Friday, December 31, 2010

Benjamen Lanning

My friend Rita gave birth to a baby boy today. Benjamen Hayden Lanning weighed in at 9 lbs. 13 oz.

Last year when Rita gave birth to her third son, Jacob, I asked her if I could take pictures… from the business end. Amazingly she said yes. Unfortunately I missed the birth by minutes.

This time I made sure to get there as early as I could. The epidural was in full effect. She wasn’t screaming in pain like you see on TV or cursing her husband for doing this to her.
She seemed to be just fine and dandy except for the fact the epidural seemed to work a little too well.

We expected she would deliver around noon, but the doctor came in and said she was ready just after 11:00 A.M. Things moved quickly. The baby started crowning at 11:14 and by 11:16 Benjamin was all the way out and crying like a champ. I was ecstatic! I seemed to be more excited than Rita and her husband, but then again, this was my first time.

I’ve got to admit, the clock started ticking a little for me. I thought of running home to Randy and get to baby making, but luckily that feeling wore off by the time I got home. I’m still not ready for a baby of my own, although over the past few year I’ve become less opposed to the idea.

Thank you Rita and Nate for letting me share this experience with you. I’m honored and congratulations! I’ll drop the pictures off soon.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Alone, but not lonely.

There are two parties going on right now, but I’m sitting at home all alone.

Wait… before you start feeling sorry for me, I want you to know that this is a good thing – a GREAT thing.

I’m not saying I want to be alone all the time, I'm just hardly ever alone.

I can imagine that most people don’t feel the same way I do, they get plenty of time by themselves and can’t imagine why I look forward to time by myself even when I could be spending it with friends and family. Switch places with me and you might understand.

I’ll be editing some images tonight and singing out loud while I do it.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


This Christmas I bought SmugMug accounts for my friends Krista and John. I thought it would be a great way to share their pictures and videos online. I love my account so much, I figured they would love it too.

Note: If you want your own SmugMug account, use referral code: t8xH4xVqA0D1k to save $5 on your yearly subscription.

Anyhow, after seeing Krista work with her SmugMug account for a few days, customizing it, and uploading photos, I figured it was time for me to work on my online presence too. I’m revamping EVERYTHING this winter break and hopefully by the new year, you’ll see a new unified look to everything.

Check back to see how things are going. 

Monday, December 06, 2010

Blog promise

I'm giving myself incentive to blog more. I've just made a bet/promise with my friend Joey to post to our blogs at least once a week by 11:59pm on sunday night. The person who doesn't do this must buy the other person lunch during the week. It looks like Joey is going to be buying a lot of meals - aren't ya Joey?

Thursday, November 25, 2010

business cards

i'm obsessed with business cards.

please tell me i'm not the only who feels a burning hatred for moo cards.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Moving Furniture

I’m a photographer, but you’d hardly know it from looking at my blog. The pictures on it are barely more than snap shots rather than carefully crafted images.

I made the decision a while ago that not everything I shoot has to be something ready to be published in a magazine. Sometimes life’s little moments don’t have the perfect lighting or the perfect background. That’s okay. I’d rather capture the moment no matter how crappy the lighting or the setting than let it slip by undocumented.

Arnold Newman once said, “Photography is 1% inspiration and 99% moving furniture” and I’d rather not move furniture all the time.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

It's not supposed to be this hot in September

It was freakin’ hot today. 106 degrees. That’s hot for any time of year in this area, let alone mid September.

Actually, I spent most of the day in bed. I woke up around 9:00am to use the restroom and decided that more sleep was in order. At 4:00pm I decided I had been in bed for long enough and needed to get my day started. By 4:30pm the temperature had only dropped two degrees. After being outside for less than half an hour, the heat got to me. I felt drained. I decided to go back to bed and wait for the temperature to cool down even more.

By 7:00pm I was out of bed again. Krista called. The photo department at Cal State Fullerton is apparently pretty small. Vergil called. He was in the area and wanted ice cream. YES!

Coldstone or Rite Aid? I hadn’t had Thrifty’s ice cream in decades and the thought of those odd cylinder shaped scoops made me nostalgic for some. Randy decided some ice cream was a good idea too and of to Rite Aid we went.

ice cream

Three scoops: pistachio, Mint Chip, and Black Cherry. Not only was it cold and refreshing, it was also breakfast.

