the obligatory tourist photo


taking the obligatory tourist photo is always a bit of a doubled edged sword. on the one side you know the same photo exists a million times. but then I don’t just take photos for others. and some of these obligatory photos are obligatory for a reason — they are photos of what is actually beautiful. one way to approach those kind of photos is to maybe try to take them in a different way (and I certainly didn’t do that with the above photo of the painted ladies) but in one way the obligatory tourist photo can, especially for the still learning amateur (a category I would place myself in), be quite interesting. because it provides a situation where you know how a shot should look like and you can then play around to create it. it is in a way like using a recipe of a great chef and cooking it at home. you might have eaten at the chef’s restaurant and know how it should taste, the cookbook might have a photo, so you know how it should look like. but you still have to cook it yourself, and in the process you will likely learn a lot. and I think in a way it is the same with the obligatory tourist photo. look at how some of the better photographers have taken it (what time of day, what angle, what did they include, what did they exclude …) and then practice.



something i love about photography is that at the beginning of  your day  you never really know what you will come home with. i think that is to a degree true for all kinds of photography, no matter if you do portraits in the studio, landscapes, or dabble in street photography (whatever that means). but as you take photos throughout a session or throughout a day there will be moments when you see something that you like. this photo is nothing special, but at the same time i have come back to it many times. when i was out there in LA, in Korea Town (actually waiting for a table to get ready at my favorite Mexican restauran there, Guelagueza) i came across this car. now the car by itself is already pertty cool, but i loved the rust on the roof, and then the sun beams hitting it where great. so i was wondering how to capture this. i probably took 5 or so photos. this one is the one i came back to over and over. the explosion of sun light in the top right, the detail in the car, it somehow works for me … let me know what you think.

when life gives you lemons …


taking a longer vacation trip rarely results in me not bringing the right photo equipment. usually there is time to pack and plan. but this summer i had two back to back work trips coming back from the second of those just 24 hours before leaving for a two week vacation trip to Argentina. on top of this i  spent the last three days in bed sick while on the second of those business trips so i didn’t use the camera i brought on that trip at all. packing for the vacation trip, still feeling a bit weak from the stomach bug i just packed my camera, planning to have my 35mm (XCD 3,5/45mm) with me, pretty much the one lens i travel with. i raced to the airport, arrived in Buenos Aires (at the amazing Home Hotel), unpacked, grabbed my camera and went for a walk. as i took the first photo i thought something was off. and on closer inspection, i realized (and at the same time remembered) that i did not have the 35mm lens on the camera body, but rather the much longer XCD 3,2/90mm — which would be an equivalent of 71mm, compared to the 35mm. ok. first i was bummed. then 71mm just didn’t feel right. way to close, not enough in the frame. and so the first day was more or less just lost because of my attitude. over a great dinner at Cucina Paradiso just around the corner from the hotel i recognized there wasn’t any chance to change things, i was stuck with the 71mm lens and better make the most out of it. so starting with the next day i just changed the way i usually approach a new city. usually i look for people and try to capture daily scenes (like this set that i took in Oaxaca at the market), instead now i wanted to focus on little things — capture the parts of the city. while the 71mm is great for portraiture i don’t like it to capture people on the street with it. so i looked for other things — i took at ton of photos of buildings, but then once i got to the La Recoleta cemetery that i where i really started to enjoy the 71mm, actually i was really happy i  had this lens rather than the 35mm. and so in the end i didn’t come back with the photos i thought i would take but came back with an appreciation for a whole different way to look at a place.

venice beach skatepark


no trip to LA is really complete for me without a visit of the Venice Beach Skatepark. Venice Beach can be a pain i will admit, but spending time at the Skatepark quickly makes up for it. seeing the talent and the dedication is always inspiring.

during my last trip i headed there directly from the airport, trying to catch the sunset. i was way too early for the sunset, but i did get there to get a lower sun than usually, having softer light and also nice long shadows. i just posted a bunch of the photos from that trip on my portfolio site here: venice beach skatepark.

long beach harbor

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photos from two days in Long Beach and San Pedro. As you drive down the highway from Los Angeles to San Diego you pass mountains of containers, see huge ships in the distance, and likely curse the endless trucks. once you get off the highway you enter a labyrinth of streets where it can be hard to stop to take a shot and you will drive by so many scenes you would have loved to stop the car, but no parking spot in sight and walking in this area is likely close to a death sentence. but once you find areas that you can walk a bit, get close this is a fantastic space. you will see the small widgets of the global economy (the containers) and all the things that make them move.