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Sunday, August 31, 2008

Photoshoot: Tiffani "Tiffanized"

Photo by JJ Casas

Tiff's photoshoot from August 25, 2008 is now posted on my website. If you look back, this series is for her photo concept "Tiffanized." The original concept has been updated and instead of taking pictures of different stores branded with Tiff on it, she has drawn her own branding in which I still need to scan. Stay tuned for the final piece.

But for now, visit Tiff's photo set on


Saturday, August 30, 2008

Iso's first Dr.'s Visit

On Thursday. August 28, my girlfriend and I went to SF SPCA to adopt a cat for me and my mom. While there, we went around the many "condos" they had for the cats and dogs and first cat we went into was Ralph's room, a tabby-white mixed cat. Susan, one of the volunteers over there introduced us to him and he quickly learned to like me and Cherry. We spent a few minutes with him and then headed out to the other cats. Although we looked at other cats, we decided to go with Ralph (along with Susan's persuasive skills hehe). We took him home and along the way we started thinking of names. I finally settled on Iso, which is photo related (ISO is the speed of film). Hehe So welcome to Iso to the family to join us and Ripley, my 10 yr old iguana.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Photoshoot: Kimiko | Golden Gate Park

click to view larger image

Finally done editing the images!!! This shoot is with my friend Kimi from school taken on August 20, 2008. She had in mind a park nearby her house but when we arrived, there were too many kids around [forgot that school started already!] So we ended up going to Golden Gate Park instead and delved inside where not too many people walk by.

click to view larger image

I just posted two shots here that I really like and would look real good if printed large. Please view the other images directly from my home page. Thanks!!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

New Cam: Vivitar Ultra Wide and Slim

purchased from eBay and arrived already wrapped as a gift

Want something cheap? Pocketable? How about something that doesn't require batteries? And the last and quite important question: Do you want to take fun outdoor pictures? If you've answered "YES" to all these questions then you go online, search Vivitar Ultra Wide and Slim on eBay and get yourself one.

comes with warranty, instructions, and the plastic camera itself

That important last question asked basically determines when you'll be using this camera. This camera is plastic. No bells and whistles. Just pop in your 35mm film [yyep.. I still use film now and then], wind it up, and take pictures outside since there's only one setting on this camera: shutter speed 1/125 with an aperture of f/11.

That basically means you can take good action shots with minimal blur and a large enough depth of field to make your subject sharp.. and because the opening of that aperature is probably this big--o--that means it got's to be fairly bright outside.

The lens view angle btw? A very nice 22mm to make sure you get mostly everything in the picture.

Instructions are included to help you along your way to snap pictures as soon as you can put the film in.. from there, pop this camera in your pocket and bring it with you when you're heading out!
Oh.. and why get this camera? Because of that low quality, low tech, plastic lens on the body.. you suprisingly get cool saturated pictures that can yes.. be replicated in photoshop.. but hey, when you pick this up from the photo developer, you already have that image in your hands and ready to share.

Here's a link to a Flckr photo pool since I've yet to take pics with it:

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Photo Concept: "Evolution"

"Evolution" by jj casas | 5x15"
click to enlarge.

Last night, I went on a photoshoot spree and took pics of various things around the house and came up with something along the way.

This is a photo concept dedicated to my friend Pat, who's an independent filmmaker based in Los Angeles. It basically chronicles his path to a filmmaker starting with himself, then with a home video camcorder [that he shot home made movies with] and onto a video dolly [?] used professionally.

Entire piece is sized at 5x15".

Set Up Shots
The final product is clean... but remember, I'm doing this on a budget:
This is my "studio" set up:
- White poster board as background
- Giottos Rocket Blower [the thing shaped like a rocket] used to blow out the dust on Lego
- Sony a700 with Tamron 28-75mm mounted on Manfrotto tripod
- Alien Bees ABR800 with 32" Moon Unit attached as main lighting source; triggered wirelessly
- Metered with Minolta Auto Meter VF to set lights at f/11 to keep everything sharp as possible.

Yes.. that's Honey Bunches of Oats in the background...this is all done on my kitchen table after all.

Summer Books

books obtained during summer 2008 | photo by jj casas

While I may not have achieved some goals for summer, I did achieve expanding my book collection.

Listed from Top to Bottom and its current status:

1. Old School by Tobias Wolff [currently reading]
2. Dig Your Well Before You're Thirsty by Harvey Mackay [next up to read]
3. Broke-Ass Stuart's Guide to Living Cheaply in San Francisco [got it signed and met him in person!]
4. Frida by Frida: selections of letters and texts, notes, and notes by Raquel Tibol
5. Exposed: Confessions of a Wedding Photographer by Claire Lewis [read and had it signed!]
6. A Year in the Life of Andy Warhol - photographs by David McCabe [read]
7. Frida Kahlo by Andrea Kettenmann [read]
8. The Diary of Frida Kahlo
9. $ellebrity by George Louis
10. At First Sight: photographs and the Smithsonian
11. Our Century in Pictures for Young People by LIFE
12. American Photography by Green
13. The Essential Best Foods by Dana Jacobi [not pictured.. but did get it signed!]

