Guarding the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Despite Hurricane Sandy

via PHOTO: Despite Sandy, Soldiers Stand Guard At Tomb Of The Unknown Soldier : The Two-Way : NPR:

According to the First Army Division East, which posted the picture today on its Facebook page, the three soldiers of the 3rd Infantry Regiment stood guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier as the first heavy bands of rain from Hurricane Sandy moved across the Washington, D.C. area.

"The tomb," they write, "has been guarded continuously since 1948." 

These are some really touching photos. 

I was curious about the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier tradition, and then read this cool tidbit on the U.S. Army's website:

While on duty the sentinel crosses a 63-foot rubber surfaced walkway in exactly 21 steps. He then faces the Tomb for 21 seconds, turns again, and pauses an additional 21 seconds before retracing his steps. The 21 is symbolic of the highest salute accorded to dignitaries in military and state ceremonies.

As a gesture against intrusion on their post, the sentinel always bears his weapon away from the Tomb. 

Author, Guru, and Leading Thinker

At least that's what he looks like to me.


I practiced some off-camera, studio lighting setups today. This senior citizen is more than 11 years old now, but volunteered anyway to model for me. 

I'm pretty happy with how these turned out!








p.s. I'll be posting about Mike Colón's Laguna Beach workshop next week. He invited me to assist him, of which I'm incredibly grateful for. So I'll share of my favorite photos I took from it. 

A Dad and His 4-year-old Sends Toy Train to Infinity, and Back

via A Toy Train in Space:


We sent my son's favorite train "Stanley" to space in a weather balloon with a HD camera and an old cell phone for GPS. He was recovered 27 miles away in a corn field and we got some great footage of the trip. This video documents the journey from liftoff to landing. 

My 4 year old and Stanley are inseparable like Calvin and Hobbes. He's been attached to him since he was two, and they play, sleep and do everything together. I animated Stanley's face with After Effects and Photoshop to bring him to life how I imagine my son sees him.

This is way too cool. 

Another interesting note, is that I didn't know you had to call the FAA to make sure there are no planes around:

Quick note on safety

I'm getting so many comments regarding safety that I think I should write a quick note to let everyone know of the precautions I took beforelaunching Stanley into the sky.

First off, I called the FAA 15 minutes before launch (per their instructions) so they could make sure no planes fly into the flight path. 

Second, the box was only 2 pounds and made of foam core, with a wooden dowel to hold Stanley in front of the camera. 
I spent two months monitoring the winds with this website to pinpoint the general area that he would land. For safely, I launched him from a location that I knew would bring him down into farm land. The prediction website was only 5-10 miles off, so he landed safely in a corn field, far away from any towns.

I didn't want Stanley to be a murderer. Plus I wanted to make sure my son got Stanley back. :)


(via PetaPixel)

Caine's Arcade Goes Global

Imagine: Caine's Arcade Goes Global from Nirvan Mullick on Vimeo.

This is a follow-up video of Caine's arcade, now one year later. (In case you missed the first, here's their website:

He's a bit taller now, looks more mature — but still has that same, delightful smile. Now kids all over the world are making their own cardboard games, along with a worldwide "Cardboard Challenge" on Oct. 6, a fundraiser to encourage creativity and entrepreneurship in kids.

The part that stands out to me? The fact that in the midst of iPads and iPod touches, video games and technology — there are still kids finding joy in the simplicity and the creativity of cutting up cardboard boxes for the joy of imagination. Forts and trains and castles, anyone? I did that with cardboard boxes when I was little.

Oh, and yes, I also made a time machine.

"Information Diet: Notifications are evil"

via Information Diet | Notifications are evil:

Do yourself a favor: kill the notifications off. Don't participate in the notification economy. Change your relationship from passive to active. Instead of relying on Facebook to command your attention, schedule a meeting with it. If Facebook's important to you, put 15 minutes on your calendar for it and make that the time that you check Facebook.

