Regina + Chris

Regina and Chris at one of my favorite places to shoot in Gilroy - the Chitactac-Adams County Park! That place is seriously beautiful when the light hits.

Chitactac Adams County Park Engagement Portraits
Chitactac Adams County Park Engagement Portraits
Chitactac Adams County Park Engagement Portraits
Chitactac Adams County Park Engagement Portraits
Chitactac Adams County Park Engagement Portraits
Chitactac Adams County Park Engagement Portraits

A Small Food Adventure with the X100S

I do not consider myself in the slightest a foodie. But I do love browsing blogs and instagrams that are filled with beautiful, quaint little coffee shops bathed in beautiful natural light, sometimes wishing I enjoyed coffee as much as all these people did. Occasionally I do like to take pictures of such food places, but it is definitely not a regular thing nor do I think I do it well enough. But since I got the X100S in the afternoon, it was only appropriate to try it out in the field.

Note: It may be surprising to know that I feel self-conscious photographing restaurants, my plate of food, or anything where my camera points in the direction of a person. When I'm on the job, this doesn't bother me because I'm in a different mindset. But when I'm taking photos on my own, I just get shy! So it's especially important for my camera to get the shot fast enough. I really hate having to bring my camera up towards the same direction several times trying to get that one shot. Luckily, the X100S was fast enough for me to get the shot I wanted without drawing too much attention to myself.

On this little food adventure, my friend and I got a crepe at Crepes de Paris, moved over to Bruxie for a Belgian hot chocolate, and finally headed to Yard House for a lettuce wrap and a Newcastle.

Initial Thoughts on the New Fujifilm X100S

In July 2012, I bought a used Fujifilm X100 as a travel camera so that I wouldn't have to bring my bigger, more expensive DSLR to a foreign country and raise eyebrows. It was great at first - a beautiful large sensor in a compact, stylish body. However, after being used to the speedy autofocus of my DSLR that is invaluable to me as a wedding photographer, the X100's auto focus and general slow interface was beginning to irk me - to the point that I would rather pull out my iPhone and get a quick shot.

When Fuji announced its new X100S was available for pre-order in January, I didn't hesitate a moment and pre-ordered one. The new X100S sports much faster, more accurate autofocus, and its start up time was speedy as well. I won't get into numbers here, but the new X100S is ready shoot when I turn it on in half the time it took the old X100. I would bet that it was faster for me to pull out my iPhone and swipe up to camera mode than for the X100 to start up.

It is so important for operations to be quick in a camera for a photographer like me who loves shooting moments. The new X100S doesn't lag after the image preview anymore, which I am really excited about. On the old X100, I would take a picture and it would go into image preview and stay there for about 3 seconds, and when the viewfinder finally cleared up there would be an entirely different composition/moment going on!  Of course, I tried turning off the image preview, but the time it took to press the playback button, view the image, and go back to shooting was way too long, and it was pointless. It was frustrating. Imagine I was photographing a person, and then they suddenly appeared in front of the camera like scary movie. No more annoying several second lag!

So far, the only problem I have with the new X100S is that in the delete image option, there is an option to delete ALL the frames, which I find problematic. For an old X100 user to switch to the X100S, you have to be really careful not to double click the delete button (as you normally do with the X100 to delete an image) and accidentally delete all your images!

But anyway, I'm excited to use this camera. It's even got a 1:1 aspect ratio for the square crop, how fun! I'll probably be posting a little bit more after I've had a chance to shoot with more.


I'm not much of a pixel peeper and I don't usually do these kinds of comparisons, but I thought I'd share this. I went out with the X100S that night and I took this shot at a really dark bar/grill.

This was shot at ISO 4000, f2.2, 1/75 sec. It had no problem focusing. To the right is a 100% crop of the glasses. (Straight out of camera)

Author Portraits with Lissette

This was a super quick shoot and we were racing against the sun, but we got a few gems. :)

Point Lobos | Film

This was from a while back, but finally got around to getting some scans back and going through them. Point Lobos - shot with Mamiya RB67. I cannot for the life of me remember what film I used.
Point Lobos

A Little Bit About Me

I was recently interviewed for UCSB's Film Alumni page by Anne Hamner. Thought I would share some of my answers. It's pretty interesting to solidify my thoughts about this whole photography thing in writing.

