Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Mandatory Funny Dog Picture.

This dog...


Everyone has their addictions. Mine is vinyl, and I can't get enough of it.

Over the past few months I have calmed down on my vinyl purchases in an attempt to focus my collection. As of late, I've been really into work by the artist KAWS. So much so that I've acquired a number of my favorite pieces by him.

Here are some of my my recent additions.

Lord Vader
"KAWS Vader" - KAWS x Lucasfilm

Tell the Truth.
"KAWS Pinocchio" - KAWS x Disney

"KAWS Hennessy" - KAWS x Hennessy VS Label

It's Benn Awhile.

With my new job and all these side projects I have going on, it's been awhile since I've been able to snap some photos. Luckily, my girlfriend needed someone to help her with her portrait assignment for her photo class.

After setting up the flash and getting the proper exposure, I began snapping away. As much as I'd like to take credit for the costume and posing of the subject, that was all Jenny. I simply chose the compositions and fired away.

After selecting a few images that I liked from the batch, I began the arduous task of post processing. Given the style of the subject matter, I really wanted the images to look old and vintage-y, much like that of an old photograph. I may have gone a tad oveboard, but I like how they turned out.

Below are two of my favorites,

Welcome to the Party.


New Job!

I gots me a job at apple and I couldn't be happier.

I now reside at the Apple Store at the Oakridge Mall in San Jose, California.

Home Sweet Home (Temporarily)

When housing arrangements didn't pan out as I had hoped, my girlfriend's mom offered to let us crash at her place. In the mean time, we're just trying to save every bit we can for wherever life takes us next.

Although we'll only be living here for less than a year, we couldn't help but unpack our things. This meant unboxing a number of our collectible cameras and toys. Here are a few photos of our current room setup.

New Room.


Camera Collection

Monday, September 5, 2011

Remember those Crappy School Photos?

Because I work as a student portrait photographer, Jenny and I did a little photo shoot with a background from my work set. We had a lot of fun with these...

Jennifer A. Kehl | Class of 2011

Just Another School Photo.

We put our cheese factor on full blast for this photoshoot, even the pug had to get in on the action!

Coco D. Puffington | Class of 2011

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Wedding Video is Up.

Here is the Ceremony/Reception edit

And here is the Photo Engagement edit

A huge thanks goes out to Deneka and Job for allowing us to document their beautiful wedding. It truly was a pleasure to be a part of it!

I Couldn't Help Myself.

Renowned vinyl toy artist Huck Gee is on a roll this year with toy releases. First he had the Skullhead, then came the Raku Dunnys, then came his figures in the 2011 Dunny Series, and now Gold Life? Huck you're making my wallet cry in pain.

Well needless to say, when I heard Huck was having a series release all of his own I knew I had to start saving. Past release of his stuff told me that these were going to sell out fast. The set was set to release on Thursday, September 1st, but he was doing a pre-release signing in San Francisco on Wednesday.

After work Wednesday, I booked it over to KidRobot San Francisco to meet up with my girlfriend and my friend Shelby who were saving my spot in line. I got there about 5pm and didn't get into the doors until about 7pm. When it came time, I bought myself a case of 16 blind boxes and and the Kabuki 2-pack (Black Edition). I had Huck sign both dunnys in the 2-pack, talked for a minute, and then headed on my way.

It's funny because every release I'm at with Huck, he remembers me as "the Subaru Guy", because we talked briefly on Flickr about our cars. He is also the proud owner of a Subaru STI.

Having not eaten really much of anything that day, we headed over to Squat and Gobble Creperie to feed our faces. As we were waiting for our orders to come out, we began viciously tearing apart our blind boxes. My eyes lit up when four boxes in I pulled the rare chase Tarzo Rifleman. This is the first time I've pulled the rarest figure in a series, so I was stoked. After having opened the entire set, I had almost the entire collection minus the white ninja and red geisha chase.

I knew there were some quality control issues going into this, but I didn't see many marks on mine. These figures look great and the accessories are awesome. Huck Gee really outdid himself! Unfortunately, until I move into my new place, these guys will have to chill on a dusty shelf or in their boxes. Soon enough I will be able to display the proudly amidst all my other Huck toys.

Here are some fun photos I took of a few of my favorite figs.

The Golden Claw

The Geishas

The Trickster

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Painting in the Night.

