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Weekly Wednesday Blog-Rules of Travel | Orange County Photographers

Hey everyone!

So,  in just a couple of days from now, Dana and I will be heading off to New Orleans for 6 days of relaxing, eating great food, having a few cocktails, and checking out the sights.  This will be our 4th trip together there, and my 5th trip to New Orleans, overall.  Every time we go, we find something new we had not seen before.

Over the years, I’ve developed a sort of code to live by when traveling.  It started with my sister, years ago.  It was mainly just a couple rules, partly to get you out of the day to day rut most of us are in, and to keep track of how many places you’ve been.  I asked on FaceBook and Twitter for other people’s rules. Some were pretty good.  Here are mine:

1. No Chain Restaurants-I can eat at a McDonalds, or a Denny’s anywhere in the US.  That’s pretty boring.  Get out and try truck stops, diners, hole in the wall joints.  Ask the locals where they eat… and then go there!  That leads into the second rule…

2. Eat and Drink like a local-If I’m in New Orleans, I’m not drinking a Budweiser.  I’m reaching for an Abita Turbo Dog.  Mainly because I can’t get it here, easily, and it’s brewed locally in Lousiana.  When we were in Minneapolis a few weeks ago, I had a Bells beer.  It was pretty good… and local!  If there is a local specialty food on the menu, try it.  If you aren’t sure what to get, trust the waiter!

3. Don’t be that guy at Airport Security– You know who I’m talking about.  The guy that complains the entire way thru the security line.  Listen… we’re all in the same line, and YES, airport security sucks.  You have no choice… deal with it.

4. States count as 1 point, Countries count as 2-I think my sister is beating me overall.  She has a few more countries than I do, but I have about 22 states plus Mexico!

4a. If you don’t leave the airport, that state DOES NOT count.

5. Be a Traveler, not a Tourist– This might be my most important rule.  Do a little research before you go somewhere.  Check out what the locals are into.  Blend in.  Believe me, if you look and act like you belong, you might just to see things the tourists aren’t seeing!  In short, act like you’ve been there!

So there a go… Anyone else have any rules they live by while traveling?  Let us know… maybe we can add them to our list!

Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter (Jeff)(Dana) to see what we are up to, and to see some camera phone pics while on the trip!  See ya in about a week!


Weekly Wednesday Blog-Rules of Travel | Orange County Photographers2009-10-14T13:03:09-07:00

Weekly Wednesday-Minnesota Trip Roundup! | Orange County Wedding Photographer

Hey Kids!

We’ve been super busy lately, and have totally forgot to drop some  Weekly Wednesday action for ya!  This week, we decided to wrap up our Minnesota trip with a few pics we shot for fun while walking around downtown Minneapolis, and a few random places along the way.  For those of you who don’t follow us on Twitter, or Facebook, you missed out on seeing all the details as they happened, including a ridiculously long layover in the lovely Dallas-Ft. Worth airport.  There was a pretty gnarly lightning storm around Dallas, and kept us up in the air an extra hour.  Once we landed, we grabbed something to eat, and waited around for our flight to board.  About 30 minutes later we hear over the loudspeaker that they have closed to the airport, and they would let us know when they would reopen.  Great.  Well, the airport opened and closed about 4 more times before we actually boarded the plane.  We should have arrived at the airport here at around 10:30.  Instead, we didn’t land until after 1am, and by the time we got our bags, got our car, and drove home, it was nearly 2am.  Bah!  But we made it home safely, and that’s all that really matters.

We are going to take our chances in a couple weeks as we fly out to New Orleans for some MUCH needed relaxing.  If any of you are in New Orleans, and wanna hook up for a drink, or some pics, hit us up.  We don’t have any definite plans, as usual, and will most likely be spending our time walking around and taking pictures, eating killer food, and enjoying a cocktail, or three!

Here come the pics…

Travel Photography Orange County

I just love this woman’s red hair.  This was my view for a few hours on the flight out!

View of the Stone Arch Bridge, and Minneapolis in the background.

