Bertrand Hui: Blog en-us (C) Bertrand Hui [email protected] (Bertrand Hui) Thu, 08 Apr 2021 05:19:00 GMT Thu, 08 Apr 2021 05:19:00 GMT Bertrand Hui: Blog 120 120 Been awhile... It's been awhile since I've written my last blog post.  A lot's happened.  Sometimes, it felt like the world had gone completely insane. 


To recap:  

June 2019 -- my wife had sustained what appeared to be a minor concussion while mountain biking near our home.  It has since been deemed a traumatic brain injury (TBI) by medical professionals.  She's practically back to 100% now, but from June 2019 through roughly May 2020 or so, she was recovering.  In that time, she quit her day job and started a business in what she probably should have been doing all along; being an artist and making pots.  You can check out some of her work at her new website:  


Me, I've tapered off on people photography for a bit and have been focusing on product photography.  My day job had gotten hectic enough where I just could not muster the proper mental energy to shoot in the same way.  That was disappointing to me.  I want to get back into photographing families and doing portraits again, but they're just not in the cards at the moment.  

[email protected] (Bertrand Hui) columbia river gorge concussion product photography traumatic brain injury Thu, 08 Apr 2021 05:18:28 GMT
Crispin + Chase | Hood River Engagement Session Last weekend, I had the honor and pleasure of photographing my friends Crispin and Chase's engagement photos.  The Pacific Northwest isn't exactly known for its fabulous fall colors, but on a chilly Sunday afternoon along the Historic Columbia River Highway, the weather cooperated and the colors were definitely there.  Crispin wanted to make sure that Tsula, their very active chocolate lab, made it into their session as well as she played a very big part in their relationship through the years.  Thank you, Crispin and Chase for a wonderful afternoon!  Here's several photos from the e-session.



[email protected] (Bertrand Hui) Columbia River Gorge Historic Highway Hood River engagement session Mon, 26 Oct 2015 18:42:51 GMT
HDR and Its Poor Reputation to the bottom in the Zenfolio HTML editor -->

Been a little while since I've made a blog post!  I wanted to discuss something near and dear to my heart as related to digital photography: HDR.  People either love it or hate it.  I assert that those who hate it (and I include myself in this camp) do so because the photos that come out can't be called realistic.  There's a certain art-like quality to HDR photos that for better or for worse, is very easily achievable.  My personal take on HDR?  If it's done poorly, it looks horrible.  However, there's certainly a case for utilizing HDR technology such that you turn the limitations of your camera sensor given scene that does indeed have very high dynamic range its due.  I was previously in the HDR camp that was very much against it.  time and again, photos were published to sites like Flickr and other gallery sites where images would have the halo effect, the tinged blue that reminded me of a Van Gogh painting... the overemphasized colors in a landscape scene... at the time, my impression of HDR was less than stellar.  

As people learned more about HDR, again, myself included, I found that I started to use HDR in my day-to-day nature photography and landscape workflow.  In situations where you meter for the scene at hand, and where the sensor just can't meter everything properly, HDR is a great tool to achieve that proper metering.  I've included a sample of what I've done with HDR below.  The Before shot is 1-exposure out of camera.  You'll notice that out of camera, the shot looks OK, composition aside.  The shadows are sort of there, but they could be darker.  The highlights are also sort of there, but also could be improved.  The HDR version shows very contrasty highlights and darks.  I've also added a slight gradient filter to the sky to improve the darkness, but as far as editing goes, that was the only difference between the Before non-HDR photo and the After HDR photo.  

Questions? Send me mail!

Til next time.

[email protected] (Bertrand Hui) HDR columbia river gorge landscape photography technology Tue, 14 Jul 2015 06:54:58 GMT
Valentine's Day 2015 and Cannon Beach Besides the big two (Thanksgiving and Christmas), I'm not really into commercialized holidays, and so I really don't take much stock in celebrating Valentine's Day normally.  That was before I got married however.  To explain: as it turns out, and unbeknownst to me at the time, I first spoke to my now wife on the phone for the first time on Valentine's Day 9 years ago.  From her perspective, she thought I was extremely brave to do that -- again, I just lost track of the date.  Long story short, since that day, Valentine's Day has been the celebration of the first time I made contact with my wife.  We like Cannon Beach, OR as an outdoor destination.  We love the pizza from Pizza a fetta.  If you ever end up at Cannon Beach, do yourself a favor and try their smoked chicken pizza.  Smoked chicken, fresh tomatoes and other assorted herbs.  Absolutely delicious.  


