Well… there wasn’t really a storm that was coming after I took this picture, however there might as well have been one. This past Wednesday, Allison and I decided to take the California State Highway 1 all the way up to San Jose from Los Angeles. This was the last picture I took while parking in the middle of nowhere on the side of California State Highway 1 before the stretch of road I call the “death curves”. It was the toughest stretch of road that I have ever driven on and I only have this analogy to describe how I felt about it at the time. Here we go, for you hardcore gamers out there:
The experience was like playing an incredibly bad, blatant rip-off of one of the God of War games, with onslaughts of ridiculously difficult and repetitive enemies and bosses with bad camera angles that took forever to finish, only to find out that the ending sucks!
It was winding and long. How long, you ask? It was a 2 hours of tightly grasping the steering-wheel, constant braking, and 180-degree+ turns. One mistake and I would have become part of the landscape. Not only it is really high above the ocean in elevation but the roads also got increasingly more rough, narrow, and difficult as I get closer to Monterey Bay. At some parts of the road, there would only be one lane for both directions… yeah… hmmm… who needs two lanes anyway! Up and down, left and right, nonstop madness and frustration for a period of 2 hours. The last hour of it was in complete darkness (it was getting kinda dark as you can see in the picture above)! Where were the reset or pause buttons?!
I can surely say that this is the last time I’ll be driving through that stretch of road. So unless you have a death wish or a nice sport car with nice handling… or both, I’d recommend not taking this way ever! It’s totally not worth it since you would be too busy trying to dodge death (cliff on one side, spiky sliding rocks on the other), you wouldn’t be able to enjoy any of the nice views it offers.
This picture below described perfectly how I felt at the time:
These squirrels were a whole different story in itself, they’re hungry, relentless, and fearless… since everyone who comes by this area of the beach always end up feeding them even though there is a sign that reads “No feeding the animals”.
After the photo sessions we had with Cicilia, Allison and I set out to do our own photoshoot… or more like me just dragging her to the next “interesting” spot that caught my eye a bit earlier. Here is a picture taken from that “interesting” spot:
This “interesting” spot is located inside of the Yahoo! Center’s building complex nearby. It’s the first staircase down to the parking structures below the building complex. Now that I have revealed this piece of information, some of you reading this might know exactly where this was taken. 😉
The whole photoshoot was taken with just one flash (Canon 580ex mark II triggered by the RF-602 trigger) with CTO gel, off to the right side behind a shoot through umbrella. It was getting dark and cold… and truthfully, I was too lazy to pull out all kinds of lighting gear at that point. It all worked out pretty well, I thought. The one light setup made the picture more interesting and moody in a good way. The CTO (orange or tungsten) warming gel on the flash helped quite a bit too, it always gives more “life” to the subject you are shooting, especially if your subjects are humans :).
For post processing, I wanted the pictures to have an urban, slightly grungy, but at the same time, professional and commercial look. For the picture above, I burned and darkened the upper left side corner a bit more than usual to make it look more dramatic and mysterious. It looks as if Allison was stranded in some strange basement area posing for the camera.
I liked how the patterns in the background came out so nicely, and to enhance this even further, I used the plugin Topaz Detail and adjusted the new layer’s opacity to not overdo things. The endless repeating stair steps in the background made an interesting diagonal pattern that draws the viewers’ attention to the subject in the middle. I also like how Allison is contrasting with the background not just in terms of the colors. Near the end of the photoshoot, Allison had a suggestion that we should come back at a later time to redo the shoot at the exact place but this time she would be in a black dress or something else classier. I thought it was a great idea that would make the overall contrast between subject vs background even more interesting…classiness vs. grunginess. Next time it will be then!
Here is an outtake and more candid shot from that session, Allison’s being abandoned :D:
A few weeks back, a friend of a friend of mine asked Allison and I if we were interested in being a part of a photography project that she’s doing. Being amateur photographers ourselves, we were more than happy to help by being two of Cicilia’s many subjects for her ongoing photography project over at Cici’s Diary. Go check it out! I like Cicilia’s journalistic style of photography, it sorta reminded me that there’s still another side to taking portraits instead of going all out with studio lighting and strobes all the time like I usually do. 😀
Here are the direct links to our individual portraits: Son and Allison. The right sides of the pictures are supposed to be the “1-3 things that best represent who that person is”…I cheated with with 4. 😀
We ended the individual portrait photoshoots with a few couple shots of Allison and myself. Being in front of the camera felt so weird and so out of place, especially after all of these times being behind one, I’m not sure if I can get used to that or even want to. One thing for sure is that Allison definitely enjoyed it very much, since we rarely ever get photographed together. It has always been just me being a paparazzi, trigger happy, popping pictures left and right whenever we go anywhere nice. If you don’t believe me, check out my Flickr stream! Hah! I feel a restraining order coming my way preeettty soon.
Refresh, relaunch, recycle, rediscover, or whatever else you may call it. I call this Reinforcements.
It’s been a very long time since I’ve last blogged and I wanted to give this blogging thing a try again. This time, I will make more of an effort to post more frequently with more random things! I also figured that now and in the near future I will have more things to share that will allow me to blog more often than before. Annnnndddd what’s a better way to start this new blogging rhythm off than with a new design!
But before we talk about the new design, here are a few screenshots to show you the evolution of phuson.com over the years (2004-Present to be exact):
And then version 3.0!
For this new version, I wanted to start fresh from a blank slate and therefore you will not see any past posts before this one. Of course, if you are curious, past blog posts can still be viewed by clicking on the version 2.0 screenshot above.
It took me a couple of days this past weekend to catch the urge and come up with the design for this new version. Simplicity and spotlighting the main content are my two goals for this new design. I also attempted to recycle and reuse as many graphic elements as I could from past versions, such as the 3D rendering of robot characters, and the new-ish logo (drawn by Allison). Even my old old logo (that can be seen on version 1.0) is making a cameo in the new design. Especially since I will be posting a lot more pictures I take regularly on here, I want the content to be the main focus of your attention.
Oh and by the way, I have not tested this site on any Internet Explorer versions at all and probably won’t for a while (not until I’m on my Windows machine again).
As always, any comments or feedback are welcome! 🙂