Monthly Archive: May 2009

perhaps not long for the world of wedding photography…

Truth be told, I’ve been having doubts about my wedding photography work over the last 6 months.  Don’t get me wrong – I have faith that I am a more-than-competent photographer.  I understand lighting, I understand what I should be getting, I have a myriad of tricks up my sleeve to get what I want to be getting, and I enjoy working with clients (there’s about 30 other things I can list but that’s just a start). 

However, the “art” of my photographs have honestly not been improving.  I have hit a kind of wall in my creativity when it comes to new types of shots, different kind of feel, etc.  I am merely a good photographer, and seem to be stuck here.  And not for lack of effort.  But perhaps lack of talent.  I keep an eye out, I rarely sit down and stop during a reception or ceremony so that I can capture those key moments, etc.  But other than getting all the necessary shots and doing a solid job, I’m not sure I’ve been doing a great job and I’m kinda-sorta confident I’m not getting a whole lot better.

Recently, I applied to a group known as the Wedding Photo Journalists Association (WPJA) with the hopes that my membership would improve sales.  I had not heard from them at all for a long time, and asked about the issue on  I didn’t provide a link to my website or samples because it’s still kind of rough around the edges and I didn’t think my ego could take it, honestly.  But, aside with a confirmation that I didn’t get in if I didn’t hear back, I have gotten more feedback on the quality of my photos than I had really wanted.  This was one that really discourage me:

  1. Too many detail and posed shots, I would say 10-15% of your images are photojournalistic. It needs to be the other way around to qualify. 
  2. Too many f/3.5+ photos (This would be shots with too much in focus, I guess).
  3. Please don’t take this personally: Your flash photography probably isn’t good enough. There are quite a few direct flash shots, or seem like pop-up flash.

The reasons why I am so discouraged is that 1 – literally 2 of the dozen+ photos on my website are posed.  Nothing else is.  Some may look like they are, but they aren’t.  Isn’t that part of the trick?  I guess not.  And 2 – I thought I had a good grasp on lighting.  Yes, I prefer to use flash than just open my lens wide open and have no depth of field, but I think I go after a very even flash look, not a “deer in the headlights” look.  None of my shots are direct flash.  And I have never used a pop-up flash.

But if they look that way, then perhaps I’m not getting the job done.  I’m not up to par.  I’m the kind of photographer that I have told others to avoid.  Someone “good enough” but nothing more.

Blog title as self-fulfilling prophecy « Baking While Depressed

Blog title as self-fulfilling prophecy « Baking While Depressed.

1 – a sign of how anti-depressants are prescribed way too often

2 – acknowledging that the economy is a cause of depression is (sadly) a sign of enlightened thinking.  it’s not just that “times are tough.”  It’s that “our economy is bad.”  Now, if she had said “I’m really worried about the balance sheet accuracy of banks” then I’d get really excited.  I mean interested.

3 – Bora is freakin’ funny.  🙂

the long and winding road indeed

NY Baking Examiner

A few years ago, I was bored and, like many others, I started googling to find some friends from high school (c’mon…admit it, you’ve done it too).  Obviously before Facebook made the world flat and small.

For some reason, whenever I looked for my friend (I say that with a weird feeling – I haven’t seen her in…11 years?) Bora Chang, I kept coming across someone who was writing articles for, I think, Sunset magazine.  About beauty products.  I couldn’t help but wonder how there could be such a highly visible other Bora Chang out there, and was certainly annoyed that it made it so hard to find my friend.

Turns out Bora Chang was…Bora Chang.  And now she’s doing freelance work for  So perhaps of all of us that graduated from high school between maybe 1995-1998 (wrapping around 1996, when I graduated), Bora might be the most published individual of all.

Kinda neat.  I know Bora Chang.  🙂

(when) should I start wearing a tie to work?

I’ve been wondering lately about whether I should start wearing a tie to work, or perhaps when in my career it would be appropriate to do so, if ever.  Please note that I work in academia, in administration (as compared to faculty) so it’s not the same as working in corporate.  And I’m in Silicon Valley, known for being a relatively laid-back work environment, in genera.

My motivations for asking myself this question are two fold.  The first is the obvious – formality, title, how I present myself, etc.  The second is a bit more subtle.  Every time I change jobs, I utilize clothing as one way to kind of “reinvent” myself.  When I first started working, shorts, t-shirts and sandals were fine.  Next job, I decided shorts weren’t quite right.  After that, I moved away from t-shirts.  Then it became polos or buttoned shirts only, though many of the latter were quite informal.  

When I came to Santa Clara, I switched over to dress shirts and nice (I hope) slacks every day.  I don’t wear jeans, I don’t wear even polo shirts.  It helped me feel like I had moved onto something different, and perhaps something more “official.”  

