Search This Blog!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Thinking of Purchasing an E-Book Reader?



I showed my mom the Amazon Kindle 2 and was telling her all the cool features--wireless download capabilities, keyboard, e-ink display--and then she asks, "Wait, you still have to buy the books after paying $260?"

"Well yea it's the latest electronic device," I reply.
"So then where are the books?" she asks.
"They're stored in the device," I patiently explain.
"But after that, then what? You don't even have them. You can't sell it or give them away. Then what," after this she simply walks away uninterested.

Point taken. Despite a gadget freak and always looking for the latest and greatest, my collection of completed book I've read will remain as well the many more waiting for me to read through. [I'm looking at you--my latest purchase of Seth Godin's limited edition wooden boxed set. Read Seth's blog entry here for more details on that].

This commercial by The Sun newspaper is downright awesome.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

ADLs: Tick Tock

"Tick Tock"
Taken on November 28, 2009

Went with my girlfriend to her cousin's house in San Jose to have a post Thanksgiving dinner. Enjoyed the food and company as usual. I love the small things they have in their house--the mix of French posters, their pictures everywhere, and little neat things like this retro clock.

Which reminds me, remember that Got Milk? commercial with that baby and this cat clock filmed in black and white? Maybe? Ok nevermind.

--
The blog roll "ADLs" is a series of images of my "Activities of Daily Living". Yes, that's a nursing term so it's fitting for where I am now--nursing student about to graduate with a passion for photography. A new post is expected to be up everyday.

"What are you thankful for?" - Post Thanksgiving SI Dinner 2009



Taken on November 27, 2009

Our annual Post Thanksgiving St. Ignatius [c/o '05] Dinner. This year we had it graciously held at Donna's house. We each say something short and sweet of what we are thankful for. As for me [not in the video since I'm taking it], "I am thankful for keeping this tradition alive for all these years."

Thank you to all my friends and will look forward to these post thanksgiving dinners time after time.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Black Friday Bust

Probably the earliest taking BART: 5:03am the San Francisco/Dublin train arrives.

7pm? No. This is 5:30am with folks looking for Black Friday deals on Powell, downtown SF.

My two friends and I in Forever 21 looking for "Lisa" because the men's section is all the way upstairs and we'd usually come in here with friend girl/girlfriend lol.

We continue to call outloud "Lisa".

Taking a break at Westfield Mall waiting for Van's store to open 7am.

Lovely.

First of all, why is this guy by himself? Where's his friends? Or family? But it surely sums up how our energy levels were. All of our eyes were stinging and longing for some shut-eye.

None too happy: our only loot is at H&M. For me, as a thrifty shopper, only bought a $15 sweater.

BART ride home to Daly City. Next up: our annual post-Thanksgiving dinner with our high school friends.

I hope you all were able to find good deals! For me, as an avid online shopper as well, couldn't find anything! Boo. Thankfully, I am writing this after my 5 hour sleep. Good day and enjoy your leftovers!

ADLs: Happy Thanksgiving


"Happy Thanksgiving"
Taken on November 26, 2009

My family surrounds the table to pray and bless the [good] food that we are all about to eat. Many things to be thankful for and this moment in itself I am thankful for. I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving with your families and friends.

--
The blog roll "ADLs" is a series of images of my "Activities of Daily Living". Yes, that's a nursing term so it's fitting for where I am now--nursing student about to graduate with a passion for photography. A new post is expected to be up everyday.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

ADLs: Houses

"Houses"
Taken on November 24,2009

I went to the park with my girlfriend so I can give her a quick lesson on photography [she recently bought the Canon Rebel T1i]. I was teaching her on "extreme framing"--I couldn't come up with another name for it--and gave her an example with this picture.

--
The blog roll "ADLs" is a series of images of my "Activities of Daily Living". Yes, that's a nursing term so it's fitting for where I am now--nursing student about to graduate with a passion for photography. A new post is expected to be up everyday.

