Monarch Butterflies – Santa Cruz, CA

Every year during winter time, the Monarch butterflies migrate from Northern areas and congregate around the exact same branches of Eucalyptus trees near Natural Bridges Beach in Santa Cruz, CA.

The Monarches are one of the longest-lived butterfly species, with some living up to 12 months.

The fact that they live for about a year means that the butterflies that come back next year won’t be the same individuals. They will be their descendants, but will still gather around the same branches, on the same trees, on the same beach in Santa Cruz.

Mirror Image: Hetchy-Hetchy Lake

Hetchy-Hetchy is Yosemite’s sister valley. It was flooded early in the 20th century and today provides electricity and water to San Francisco and areas of SoCal. We hiked along the lake shore for about 6 hours yesterday and visited some of its waterfalls. In the morning, the surface of the water was perfectly still, creating these amazing mirror images.

The World Has Changed – Evolve Video

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When we set to produce a video to help introduce Coffee Bean Technology to the market, our initial idea was to create a 3-minute film talking about Technology and its effects in society.

But as we started working with Luciana Eguti and Paulo Muppet from Birdo (an internationally recognized and award-winning video studio in Brazil), we shifted towards producing a shorter, animated film using a more universal language.

In Luciana and Paulo’s words: “For the art style, we wanted a cartoon style, taking us back to the classics of the New Yorker magazine and the animation movies of the 50’s.”

The result is Evolve.

The voice-over is by Megan, daughter of my colleague Graham.

Call your children and show it to them. Send links to your friends.

Visit the Coffee Bean Technology YouTube channel.

Light Effects – Photography in New York City

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A few years ago, I was at Times Square in New York City in a cold winter night and took a few experimental photos of anonymous crowd silhouettes against the city lights. I liked the unexpected result.

Then, just last month, I was back in New York for a Social Media conference and returned to Times Square to take new photos. The technique I used was to shoot from a low-perspective with a compact camera and using the resulting blur to produce a dream or painting-like result. I do not use flash and do not look through the viewfinder (I am roughly pointing the camera to people from waist-level as I walk past them), so the shots are quasi-random.

After these photos, I had dinner at Tout Va Bien on 51st St (Margaret’s recommendation). Service is wonderfully bad as it should be if you don’t speak French. But if you persist, you end up loving the place. If you ever go there, order the Coq au Vin and tell the owner you know Marcio from California and that I told you he would give you an extra carafe of house wine. You are guaranteed to get two free carafes.

These first two shots are similar to the original ones I took several years ago. This is the effect that inspired me to explore the technique.

The next two are my favorites of this batch. Both are blurred female bodies against the night lights and produced the painting-like effect I was looking for, making them almost abstract.

The last two in this series are more literal. I like the hand-in-pocket pattern in the photo on the left.