I'm just a guy who's a photographer for fun.






Location: Ishihara Park, Los Angeles / Santa Monica, CA USA

series: ishihara-park-is-nice-this-time-of-year

subject: Kelly Zhang [Female; Asian; Chinese; Woman; Girl; Young-Adult;]

attire: streetwear; jacket; mask;

camera: Pentax K1-MII

lenses: SMC-Pentax-FA-77mm-F1.8-Limited-Lens

total-shots: 161

post-cull: 138

keep-rate: 138/161 (~85.71%)

genre: Candid; Individual; Traditional; Portrait; Portraiture; Classic; Classical; Posed;

usage: Business; Dating; Profile; Headshot; Business; For mom; Family; instagram; linkedin; about-me;

tone: Sleek; Goofy; Fun; Playful; Urban; Cute; kawaii; Cheeky; Bright;

workflow: 20210111-DNG.ACR.C1

seed: Adobe Camera Raw

primary-emu: RNI Agfa Optima 200 v3

variants: 5

rights-usage-terms: CC BY-SA 4.0***

meta: I'm working on “curating my work.” until now, I've basically been using SmugMug as a dumping ground for fear of not waking up in the morning. I've lived with this “fear” since childhood. Categorically, it's not as much a fear as a plausible reality; basically, I've always accepted the fact that tomorrow may never come and try to be as well prepared to die as possible. So with my photography, I don't really care about copyrights and monetization. I just care that it's viewable and available for my subjects and anyone else to see.

I've come full circle in my workflow. I started using Adobe Camera Raw along with ACDSee in 2004. Since then, I've probably used/trialed every piece of photography software available. ACR has it's issues, handling variants is a pain in the ass. But it is faster and more flexible than Lightroom, due DNG/sidecar adjustment embedding. Fortunately, with the innovation of cloud storage and essentially unlimited space, my approach to photography is plausible.

I'm massively backlogged in terms of curation and updating old albums to the new workflow. I botched a lot of color grading the past few years with experimental workflows, and in the past few months, a poorly calibrated monitor. (That's why I've been using the tagline: “I'm just a guy who's a photographer for fun.”)

Then again, what the hell is “professional photography?

Most of the photographers in my locale use instagram or wix for their portfolios of crazily-saturated-uncanny-valley-shit: “models” striking weird poses with glazed expressions on their poreless faces and the occasional camera-wielding-self-“portrait” of CPT. Douche/Cunt-face her/him/themselves. Not to mention the scores of dudes with: ladies as their profile photos, galleries of poorly-lit, over-processed, scantily-clad women, and a profile that says “DM for rates.”

Alas, I do not have what it takes to call myself a “professional photographer” in LA.

Kelly and I met on what used to be one of the greatest innovations in internet dating history: OkCupid. It's one variants of OLD (online-dating) that still allows you to keep a well curated profile. I've been a user since it's inception. It used to be a great place to meet and make friends from all around the world. Now it's a husk of it's former glory: “The deepest cesspool.”

I messaged Kelly with something along the lines of “Hey, I'm just looking for portrait subjects + [discernable proof that read the entirety of her profile].

This session is the aberrant result.

The second shutdown put me on furlough from my usual work at NUEVA, and I was a bit hamstrung on how to go about finding subjects for PARTY_ANIMALS, due to the increase in transmission rates and the fact that the photos I was getting were not on par with my vision. While that project is “to be continued” at a later date, arranging these casual portrait sessions in the closest park has been, safe and fun.

I've recently just finished setting up my site *okpebbs.com. Booking is finally available, it's free for first timers if you can find the “secret-link.”

Maybe I'll have a “real portfolio” someday.

[ Oh and while I do use a CC BY-SA 4.0, license, do be respectful to the subject. ]

And Kelly: stretch more / look into standing desks!

I'll probably end up mirroring this on a “real” platform.



Promised the homies I'd make a blog slug url for them.



aaaaaand I'll finish this later.



Well, it's been a while since I did an update on this project.

I've been really busy working at NUEVA. As well as rebranding, switching domains, building assets for YouTube projects, and mapping out my future as a photographer in the midst of the pandemic.

Here's what been happening with my life and the project.

1. I re-branded.

I wanted something easier to spell/remember/speak aloud. I think “okpebbs” is the golden ticket.

2. I've been working full time in a fairly busy kitchen.

For those not aware, kitchen work is pretty draining, the pay sucks and it often comes without benefits.

3. I've been setting the stage to start shooting some big YouTube projects.

I'd elaborate on them further, but I figure it's better done than said.

