Jillian in Black and White

I wondered around downtown with this wonderful lady doing her photo project today and decided to do one of my own! She was making portraits of employees in local businesses… and I was documenting her :).

Entire Set: http://www.flickr.com/photos/echo0101/sets/72157623406726327/

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Kara & Robbie

I photographed this wonderful couple a few weeks ago! These are Kara & Robbie’s engagement photos.

The set on Flickr can be found here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/echo0101/sets/72157623511918248/

Please click here to enlarge the photos if you are viewing in a browser.

Robbie and Kara

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Robbie and Kara

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eWeek 2010!

I have not posted for a while, mostly because this quarter has been busy as hell! Most of it thanks to eWeek (Engineers Week). I’m on of the directors for eWeek and that means I’m responsible for overseeing and planning over 22 events over 4 days.

We did some pretty cool stuff for eWeek, the biggest thing in my opinion was our awesome barcode system! In the past, we used “passports” as a marketing tool to encourage people to attend our events. At the beginning of the week, people can pick up a passport and at every subsequent event they attend they get a stamp. The more stamps they collect, the more prizes they become eligible for (including a HDTV!). While this system was effective in increasing event attendance, I saw an opportunity to collect more useful statistics by using a barcode tracking system.

I developed a web application in collaboration with Brian Oppenheim which allowed us to track who came to our events and when they came to our events. This data allowed us to analyze the effectiveness of our publicity, popularity of events, the most effective times to schedule events, major (EE, ME, CSC, etc.) representation at events, etc. etc.

I’ll probably have to write a blog post about this system eventually… but for now… enjoy these photos!

(also a video to come).

eWeek 2010 Website: http://esc.calpoly.edu/eweek

Photos on Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/echo0101/collections/72157623478386422/

Day 1 (Tuesday):

Day 2 (Wednesday):

Day 3 (Thursday):

Day 4 (Friday):

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A new lens for the Rebel XT

New Lens!

I recently picked up a new lens for my Rebel XT. I’ve been primarily shooting with my Canon EOS 40D and an EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM but I decided that I needed a good quality, small and compact lens for my Rebel XT.

After doing some research, I decided to pick up the EF 35mm f/2.  It is an amazing lens!  Considering that this lens is only $319, I was impressed by how sharp the lens is even when shot wide open.  Also, the depth of field is very shallow wide open which is great for portraits.  The size of the lens also works well for the size and weight of the rebels.

Diana

Kim-Long

In my opinion the bokeh quality is very nice when shot wide open, but due to the 5 blade aperture, the out of focus highlights appear is pentagons which is not very pleasing.

Perhaps the biggest issue I hav with this lens is that the AF is obscenely loud. The AF motor makes a high pitch whirl which is audible even in moderately loud rooms. Also, this lens does not have FTM.

On the other hand, the AF is reasonably fast and the build quality of this lens is pretty sturdy too. It doesn’t “feel like a toy” (as some people have described the EF 50mm f/1.8 II).

If you’re looking for a compact lens to shoot in available light, I’d highly recommend this lens. Especially if you’re just starting out with a rebel and you’re looking to get serious about photography.

While in a similar price range, I choose this lens over the EF 50mm f/1.4 USM because, while the 50mm is an extraordinary lens, on a 1.6x FOVC camera, it is slightly too telephoto as a walk-around lens. The 50mm is a great lens and I’d pick up one of these too if you can afford both.

The EF 24mm f/2.8 and EF 28mm f/2.8 are actually closer to 50mm (on a 1.6x FOVC) but I didn’t choose these because they got terrible reviews.

Finally, the Sigma 30mm f/1.4 is in the same price range as these lenses and I’d also highly recommend this lens. It is larger than the EF 35mm f/2 but it is still a good fit on the rebel bodies. This lens also has a HSM motor (which is Sigma’s equivalent of USM) and FTM. Unfortunately this lens only works with 1.6x FOVC bodies so if you decide to upgrade to a full frame down the road, this lens would be incompatible. But if you’re just getting started that upgrade maybe be very far down the road anyway.

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Quote

I was listening to an interview with Rick Smolan today and I loved this quote. Its totally how I feel about photography :).

The camera was my way of kind of getting over the shyness. I mean it let me go up to strangers, girls in particular when I was 16, and talk to people that I had no reason to be talking to and the camera was just this wonderful excuse to sort of poke my nose into other people’s lives and my wife accuses me of using it as way of being there but not being there. It’s like family events. I am taking pictures instead of interacting with my kids.

–Rick Smolan

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Failure.

Someone once asked me how do I deal with failure and I answered that it is better to have tried and have failed than to never have tried at all. Also, you learn from your mistakes so it really isn’t a terrible thing at all and a lot of the time in photography, your failures become something awesome! Anyway, I spent a lot of time thinking today during my five hour drive home from SLO to OC. I love driving on trips like this because it gives me time to just relax and think. Anyway, I thought of a better answer to that question and it is that if you’ve never failed, you haven’t tried hard enough. Now I know the whole “better to have tried and failed” is some famous quote or what not, but I don’t know if anyone famous has said this yet… maybe… but if not, I claim it :P. But anyway, that is what I believe. I was thinking about all the things I want to do, all the things that I have done, and what my motivations are to do them… and this just came to mind. Anyway, that is what is on my mind tonight… try new things, push yourself to the limit, fall down, get back in the fight till you can’t anymore.

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Fractal Landscapes

CPE 471 Fractal Landscape

This might be the most interesting graphics project I’ve worked on all quarter. Most of the other projects were pretty boring but this one… I just can’t seem to put down. I finished it at 2AM last night, but managed to stay up till 6AM tweaking it for performance. I didn’t even realize the time pass. Anyway, I spent most of today further modifying the lighting and various characteristics to make the scene look more realistic.