Monday, November 23, 2009

ADLs: Cash Money

"Cash Money"
Taken on November 23, 2009

I haven't been to a [Wells Fargo] teller in awhile but had to since two Brink employees were getting the money from the ATMs. And man, what a job--transporting that much money?? It's about time someone made a movie like Armored.

--
The blog roll "ADLs" is a series of images of my "Activities of Daily Living". Yes, that's a nursing term so it's fitting for where I am now--nursing student about to graduate with a passion for photography. A new post is expected to be up everyday.

ADLs: Lunch

"Lunch"
Taken on November 22, 2009

Had lunch today at Daphne's in Westlake with the family after church. It was my auntie and uncle's first time here and let's just say that Greek food is still a new thing for em. haha

--
The blog roll "ADLs" is a series of images of my "Activities of Daily Living". Yes, that's a nursing term so it's fitting for where I am now--nursing student about to graduate with a passion for photography. A new post is expected to be up everyday.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Initial Impression Mentioned on X-Rite Photo


My Initial Impression on X-Rite's latest ColorChecker Passport is mentioned on their website's collection of reviews. Might seem trivial but I think it's cool when the actual company finds your reviews/opinions/etc and posts it up on their site.

For more information on this product, visit X-Rite's product page here.

ADLs: Birthday Greeting Line

"Birthday Greeting Line"
Taken on November 20, 2009

At the end of the month in the Catholic prayer group meetings, we have a "birthday greeting line." Everyone visiting lines up and greets, hugs, and kisses the birthday celebrants for the month as well as those celebrating their wedding anniversaries.

--
The blog roll "ADLs" is a series of images of my "Activities of Daily Living". Yes, that's a nursing term so it's fitting for where I am now--nursing student about to graduate with a passion for photography. A new post is expected to be up everyday.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Last Day of Clinicals [forever!] at LPCH

So the day finally came! On November 18 was my last day of clinicals as a University of San Francisco nursing student. As part of our last semester, we are split up [no more group clinicals] and go to our Capstone placement. I was placed at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital [LPCH] right near Stanford's Medical Center/Hospital. Since the beginning of the semester, I knew I had to fulfill 225 hours in 12 hour 7pm-7am shifts. Yes, it was a killer but I definitely learned a lot and met a bunch of good people on the unit.

Because it was my last day, the staff at the unit decided to bring some food and have a potluck to bid me farewell. I was able to choose the pizza that they were gonna order so I got the BBQ special.

My mom too contributed in the potluck and baked her famous brownies for the staff [as well as sweet and sour meatballs which was received really well]. This picture was taken in the morning of my last day and that's the day shift's nurse grabbing a few and placing it in cups to save them [for herself]. haha! I definitely had to take a picture of that and show my mom and told her how everyone loved them.

I made cards for the staff and individualized them by writing their names on each card. I wrote a small message and made a custom card case resembling a crayon box. Get it?!

And finally, Jen is special because she was my preceptor and so I made her an individual card and gave her a gift she's always wanted--an Easy Bake Oven! I thanked her for allowing me to work alongside with her as she "showed me the ropes" [meaning having patience as I did my math calculations for meds and taking time to explain procedures]. I remembered in the 2nd week or so, she was looking for things for her daughter and mentioned how she never got these kind of things when she was little like the Easy Bake Oven. So ever since then, I've had this gift in mind and was just as excited to give this to her as a thank-you gift. The staff was present too [in the nursing room] and loved the idea as well.

So to everyone on the unit, THANK YOU! Thank you for helping me as a nursing student transition to a more competent soon-to-graduate nurse!

Behind The Scenes: Photoshoot: Vargas Family [11/14/09]

All photos taken by Paul Borromeo

One of the first weekend of my "Family and Friends Portrait Promo" was with my friend Joal and his fam. He decided to take them at Hillside Park since he also wanted to show his parents where he works [there's a clubhouse there as well].

We did the usual family group shots and then couple shots.

This part of the shoot was one of my favorites. I need to time to show the results!

Me working.

Joal and Amy pose for a bit as Joal's parents waited in the car.. it was friggin cold despite the sun!

