Amgen Tour of California- Stages 3 and 4

The Amgen Tour of California , which happens to be the largest bicycle race in the United States, breezed into Santa Clarita, CA with an exciting finish of Stage 3 on Tuesday May 14 and out of Santa Clarita, CA on Wednesday May 15. I had the opportunity to shoot this sporting event last week, and it was such a fun experience. Here are a few photos from the finish line, where the cyclists finished the race from Palmdale to Santa Clarita. Peter Sagan won that stage:


The start of Stage 4 -- from Santa Clarita to Santa Barbara --was a much more relaxed atmosphere. I was able to get some candids of the riders before they took off:


It was really fun to step out of my comfort zone and try to utilize some of the concepts that I have learned from the likes of Dave Black and Scott Kelby. Of course it will take a lot of  practice and shooting a lot more sports -- but the main thing is that I had so much fun making these images!

Thank you for stopping by!

Wildlife Learning Center Pictures- Week 2

Last Tuesday night's adult zoologyclass at the Wildlife Learning Center was my favorite so far. I know that I only have two to choose from, and the sugar glider from last week's class was pretty awesome, but this week held porcupines and Lola the two-toed sloth, among other awesome animals. I took lots of pictures and we saw lots of animals, but I am going to highlight four here.
We visited with the -- leashed -- Serval to start the class off. No petting this gal. Every breeze and rain drop were picked up by her large ears, and she was intently looking for the source of unfamiliar sounds. Our instructor, Marissa, gave her kitty food to get her to face in our direction.
Next were the porcupines. Every time I visit the Wildlife Learning Center, I have the best time watching these little guys waddle around, climb their tree stumps and cage, and bump into each other. We were also treated to the juvenile porcupine's special way of begging--- by throwing punches into the air.
I had been dying to meet Lola the two toed sloth for quite some time. She is usually in her little warm habitat to mimic her natural environment, and just the average visitor isn't able to get into the house. However, our class got to squeeze into her little -- and very warm-- house.
In order for us to be able to pet her, she had to be distracted with a special treat of sweet potatoes.
Exerting all of that energy was so very taxing for this little sloth, so after eating and getting her photos taken, she was very tired and gave us a huge yawn:
And then she curled up for some much needed sleep (hey, life is tough when you're a sloth):
Again, while we sat in our chairs during the lecture portion of the class, there was something a crate really itching to get out. It turned out to be this Arctic fox, which came to the WLC because it was in a fur house and did not have fur up to their standard.
Thankfully for us, and even more thankfully for the fox.
Again, I have to say thank you to the Wildlife Learning Center for offering such a great opportunity! I look forward to this evening's class!
And thank you for stopping by!

Pictures at the Wildlife Learning Center

I have always loved animals, and love visiting the Wildlife Learning Center. Imagine my excitement when I found out that they were offering an interactive adult zoology class for five weeks! Last week was my first class, and of course I took some photos to share with you all. We started learning about the different animal classifications, starting with insects such as the Madagascar Hissing Cockroach:

This Indian Stick insect:

And this scorpion (I did not touch this little guy):

We moved onto learning about amphibians by looking at this African Bullfrog:

And then moved onto learning about reptiles like this baby American Alligator:

We then learned that birds are closely related to the reptile family, and saw this blind screech owl that was rescued:

The softest little animal that was brought out for us to learn about was the Sugar Glider, a marsupial (there were actually four rolled up in a blanket, I was able to catch this one as he got out -- yes it had to be held so that it wouldn't glide away):

And out night ended with a showing of this grey fox:

I look forward to the next month of classes. Thank you to the Wildlife learning Center for offering this type of outreach to adults, and for doing great work!

And thank you, as always, for stopping by!



Macro Photography Images

It has been a long time since I have posted--I have had some personal health obstacles within the past 10 months, and am finally getting back to blogging! I have some exciting news to share with my wonderful readers, I have recently gained interest in having my images hanging in a few different locations. Currently, I have six images hanging at a spa in Santa Clarita, CA-- what is more calming than some beautiful macro nature images?

Here are the six images that were chosen to hang:

Night Blooming Cerus

Night Blooming Cerus

Backlit Leaf

Backlit Leaf

Orchid Waterfall

Orchid Waterfall

Backlit Orchid

Backlit Orchid

Cana Lily

Cana Lily with Water Drops

Aloe Leaves

Aloe Leaves

Of course you can contact me about ordering any of these images for the walls of your home of to give to someone you love!

