Sunday, October 12, 2008

No Excuse!

There's really no excuse for not blogging for as long as I have... So hopefully a blog tonight will at least make it up a little to all my readers (hope you guys are still out there). :)

Let's see, first of all, I just uploaded a few photos from my Napa trip way back in the first half of September:


Check out the whole series by clicking on the photo.

I've been doing a lot of weddings lately... Mostly second shooting for a pretty awesome photography studio that won't let me post the photos... A little bummed that I can't share the photos with you, but they are pretty awesome and I am really enjoying it. The next couple of weeks I'll be shooting with some other photographers who will let me post the photos so I am looking forward to sharing then.

On the real work front, I know I say I don't want to blog about it, but I've been traveling a bunch and it's been really fun and tiring at the same time. The most recent trip I went on it was a conference where the theme was "productivity". Although it sounded corny, the conference was really good and totally made me walk away refreshed! I think it's showing in my work and life, which is pretty neat. An example... Be effective, not just efficient. How often do you think you are being super efficient by getting through a bunch of menial tasks only to realize at the end of the day you didn't get any of your big TO DOs done?

My husband went to the city for Fleet Week today. I wasn't invited and am feeling all grumpy for having been left behind. I know his friend planned it and it's not like he didn't try to get me a ticket too, but deep down inside I kinda wish he didn't go! I mean, if _I_ had bought tickets or suggested we go to Fleet Week the DH would have simply said it'd be too crowded and he rather stay home. :(

Alright, I hope everyone actually made it through to the end of this long blabbering. Testing out a few new series - Sanctuary, Fringe, etc... So far, not sure about either.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Sandisk Rebate

Wow, I haven't blogged in ages.

But, I've been busy. I am shooting a lot of weddings. I am traveling a lot for work. I was just in Santa Barbara and will be in Chicago next Wed-Fri. Busy at work. Busy at home. Yes, at the detriment of my blog. :(

Ok, so I'm blogging today because I just received a really great deal from Adorama on Sandisk CF (and SD) cards with mail in rebate. So great, I may actually be getting a few Extreme III and IVs myself.

Anyway, without further ado, here are the links. Check them out!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Honorable Mention!

Yay! I got "recognized"!

Hmm, I was listed first in a group of honorable mentions, so does that make me the #1 loser? :D Still, while Scott Kelby's Worldwide Photo Walk last Saturday was all about having fun and not about competition, it is awesome to have your name/photos mentioned and recognized. ;)

And it was totally fun.

Monday, August 18, 2008

No Time!

I feel like I never have enough time in a day, to work, to commute, to cook, to play with the doggie, to hang out with DH, to watch TV and unwind, to clean, to surf the web, to play with the camera, to sleep and to BLOG! Geez, how do people find time to juggle everything? :D

Well, case in point, I _was_ trying to publish this blog sometime this past week, to talk about the past weekend's activities, but before I even get a chance to blink, the "past weekend" is now almost two weekends ago! Well, that weekend was super duper busy once again (and so is this current one, since it's already Sunday... hmm, are you following me still?).

Anyway, there was another wedding where I did some shooting and lots of assisting with lights ~ I learned a lot about strobe and fill lighting for sure! The little flower girl, Zoe, is gorgeous:

L+D Wedding

So is the bride:

L+D Wedding

And the ceremony:

L+D Wedding

And then last weekend was also San Mateo County Fair:


Ok, enough about last weekend. On Saturday we went to Scott Kelby's worldwide photo walk in the city. Pictures are up! I'll post just one here for you to get started (click on it to see the rest)


We also ate at Pampas that evening. Wow, I haven't had that kind of tummy workout in a while. :P

(note: this post got started Monday the 18th but didn't get finished/published until Sunday the 24th.)

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Past Weekend

Wow, this past weekend was full of photos, some amazing Peking duck, and so much fun!

Saturday I got the opportunity to second shoot again! Wow, it was a truly beautiful wedding. Sorry guys, I don't have any pictures to share (part of the contract).

Sunday we (Henry, Carol, Jessica, Laurie, Hung, Victor, Ryan and I) went to Berkeley and did a photo walk followed by some delicious Peking duck at our favorite Great China. Yum!