ADLs: Manny Wins [Again]

"Manny Wins"
Taken on November 14, 2009

Manny Pacquiao wins over Miguel Cotto in the 12th round as my family watches in joy and celebration.

--
The blog roll "ADLs" is a series of images of my "Activities of Daily Living". Yes, that's a nursing term so it's fitting for where I am now--nursing student about to graduate with a passion for photography. A new post is expected to be up everyday.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

What I've Learned In Nursing: "The 5 Rights"

The 5 Rights


In nursing, part of the care is medication administration. In order to be safe, we were taught in the very beginning when our clinicals started about "The 5 Rights." These rights were: right medication, right dose, right time, right patient, right route. The order didn't matter too much but just as long as you, the nursing student, checked these "rights" prior to giving the medication.

Like in all things in nursing, it is very important to put the patient's safety as the priority. If I were to give a patient too much of a drug [or too little], or too soon [or too late], or to the wrong patient and/or route, well things can go very wrong.

These 5 Rights have been ingrained ever since in order to make sure what we give to patients as nurses are 100% correct. Yes, no room for error and I totally agree.

To tie this to the "other side of the road"--life outside of nursing--I'd still say we have a certain "5 Rights" to abide to. For me, the equivalent to the nurse's 5 Rights [of drug administration] would be the right who, right what, right where, right when, and why.

I'll refer to these "other side of the road" 5 rights as life's general's rights because the 5 W's can be applied to practically everything. But to give an example, I'll apply it to one self's being.

WHO
Who you are as a person greatly affects the people and situation around you. When you're attitude is unfitting, people just don't want to be there with you. Being positive is hard in all situations, but never stop trying. If you're a good at anything [even just being a good person in general], like what my good friend Lauren says, "Let it be known."

WHAT
What you do is always important--big or small. In Paul Arden's book Whatever You Think, Think The Opposite, there is a part that describes a street sweeper. "He wasn't just a street sweeper; he was the best street sweeper."

WHERE
I remember Brother Draper, the dean of students at my high school, always gave his speech on how students get in trouble in the beginning of the year. He'd say, "Wrong place, wrong time." Sometimes you can control the situation and change it and other times where you are is out of control. How you respond to either situations will be the result of who you are and what you can do.

WHEN
Timing is everything. If you're late for a meeting [with anyone], what does that say about you? When you remember to call a friend for her birthday, surely you are to be remembered for that gesture. Why are you saving that unused _____ [fill in the blank i.e. tshirt, box of pens, candle, etc], what are you saving it for?

To quote a good movie of mine, Kung Fu Panda:
"Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That is why it is called the "present." - Oogway

Timing is everything, so make it count.

WHY
My favorite word that in itself is a question. Asking "why?" can only bring answers to curiosity and solutions to problems [and annoyance if asked to much... remember asking this repeatedly as a kid?]

To understand is to question. To question is to find an answer. To find an answer is to ask again "why?" until it can no longer be explained.

I want to be a great photographer.
Why?
I love producing creative images and would want to do it for a living.
Why?
Being paid to be creative would be a dream.
Why?
To face reality of working on a schedule would not seem so fun.
Why?
Because I want time in my life to enjoy it and spend it with the people around me.
Why?
Because I find happiness in the people around me.
Why?
Being successful is nothing if you can't share it with anyone.

OK, you get the picture. Asking why can reveal many things even if you weren't set out to find that particular answer. [This short exercise for me at 2am was answered without plan].

--
WILIN "What I've Learned in Nursing" is a new blog reel that takes bits and pieces from what I've learned as a nursing student at University of San Francisco (c/o Fall 2009) and apply it to the rest of the real world. It is my attempt now to "combine" photography and nursing as many people have suggested who know I am conflicted with nursing and photography as a job/career.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Behind The Scenes: Photoshoot: Amanda [11/06/2009]

All photos by Gee Bantay

Despite being a raining day in San Francisco, we keep our hopes up and proceed with the photoshoot. Here, my friend and make up artist Karen Wan apply make up on my USF classmate Amanda Clark. I'm also taking behind the scene photos on my personal camera.

