 stops under and over is great for doing HDR photography!


What I don't really care for, (or what could be better)...

  • Autofocus - It is EXTREMELY SLOW at times. after being used to the near instant AF speed on DSLR's, waiting for this camera to autofocus is maddeningly frustrating at times. This would not be a good camera to shoot sports or wildlife with. I mainly use it for landscape and street photography, and often manually focus, so its not that big of a deal for me.

  • Battery Life - The camera comes with a small LP-E12 battery that gives about 230 shots. Not the best compared to well over 800-1000 shots on with the battery of my 5DM3. 

  • No Viewfinder - Although the touchscreen is great, it would be nice to at least have the option of an EVF viewfinder. I've read on various photoblogs that there's rumor of a new EOS M camera with a viewfinder. Hmmm.

  • No Remote Port - I take a lot of landscapes using a tripod and remote trigger for doing time lapses . There is no remote control port on this camera to attach a remote trigger. Boo!


Overall despite the flaws, I really like the Canon EOS M, and take it with me wherever I go in case I see a moment in which I want to capture a photo and the camera on my iPhone 5 isn't quite good enough. Although the iPhone 5 does have a damn good camera, but that's the subject of another post. I will end this first blog post with some images I recently shot with this fine little camera. Enjoy!

Cocoa - My friends Chihuahua-Terrier mix
I liked this design the morning mist made on my car window.

Some nice flowers and a serene fountain at the Stanford Shopping Center.


[email protected] (JDB Creativity) MILC canon eos eos m interchangeable' mirrorless mirrorless camera, https://www.jdbcreativity.com/blog/2012/12/CanonEOSM Tue, 11 Dec 2012 21:15:57 GMT