Haystack Rock, Cannon BeachValentine's Day 2015Left: Haystack Rock -- Top Right: Me, Daphnie, Nico -- Bottom Right: Sarah with Nico

[email protected] (Bertrand Hui) Cannon Beach, Oregon Valentine's Day family Tue, 17 Feb 2015 22:17:09 GMT
Meghan + Bobby I'm a sucker for clever wedding dates.  December 13, 2014, aka 12/13/14 marked a day where two people who were very clearly meant to be together were married at the beautiful Skamania Lodge in Stevenson, WA.  Meghan and Bobby expressed their love for one another that afternoon.  Amidst the romantic vows and the "I promise to trys", mentions of zombie apocalypses and worst-case scenarios of what they would do for one another in the inevitable event that they turn into zombies themselves, a lot of fun was had and a lot of happy tears were shed.  

To Meghan and Bobby - I wish you two the best ~ happy new year and may you have many happy memories together!  Here's a sneak peek from the wedding day.

Meghan + BobbyFirst kiss as a married couple



[email protected] (Bertrand Hui) Skamania Lodge celebration love wedding zombies Tue, 30 Dec 2014 06:17:34 GMT
Before and After II: Cropping I wanted to write briefly about emotional connections today.  I love photography because it is one of several art forms I feel that is able to convey a strong sense of emotion through visual storytelling.  I'm always striving to be the best visual storyteller I can be... but what does that actually mean practically-speaking?  To me, the difference between a visual storyteller and one who just takes snapshots is intent, how well that story is developed and how well that story is conveyed.   

In photography, sure, you can take a series of photos and it'll tell a story, but often, you only have one frame to tell a compelling story.  The "better" the photo is, the stronger the story is.  In my mind, the stronger the story is, the more compelling the photograph and it makes you wonder a little longer, look around a little longer, and start to notice details you wouldn't otherwise notice.

Cropping is one of those tools that I believe help tell a more compelling story.  In my mind, stronger stories are told through photos when you're able to eliminate all the unnecessary details from a given photo and just leave the essence of the story you're trying to tell.  Cropping definitely helps with that goal.  I've provided an example below from my own body of work to show what I mean.

Below, we have the original image as I shot it out of camera.  It's been fine-tuned for color correction and exposure because out of camera, I felt it needed to be warmer and a little brighter.  Overall, it's not a bad image in my opinion.  However, there's really a lot going on.  It's pretty clear that the two boys in the image are the subject of the photo but because there's so much more going on in the photo (namely, the additional family in the background, the patches upon patches of pumpkins), the impact of the boys' embrace is lost in the photo.


Pre-cropPhoto is too busy here


In Photo #2, the only thing I modified was how the photo was cropped.  I changed absolutely nothing else.  In Photo #2, it's now very apparent that the main subject I wanted to capture was the boys hugging which for me, evoked the emotion that they're enjoying each others' company at a pumpkin patch.  Cropping helps to remove the non-essential elements out of the frame.  I was luke-warm to Photo #1 until I cropped it to make photo #2.  


Post-cropPhoto isolates subjects

[email protected] (Bertrand Hui) columbia river gorge cropping photography tools Fri, 28 Nov 2014 22:22:30 GMT
Before and After I I was playing around with JQuery and found a neat way to show before and after photos. When I say before and after, I mean what the photo looks like as it comes out of camera (shooting RAW format) versus what the photo looks like after I've done a little retouching to it. I retouch for multiple reasons, but I've listed my top two below.


  1. It's not how the scene actually looked. Often, we might see some picturesque landscape and decide that we want to take a photo of it.  How many times have you come home from either vacation or some event, reviewed your photos, and thought that the photos you took didn't look at all like what you experienced? I know I have.  A lot.  Sometimes, it's because of the limitation of the film or the digital camera's sensor that you're using that prevents you from capturing the actual scene as your naked eye saw it.  A common example? Try taking a picture of a sunset with a dSLR camera and an iPhone.  I'm not knocking phone cameras at all, but there's definitely a difference.  Post processing allows a little leeway in correcting mistakes made during the photo's capture.  I didn't say a lot of leeway, but some.  Despite the ease and low-cost of shooting digital these days, I still allow myself time to slow down, compose the shot I want, and check settings before I press the shutter button.  If that fails, post-processing makes what started out as a good image better.  I strongly believe it cannot and should not make a subpar image good.

  2. It's not the final vision of the image that I had in mind.  #2 is actually a more important point for me as to why I do post processing.  As a photographer, I often find that before I press the shutter button, I ask myself why I'm taking the photo in the first place.  What about the scene compels me to even lift the camera to my face? What visual story am I trying to tell by taking this photo?  In the scene below, I wanted the pillars to have their own story and I wanted the stars/sky to have their own story.  Out of camera, I felt that the pillars were a little too close in color to the sky.  I also felt that the sky was not dark enough to showcase the stars.  So I tweaked the photo a bit to better fit my vision in the after version.  

Questions or comments? Feel free to leave them below!