1. What year did you graduate from UCSB and did you have any prior internships/experience with working in photography or film while still in school?

I graduated from UCSB in 2012. My experience in film consisted of working on student films, learning from older UCSB students who had more experience and would teach me. I also occasionally did the office internship with the film department and with a production group through the Carsey-Wolf program, mostly to test the waters of my interest in all aspects of film making  Photography came as a hobby early in college. With photography, I didn't take any formal courses or have internships. I learned through teaching myself, doing lots of personal projects, researching a lot on the internet, and making connections.

2. What drove you to pursue photography rather than film? Is the world of photography just as competitive as film in the media industry?

I chose photography as my primary focus because I felt that it was what I did best and allowed me the most creative freedom and expression. Before I even realized it, I had invested so much in photography - cameras, lenses, etc. With photography (specifically- weddings, portraiture, that kind of photography I do, as opposed to editorial or fashion photography, I had control over the capture of the image and the construction of the final image, and my vision, through post production. I could not get that kind of control with film, even if I became a director of photography, since the film industry is so segmented throughout the entire process. However, I still take the occasional part in the media industry. I sometimes work as a 2nd assistant camera and have friends working and growing in the film industry that I love to swap stories and experiences with, but my photography business is more prioritized. Sometimes I intersect the two industries when I do set photography and behind the scenes photography for film sets!

The world of photography has its own different industries with each of their own different set of rules and ways of operating - fashion, food, product, landscape, wedding, headshot, portraiture - just to name a few. To say the world of photography is just as competitive as film in the media industry would be an oversimplification and comparing apples to oranges. 

3. Being so young in the industry, how did you expand your clientele and how did you get involved in exposing your skills in photography?

Doing personal projects such as the 365 project where I took a photo every day for a year, then doing a 52 weeks project where I took a self portrait once a week for a year helped me figure out what I liked to photograph and what I disliked to photograph early on. I tried all kinds of photography, from landscape photography to doing prom-like pictures where everyone waited in a line and stood against a backdrop. I never really turned away an opportunity to use a camera until recently, when I knew what exactly I liked to photograph and aimed to make myself better at it. I started specializing, posting more consistent kinds of images online, talked to people who had the same interests as I did, and made connections whenever I could. 

4. Do you enjoy taking photos of weddings or portraits more and how did you decide in those two types of photography as opposed to nature/scientific/modeling, etc? 

I like taking photos of both, as long as I can do it my way and in my own style (and everyone I work with already knows this and I discuss it with them early on), because that is how I work best and the images come out better that way. My approach to both is very natural and real - with weddings I aim to be completely unobtrusive and documentary, except when it comes to family formal pictures and bride and groom pictures, where I obviously need to give input to speed things along simply because of logistics. After about 4 years of doing photography (and doing all kinds of photography the first two or three years), it simply became clear to me that the kind of photography that made me most happy and yielded the best photos were shoots where I was simply there to document an event and tell a story through that series of images, with as little interference and instruction from me as possible. I let that mindset guide me through the kind of photography I do, and people eventually understand the kind of work I do. If I had to choose one, I would say I prefer to do weddings over portraits, because I would rather have my photography be about people being overwhelmed with emotion over a photograph (such as a moment captured on a wedding day) rather than people tossing a picture away because they didn't like the way they looked in a portrait. I want my photography to be so much more than a "pretty picture." 

5. What two pieces of advice would you give current film students here at UCSB?

1. When you're just starting out, try everything until you find something you really love - then, do that and be the best you can be at it.
2. It sounds cliche, but it is so important to follow your passion. Whatever you're doing now or working up to be, make sure it's working towards something that you'll wake up being excited to do.