4. I've been building an outdoor studio kit.

This will enable me to shoot all the photography projects at a safe “socially-distant” distance.

5. I've been working on another series.

It's just a big album at the moment, but I'm planning on adding context and turning it into a book at some point. You can view the link here: Cooks of Los Angeles

6. I haven't “finished” edits on all the dogs, I shot in the park.

I quickly found that the shots I was getting were not up to my personal standards. I started looking for artists to commission artwork using the photos as a reference. I'm currently waiting on the artist to get back to me for progress pics. I'm planning on reopening the project in December 2020. Hopefully in time for Christmas.

7. I've been refining my workflow and testing outdoor portrait shooting.

I have a pretty high standard in terms of what I want for my photos. I like edge-to-edge sharpness for all my subjects. Normally something only plausible during certain times of the day or in a studio environment. So I've been working toward having a mix of both. Refining lighting patterns, composition, and getting authentic expressions from my subjects.

Some notes from my last attempt shooting for this project.

1. I did a really bad job of collecting user information.

In my attempt to avoid over-collecting user info, I collected too little to make shooting viable. I ended up with a bunch of phone numbers attached to pet's names for one list and a bunch of photos without pet names. Also, I didn't really have the means to keep up contact via my computer. Big oof.

2. I tried to canvas the city vs using one locale.

First of all, the park I chose, was too poppin. Way too many other dogs/distractions to get the shots I was looking for. And getting to other parks with all my equipment on a bike was a bit too much.

3. It was waaay too advantageous of an editing process for free.

Don't get me wrong, I love photography, pets, and meeting new people. It's just that my usual workflow doesn't involve photoshopping leashes, or cutting out backgrounds. While some of the shots I got were decent. Most were not up to my standard.

4. It wasn't viable to use my former roster of lenses.

I was going for close-up portraits along with a few environmental backgrounds. With that in mind, shooting an animal without the aid of autofocus whilst holding a flash unit was basically impossible. I needed to hold the flash in order to orient myself correctly. This issue has been remedied. I purchased a longer range autofocus lens to get the shots I'm looking for.

5. Some people were willing to pay/donate.

I stupidly said “no.” I was in the middle of a lot of things and wasn't certain of my ability to deliver as it was an entirely new shooting environment for me. I've set up venues for donations, and a “Pay-What-You-Want” option for scheduling.


A Los Angeles local parks pet portrait popup.

original post on Neighborhood App

svbtle mirror

🎉 PARTY ANIMALS (free photoshoots)🐶🐱🐷. Hello neighbors! ​​ ​​I'm a local photographer who's bored out of their mind. I'm one of those types that need to keep the ball moving in terms of creativity/new-work in order to get anything done. Essentially, I need new stuff to continue work on old stuff. ​​ ​​Soooo, I'm posting here to see if there's any interest in y'all coming out to shoot free portraits of your pets in the park. (I’d eventually be down to schedule outdoor shoots individually, eventually, but seeing if I can make this format safe and workable). ​​ ​​It will be totally free. I'm testing out some different proofing sites and working on logistics, scheduling, and timing for doing a bunch of individual shoots whilst maintaining safe social distancing, and not forming a large congregation. ​​ ​​So the requirements would be: that your pet is: well behaved, on a leash at all times, able to sit/stay, able to wear an article of clothing (party hat, sunglasses, scarf, etc); you be within walking distance; and everyone attending to wear a mask and maintain safe social distance. Oh and you'd need to bring something for your pet to wear, Party vibes, but those cones are 👌🏼too. ​​ ​​I'd be hitting different neighborhoods for different days and plan to circle back though for Party Animals I wasn't able to schedule/shoot that day. ​​ ​​If anyone is interested, just reply in the comments with your nearest park. I'll be starting in Virginia Park. Dates are TBD by times of lower density. ​​ ​​Walking distance is highly recommended—both for traffic reasons and in worst-case scenarios, (dead batteries or some other catastrophic failure) you just took your pet for a walk. I know this type of format highly favors dogs, but I don’t know how to do much else with the current conditions. ​​ ​​You can see some of my old work here. ​​ ​​https://photos.okpebbs.com/DOGS ​​ ​​[New camera since, and post-processing is similar to “paint in a new place”—it can be changed easily, try to focus on the composition/lighting.] ​​ ​​Just post here if interested. Then I can work out safe timing protocols and build an intake/RSVP/scheduling system. So far it’s looking like 5 mins of shooting with 10 minutes of overlap. So ideally everyone would be 10 minutes distance apart. So max 16 slots per day based on flash battery power.

[These are my personal studio shots and do not represent what shots we may actually get.]

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