_these past few weeks, the air quality is complete shit as a result of the 16 wildfires going on right now in California... the only good thats coming from all of this is the gnarly skies. its crazy, its like throwing an orange ND filter over the sun.

120 kodak ektar 100    |    etrsi


_Kiss the luxury of eating out and actually enjoying your food goodbye as soon as your kid starts running. Mia can be tough at times cause she's like a little ticking time bomb thats ready to go off at any given second.  so what I've learned along the way that really helps is.. one, find a nice open place  case all the sudden they think their high chair has turned to lava,  two, pick a noisy place so you don't become that parent when your kid decides to start going all travis barker on the plates and three, pick a place that has fuckin crayons cause crayons rule at the table. 

 

120 kodak ektar 100+3     |     etrsi

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_ on some super spur of the moment type shit. Mia wasn't going down for her afternoon nap so decided to hop in the car and go for a drive so she could sleep. I drove until she had woken up, and somehow ended up in Tahoe national forest. hopped out for a quick walk along the pacific crest trail. Mia wasn't much of a hiker so I ended up having to carry her for about a mile.. in the heat; sucked. need to invest in one of those backpacks for those super adventure dads.

35mm kodak tmax400       |       Nikon l35af


35mm kodak gold 200       |       Nikon l35af


_ I recently had the opportunity to photograph these two on their special day; one of the most important days of their lives. I've never been to have any desire to photograph engagements, weddings, elopements, etc.. I've almost always turned them down or referred them elsewhere. I don't think I ever really had the interest, and I hated the though of the pressure it involved. this all changed after getting married and looking back at our wedding photos, and then the birth of our daughter, and looking back at all those photos of her only hours old.. all of these memories are such important parts of my life and I get to relive all of it with those photos. I think having this new insight made me really rethink what those people we're asking of me when they wanted to hire me to photograph their weddings, engagements, etc.. they wanted to hire me, to photograph and capture one of the most important day of their lives.. they trusted me that much, and I didn't think of it this way all those years.  now.. when someone asks me, im thinking in my head like.. yo, what a fuckin honor!

I'm so glad that h & j allowed me this opportunity photograph their day. here are some of my favorite shots from the set. 


135 fuji superia 400       |       bessa r3m     


_ I ended up being stuck, waiting around in Oakland for a couple hours because someone had decided it was a good day to walk on the tracks. delay after delay, I ended up missing my return train. it was definitely an eventful day...

 Fuji Superia 400

Fuji Superia 400


_ it's been a while since I took my digital camera out unless it was for work; and in this case, I only had my camera with me because I brought it for an elopement shoot. how could I not snap a photo of her when he's waiving at me? I love how she interacts with me every time I pull my camera out. she would stop what she's doing, look at me, sometimes she would smile, other times she would squint cause she's used to my 35mm point & shoots haha. then there's times where she takes the camera from me because she wants to try and take a picture.. I love it. I really hope she takes an interest in photography, that would be awesome.

 Sony A7R2 + Sony FE 85mm F/1.4 GM

Sony A7R2 + Sony FE 85mm F/1.4 GM


Kodak TMY 200 - 120


Dusting off a relic, Yashica Mat 124G. Decided to fire off a few shots to test if it still worked.

MOVING TARGET


haven't done much or gone out lately these past few months. just hanging out around the house with my daughter while wife is at work and our son is at school. it leaves me with many many hours to keep her entertained. usually consists of going up and down the stairs, playing with magnets and blocks, games on the iPad and watching movies... oh and of course, eating all day. since I started shooting more film again, I've learned how difficult it is to take photos of her. she never stays still; constantly on the go. focusing with a full manual rangefinder is a pain in the ass when your subject is running towards and away from you all the time. i guess I can always counter that with a high f stop, but where's the fun in that. shooting at 1.4 and 1.5, trying to get that sharp focus, man its tough. but when you do get a shot that's in focus, and correctly exposed, cue the fuckin triumphant music.

