BJJ Coral Belt – Waldomiro Perez Junior

My Brazilian Jiu-jitsu teacher was awarded “coral belt” on Saturday, August 19th, 2017. I’ve never been to a coral belt promotion and chances are very slim that I’ll see another one anytime soon. A coral belt is given to a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt when they reach their 7th degree. First, they get an alternating black/red coral belt. Then at 8th degree, they’re given a red/white coral belt. Finally at 9th degree, they’re given a red belt. Currently, there are only 50 red belts throughout the world. 

Waldomiro Perez, Jr. began his journey in BJJ in Sao Paolo, Brazil where he studied under Marcelo Behring at Cia Atletica, later becoming Cia Paulista. Most people call him “Junior”. He’s such a humble man, amazing instructor and jokes often in class. It’s a great honor to have Junior as an instructor and a friend. 

2017 Solar Eclipse

It was an exciting day throughout the United States yesterday because the path of a solar eclipse went from Oregon to South Carolina. Thousands of people traveled to cities and towns along the path of the total eclipse to witness this. Although I don’t live in the path of the total eclipse, I was still excited to capture the partial eclipse here in Orange County, California. I’ve taken pics of lunar eclipses, but never a solar eclipse. For solar eclipses, you need to have special equipment – a solar filter. You can try looking directly at the sun through your camera but you’ll be blind pretty soon and your camera won’t be able to get the details because of the sun’s brightness. 

I went to Orange County Telescope in Santa Ana and bought a sheet of mylar to build a DIY solar filter for my camera. It was $50 =(. When they told me the price, I must have stood there for a couple of minutes weighing this decision. Well, it’s a special occasion that doesn’t happen very often so I bought it. 

Here’s one of the shots I captured of the 2017 solar eclipse. 

Floating in a dream

I’m starting a daily photo project for the month of August. This morning I was planning it out and getting some ideas together. After browsing through Flickr.com, I got so excited that I decided to get started immediately. Why wait, right? So right here in my apartment living room, I got this one above. Well, it’s not one picture, it’s actually two that are combined with some Photoshop but you know what I mean. Does it look “dream-like”? I asked a friend to caption it and she suggested “Wingardium Leviosa”, a reference to Harry Potter. What do you think?

My article in Concert Guide Live on Wyatt Blair

Concert Guide Live article
Screenshot of my article in CGL magazine

Every once in a while, I’m asked to write, in addition to shooting for Concert Guide Live. They have a section called Tales from the Photo Pit where we do a review from the photographer’s point of view. I add comments about the lighting, the stage, best angles to shoot from and about the venue – in addition to stuff about the band.

You can check out the article I wrote about Wyatt Blair at the Wayfarer here. But I wanted to mention a few things that i don’t say in the article. First, I was asked to write only a few days before the show. It may seem weird but I’m scared to death of writing articles. This is a blog – and it’s about my photography so it’s different. Writing about concerts is just more difficult, at least for me. Maybe it just takes time, or maybe it’s just not my thing, but I was pretty nervous about it.

Then again, I don’t shy away from things that I fear. Like Miyamoto Musashi, the 17th century legendary samurai and author of A Book of Five Rings said – “Do what you fear most”.

It would be great if I could get some feedback on my article. Please don’t hesitate to give me some constructive criticism! I’m looking to improve, not for a pat on the back… although a pat on the back is still appreciated!

Tomorrow’s 2nd OC Photography Enthusiast Meeting

I’m excited about hosting my 2nd photography meeting tomorrow which will be held at the same location, Irvine Park in Orange. Laura will be joining us again as our model for the evening but I’ve also asked attendees to feel free to bring their own friend or family member. Everyone has a family member that’s constantly taking selfies and would be so like, awesome as your model/subject. The weather is set to be a sunny 77° and the sun will set after 7pm. We get started at 5pm sharp.

Laura with flowers in hairThe theme for tomorrow is closeup face shots. Getting a closeup face shot gives you a more intimate connection with your subject. When taking shots like this, you can have the person’s entire head in the frame but you can also “cut off” the top of their head to get even closer. The subject doesn’t need to be looking into the camera. Having them look away will result in a more candid-looking image.

girl with white beanieOne of the most important rules for face photos is to get the sharpest focus on the eye closest to you since your brain is wired to look at that eye first. Another “rule” is to make sure you have space in front of the person’s face if they’re looking to the side. If there’s no space, it just looks weird because it looks like they’re up against a wall.

I hope to see some new “faces” tomorrow and looking forward to growing our group in number and knowledge!

The Philippines – Part 1

El Nido sunset

This is the view that I was presented with when we finally came to a rest in El Nido. We arrived in Puerto Princesa in the morning, then drove 6 hours to El Nido and after going from hotel to hotel looking for a vacancy, we found a spot that would do for the night. It was a short walk from the beach (actually a few steps) and here I was. There’s islands like this everywhere and the next day we were going on an “island-hopping” tour to go see a bunch of them.

Boats in El Nido

Here’s another shot a few moments later…


In the Philippines, most people don’t have a car. If you do have one, you won’t necessarily get places faster since traffic can be worse, much worse than a Friday on the 405 fwy in Los Angeles. So if you need to go a short distance, the easiest way is to ask a tricycle driver to take you! Tricycles are a motorcycle with a sidecar. You can fit up to 3 people, maybe more. In Palawan, they customize their tricycles to make them look like a car in the front.

Tricycle closeup

Tricycle no smoking

There are “no smoking” signs everywhere but I thought this one was pretty funny! I wonder if it lights up?