Oct 31 2018

No Sand

My Dad grew up in Hawaii. He met my Mom and had 3 kids with her in California and once a year or so we would go visit his family in Hawaii. Either for a summer or for a winter. My Hawaiian cousins were beach kids as were all people of the islands. And while we did go to the beach a lot in San Diego, I was a skater.

There were lots of similarities and only a few differences, but today I had a flashback of their sand management. I remember tripping out leaving the beach and they would be dry already with no sand on them. I would have to spend a bit of time showering off myself, boards, and younger siblings. The cousins would be chilling in the car seemingly have skipped a bunch of steps, in fact I can’t remember them having towels or anything extra. And they never had to worry about sand.

This would be a reoccurring observation throughout my whole life. I made surfer friends in highschool and it was the same. While some would battle with wetsuits and sand everywhere in their cars and house and shoes like me, others had zero sand anywhere ever. How could all of it just fall off their bodies as they are getting to the car or bike or skate? Every last granule?!

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind sand at all. Living in LA now I go to the beach at least 3 times a week. I have sand every where, in every bag, in my books, on my desk etc. It doesn’t bother me. In fact I love it because it reminds me that I am living the life I want to live. But so weird how certain people can develop such a command of sand.

Where in my life does this level of grace exist? I would like to say in my photos. I do not struggle with it as some others do. Or in my publishing, but sometimes I do struggle with it especially on the business side of things.

I think the truth is the grass will always be greener on the other side of the fence. Someone will always have more than you or in this case less sand than you. If we can remember why we are at the beach in the first place, then nothing else really matters.

Oct 30 2018

HBD

Tobin had a bday party and I brought the GX85 with me. It performed great. I rode my bike there from my house and had the camera strapped, no bag. Not bothersome at all. Now I just gotta get used to that tiny viewfinder and I will be all good on cameras for a while.

I will say though that my computer is dying a slow death. The screen has no contrast and totally sucks and the ram can hardly handle my edits. I know that my photos can look better than this. I have been using the same computer since 2010, lol. Time for an upgrade.

Oct 30 2018

GX85 UPDATE

I have had the camera for almost a week now. Haven’t really gotten to go out and use it as much as I want, just been busy with work. I ordered a 14mm lens and got it already. Here’s some notes.

1. The camera is super snappy. From off to on to snapping a photo it may be the snappiest digital camera I have ever used. The mechanics, size, and weight are seemingly perfect.

2. The high ISO is “atrocious”. I knew it would be bad since I have been shooting full frame sensor, didn’t know it would be this bad. But…

3. The image stabilization is VERY REAL. I can shoot at 1/10th of a second and it is perfectly fine. This sort of makes up for the high ISO situation.

4. The popup flash works awesome. I always liked the shadows from off camera flash and this has a little of that.

5. To get the camera how I like it, it was maybe 3 days of playing with settings. But that is a good thing.

6. Both the kit lens and the 14mm are as sharp as anything I have ever used. Maybe I haven’t used that much nice stuff, but these lenses are sharrrrrp.

7. Silent mode it too silent! When I am in it, not sure even if I took a photo or not. It’s awesome.

This guy came to tune Chelsea’s piano. It was dark and I didn’t want to flash him. He was moving around a bunch so it wasn’t proper to go super slow shutter speed. Noisy but I have since figured out better settings and technique.

Oct 29 2018

Do You Believe In Dimensions?

When someone asks you if you believe in aliens or not, I think the more proper question would be, “Do you believe in dimensions?”

Fermi’s Paradox is about if this universe is so gigantic, then where is everyone? One of the many hypotheticals is that us Earth humans just haven’t been around long enough compared to the age of the universe and the distances of spaces travel.

This makes me think of life spans of certain species here on Earth. For instance, a gnat. Gnats live for like 5 days or something. If you break up those 5 days, then they are full adult by age 2.5 days. And if they live in some random swamp, they might be having conversations about rumors they heard about the existence of humans. See where I am going with this?