Got the urge to go out last night and do some night photography. A few buddies of mine and I headed over to Natural Bridges State Beach with our camera equipment. The sky was overly hazy and was reflecting the orange glow from the surrounding houses and streetlights. This meant that with long exposures, the sky looked a bright orange color similar to that of sunset. As I began testing out some settings, my friend Shelby offered me his recently acquired Gary Fong Lightsphere. This is basically just a huge diffusion screen that mounts over the flash to give off a nice even glow. It worked great and I may have to pick up one of these in the very near future.

For each photo I took that night, I basically ran around whatever subject I was photographing and launched the flash a number of times. It was a lot of trial and error, but I'm very happy with how a number of the shots came out.

Check them out!

Find Light in the Darkness.



Random Beat #2.

Ever since I've started up working at my job for Lifetouch School Portraits, I haven't had much time to shoot my own stuff or work on any personal projects. One day when I got home from work, my girlfriend and I got the "photo bug" that could only be cured by embarking on a spontaneous photo safari. I've had this idea of a shot for awhile now, and I was finally able to capture it. I saturated the image slightly and added a vintage film texture in photoshop. Check it out below and have a nice day!

I'd Rather Be Shooting Film.


A friend of mine told me about a photography shooting technique called a "bokeh panorama." This is where one uses a fast lens with shallow focus such as a 135mm to take multiple pictures of a subject against an out of focus background. In post, these photos are then merged together to show a wide shot that has very narrow DoF, a trait uncommon with most wide-angles. As always, my girlfriend Jenny was ready and willing to be my test subject yet again. Shot came out pretty awesome although I wish I had gone a bit less crazy with the dodge tool on photoshop...

Bokeh Panorama.

48 Hours of Pain, Tears, and Joy.

Every year around this time comes the San Jose 48 Hour Film Festival, and each year I vow not to partake due to the stress of last year. Well once again, I got roped into working on another film. It's not that I don't enjoy making films in the least, it's just the stress of delivering a final product in 48 hours...

From writing, to production, to editing, to sound mixing, to exporting, there is so much that needs to happen in such a short time frame. The group I was working with are a great group of people that I love collaborating with. We all motivate each and always seem to be on the same page in terms of ides and visuals.

As with all 48 Hour Film Projects, we were given a few required elements to include within our film

Mandatory Elements:
+Inclusion of a chair (we had fun with this one)
+Line of dialogue: "Give me some kind of sign"
+Inclusion of a "recycling expert" character
+Someone with the name "Ian Jeffers" or "Eileen Jeffers"

PRODUCTION (8/12-8/14)

Luckily we drew the genre "horror" for our film. We knew we were going to go way overboard with this genre, but that was sort of the point. So after agreeing that we would use the super awesome abandoned naval base of Fort Ord as our location, we wrote our script. We finished our script by 11pm-ish friday night before heading home to get some props and few hours of precious rest.

The next morning we were off. As we drove into the town of Marina, CA, we were all giddy with excitement. The fog that had crept over the town in the middle of the night was perfect and looked straight out of a... well... horror film. We spent all day shooting at various locations throughout the fort. This place is a haven for people like me. This will be the third project I've shot here, and I still get excited every time. I highly recommend checking this place out if you find yourself ever down this way.

We shot until the last speckle of day disappeared behind the horizon. We drove home to begin the arduous task of post production. I was exhausted, but I knew we needed to have a rough edit done before the morning. I stayed up until 3-4am completing this task. When my eyes would stay open no lon ger, I trudged off to bed. I woke up around 8am the next morning knowing how much work we all still had to do.

A few members of our group recorded foley while Ben Southward and I worked on mixing the sound and adding in the music. We began our final export close to two hours before the due time. This was just to make sure we weren't down to the line like last year. Sure enough the film exported in about 45 minutes and we were in the clear. I wish we had time for some color correction, but honestly I don't think we could have made it.

A half an hour left to go, and we headed over to the meetup location at a bar and billiard room in downtown San Jose. We made sure we had all the necessary documentation before turning in our film and packet. That was it. We had finished. We all took a sigh of relief and smiled as we realized we had just completed our second film created in 48 hours.


After having caught up on sleep somewhat, my team and I were all excited to see our hard work displayed up on the big screen. Camera 12 Cinemas in downtown San Jose was the place to be Thursday night. The theater was packed and our group had to split up because of this, which was unfortunate.

Overall, the films were very well done. Some of the works made you question if the filmmakers didn't have some sort of head start based on their production value and sound work. EIther way, the films were extremely enjoyable.

