Monday, September 28, 2020

Beers and Cameras Photo Meet-Up :: Hermosa Beach

      A long time ago - we're talking pre-Covid - I was going to make a blog post about planning for a photo walk.  I have been to so many, and definitely have learned a few things from my bad decision-making.  Since the pandemic, hardly anyone is going on group photo walks, but one of the groups I follow on Instagram (@beerandcameras_la) were doing a reservation only meet-up in Hermosa Beach, and I took this opportunity to go out and shoot somewhere I'd never been before (yes, I've never been to Hermosa Beach) and also finally write this post!  In an effort to plan for this blog post, I came up with four tips to help make the photo walk the best it can be.  Here they are with my commentary on how well I followed my own advice. 😀

1)  Pick three things to focus on for your photo walk.  It doesn't really have to be three.  The whole idea is just to have a plan on what you'd like to capture.  Is it people? Candid shots? Macros of stuff? Plants? I always feel like if I have some idea of what I'd like to come away with, I could always rely on the focus items to fall back on if I drew a blank.  I really wanted to focus on people shots for this meet-up.

2)  Limit the number of lenses you bring.  I love this tip, and I try to do this every time I go out and shoot.  In the past, I've brought just about everything I own, and the end result is not only confusion on what I should use, but also some back pain from carrying around so much gear all day.  I recommend anywhere from 2-3 lenses.  For this meet-up, I had my Fuji X100V which has a 35mm fixed lens, and I also brought my Canon EOS 1N with a 40mm pancake lens.  I really wanted to travel light, and I'm glad I did.  I didn't take very many shots on the 1N since it was film and I was trying to be more selective on what I wanted to shoot with it.  Final count - Fuji X100V: 140 shots, Canon EOS 1N: 3 shots 😂

3)  Research the area on Google or Instagram prior to the photo walk.  I normally do this every time when I go out and take photos somewhere I haven't been before.  Sadly, I did no research for this because I didn't have the time to.  I do find that doing this research helps though.  Sometimes I'll look at the street view on Google maps to see what's around the area.  This helps to narrow down my lens choices if I know what to expect, so I don't end up bringing a lens I have no use for.  They say immitation is the best form of flattery.  Well, that's what I use Instagram for.  There are tons of amazing photographers on Instagram, and chances are, they've been to the spot you're going to.  It's a great way to get ideas, or to just see how someone else shot a scene, and perhaps you can even come up with a different take on it.  I love looking at other people's photos and til this day, it's still what I find most inspiring and motivates me to go out and shoot.

4) Use a comfortable camera bag and wear comfortable shoes.  Back in the days of meet-ups on Flickr, I notoriously wore the most uncomfortable shoes to photo walks.  I've also bought just about every popular camera backpack there is to buy on the market, and by now I should know what's comfortable.  These two things - your choice of bag and shoes - can make or break your photo walk.  If you're uncomfortable or in pain, you are less likely to want to take photos.  For this meet-up, I crammed everything into my Peak Design 5L sling bag.  It's lightweight, and barely fit everything.  They don't make this bag anymore, but they do make a 6L sling that's a little bigger.  My shoes of choice were flip flops because it's the beach, and you have to anticipate sand.

     Not knowing the area very well, I ended up parking in a 2 hour zone, and while we waited for others to arrive, I had a little over an hour to take photos.  I didn't know anyone at this meet-up, which is a very strange feeling to have after having gone to so many other photo meet-ups in the past.  It was nice not to be in charge of planning anything though, and just kind of do my own thing.  Here are some of the photos from my X100V.  One day, I'll develop that film on the 1N and be reminded of this! 😄

     This photo made me realize that I hold the camera really weird.

     Outdoor seating is the new indoor seating.

     There were a good amount of people out. Hermosa Beach has people enforcing the mask rule.  For the most part, I think people were just happy to see blue skies after all the smoke from the fires recently.

     These two were going at it for a while!  It drew a small crowd.

     Still fighting over something.

     SO true.

     Saw this old car, while waiting in traffic.  I should've pulled over to get a better photo.

