Semi-Charmed Life


Stanley Kubrick Photos From the 1940′s

I love looking at pictures of New York from a different period.

See the rest of his photos here.

Happy Friday!


Weekly Photo Challenge: Sunshine

I have always wanted to participate in those photo assignments that I see many people do online. Various meetup groups or forums will have a theme for the week, and your goal is to interpet that theme in a photograph. Some people do this for fun, while others participate because it helps with creativity. These challenges force you to think.

Anyway, I thought it would be cool to do this, but with people I know instead. So far this is only the second week, but already some people have taken some pretty interesting shots. We are following the challenges that are postedĀ  on

This morning, as I was walking east towards the train station the sun was shining directly in my face. I didn't have time to think of anything cool so I just snapped two or three shots and went about my way.



Didn't quite get the effect I want but it'll do.

After work, as I exited the revolving doors of my building, I turned to my left and was met with the sun once again shining right into my face. I thought it would be a great shot, and it almost was.


I did not know what those ugly colored spots were so I asked my friend Steve. He schooled me on out of focus higlights. Better lenses produce more desirable oof highlights/bokeh. I think he said that one of the factors is the way the shutter is shaped?

Well, as you can see above, those ugly red hexagonal splotches on that picture ruin the picture =X

After I left work I went to my 7:30 bjj class. Had a very good training session today. I wasn't getting into dominating positions but for most of my rolls I thought I was moving and defending well. The techniques my instructor taught today were pretty cool too, since I can't recall the last time I learned a move from the north/south turtle position.

The first was a head and arm. D'arce? I don't know. My instructor, Magno Gama, said that all these names are new to him. I've heard another instructor say that in Brazil, all chokes are just chokes. Hell, most of the moves we learn don't even have names to them. It's either a "sweep" or a "choke" or an "escape."

The second move was another option in case he defends the first move by tucking in his arms. Magno was demonstrating the move when someone asked aloud if this was the Peruvian necktie. Magno said he does not call it that. Renzo was doing this way before people even started to call it the Peruvian necktie. If you want to call it that though, it's fine with me, he told us.

I asked someone to help me take a picture of me and Magno after class.

Magno GamaMagno Gama. One of the many instructors at RGA.


Just Do It

I was talking to a friend and telling him how I wish I was able to appreciate fine art. He told me that once he started taking art classes, he realized what skill it took to do things such as being able to blend the right colors and what not. He said after trying to paint his own paintings, he had a finer appreciation for the subtle intracies of art that never occurred to him before.

Although it never ocurred to me to try painting in order to develop a better sense of appreciation for fine art, I've always felt that a person never fully develops an appreciation for something until he gets his hands dirty in it. One of the reasons why I decided to jump in and give brazilian jiu-jitsu and boxing a try was because I was really into mma at the time. I didn't want to be just like every other idiot fanboy on youtube or those mma forums who talked like they knew it all though, so I figured what better way to learn than to do. I'm not so much into the mma scene anymore though, with the exception of a handful of fighters whose careers I follow. After I started training, I realized how ignorant most people sounded when they talked about the sport.

In other things such as football and photography, I would never have appreciated either if I had not started doing it. I never understood what football was about and always thought it was a confusing mass of men on a playing field whenever I saw it on television. I had a friend in college who was patient enough to teach me the basics of the game, such as catching (which I still suck at), tackling, angle of pursuit, what to do on offensive and defensive line, etc. I'm not a football fanatic, but I do enjoy playing now as well as watching, although I doubt I'll ever care for professional football as much as some of my friends do. Following the season is too much work, and even moreso if you have a fantasy league. Not my idea of fun, but at least I can appreciate a beautiful diving one handed catch or a hard hitting helmet ripping tackle.

As for photography, I don't think I've ever had an appreciation for a good photograph until I started getting into it as a hobby (although I'm a very lazy hobbyist). I began to develop an eye for what a good picture looked like to me, and began to appreciate good photography, which is a mix of patience, creativity, and trial and error. This has made facebook a lot harder to deal with because it becomes obvious that 99% of people taking pictures haphazardly point their camera and snap without ever giving a thought to how a simple change in angle orĀ  perhaps shifting over a few spots to the right or left would create a much more pleasing picture. The ubiquity of the digital camera has turned the art of photography into something mundane and probably regarded as an after-thought.

Just like I wrote in the sidebar: "Life is not a spectator sport." All the reading and watching in the world will only amount to so much. Nothing compares to the actual experience of doing something. So who knows? One day I might take a stab at painting. Fine art still eludes me, but then again so do many other things. I can't appreciate jazz no matter how much I've tried and I'd be hard-pressed to tell you if a wine I had was good, although if I had an inkling that you spent a pretty penny on it I'd be inclined to tell you it was good.