I've posted about Laundry Love Berkeley a couple times before, the first ever being in October 2011 and more recently, about their Cafe Night. I decided to take my camera with me again for their monthly event last night. Here are some photos I got. Prepare for lots of dog photos.
This is Michael. He's really awesome and he gives fantastic hugs, as seen above.
This is Lizbeth and she loves her coffee, just like I do!
These are some amazing guys, Nathan, Kenny, and George. Kenny's story is pretty crazy, perhaps you'll hear about it here or on the Laundry Love blog some time!
Today, I'm going to take a short break from the regular flow of posts and introduce a new category of posts - people! These posts will probably be rare, but I think it's a fun way to change things up.
This is Bob. I met Bob on Sproul Plaza one day while setting up for an event. It was hard to not notice him and his soulful banjo playing. Now, if you know me, you know that I'm not the type to strike up conversation with a random person on the street (or on Sproul plaza in this case), but I had a little nudging to go talk to him. If anything, I could pick up some tips on improving my banjo playing (yes I play some banjo). So, I walked up to him, listened for a while, then as he ended a song, I initiated conversation, albeit very awkwardly (do you sense the awkwardness with all these awkward commas? - awkward). Hoping to learn something new, I asked him what the secret to getting good at the banjo was.
Being the clever busker he was, he said he would tell me if I dropped a dollar in his cup adorned with reindeer in ugly Christmas sweaters. Being the frugal college student I am, I stopped and thought about the value of a dollar while he stared at me. Finally, I gave in - mind you, I work while going to school, I know a little bit about the value of money. As soon as the dollar dropped to the bottom of his cup, he said one word, "Practice." Initially, I was taken aback. Of course I knew that! He just stole my precious dollar! Seriously, anyone that's ever done anything knows that you need to practice to get half-way decent at what you do, be it sports, dance, or underwater basket weaving.
He must have seen the disappointment in my face because he said, "Okay, I'll say a little more," and talked about how to practice. Practice methodically and intentionally. Devote time to hone your craft. Know what to practice and when. Don't practice a ton in one sitting and take an extended break, be consistent. To be completely honest, I kind of knew this too. However, I appreciated his willingness to share his knowledge. And at the end of the day, it was a nice, much needed reminder.
Sometimes, we all forget that hard work and practice is what it takes. There are no short cuts in life (that don't cause you to feel like a terrible sinner and run you the risk of getting thrown in prison). I'll add on a little bit of my limited wisdom here. Practice doesn't make perfect, practice makes more of how you practice. Say you practice something wrong, you're just going to get worse. When you practice, do it right. Anywho, thank you, Bob, for your words of wisdom.
A few weeks ago, I was assigned to take feature photos of Cal water polo's star attacker, Ivan Rackov for The Daily Californian. I was initially a bit intimidated by the assignment because of my lack of experience with portrait shoots. After some learning and brainstorming, I came up with an idea that would fit the title of the story, "Eye on the Prize." I came up with the brilliant idea to have Ivan use a water polo ball to silhouette the sun and fix his eyes up on it. I was going to use a couple strobes to light Ivan, balancing the exposure on him with the ambient exposure. I could just picture the epicness in my head. I ended up getting to the shoot late because the class I had before was running over time. When I got to the location of the shoot, I found out that I had but five minutes with Ivan. A part of me went into panic mode. I had to ditch my initial plan of setting up lights. Also, because of the position of the sun, I couldn't get a clean background like I wanted to. Not to mention, I was rushed. This was one of those situations where I just had to adapt. I ended up breaking several rules that I usually follow religiously. First, I had to mount my flash on camera. This is a major no-no, especially when using it to shoot directly at the subject, which I had to do. Second, I had to use my wide-angle lens. I typically shy away from using a wide-angle lens (especially a super-wide like my Tokina 11-16mm f2.8) to shoot portraits. However, in this situation, breaking some rules actually worked in the final image. Here are the images I got (yes, there are only two, mind the five minute period I had). The following images are copyright The Daily Californian.
Here's what the image looked like in print with design's work and the story.