Not bought during summer but finally read was Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen. A great read if you have the time. Another book I must get before his appearance at my school in University of San Francisco, is Greg Mortenson, co-author of Three Cups of Tea.

Majority are art books/coffee table books.. but more notably majority are relating to Mexican painter Frida Kahlo, my favorite artist. So far, I have 4 books on her, the one not listed here is an oversized books with detailed photographs of her various paintings.

One of these days, I'd like to have an entire wall shelved with books and you would need one of those library ladders to get a book on top. But borrowing would most likely not happen since I'm pretty anal about my books. Ask my girlfriend.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Photo Concept: "Liberthene"

Original concept drawn by JJ Casas "Liberthene"

courtesy of

Using a short questionnaire I gave to my friend, I finally was able to come up with a concept. She [and two others] have requested something to put up on their wall and as of now, my main focus have been more personalized portraits--conceptual portraits.

I did my homework using a symbols book and took answers from the questionnaire to come up with something that suits her. So first off, her name is Liberty and yes.. I know there's a Statue of Liberty so coming up with something new was the first objective. From the set of questions, one of her hobbies is sewing so I looked up crafts and came across Athene.

Athene is the Greek goddess of intellect, one of the principle deities as well as the patron of crafts. She was credited with inventing the Olive tree, the potter's wheel, and the flute. She beat Poseidon in order to be the patron Athens [named after Athene] after winning an invention competition [Poseidon made a fresh salt spring while Athene invented the olive tree--a source for oil for lighting, cooking and perfume, and symbol of peace]. So that is why I chose a picture of Athene and based the portrait on that. And yes, that's a sewing needle in place of a staff.

Liberty has an affinity for purple and Puma shoes. In the concept, she's wearing a dress and a shawl...Purple means the color of royal and dignity in the ancient world [the pigment back then to make purple was uber expensive as they say] and a puma... a cat essentially... means a lot of things including cleverness, stealth, the power of transformation, and sensual beauty to name a few.

And check this out out: In Rome, the cat's self-sufficient freedom made them emblems in the Temple of Liberty.

The sewing machine on the feet of Liberty is just a final touch to credit her creative ability.

Definitions of the symbols are from The Complete Dictionary of Symbols (Tresidder)

Good Samaritan

With a drizzle coming a long in Daly City, my mom urged me to drop off the "Cat Lady." Unfortunately, she didn't know her bus doesn't come along on Sundays and didn't know she would have had a long trek from Daly City where she feeds her city cats to her home in South San Francisco. Along the way she briefly explains who she is and shares pieces of her history. Amazing to say the least and I would definitely love to interview her someday and take her photograph even more.

A Manifesto For Sustainable Eating by Katrina Heron [SF Chronicle]

Taking a break from photography here...

We all know that fast food is good for several reasons. It's easily accessible, cheap, and no doubt it just tastes good [I had a Whopper Jr. with a side of onion rings and a medium Dr. Pepper... gotta have the Dr. Pepper with fast food.. just the other day].

And we all know it's bad for one reason--it's simply not good [enough] for you.

This doesn't just apply to the recognizable fast food chains like McDonald's, BK, Taco Bell... it's in our grocery aisles too--packaged meals [frozen aisle], junk food, and everything else that you buy without much preparation to eat.

Well I found a good article and it's written by Katrina Heron of San Francisco Chronicle on eating with healthier choices. And no, you don't have to jump on the organic band wagon and shop at Trader Joe's. Here from her article are 10 quick tips to better health:

1. Know what you're eating. Find out where it comes from and what's in it. Think about what's in season now - what's ripe, not just fresh. A lot of these foods will turn out to be local.

2. Get cooking. And try making things from scratch. You'll save money and rediscover skills you forgot you had.

3. Plant something. It could be an herb pot on your kitchen counter or, if you have space at home, a small kitchen garden, or a communal plot in your neighborhood that you tend with family and friends. (The Victory Garden on Civic Center Plaza is a landscape of ideas, staffed by experts who can guide your hands to the soil.)

4. Pack a bag lunch.

5. Drink tap water. It's healthier for you, and it's free.

6. Learn about and celebrate the food traditions your family still possesses. These are like seeds, long stored and just waiting to be planted.