Three scoops

When we got back, we talked about going to Thailand next year. I pulled out a home movie from when I went back to Thailand in 1999 and forced Vergil to watch it. Evil, I know. One should never impose home videos on friends, at least not on the ones you like.

I know things in Thailand have changed. I have family and friends I haven’t seen in over a decade. Who knows if they’ll want to hang out with someone they haven’t seen in 15 years, even if we occasionally have contact on Facebook. Oh well, it’ll all work out; it’ll all be good.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Race for the Arts - Year 2

Race Track

Off to the races… again. I had such a good time two years ago; it was time to go back. This time the Millers and the Fultons decided to attend, along with some other friends from the Fine Arts Division. Yes, it was going to be a fun night.

Grace and Randy


Fine Arts

Each fall for the past 15 years, the Cypress College Patrons of the Arts holds a charity event at the Vessels Club at the Los Alamitos Race Course. We dine on good food, have drinks, and put some money down on the ponies. The money raised during the event goes to scholarships for some very deserving students in the Fine Arts Division.

Vessels Club

Dinner was served at 6:30. Actually, it was a buffet, so I served myself. Anyhow it was all very good. Chicken, beef, potatoes, salad and rolls - as much as I wanted to eat and all very delicious. I went back for seconds, something I soon regretted. That darn horseradish sauce was just too good. It had just the right amount of kick to it. Dessert: apple cobbler with ice cream.


Apple Cobbler

In addition to dinner there was a "opportunity drawing" for prize baskets.


Randy and I had our eyes on the vodka. Of course. Although Bob here actually won that prize he gave it to Randy. Maybe Randy’s sad face played a small role in scoring the vodka, but I think Bob is just a nice guy, the kind you need to restore your faith in humanity every now and then. People are generous.

Randy and Bob

Randy won the next drawing, a nice tea set. He gave that to Bob, who seemed more than pleased to receive it. And yes, a friendship was born.

Randy and Bob

I’m normally not the gambling type, but a dollar or two on each race definitely made things more interesting. Sometimes I would bet on what the experts suggested, other times just because I couldn’t resist the name. How could I pass up on a horse named Pixel Perfect?

Number 7


I won some, but lost more. I wasn’t the only one. Greg managed to empty his wallet too. I wish I could say I felt bad for him, but I can’t. What can I say? Misery loves company.


Hopefully I’ll see you there next year. It is for a good cause after all.

Nanna's Beach Birthday


It was my niece Nanna’s birthday so the family decided to spend the afternoon at Seal Beach. Despite living less than half an hour from the ocean and actually seeing it quite often, I rarely spend time on the sand. I think I can count the number of times on one hand. Okay, it’s more than that, but not by much.

the family

I’m a California girl, but not the type that likes to lie out under the sun. The last time I did that I ended up so burnt the tan didn’t fade for nearly a year. And no, that’s not exaggeration for once.

These days a trip to the beach is an ordeal complete with nearly an entire tube of sun block, umbrellas, towels, books, and of course plenty of snacks. Parking is another trail, that is if I could find any. It’s just too much work for a day meant for relaxing.

Since provisions were provided for by the family and parking appeared quite magically as we entered the lot, the afternoon was rather relaxing. Randy’s mom made her famous bacon spaghetti and Jojit brought enough Vietnamese sandwiches for everyone. I ate more than I should have, with no consideration for my weight loss goal at all. It was worth it. I had to leave early, before the birthday cake, but that’s okay. I shouldn’t be eating more anyway.

Nanna, I hope you had a happy birthday and your birthday wish came true.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Sisig Tacos

By now, if you live anywhere in the Greater Los Angeles area, you’ve heard of the Korean taco truck phenomenon that is Koji. Food trucks, or roach coaches as some prefer, aren’t new, but the last few years have seen the spawn of a new crop of gourmet food trucks. No longer are food trucks selling just tacos and burritos, they now peddle everything from ice cream and cupcakes to Thai food and falafels.


Southern California is said to be a melting pot of culture and it’s evident in the innovative mixing of cuisine. Greg Bumatay and Marc Weisberg, both phenomenal wedding photographers in their own right have now joined forces to bring you sisig tacos, a delightful fusion of Filipino and Mexican fair. Look for it on a truck near you.