the afterparty


finally got around to dropping off some film to get developed this weekend. over the past few months, I had accumulated 3 disposables, and 1 natura and 1 tmax. really haven't shot too much film lately since it's pretty expensive to get developed, let alone, the film itself. however, I do enjoy sparingly taking photos here and there on my film cameras and just let them sit for a while before I finally take them to get developed. again, I surprised myself with what I found on this roll of fujifilm natura 1600. here are some shots that were taken in October of 2017, at the end of my daughters first birthday party. everyone had left, except for these awesome girls who were sticking around for the after party... cake.

TURNING A NEW LEAF


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These past few months have been just hectic. Being a stay-at-home and work-from-home dad has its ups and downs for damn sure. time management has never been as challenging as it is now but I think I am finally getting the hang of it. I've always been the type of person to work the entire day. it just goes with being a self-employed artist; I am never not working. throughout my entire day, im always thinking about work; whether it's just coming up with ideas or actually solving a problem, etc. but after moving back to sacramento, and my wife working full-time, I took on the task of staying home, working and watching the kids. I mentally had to tell myself to turn my brain off work mode. that was probably the most challenging thing ever; living and working went hand in hand, it was second nature. it's taken a long time to finally get the hang of it. to have finally accepted the fact that from this time to this time, I am not working, I am dropping my son off at school, I am hanging out with my daughter, doing things around the house, etc. And you know, im not ashamed at all to say that I am a stay-at-home dad, that I cook (sometimes...) and clean, do the laundry, all that shit. But I knew that all of this took up a lot of time out of my week, leaving me with only certain amount of hours to work. So I ended up putting off a lot of things that didn't seem necessary at the time and just prioritized all the things that needed my immediate attention like project deadlines and the logistics side of the brand. I have this studio space that has been a complete mess for months now. shit is laying everywhere, the walls were a ugly cream color, spiders chillin the corners of the ceiling, just not that healthy of a work environment for me, but I just got in, did my work, got out, and that was that. But I realized that the reason I've been feeling like I've been in such a rut is because I didn't have a space to work that really motivated me to create. So I finally made it priority to fix the studio space to hopefully spark some motivation and creativity to do more. scrubbed the space down, painted the walls, and currently going to build out work table and work station. something I've always enjoyed was working with my hands, making shit. photography and graphic design doesn't allow much of that; other than using your index finger to click the shutter, or click on the mouse. Hoping to be able to share more of the process through here in due time. 

SUPER BLUE BLOOD MOON


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After hearing all the hype about the super blue blood moon, that the last time that something like this happened was in the 1800's, to it not happening again in 30+ years, to how rare of a spectacle this event will be, to thinking that this may be a once in a lifetime experience, I made a huge effort in making sure I didn't miss it. when I say huge effort, I mean waking my ass up. mind you, I have two kids, so finding the energy and will power to wake up at 4a.m. was a huge challenge. I actually snoozed my alarm a couple of times before my wife turned over to me and said, "wake up. you're going to regret it if you don't." that was enough for me to peel myself out of bed because she's right. I would've woken up and seen all these crazy photos of the super blue blood moon and I would've been kicking myself because I would've missed it all because I didn't want to wake up. 

as much as I would like to tell you how freaking awesome the super blue blood moon was, it honestly wasn't as awesome as I had expected. I was hoping for the moon to be much larger than it actually was, only because of the word "super" ... typically on the moon calendar, "super moons" are usually pretty fat, especially at rise. being that this eclipse didn't happen until around 5a.m. , the moon was already pretty high up so it was pretty tiny; larger than usually, but still tiny. especially since I totally wasn't prepared equipment wise. I was shooting with a 50mm but with the Sony a7r2 so I had a ton of reso to crop pretty tight, as you can see. there was also a shit load of people at the location that I originally wanted to go to, so I ended up just driving around until I found a isolated place when I could just park and roam around without feeling like I was ruining other peoples experience. all in all, I think the experience of it was cool, witnessing the event was cool, the shots I got were cool, but was pretty pissed that when I got home in the morning that I could see the moon from our bedroom window all along. lol.. and I thought I had to drive out to the middle of nowhere to see it because I was worried about trees, buildings and what not obstructing the view of it.. nope.  