Thank you as always for stopping by!




Digital Garden

Aloe Black and White  

A couple of months ago I had a small surgery, and haven't exactly been mobile since. I knew that I had to have this particular ailment fixed, and that it would take a bit to heal, and it would be a while before I would be able to get out and take photos.

One of the things on my list of many preparations in the weeks before, was to take a morning trip with my camera to Descanso Gardens in La Canada Flintridge. I am so glad I did, because months later, as I scroll through my library of photos (very few from June, none from July) I get to see a digital garden. The above image was taken on that day with my Tamron 90mm macro lens at ISO 400, f/4, 1/1000.

I converted this image from color to black and white because I really like the composition and the lines, and wanted to focus on those things about the image.

Thanks for stopping by!

Online galleries and thoughts

Kristina Jacob photography green leaf


Currently, I am checking out Zenfolio for my gallery needs. I have dappled in this site to host some galleries for my Fine ArtFine Art-Flora and Travel photography such as the image above. I'm interested in your thoughts on going to an outside site to see more of my work.

Please leave your thoughts in the comments section!

Thanks for stopping by!


I had no idea that the Los Angeles Arboretum had peacocks, peahens, and a gaggle of other birds cruising around the property; I had never been there before last week. I also did not realize that peacocks and peahens flew. Those are big birds!

While my beloved distracted a peacock after much debate about whether they attack, I got close to the bird's tail (longer than Kate Middleton's train, might I add) with my Tamron 90 mm:


Neither of us were attacked, I got my photo while a bird that can only be left over from the Jurassic period eyed me up and down, calling to his buddies to keep me in check.

Thanks for stopping by!

Santa Clarita City Hall First Floor Gallery

I recently had one of my photos accepted into the Santa Clarita City Hall First Floor Gallery: Santa Clarita City Hall First Floor Exhibit

Each month, a new theme is exhibited, and this month just happened to be clouds (right up my alley!) It's very exciting to see my art work on the wall, and I'm grateful to everyone who has taken a few moments to stop and appreciate it.

If you are in or around Santa Clarita and have a chance, stop by to check out the Gallery, there are some really cool pieces in the exhibit this month.


Thank you to the City of Santa Clarita for creating the Art in Public Places Program!

And thank you for stopping by!

The Flash Bus Tour 2011

I am back from my brief hiatus from blogging. Why? Might one ask. Well, to let you in on a little secret, I am totally fired up from an event I attended today, The Flash Bus Tour 2011 with David Hobby and Joe McNally.

The Flash Bus Tour is basically Joe, David, their (Joe's) assistants and all of their (again Joe's) gear piled into this bus:


About 400 of my photographer friends and I that wanted to know all about small flash systems made our way to the Los Angeles Convention Center today for a morning of David Hobby and an afternoon of Joe McNally. Needless to say, it was a full day. Hobby started off the morning with more of a presentation where he took us through shots, building layers of one light on top of the other. Informal and informative, it really set the tone for the rest of the day.

And then McNally took us for a post-lunch ride (no food comas allowed). He went through a live shoot using one of his assistants and members from the audience, building layers of light while gracefully hitting any curve ball that came his way. And during a live location shoot, there are plenty of curve balls.

The afternoon was finished up with an amazing Q&A session with both photographers. Watching these guys together and taking all kinds of questions from the audience was really cool to experience.

I feel really lucky to be a part of this tour. Both guys are really down to Earth, willing to help other photographers, and willing to do things like sign books and posters. Here's a photo of Joe and me after he signed my copy of LIFE Guide to Digital Photography: Everything You Need to Shoot Like the Pros

TFB-McNally Note: Of course, why would I set my point and shoot to auto without flash when about to take a picture with master flash man Joe McNally? This is photo #2...

If this tour rolls through your city, it is definitely worth your time and money to attend. I am not only pumped about doing more with my flash photography, but doing more with my photography in general.

A big thank you to David Hobby, Joe McNally and the team and sponsors that made it possible to bring us The Flash Bus Tour 2011! I can't wait to see what 2012 has in store!

And thank you for stopping by!

