It’s sealed: Or rather sea-lioned …


Motel 8.

Sea lions bark! They have whiskers and cute little ears! They’re playful! Need I say more? Oh, well the photography bit …

This was my first time out with my new telephoto lens (Canon EF 70-200 mm f/2.8L). I saved money by scrimping on the Image Stabilization feature. (It was still an expensive lens!) Thought I was being crafty, as I’d read enough reviews saying it wasn’t quite necessary.

Upward facing dog.

But then I bet those folks weren’t bobbing on a boat, trying to photograph fidgety sea lions, who are themselves on a bouncing buoy. As you can imagine, this makes for a lot of blur. Oh well, at least a few of my shots turned out OK!

Wish I was sitting over there ...

By the Bay: Sailboats and the sunset


A sailboat races past the Golden Gate Bridge.

I’ve been sailing on the San Francisco Bay quite a bit this year. It’s amazing how quiet it can be when you switch the motor off — just the sound of the wind whipping the sails above and the water slapping the boat beneath. It seems nearly impossible that you are floating just off the shore of a major metropolitan area.

The views of the city and landmarks, such as the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz Island, are phenomenal, and it’s hard to tire of whiskered sea lions barking from their favorite buoys.

Still, sometimes the prettiest sights are the ones that greet you on your return. The Berkeley Marina tends to be a surprise stunner at sunset!

Sailboats in the sunset.

The view toward to Bay from the shore of the Berkeley Marina in Berkeley, Calif.

Off the Press: A profile of Chef Corey Lee


Corey Lee standing in Benu's sunny kitchen.

I interviewed and photographed Corey Lee at his restaurant Benu for the November 2011 issue of KoreAm magazine. What a treat. Set in an alleyway in San Francisco’s SoMa neighborhood, the restaurant, which opened in 2010, has already garnered two Michelin stars.

Here’s a look at some of the pictures that didn’t make it into the magazine. To read the full article, click here.

Lee designed the tableware for his restaurant with a renown Korean porcelain maker.

A cup bearing Lee's moniker.

Homemade tofu in kimchee broth with chrysanthemum leaves.

A modern, minimalist sign serves as portent to the dining room's style.

Sea cucumbers bubble in a sous vide machine. Lee co-wrote a book on the cooking method with his former boss, Thomas Keller of French Laundry.

One of the kitchen staff weighs each pair of dumpling skins.

Well wishes decorate a plain white column in the kitchen. This one is from the famed Alice Waters of Chez Panisse in nearby Berkeley, Calif.

Around Town: Heron’s Head Park


Heron’s Head Park sits near the southeastern edge of San Francisco. You can see downtown’s skyscrapers in the distance, but they truly feel worlds away. The 24-acre-park is home to salt marshes and a small ecological center with a living roof and sustainable water system. It used to be Pier 89, and remnants of its former life scatter the park grounds. But despite the hulking cranes, stacked box cars and strips of industrial landscape that sandwich it on either side, the Heron’s Head has the fresh smell of California’s coastland. Gulls and ducks and, of course, herons linger in the water. The winding sandy paths feel desolate and beautiful all at once.

Around Town: Noe at night


I spent last night skulking around my sleepy neighborhood. Aside from the recycling scavengers, there were few folks on the street. Cars were even rare on busy Dolores. But the views were still perfect on what was a cloudy but clear SF night.

A bar and a bustop at the corner of Church and 24th Street.

The top of Dolores and 25th streets, looking down, across the Mission District and eventually to the Bay.

Is this Miami? No, just the palm trees lining Dolores Street. Miami would never have all that fog!

Old Inspires New: Korean pottery at the Asian Art Museum


Two weeks ago, the Asian Art Museum introduced a new exhibit on Korean pottery. “Poetry in Clay: Korean Buncheong Ceramics from Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art” is on dislply through Jan. 8, 2012. And like many of my recent faves at the AAM, this exhibit does well in showing how the old has inspired the new.

"Jar with fish and lotuses," circa 1450-1500. It was inlaid, stamped and painted with iron.

In addition to actual pieces from the 15th and 16th centuries, “Poetry in Clay” incorporates modern works inspired by the ancient craft. There are ceramics made in the same tradition, with only more modern styling. And then there are works that bring the art to modernity in concept, as well as in medium, via photography and even soap!

These mock celadon, whiteware and blue and white ware vases are actually made of soap. The detail, as well as the context -- wooden shipping crates -- play with the viewers idea of value and material and art. From the "Translated Vases" series (2009) by Meekyoung Shin.

I love Korean pottery for its embrace of imperfection, though that hails from another era entirely. Still, the modern interpretations of buncheong brought the art to life. I loved the juxtaposition, both playful and sincere, and hope the AAM brings us more of the same!

Comprised of broken celadon pottery, these pieces are from the "Translated Vases" series (2007) by Yeesookyung, who reconstructs worthless shards into new works of art.

The asymmetrical “Jar” (2008) by Lee HunChung was my favorite of all the pieces. How good it would look on my mantle!

"Mountain, Wind, Moon Jar" (2008) by New York-based artist Ik-Joong Kang incorporates images of Korean vases with mountainscapes. Moon jars, which are actually comprised of upper and lower parts fused, symbolize connection between the self and other, the north and south, to the artist.

Around Town: Martin Luther King Memorial


I am not one for too much time spent in post production. But then digital darkroom technology is awfully cool. Stitched together my very first panorama tonight. It’s of the The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial at Yerba Buena Gardens in SoMa.

A quote on the sculpture reads: "I believe that a day will come when all God's children from bass black to treble white will be significant on the constitution's keyboard." -Martin Luther King, Jr., San Francisco, CA, 1956.