I am saying if you are a one dimensional being, a dot, not even on a piece of paper because you would be 2 dimensional at that point. So your a dot. How would you even begin to describe or recognize a 3d being?

The truth is we live in a multi dimensional universe and if you don’t believe me then just ask quantum science. Just because we don’t understand something, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. Secondly, the universe is under no obligation to make sense. Thirdly, if words and cartoons can live in 2d and we can live in 3d and 4d (time), why can’t there exist beings in 5d, 6d, 7d and beyond?

I think there is still a lot to unfold. At this point we can only perceive 1% of the electromagnetic spectrum and only account for 4% of matter of known universe. That means 96% is well, we don’t know what it is.

Oct 27 2018

Prince of Thieves

This is Kevin Costner as Robin Hood. It was pretty good, I hadn’t seen it before. I watch 1 or 2 movies every night to wind down the day. My gf doesn’t like TV shows that much. Or documentaries, or anything with violent crimes, or horror. So we stay in the action or adventure or comedy or romance genres.

She had seen this before and warned that this was a dark version of the Robin Hood story. I was like, “How?” but we watched it and she was right.

This one is from Cowboys and Aliens. I think this is a great story. This is Harrison Ford here, but the casting of Daniel Craig was an odd choice. While he can for sure play a tough guy, having him play a boss cowboy wasn’t a good match. In fact in both of these movies, they shouldn’t have even attempted fake accents. They could’ve wrote it that he was visiting from the UK and ended up out west. It could’ve worked since he has amnesia in most the movie. Jason Bourne style.

And in Robin Hood, Kevin Costner is in a prison for like 5 years and returns home to find out it has been taken over by the Sheriff of Nottingham. They could’ve said he was in prison in the USA and that’s how he lost his accent.

In movies they portray aliens as these disgusting insectoid type of beings but with advanced technology. If they are so advanced, I don’t think they would look like that. Think about human evolution. We are less hairy than Neanderthals probably because we developed clothing. Our eyes got worse probably because we don’t have to hunt and the invention of glasses.

But for sure there are probs tons of different species of ETs and what do I know. What I do know though is that if you have the kind of technology that allows you to travel interdimensionally, then there is no way possible that Earth humans could or would ever be a threat.

Photo notes: We watch movies from a projector. The blinds that came with our apartment are roll down white screens that turn out to be perfect for projection. That wood thing at the top is an awning to cover the roll up system. That dark thing on the left is our front door painted brown. Sometimes it is hard to get a photo without getting the shadow of my hands and phone in it. Also, the projector doesn’t have a sound auxiliary output. It has a speaker on it, but it is kind of quiet. So we run the subtitles with the movie. My parents watch Game of Thrones with the subtitles on because they can’t understand the thick accents so much. I watched with them and it changed the game for me. Reading the dialogue brings me into the story even more. If it is available, I will put the subtitles on everything now.

Speaking of reading. I grew up learning from older photographers that printing and processing photos helps shape the way you shoot photos. And vice versa. This is why I am constantly making zines and printing out my photos. It helps my shooting and my shooting helps my printing and it goes around and around.

I didn’t realize until a few days ago that this applies to reading and writing. Instinctively, you can guess that reading a lot will help your writing. But I am finding out that writing is helping me read better. Reading speed is a lot faster. Concepts and ideas from authors are absorbed quicker and I just enjoy it more. I have been enjoying reading for a couple years now, but lately I can’t get enough. And I think it is because I have been writing a bunch.

Anyways, I don’t know if my movie breakdowns are that interesting and I don’t even know who, if anyone, is reading this. But, I wanna start a daily writing habit and it will probably be live and in public here on this blog. I am always thinking, “What should my blog be about?” and “I will just post my random thoughts and photos until the day when an idea comes.” Well that day came today. This blog will be about my random thoughts and photos. LOL.

Oct 25 2018

I Joined Club M43

** NEW CAMERA ALERT ** Not usually a big deal. But I have been thinking about Micro Four Thirds for a while now. And I wanted to share why I ended up going this route.