And, last, but not least… a few handheld self portraits.  Clockwise from the top left: Us after the wedding, enjoying a drink, and some Pizza; Having a Dark and Stormy at the Sample Room; On the Stone Arch Bridge, overlooking the Mississippi River; In front of the Mall of America!

Oh, and since I didn’t write in there who took which pics, we’ll open it up to guesses!  The person with the most correct gets 500 points! GO! 🙂


Weekly Wednesday-Minnesota Trip Roundup! | Orange County Wedding Photographer2009-10-08T11:19:41-07:00

Orange Street Fair, Urban Portraits Orange County, CA

Happy Wednesday to all of our peeps! I am sure by now everyone is adjusting back to the work week after a fabulous Labor Day Holiday weekend! We had a fun-filled weekend packed with the Orange International Street Fair, a great family session in Point Loma and a bbq with friends. Check back with us because the family session from the Point Loma Lighthouse will be posted soon!   So beautiful!

I can’t believe it is already September.  Summer is on its way out and the fall and holiday season is just around the corner. Yikes! We are very excited for the season because we get to do holiday family portraits. Yep, it is that time, so you better start thinking about it if you want to get a holiday card out this year.

Jeff and I enjoyed a great afternoon on Saturday at the Orange Street Fair.  It seems we are always so busy, so it was nice to walk around, eat, drink and be merry… oh and take some photos just for fun! I love spending time together where we can just relax and hang out. We have several images to share as the day turned into night, starting with our first stop a must have for Jeff… Aebleskiver’s! Jeff just loves those things little Danish pancakes, you can read about his first meeting of the Aebleskiver here.

Jeff snapped this as they prepared our snack!

They are pretty tasty with powdered sugar and strawberry sauce!

We came across a new restaurant in Downtown Orange.  As we walked around, we both received Twitter follows from the Haven Gastropub, a pub in Downtown Orange.  We may just have a new place to hang out! So, as dinner approached we made a stop in to check it out. It turns out their Grand Opening was that day, so they started serving a few menu items just in time for the street fair with more to come. We shared a burger that was fabulous and snacked on these homemade potato chips with herbs.  They were so good!  Very light and tasty. You must try them out!

I shot this in the ladies restroom. It was painted on the wall! The Haven Gastropub is a very inviting place with great food & drinks! We’ll go back!

Here are a few more image as Jeff and I wandered Downtown Orange and the Street Fair…we hope you enjoy them. Have a great rest of your week! J+D

Shot by: Jeff, Bike in Alley of Downtown Orange

Shot by: Dana, Orange Alley

Portrait of Jeff

I am known for my fabulous self portraits… smile Jeff! He just loves these!

It is a plastic cup party! A captain & coke for me and a Guinness for Jeff.

Shot by: Dana, Sunset in Alley

Shot by: Jeff, Aussie Potatoe & Ice Cream Stand

Shot by: Jeff, Italian Street

Portrait of Dana

Shot by: Jeff, Hot Dogs on American Street

Orange Street Fair, Urban Portraits Orange County, CA2009-09-09T16:50:29-07:00

Newport Harbor Yacht Club Wedding | Michelle+Bob = Married

A few weeks ago, we get a call from Brian Hamilton of Suite M Studios.  He was looking for a photographer to help out with a beautiful dockside wedding at the Newport Harbor Yacht Club.  Of course, we could help out!  I mean, really, how could we not?  Brian is a great guy, the weather was amazing, and the lovely couple got married right next to the beautiful Newport Harbor.

While Brian hung out with the ladies, I got to hang out with the guys, and photograph them getting ready.  Mostly hanging out, cracking jokes, and having a few cocktails.  When the time was just right, Bob and his best man (his father) walked out to the dock as the gorgeous bride and her girls came across the harbor on a boat. How can you beat that?

Beautiful details everywhere, from the menu to each table being named after a cocktail to the AMAZING cake!

The guys, having a celebratory shot of Tequila!

Can you really beat this entrance?

Each member of the bridal party was greeted by the Best man, and then escorted up to get ready to walk down the aisle. Just check out his suit!  Seersucker jacket, and white patent leather topsiders.  How sweet is that look?