 

CAMERA BLACKOUT


"Hey Marvin! I wanted to ask you about blacking out your cameras. I've been wanting to do it with my a6000 that I'm starting off with and I remember you did something on insta stories but I don't remember the process on how you did it. I tried using the xacto knife that I briefly saw you used in the s in Sony, but it seem like I fucked up and scratched not only the s out a little but also around it. Sucks but would like to know how you kept it clean as fuck."

 

So i've been getting this question a lot ever since i posted about it not too long ago, i mean A LOT. hopefully this post can help you start off in the right direction. the process really isn't that difficult; just very tedious and time consuming. it's definitely not something you want to rush so make sure you block out maybe an hour or 2 to really sit down and knock it out. to begin, there's always the question on "why do you black out your camera/remove the logos?" most people use gaffers tape to cover up all brand logos on their camera. one reason is that companies do not want any third party logos to be seen. another is to be more of a ninja. however, i personally just have a distaste for the big ol' logos. i've always like to customize my belongings to feel more like "me". so the past few cameras that i've owned, i've completely blacked them out. sometimes with gaffers tape, other times with paint. for my latest camera, i the sony a7r2, i painted. the paint i used was an enamel paint, same paint used for model cars and such. my first step was to remove the shirts the paint completely, leaving the surface under it to be exposed and rough, important so that the paint has a higher chance of staying put. this part is very tedious, you want to use something very sharp. i used both an xacto knife to scratch off majority of the white paint but then used a broad needle to get the corners and edges. i found that stabbing the edges and corners worked much better than used the knife because i sometimes slipped with the knife and scratched the surrounding area which makes the job look like shit. so be extra careful and take your time, and use a headlamp to make sure you got everything.

 

once all the white paint is removed, use a very thin paint brush to fill in the area. don't go too heavy on the paint, instead use light and layers of paint and repeat after the first coat is dry. i used a heat gun to speed up the drying process, saves you a lot of time this way. i did about 5 coats or until you feel like are happy with the way it looks. you can apply less so that you can still see the logo but very subtle or you can. try and fill it all the way to be flush with the surface. after the paint is completely dried, i took a piece of cloth/towel and sanded down the entire face surface to remove any excess paint that may over gotten out. do not use sand paper, it's too rough and will end up scratching the body. cloths like t shirts work, just apply good pressure. this will be the end result.

 

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keep in mind that i don't recommend this to anyone. do this at your own risk and do not blame me if you fuck up your camera. if you're like me, and like to sell your old camera in the future to upgrade, having a camera that's all jacked and scratched up won't help your sale. so if you do this, make sure you got bars or else you've just scratched away $2000 (or whatever your camera is worth)

LESS IS MORE.