Kristina goes to Washington (D.C.)

Traveling to the nation's capitol was a wonderful experience, and I can't wait to go back. Of course, I would need some days just to take photos, but here are some photos I was able to squeeze in: Jefferson Fisheye 2

Jefferson memorial fisheye

I used the Canon 15mm Fisheye in the Jefferson memorial. I knew beforehand that this would be the place to use it, as the memorial is round.

Washington monument reflection

This image is so iconic of Washington D.C. The reflection of the Washington Monument on the Potomac River with a gorgeous blue sky just called to me. I really don't think my tour guide liked me at all, but seriously, how could I just walk by this image?

Rotunda Fisheye

The Capitol was also a place I needed to use the Fisheye.

Rotunday detail

This detail of the Capitol Rotunda is just an image I love.


I loved this view of the Captiol, and the image just found me as I was walking by this view. A little bit of fall, and the white against that blue sky brings me back to that day.

I have two images that I'm keeping to myself for a little bit. They invoke a specific emotion, and I am trying to find the best way to coax that emotion out of the pixels.

Thank you as always for stopping by!

Geometric explorations

I like exploring themes in photography, this one in particular being geometric. I saw this image while walking in Disneyland California Adventure.


The image of the popcorn all alone in the frame just looked so...sad. And I love the break in the geometric pattern.

Canon Powershot SD780, which is apparently a popular little camera.

And of course I look for geometric patterns in nature.


This shot is a similar composition to the above popcorn photo. I really like breaking the monotony of color/pattern with a pop of color in the lower third of the photo.

Shot with Canon 5D Mark 2, Tamron 90mm macro lens, f/5.0 at 1/1600, ISO 200.

Thanks for stopping by!

Princess Cereus

Ah, the Night-Blooming Cereus, a magical flower. She blooms for just one night in July or August, starting to open her petals to the world just after the sun sets. Getting larger and spreading her petals further, she gives off a beautiful fragrance to lure pollinators for the duration of her short life. She reaches her apex of beauty, and then daylight breaks. Princess Cereus closes her petals to the world as the sun rises, and then dies.

Not even the most handsome, strong prince can save her. But luckily my eye caught her.

Of the macro flower photos that I have taken, this is one of my favorite flower photo shoots, and here is one of my favorite images from the evening:


Since the Cereus only opens for one night (key word here), I got to try my hand with the strobes. It was now or never, as Elvis sings.

Using two Canon Speedlite 580 EX II's, one slave was bounced off of a white diffuser, while the master strobe was held above the flower through a diffuser by an innocent bystander (whatever family member I could dupe). of course I used the Canon 5D mark 2 in case there were any low light issues.

My dad also partook in the photographing of the flower, so we switched off as flash holder. In other words, I got a taste of my own medicine.

This was a fun and challenging macro shoot, since I usually do my macro photography during the golden hour, or inside where I can control the flower of choice.

I hope you enjoy this beautiful flower, and I hope she blooms again next year!

Thanks for stopping by.

8 Tips for Photography Beginners

I got my first dSLR about 3 years ago, and although I had been interested in/surrounded by and dabbled in photography throughout my life, it turns out that I didn’t know squat. Instead of putting the camera on the little green box setting, I took it as an opportunity to learn everything I could about photography and my camera. I dove head first into photography, and found that I actually have a passion for photography, and cannot see myself without a camera. EVER. Since that fateful day, I have upgraded my camera, and am constantly working on developing my eye.

That being said, I have had those just getting into photography approach me with questions, and I have found some common themes. I have put together this list to help new photographers that may be a bit overwhelmed, and having been there not that long ago, I hope drawing from my experience will help the newbies.