Mr. and Mrs. Bendetti!
Right as they were announced as husband and wife, they shot off a cannon!  Neither Brian or I were expecting it, so we both jumped a bit!

While, the guests enjoyed some Mai Tais, and appetizers, Michelle and Bob headed down to the boat for some fun, relaxed, romantic portraits!

Fun, relaxed, portraits ON A BOAT!

I love this shot.  A beautiful couple, an amazing location, and love everywhere!

Newport Harbor Yacht Club Wedding | Michelle+Bob = Married2011-08-07T20:28:10-07:00

Weekly Wednesday-Photo Answers!

Hola Amigos!

Dana and I had a nice relaxing weekend.  All we really had planned was a Photo Walk thru Old Town Tustin with 50 of our closest friends!  Every year, Adobe Sponsors these Photo Walks in over 900 cities around the world.  You basically get a group of people together, pick a location, and walk around taking pictures.  After you get back, you can upload them and win prizes and stuff.  We’re still weeding thru the pics, and might post up a few this weekend, or later on next week.  We’ll let you decide who’s pics are better! 🙂

So, last week, I started what I’m hoping might be a semi regular thing here on Wednesdays, and that’s the “Ask a Photographer” topic!  So far, only 3 of you were brave enough to ask us anything… that’s cool.. the questions were pretty good, and hopefully I can answer them for ya!

Question #1 from Matt Donders: If you could shoot at any one focal length or with only ONE lens, which would it be?

Good question.  For me, I don’t really have a favorite per se.  It is usually the best lens for any given situation.  I did just pick up a  20mm f/2.8 which for a walking around lens is just wide enough on the D300 to feel pretty normal to me.  For years, on my old film camera, I used a 35mm f/2 as my standard walk around lens which is slightly wider than the standard 50mm lens.  So for me, a little wider just feels right.

Dana might answer this and say either the 17-55 f/2.8, or the 50mm f/1.8 are her favorite lenses.

Question #2 from Elaina: Why is Nikon better than Canon? At some point, I will have to go out and buy a new camera. What should I get and why?

And the basic answer is… it just is!  Just kidding.  Honestly, both Canon and Nikon make extraordinarily good cameras.  In my opinion, Canon was leading the way, up until Nikon introduced the D3 and the D300.  Nikon finally caught up.  For us, Dana and I have always used Nikons.  I sold my Minolta gear in college, and bought an all manual FM2 that has traveled all over the country with me, and it has never let me down.  When I met Dana, she already had a better Nikon than me, so I scored there! Since we both had lenses, it seemed the obvious choice to stick with Nikon when we made the jump to digital.

As far as what camera you should get.  It gets to be like a Ford vs. Chevy debate amongst car people.  Both are good.  Both will get you great pictures, if you know how to work it, and both cameras have superfans that are usually pretty loyal!  For me, a lot has to do with how the camera feels in my hand, how it’s balanced, and how easily I can navigate around the menus.  The camera should feel like an extension of yourself.  I’ve used Canon, and it just doesn’t feel right to me.  That doesn’t mean it won’t be the same for you! I’m sure Canon people will argue with me on this one!

As far as which camera you should get… even the entry level Nikon or Canon cameras are pretty good, and waaaay better than the best digital cameras from just a few years ago.  For a hobbyist, I would buy somewhere in the mid-range, and spend most of your money on lenses.  You’d be amazed what really good glass on a basic camera can do!

Question #3 from Suz: What is the best (and least expensive) solution to sun spots?

Now, I had to DM Suz on Twitter to clarify what she meant.  And by sun spots, she was talking about flare.  You know… those orbs of light that tend to sneak into the picture, and either make or break your picture.  I personally kinda like a little flare, when it works with the picture, but at the same time, I’ve had tons of pics ruined as well.  I seem to notice it more with wider angle lenses.  The 20mm lens I just picked up is SUPER flarey if you angle it at all towards the sun.  There are a few ways to help counteract flare.