Seriously though, neither are thinking of starting a food based business any time soon. This is just dinner at the Cypress College Photography Department. Greg, our Wedding and Event Photography instructor suggested this meal after last week’s discussion of the emergence of Filipino taco trucks.




Now, I’d tell you where we ordered the sisig and hand made tortillas from, however, we’re saving that as our own little secret. All I can tell you is that it’s brilliant and if you want some, you’re going to have to sign up for classes in the Photo Department.


We’re planning on having this for dinner a few more times this semester. If you’re a student in the Photo Department come join us for dinner on Wednesday night. Follow the photo department on Twitter at @cypressphoto or me at @pinlux to find out when our next sisig taco night is. You don’t want to miss this.

P.S. Thanks Brent for picking this stuff up for us.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

"About Me"

I’ve been a business owner since last year. Conventional wisdom dictates that a business should have a web site and web sites, generally, have an “about” section.

I’ve been struggling since the day I registered my domain name to write an “About Me” page. I don’t know what to write. Do I write in the first person or the third? Do I talk about my years (or lack thereof) of experience? How about personal interests?

Jeff Jochum talks about Being Authentic on his site, Startup Strategy and Lawrence Chan talks about promoting transparency in his blog post 7 Ways To Have An Awesome About Page…
And Yes, It’s Important. I get what they’re saying, I really do. Because of my personality, it’s something I probably would have done anyway, with or without their advice. The problem is that their advice is so good everyone and their mother is doing it now. It’s no longer unique.

I’ve been perusing the bio pages of prominent photographers and a few of my favorite celebrities to see what they have said. I read the same thing over and over: EVERY photographer is now PASSIONATE about capturing images of YOUR day, nearly every photographer seems to be a foodie, and a darn good number of them loves God and goes to church. Good for them, but how do I compete with that?

What professional in their right mind would say they would do nothing but the best? Of course, that’s a given… I hope. “I’ll do a so-so job on your [insert project here]”. It just doesn’t have the same pizazz.

My philosophy, when it comes to my online presence (personally or professionally), is to be truthful with what I post. Like all human beings, I have skeletons in my closet and I choose not to share them online. My well-meaning friends warn me quite frequently to be cautious about what I choose to share… what if my boss reads it? What if a client does? I’m very aware of what I share online. I self censor what I write so much my posts just end up pathetically mundane.

Conventional wisdom dictates that you should avoid discussing religion and politics like the plague and for the most part, I do. I don’t want to alienate myself from potential friends, business partners, or clients.

Roughly 76% of people living in America are Christians. And here goes nothing… I’m not. There, I said it. Luckily, only about 11 people read my blog (and that number may be pushing it) so I’m not very worried. It’s something I’ve wanted to say for a very long time, but was too afraid to because I didn’t want people to think I was a bad person.

I went to a Christian school for 12 years (pre-school through 8th grade). It was a Quaker school no less. Tack on another 4 years of Catholic school after that and I’d like to think I have a pretty fair understanding of what Christianity is about. I won’t go into the reasons why I’m not a Christian, suffice to say it’s just not for me.

I was a “Christian” until I was in the 10th grade, but not because I believed in God or loved God, although at times I tried to convince myself I did. In hindsight, I know I said I was one because my “friends” told me I was an evil person if I wasn’t one and that I would go to hell. What kind of sick person tells a child that? It wasn’t for the love of God that I became a “Christian”; it was the fear of persecution.

Today, I don’t associate myself with any organized religion. Today, I’m okay with what people will think of me when it comes to this, come what may.

I still don’t know what to write for my about page.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Laboring on Labor Day

Labor Day. No work. No school. I’m still not sure why they call it Labor Day rather than Non-Labor Day.

At least part of my day was spent laboring. I had a list of errands to run and The Verg agreed to do it with me. He was either really bored or a really good friend. Maybe a little of both.

When I was done with all of my errands we went to Sam’s Club to grab some pizza and I decided to do some shopping. It’s amazing how a handful of $7.00 items can still add up to over $130 by the time I walked out the door. I now have a supply of soap to last me for the rest of 2010 and over 21,000 calories worth of candy. For good measure, I bought two bottles of multi-vitamins – gummy multi-vitamins.

