Josh's Photo Blog

August 27, 2009

Bored in Baguio

Filed under: Uncategorized — joshuaps @ 2:30 pm

Baguio is the summer capital of the Philippines. Apparently, that means a lot of people come here to ride horses. Fortunately for the horses’ backs and unfortunately for everyone else, it’s not summer here. That means rain pretty much every day after 4 PM, no pretty sunsets and me waking up earlier to catch better light.

Nice and chilly out here, with temperatures closer to those in LA. It’s normally a 6-hour drive, but with my dad driving it comes out closer to 4.

It’s quite touristy out here, though, hence my aversion to the place.

These sisters sell strawberry jam, pretty much the only locally-made brand you can buy. The climate’s cool enough here (almost 5000 feet up) that you can grow strawberries and other stuff that usually only grows in temperate climates.

Jose Rizal, our national hero, spotted at a local elementary school.

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August 20, 2009

Scenes from Manila

Filed under: Uncategorized — joshuaps @ 3:29 pm

Haven’t gone shooting yet, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been taking photos..

August 19, 2009

Skim Skima, 8/12/09

Filed under: Uncategorized — joshuaps @ 1:35 pm

After a lazy day of chilling with some friends last week, I drove out and met up with Skim, a hiphop/spoken word artist. A mutual friend brought us together several months ago, and we shot a series of portraits last week before I left

Skim was excellent to work with – she has the amazing energy and creativity of a passionate artist, but was very down-to-earth about things and open to trying new ideas. That’s a rare combination, and one that gave the shoot a really collaborative spirit.

We started out with some studio stuff – I built a portrait studio in her living room and tinkered with some things I’d been meaning to try, including shooting through a medium-format TLR’s viewfinder

Skim also knows LA like the back of her hand – we found some amazing locations. Whodathunk you could get a view of LA like this?

After chasing the sun around a little bit, we went back to her neighborhood in Boyle Heights for some more shots. The sun was extremely cooperative, even as it was setting.

More than a few cop cars and pedestrians gave us a double-take, especially after we started putting my softbox on the street for shots

All in all, an amazing time – many thanks to Skim and Mimi for making this happen!

August 17, 2009

Out of the country (but not out of touch)

Filed under: Uncategorized — joshuaps @ 11:29 pm

I’m sipping a milk tea at the Taipei airport on a layover right now, waiting for my plane to Manila to start boarding. Haven’t posted in a while, and that’s because I’ve been shooting lots and lots of stuff for myself, for friends and for my (portfolio) book over the past several days. I’m making selects and rough edits right now, expect tons of new photos soon!

August 10, 2009

Scenes from Downtown (and elsewhere)

Filed under: Uncategorized — joshuaps @ 6:35 am

August 7, 2009

Manhattan Beach Views

Filed under: friends, travel, updates — joshuaps @ 5:30 am

This was my childhood home. I’m all moved out of the USC area, and now I’m back here for a little bit before I head back to Asia.

I’m definitely not the only person who goes out to enjoy these views. I was surprised at how many people were out here, even on a weekday.

On a whim, I went out to shoot the sunset at Manhattan Beach with my buddy Mike, who has the good fortune to live literally within a stone’s throw of one of the most amazing sunsets on Earth.

Not pictured: how close my gear came to being soaked in salt water for the third time in 10 days. Those waves are vicious, and I’m happy to be tall and be able to stand in them without getting my camera wet

August 3, 2009

Long Beach Dragonboat Race, 8/1-8/2

Filed under: news, Stories, Uncategorized, updates — Tags: , , , , , , , — joshuaps @ 6:21 am

In addition to being a photographer and a college student, I also paddle regularly with USC’s Dragonboat team and, over the summer, with the Killer Guppies (KG) team based out of Long Beach.

“What the &$!@ is Dragonboat?!”, you ask?

Fortunately, many people did (and do), so I made a short video to explain the sport.

Both the USC and KG teams were in the Long Beach tournament last weekend, along with teams all over the place, from high schoolers to a team from China, where the sport originated. I got a lot of time on the water racing, but with so many teams racing, there’s plenty of downtime, which I used to shoot the sport and my team.

The sport’s very team-oriented – it’s a big boat and you can’t get it into the water by yourself, let alone get it across a finish line in any reasonable time. The emphasis is on precision and timing over strength and speed, though those count for a lot as well.

The teams that do this sport are all over the place age-wise – there are the younger high school and college teams that are light, high-octane and have massive amounts of energy, and the independent and corporate teams, which tend to skew older, but aren’t any weaker. With the Killer Guppies, I paddle alongside people a decade or two older than me – and struggle to keep up!

The nice thing about Long Beach (aside from being home turf) is that you can get closer to the boats than you can in some other tournaments – the water is very shallow and, if you’re careful, you can wade in off the beach and be maybe 15-20 yards away from a boat.

A standard race set is 500 meters, and most teams finish in 2:30 or less. That can seem like an eternity, though, especially if the current is strong and teams struggle to keep the boats aligned at the start line and during the race.

After the finish, of course, comes the celebration. Competition is very friendly, and at the end of the day everyone passes the fives around. Most people are friends with people on some other team, so it’s a pretty tightly-knit community.

Because I’m studying abroad in France in the coming semester, I’m going to have to take a hiatus from paddling (no Dragonboat in Paris, and I’d like to take the time to travel and shoot some more, in any case). It was good to be able to go out with a bang this weekend and get some paddling time in.

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