8 Tips for Photography Beginners

  1. Read the manual. I know, you would rather watch paint dry. At least skim it. You need to know how to change the aperture and shutter   speed (Whatever those are). A lot of questions that you have are answered in that little book that came with the camera. You have the key.
  2. Learn the basics. Check your local camera store for basic camera classes (some are free), as well as local community colleges for a more drawn out course. However, if you don’t have the time or cash to do that, there are a ton of free resources on the Internet.
  3. Just shoot. Practice, practice, practice! Get the dial off of that little green box and learn about how each setting affects the photo you take. Know what what an aperture is and how to change it on your camera model, as for shutter speed and ISO.
  4. One of my camera's first outings, this tree root was photographed multiple times: Tree root system

  5. Go shooting with other people. No matter the skill level, you can learn from someone else. You may find than you know more than you think you did by teaching someone else, and will learn something new by observing others.
  6. Get more than one memory card and battery. You need multiple cards. They are so reasonably priced, you can’t afford not to. batteries for your camera can be a bit pricier, but it is worth it to have an extra one when you really need it.
  7. Look at LOTS of other photos. There are so many options with the Internet, look at photos and decide why you like them. What makes them work for you? Is it the colors? The depth of field? The composition? Look at the famous photographers, and learn from their techniques.
  8. The Internet has a plethora of information. No matter what your views are on social media like Twitter and Facebook, there are many reputable photographers involved who have a wealth of knowledge they love to share.
  9. Use a photo editing software. Most dSLR’s come with some sort of photo editing/managing software. Personally, I wish that I had used Adobe Lightroom from the moment I downloaded my first photo, but hindsight is 20/20. There are also free photo editing software companies available that you can check into. However, DO NOT rely on the photo editing software to fix your mistakes, you must learn how to make a photograph in the camera. The importance of the software is in the metadata, or information about your photo. The digital age is a great time to learn photography, because you can shoot your images, download them 2 minutes later, and see where you went wrong. It is better to do this on the monitor than your little LCD so you can actually see your image.

I hope these tips are useful, and please feel free to add to this list on your own as you go along in your own photographic journey.

Thanks for stopping by!

Blurb book o' fun

Alright, alright, I realize it has been a while since I last posted. Bad monkey! Let me 'splain Lucy...

See, I was feeling very overwhelmed...and then I got sick with bronchitis (Blame my Bronchasaurus! Ha ha! Get it?) which caused some other lovely bacterial things. This is the first day I have felt most like a human being in almost 10 days. What did I feel like before? A slug. A big juicy banana slug actually.

Well while I was coughing up my left lung, I had a conversation with one of my mentors and he wondered if I was just over photography.

Apparently my slight hiatus due to overwhelmedness didn't go unnoticed. And yes I just made up a word.

Ouch! It smarted to hear that! (Although I think he was just giving me a kick in the rear end, it worked.) Fear not, I am not over photography. At all.

Anyhow, I want to share with you something that I created in the past, since I haven't been editing anything from this past month, even though I have a future bouquet of photos for you (Wanna guess what will be coming up on the blog??).

I created a photo book using the awesome company Blurb. The bookmaking software is free, easy to use and the quality is amazing. This is a preview of my first book that I created using some of my personal favorites from my first year of photography. I love looking at this book and seeing the recurring themes in my photography as well as how I have evolved as a photographer.

I have a few copies of this book hanging around, so if you'd like to see this in person (it has the premium paper) or even {gasp} purchase one, let me know.

I'm planning on creating another Blurb book in the late summer. It's so much fun to put together, and I love having a goal to shoot for. Pun intended.

Thanks to my US for giving me a little kick to get me back on track, and to my friends that keep asking me when I'm going to update my blog.

As always, thanks for stopping by!

Project 365 Day 41

And spring is just around the corner! Alright, it hasn't been a blizzard in Southern California, but everything is sort of a drab color. And there aren't any pretty flowers in bloom. And I LOVE photographing flowers. My very talented photographer uncle likes to say that I "sneak up on" flowers. Don't worry, you'll see. But here's a little taste of my macro flower obsession: Project 365 #41: Spring is just around the corner

Camera: Canon PowerShot SD780 IS Exposure: 0.025 sec (1/40) Aperture: f/3.2 Focal Length: 5.9 mm ISO Speed: 200

This Gerber daisy was on my desk at work today, and it was just begging for a photo. All I had was my point and shoot...But let me tell you, that little thing has a pretty good macro!

Oh, I cannot WAIT until spring!

In the meantime, thanks for stopping by!

Project 365 Las Vegas (Days 35-38)

I have been in Las Vegas this past weekend. Now, Vegas is home to all kinds of debauchery, but also all kinds of interesting architecture. You can visit Venice, Paris and Egypt all within two hours. Day 35- February 4, 2010 Vegas is just a short flight from my home in the San Fernando Valley (45 min). I love looking out of the window when on a plane, and usually take a bunch of photos. I LOVE aerial photography, and this was one of my shots that I used for my project 365: Project 365 #35: I fly SWA I LOVE the clouds and the snow-capped mountains. And the wing makes it look like a nice ad for Southwest.