Oh, here is a picture from Sunday. As usual, click on it to see the rest in my flickr portfolio!


Monday, August 4, 2008


This past weekend was so much fun. I went to Napa with Jessica and her friends, and got some really cool pictures:


Helen and Scott


Connie and Kelvin

Chardonnay Grapes


Including one of me, courtesy of Jessica. :D
In Napa, Drinking and Shooting!

Then on Sunday we went to a bbq at my college friend Marlene's house ~ I haven't seen her since college! Her daughter is adorable:

Little Kaylie

Click on any of the pictures to see the rest of the weekend's highlights!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

2nd Shoot

So this past Sunday I did my very first second shooting wedding assignment with Cate Corbitt . It was a lot of fun and although I was really sore when I got home (talk about being super out of shape!), I can't wait until the next time I get to shoot another wedding. Now I've got one real second photog and one real primary photog weddings under my belt. Woo hoo, watch out world, here I come! :D

S + K Wedding

Luckily I won't have to itch to shoot for too long... I am going to Napa this Saturday with some friends and will definitely be bringing my camera!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Connecting the Dots

Is it really a good idea? So that everything is out there and I'm fully transparent? Not that hoppibunny is all that great of an anonymous pseudonym, since I use it everywhere...

Anyway, here goes... Connecting my blog readers to my Facebook profile. I'm embracing technology, plus, my badge is hella cute. :D

Cindy Chen's Facebook profile

Monday, July 21, 2008

Amy & Randy, etc. :D

OMG I have not blogged in forever. Well, I've been busy. Even now, I only have a few minutes and then I have to start getting dinner on the table... I'm hoping that tonight I'll start building my webpage. :D

Anyway, finally got some of Amy and Randy's photos on Flickr. Please check them out (Along with Dawn and Sam's wedding photos and my baby niece Peanut's photo shoot). Click on any of the 3 beautiful girls and you'll get to see the rest of the photos I've uploaded so far for her! Enjoy!

Amy & Randy's Wedding

Dawn & Sam's Wedding

Peanut Photo Shoot

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


I am so busy these days it is simply impossible to balance squeezing in a little good blogging and sleep, or eat, or clean, or, well, you get the point. For example, I am right now foregoing 5 extra minutes of sleep to blog. I know, it isn't much, but I really need my 6-8 hours nightly and any little bit that I give up I am paying back with yawns the next day.

So, this past weekend was jam packed. We flew into Seattle on the first flight out of SFO at 6 am... Yes, you read that right, 6 am. That meant we got home the night before, ate dinner, packed, packed some more, walked dogs, and went to bed at 12 ish only to wake at 3:45 to leave the house by 4:30. Anyway, enough complaining. The flight was painless and I pretty much slept thru the whole thing, so I caught up a bit.

The ensuing two days in Seattle were a blast. We saw friends and family. I had a little photo shoot with little Peanut which was so much fun and turned out great. She loved the camera, even at a mere 6 mos old. Still processing, but will post soon. We also attended our friends Sam and Dawn's amazingly touching "2nd" wedding (the reason we went to Seattle, actually) :D Congrats Dawn and Sam!!

Sunday morning first thing we flew back. The reason was we were also slated to attend my friend Amy and her now husband Randy's wedding in San Francisco. It was beautiful! We were responsible for primary shooting and capturing the memories of the day and I thought it was extremely tiring (especially without a good night's sleep) but also an amazing experience. I can't thank Amy enough for giving me the opportunity to shoot her day! I'm processing now (every evening!) so hopefully photos will be ready soon.

Ok, my 5 minutes is up. Time for my beauty sleep.

Good night!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008


I know it's been a few days since I last blogged... I promise I'll get back on the train again soon.

Things have been super duper crazy busy at work and at home. This week we are dogsitting the adorable Huxley and then jetting off to Seattle on Friday for a wedding and then coming back Sunday for another wedding. Tis the season!

