Women’s March Los Angeles


By some act of faith the torrential rain storms let up for a couple of hours and the Los Angeles march was treated to postcard perfect southern California weather.  There were so many people (750,000) between Pershing Square and City Hall that the march was more of a stand for Women’s Rights than an actual march.  Although ostensibly a march for women’s rights it was clearly a peaceful protest of the despicable campaign rhetoric, maddening cabinet picks and the inevitable reprehensible policies of the new administration.

I marched with the Rosenbaum family.  Here are some images from the day . . .

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sexy, designer fragrances

Done!  What a fascinating semester!  The final assignment was to create a 5 image product portfolio of all new work.  The portfolio was to be stylistically cohesive yet completely separate shoots.  Elements such as similar lighting, subject matter, colors, design and composition shape a cohesive portfolio.

My inspiration – Sexy, provocative, designer fragrances in muted pink, black and white

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Done!  Many, many thanks to my assistant, models, and those who happily lent their shoes, fragrances, cars, boxing gloves this semester.  And to my classmates who held foam core till their fingers cramped.   Also to my ever so supportive squad who motivate me by their high standards and support me every single day.  And my instructor who kept telling me I could do it!  🤓

my playlist this semester:


After I set all my foam core on fire,  I’ll get a few days of rest then head off to Cuba!!  😃

Considering car photography?

I never fully appreciated car photography before this assignment. In this post I’ll show you the work that went into creating the image above.

First some lessons learned:

1.  Location. Cars are just super huge shiny appliances like a million toasters or Kitchen Aid mixing bowls.  They reflect whatever is in a one mile radius of them. I could not find in Los Angeles an area that was totally devoid of cars, trucks, poles, trees, houses, people.

2.  Time of day. Only sunrise and sunset will provide the lighting you need.  I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a sunrise.

3.  Turn front wheels so that you see more wheel and less black rubber tire (I forgot).

4.  I also forgot to focus on and highlight identifying features e.g.  wheel caps, bumper insignia, etc.  Next time!  👍

I met my Bentley owner aka BFF at Dockweiler Beach just below the takeoff pattern at LAX.  Sunset was 4:45 we ran off about 40 shots.

The lot was totally vacant except for a huge ass RV, poles, houses are on hill – all reflected in the car.  OMG!

I was happy with the soft reflections from the clouds and the warm sunset colors on the bumper and passenger door.  So here’s our SOOC image replete with dull lifeless sky, reflections of all sorts (including me) in the body, the requisite windshield stickers, cracked passenger side bumper (oops, how’d that happen?), etc.  Let’s see what we can do.


Really enjoyed Pandora’s Sunday Brunch station while working on this image.

cosmetics and count down

update Nov 18 – Got through it!  The second cosmetic shot:  color product on same color background.  It was not without quite a bit of angst, but here it is.  Now I think I’ll try it; packaging says results are guaranteed  🙂


#BTS  building a house of foam core 

During post processing I rediscovered and seriously grooved to Oh Honey by Delegation.  Released in 1977, Yikes!  🙂

We’re counting down.  4 more weeks to go.  Only cosmetics and a car remain.  The cosmetic assignment is 2 shots:  Black product on black background and color product on matching color background.  Whatever, we’re getting it done!  🙂  If Trump can become president, I can shoot this assignment.   (expletives, deleted of course)  OMG!

This is what I have so far for black on black background:

sized cropped black bottle.jpg

Color shot is giving me trouble, still a work in progress.  We’ll see what happens. Stay tuned.

On continuous repeat for at least the last hour is Smooth Sailin’ Tonight by the Isley Brothers.  OMG!

Sherlock Holmes

Oh my, election 2016, Really?  Really?  Just how far back do we have to reach to make American great again?!  Hopefully, not pre Civil Rights legislation.

I’m diverting my attention from the election results by writing this post.  This assignment was about collaboration.  I was paired with a graphic design student and given the task of designing a book cover.  We chose The Book of Four by Arthur Conan Doyle from a list of 6 classic novels.

Believe it or not I’ve never read a Sherlock Holmes novel or seen a Sherlock Holmes film.  God bless YouTube.

If all collaboration projects ran this smoothly the world would be a different place.  We met and shot her husband as author and Sherlock Holmes at the historic fire station across from Olvera Street in downtown Los Angeles.  I was responsible for the photography and printing.  She chose the location, model, wardrobe and did all the design and layout.  It was wonderful and so easy working with an uber talented graphic designer.  She gave my images real life and I made a new friend.

The shoot was broken up by security because we did not have a permit, but that did not dampen our spirits. We got the cover shot in front of the red door as we were begrudgingly packing up and leaving.

hi tech assignment

Last class is December 14th.  Guess I’m getting ahead of myself, but so it is.  🙂

Only one shot was needed for the high tech assignment and I couldn’t think of a piece of equipment to shoot to save my life.  I scoured Best Buy for something photogenic, cheap, I could possibly return, etc.  I finally settled on something I could actually use; a dock for my iPhone.  We’ll call it “retro high tech”.  I guess I could have shot my Sonos controller and speakers, but I’ll save it for next time I have a high tech assignment – Never.

Hard to make an iHome clock radio look sexy, but here’s my best shot. Yes, it took some shutter dragging and photo stacking to get the screens to display.


I think what was missing was the music.  On to cosmetics.


