Right place, Right time – Bianca & Jonathan Chicago Wedding

Check out this amazing snap Ela caught when we sprinted up the stairs to get this last minute shot. The reaons we sprinted up the stairs was because we had to fight Chicago traffic to get back to the venue in time for the reception. I love it when a plans comes together. We saw the train start to move and yelled “kiss!” And – it worked :)

Right Place, Right Time - Bianca & Jonathan Chicago Wedding

I’ll link to the full wedding post when it’s up.

California – Bombay Beach, Salton Sea and Slab City

The second we landed in LAX around 11pm, we picked up our car rental and made our best attempts to get out of dodge asap. With the thoughts, of course, that there is no midnight traffic jams in LA. Thankfully, we were 90% correct. :)

So it was our first day in SoCal- and there we were, in the middle of nowhere. 187 miles from LAX, and far far from any 3G service. It was amazing. On our drive down the coast of Salton Sea, we stumbled into a fantastic little community called Bombay Beach, with the population varying between 60 and 200 depending on the season.

What is the Salton Sea you ask? Well, it is the largest lake in California, and was created by accident back in 1905 due to an engineering mistake by the railroad companies when the Colorado River runoff flooded into the basins of California- submerging the town of Salton over the course of 2 years. After a few decades, and the lake still there, realtors made vast attempts of turning the lake into a resort town.

Due to the loads of agricultural runoff being dumped into the lake, the lakes salt levels rose drastically- now at around 4%, and followed up by scores of dead fish washed up on the lake, and the tourists quickly retreating. All in all, the resort town was quite short lived and abandoned…. which makes for fantastic post-apocalyptic photo-ops. We’ll have to head back and get a few sunrise shots of this amazing area.

On the bright note- the Salton Sea played a big part in the stabilization of the once threatened population of the American White Pelican. (As you can see bunches of them in the distance below) :)

The minute we stepped outside it felt as though we had a heatwave of a smack in the head. Thankfully, it was 115 degrees of dryheat- which beats muggy weather anyday.

So you see all of that lovely sand? If you take a closer look, much of that is actually crushed up fishscales and bones the closer you are to the lake. Yeeesh. That called for me to run back to the car and grab some closed toe shoes. After that, we stumbled into the wonderfully amazing and airconditioned SKI INN. We had no idea what to expect when we walked in the door…

We entered the bar covered with $1 bills from visitors past, and greeted by a lovely gentleman by the name of Wendell. The man behind the bar, as well as the 2nd owner of the place- he chose Bombay Beach for retirement and loves it.

The lovely lady to Wendell’s left was as though she emerged from a cartoon- green flyswatter and all. She had fantastic aim too. And Brian, on the right, handed us a dollar to decorate and tape to the ceiling.

Oh, and not to mention, 115 dry heat makes for the most amazing $2.50 pint of fat tire. Served in a handled mason jar? AWESOME.

While we were outside, we ran into a few fellow travelers, Undergrads on break from UCLA- and they told us that Slab City- Salvation Mountain was only 20 miles down the road. Yes! Remember the movie ‘Into the Wild’ about Christopher McCandless, he ventured out to Slab City as well.

When we arrived, Leonard Knight- artist and dweller of Salvation Mountain wasn’t home, so we will have to venture inside next time.

Originally posted on Studio Finch our photography website, I couldn’t resist sharing on here as well.


Quick post – while editing some photos I noticed this grasshopper out the window on one of our plants. I snapped them making use of a Canon 70-200mm lens and an Extension Tube EF25 II on a Canon 5d Mark II.

Pretty sweet!

Matt Kloskowski’s Book Photoshop Compositing Secrets

I just picked up a great new book by Matt Kloskowski “Photoshop Compositing Secrets: Unlocking the Key to Perfect Selections and Amazing Photoshop Effects for Totally Realistic Composites” what I love about the book is it is so straight forward and to the point. With lesson after lesson – it has multiple of examples that you can apply to re-world scenarios. You can follow along and do the examples he has in the book in Photoshop. I highly recommend the book for anyone interested in compositing in Photoshop.

Check out the promo video for his new book.

In addition to this book Matt has a great website on to help improve your Lightroom skills http://lightroomkillertips.com.

Happy World Photography Day!!

Didn’t know if you knew this, but today is in fact World Photography Day!! Below is one of my favorite photos I’ve taken. It’s a self-portrait and it was a part of series I did entitled “The Personal Ad.” It actually was the first thing Ela, my now fiancee saw of me.

So, I hope you enjoy World Photography Day and keep snapping :)
Personal Ad - Look at this guy!

Zach Arias: Transformation & Interview by Chase Jarvis

A photographer I’ve been really digging lately is Zach Arias. This is because I can tell this guy really speaks from the heart and has a very inspiring story on how he became a professional photographer.

Growing as a person and an artist is something which is very important to me. Just ask my fiance as I watch video after video and read blog after blog like Johnny 5 in “Short Circuit” “Need more input!” Below is a video Zach did for Scott Kelby as a guest blogger. It really touched me because after watching it I felt even more focused on the task at hand of being a better photographer and why I do what I do in life. I hope it does something for you too.

Chase Jarvis had Zach on his live show, it’s long but good if you have the time.

“The fact is that relatively few photographers ever master their medium. Instead they allow the medium to master them and go on an endless squirrel cage chase from new lens to new paper to new developer to new gadget, never staying with one piece of equipment long enough to learn its full capacities, becoming lost in a maze of technical information that is of little or no use since they don’t know what to do with it.” – Edward Weston‘s quote Zach Arias uses at his workshops.

And now Photographer Gregory Heisler

In a recent post on the Strobist he posted a video about Arnold Newman, a fantastic watch in which I learned a lot. Upon further investigation I bring you a video about his assistant Gregory Heisler (from Profoto). He camped out on Arnold Newman’s doorstep until he let him be his assistant.

“His iconic portraits and innovative essays have often graced the covers and pages of many magazines, including Life, Esquire, Gentlemens Quarterly, Geo, Sports Illustrated, ESPN, and The New York Times Magazine, yet he is perhaps best known for his more than seventy Time cover portraits.”

Long time no post…but I’m back! Crop vs. Full Frame

Hello everyone! I’m back in a brand new way. In case you haven’t checked out studiofinch.com that’s a good place to see what I’ve been up to lately. I wanted to let you know that I’m changing the direction of this blog from just personal updates to a more photography tip, tricks and cool stuff type of thing-a-ma-jig.

This first thing I’d like to illustrate is the difference between a full frame camera and a crop sensor. Now you can good this kind of thing, but I think that the best way to illustrate my point is to simple show you a photo as an example.

Canon 40D 125th 2.8 1000 ISO (Click to see full sized image)

Canon 5D Mark II 125th 2.8 1000 ISO (Click to see full sized image)


As you can see the “crop sensor” on the 40D crops out part of the picture. Nonetheless, the 5D Mark II is also a much higher quality camera as well, but this helps illustrate the crop vs. full frame point. The 5D also lets in more light and has less “noise” in the picture. Click the pictures and compare.

So I hope this is just the start of more camera blog posts to help you along the way. If you already knew this, don’t worry we will get more complex along the way. Cheers!


Yay – I got engaged!!

Here’s a picture from the special day when I asked her to marry me, she said yes and made me the happiest man alive. Thankfully Ela had her camera on her from our mini-vacation to Milwaukee to visit some small indie breweries and a coffee roastery :)

I can't stop looking at this picture. Hope you enjoy our joy!

From the calender after we got back -we got engaged on August 17, 2010.

I changed it, obviously ;)