Tuesday, January 29, 2008

My First Car Purchase-2008 Toyota Prius

So i have actually never owned a car before. Ever since leaving college i have had a company car and therefore after leaving the corporate world i had to figure out all the nuances of buying a car. I did my due diligence and read my Consumer Reports magazines and asked most of my friends about their suggestions on financing, new or used, cars, and dealerships. My last car with Ortho-McNeil Pharmaceuticals was a 2006 Toyota Prius. Our company had a Green Initiative that if you were interested in a Prius you could order it at any moment because they were trying to have a certain amount of hybrids in our fleet. Normally the process was having your car for two years or 55,000 miles, whichever came first. After attending Sundance Film Festival and being at the premier of the movie "An Inconvenient Truth" with Al Gore i decided to give up my 2005 Saab 9-3 Sport Sedan for the Prius. I loved it and was doing my part for the environment at the same time. After leaving it was an easy decision to just get another one. This time with a few more perks than the stock model we get for work. I decided on a Black Package #6 model that includes leather, bluetooth, smart key system, ipod auxilary jack, backup camera, and navigation. After calling around and talking to a few dealerships i settled with family owned Walnut Creek Toyota. JD, the saleman, said he had one just arrive at the docks and it would be a few days. I said i was returning my rental car tomorrow after having it for a week and did not want to have to renew the rental agreement. He said he would be happy to put me in a loaner til my car arrived. Sold!

I drove the rental car back to the Oakland Airport first thing in the morning and caught BART back to Walnut Creek and walked over to the dealership. The process was pretty simple since we had agreed on a price over the phone so i just filled out the paperwork and they put me in a Toyota Corolla for the week. I drove off anxiously awaiting my new 2008 Toyota Prius.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Digital Photography Edge-Bruce Dorn & Maura Dutra Seminar

Tonight i attended the Digital Photography Edge Workshop by Canon Explorer of Light Bruce Dorn and his partner Corel Paint Master Maura Dutra. Learned advanced speedlite techniques, cinematic composition for capture, artistic application of textures, introduction to digital painting, elegant and efficient Album design. Unfortunately they were pressed for time and they had quite a vast knowledge on each technique but were not able to go in depth on each or spend more time on them. I mainly learned more about how to use my flash creatively by taking it off camera and placing in in other areas of a reception during weddings. I purchased their Baby Slipper so i can hang my flash on the wall or even place it on top of one of the DJ's speakers. Will be giving it a try at my next wedding in Chicago.

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The set up that i will essentially have when i put mine together. Flash & Pocket Wizard right behind it, hard to see in this image.

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Sunday, January 27, 2008

David Jay's Freedom & Slumber Workshop in Santa Barbara

I had an amazing time this weekend attending David Jay's Freedom & Slumber workshop in Santa Barbara. It all started with a party on friday night where i met DJ's friends. Many were local talented photographers: Josh Newton, Rodolfo Arpia, Brittany Leigh Gebler, and Michael & Anna Costa. I even got to meet DJ's best friend Deyl Kearinand chat with him about their trip to a private island in Nicaragua the amazing book written by the family that owns the home (A Family on the Move).

Friday evening we all found a corner to crash(slumber party remember) and filled up our air beds and settled in for the night. We awoke to a a nice breakfast set up that Crystal (DJ's assistant extraordinaire) put together for us. We then submerged ourselves with 8 hours of intense training befeore heading oof to downton Santa Barbara for Sushi and then an evening engagement session with some models. The weather did not agree with us as it continued to pur so we headed back to the Freedom House. The next day we continued talking through some new techniques for a "Hands-Free" workflow and we also talked about how to "Get-FIT" and create more FLEXIBILTY, INCOME, & TIME in our lives and then how to use those things to create more meaning in others lives. I was sad to leave Santa Barbara and all my new friends. Mike Larson also stopped by and spoke to us about being first or being forgotten and about the power of the slideshow. He even did his famous camera toss in the house for us.

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The Freedom & Slumber crew!
Front (left), Mark Barnes, Crystal Hutchinson, Amy Jett, the host-DJ, Penny Sylvia, Melanie Merkling, Mery Donald,
Back (left) Corey Hage, Kenny Kim, Me, Regas Chefas, Andres Valenzuela, Santa Barbara in the background, and
shot was taken by the beautiful Miss Brittany Leigh.

Most of these photos were taken by the awesome photographer and new friend, Kenny Kim. Check out his blog post for the rest of the highlight images and slideshow.