One-Don’t shoot into the sun.  I know sometimes it’s hard not to, especially if you really dig the shot, and there is no way around it.
Two-Use a lens hood.  These are usually lens specific, and correlates the the focal length of the lens.  These usually don’t cost a ton, and work pretty good most of the time to help reduce flare.
Three-Use your hand as a shade.  This may take a little practice.  If you have your shot set up, and notice flare coming into the lens, take your left hand and try to block the light the light from entering the camera.  If the sun is on the left hand side of your frame, move your hand above the lens, and to the left… move it around while looking thru the viewfinder. Make sure you don’t get your hand in the picture (like I did in a shot last week!)  Once you got it blocked, take the picture.  This is what I end up doing most of the time, if I have to block flare on the fly!

Well, I hope that helped you guys out a bit!  Feel free to hit me up here, or on Twitter if you ever have any questions!  I’ll leave you with one pic from the Tustin Photo Walk.  Not the best shot, but a good look at some gnarly flare from my new lens!


Weekly Wednesday-Photo Answers!2010-11-28T21:12:25-08:00

Weekly Wednesday-Ask a Photographer…

Howdy Amigos!

Did I just say “Howdy”?  Yeah… I guess I did!

So, what’s been going on out there?  It’s been kinda crazy around the Sipper household, as last week I caught some gnarly summer cold, plus my ears sealed up so I couldn’t hear anything out of my right ear for a few days.  If you follow me on Twitter, I’m sure you’ve heard all about this! And now, Dana caught whatever I had, and it’s knocked her out of commission this week!  So, if you are looking for our regularly scheduled Photo Blog entries… you might need to wait until next week! 🙂

That being said, I’ve decided to start something new here on the blog, just to see how it goes.  It may go nowhere… it may turn out to be fun, and hopefully, a little informative.  So here we go…

Ask a Photographer!  Do you have questions about photography? Want to know more about any of the services we offer?  How we do the things we do? Why Nikon is better than Canon? (Just kidding Canon people… sorta! :-))  Pretty much anything!

Go ahead and drop a question for us in the comments section, and we’ll answer them in next week’s Wednesday post.

That’s all I have for now!  See ya next time!


Weekly Wednesday-Ask a Photographer…2009-07-15T11:38:52-07:00

J+D Bridal Portrait Style- Part II Orange County Wedding Photography

Happy Wednesday Everyone! What is new in your world? Anything  fun or exciting? We are excited about our upcoming destination wedding to Minnesota. Our friend David Equire, also co-host of Camera Dojo recommended us to a fabulous couple Tony+Annie who will be getting married in September. They are having their reception at the Chalet of a local Ski Resort, it sounds so cool. We can’t wait to share this special day with the two of them, they are such a fun-loving couple! Congratulations to you both…and we will see you in September!

Last week we did 3 shoots for Broughton Quarterly, this is our 3rd issue in which Sipper Photography has contributed. We just love working with the Broughton’s everyone is always so nice and their hotels are stunning. If anyone is looking to take a trip this summer, check out the Broughton properties, they have several boutique hotels all over California, Chicago, and Bali Indonesia (would love to shoot there). We have visited the The Andres in Palm Springs, The Wine Valley Inn in Solvang and The Georgian Hotel up in Santa Monica, and we highly recommend all of them for your next getaway.

If you need a little getaway each day, here is one for you! Jeff was invited to participate in a fun new blog called OC Daily Photo. He will be submitting a photo each week that will post on Saturday’s. The idea behind it is to just show interesting things that go on in Orange County, CA and share it with everyone. There are some fun images on the site, so check it out when you get a chance!

So, things have been a little busy as usual, but we have made time for a few glasses (or bottles) of wine in the mix of things because you must keep your priorities in check! Right?

Well, we finally got our Bridal Portrait video up for all of you too! Our recent shoot with Lori, Kylee & Richelle was such a success that we just had too many favorites. We decided to make up a slideshow of some of the other images, it even shows Hair by Kylee at work doing some make-up. We also found some awesome music to go with it too! Our close friend in Nasville, Jayne Nelsen was so kind to let us a use a song from her album “No Regrets”. You must check out her music and see what she is up to at JayneNelsen.com. I know she is about to go out on another radio tour this month to promote her album and we wish her lots of luck! Be sure to request her single “What it Really Is” at your local country music station if you like what you hear. We wish her much success with her career, she truly is a talented artist.