Camera: Canon PowerShot SD780 IS Exposure: 0.001 sec (1/1000) Aperture: f/4.0 Focal Length: 8.7 mm ISO Speed: 80

Day 36- February 5, 2010 There is ALWAYS construction in Vegas, no matter what the economy is like. And trust me, Superbowl weekend there shows that there is no recession. (Speaking of Superbowl, did you know that the SAINTS WON??? GEAUX SAINTS!!!!!) Anyhow, one of the newest additions to Vegas is the HUGE City center, which is a shopping/hotel/casino area. This is a photo of the outside of the HUGE shopping center called Crystals: Project 365 #36: Crystals It was a really cloudy day, but I really loved the reflections.

Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II Exposure: 0.002 sec (1/640) Aperture: f/6.3 Focal Length: 45 mm ISO Speed: 3200

Day 37- February 6, 2010 One of the higher end hotel/casinos is the Wynn by none other than Steve Wynn. The hotel/casino Encore is a newer addition to the Wynn, and this weekend was my first time seeing it! well, everything is over the top (of course), and one of the small details is actually a rather large crystal peacock. You read it right.

Project 365 #37: Encore peacock detail

Of course, mark would have worked so well here, but all I had on me was my little camera. Camera: Canon PowerShot SD780 IS Exposure: 0.017 sec (1/60) Aperture: f/3.5 Focal Length: 7.2 mm ISO Speed: 200

Day 38- February 7, 2010

Of course, all good things must come to an end, and so it was time to fly home. But that meant more aerial photography for me:

Project 365 #38: Oat Mountain

The mountain in the photo is Oat Mountain. Here is a terrain map of the area--we flew in from the West. The lake that you see behind the mountain in the photo is to its East on the map:
View Larger Map

A wonderful Vegas trip, aerial photography, and the Saints WINNING THE SUPERBOWL all made for a great weekend.

Thanks for stopping by!

Day 31 and Aquarium of the Pacific Photographers Night

Yesterday I promised Day 31 getting its own post, and here it is! For Christmas I got tickets to The Aquarium of the Pacific's Photographers Night in Long Beach, CA. After all the non-photographers went home, the aquarium stayed open for me and 300 other photographers to let loose and take pictures. It was so wonderful of the aquarium to do this for us, however, all 300 people at one time were trying to take photos of the sea dragons, and then half moved over to the octopus. The outside parts were closed (no sea lions or lorikeets), but many of the exhibits stayed lit until 10 pm.

It was great to see so many photographers, and there was a range in equipment and skill level from point and shoot to pro. They also had Nikon set up to give free equipment rentals for the evening (enticing, but I was toting the 5D).

This was also my first real outing with Mark the 5D, but of course we made quite a team. An ISO of 6400 in an aquarium is magical. And yes, everything that has to do with my new camera is magical.

Of course I took a few hundred photos, but fish are fast little buggers. Also, thick, round acrylic aquariums aren't really the best conditions for the pesky little task of, you know, focusing. Among all the little fishies at the aquarium, I found this detail to use for my 31st photo in my Project 365:

Project 365 #31: Lace

I love the detail of this fish's fin. When he was moving, he looked like lace. I caught him while he was resting at the bottom of the exhibit (by this point I was kind of tired of chasing fish around). I love that when you first look at this image, you don't know that this is a detail of a fish. By the way, I don't know that this fish is a guy, I'm not a marine biologist. Taken at 1/160 at f/2.8, Tamron 90mm, ISO 2000.

But I TRULY cannot just pick one. Here are some of my favorites from the evening (All photos taken with Canon 5D Mark 2):


I love the detail in this living coral. Taken at 1/320 f/3.2, 90mm. ISO 6400.

I did a bit of experimenting with blurring the pretty colored fishies:


1/2 second at f/2.8 with Canon EF 70-200f/2.8L, 165mm, ISO 800.

Of course everyone wants to see the jellyfish. Thankfully, by the end of the evening a lot of the crowd had thinned out, so I got an opportunity to get these jellyfish photos:


Taken at 1/40 at f/4, Canon EF f/4L IS 24-105mm24mm ISO 6400. Some stray flash from other photographers, aquarium lighting.

