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.

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.

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!

April 27, 2009

HapaSC’s Mix n’ Match

Filed under: music — Tags: , , , , — joshuaps @ 9:08 pm

I was asked by a friend to come in and shoot a benefit concert at Ground Zero, USC’s performance cafe. It turns out her organization was putting on an event to raise awareness about leukemia and the difficutly people of mixed descent have in finding bone marrow donors – hence the event being called “mix n’ match”.

They brought in some good music – the beautiful Marie Digby managed to drop by, and Antonio Pontarelli rocked out hard on stage, violin and all.

Blog at