First is size. I have a Nikon D750 and a bunch of Nikon lenses. And while I do try to take it out a bunch, it is just not convenient to bring to the beach or on a bike ride. So everything gets shot on my phone. In fact I would say 95% of this blog has been shot with Samsung Galaxy S7 and S8. I don’t mind it, I love it. But I miss having a viewfinder and lens options.

Secondly, price. I already have the Nikon setup for “work”, now I just need a setup for “cruising”. I didn’t want to spend too much. This is for out and about and might get thrashed. Of course I was looking at Sony full frame and APS-C and the Fujis. Both systems are not that much different than Nikon prices when you factor in lenses. So if we look at cameras under $1000, we really only have the Ricoh GR II or the 1″ sensor cameras or.. M43.

An M43 set up seems to be the perfect match for me. Size is right, price is right. Viewfinder check. Lens selection check. In fact the lens selection is epic, but I just need a couple cheap pancake options and I’m good. I went to go handle the Panasonics at Samy’s Camera Store which is not far from my house. I wanted to compare the GX9 to the GX85. Right away I liked the look and feel of the GX85. They had an open box one for $100 cheaper than normal plus $200 rebate. Grand total $350 out the door with kit lense and tax, I had to pull the trigger.

I will probs talk about this camera a lot. I already picked up another lense for it. I have had it for 2 days and I love it. In my opinion for size, shape, and price it might be the best pound for pound camera out right now. Even if it is a couple years old.

** Side Note. When my friend Ted was diagnosed with cancer, the doctors told him to stay out of the darkroom so he went digital. He got an M43 setup and I got to play with the files. I was impressed. We have published a bunch of the photos in Hamburger Eyes and I have seen and handled some of his 16×20 prints he made for exhibition. They looked awesome. Also, one of our last conversations before he passed away was about this particular camera. So there is some sentimental value.

Oct 19 2018

CHAPTERS

My fantasies about being a blogger are starting to manifest themselves. I have been writing articles on the Hamburger Eyes site and have been getting good feedback. Not a lot of comments but some emails, texts, mentions, and DMs. I have been writing about photography and publishing. You could say that I have been blogging since 2003 with that site, but not until recently did I start “writing” “articles.” I feel like I have excavated not a new skill or talent but new pleasure? Does that sound pervy? I guess I am trying to say I have been enjoying it.

I would like to start writing articles on this site. Not sure what about yet. My Youtubes hover in the self-improvement/human potential category but I think that will be expanding soon as I start interviewing people and make a show out of it. I think from there I will be able to narrow focus. For now, more photos and philosophizing out loud.

Oct 17 2018

CREATIONS

I was joking with Chelsea saying if I ever opened a restaurant, it would be for breakfast only and I would call it “Cool Eggs” or “Ray’s Eggs”. Then I thought I would steal the name of my seashell jewelry making company and just call it “Ray’s Creations”.

We fell in love with a Japanese rice ball spot near by and decided that we can probs just make this stuff at home. She made a soft boiled egg one. Super delish. I would serve these at my restaurant. One time we made a hotdog and egg and mayo one. With salt and pepper. I would serve that too.

Oct 11 2018

FB AIR PROGRAM

I got invited to be part of the Facebook Artist in Residence Program and hang my photos in the new Facebook offices in downtown SF. If you look up the program it is all painters using very bright colors, so for them to ask me to do black and white xerox photos seemed weird for them but super awesome for me. I was stoked.

The plan was to do a permanent installation wallpaper wheat paste style across 2 walls, a little corner nook, and a stairwell. I thought it would be easy and that if I hired BB to help, it would take us 1 day total. I probably don’t need to but I am going to tell you all the details of the ups and downs anyways.

Day 1. It was cool and trippy being in the Facebook/Instagram HQ. Billions of dollars was what I kept thinking. First thing that went south was the stairwell. We needed to glue photos down 3 walls of it. Just figuring out how to set up a ladder properly took a while. And after all that we decided it was too sketchy and might have to get a different ladder set up, probably multiple ladders, and a scaffold type thing. The lady that hired me wasn’t there, we were texting back and forth all day. We decided to scratch the stairwell.