When I am home I have very little free time. Between cooking dinner, cleaning house, hanging with dogs and DH and catching up on TV and editing more photos on Lightroom/PhotoShop there's just no time left to write about it all. I suppose I can give up sleep like I am doing now but that's not smart. So, going to bed now. :D

I know, none of this is good excuse. Like I said, I'll try to blog more soon.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Shoreline Park, Mountain View, CA

So Jessica C. and I went to the park next to Google for a quick photoshoot yesterday. I am still post processing (learning Lightroom), but definitely getting them up one at a time.

I really enjoyed shooting the people, as you can see in my first few uploads to flickr. Here are a few:

Rengstorff House Tour Guide

I'm Tired!

Saturday, June 28, 2008


Oh my gosh, I can't believe I haven't blogged for more than a week. Well, things have been crazy lately. I went to NYC for a short 3 day business trip (including travel days) Mon - Wed, no time for blogging then!

And then last night I went to a kick ass happy hour with a bunch of awesome local wedding photographers and one very famous Becker. Check out his [b] school blog for some cool PS tools of the trade and other neat learnings! I also had the opportunity to hang with the very fun Mammoth Men.

But that's not what this blog is about... I am blogging about my nieces and nephews. Well, sort of. Here are two pictures of my adorable relatives taken the night before Mindy's wedding:


Shawn & Lizzy

I finally got around to cleaning up my Yosemite trip photos so figure I'd share these with y'all blog readers tonight.

Good night!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Dinner at Jin Sho

Last night's dinner was beautiful.

The appetizer, "Jalapeno Dressing with Salmon - Served with mizuna green & garlic chips", was really pretty and rather tasty. It was by far the highlight of the evening. Flavorful, unique, had all the bells you would expect from an ex-Nobu chef. But the garlic chips were too burnt and bitter and didn't add to the dish besides making it pretty.

Dinner @ Jin Sho

I ordered the really gorgeously presented sashimi dinner. The fish was fresh and delicious, the only negative I can think of (if you can count that a negative) was that all the fish pieces were really fatty which made it hard to finish. I would have liked more refreshing pieces mixed in, I guess. But overall, no complaints!

Dinner @ Jin Sho

Henry got the
"Angus Beef Tobanyaki - Cooked on a hot “Toban” plate with garlic sauce" was not as flavorful as it was beautiful. I would say it was my least favorite dish of the evening although he finished everything so he must have liked it. There were a lot of carrots ~ perhaps that was a reason I didn't like it right off the bat.

Dinner @ Jin Sho

Overall we had a great time. And t
he prices were ok for a special occasion. Just not overwhelmed with amazement like we were when we went to Nobu.

Comments - BASIC Photoshop

Thank you so much to those of you who left me comments when I asked for them! You guys are the best!

Peanut's Mom had the most constructive comment ~ more "tips on using Photoshop"... Hmm... Ok! Here goes!

I am not really sure what everyone's competency levels are when it comes to Photoshop so I am sure some of you will find this EXTREMELY boring... Sorry if that is the case!

I know when I first started trying to figure out PS for photos, I really knew nothing. I mean, I can resize a banner like there's no tomorrow (cut, paste in new file, save) but that was about it. I'm still pretty novice but trying to learn fast.

When I open a photo, I click Alt-L then D (ignore these if you are using a mac). That makes a new background layer. I suppose you can mouse to Layer then to Duplicate Layer. The reason you want to do this is so your adjustments are on a different layer so you can always see the before and after to make sure you like what you are doing... You can add as many layers as you like and turn them on/off as you like.

Then I auto-adjust the contrast, color, level... But stop after each to see if I like the before or after. IF I don't like a certain adjustment I undo it. Next, there's either adjusting the curves or the levels. That's usually about it.

Of course, there might be need for cropping to get to better rule of 3rds or rotating to make sure things are straight (or crooked depending on the style I'm going after).

It really does stop about here, unless I want to make the picture black and white or sepia or add an action. These will have to wait for another blog entry (or I'll just show you,
Peanut's Mom, in a couple of weeks).

When it's all said and done I flatten the image back to one layer so I can save it back up as a jpg. If you save it in all its glorious layers then it is a psd which you can readjust at a later date.