[email protected] (Bertrand Hui) Stonehenge post-processing vision Sun, 16 Nov 2014 01:00:20 GMT
Senior Portraits | Gabrielle My friend Vanessa had asked me to create last-minute photos of her daughter Gabrielle for senior yearbook photos.  We strolled around different parts of Portland during the whole thing.  For some parts of it, rain was pouring down, but we still managed to have a good shoot and a good time.  Here are several photos from that shoot!

GabriellePortland Japanese Gardens GabriellePortland Japanese Gardens GabriellePortland Japanese Gardens

[email protected] (Bertrand Hui) Japanese Gardens Portland roses seniors Wed, 29 Oct 2014 04:54:57 GMT
Bay Area Trip My wife and I spent the past 4-5 days in California for my brother's wedding.  Beautiful wedding, and another post will show some of the fun we had, but this one's more about the Bay Area in general.  Having grown up there, I feel like I take it for granted that so many people from around the world actually come to the Bay Area to visit and be tourists.  I never did any of those traditionally touristy things like going to Alcatraz, or walking across the Golden Gate Bridge, or taking a cable car through San Francisco Chinatown.  Now that I don't live in the Bay Area anymore, I thought I'd do the tourist thing.  Only, tourist trips to my wife and I are a lot different these days because I've changed a lot over time and have developed new interests.  I love the outdoors now - I was definitely a city kid before I moved to the Pacific Northwest in 2005.

Despite that, some things don't change.  I still love photographing city skyline at night.  Replace the quiet of the woods with the quiet of being atop an urban environment and watching it from afar.  Both are quiet and extremely peaceful.  

Bay Area SkylineBay Area SkylineView from Berkeley Hills

[email protected] (Bertrand Hui) Bay Area Berkeley Night Photography Thu, 25 Sep 2014 04:03:46 GMT
Been Awhile It's been awhile since I've posted a new blog post.  I have quite a few in my back pocket that I had started, but for one reason or another, I had never finished them.  Maintaining a blog that has no real purpose other than having others read about my daily life is really difficult -- I'd like to think I have this rock star life where everything's exciting, but the fact of the matter is that for the most part, my life is pretty mundane and frankly, I like it that way.  That's not to say extraordinary things don't happen to me every day, but I find the smallest of things extraordinary.  I try not to take anything for granted and try to appreciate everything.  Trying to keep posts shorter so that maybe, just maybe, I'd post a bit more.  

That said...

My wife and I are off on a week-long cruise to Alaska.  Not too far of a jaunt for us as we're driving to Seattle in the morning and boarding there.  I'll come back with photos to share!

Take care.

[email protected] (Bertrand Hui) Fri, 22 Aug 2014 06:08:15 GMT
The Power of Online Backups "I'm in the business of creating photos and telling visual stories, so I don't care about backups."

If you've ever heard this or something like this from a photographer you've hired, I'd consider going with someone else.  That individual may create the best-looking photos in the world, but with an attitude like that, I'd be hesitant to hire that person in the event that something fails.  Let's not kid ourselves - photographers aren't necessarily specialists in technology; I create photos because I enjoy making them.  I tell stories because I enjoy telling them.  Whether it's for me or for others who decide to hire me, why should I care about making backups?  

Because things go wrong.

A little while ago, a large fire broke out in my neck of the woods - about 10 miles from where I lived.  It was consuming quite a bit of forest land and took a little over 400 firefighters over the course of about a week to contain and subdue this fire.  Thankfully, given the amount of destruction done to the surrounding forest, and due to the hard work of the firefighters working around the clock, no homes were lost in the process.  I think about what would happen if I lost my home in a fire.  What kinds of things/physical objects would I have the hardest time replacing?  You hear it time and time again from people who have lost their homes in natural disasters: physical items that represent memories and events that have occurred in the past.   

You would hear, "I wish I could get the family photos back" or "I wish I could have saved (pet's name's) ashes" (I'm serious, one of the first things I would grab would be the urn containing my cat's ashes, but maybe that's just me).  The similarity here is for the most part, people would save the objects that have the most sentimental value to them, and mementos of family members and other loved ones are definitely that.  

In this day and age where items of sentimental value can be captured by a phone no larger than the size of your back pocket, what happens if that phone dies?  What happens if the computer you've backed up the data from your phone to, also dies?  What's the chance of that happening?  I'd say it's not a matter of if it happens or not, but when it happens.  This isn't doom and gloom stuff here.  It's a very real possibility.  