I brought a giant stack of laser printed photos on regular copy paper. We pasted up the first 2 on the first wall and they came out super wrinkled. A couple people there were saying that that is just the way wheat paste works and it is part of the aesthetic, but we decided that it needs to be flat. I felt all fucked up about it and should’ve practiced more with different materials. I just researched on the internet beforehand and thought this would be chill. We are talking over 300 photos that are now useless.

So we ran to Office Max and bought the heaviest paper stock they have. It was lucky that I brought digital back up of all the photos. The plan was to use the FB copy machine and output all the photos on this new paper. After a few hours of messing with it, the machine just couldn’t accept the usb drive and the copies didn’t look good when copying off the prints I had already.

Last try was Fedex Kinko’s. Let’s make just a few copies on cardstock, glue them up and see if that works. It works. It works great! Let’s go back down there and make the rest of the copies before they close in 10 mins. Just a few copies in and the machine breaks. Shiiit. Gotta go to a different Kinko’s. By this time it was already a long ass day, so I took BB back to his crib and I went to another Kinko’s and made the rest of the copies on cardstock successfully. We’ll go back to the office tomorrow.

All this would be fine but I had it in my head that we would be done in one day. And because of all the security and construction going on with the Transbay Terminal Park thing about to break in half, it takes at least 30 mins to enter and to exit the building. I knew we can’t work in the office on Monday. And I borrowed my girlfriend’s car that she needs on Tuesday. In LA. Time was against me.

Day 2. I forgot to mention the first printing attempts. I have my trusty printer that has printed 10s of thousands of perfect prints. I did an exhibition with over 500 prints with this printer. A few months later made over 1000 photos for a show in Munich. This thing handled it no problem. Printing a few hundred photos for this project will be easy. Wrong. I was getting crazy lines. I tried 10 different brand new toner cartridges, I replaced rollers and parts and took it apart multiple times. Still, lines. I went and bought a new printer off Craigslist, same model. LINES. I don’t know what is happening. 3 weeks of this. The day before I drove up to SF, I ended up just making all the photos at Kinko’s.

Anyways, Day 2. The cardstock testers from yesterday are super solid and glued dried flat to the wall perfectly. Let’s go. We pasted up maybe 30 photos real quick. Uh oh, they are slowly peeling up. What is happening. Prints are now aborting themselves off the wall. We check the glue and it doesn’t feel sticky at all. We add more powder mix to it. Still kinda watery. Could the glue de-activate itself over night in a bucket? This was the highest rated glue on Amazon.

We run over to Lowe’s and buy some big time contractor grade wallpaper glue. It works and it works good.

But by this time it is like 9pm and we can’t finish tonite or work tomorrow.

So after some beer and tacos at Isaac’s work and some sleep, I drove back to LA.

And a couple days later drove back to SF.

Saw George’s new beaver tail.

I’m gonna call this install Day 3. Again, not sure why I thought we could finish in one day.

We got to this point and I don’t know I was feeling burnt I thought I was done. I told the Facebook lady, Kristin, that I didn’t want to cut the photos to the edges. That it looks better like this. She was like, “Nah breh, wallpaper it to the edges. It’ll look better.”

She was right. It looked better. We got one wall finished. It was tricky cutting out the photos to fill in the edges. It was like 9pm.

We watched UFC and went to bed.

Day 4. No matter what we have to finish.

We ran out of photos a couple times. A Kinko’s run or just leaving the building for anything is at least 1 hour. So time is just flying by.

Looong day but we did it.

Isaac met us for a victory drink but we were too tired. We only had 1 and then got corndogs at the gas station and went to bed.

I went back in the morning to see if anything sucks or not.

Everything was perfect. Super psyched on it. Got some free snacks for the road and drove back to LA. Now I know how to wheatpaste super good and now I know I need more than 1 day to set up lol.