I immediately disabled Facebook email notifications when I first signed up. That was horrendous. On my Mac, my Mail app doesn't show a number badge of how many unread emails I have. On my iPhone, there are very limited notifications and almost no number badges. I hate those number badges. 

I take control of what I read, not others. These are the little decisions that helps keep me sane and simple. 

Blaine Hogan's Free eBook, Untitled: Thoughts on the Creative Process

via Blaine Hogan | Giving Away My Book For Free:

But if I'm really honest, more times than not I feel like I'm still sitting in the waiting room running my lines in my head, terrified I won't get the job, and won't be able to pay my rent. So what I'm doing today is an experiment - an experiment in being less in control of my content - an experiment in giving things away.


Andrew Stanton on TED

via Andrew Stanton: The clues to a great story | Video on


(Warning! This TED video contains explicit language. Just one word to be exact, and it's part of a joke he's telling in the beginning.)

You know I love anything related to Pixar, so my countenance brightened when I found Andrew Stanton on TED. He's the writer and director of Finding Nemo and Wall-E (one of my absolute favorites, especially because this movie debuted on my birthday). 

Some notes I took from this vid:

  1. "Storytelling is joke-telling."
  2. Stories are meant to offer you some truth that deepens and affirm who we are, and gives us meaning.
  3. "There isn't anyone you can't learn to love once you've heard their story."
  4. Every filmgoer (or someone listening to a story) has this itch: "Make me care."
  5. A good story gives you a promise that something's going to happen.
  6. The audience doesn't know this, but they honestly want to work hard for their meal. Give them 2+2 instead of 4 ("The Unifying Theory of 2+2").
  7. Every story and character needs a spine: The itch the character wants to scratch, the unconscious desire that drives the story.
  8. "Drama is anticipation mingled with uncertainty." Will we ever find Nemo in this vast ocean?
Immediately, I can see how I can apply #3 and #6 to my photography craft. I love this kinda stuff.

I Remember


american flag


For another generation, it was Pearl Harbor or the JFK assassination. But for my generation, it was 9/11/01.

I remember getting ready to go to school, for the 8th grade. It felt like a typical morning ritual to get ready for school: shower, breakfast and watch some cartoons in the morning. My older brother is three years older than me, but we both went to school at the same time. So we woke up and got ready for school, ate breakfast and turned the television on for regular morning cartoons (like 6am or 7am).

Except, this morning we turned the television on to breaking news, watching a tall tower swarmed and swirling in black smoke, replays of explosions and airplanes flying into buildings. I was too young to really understand exactly what was going on, but I knew then I'll never forget that exact moment. 

Later that day during school, someone over the intercom told us something like not to worry about the current events, and asked teachers not to turn on the  television for us to see anything.

But because our nation was founded by rebels, my history teacher — no less — disobeyed the principal's plea. He turned the television on, and showed us what was happening, the news broadcasts and images.

"You guys are old enough now, and you should understand what's going on in your country."

Just thirty minutes ago I finished a late dinner. But before I ate, I stopped a second. I stopped a second to just consider and count my blessings for a bit, and gave thanks for this privilege to live in a blessed country, the United States of America.

I'll never forget.





Being Elmo: A Puppeteer's Journey Documentary


Beloved by children of all ages around the world, Elmo is an international icon. Few people know his creator, Kevin Clash, who dreamed of working with his idol, master puppeteer Jim Henson. Displaying his creativity and talent at a young age, Kevin ultimately found a home on Sesame Street. Narrated by Whoopi Goldberg, this documentary includes rare archival footage, interviews with Frank Oz, Rosie O’Donnell, Cheryl Henson, Joan Ganz Cooney and others and offers a behind-the-scenes look at Sesame Street and the Jim Henson Workshop.

If I told you the voice of Elmo came from an African-American man, 6-feet tall, with a deep voice — would you believe me? 