I feel so honored to be present with this cast of very talented women. Thank you so much to all of you!


Hair+Make-Up by Stylist: Kylee House 949.433.1279

Floral Design by: The Flower Girl

Music by: Jayne Nelsen, Album “No Regrets” Song “Leave the Light On”

J+D Bridal Portrait Style- Part II Orange County Wedding Photography2010-07-13T20:01:10-07:00

Just a Quick Saturday update!

Hey everyone!

Sorry for the lack of posts this week.  We got busy, and then by the time we got down to work on some pictures, our computer was acting up!  One of those weeks, I guess!

One of the coolest things to happen to us in a while happened last week, when our friend, Kerry Garrison, who, along with David Esquire, make up the team over at Camera Dojo, sent us a message asking if we’d want to be interviewed for their weekly Podcast!  Of course we would!  Team Sipper is always down for talking about what we love to do, and Kerry and David are cool guys and a TON of fun to hang out with!  I’ve listened to their Podcast for the last 5 or 6 months now and it’s full of great interviews with some amazing photographers.  Go check it out, and let us know what ya think over at CameraDojo.com

Another thing that you may have noticed, if you’ve checked out our website in the past couple days, is that we put up an exciting new Splash Page! Ya see, we love our logo, but thought that the opening page was… well.. a bit bland, so we enlisted the services of Tanya Ahedo over at Design Action Studios to kick it up a bit!  We LOVE it!   I love new stuff on our site!

Well, that’s all I have right now.  We are heading out to the Art Walk in downtown Santa Ana tonite with our friend Scott.  We’ve never been there, but it looks like it could be pretty fun!


Just a Quick Saturday update!2009-05-02T17:45:21-07:00

Weekly Wednesday Blog-Get with the flow!

Hola Amigos!

What’s shakin’ out there?  Busy, as usual here.  As you saw from the last post, we headed out to Arizona to see Dana’s family last weekend.  The weather was surprisngly nice out there.  Not hot at all.  In fact, I think I wore pants the whole time we were there.  And believe me, that NEVER happens when we are in Arizona!  But it is April, and the weather hasn’t really heated up there yet.  We had a fun time, and met some cool people!

So, with this week’s blog, I’m going to deviate slightly from the regular “Jeff rants about whatever for a few paragraphs” as Dana likes to put it, and talk about our work, and our workflow.

Inevitably, whenever you get a bunch of photographers in the room, questions arise.  Usually they end up in arguments, err discussions, about Canon Vs. Nikon, and Mac Vs. PC. (We all know that Nikon and PC are the way to go, right?! 🙂 ) After these arguments end in a stalemate, or people fighting in the streets, the next question that pops up is about “workflow”.  Now, since Dana and I both learned on film back in the dark ages (the early-mid 90’s) the term workflow really had no meaning to us.  Not really anyways.  I mean, you shot the film, dropped it off at the lab, go have a sandwich, and when your’re done eating, wham, prints are done.  Throw them in an album, and out the door they go.  No color correction. No effects. Nada.  You had to get it right in camera.  No Photoshop to fix your mistakes!

So, when it came time for us to switch to digital, we had to come up with a workflow.  Getting the images from your camera, to your computer, to the lab/web, etc.  At first, there was a lot of trial and error.  There was no simple solution to edit, adjust, tweak everything.  We used Photoshop, and Bridge, and it worked.  Just not that great.  Fast forward a couple years, and Adobe busts out Lightroom.  Sweet Jesus!  Lightroom is probably the best piece of software I’ve owned.  The ability to import pics, keyword them, adjust them 10000 times, and still revert back to the original without damaging the file is amazing.  I can batch thru 1000 pics, adjust color, exposure, change to Black and White, whatever in about 1/4 of the time it took me with Bridge and Photoshop.  It’s just that good.