Verg Shopping

I’ve been involved in the photography industry for over 10 years and I’ve seen enough wedding photos, portraits, and pictures of flowers to last me the rest of my life. If I see another picture of a makeup artist applying lipstick on a bride I may cry. After snapping the picture of Verg pushing a shopping cart it occurred to me that we photograph the major moments in our lives - birthdays, weddings, and vacations - but we rarely take time to take pictures of the little things we do from day to day, like grocery shopping. When was the last time you saw a picture of someone doing laundry, washing dishes, cleaning out the gutters, or vacuuming? Okay, so I shoot that kind of stuff, but I can’t remember the last time I saw a non-commercial photograph of those everyday chores.

Anyhow, after Randy got home from work (he had some laboring to do too) we went to Chili’s to have dinner with John and Krista. Ever since Krista started school at Cal State Fullerton we haven’t had much time together. A week without Krista is just too long, especially since I’m used to seeing her 6 times a week. There was a point in time I saw her more than I saw Randy.

Verg, John, and Randy


Krista, John, Verg, and I don’t have much time to socialize anymore. Between work, school, and conflicting schedules we only have a few free hours in our week (month?) to get together.

Speaking of school, I better get back to doing homework. I’ve got a paper to write for my Art History class. This time I’m a time traveling Egyptian. Last week I was a Sumerian traveler. The week before that: a caveman cave painter. Yeah… I know….

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Lunch with John - Super Mex

I had no idea where to eat. John suggested Super Mex. I had it once before and thought the food was decent. I did find it novel that the chips they served for their chips and salsa were just whole corn tortillas that were fried rather than cut into chip sized pieces. 

Does this look yummy to you or what?

Chips & Salsa


Chicken Enchilada



I scored me some crack this morning.


I have no idea exactly what's in it, but I'm pretty sure there's some milk chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, sweetened condensed milk, some sort of cookie or cracker base, and enough calories to sustain an adult human for an entire day in one bite. Anyhow, I don't care what's in it, it's DELICIOUS!

Thank you Anita for making it and thank you Colleen for sharing.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Pot Stickers

pot stickers

I cooked! Okay, technically, I heated. Hey, this is an accomplishment for me!

Randy and I picked up some frozen pot stickers at the asian market and I fried them up. I think I'm going to start bringing these to parties since they are so yummy and easy to make. Why didn't I think of frozen food earlier?

Saturday, July 10, 2010


Randy and I went to Seafood City, a local asian market, on the hunt for mangos. $50 worth of frozen durian, pot stickers, shrimp crackers, and sausages later we finally found our mangos and decided to leave before we did more damage. 

On the way out, I ran into this guy. One day, I'll learn how to cook the little suckers.


Friday, July 09, 2010

Denny's - The food is good?

My insurance agent (great guy) asked me to meet him at Denny's this morning. There were some papers I needed to sign.

I didn't plan on eating breakfast there, but I'm never one to pass up on eating a little something. I decided to order the Santa Fe Skillet.

Santa Fe Skillet

Oh boy, was it good! I'm serious! What happened? Denny's food never actually tastes GOOD. It's just something you put up with because there is no other place open at 2:00am after the bar closes. This is so good I actually WANT to go back and have it again. I'm just as shocked as you are.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Dinner with Verg - Pho House

I went out to dinner tonight with Vergil. Apparently I take more pictures of the food I eat than the people I'm with. I've really got to break that habit.

Well, as long as I took them, I might as well share them. Here is mine and Vergil's dinner.

Shrimp and Crab Roll



Sunday, July 04, 2010

Independence Day

We didn't intend to have an all out 4th of July BBQ, but it happened anyway.

Randy and I just wanted to make a couple of skewers for dinner. I wanted, well, anything covered in bacon and grilled: Bacon wrapped shrimp, bacon wrapped tomato, bacon wrapped onions, bacon wrapped asparagus, you get the idea.


Randy's brother, Rob, wanted to grill some steak. Rob's wife wanted to make spaghetti. The next thing we knew it was an all out BBQ. I suppose it was appropriate since it was the 4th of july.


The city I live allows us to set off "safe and sane" fireworks, which are fireworks that don't fly or explode: fountains, sparklers, wheels, smoke and snake items, strobes, ground spinners, novelty fireworks that don't travel, snappers, and caps. In short: boring. The fireworks definitely don't have as much pizzaz as when I was a kid.

