Monday, April 16, 2012

Sana Smirnoff Portrait

Portrait of interior designer and performance artist Sana Smirnoff at Red Zebra

I had been asked by local artist and entrepreneur Robert Vargas to do some publicity shots for his monthly Red Zebra event, which is a kind of modern-day mashup of an artists' ball, dance club and  fashion show. The event used to be held in the basement of the Crocker Club in downtown LA, with a former bank vault as the backdrop. A couple of months ago Robert felt he needed more creative space, so he rented an empty storefront as a pop-up space and invited Sana to do the window dressing.

I had dragged some strobes and gels and whatnot along to try some offbeat lighting techniques of the event , but when I saw Sana doing her thing in the storefront window it was obvious that the natural lighting would be more than perfect.

Sana obliged for a series of poses and the results, I think, came out great.

Shot with available light, ISO 800, Nikon D70s w/Nikkor 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5G ED,  f/5.6 @ 1/15 sec.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Instagram for Android

Instagram for Android.

Hipsatmatic and Instagram have been available for iPhone since November, 2010 and both were an an instant smash. It was only a matter of time before Android mobile phone owners were able to get a similar retro app for their phones, and that time was a couple of days ago, April 3, when Google released Instagram for Froyo-powered phones.

Although the Android version of Instagram provides over a dozen effects, from soft focus to intense saturation, plus social media sharing (Twitter, Foursquare, Facebook and Instagram) it is still short some options offered on iPhones, such as a pay-to-download extra effects. Frames are optional, but are not switchable between effects. Uploading to my Facebook photo wall was very fast - faster than the Samsung's default image uploader; under 5 seconds using WiFi. Impressive.

The download of the app is painless and simple. Go to the Instagram website, click through to the download page, click the button and a few seconds later a message will pop up on your phone that the app has downloaded and is installing. That's it.

For today's test run, I went over to the downtown Toy District, where there are lots of photo opportunities for desaturating otherwise very colorful objects, like the Angry Birds piƱata seen in the photo above. Of course, half the fun of the app is not really knowing what the final image will actually look like once it's been run through one of the available filters, and I must admit I was pleasantly surprised when I saw what Instagram had done with the snap I took of a Grand Central Market food counter, below.

And these young girls shopping in the Toy District:

Click on any of the images to open it full-size in a full-screen window.

 Instagram on Samsung Exhibit II 4G (T-Mobile)

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Biggest "Tiny Chef" on Broadway

Edesia is the Roman goddess of food who presides over banquets. She ensured that the feast went well and the food was excellent. I have no idea who this statue on Broadway next to Cafe Jerez is supposed to represent, but he's definitely a ubiquitous presence on Broadway, a bigger iteration of the "Tiny Chef" that I have spotted in several other locations on the street in places where there's food for sale.

Sure enough, the sidewalk diners on the right seem to be having a good time, if their expressions are any guide to go by. I don't know if the same can be said about the lady on the left. Is she is picking up or leaving her share of the banquet?

Nikon D70s w/Nikkor 18-70mm f3.5-4.5 ED