Josh's Photo Blog

May 28, 2009

Prop 8 Decision in San Francisco 5/26 – Part 2

Filed under: news — Tags: , , , , , , — joshuaps @ 4:35 am

I’m back in LA now, after a 14-hour day of covering San Francisco’s reaction to the Prop 8 decision.

As most of you know, the California Supreme Court voted to uphold Prop 8; in reaction, hundreds took to the streets to protest the decision at 5 PM.

I followed the demonstrators to Yerba Buena Park, where a peaceful organized protest was planned to take place

After a while, it seemed like the Yerba Buena Park protest was dying down. So, following a tip, I high-tailed it to Castro, San Francisco’s original gay district, where people had gathered in preparation for..

…a giant street party?

When asked why it seemed like the community was celebrating the situation, an organizer responded by saying that the rally was the LGBT community’s way of showing resolve in the face of adversity. They would not allow the Prop 8 decision to suck the joy out of their lives.

It’s not over yet for these people, and I plan to keep an eye on this story as it develops.


May 26, 2009

Prop 8 Decision in San Francisco 5/26

Filed under: news — Tags: , , , , , , — joshuaps @ 11:40 pm

The California Supreme Court’s decision to not overturn Proposition 8 was released today at 10 AM. I was in San Francisco with Eric Wolfe ( to cover the community’s reaction to the decision, which would ban gay marriage in California but uphold the legality of the 18,000 same-sex marriages that have already taken place here.

After the decision was announced, the action moved a couple of blocks to the Civic Center, where a sit-in was conducted to protest the decision.

After blocking traffic for 2 hours, police moved to arrest the participants of the sit-in.

Among those arrested included anti-Prop 8 members of the clergy who supported the sit-in, and three minors

More to come, protests still in progress today

May 22, 2009

Vaud and the Villains @ the Edison 5/20

Filed under: music — joshuaps @ 7:02 am

These guys are unlike anything I’ve ever seen at a show, and I’ve shot quite a few. They’re easily the largest single group of performers I’ve seen – there are 13 of them, playing every instrument imaginable – and they bring in this early 20th-century vibe that is absolutely amazing. If you think your dad’s sneakers are retro, you’ve got to see these guys in their 1930s-era clothes rocking the house.

They were pretty cramped on the stage of the Edison, a trendy technopunk nightclub in Downtown, but they managed to make it work.

I pushed the D700 to its limits, as the venue was not very well-lit. ISO 6400 looks absolutely amazing!

The focal length selection also makes a lot more sense on full-frame – all of my lenses become wider, which is really useful for shots like this:

May 17, 2009

Medium-Format Fun

Filed under: film — Tags: , , , , , , , — joshuaps @ 9:38 pm

I was really bored last night, so I decided to pull out my roommate’s scanner and scan my medium-format slides.

I’ll be writing more about medium format in detail in another post, but as a quick intro, medium format is film that is four times the size of “normal” 35mm film. Its trademark “look” is the square format (6×6 cm), but you can also shoot it in a more rectangular 4:3 aspect ratio. This is the special film that Holgas use; I’ve been running mine through a Holga and a Yashicamat twin-lens reflex camera.

For now, I’ll leave you with some of my favorite medium-format shots:

May 16, 2009

Graduation 2009

Filed under: news — Tags: , , , , , , , , — joshuaps @ 4:45 pm

I went to USC’s graduation yesterday mainly to see off some of my very good friends, but I couldn’t miss out on the opportunity to test out my new D700 in the field for the first time.

I got there a little later than expected, but a quick flash of my Daily Trojan (school paper) press credentials and I was on my way into the press box for the main ceremony. (I actually DO work for the Daily Trojan, btw, but that wasn’t the primary purpose of my visit)

USC is understandably very restrictive about where one can be during the ceremony – they’ve got maybe 20,000 people packed into a relatively small square at the center of campus. I was confined to a pretty tiny box about 10 yards away from the main stage – not the best, but it could have been much worse. I wasn’t really interested in the speakers so much as I was in the students and parents. It’s their day, and they’re the ones carrying the emotional weight.

That said, I did get some close-ups of our Governator, “Dr.”Arnold Schwarzenegger, getting his honorary degree. He was the keynote speaker that day, and he gave us all some good laughs. I switched to the D300 to get this shot – it’s got a longer reach than the D700 due to its crop factor. With the 70-200 and a 1.4x extender, you’ve got a 400mm lens that’s compact enough to take most places.

I’ll be getting a degree from Marshall in a year, if things work out right..

I decided to get into the Engineering graduation – I figured my buddies would end up there eventually, and my research told me it would be one of the better-lit ceremonies. It definitely had much better light than the huge Business graduation, which took place in a really dim gym. Another flash of the credentials, and I was in.

There’s so much behind-the-scenes stuff at a graduation – they have people do last-minute adjustments to you to make sure your tassel is on the right side of the hat, and that you’re all zipped up and ready to go.

It’s surprisingly dim in the shaded areas – I was at ISO 800 at times. Normally this is entering danger territory, but I honestly didn’t see any difference in noise or image quality on the D700. This is pretty amazing.

After all of that ended, I headed over with a friend to catch the last moments of the B-school graduation. That gym was as dimly lit as I expected it to be – but I got my favorite pic of the day from it:

Can you tell this is ISO 3200?! I’ve got night vision now..

I was pretty beat after shooting all of this – it was decently hot out, and my cameras were pretty heavy. But it was a pretty awesome day, and a good feeling to go behind-the-scenes on such an important day. Congratulations to all the 2009 graduates!

May 8, 2009

May Day Rallies 05/01/2009

Filed under: news — Tags: , , , , , , — joshuaps @ 6:43 pm

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