I'm in the background there video recording my other classmate Tin who's there at the house studying for our exam the next day.

We finally get going with the shoot and here I am using the Carl Zeiss 24-70 2.8 lens for an official shoot with my Sony a700 camera.

We use Amanda's house as makeshift "studio" using the wall and blinds as the main background.

Lights used: single Alien Bees B800 with a 32" shoot through white umbrella triggered by Alien Bees Cybersync remotes.

Amanda reviews some of the photos as I rearrange myself for a more comfortable position.

Today's team (left to right): Karen Wan [make up], Gee Bantay [assistant], Amanda Clark [talent], and myself.

Thanks again to Karen for the make up and Gee for helping and taking the behind the scene photos.

Abbot and East Moltke: "Couch"

Couches are one the most popular items left behind in this corner. I want to say this has been the 5th left since the beginning of Spring taken this year. When I woke up that afternoon [after my previous night's clinical shift], it was surprisingly gone.

--
Abbot and East Moltke is an on-going project documenting the various items left by households at the corner of where I live. Different items have been left already and some of which I've already unfortunately missed. This photo series will continue for an unknown period of time and is planned to be [self] published once body of work is completed.

ADLs: Endless Stairs

"Endless Stairs"
Taken at Stanford Hospital, November 9, 2009

I decided to take the stairs to ground level since it would be faster than an elevator [plus I need the exercise!] When I looked up it quickly reminded me of one of M.C. Escher's works.

--
The blog roll "ADLs" is a series of images of my "Activities of Daily Living". Yes, that's a nursing term so it's fitting for where I am now--nursing student about to graduate with a passion for photography. A new post is expected to be up everyday.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Senior Portraits for $45 (USF Senior Students Only)

click to enlarge

Applicable to only University of San Francisco class seniors: Senior Portrait sessions for only $45! All sessions are 1.5 hours and are on-location. Each session includes a Starter Print Package (4 wallets and 1 5x7) when $15 worth of prints are purchased. Make Up Artist is available for $25 extra.

For more pictures of classmate Amanda, please go to my website at jcasasphotography.com

If you have any questions or need any more details, contact me! Spaces are limited.

ADLs: Cap and Gown

"Cap and Gown"
Taken at University of San Francisco, Fromm Hall

Not the typical "cap and gown" picture but it is a picture of it as I picked it up today at school. My days are numbered at USF as a nursing student but it still hasn't really settled on me yet. There's still unfinished business that I need to take care [notably my HESI exam which is equivalent to my real ticket out of here].

Let's hope the upcoming one is it.

--
The blog roll "ADLs" is a series of images of my "Activities of Daily Living". Yes, that's a nursing term so it's fitting for where I am now--nursing student about to graduate with a passion for photography. A new post is expected to be up everyday.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Review: Initial Impression on X-Rite ColorChecker Passport

First, I was suppose to receive this yesterday but for some reason UPS screwed up my 1-day shipping option [using my girlfriend's Amazon Prime account]. I ended up getting it on the 2nd day but still paid $3.99 for the expedited shipping. Sigh.

Anyways, this thing could have been handy today since I had a quick photoshoot with a classmate [more on that in the next post]. Basically, X-Rite, known for its color calibration software and hardware released their ColorChecker color swatch but in a more portable solution.

Once open, the heavy duty "Passport" is ready to be taken out and used. There's a brief explanation on the left side on what kind of sides the Passport contains: Creative Enhancement Target, Color Target, and a White Balance Target.


Detailed shot of the descriptive panels of the X-Rite ColorChecker Passport.

The Passport itself is constructed very well as it as if its expected to be tossed in a camera bag and face heavy weather. But I am glad it is since I feel this product will be integrated in my shooting process and will definitely have it tossed it around in the bag to an assistant and back. It's the size of a Nintendo DS gaming console/Moleskine Pocket Journal [whichever you can relate to]. When open, it is a bit tough but that's the point: The hinges move in increments so that you can stand it on its own [as pictured] if you don't have an assistant on hand to hold it up.