So first, if you haven’t heard of fractal landscapes, here is a little background reading: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fractal_landscape

The initial rendering: Recursion depth 9.

CPE 471 Fractal Landscapes

CPE 471 Fractal Landscapes

The first aesthetic addition I added was fog. Fog is very trivial to add in OpenGL. Then I added sky. Sky was pretty simple too, it is a square with a gradient sitting in the background.

CPE 471 Fractal Landscapes

CPE 471 Fractal Landscapes

CPE 471 Fractal Landscapes

At this point, I was pretty satisfied… but I was unhappy with the resolution of the landscape… the polygons were still too large and you can see where they join. So, in order to increase the recursion depth, I had to optimize my program further. The first optimization I had to do was to speed up the rendering. For 9 levels of recursion, about 262,144 polygons are drawn per frame. For 10 levels of recursion, about 1 million polygons are drawn per frame. Initially, without optimization to my original approach, I was able to get the program to run at an acceptable frame rate at 8 levels of recursion. After simple optimization, I got to 9. And after working on it today, my program handles 11 levels of recursion (just not smoothly :P). I think 11 looks pretty good so I actually have not tried more. The trick was to reduce the number of calculations that needed to be done at the time of rendering. I essentially performed all the calculations for the vertices, normals and colors before hand and stored them in a linear array. Then during rendering, I simply load them all into a GL_QUAD_STRIP.

After I was satisfied with this, I also played around with lighting. Initially, the scene was lit by a single light source from behind the camera. This is not very realistic because the sun isn’t always directly behind you. Anyhow, I turned that light off and added a light source from the right as well as a orange-ish light from the back to give the mountains some backlight and define the shape a little.

Here are some examples rendered at recursion depth 11.

CPE 471 Fractal Landscapes

CPE 471 Fractal Landscape

It was interesting to think about to light this landscape. Photographers constantly think about how their subjects are lit and how to light them, but rarely do they ever have the opportunity to light an entire mountain!

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Free Portrait Day – Halloween 2009

Free Portrait Day - Halloween 2009People dress up in such great costumes for Halloween — instead of just giving out candy, why not some free portraits too! Some trick-or-treaters and some friends came over to be immortalized in their Halloween costumes. Photographs were shot by me (Prentice Wongvibulsin) and Brian Ujiie.

The hi-res photographs are available in this Flickr set. To obtain the hi-res version of the image, click on the “all sizes” button above the image and select “Original”. Leave a comment if you have problems getting to it. Also, I haven’t had time to go through all the portraits yet so also leave a comment if you don’t see yours here.

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This post contains hi-res images: Please hide the sidebar by clicking HERE.

 

This post contains a few of the images from the set:

Free Portrait Day - Halloween 2009

Free Portrait Day - Halloween 2009

Free Portrait Day - Halloween 2009

Free Portrait Day - Halloween 2009

Free Portrait Day - Halloween 2009

Free Portrait Day - Halloween 2009

Free Portrait Day - Halloween 2009

Free Portrait Day - Halloween 2009

Free Portrait Day - Halloween 2009

Free Portrait Day - Halloween 2009

Free Portrait Day - Halloween 2009

Free Portrait Day - Halloween 2009

Be sure to view the entire set!

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DIY Background Support for under $30

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I wanted to do some seamless white shots… so I bought some pure white paper… but I didn’t have any way of getting that paper off the ground… so, looking into my options…. I could buy a background support system for $150… too expensive… I could buy 2 light stands, 2 super clamps and a pipe…. totaling somewhere over $100… too expensive… But in addition to that… I had an interesting space constraint. The room itself isnt that big… so this background has to go behind speakers and a giant heater. So, I can’t have wide legs from the light stand holding this stuff up. The perfect solution… buckets of concrete.

Building Bucket o’ Concrete Background Support System

STEP 1 – Make a trip to your local hardware store and buy the materials :)

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STEP 2 – Cut posts to length (if necessary). These posts were 8′, and that is probably the perfect height for the stands but unfortunately our ceiling is only 7.5 ft, so I ended up cutting these to 7ft.

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STEP 3 – Sand and seal. Take something like 100 grit sand paper and sand them down! Then spray with polyurethane.

Building a background stand

STEP 4 – Place post in bucket (its easiest to clamp the posts to scrap wood to keep it in place) and pour in dry concrete mix. Then add water and mix.

Building a background stand

STEP 5 – Let dry. Depending on what type of concrete you use… it may take a few days for it to be ready for use… mine said wait 24 hours before subjecting it to stress.

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STEP 6 – Attach hooks, insert PVC to roll of paper, place roll on stand.

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STEP 7 – Take awesome photos!

This works for any background but I went with white. You could probably also have multiple rolls of paper if you get multiple hooks and PVCs… but I’m good with my white for now :). Plus, it doubles as an excellent projector screen!

If you’re shooting seamless white, Zack Arias has a good tutorial .

Materials/Approx Costs
(1) Bag of Concrete – $2
(2) 2×3 studs – $4
(2) buckets – $6
(2) hooks – $12 (should’ve found cheaper ones, but whatever)
(2) screws (for the hooks) – cheep, had some lying around.
(1) PCV pipe (for background paper) – $3

Total: $27

Some test shots:

Camille’s Halloween Costume

Camille

Camille

Roomies

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Patron

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Camille

Camille

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Debut Tourney Video

I was inspired by Chase Jarvis’ video series “FRAMES” where he shows all the photos from his shoots (including all the bad photos!). I also thought it’d be great here because they’re action sequences. Next time I’ll have to bring more memory cards so I can shoot longer sequences :). The majority of the frames here are unedited, straight out of camera. A few processed photos have also been included. Enjoy! (Be sure to watch in HD).

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