But I was meeting with someone yesterday whom I realized generally wears a tie.  At least, I can’t think of an example when I have met with him and he wasn’t wearing one.  It’s not a really fancy shirt with a really fancy tie, but there is certainly a different look.  

I wonder if there is some confluence of timing, events, title, etc that suggests I should start wearing a tie.  Random thoughts, I know.

BBC NEWS | Science & Environment | Shuttle blasts off to fix Hubble

BBC NEWS | Science & Environment | Shuttle blasts off to fix Hubble.

Sorry for all the links to news articles, but how can one not promote news about a mission to repair the Hubble Telescope?  I remember all the hype when it was launched, the dismay when it turned out the mirror specs were wrong, the awe and amazement when the mirror flaw was corrected (through a compensating lens, I believe) and the just…stunning images that Hubble produced.  I think many (myself included) take it for granted now – “oh, we discovered a planet?  look at that tremendous picture!” – but this mission is a reminder that we should not.

Europe Looks Ready to Slap Down Intel – BusinessWeek

Europe Looks Ready to Slap Down Intel – BusinessWeek.

I have always found the differences between US and European Union monopoly laws intriguing.  Certainly, the additional measure against impact on one’s rivals that is applied in Europe opens the door for many successful anti-trust cases vs. in the US.  But one must wonder whether a loss for Intel in Europe will cause problems for the company here – legally, it should not, as we have a different standard and the company’s actions should be judged accordingly.  But justice is not immune to bias from outside sources.

Building the Syndication Bus: Plugin Ingredients at bavatuesdays

Building the Syndication Bus: Plugin Ingredients at bavatuesdays.

I read Jim Groom’s blog on a semi-regular basis.  At the least, I always read the headers and take a quick glance via Google Reader.  

He has been working on a rather larger WordPress Multi-User (WP MU) project for a while now.  I’ve messed around with MU but haven’t had a good reason to implement it yet, but have been following his efforts.

Not only is it a pretty interesting project (though you have to read a lot of posts to really get a feel for it), but this particular post has links to some of the best RSS feed plugins for WP.  I use most of them myself, though I don’t have a multiple-author blog – otherwise that would be quite a nice feature.

Biz School @ 2 Years: Hitting the Wall?

I think I may have hit the wall after 2 years in the evening MBA program at Santa Clara University. 

Bear in mind that, as an evening program I, like many of my classmates, work all day long, then go to 1.5-3 hours of classes at night.  Generally we either go for 1.5 hours 4 nights a week or 3 hours 2 nights a week.  We then do homework on the nights in between and I generally dedicate one whole weekend day to make sure I get everything done.  I juggle a lot of things.

I started the program Spring 2007 so I am literally 2 years in.  I am just about finished, as well.  I decided to wait a bit to maximize my odds of taking the final class, dubbed Capstone, along with a group of people that would make a good team.  

For some reason, I am struggling far more this quarter than in previous ones.  Below 70% on one midterm (though exam percentage for the class is cumulative over 3 tests), about 80% on the true midterm (25% of grade) in my other class.  In both cases, I clearly knew the material but just didn’t focus enough on the test.  That’s a sign of being lazy and/or getting tired.  

I know it’s difficult to work and go to school (and run a business).  But I have handled it so far so I’m a bit surprised.  And while there is a part of me that is frustrated at not excelling, I am now worried about getting dual low-B’s…which means I need to be worried about the possibility of C’s.  

Hopefully things will pick back up in the Summer, when I take only one class, and then in the Fall when I’m hopefully rejuvenated from the Summer break.  But that’s a hope.

Bernanke: Stress tests to lead to improved bank supervision – May. 7, 2009

Bernanke: Stress tests to lead to improved bank supervision – May. 7, 2009 .

This is kind of crazy.  The results of the stress tests of banks to determine exactly how much more bailout money each needs came out, as far as I could understand, today, May 7.  Lots of news about the results were posted yesterday, May 6, with fairly consistent estimates (with Bank of America coming in a few billion less than expected (apparently a few billion is good news?), and Wells Fargo and Citi the other two that would need money).

Today, the day on which the results are actually posted, I can’t find any articles other than this one (at first glance, on my google reader lists), that actually talk about them.  And this is Bernanke’s response, not the actual results.


Amazon’s Widescreen Kindle DX: Winners and Losers – BusinessWeek

Amazon’s Widescreen Kindle DX: Winners and Losers – BusinessWeek.

Eh.  Everyone knows by now about Kindle DX.  But there are a few points in here that I didn’t know.

  1. They won’t have any advertising.  “Being good and moral?”  I guess so.  Missing out on a massive revenue stream that would really challenge newspapers?  Uh. Yeah.
  2. No discount to existing customers.  Bastards.

Then again, I’ve had a Kindle on my wishlist since v1 came out and no one has bought one for me yet…