My first Photo Book is now available...

( 110 images / 106 pages )

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Remember September

September 10, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

Tomorrow, on September 11th, I will be part the media team photographing the 10th Annual So-Cal Chef Open that's taking place at Pechanga Casinos. This event will feature 13 chefs from Southern California, in a friendly competition - tapas style - for the "Pinnacle Award" voted by ten celebrity judges, and the "People's Choice Award" voted by the 700+ attendees. All the funds raised this year will support the Culinary / Vocational programs of Oak Grove Center, a nonprofit treatment center for children with psychological, emotional and behavioral problems and special needs.

I can't wait to be involved in shooting this event! I'm looking forward to capturing special moments: the chefs and their proud creations, the judges tasting, judging the food and deciding on the winner, the crowd trying out 13 distinct foods and rooting on their favorites, and whatever else may come my way. I know from personal experience that the anticipated shots will probably not come out, and that the "money" shots will come from unexpected places. That's almost always the case, which is what makes event photography exciting - it's full of moments, waiting to be seen, discovered, and hopefully captured in a creative and unexpected way. Since the Open will take place primarily indoors in a ballroom, I expect this to be challenging - photographing action in low-light will test me, and I have to be on top of my game with my gear and my creativity. This is going to push me and I have no doubt that I'll come out of it a better photographer!

In preparation for the event, on Friday I went to visit 2 of the chefs in the competition on their home turfs, and interviewed them with... not a microphone, but a camera! Here are a couple of shots from Chef Matt Green of Cheflavor, and Chef Chris White of Vineyard Ranch. Good luck guys!

 

 

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August Heat

August 11, 2017  •  2 Comments

Thank you for taking time to check out my monthly blog.

My photography business is heating up! What started off as a retirement hobby is now a full-fledged part-time job, as I have branded myself a Commercial Photographer (for Temecula and its vincinity) specializing in food/beverage, product and event photography for business websites and social media.

July was a big month as I crossed a big business milestone - 40 paid photo projects (since December 2016, when I officially turned pro)! It is absolutely unbelievable how quickly the photography business has ramped up as word of mouth continues to build. I feel like I was meant to be a photographer - it all comes easily for me and I enjoy all aspects of photography, from booking/preparing the shoot, to the actual photo shoot, to the editing process that transforms the raw photos into appealing images that help to sell products and services for the clients, to daily learning and improvements that breed confidence in my photography,  to finally sharing the finished product with satisfied clients and then with my fanbase on social media.

My learning curve in photography has been short; I started my journey with digital photography in January of 2016 (on my first day of retirement from Sales), when I started to take my DSLR seriously and laid out a success road map for myself -  "SELL" (Share, Edit, Light, Learn) something daily (of course, for a career salesperson!), and take 10,000 pics for the year. I accomplished both, and got my first paid gig in December, and haven't looked back. Now that I'm 40 gigs into my career, I feel like I am only beginning to scratch the surface of my potential as a photographer. My goal is to one day be a commissioned photographer for a national brand, and to sell my landscape photography in galleries.

Among the summer gigs are two I'm especially proud of - Rancon Realty's listing of Maurice Carrie Winery, and a 3-week shoot of our local shopping mall the Promenade of Temecula. Both are featured on my website, in the "Commercial Services" collections. If you have time, have a look, and check out some of the latest landscape shots in the "Fine Arts" collection as well.

Maurice Carrie Winery is one of the original wineries in Temecula, and features stunning 92-acres of vineyard, a huge wine storage facility for multiple local wineries, a bottling plant, award-winning wine, spacious wine-tasting room, restaurant, private party facilities and hosts arts/craft markets twice weekly. I did beauty shots of the winery, vineyard, restaurant, patrons & wine-tasters, and aerial shots to show off the enormous size of the property. Here's their e-brochure featuring my photography: https://temeculawineryforsale.com/

The Promenade Mall of Temecula is a fantastic outdoor/indoor shopping experience, and I took 3 weeks to shoot it. It was so much fun to find new and fresh angles to promote everything the mall has to offer, from the cool stores like Apple, DisneyStore and Lulumon, to restaurants like P.F.Chang's and Yardhouse, to the wine walk (of course, this being wine country Southern California), to the electric train that operates on the second level of the mall, to the fun water fountains in front of Edwards Theater, to the weekly J.C.Penny Kids Club experience, to the Farmer's Market in the parking lot on Wednesdays. I can go on and on, but you'll just have to come and spend some time in our premium mall and experience the best big "little" town in Riverside County!

Anyways, thanks again for spending some time with me. Have a fantastic August and keep cool!

Look me up on Facebook (Jimmy Fu-tography), and follow me on Instagram: jimmyfu_tography_commercial, and jimmyfu_tography_landscape

Promenade TemeculaPromenade TemeculaJimmy Choo Choo Maurice Carrie WineryMaurice Carrie WineryWWW wine windmill wonder


Italy Travelogue

July 07, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

Venice - Gondolas & CanalsVenice - Gondolas & Canals

I finally had some time this week to work on a project I've been putting off for a while - my Photo Book to Italy. It contains about 110 images (spread out through 106 pages) that I felt were my best creations from the 3 cities in Italy - Rome, Florence and Venice.

I still hold Rome dearly to my heart, as my wife Claire and I honeymooned there in 1998, returned on a company reward trip there in 2000, and named our first-born son Roman after the beautiful city of history and antiquity. However, on this Spring trip in 2017, my eyes met Venice, my shutterbug will never be the same, and my heart has now opened to - I believe - the greatest city to photograph!