This documentary's been in my Netflix Instant Queue for months. I've been watching my nephew a bit the last couple of days, and his favorite character is none other than Elmo. I only added Being Elmo to my instant queue because at first glance, that sounded really interesting. But because I didn't really know much about Elmo, I didn't care to watch it then. 

But after watching several episodes of Sesame Street with the nephew, Elmo really started to intrigue me: Why is this little guy so popular with the kids? Like, do you remember the craze with the Tickle Me Elmo toys? When I was little, my mom said I watched tons of Sesame Street. And if you ask me to think of one character that comes to mind when you say Sesame Street, I'd say "Big Bird" in a heartbeat.

But today every little kid will tell you Elmo.

The documentary is engaging, touching, and beautiful. Here's the life of a master puppeteer (or muppeteer), made fun of in high school for "playing with dolls", become the voice and heart behind the adoration of so many children (many of whom desire to meet Elmo as their Make-a-Wish request).

Elmo's character actually began with a different muppeteer that gave Elmo a sort of "caveman's voice". Eventually that muppeteer gave up on Elmo and threw it in frustration at Kevin Clash, thinking maybe somebody else can bring something out of it.

Two favorite parts of the documentary are the journey about how Clash came to "discover" Elmo's personality, heart, and voice; and when Clash realizes Elmo no longer belongs to him, that this whole muppeteering just got a lot bigger than him.

The 70 minutes feel short, so I hope you get to see it soon.



"Thou shalt not commit logical fallacies"

via Thou shalt not commit logical fallacies:

A logical fallacy is usually what has happened when someone is wrong about something. It's a flaw in reasoning. They're like tricks or illusions of thought, and they're often very sneakily used by politicians and the media to fool people. Don't be fooled! This website and poster have been designed to help you identify and call out dodgy logic wherever it may raise its ugly, incoherent head. If you see someone committing a logical fallacy, link them to the relevant fallacy to school them in thinky awesomeness and win the intellectual affections of those who happen across your comment by appearing clever and interesting e.g. (rollover/click icons above).

Just in time for the political season :) 

Would you accept a 5% discount to dine sans phone at the table?

via Restaurant offers a 5% discount to eat without your phone - CNN Money:

Eva Restaurant in Los Angeles offers diners a 5% discount for leaving their phones with the receptionist for the entirety of the meal. The new policy went into effect a bit more than a month ago, according to chef Mark Gold, who runs the restaurant with his wife, Alejandra.

Since then, the chef estimates that 40% to 50% of customers have opted in and ditched their phones.

"Eva is really about family and being at home. That's what we want to exemplify," Gold says. "We just want people to connect again." 

I totally would. 

"How Sports Photographers Shoot The Olympics"

How Sports Photographers Shoot The Olympics:


Before the Olympics get lost in the new tide of Facebook updates and the never-ending Twitter streams, I'll post a final thing about the Olympics.

I love the urgency and camaraderie these photographers feel about capturing and protecting history in-the-making. I also didn't know the 100m race is the most watched sports of in all of the Olympics. 

See you in four years. 

Summer Suburbs

Over the summer I decided I'm going to try street photography someday. And carry my camera with me more often. Well this isn't urban street photography, but it's a step toward it.

This past week in Southern California, it's been brutally hot indoors and outdoors, for something like 22 hours a day. It really feels like there's only two hours in the day when it feels cool, somewhere like 3am to 5am. And then the earth heats up again. 

But Saturday evening was so nice, with some clouds diffusing the heat (and the light!) to make for some awesome photos, and an extremely pleasant walk. To practice taking photos in public, I took my camera with me this time.

I can feel my photography evolving this summer, as I study more art history, technicals and techniques, colors and composition, and stuff like that. I also strayed away from editing these images too much — instead just simple color corrections and sharpening. That's pretty much it.

Enjoy, with a fan and some ice cold lemonade.


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This wood has a face that looks like that cockroach alien doctor from Monsters vs. Aliens, whose voice is Hugh Laurie.


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