When our name "Surfin' Kitty Productions" popped up on the screen our team and friends screamed with excitement. The film was awesome on the big screen. There were definitely a number of minor problems with the film, but nothing too drastic to take the viewer out of the film. We got a few laughs, which was awesome too, considering we mad a horror film...

As for now, I don't plan on doing anymore 48 Hour Film Festivals anytime soon, but I wouldn't mind making the San Jose 48 Hour Film Festival into a yearly tradition! Looking back on the whole situation, I had a blast and learned a lot. I'm not a huge fan of the sleep deprivation that comes with the film festival, but that's sort of the challenge. It feels almost like a marathon for filmmakers!

Here is our final film as it was presented to the audience at the screening. Since then, I've only done some minor color correction work. Enjoy!

I just received word that our film was nominated for 4 awards (best screenplay, best makeup, best cinematography, and DUN DUN DUNNNN, BEST PICTURE!). Fingers crossed!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Our First Wedding.

No not mine, but a cute young couple local to the bay area.

Andrew Cichowski, one of our good friends, was asked by one of his colleagues to document their wedding. Because Andrew was hard at work in Med School over in Chicago and was no longer local to Santa Cruz, he was unable to photograph the wedding. He threw our names out there for her to consider as replacements, and after a few emails, we were hired!

I've filmed one wedding in the past, but have never photographed one. After some discussion, I turned the bride-to-be on to the idea of having a video done in addition to photographs. She loved the idea.

We met the couple for the first time back in June to talk and take some photos for their photo engagement. We decide upon Panther Beach as our location, and man was it beautiful! We ended up getting some great sunset, golden hour shots.

Deneka + Job

Deneka + Job

Deneka + Job

Deneka + Job

Deneka + Job

A month later, the big day came. We all had butterflies, but we knew what we had to do. Jenny, armed with a Canon 5D and a Nikon D80, was in charge of photos. A friend, Ben Bunch, and I were in charge of capturing video. We mapped out all our locations beforehand so we could reduce the risk of getting in each other's shots. All in all, a very stressful day that went very well. We came back with hundreds of great captures as well as some absolutely stunning HD video. I can't wait to show the happy couple our work!

Here are some of our favorite captures from the day.

Deneka + Job

Deneka + Job

Deneka + Job

Deneka + Job

Deneka + Job

Deneka + Job

Deneka + Job

Deneka + Job

Deneka + Job

Deneka + Job

Deneka + Job

We just finished making them a custom book and are still hard at work on the edit. I'll post the final edit of the day as soon it's done.

If you're interested in any wedding or event coverage please don't hesitate to contact us at info@athousandwordsandframes.com or check out our site at AThousandWordsAndFrames.com

Aseptic Solutions Corporate Commercial (Teaser).

Ben Zhang, a good friend of mine who I met through UC Santa Cruz's Film program, contacted me with a great job opportunity. Apparently, a filling and bottling company (Aseptic Solutions USA) that his family works for was looking to update their company video. Given the caliber of the job, Ben asked if I could help him out.

I wrangled up all my camera equipment and headed down south to sunny Orange County where I stayed at my mom's place. For the next three days, Ben and I spent countless hours in Riverside, CA filming in and around the company's facilities. Being a huge fan of shows like "How It's Made," I was in heaven. Each piece of machinery was engineered to perform a specific task in the mixing/bottling process. I told Ben that I could easily spend weeks inside the facilities just filming anything and everything. From an outsider's perspective of the multi-million dollar bottling industry, it was interesting to see the process behind what it takes to make, fill, bottle, pack, and ship many of the beverages that we enjoy at home.

For now, Ben has only edited together a teaser, but I cannot wait to see the whole thing!

Another Go.

After the recent success of our Build-A-Bear Smallfrys commercial, I was motivated to enter another video contest on potent.net. This time around, Jenny and I collaborated with another stop frame extraordinaire to create our entry. A few months ago, Kip and I worked together on the rather dark comedy short film "The Life of a Carrot", which turned out great.

So without going too much into it, please check out our entry below. You can bet it has some stop-frame animation in it!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Film Versus Digital.

As much as I love the ease of use of digital, there's just something about film that keeps me coming back for more. It could the fact that every picture costs money, which forces me to think about the picture I am composing. Or it could be the fact that film slows you down in an effort to check all your settings. Or it could possibly be the thrill of waiting weeks until receiving your pictures back and discovering past memories and events that you had documented prior. Whatever it is, I love film -- its look, its feel, its aesthetic, its method, its everything.