Oh, I WATCH a lot of online tutorials and read a lot of tips... That's always super useful!

I'm sure my photography and PS friends are cringing reading this post for how basic it is... Well, I did say BASIC in all caps! :D There's the whole, maybe I should shoot in RAW one day thing that I still have to master too.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Two Years!!

DH and I celebrate our two-year anniversary today. :D Wow, has it already been two years? The second year is suppose to be the "cotton" year. I have no idea what kind of gifts we should give each other for cotton! Maybe a Threadless T.

So, the super awesome gift we gave ourselves this year is a newly installed AC. It wasn't intended to be a wedding anniversary present (kinda lame if it was huh?) but in fact, we just got it working last night and today is the first day we are using it (so it kinda turned out to be our anniversary gift)! Woo hoo! The house is normally extremely hot when we get home from work especially since we still don't have attic insulation yet (next thing on our to-do, maybe by next week?), but today I walked into a nicely cool 73 degrees! Thank you JOE (our awesome AC installing general contractor friend)!

Tonight we are going to go to a Japanese place for some yummy sushi... Now if DH's train can just get back on schedule, we can get the celebrating going!

So today is also a momentous day ~ it's the first full day California allowed same-sex marriages.

Monday, June 16, 2008

My Veggie Garden

I haven't blogged much at all about my garden so far... So here goes.

Last year, I planted two zucchini plants and of course, I was blessed with non-stop zucchinis for the whole summer. I even managed a few calf-size ones worthy of entering into the state fair (but didn't).

Because I was so successful last year with the beautiful California weather, this year I went crazy and planted not only zucchinis, but also cantaloupe, honeydew, a bunch of herbs (ok I had those last year too) and most adventurous of all, 9 heirloom tomato plants!

For my own sanity, I am listing them here (so I can remember):
Black Krim
Black Krim Cherry
Big Boy
First Pick
Boxcar Willie
Purple Calabash
Marvel Stripe
Green Zebra

I also planted some hybrid called Park Whopper ~ but those are from seed so not sure if any are actually taking.

Here are some pictures (I think these are of the Marvel Stripe):

My Tomato Plants

My Tomato Plants

Now comes the 60-100 days of waiting for them to turn big and ripe.

I am so excited!!

Friday, June 13, 2008


For all you blog readers out there...

Why don't you leave comments? :(

It's rather sad to come and blog regularly but never get feedback... ;)

Leave me a comment! Tell me what you like and don't like about my blog! I'd love to write more about what you want to read, and I'll only know what that is if you tell me!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Practices Makes Perfect

That's how the saying goes.

And it's true.

I'm playing a lot more with PS and loving the results more and more each day.

Anna & John's Wedding

Sunday, June 8, 2008


Just got back from my niece Mindy's wedding at Yosemite National Park. It was an amazing venue. The wedding was beautiful. The food was delicious (yum eggs benedict and wedding cake!)

More to come later ~ it is now time for bed. :D

Monday, June 2, 2008

Crash Course...

...on Photoshop from my all knowing husband is kinda fun. Thanks hubbie! :D

I've been playing around with actions and layers and filters and stuff for a couple of days on my own. And just when I think I am getting the hang of it? He shows me another trick or another neat thing to learn.

But, I am getting faster with processing my photos and since wedding photos are so special, I want them to be perfect.

This is one of my favorite ones of the evening. Especially since I posed the party and everything!

Anna & John's Wedding


...are way too short. I can't believe it is the start of another week already.

I finally uploaded pictures from my friend Peter and his beautiful bride Nana's wedding on flickr, now if I can just find time to process Anna and John's wedding...

Nana & Peter's Wedding

I went with an old-world, Hollywood look here. Hopefully it isn't too much. The real problem was that my lens wasn't fast enough in this low light and I didn't have a flash with me so this "finish" was almost necessary because it really brought out the feeling but hid all the lens issues I had. :D

Today we also found some time to do a photo walk in downtown San Jose. See?



Ok, I know, it's a bad teaser... more to come, but it's after my bed time so you'll have to wait.

Good night! :D

Friday, May 30, 2008

I Love Weddings!

