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.
I've posted about Laundry Love Project Berkeley a while ago. Recently, they held a Cafe Night with some great performers including For Christ's Sake, Soulfull, Mickey Cho, and Tim Be Told. Here are some photos from that night.
The emcees for the night.
FCS, UC Berkeley's Christian A Cappella group.
Soulfull, Kollaboration SF 2012's People's Choice Award winners and my friends.
Here's a video of Soulfull's original song from the Cafe Night, shot by my good friend, Michelle.
Mickey Cho, Bay Area hip-hop artist, who I've shot a few times before.
Tim and Andrew of Tim Be Told performing an acoustic set.
The Big Game against Stanfurd is tomorrow! This past week, the beautiful UC Berkeley campus was lit up in blue and gold and I decided to do a better job of documenting it than last year. Anywho, enjoy the photos and GO BEARS!
This month marks one year that I've been working at The Daily Californian, Berkeley's independent student-run newspaper. Over that year, I've covered my share of protests that we seem to have rather often. In fact, it doesn't seem like a semester unless there is a protest of some sort. Here are some photos from various protests that I've taken so far on assignment with The Daily Californian, including last year's Wheeler protest and Occupy Cal.
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.
As some of you may or may not know, we here at Cal just had our Big Game against Stanfurd. Sadly, we lost, but we fought hard and it was a close game. In honor of Big Game week, various parts of campus, like Wheeler Hall, Sather Gate, and the East Asian Library, were lit in blue and gold. I got a photo of Doe Library while walking around campus at night. I was kicking myself for not having a tripod or even taking photos of all the lights. It would have been great to have a complete photo set of all the lights with a nice long-exposure on all of them, but I missed my chance.
Berkeley is known for its evil squirrels. While on a photo scavenger hunt for The Daily Cal, I got a couple photos of these filthy suckers. I once saw a squirrel sneak up behind an old man reading the paper and snacking on some chips, climb up on the man's arm, and proceed to harass him even as he ran away. Evil, I say.
After last week's Nehemiah Band concert (see previous post), a bunch of us headed over to Nation's for a post game meal. The restaurant has a very nice old school diner feel to it. I love restaurants like that.
I got a cheeseburger because that's just the standard item to judge any burger joint by. If they can't make a proper cheeseburger, they probably won't be able to pull other things off. The burger took a bit of time and wasn't very cheap (close to $5). However, when I got my order and unwrapped the little gift, a little grin snuck its way onto my face. The first thing I noticed was they oily sheen on the bun. YES! That's one of the indicators of a good burger. It's gotta have that greasy shine all over it. The burger comes with standard fixins: lettuce, tomato, raw white onion (you can get grilled if you want), and albiet, a lot of mayo.
The burger itself was pretty awesome as foreshadowed by the grease. None of the toppings interfered with the flavor of the burger itself, which is very important to me. You have to be able to taste the beef. The cheese and other condiments only bolstered the flavor of the burger. I gotta say, I was extremely hungry, so that might have skewed my thoughts, but oh well, it was delicious. The buns were very soft, which I oddly enjoyed. I normally like a bit of crunch in my buns (I always get x-tra toast on my buns at In-n-Out). Overall, the burger just worked for me. It was simple and delicious. No need for any exotic mushroom or foie gras nonsense here.
We all got a chocolate creme pie to share. Awesome. Nation's is known for their pies. The one inch thick layer of whipped cream on top with a custardy, chocolatey cream filling, and a flakey pie crust. Sweet (it was). Must I say more?
Oh yeah, I love pie.
Nation's Giant Hamburgers 1800 University Ave Berkeley, CA 94703 (510) 843-7326 www.nationsrestaurants.com
The Hieroglyphics Crew came to Cal on February 2 thanks to SUPERB Productions. Sproul was packed, but then again, I did get there about 10 minutes late. As I walked around before the show started, people came up to me and asked "who are these people?" and "are they a new group?" Obviously, the majority of the people watch were just rolling through and decided to watch. To answer your questions, Hieroglyphics is an underground rap group that started in 1991 in Oakland, CA. Why they asked some random Asian kid about the group, I'll never know.
The group was scheduled to come on at 5 pm, but of course they didn't start playing until later. I only stayed for an hour or so because there were too many people, so I didn't get to witness the greatness of the whole show. However, while I was there, it was excellent.
Quick note on the last photo. Notice the symbolism of three here? Three lights, three doors, three eyes. (This sentence would have been at the end, but it was acting glitchy and now showing up.)