Fuku Burger

Amy and I drove to Hollywood for dinner at Fuku Burger last week. I had a Tamago (egg) burger, Amy had the same with the falafel patty (no meat), and we split the garlic fries.

We both thought it was extremely tasty.

On a side note, the waiter called me “Mr. Fancy” since I ordered a glass of Merlot. (Why Merlot? It was a change of pace from beer, plus it was on my mind because of “The Yada Yada” Seinfeld episode.)

The Ready Set and Andrew Swanson

A couple weeks ago, I met Andrew Swanson[1. Andrew Swanson also on Twitter (@swansonswanson) and Flickr.] running merchandise for The Ready Set. It was good times.

They first played at The Knitting Factory in Hollywood. After some trouble waiting for the box office to receive the list that would have my name on it, all was well.

Unfortunately, there isn’t a photo pit at the Knitting Factory. I didn’t mind too much because I hung out with Andrew at the merch table! 🙂

So, what did I learn about Andrew?

Becoming the merch guy for The Ready Set (on this tour) — Andrew was introduced to Jordan Witzigreuter (The Ready Set) by his photography. After taking photos at some of their shows, they became friends.

Travel — Until now, Andrew hasn’t been away from home for this long.[2. I was fortunate to have been able to travel a lot in junior high and high school, so you can imagine the excitement.] His blog and Twitter account tell his adventures.

The downside? You’re away from home. No home-cooked meals, your own bed, or family.

Andrew’s photography — He used to photograph with a Canon EOS 40D. He had the 50mm f/1.8 and the Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM lenses. But, he was depressed with the lack of fast lenses, so he sold it and bought a Canon G10.

After The Ready Set finished their set, most of them hung out at the merch table to meet fans, sign autographs and take photos. All of them were really cool and laid back.

When I talked to Matt, their tour manager, I found out that I could make their set the next day. So, he got me on the list again! Very cool, especially since I wanted to get some decent photos for them.

I fared better at the House of Blues in Anaheim. After signing some contract for the HoB[3. More on that in a future post.], I got in right away.

I talked to a few other photographers in the pit, including Mike McDougal (@mikemcdougal on Twitter). They were all really nice, too. Of course, I got some pretty sweet concert photos, plus some fan photos afterward.

Photos are also on Flickr: Knitting Factory, Hollywood / House of Blues, Anaheim

Thanks to Andrew Swanson, his infamous dad, Jon Swanson, and The Ready Set!

Mel's Drive-In

Mel's Drive-In

Unlike my other photo of the Mel’s Drive-In sign near Hollywood and Highland, producing this was more involved.

I got closer because there was a billboard behind and to the left of the “Open 24 Hours” sign. Then, I took three landscape exposures (from bottom to top) to create a panorama.

After stitching the photos together, I used lens correction to reduce the distortion 18mm would make. Then, I cloned out the corner of a building at the lower left side of the frame.

Since I finally learned [non-destructive] dodging and burning, I used that technique to subtly brighten the darker areas of the sign.

Back in Lightroom, I square cropped the photo then used a few presets:

To finish things off, I slightly increased the exposure and fill light to my liking.

I hope you like it!

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Nacho Libre

"I was wondering if you would like to join me in my quarters this night... for some toast."

I actually titled this with one of Nacho Libre‘s quotes, but it’d be too long for a title here.

“I was wondering if you would like to join me in my quarters this night…for some toast.”

This is one of the street performers[1. If you can call them that] at Hollywood and Highland. They go around having their photos taken with tourists and stuff.

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