So here is our basic Workflow with Lightroom/Photoshop:
1. Import pics into LR, using a basic preset for the Nikon D300.  I found a preset online that I tweaked a bit to make our stuff look great right out of the box.
2. Dana then does the rough edit, getting rid of bad pics, out of focus, bad exposure, blinks, etc.
3. I go thru everything, and adjust White Balance, Exposure, Color, Sharpening to give it our basic Look.
4. At this point, they are ready to go to a lab.  I export them as .jpg’s, and send them away!
5. Then I back up stuff (or should… I’m fairly lazy with this, and need to get better) onto two seperate portable hard drives, plus the HD in the computer.

All this is done without EVER going into Photoshop.  I would have to say anymore that I’m about 90% Lightroom, and 10% Photoshop.  As good as Lightroom is, there are still a few things that just can’t be done there, and I have to make the roundtrip to PS.  In talking with other photographers, this seems to be about the norm for most of them.  Except for those that do major work, and really heavy editing to their pictures.

The fun part comes after all that is done.  The time when we take our favorite pics and have fun with them.  Over the course of the past year, I think we have really dialed our style in. I use the same basic presets in LR, and Photoshop to give us a consistent look.  Occasionally, I get a little funky, and play with some new presets or actions that look cool, but don’t necessarily fit our style.  Usually these are on our more personal work.  Sometimes, if something works well there, we may incorporate it into more of our regular work.  Here are a few examples of some of the latest stuff I’ve been playing with:

Earlier this week, I got a message from my friend, Kerry over at CameraDojo.com.  He puts together a really good set of Lightroom Presets that sells at a really great price over at his site.  He was putting the final touches on a series of Black and White Presets and wanted me to check them out.  I gotta say, I played with them a bit last night, and really dig them.  They are some good, solid Black and White settings in there.  This one was made using the Greyscale Max White setting with a Med. Vignette.  The great thing about these presets is that you can apply them, and tweak them to suit your tastes.  For the ones I post here, these are straight up, no tweaking.  I really wanted to see how they looked right out of the box!   If you don’t know Camera Dojo, you need to go check them out.  Not only do they have a weekly podcast with some of the big names in photography, the website itself is filled with TONS of useful info.  I’m coming into almost 20 years of photography, and I can always find something on their site that I didn’t know!

This was us screwing around up in Santa Ynez from a few weeks ago.  We found a really great field across from the Firestone Brewing Company Restaurant and used some of the late afternoon sunlight to get some pics of ourselves.

This was done with the CameraDojo Infrared preset with a medium Vignette.  I’ve never had any luck the 3 or 4 times I had to shoot Infrared film in school, so this works just as well for me!

This was the new Wedding Lawn at Firestone Winery.

For years, I’ve had a Holga 120 plastic, piece of crap camera.  It’s covered in tape, and leaks light like a sieve.  Because of this, it produces really funky, semi-out of focus pictures with odd flares and such. The problem with the Holga anymore, is that it shoots film. I still love film, but the costs are hard to justify anymore. Brandon Oelling over at X-equals.com seems to have had the same thoughts and came up with this really cool setting.  He’s also a bit of a LR expert and has tons of tutorials, tips, and tricks on his site.  Definitely check his stuff out!  The border was added in Photoshop to give it that fake film look! 🙂

This one here is more of what you normally see in our blog, and on our site.  It is a PS action that I came up with that basically desaturates the picture overall, and adds a little bit of warmth to it.  It seems to work especially well in that late afternoon/sundown flarey light time.  I just like it, because it’s actually a decent picture of me.  Of course, Dana shot it, and she’s fairly handy with the camera, ya know!

So, there ya go.  Hope you got a little insight and how we do what we do, and if you have any questions about anything, please email us, or drop a comment at the bottom here, and we’ll get right back to ya!  And be sure to check out both Camera Dojo and X=Equals websites!

See ya next week!


Weekly Wednesday Blog-Get with the flow!2009-04-15T18:04:34-07:00
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