In the recent months, i've been really pushing myself to live a "less is more" life motto. i think with having 2 kids, living in the bay area, and being a free-lancer, i really shouldn't have any other option. i've always wanted to live the "minimalist" lifestyle but i've always been the excessive type. if i like something, i gotta have lots of it. i liked to collect shit; like toys and art paraphernalia. i'm into fashion and sneakers so when shit drops, im always finding myself in the predicament of, "do i really need this? duh.. yes." so as much shit as i get rid of month to month, i just replenish it with something else eventually. i think that these last few months, however, i've really come to realize that i really do need to cut back on shit that i don't need to live off of. i am so inspired by how Japanese people live in Japan; the necessities only. so clean, so simple, and makes all the fuckin sense. every time i visit japan, i come back home like, "man what the fuck am i doing with all this junk?" but i quickly fall back into the bad habit of living the "american dream" of owning senseless shit. i think with not traveling at all this year, it made me think hard about what camera equipment i really "needed" versus all the shit i "wanted." i got rid of the bulky Canon build and sized down to a sony and now getting rid of bulky glass to going as compact as possible. i've been doing a ton of research on a lens that i can make use of for a life-time and i ended up with the zeiss c sonnar 50/1.5. it's not the "everyday" lens like a 24-35mm is but i didn't want so much of an everyday lens, but more of a lens that would challenge me to make a more conscious decision on getting a shot worthy of archiving. being that it's a M-mount lens constructed for rangefinders, it lacks in the close-focus field. meaning i can only focus on subjects about 1 meter away, posing an obstacle to how i would shoot a subject. all in all, i really love the quality of both the construction of this lens and the quality output.  there really isn't any other lens that can produce the results the c sonnar can especially in its weight class and price bracket. as you know already know, i like customizing my gear to make it feel more "me." i've done a heavy blackout on it to match my camera, which i will show in another post to come. 

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WHY I SWITCHED BACK TO SONY


so i've been getting a ton of questions lately as to what or why i've switched back to sony setup. so to give you a little background, i started off photography with a canon rebel xti that i bought back in 2007. later upgraded to a t2i, then t3i, then 7D, then 5D2. So i've been shooting with canon for a loooonnnggg time, but it wasn't till the day dropped and snapped my canon 24L off my camera, that i finally decided i wanted to make a change. there wasn't really a huge deciding factor as to why i switched over to the sony a7ii, i honestly just wanted to try something new, and at that time (2015-16) sony was definitely coming into the market strong. i did no research whatsoever, and just sold all my canon gear, and copped the sony a7ii and the voigtlander 21/1.8. used the set up for a while then sometime last year, i decided to jump back over to canon, 5d3 and back with my beloved 24L. i decided to go back to canon because i was headed to a trip to iceland and i really wanted something that can withstand some gnarly weather conditions. lots of cold, and lots of water. 

fast fwd, i got tired of lugging around the canon setup again, especially now more than ever since i am carrying around a diaper bag almost everyday thats jam packed with diapers, bottles, wipes, babyfood, etc.. the last thing i needed was my brick of a camera to weigh me down even more.. so again, i sold my canon setup and jumped back over to sony, this time the a7r2 and of course, had to get back one of my favorite lenses, the voigtlander 21/1.8. i was pretty stoked on this because i really missed the ergo on the a7's, it just fits my hand perfectly. canon was always a bit bulky and heavy, made it pretty uncomfortable to hold after a period of time. i also missed how light and portable the a7's were, and not to mention, the world of options for lenses. canon, i was stuck with red rings, which is not a problem since they are some of the nicest pieces of glass out there, but they are mad heavy and bulky. as much as i love the red rings, it always made me choose to leave my camera at home as it becomes a huge burden to lug around. i love the fact that i can literally pair any lenses out there with the a7. being that i already own a voigtlander r3m 35mm camera that is an m-mount... it was a no brainer to stick with m-mount lenses such as leica, voigtlander, zeiss to name a few.. which are sharp af. even tho they are manual focus lenses, the a7's focus peaking feature and focus magnifier is a godsend. furthermore, so yea, there you have it.. what i switched to, and why i switch to. 


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EVERLASTING MEMORIES ON DISPOSABLE CAMERAS


i've been keeping a disposable camera handy in our apartment for a while now, and i would always take a photo or two randomly when i come across it. every time i get the scans back from them, I'm always in love. there's just so much nostalgic feels to these types of photos. these are the type of photos that my mom has in all of our photo albums tucked away somewhere. there is really nothing like shooting family photos on disposables. i highly encourage everyone to do this. you can find a bunch of disposable cameras on eBay or amazon, you can buy them by the bulk like i did. I just stash all the cameras by my desk, and just have one around the house always ready to fire. replace it with a new one when the roll is done. 

fujifilm quicksnap disposable