If it wasn't for us having kids in the house I don't even think it's worth buying anymore. Luckily a few of my neighbors still score some illegal fireworks and every now and then we got to see a nice burst of color in the sky.


Actually, I am happy that our city only allows "safe and sane" fireworks. I'm sure it reduces the number of fires and damage. I remember watching a bottle rocket land in a neighbor's bush and crossing my fingers the bush didn't go up in flames. I also remember the dumb-asses that used to aim roman candles at people. It just makes for a boring show, but I think it's worth it.

We lit a few fireworks out front and gave the kids some sparklers. It was all good. The kids seemed to enjoy it. Maybe by the time they grow up, fireworks will be illegal all together and they'll look back on this with as many fond memories as I did.


Thursday, July 01, 2010

Pictures at Weddings

Grace @ Tisha
Tisha's Wedding

This morning I read a tweet from @apertura_erwin, a fairly well known photographer in the wedding photography industry, saying:

People who get invited to weddings should just enjoy being guests & not be photographers. The B&G invited you for a reason :) Esp during ceremonies.

and somehow it just rubbed me the wrong way.

I love taking pictures at weddings. I love taking pictures just about anywhere I am, ESPECIALLY during special occasions. It just ticks me off that a photographer is suggesting I shouldn’t be taking pictures during those special times. They should understand how important pictures are and to limit people to only having pictures the “pro” took is just selfish. Is it so wrong to want to have our own pictures and not the photographers? We all have a different eye.

Grace @ Alyssa's Wedding
Alyssa's Wedding

The photographer can’t be everywhere at once. They aren’t going to capture every moment from every angle. What if I can get a shot they didn’t? Occasionally film gets ruined and memory cards fail.

Grace @ Amanda's Wedding
Amanda's Wedding

I once retouched an event for a photographer in which some of the pictures were wildly over exposed while others were wildly under exposed. I just thought they were a bad photographer. It turns out the processer chip in the camera was faulty and it wasn’t able to read the exposure settings correctly. I managed to save half of the images, but the others weren’t salvageable. Imagine how the bride felt when she was told half of the pictures from her wedding day were gone. Imagine if no one else took pictures because they were busy being guests.

Grace @ Kat's Wedding
Kat's Wedding

Okay, so I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt. Maybe he isn’t saying guests shouldn’t take pictures at all, just not as much as a photographer would. So, what constitutes a guest trying to be a photographer? Is it the camera he or she brings, is it the quantity of images they take? Where is that line?

Grace @ Summer's Wedding
Summer's Wedding

Yes, the bride and groom invited you to be there for a reason. What’s that reason? I always assumed it was because they wanted me to share in their special day, not to exclude taking a couple of pictures. I’ve NEVER had a bride or groom tell me to stop taking pictures at their wedding. In fact every the bride and groom have THANKED me for taking extra pictures.

Grace @ Nong Nang's Wedding
Banasorn's Wedding

I do believe that people shouldn’t disrupt the wedding, and especially the ceremony, in pursuit of photography nor should they get in the way of the pro that was hired to document the day. Don’t step in front of the hired photographer to get a shot, don’t stand next to him, don’t direct the couple and their party. The bride and groom hired the photographer because they wanted pictures from them. Do the couple a favor and let that photographer take those pictures.

Grace @ Rita's Wedding
Rita's Wedding

People bring cameras to a wedding. Most photographers deal with it. I was elbowed – HARD - by a groom’s grandmother as she tried to get me out of the way so she could take a shot. A friend of mine was accidently punched in the face by an enthusiastic dancer at a reception. Stuff like this just comes with the territory.

Grace @ Rita's Wedding 2

Seriously, I enjoy a wedding just as much while downing my 5th beer from the open bar as I do when I’m taking a few pictures. Maybe some people don’t know how to enjoy a wedding from behind a camera, but I do. Sorry if I’m cutting into your print sales.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

One Million Dollars

Krista and John

After checking out of our hotel we still had a lot planned before heading home. We wanted to take a picture with a million dollars and Binion's Casino offered us that opportunity.

Black Jack Lesson

Black Jack lesson

Before heading out for the night Randy gave everyone a quick lesson on how to play craps and black jack.

Yes, we're geeks, we own a craps/black jack felt and we bring it with us when we travel. Let's just not mention this again.