Finally started post processing shots from the two weddings I had the pleasure of attending in Hawaii... Here's a little taste!

Anna & John's Wedding

One down, few more to go.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Blue Pool

On one of the small detours on the road to Hana (the road to Hana is all about detours!), we stopped here:


After about 5 minutes of walking on a dirt trail and then some more minutes of walking along a rocky beach, you get this paradise:

...This Paradise

Ok, so we may have trespassed (according to the guidebook the land is owned by many and only a few of them don't want you walking there, while the rest of them even offered parking near by), but the reward sure was worth it!

Sansei Seafood Restaurant & Sushi Bar

Is by far one of our favorite food places in Hawaii. They have two locations in Maui and one in Oahu in Waikiki. We have had the pleasure of tasting many things in both the Waikiki and the Kihei locations on this past trip.

They have these awesome happy hour deals where if you go before or after a certain time on a certain day of the week your sushi and apps are 50% off... Well, we didn't make it this time (apparently to make the early bird that opens at 5 you have to be there at 4 in line), but I am just as happy eating their food at full price (although would be twice as full if I only had to pay 50%, cuz I'd order twice as much!)

Anyway, just ordered on Amazon their cookbook. Can't wait to receive it so I can try the butterfish recipe!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Nintendo Wii Fit

OMG the best game ever! We got it on Friday in Honolulu in the Ala Moana Center Game Stop because we knew it would be out of stock if we waited until we returned to San Francisco, and we were right. They are going for $$$ on eBay and chronically out of stock everywhere else. (click on the image above to see if Amazon has restocked though!)

We busted ours open on Monday evening as soon as we got close to a Wii console. And I've been logging, maybe 30 or so fit bank minutes every evening. The Fit tells me that I am losing weight every day (which I don't believe) but it is still nice to feel a little sore after playing an otherwise very addicting video game.

I hate going to the gym. I hate running. I love to dance and rock climb and stuff, but those activities take forethought and planning (driving to the climbing gym or a dance studio)... The Wii Fit is easy and fun.

No wonder it is out of stock everywhere!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Back to the Real World

So after a week in paradise, I have to return to real life. But the good news is that I will be able to start blogging regularly again, and boy are there a lot of things I want to talk about, including stuff that happened on the trip.

Our AC guy is not quite done with our AC/heating units. It turns out that the units don't really fit very well underneath our house, which poses a problem when it comes to servicing. So they decided to put the units in the garage instead (we have a really tall garage) but that meant all the ducting and vents they did over the last week are useless as they were coming out from the floor and now they have to all come from the ceiling. It's not a huge inconvenience (mostly because I really like my contractors, they are great to work with) but coming back from 80+ degree weather it sure gets cold at night with no heat! We bundled up last night and will have to do it again tonight!

During our trip we also let our contractor refinish our hardwood floor that was hidden underneath disgusting old blue carpet. Now we have nice hardwood floors for almost the whole house (minus the office cuz we had too much stuff). The biggest problem that arose from that was the doors now are too small. Without the extra few inches the carpets added, the door ends about 2 inches above the hardwood, leaving a pretty comic gap I never preconceived. Guess that means we should get new doors!

I don't plan to talk about work in my blogs, because I think that's inappropriate. But I will say although it was hard coming back I was really productive and got through almost ALL of my emails and even got a few projects out the door.

That's my quick update. We took TONS of pictures in Hawaii so will be blogging about that soon!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


So, still no sight of the stuff I bought from this guy in Georgia. No emails from him either. It's been two weeks since I paid him and maybe his baby came early and he didn't have time to ship out the package, but really, I am guessing that I should just consider my $60 gone.

I hate being burned by CL listings... I am usually really careful too, and this I guess was a slip in my judgment. But I am still hoping that he was trustworthy... But, maybe I am just too naive (that's evian backwards, but I don't particularly like evian water).

On the Hawaii front, tomorrow my vacation officially starts, but I just feel so overwhelmed with stuff to do before the trip (installing AC, refinishing hardwood floor, cutting a bigger hole in the hallway passthru, packing, cleaning, errands, shopping, wah! there are just so many things to do!)