_MG_7931 Taken at 1/125 at f/2.8, Tamrom 90mm ISO 6400. Aquarium lighting.

And what kind of photographer would I be if I didn't play around with my FISHEYE lens at the AQUARIUM? :


Taken at 1/100 at f/2.8, Canon 15mm fisheye ISO 6400. Some stray flash from other photographers, aquarium lighting.

It was a great experience, and I cannot wait until the next photographers night! Thank you Aquarium of the Pacific for the photo opportunity! You can check out my edited photos on my Flickr set.

And as always, thank you for stopping by!

Project 365 Week 3 (Days 19-25)

I know I know, I have not posted in a week! Honestly, I am a sunshine lovin' girl, and the rain gets me down and feeling like a big slug. So, since it has been a week, I am going to pick my three favorite photos from the week, and give you the story and metadata behind those. Of course, you can check out my Flickr set for the week's photos, but I do want to tell you about my favorites so please make sure you keep on reading.

I made my favorite photo from this week on Day 22

Project 365 #22: Mama's hands

I call this one "Mama's hands" because it is of my mama's hands. My mom has used her Brother sewing machine since 1968. Her hands are older now and have arthritis in them, but they are beautiful to me. That coupled with the light from her sewing machine created a perfect photo opportunity. I had her use the green fabric because I liked that pop of color, and noticed that her nail polish and the fabric complemented each other.

Taken with Canon 5D Mark 2, Tamron macro 90mm, 1/320 at f/4.0. Small tungsten light from sewing machine, no flash, ISO 4000 (The high ISO just isn't getting old for me!). Cropping and color correction in Lightroom 2.

I made my second favorite photo on Day 23 (I was on a roll this weekend!)

Project 365 #23: Sky

I just love walking around my neighborhood in the afternoon (around 4'ish) when the light has this gorgeous golden quality. My neighbors just cannot think I'm normal (but what photographer is?).

Initially I was trying to get this beautiful golden light bouncing off of the branches with the moon in the background. Then I shifted the focus to the moon, and I just loved this image. The branches and crisp moon against the vivid blue sky...magic!

Taken with Canon Rebel XTi at 1/320 at f/5.0 with Canon EF 24-105mm lens, at 105mm, ISO 200. Light editing in Lightroom 2.

And I made my third favorite photo on Day 25

Project 365 #25: Fire and ice

Since was so cold here in Southern California (below 50 degrees, good heavens!), I got to sit by the fireplace a lot. I LOVE the way subjects look by firelight, and I LOVE reflections. So, I put some water in a Waterford crystal bowl, and had a little mirror that I set under the bowl on the hearth for reflection from the bottom of the bowl. Joe McNally suggests to place subjects near/in water, so of course I incorporated water into my little experiment.

Taken with Canon 5D Mark 2, Tamron macro 90mm, 1/30 at f/4.0, ISO 3200. Lighting sources fireplace and tungsten light to the right side of the camera.

As always, thank you for stopping by!

Project 365 Day 12

And yet another gorgeous day today. I got home when it was still daylight, so of course I headed outside with my macro lens. Something I usually try out and never have much success with is taking bee photos. They sure do fly around a lot, and they can sting, but today I am happy to report I snuck up on those little guys and got this as a result: Project 365 # 12: Honeybee and lavender

Some exposure adjustment and cropping in Lightroom 2, and I have my little bee buddy memorialized. I love the catch light in its eye (which is always something that I notice in other bee photos), and the contrast of its yellow and black body against the lavender flower.

And then I pissed off one of the bees so I got out of enemy territory.

Thanks for stopping by!

Project 365 Day 10

Another absolutely gorgeous day here in Southern California (76 degrees this afternoon). I took the opportunity to grab my SLR and went up to one of my favorite places in the San Fernando Valley, O'Melveny Park. I love photographing tree trunks for their great texture and contrast, and have often photographed the trees here before a wildfire in October of 2008 ravaged them. I took this photo to show the new growth juxtaposed against the charred bark. Project 365 #10: New growth

I love seeing that these trees are making a comeback, and hopefully the rest of the park will follow before too long.

Thanks for stopping by!