Behind the scenes of “I Am Iran”

•November 25, 2007 • Leave a Comment

Documenting the creation of the “I Am Iran” film project…

Schauleh - Family Market, San Mateo

Shahram - Family Market, San Mateo

Behnam - Family Market, San Mateo

Schauleh, Giselle - Rose Market, Mountain View

Schauleh - Rose Market, Mountain View

Family Market, San Mateo

Family Market, San Mateo

Family Market, San Mateo

Thanksgiving photos

•November 23, 2007 • Leave a Comment

Brenda, Johannes

Wong family - Hugh, Winnie, Brenda, Amy

Johannes with pie

full set on Flickr

Jeff Zittrain and the Z-Trane Electric Band

•November 11, 2007 • Leave a Comment

Jeff Zittrain and the Z-Trane Electric Band at the Beale St. Bar in San Francisco
Jeff Zittrain and the Z-Trane Electric Band

Jeff Zittrain and the Z-Trane Electric Band

Jeff Zittrain and the Z-Trane Electric Band

Marin County Civic Center

•November 11, 2007 • Leave a Comment

Shots of the Marin County Civic Center
Marin County Civic Center

Marin County Civic Center

Marin County Civic Center

Marin County Civic Center

Gattaca, alternate version
Gattaca in Marin

Gattaca outtake
Gattaca in Marin

Gattaca in Marin

•November 5, 2007 • 2 Comments

My neighborhood near San Rafael, CA is home to the gorgeous Marin County Civic Center, where the office scenes in Gattaca were shot.

This weekend Tantek and I recreated the scene at 00:07:52 of the film in the exact spot where it was originally shot.

Notes about the photo: shot with a Canon 20D mounted on a tripod with a 30mm Sigma lens, at f/4.5, 1/125 seconds, ISO 400. In post-processing I brought the exposure up one stop and tweaked the white balance as well as other Photoshop futzing. We figured that the Gattaca team was using a longer lens — size of Ethan/Uma : doorway and water fountain ≠ size of Tantek/me : doorway and water fountain, and a longer lens (shooting from further away) would fix this difference in relative sizing. We were using only the natural light coming from the skylight two floors above. It looks the film version was lit mostly from the right with much less overhead light — perhaps they shot this at night with only artificial light?

I didn’t have a good Uma suit, having happily divested myself of most of my formal business-wear when I moved to California. Thus I wore a top that seemed Gattaca-esque in the spirit rather than the letter of the film’s style.

Tantek writes:

Trying to imitate an actor’s pose, gaze etc. really gives you a new level of respect for the precision of what actors do, and how much fine control they have over things like shoulder positioning, head positioning/tilt, eyes/gaze, even facial muscles. Nonetheless it was fun, and exciting to see how eerie it felt when we got closer on each such detail with each successive attempt.

We want to try this again, preferably on a day when more of the Civic Center is open. Now I just need to find the perfect Uma-as-a-scientist suit.

Dispatches from “Voices that Matter”

•October 24, 2007 • Leave a Comment

Broadcasting from the Pearson “Voices that Matter” conference.

Steve Krug
Steve Krug, Voices that Matter

Jakob Nielsen and Nancy Ruenzel
Jakob Nielsen and Nancy Ruenzel

the rabble
Chorus Line of the Voices that Matter
Left to right — Eric Meyer, Dan Saffer, Jeremy Keith, PPK, Stephanie Sullivan, Charles Wyke-Smith

macro photos of plastic pirates and gummy candy

•October 24, 2007 • Leave a Comment

macro pirates

macro pirate


macro candy

San Francisco with the new telephoto lens

•October 11, 2007 • Leave a Comment

My new Canon 70-200mm f/4 IS lens arrived from just in time for the air show in San Francisco last weekend. I managed to snag a few decent shots of the Blue Angels as well as the tourist happenings around Fishermen’s Wharf.




kid on trampoline


destroyer ship

band at Fishermen's Wharf


more telephoto fun

Video — Vaux’s Swifts swarming into a chimney

•October 1, 2007 • Leave a Comment

I shot this with my Sony Cybershot DSC-N2, and used iMovie and the default iMovie “spooky” music.

Vaux’s swifts are tiny birds that are known for flocking en masse to chimneys and other enclosed spaces. This flock stops by a boarding school in Healdsburg, CA every September and forms a crazy bird vortex as the thousands of birds funnel into one chimney.

The big blob in the first part of the video is some sort of hawk. The little dots are all the Swifts. The second part, where the birds look bigger and inside of a black circle, was shot by sticking the camera into the back of a set of binoculars.

I have so much more respect for filmmakers now! It took some real time to edit what turned out to be about 20 seconds of pretty crappy video.

More from Malta

•September 30, 2007 • Leave a Comment

Photos of Valletta, taken from the terrace of a friend’s house in Senglea. It only looks peaceful. This was playing in the background. (MTV did indeed take over the country for the night.)

Valletta, Malta

Valletta, Malta

Valletta, Malta