Sights from the 1st Annual L.A. Street Food Festival

Hungry people eating and waiting for food. © 2010 Michael Kang

Food trucks, mobile kitchens or roach coaches, whatever you call them, they have become quite a phenomenon.  Long lines often form at the most popular trucks late into the night outside of bars and clubs.

One day some enterprising folks must have wondered,  “what if we brought all these food vendors together in one place at one time?”

Well, the result was the L.A. Street Food Festival.

While the event was certainly a major success for the organizers, it was a mixed bag for the attendees.  There were long lines everywhere. The line to enter the event stretched well around the block and once you got in you waited even longer (most times were over an hour) for your food.


DIY Orbis™ bracket project

DIY Orbis™ bracket - the parts

Canon 580EX II, bracket version 1, orbis™ ringflash adapter. © 2008 Michael Kang

If you’re not familiar with the orbis ringflash adapter, take a look at this video. Basically the orbis slips over the head of your flash. It takes the light coming up and into the ringflash redirects it around the ring and shoots it out the front toward your subject. The most common way to use the adapter is point the light to your subject and hold your camera so that you are shooting through the center of the “doughnut.”

When the orbis ringflash adapter was released a big complaint was that you had to hold the flash/ringflash combination with one hand while holding your camera in the other.  This meant was you didn’t have a free hand to zoom or focus.

What was needed was a bracket to hold the flash, ringflash adapter and your camera so that you will again have a free hand to operate the various controls of your camera.  Orbis has since released their own version of a bracket called the orbis™ arm.  It looks very well engineered and the reviews say it does exactly what it is intended to do.  Unfortunately, when I purchased my orbis, when it was first released sometime in late 2008, I had no other option than to try and build my own bracket. (more…)

How-to set up Facebook chat with any instant messenger

Ok, so this post isn’t photo related, but if you use Facebook for your photo business, this may be of interest to you.

You can now chat with any of your Facebook friends using any instant messenger that supports the Jabber/XMPP protocol such as AOL-AIM, iChat and my personal choice Pidgin.

Getting started is easy.  In most clients, add a new XMPP account, if you choose a Facebook username that’s the name you’ll use to log in and use your Facebook password.  The chat server is  And, if you’re asked to input a port it is 5222.

You can read more about it on the Facebook blog and get examples for setting up with your IM client.

Take a Photo Everyday

I got an iPhone this Christmas so I figured I would try a photo-a-day project for this year.   You can view it on my facebook page.  Most of the photos are taken with my phone. Some of the photo apps that I use are Best Camera, TiltShiftGen, CameraBag, and PS Mobile.

Day 6 © 2010 Michael Kang

El Coyote

Day 34 © 2010 Michael Kang

The main purpose of the project is to shoot more (um, every day, duh). A few of the photos were pre-set up, but the majority of them are just a random collection of things I happen to capture.

I’ve tried the self-portrait 365 before and failed miserably.  But I think I can do it this time.

The most challenging part by far, and why I think everyone should try some kind of 365 project, is finding interesting photos in your mundane, day-to-day life.  It’s easy to take photos when you’ve set something up or are at an interesting event, but taking interesting photos when there’s nothing special going on is hard.

The thing to remind yourself, especially when you’re feeling uninspired, is that not ever photo you take is going to be a winner. Of course, you strive every day to take a better photo than you did the day before, but sometimes I think the photos are actually secondary to the process of taking the photo.

So get out there and take a photo a day.  If you’re doing one, send me an email or leave a comment with a link so I can check out how you’re doing.

Mosaic’d Panoramas

On February 21, I attended a huge event sponsored by the Los Angeles Group admins on flickr.  Typically these “flickr-walks” bring out about 10-20 folks.  This one had to have had over 100.  The official thread for the event is archived here.

Mosaic of 34 Images. © 2009 Michael Kang

Mosaic of 34 Images. © 2009 Michael Kang

For this day I decided to try a technique where you tile list of individual images to give you one large image.  This is really handy if you don’t have a wide angle lens and you can’t back up far enough to get the shot that you want.  In these examples, I went out with my 50mm f/1.4 which on my Canon 40D gives me something around an equivalent focal length of 80mm on a full frame camera.

Follow the jump for an explanation about how I put these images together.


Party at Typhoon Restaurant

February 18, 2009

Who would have guessed that one of the best restaurants (IMHO) in Los Angeles would be nestled in the terminal at Santa Monica airport?  Typhoon serves an amazing panoply of Asian cuisine.  If you’re ever in the neighborhood, I would definitely recommend giving it a try.

My favorite dishes: the Filipino style barbecue pork, fried tofu and the garlic fried rice.  YUM!

We tend to celebrate a lot of special occasions at Typhoon.  On that day it was my wife’s mother’s birthday.

birthday tryptych-small

© 2009 Michael Kang

What the hell is going on here?

The observant among you may have noticed the 6 month gap between this post and my last one.  What’s going on is I’ve decided to clean up my blog and remove anything that wasn’t related to my photography.

I am going back through all the photos I’ve taken this year (2009) and post them here with a little bit of writing to accompany the photos.  I had originally thought I would back date the posts to when the photos were actually taken, but after speaking to my good friend Bryan, he made me realize that if I did that, I would always be behind in my blog and I would probably never get ahead until the end of the year.  Thanks for that, Bryan.

The Scarlet Paradigm at the Whiskey a Go Go

The Scarlet Paradigm - Whiskey a Go Go - February 11, 2009. © 2009 Michael Kang

The Scarlet Paradigm - Whiskey a Go Go - February 11, 2009. © 2009 Michael Kang

Last night I got to see The Scarlet Paradigm play at the world famous Whiskey a Go Go.

More photos from the show after the jump.


Road Trip to the Tuscon Bead Show

Cabazon T-Rex Dinosaur © 2009 Michael Kang

Cabazon T-Rex Dinosaur © 2009 Michael Kang

I believe the Tuscon Bead show is one of the largest (if not the largest) bead, gem and jewelry show in the U.S.  there are vendors from all over the world who exhibit and sell their wares there.

If you didn’t know, my wife owns a bead and jewelry business so we get to go to Tuscon every year to see what’s new and restock the store.

On the way there we stopped in Cabazon to see the dinosaurs, do a little shopping and spent the night at Morongo Casino.

The dinosaurs are a little piece of Americana off I-10 that everyone should check out at least once.