Josh's Photo Blog

February 24, 2010

Upcoming Travel Photography Workshops

Filed under: news, Uncategorized, updates — Tags: , , , , — joshuaps @ 5:24 am

For those of you who are interested in learning more about photography in general, and the stories and concepts behind some of my photographs, I will be holding two upcoming travel photography workshops in March: a FREE 2-hour workshop in Los Angeles and an extended 6-hour workshop in Manila. Information below:

The Big Trip:

Fundamentals of a Successful Photo Excursion

Los Angeles:

Sunday, March 7, 12:00-2:00 PM

Location: USC Campus, TBA

Free Workshop


Saturday, March 20, 2010 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM

Manila Polo Club Saddle Room

Workshop Fee: PHP 3,000

Join travel photographer Joshua Sy as he shares his insights on travel photography, acquired from 4 years of photography experience across 5 continents. This workshop will teach intermediate-level photographers the key elements to making your next “Big Trip” – the long excursions into distant lands that yield amazing photographic opportunities – a success. We will discuss everything from pre-planning to on-the-ground shooting to post processing.

About the Instructor

Joshua Sy is a Los Angeles-based freelance photographer. Since getting his start in photography at age 18, he has photographed scenes of life in over a dozen countries in Southeast Asia, the United States, Europe and northern Africa. His coverage of natural disasters and rallies in the Philippines placed him in the finals for the SportsShooter Student Photographer of the Year for 2008; his portrait work placed in the Top 20 at the 2008 Hearst Photojournalism Awards.

For more information, contact Joshua at

For reservations (Manila workshop), contact Ms. Jo De Leon at 0917-537-4359

The Manila workshop includes free lunch and “merienda” (snacks)


February 8, 2010

USC Career Fest

Filed under: Jobs, news — Tags: , , — joshuaps @ 2:22 am

I was recently hired by USC’s Career Planning and Placement Center to produce “photojournalistic” coverage of their first-ever Career Fest, a week-long series of events to help people come to terms with the new state of the economy.

Ali Velshi, chief CNN business correspondent, was the keynote speaker for the event.

I hadn’t used my big 70-200 in a while, but I knew I’d need it for the events I covered. The big zoom would have weighed me down in my Europe travels, but was invaluable in getting really tight shots of Mr. Velshi and other key speakers.

Questions were fielded…

…resumes critiqued…

All in all, pretty standard coverage for me. Hopefully these photos (and all the rest I shot for the Career Center) will go towards making next year’s event even more of a success.

November 27, 2009

The Hotline

Filed under: news, Stories — Tags: , , — joshuaps @ 12:16 pm

My host university’s student council elections are pretty much the craziest thing ever. For one week, the two competing parties do anything and everything in their power to win your vote, with the process culminating in the Hotline, a night where everyone on campus can call their favorite party and ask for food or “fun” to be delivered to their dorm-step.  Manic partying ensues, enough to put an American frat house to shame

Since these are business students we’re dealing with, the delivery process is relatively well planned-out, at least at the start. Above, deliveries are sorted by building (C,D,E, etc)

At 10 PM the rush is on to deliver the goods to the voters, who will be taking to the polls the next day. Success at delivering a good time to the student body tonight is the best indicator of which candidates are right to run the BDE (student council), which handles administration-student relations and, more importantly, operates the largest on- and off-campus parties.

Mobs of candidates run through the halls, organizing everything from shopping-cart races to sumo-wrestling and food fights.

One of the crowd favorites is an order for one party’s mascot, complete with free salad, the better to start food fights with

Needless to say, studying does NOT take place this night.

Coming up: Photos from my trip to London, my new favorite European city

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.

June 15, 2009

Lakers fans celebrate/riot after win, 6/15

Filed under: news, Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , , , — joshuaps @ 8:39 am

June 9, 2009

Arlington West

Filed under: news — Tags: — joshuaps @ 6:04 am

These photos actually go all the way back to Memorial Day, I haven’t had a chance to put them on the blog till now.

I was coming back from Dragonboat practice on the eve of Memorial Day and, after hanging out on the Internet for a bit, realized that something interesting would probably be going on at Arlington West, the Iraq War memorial that is set up and taken down every weekend at Santa Monica.

A quick Google search told me all I needed to know. I hopped into my car and sped off, hoping to catch the sunset.

I’ve started working full-time at a nonprofit dance company, which explains the sporadic updates. Luckily, summer = later sunsets, so I plan to keep shooting through the summer.

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 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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