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The boys...

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The gals...

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I borrowed DJ's famous Canon 50mm 1.0 Lens that was handed down to him by the father of wedding photojournalism Dennis Reggie. An amazing lens which is not in production and very rare. Thanks Corey for taking this image.

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Thank you DJ for your wonderful hospitality and sharing your knowledge with all of us.

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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Plantronics Photoshoot with Mark Leet Photography

I made it to the shoot by 9AM, just a little late since it was a 6AM call time. When i assist for Mark i usually manage the computer. We shoot tethered with the Canon Mark III 1Ds straight into a fully loaded MacPro with one screen for me and Mark and another for the Client. Today we were shooting some of the new headsets that Plantronics will be releasing soon down by the Embarcadero. It was raining and pretty cold, quite a shock to the system when just a few hours ago i was lounging on the beach in Maui.

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Monday, January 21, 2008

Missed flight, lost car rental keys, the works!

What a day. Yesterday i had a wonderful time at Nicole & Aaron's wedding at the Four Seasons. This morning i woke up with the idea that my flight was at 2PM. Well, it was not! When i was checking out of the hotel i glanced at my flight information and realized i just missed it, it was schedule for Noon. I headed to the Four Seasons to join Nicole & Aaron and friends at the beach. I logged onto the internet at the Four Seasons and booked a one way ticket to Oakland. It was cheaper than rebooking with ATA who wanted to charge me $100 change fee over the regular price of the ticket. We lounged by the water and took a few dips followed by a nice teriaki tofu over quinoa for lunch. I then headed over to Brent's (Nicole's bother) condo with Bart to change before driving to the airport. I took the car keys to get the toiletries from the car trunk, changed, and when we were ready to leave the keys were nowhere to be found. I called for a locksmith and the keys were not in the trunk? So if i got my toiletries and closed the trunk i would have immediately realized the keys were inside right? I thought i gave them to Bart when i walked back in. Maybe i set them on the couch when i grabbed my clothes to go to the bathroom. It shall be a mystery til i hear back form him after they turn the condo upside down looking for them. We took Brent's car and Bart dropped me off at the airport to barely miss my flight. This simple mistake cost me a few buck, no fun. I was also scheduled to work on a shoot the next day and therefore my need to get back, if not i would have stayed a day or two and enjoyed Maui some more. Now on a flight to Kona to get on the red-eye to Oakland, to then pick up a rental car(remember i have not had a chance to buy a car yet), race to my house to get some of my clothes for the model on the shoot and then drive back to SF. It's gonna be a long day tomorrow.

UPDATE: Bart said they looked everywhere with no luck. A day later i was unpacking my laptop and guess what i found right underneath it, a nice set of rental car keys. Must have dropped it in there when i put my computer away. Luckily it saved me $250 spare key charge when i shipped it back. Definitely learned my lesson to double check my flight information the day before.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Nicole & Aaron-Destination Wedding at the Four Seasons-Maui

Nicole & Aaaron could not have wished for a more beautiful day, they were joined by a small group of friends and family today that came in from all over the US. JoAnn Freberg of the Four Seasons did a wonderful job coordinating for a flawless event and DJ Alan Batungbacal keep up going all night. Here is a slideshow of the event, enjoy.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Nicole & Aaron-Wedding Rehearsal at the Four Seasons-Maui & Beach BBQ

Today i captured the day by following the Nicole & Aaron through their wedding rehearsal at the Four Seasons in Wailea and then the Beach BBQ in Kihei for all friends & family attending the wedding. Here is a slideshow of the day, enjoy.

Friday, January 18, 2008

The "Wet" Road to Hana

Today Bart & I drove the famous Road to Hana. Unfortunately it started pouring rain shortly after our trip started. It was about 65 miles to Hana that bordered the north coast of Maui. Since it was raining the waterfalls were in full force. It was one long windy drive and we stopped at a few waterfalls that were visible for the road and ended up in Hana for lunch.


View Larger Map

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I got a little lens envy when i saw this guy shootin the surfers. Imagine bringing that to a wedding...
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Here comes the rain...
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By the time we got to Hana we were in a pretty bad storm. Check out the video below.


We stopped in Hana and had lunch, luckily by the time we were done it cleared up a bit. We headed back and decided to stop at Black Sand Beach. This large beach is set among lava cliffs and the sand is actually small, smooth, lava pebbles.
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Yup, it's black...
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After Black Sand Beach we had a long, windy, and uneventful dark drive home. A fun day but definitely need to come back when the weather cooperates to take in the views that are visible from the road.