The house is still a giant mess ~ why can't all the people who say they are going to buy/pickup the stuff they want come when they say they will?

Hopefully I will successfully sell my AC before I leave, and maybe even somehow get rid of the massage chair too!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


OMG, I can't wait.
A long awaited vacation along with two weddings in Oahu and Maui.
For those of you who have never read Andrew Doughty's guide books... He is AMAZING. Check it out and you'll want to go back to the islands to re-explore all those places you didn't know existed. We were so lucky to be told about these even before we ever set foot on a HI island many years ago.

Maui Revealed: The Ultimate Guidebook (Maui Revealed)

Oahu Revealed: The Ultimate Guide to Honolulu, Waikiki & Beyond (Oahu Revisited)

The Ultimate Kauai Guidebook: Kauai Revealed (Ultimate Kauai Guidebook)

These are the guide books even locals should have. Own them, if you don't already, and be prepared for a Hawaii experience of a lifetime!

Monday, May 12, 2008


Lately I feel like photography (and blogging here) has taken over all my personal time. However, weird as it may sound, I am also feeling much more in control of all my free time (maybe it's cuz I don't have all that much of it). I am able to juggle photographing my favorite things and still enjoy cooking in my amazing kitchen and tending to my very gorgeous flower garden and up-and-coming veggie garden (first time heirloom tomato planter here!).

Anyway, I need to remember to take photos of the food I make so I can show off some of my culinary skills but for now you'll just have to enjoy my blooming backyard.



Kangaroo Paw



Sunday, May 11, 2008


I can't believe that in a blink of an eye, the weekend is over again. Well, this was a GREAT weekend. I started it right by going to the famous Bay Meadows Race Track in San Mateo on Friday night. Rumor has it that this was their last weekend and that the developers have finally won the fight between more horse races and more condos... For someone who has never seen live horse races before, this was a real treat!

Bay Meadows Race Track

Bay Meadows Race Track

I SO wish my lens was faster though!

On Saturday Henry and I decided to stop by the Central Park in San Mateo and do some impromptu photo shoot... I had just received my Sigma 18-200 in the mail on Friday and after a somewhat disappointing race track lens trial (it's a bit too slow for the fast actions in the dark) I really want to make sure I would be happy with it. Well, after this shoot, I can say I am pretty happy with it as an all purpose walk around lens. Of course, it doesn't beat having individual F/2.8 lenses, but for $449 and no need to carry a giant bag all around town it's pretty nice.

Central Park

Central Park

Central Park

I would have preferred better looking bokeh on that last shot there, but again, it's pretty decent both from a long and a short range...

Now if I can just find myself a nice polarizing filter before the Hawaii trip...

Friday, May 9, 2008

Getting Old...

I can't remember the last time I went to bed on a "school night" after midnight. Does that mean I am getting old?

I know tomorrow I am going to have a really hard time getting up. And maybe will need a couple of cups of coffee... But I just had so much to do this evening I had to stay up and get it all done.

Now that the errands I wanted to get done are done, I can go to bed. And I feel very accomplished!

BTW, this weekend is the last weekend for Bay Meadows Race Track to ever do a live horse race again now that it (and the land owners around it) has given in to developers... Sad, and considering I have NEVER been to a live horse race at the Bay Meadows and it is only 10 minutes away from my house, I am going tomorrow/tonight. Will try to take some photos but fast horses + slow lenses = not so good chances?

Tuesday, May 6, 2008


We had sushi on Sunday night with JC and HT and it turned into a photo shoot. This was my first attempt at taking long exposure photos on tripods... I probably should have shot in shutter priority but everything happened so fast (we heard the train, rushed to set up the tripod and get the camera on just in time to shoot a few shots before it left)...

I think it turned out decently!

Look Ma! I'm Dancing!

We had an impromptu doggie play date on Saturday after the garage sale. Of course Henry and I both whipped out our cameras. I think he's got better photos but I think mine are pretty good too!

Mimi as usual was her regal self, not really into playing with the young ones... Huxley and Snuggles were running around in circles and it was just adorable.