Venice is just enchanting to me. The way of life for this ancient city revolves around water. And for a photographer, water adds an element to the art that nothing else can. Technically water opens the door to long exposure photography at night that is amazing and unparalleled (as featured in my Photo Book), and it provides an evergreen reflection to what's on top. And what's on top of the water canals is so rich and vibrant, you don't get photographs like it anywhere else in the world. There are the water buses, taxis, boats, gondolas and the gondolier culture. To tourists gondolas are an expensive way to experience Venice; to the gondoliers it's a form of transportation that still requires manual labor and a personal touch, and each operator goes after the business just as aggressively as taxi drivers in New York city.

To some, Venice can be very touristy, but to me, it represents a stir fry of colors and culture that overwhelms my senses. The thousand-year-old buildings, colorful apartments, wealthy villas all share the same tiny canals. Each canal is surrounded by bridges, bricks, shops, churches and people. Locals and tourists alike have to share these narrow streets and canals to navigate a very confusing maze of cobblestone streets that is not unlike our blood working itself through the veins and arteries of the cardiovascular system. The Grand Canal is the heartbeat of Venice, and the Rialto Bridge provides a spectacular view on both sides, especially during sunset.

There are so many subjects to photograph it can be really overwhelming to a new photographer like me. When I go back (with a heavy emphasis on the "when" and not "if"), I would love to focus on different series of photo shoots: doorways (ancient doors that are so interesting to look at), windows (that tell a thousand stories), canals (of course, the essential bloodlines of Venice) and bridges, buildings (old and older), pasta trattorias and gelato shops, shadows and lights that illuminate the streets, cobblestones, arches, and canals of Venice, the people that live there to serve the tourists, the gondoliers and artists that peddle their services, the tourists converging from all over the globe to see the sights, the gondolas and the multi-colored backgrounds, all --- reflected on the water like a live painting that is never completely dry.

We were only in Venice for a brief time on our week-long trip in April, after spending a bit more time in Rome and Florence, but the impression it left on me is permanent but incomplete. We will go back to visit, maybe for weeks at a time so that we can really take in the city and live the culture, shop and cook our own food from the morning fish market, get lost in the mazes again, and see the rest of Tuscany and create more images to share. Until next time, ti amore, Venice and Italy!

Here's a sample of the Photo Book. If you want to see bigger pictures, go to http://jimmyfu.zenfolio.com/blog. If you want to see more, browse the "Italy" album on my website. Thank you for your support!

 

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June Gloom no more

June 14, 2017  •  1 Comment

Temecula Valley Balloon & Wine Festival 2017Temecula Valley Balloon & Wine Festival 2017 It's already JUNE! We say it every year - that time flies - but it is so true and in the blink of an eye we are almost at the half-way point to 2017.

June was kicked off in high adventure, as I went to photograph the annual Temecula Valley Balloon and Wine Festival (#tvbwf2017) at Lake Skinner, and as part of the media press, got to RIDE one of the hot air balloons for the first time!

The balloon went up fast and in seconds we were about 2,600 feet above the Temecula Valley and most of the cloud covers. It was truly exhilarating yet scary. There is no safety belt or tether to the balloon basket, so any false move would mean a quick bye-bye! In a basket the size of a standard hotel shower, you learn to lean and control your body very quickly, and never with all three heavy male passengers in the same direction at the same time! Once we got to the top of our ascend, it was probably one of the quietest and most peaceful places I've ever been to in my life. There's no sound that high in the air, save for the whooshing of the hot air balloon and nervous small chatter among the 3 of us balloon riders.

And the view. The view was just stunning and spectacular! In every direction I saw unending horizon lines, a maturing sunrise slowly melting away the grey clouds, about a handful of balloons rising at different speeds and distances from us, the wide open spaces, vineyards, ranch homes in Wine Country as the backdrop to photos, and of course Lake Skinner where the festival took place. As the sun rose, the shadows on the ground changed dramatically. Our balloon came down pretty low at one point, almost touching the tree branches before bouncing away towards the top of the lake. I didn't have previous experience photographing from my vantage point, so all I did was "spray and pray", hoping that I got some epic shots along the way, but never getting too close to the edge of the basket. I did change lens a couple of times to get some telephoto shots, but every time I did that I got real nervous, scared that either the lens, camera or myself would fall out of the basket when I wasn't paying attention. 

While riding the hot air balloon was definitely the highlight, there were many other epic photo-ops during the weekend: morning lake reflections of balloon launch, tethered balloon rises, evening synchronized balloon "glow", photographing mini rock concerts from the pit and backstage, street photography of the food & people of the festival, and branding shots of wines at the wine garden.  For a photographer who likes to experiment with different genres of photography, this event is perfect for that. I took over 800 images in 2 days, and took about a week to process them and narrow down to 280. Landscape photography, aerial photography, night photography, concert photography, street photography, product photography, portrait photography, even some nature photography. It's all there!

I usually bring photography to an event, but this festival took the event to my photography, and opened my mind to more worlds of exploration.

So if you haven't seen some of the images from the Temecula Valley Balloon & Wine Festival of 2017, here are some of my favorites...http://jimmyfu.zenfolio.com/p1035746947


May I share?

May 09, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

Happy May!

I'm a little late to the month, but I guess it's better late than never...

We kicked off our May with a fantastic vacation to Amelia Island, Florida, where we stayed at the Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort. Unlike our Italy tour (which I will blog about in June) that was focused on exploring the amazing history of Rome, Florence and Venice, this trip was supposed to be purely about relaxation and adventures in nature. We certainly did both, but I will not soon forget the incredible sunrises and sunsets on the Atlantic Ocean. Here is the direct link to some of the best photos I created while at the resort and around the plantation: http://jimmyfu.zenfolio.com/p883031361. And here's one of my favorite photos on the album to lead it off:

Amelia Island, FLAmelia Island, FL