7. Invite someone to share a meal. Strengthen the bonds of friendship and community by cooking and eating together.

8. Learn about endangered foods and how we can bring them back to our tables.

9. Conserve, compost and recycle.

10. Vote with your fork.


Also, on the Labor Day weekend, SF is sponsoring "Slow Food". Log on to during the week of Aug. 24 for more details.

And go on, read Katrina's article here.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

What has been accomplished [and not so far] in Summer 2008

photo by cherrymae jumoc

With the remainder of Summer 2008 dwindling down to about 2 weeks [school officially starts August 28 i believe?], I thought I'd track down what I was able to accomplish... and not accomplish so far in this summer.. they're categorized:

What I have done so far...

- Travel: San Diego with family and girlfriend for cousin's girlfriend's graduation
- Book Signing: Mario Lopez @ Union Square
- Family: My first goddaughter's baptism
- Photography: Photo submission @ SF Arts Commission Gallery

- Personal: Got out of my first Jury Duty due to work as a photography teacher for Daly City
- Photography: Held a $30k+ camera [Hasselblad H3DII] @ SF Calumet
- Photography: First gallery with my photos up at Bring Your Own Art event @ Fillmore Center
- Travel: Los Angeles with girlfriend for friend's graduation @ UCLA [Disneyland with my girlfriend!]
- Personal: Job denied @ Olive Garden
- Book Signing: Claire Lewis' "Exposed: Confessions of a Wedding Photographer" @ Books Inc. [Chestnut]
- Personal: Renewed my CPR certification
- Photography: Photoshoot with DJ Busy B

- Too many online shopping to be mentioned...haha
- Book Signing: Dana Jacobi's "The Essential Best Foods Cookbook" @ Book Passage [Embacardero]
- Photography: Published two books for the students I taught in two elementary schools

- Book Signing: Broke-Ass Stuart's "Guide to Living Cheaply in San Francisco" @ Booksmith [Haight]
- Photography: Bought one of my favorite cameras through Craigslist
- Photography: First photo work shop "Ferro Photo Tour" @ DoubleTree Hotel [Millbrae]
- Travel: Las Vegas
- Personal: Frida Kahlo exhibt @ SF MOMA
- Photography: Finished first CD Album [photography and design] for musical artist J-Ricz

photo by me

What I haven't done so far even though I thought I would for this summer...

- Travel: New York to meet up with my cousin's there
- Personal: Worked out enough to get a 6 pack [I'm still a work in progress!]
- Photography: Book project "Unidentified"
- Photography: Book project "Just In Case You Asked" (Photography Portfolio)
- Photography: Book project "Grounded"
- Photography: Multiple photo concepts!!!


As you can see, I have a lot of photo-related projects and goals this summer.. so hopefully with the remaining 2 weeks [this is said with A LOT of hope] I'll get some stuff done! =P

Abstract Portrait: "Simply Describing You"

Drew this for a good friend since it was her birthday last week... an abstract portrait featuring two of her most recognizable features--her glasses and curly brown hair.

Portrait was printed on 11x14 white cardstock and framed onto a black 11x14 frame.

Of course the watermark wasn't there but instead I signed the bottom right hand corner with the date.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Last Buffet @ Vegas

My mom, uncle and girlfriend are waiting in line @ Sahara's 6.99 buffet. This will be our last meal before we return home tomorrow on our 7am flight to SFO. Our trip is 3 days/3 nights and we stayed at the Circus Circus hotel (yep...I played games and won some stuff toys). Yesterday we all went to Grand Canyon and tired ourselves out by walking too much. Anyway, here's to our last night @ Vegas..more food!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Ferro Photo Tour

Here I am seated near the back although the large screen is clearly viewable. Saw this business workshop in a magazine and logged onto ( and decided to sign up. It's held at Double Tree in Burlingame and this is the first time I've attended a workshop. And as I look around..I'm probably the youngest and I'm probably the only Filipino American here. Everyone else have either gray hair, moustaches, bald, and yyea..that's pretty much the demographic here.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Photo Concept: "Tiffinized"

My friend wanted something to post on her wall and asked me if I would be able to do something. I've been lagging on my personal goals for this summer but I finally think August is going to be a mad rush before school starts to get this and about 3 other photo concepts done.

To start off, my friend, how should I put this, likes(?) renaming things in her computer under her name. For example: "Tiffocuments, Tiffusic... " etc. So what better way but to "Tiffinized" the world outside her computer!

It will all start off with a Tiffinized Krylon spray paint.. with her favorite color pink.

The next image will be an image evenly divided by bold lines with various retailers/brands tiffinized..aka vandalized with that spray paint. Apple > Tiffapple; Target > Tiffarget; Lucky's > Tiffucky's hahah.
The final image of the three part series is her posing with the spray can with a fashion esque edge and possibly the wall behind her tagged with her name.