     Thanks for reading and making it til the end! 😉

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Beginner Film Photography :: The First Batch

      Let's hope the first roll is always the worst.  It can only get better from here on out, right?  In my defense, about half the roll were photos from about 10 years ago.  It was nostalgic to see these photos!  Such a different time.  The film had expired since then, and I accidentally opened the back door of the camera when I first took it back out to shoot on, which resulted in some weird color - or maybe the color is the result of it being expired film? I have no idea! I didn't adjust the color on any of these, just so you can see them for what they are.  I did lighten and crop a couple of them because the tilted horizon line was driving me crazy.  Also, I apologize in advance for what your eyes are about to be exposed to. 😄

     For this round I used The Darkroom Lab to develop and scan.  I might try some other labs just to see what different services are like.  Here's what arrived in the mail a couple days after I received my scans via a download link. 

     Alright, here are the photos!  Keep in mind, I'm showing you the GOOD ones LOL.  Let's not even talk about the others. 😏

San Simeon Pier (I think?) from 2009

From Monterey Bay Aquarium (2009)

     This is probably the best photo from the whole roll, and I'm sure that mostly has to do with the view and not so much the quality of the photo LOL.

     This is from a photography meet up at Joshua Tree - most likely 2009 as well.  

     You can tell this is more recent because of Covid - see the hand sanitizer? 😆

     A few shots from Old Town Tustin.  You really see the weird color here.

     When I edited this one in Photoshop and made it black and white, it actually looked okay - but here it is in its original crappy form. 😆 Dog is still cute though, right? 

     I just got this in yesterday, and I'm excited to start a fresh roll and do better this time around.  We'll see hahaha!

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Morning Lavender Tea Box and a Photo Walk

      About a year and a half ago, I gathered a group of gals to check out an afternoon tea service at Morning Lavender Cafe.  It's this adorable little cafe in Old Town Tustin that Instagram dreams are made of. I checked it off on my list of after teas to try out, but have been wanting to return for a while now.  Since Covid, they still do drinks to go, and a few days a month, you can pre-order their afternoon tea boxes.  These things go fast, let me tell ya!  I thought I'd wait until the day before to order them, and they were usually sold out.  Finally, I learned my lesson and ordered a box once the date was released.  For whatever insane reason, I decided to choose the 9am pick up time, and I don't recommend doing that.  I should've picked a later time so it really would've been afternoon tea.  This was more like breakfast tea. 😂 

     They have great safety measures in place, and I'm glad to report that everyone working there was wearing masks and gloves.  I also liked that the box was minimal, yet cute.  The decorative aspects of it were either greens or paper, so very little plastic waste. 👍  My only suggestion would've been to use some parchment paper to wrap around the box instead of the plastic covering. They don't include any utensils because it's assumed you're going to be having this tea somewhere else and hopefully have prepared for it.  Luckily, I had my Final spork and some cloth napkins with me.  They include this little menu card explaining what's in the box. Such a cute touch!

     The desserts in the box include this vegan donut and lavender macaron.  Both were delicious, and just the right amount after all the finger sandwiches.

     I ended up having my tea box on of the many metal benches that line the street Old Town Tustin is on.  It worked out okay, since my original location to have this tea was closed due to the fires in SoCal right now.  

     On a brighter note, how cute is this gold spork?!  Final really hit it out of the park with their color selection on these.  I find myself finding reasons to use this spork just because it's so cute.  Less plastic consumption AND Instagram-worthy? Win, win!

     Okay, confession.  When I first saw the box on their Instagram account, I wasn't sure how big it was.  Then I saw it in person, and it looked tiny.  I did have concerns about being hungry afterwards hahaha, but I am happy to report that by the time I put some clotted cream and preserves on this scone, I was already pretty full.  I didn't even touch the donut and macaron til dinner time.  

     Another thing I wanted to note is that you won't be given a cup of hot water for your tea.  Again, it's assumed you're probably taking this box home instead of taking it somewhere immediately to consume.  I saved my tea for later since I failed to bring hot water with me.  Luckily, I had some coffee with me. 

     After consuming all the yummy carbs, I decided I needed to walk off some of them and took a drive down to San Juan Capistrano.  There was plenty of space there, and the air wasn't too horrible from the fires yet.  There is a lot of foliage and flowers right now, so if you're looking for a relaxing place to photo walk, this is a good choice.  

     It was nowhere near as busy as it normally is on a Saturday in this area.  

     Thanks for reading!  Let me know what you're doing to maintain a sense of "normal" in the comments! 😊