Here are the rest of the images of the day on my Flickr account.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Off to Maui...Célébrités Gallery

Took a cab to the airport this morning and off i was on a non-stop flight to Maui on ATA.

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I arrived a met up with a friend of the brides, Bart Cilfone. He saved me from having to pay full price on a hotel by myself when my other friend bailed on the trip. We picked up the rental car and drove down to Kihei to the Maui Banyan Hotel. I did plenty of research beforehand and this was the best deal in town. I was pretty excited when we got there that the room was pretty big and also had a full size kitchen in it. It was probably just as big as my condo back home.

We grabbed dinner at Cheeseburger Island Style located at The Shops at Wailea. We then walked around and being the art lover that i am i got sucked into The Celebrities Gallery. This gallery is comprised of pieces of art created by celebrities. I was most drawn to the Pop Art created by the owner Gerard Marti. Here are some fun samples of his work.

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The artist-Gerard Marti
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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

What a day...

I took off work from the Studio today since i leave tomorrow to shoot Aaron & Nicole's wedding at the Four Seasons in Maui and needed some time to run a few last minute errands.  I started by buying my ticket for Burnigman which took over an hour once i logged in at 10am when the tickets went on sale.  I was immediately #1644th in line.  It counted down pretty smoothly and an hour later i was able to place the order.  The reason i logged in this early was that the first batch(10,000) of tickets are the lowest cost at $210 a piece.

I then headed into San Francisco and joined my friend Jana Asenbrennerova at Macworld to catch up on all the latest toys/gadgets.  Loving all the new features added to the Ipod Touch, it's now basically an iPhone without a cell connection.  You can log into any open wifi available where you go and get your e-mail and surf the web, even has a new cool feature that tells you where you are so you can do directions from there.  I would love to get an iPhone but i am stuck with my Sprint contract til September ($200 fee to cancel my contract) and the AT&T service alone would cost me $40 more a month.  So Ipod Touch it is, looks like B&H has Macworld special for $30 off.

After Macworld i drove straight to Sacramento to join my friend Sam Harnack and attend the PPSV (Professional Photographers of Sacramento Valley) meeting.  This month Mike Larson was in town to speak and delivered a great presentation on forming your Identity, having a Purpose, establishing Relationships, and Balancing your life.  

Back home now packing up and doing some last minute laundry.  There goes the buzzer, stuff's dry.  Good night.

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The New Macbook Air
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These guys are way skinny!
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Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Your not in Kansas Anymore..

That is what i used to hear about five years ago when i moved out here from Kansas.  I spent seven and a half years living in Kansas.  I moved there to go to the University of Kansas located in Lawrence and graduated with a Bachelors in Latin American Studies and Spanish four years later.  I then got the job with Ortho-McNeil Pharmaceuticals right after school and moved to Salina which was about 2 hours west.  I spent my next three and a half years covering the western Kansas territory til i got promoted to the Bay Area.

Tonight my good friend Daron Brown is in San Francisco at a sales meeting.  I met Daron in Salina since he also worked for another pharmaceutical company-Aztra Zeneca.  I joined him for dinner at the Hilton's CityScape Restaurant with a couple of his partners Brandon Gary (whom i actually used to wash dishes with at the Tri Delta Sorority house at KU) and the beautiful Aram Morvani who i just met tonight.  We enjoyed some great food, had a few drinks and reminisced about all the doctors i used to call on and how freeing not living the corporate life feels.

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Test Shots

Had some fun at the studio today being the stand in as we tested the lighting for an upcoming shoot.  We finally got another Canon Mark III 1Ds and she is working like a charm.  The last one we had died on us on the last shoot.   The peace sign was not my choice but part of what a client is looking to have some models portray, should be an interesting concept once we get all the details.  All top secret now.

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Sunday, January 13, 2008

Family Portrait Session with Ursi & Mario

Today i stopped by Ursula (Ursi) and Mario's home in Oakland to take some images of the family.  They have two beautiful daughters.  Eva is about 18 months while Gabriela was just born a month ago.  Ursi is a Hospitalist (Hospital based physician) and i used to call on her at Alta Bates Medical Center in Berkeley when i worked for Ortho-McNeil Pharmaceuticals.  We share the love for independent film and going to Sundance Film Festival every year.  She actually met Mario at a bus stop while in Park City at Sundance.  Here are some of my favorite images of the day.

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