I still use my digital SLR in terms of metering and focus to copy over, but the results are always much more astounding on the film negative/positive when compared with its digital counterpart. There are a number of jobs where digital is the necessary tool of choice because of its immediacy, but if I have the time to slow down, I'd highly consider selecting film as my medium.

For reference, here's the image I took on my Canon 5D DSLR (large amount of post work done).

Stand Out.

And here's the image I took on my girlfriend's Medium Format camera (no post work done except for removing dust).


My girlfriend is kind enough to let me use her beastly Mamiya RB67 camera so long as I buy film for it. FIlm is something I've been meaning to explore more and more of, and now that I have a bit more time on my hands, I have no excuses.

I Love to Flash.

Finally took the plunge into the world of off camera flash photography and bought myself a Yongnuo wireless trigger system. This little device connects your camera to your flash wirelessly so you can move your light source independently. On a recent trip to visit my mom down south in sunny San Clemente, Jenny and I gave our new toy a go. We headed up to the scenic bluffs that overlook all of Orange County's coast. We also happened to catch the sun just as it was setting behind the ocean.

Here is one of Jenny shot with a Canon 580 EXII fired from the right of the subject with no bounce or diffusion.

Golden Girl.

I still have a lot to learn in terms of making the lighting appear natural and deliberate. Since getting the wireless trigger, I've also invested in a bounce umbrella and stand to help with diffusion.

Here are two photos of my pug Coco that we used for Graduation Thank You cards.

Graduation Pug.

Ahead of the Game.


Yet another film I was fortunate enough to help out on. This one centers around an injured downhill mountain biker who doesn't let his handicap dictate his life. Simple story, great visuals, compelling storytelling... what else do you need? Director Eric Gillespie has a bright future ahead of him in terms of action sports filmmaking. Good luck my friend.

Dinapoli Tomatoes.

About six months ago, I was approached by a local tomato company centered out of Los Gatos, CA to help create an edit for their upcoming site. The point of the video was to showcase how the organic tomatoes were grown and harvested. I was to use footage that had already been shot, which proved difficult considering it was shot on one of those camcorders that records straight to DVD. We worked through all the hiccups and after a number of e-edits later, we had a finished product. I had a wonderful time working on this project with Rob Dinapoli of Dinapoli Tomatoes and hope to callaborate with him and his team in the near future.

The final edit can be viewed on his site: www.biancodinapoli.com

or you can check it out here. Please heed the SD footage.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Smallfrys Contest.

**UPDATE** We Won!!! Build-a-Bear purchased our commercial for $7,500! Feels good man.

In an attempt to make some money, a few friends and I got together to work on short spot hosted by poptent.net. The contest was to make an advertisement for Build-A-Bear Workshop to promote their new "Smallfrys" line of plush animals. After much debate, we settled on a concept that involved a monster costume, which we all hoped would set us apart from the competition. On Friday, David, jenny, and I got together and bought all the necessary building materials to create our epic monster. The green fuzzy fabric we got shed like no other. As much as I'd like to say David and I contributed equally to the building of the monster, it was really all Jenny. As the only one who knew how to operate a sewing machine, David and I were sort of at a loss. Thanks Jenny for your master craftiness!

Here is the head of the costume Jenny made. It sort of resembles an Admiral Ackbar...

On saturday, we met up in Millbrae with David and his girlfriend, who is also conveniently named Jenny (hinting at sarcasm here). David's Jenny had found not only a house, but a mother and daughter who were willing to act in our commercial. We met the family and thanked them for helping us with our project. The daughter, who was about seven, was a bit timid at first. Although, once Jenny put the monster costume on, it was nothing but giggles. Even from behind the camera, I could not stop cracking up. The way the mouth on the monster sort of sagged and flopped when Jenny talked was hilarious.

Millbrae was already excruciatingly hot, but to be in a green fuzzy monster costume was torture. Because of this we had to shoot quickly so as not to overheat our awesome actress Jenny. Both the mom and the girl were extremely good sports about doing things a number of times from different angles. It was both a challenge and a blast to work with a child actor. you really have to break down an action into steps otherwise our young actress would rush and blend all the actions into one. She was great and we got some really genuine expressions and emotions out of her.

When $7,500 is at stake, it's no wonder there were so many last minute entries. After the contest closed yesterday (July 4th 9pm), there were 138 video submissions in total. I feel a little better about our commercial being one of the "staff favorites" along with 26 other videos, but there are some really great professional-looking ads in the running. All we can do now is keep our fingers crossed...

Check out our entry!