As the rambunctious 2016 political campaign winds down to a tumultuous end and the title starved Cubs and Indians are playing for Baseball World Champion it is fitting that this week’s assignment was about beverages.  The assignment was to capture a frosty cold beverage and a splash shot.  Both are inherent with all sorts of challenges.   I quickly discovered  when shooting a cold beverage you must:

  1. Light the cap and light the label.
  2. Light the liquid from behind so it appears bright and refreshing not dark and muddy.
  3. Create soft reflections that highlight the shape of the bottle so that it doesn’t look 2 dimensional.
  4. Spritz the bottle with a combination of glycerine and water (50-50) so that water droplets will not dry up during the shoot.
  5. Shoot against a complimentary background on plexiglass to add interest.

beer for blog.jpg

And the splash, OMG!  I threw strawberries in water, lime wedges in water, Oreos in milk, strawberries in milk – the list goes on and on.   I forgot about the ice cubes where I missed the entire glass.  The kitchen was a mess! Here are a couple of the hits and misses:

Lessons learned here are not to pursue splash photography. OR more positively my splash photography needs work!   Credits to my assistants who kept me going and more importantly kept me laughing and dancing.  🙂

For this assignment I seriously needed a little Los Van Van: La Boberia and La Maquinaria, two of my favorite songs.

Mae La Plaza, Santiago de Cuba

There are several local markets in Santiago which consist of outdoor vendor stalls selling grains, fruit, vegetables, meat and chicken.  Everything is fresh and is sold with little or no packaging or refrigeration, including the meat.  I understand that the meat was slaughtered at 5am that morning and will be sold by noon.  I’m pretty sure the currency exchanged is the Cuban peso not the touristy CUC as 95% of the shoppers are Cuban.

I was intrigued by the monitored parking lot in the picture above that charged for parking spots out front.  The prices are listed under the “Servicio de Parqueo” sign on the wall.

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Adding Diffused Glow in Photoshop

Let’s add some diffused glow to this portrait.  Just in case it’s on the final.

Disclaimer:  I am by no means a PS guru, expert, teacher or anything of the sort.  I’m a student trying to learn the concepts motivated by my Photoshop final next week.  These posts are study aids to get me through this exam.

Diffused glow is filter to improve overall skin tone and complexion without retouching.  I have to remember to use it on metal and light bulbs.

To add diffused glow to portrait:

  1. Complete all retouching first
  2. Then do Stamp Visible of SOCE, (Shift, Option, Command E) to create merged layer without losing file structure
  3. Select white as foreground layer
  4. Select color of shadows as background layer using I – eyedropper
  5. On merged layer go to Filter->Distort->Diffused Glow
  6. Diffused Glow Dialog Box will open up. Settings graininess = 0, glow = 7, clear = 16 (to start)
  7. Add layer mask to duplicate layer. Mask to your desired effect.

Here’s the before image:

Screen Shot 2016-06-05 at 5.36.33 PM

Here’s the Diffused Glow dialog box:

Screen Shot 2016-06-05 at 5.38.59 PM.png

Here’s the final image after the adjusted mask:

Screen Shot 2016-06-05 at 5.36.33 PM

I chose to go pretty faint, but you can adjust the glow to your style.

Studying for PS final

I’ve found it impossible to blog this semester, shoot and study.  However, since the semester is winding down and I’m studying for finals I thought what better idea than to blog my studying.  I don’t know if people do that, but what the heck.  I’ll begin with total disclaimers:  I am by no means a PS guru, expert or anything of the sort.  I’m a student trying to learn the concepts motivated by my Photoshop final next week.  So here goes:

First, I’ll tackle the concept of Vanishing Point Retouching.

Here’s an image of an African boy peeking out a barred door I shot earlier this year in Soweto, is a township of the city of Johannesburg, South Africa.  Using the Vanishing Point filter I added the text “Soweto 2106” to wall in the proper perspective.

Here’s the before image:

Screen Shot 2016-06-04 at 10.58.29 AM

To add the text I performed the following steps:

  1.  Open the image in Photoshop
  2. Command J to duplicate the layer
  3. Used Text Tool to create text “Soweto 2016”.  It goes on separate layer.
  4. Command clicked thumbnail of text to select it; then Command C to copy it to the clipboard.
  5. Shift, Command, N to create a new layer
  6. Select Filter, Vanishing Point.  A Vanishing Point Window appears and I used the create tool to outline the part of the wall I want the text to go into.  It creates a grid.  Careful that only blue grids are accurate outlines.
  7. Command, C to copy in text on the vanishing point layer.  Drag the text into the grid.  I found that I had to minimize my text considerably to fit.  Did I mention that I’m a student?  🙂
  8. Click OK and there you have it.  Text on the wall in the correct perspective.

Here’s PS window with layer structure.  I’m certain with more practice my steps would be more concise.

Screen Shot 2016-06-04 at 10.23.49 AM

Then I got carried away and decided to change the stucco wall to crazy red bricks.  I didn’t take the time to size the bricks as I have 7 more topics to cover.  The Vanishing Point Filter also works when you have to clone objects on a wall or extend a wall/image and keep the same perspective.  Cheers!

Screen Shot 2016-06-04 at 10.47.00 AM

Mucho credit to Photoshop Tutorials by Phlearn:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zHRDv1Q7hmU