Pictured above is the Creative Enhancement and Color Target.

On the very back is a whole thing on quality guaranteed and has you date it so that you can replace it when it gets worn out [I forget but I think they say in a couple of years? I forget and too lazy to take it out from my equipment case. Sorry.]

Here is the White Balance Target and it is confirmed: in 2 years you're suppose to replace it from initial use.

X-Rite packaged the Passport with its own lanyard and it isn't too heavy to wear around your neck. Although I would have preferred a black lanyard to not only match the Passport but so that it doesn't get or look dirty from use.

The contents.

It also comes with the software disc containing the ColorChecker Passport software as both a stand alone desktop application and Lightroom Plug in for Mac/PC.

It is pretty straight forward as the instructions go: make sure you shoot with your X-Rite ColorChecker Passport in every situation you change lighting [in RAW]. Import that to Lightroom [or convert the reference shot into DNG file, Adobe's standard RAW file] to ColorChecker Passport and it will ideally recognize the swatches and make a custom profile for that point of time in the photoshoot. From there, you just have to apply that custom profile to all images with that lighting situation. Repeat when the lighting situation changes.

Below are samples with and without it. If you haven't noticed already, the first picture in this entry has already used the X-Rite ColorChecker Passport. Although it is meant for RAW files, I actually used it with the JPEGs from my point and shoot Sony Cybershot W120 digital camera. Although it's not intended for JPEGs, I'm glad that is works as good!

If I didn't calibrate my pictures post production, this is what it would look like: yellow cast due to the table and the fluorescent lamp. Yuck!

I used the White Balance correction tool in Adobe Lightroom and choose the first calibration swatch on the top part of the Passport for Portraits [neutral swatch].

Again, picture without calibrating the white balance.

And again, using the White Balance tool in Lightroom selecting the White Balance Target to get a corrected shot fixed in an instant!

SO: Is it worth it?
If you understand the importance of color corrected images, YES. If you have other means of getting your corrected white balance--that white lens cap, ExpoDisc, a piece of white paper, WhiBal [which I actually own and had to use today for my shoot]--then see first if you have a reason to upgrade and use an actual color swatch.

For me, I've used the WhiBal although not extensively, but will admit it works [as I used it today]. I do have a yearning to achieve more accurate color and really present images accurately. In some situations, it might change since I'll do some post production on some but in general, I'd like to keep this type of workflow.

Even just using this for a bit with my pocket camera you can already see a drastic improvement in image quality. If these images gained something from using it, imagine an important shoot! Truly you'll want to put forth the best looking pictures and files to that client.


Why not just set White Balance in camera?

Ideally yes you should! But when you're shooting RAW, you'll have to do that all over again because you get full control of your images and set your White Balance again (at least with my Sony RAW files). So if you don't have a reference point, you'll be guessing on your images and will have inconsistent colors in your images. And yes, that has happen to me in some occasions where I just had to guesstimate a "right" white color balance.


Why not just use anything white?

You actually could but I personally wouldn't [for a corrected white balance]. For example, when I really had to, I used a white piece of paper but that piece of paper isn't neutral. I got an OK white balance but if I were to use that across a series of images it would look horrible! Having something that is neutral is important for consistent white balance corrected images.


So you said you have the WhiBal, so why get this?

Because I'm always into the latest and greatest.

Ok that's partly true but for me, the WhiBal isn't as flexible as the ColorChecker Passport. The WhiBal is really meant for well, white balance. I have the credit card sized version and it's lightweight, extremely portable and useful.

The Passport allows me to white balance images in addition to warm and cool portraits, landscapes, and color correct images correctly--not just white balance basically. For me, it provides a complete color evaluation tool to get the most out of your digital sensor.


In Conclusion
I personally will be going to like using this tool in my shoots as it gives me a sense of greater control of my images. Besides looking cool using one of course. For its price (a cool $99), any tool is far worth its MSRP value if you need it, utilize it, and ultimately gain from it.

For me, it's all of the above.