I was a computer tinkerer well before I had discovered photography as a hobby and subsequently a passion.  I was on the bleeding edge - I was the very first person I knew who owned a digital still camera.  It wasn't anything special compared to the digital cameras of today - in fact you could almost think of it as the throwaway camera of the digital era.  Despite what it could or couldn't do, I was able to make memories with it.  since then, Iv'e upgraded cameras several times, and each time, I've successfully captured memories in my life I'd like to look back on and remember.  Then one day, in a tinkering session, I accidentally wiped the data from the hard drive that contained all those photos.  I didn't have a backup of them, and lost them all.  I was devastated.  Half a decade of my life in photos, gone.  I couldn't afford a hard drive recovery service at the time (which are still insanely expensive) but looking back now, I wished I had backed them up to an external hard drive, the cheapest backup option at the time.  

"It's not a matter of if it happens or not, but when it happens."

These days, backing up your most prized data like digital photos should be a no-brainer.  External hard drives are really inexpensive.  That should be the bare minimum to do for backups.  For myself and my clients, I take it one step further.  I do offsite, online backups, or cloud storage backups would be another term for it.  The benefits of cloud storage are plentiful, and there are some cons as well, but for me, the pros definitely outweigh the cons.  I've provided a list below.  Just something to think about for now.  In my next blog post, I'll cover the various cloud services I've used and give my opinion on which I feel is the best one.

Cloud Backups - Pros and Cons
Pros Cons
• peace of mind

• financial cost for services

• no/low management

• file restoration can be slow

• cost of several cups of coffee/mth.

• requires Internet connection

• backup all kinds of files



[email protected] (Bertrand Hui) hard drives mementos online backup peace of mind photographs storage Mon, 31 Mar 2014 00:15:02 GMT
Storehouse - The iOS App I loved the experience of it overall.  Fluid, simple, and very dynamic.  I just finished playing around with an iOS application (iPad only - sorry iPhone users!) called Storehouse.  It's a beautifully-rendered app that allows you to create a visual story using video, text and photos.  I admit, as a first pass, it was a little cumbersome for me but that's because a lot of my media (read: all of it) was obtained from a dSLR camera and then archived on my Windows desktop while I'm currently working off of a Mac laptop.  Having multiple machines introduces complexity to my workflow...  This would be a great app if I did everything from the iPad from video to still photos.  

Storehouse allows you to grab media (videos and still photos) from cloud services like Flickr, Instagram, and Dropbox and add them into a blog-like interface.  I was just giving a speech on strong visual storytelling to my Toastmasters club the day right before Storehouse came on the iOS scene - I'm taking it as a sign that I had to try the app out.  I'm very happy I did.  Once you add media to your Story, Storehouse allows you to crop photos and arrange their layout on your iPad's screen through the drag n' drop interface.  This photo too big?  That one not big enough?  Want them side-by-side?  Just drag, drop, adjust.  Really easy.

Now, all that said, I had a couple of gripes about Storehouse:
  • Adding text can be a little frustrating at times.  You can add text called "Headers" and you can add text called "Normal".  Obviously Normal text is meant to be used for the body.  When adding text, it's difficult to determine where the resulting text box will end up.  Sometimes, it will appear before the previous line of text and sometimes it will end up after the previous line of text.  After your new text is added, it's really easy to just move the entire block of text to where you want it (literally drag n' drop) but you have to get over the initial frustration/confusion of why the text you added isn't showing up where you'd expect it.

  • Adding video clips to your Story can be a bit annoying, especially if your video has audio (and what video generally doesn't).  While you're in edit mode, both video and audio continually play in an endless loops while the video is visible on screen.  Both pause/stop when the video is off your iPad screen.  I ended up adding the video at the very end when I was done with everything else to stop the looping.

Those two gripes aside, I would still highly recommend trying out Storehouse if you're a content creator and have access to an iPad.  Interested? Click the big logo in the middle!  I don't receive any financial gain by you clicking the link (I promise!).  Just trying to do a public service to the ever-growing community of visual storytellers!  Have a great day and keep sharing those stories!


If you're interested in reading the Story I put together, you can check it out here!


[email protected] (Bertrand Hui) Storehouse iOS iPad photographs stories visual storytelling Sun, 19 Jan 2014 20:57:37 GMT
Monterey Over Thanksgiving I've already failed in 2014 to post a blog a week, but I'm making up for it!  Here was supposed to be the last post of 2013!


Late and the very last blog post of 2013, but one I've been waiting to finish and publish!  In trying to write more regularly, I've decided to follow in the footsteps of some of my actively blogging friends and blog at least once a week in 2014.  We'll see if that happens!  2014's going to be filled with several goals, one of which is to further my experience in the arts through taking part in slam poetry.  To that end, if anyone is interested in going to watch slam competitions, let me know!  I love everything about spoken word and welcome others on the ride!

Thanksgiving often marks a weekend of travel for someone in somebody's family.  In my side of the family (versus my wife's) we frequently travel to the San Francisco Bay Area for one of the TMH (two major holidays).  If my wife and I travel for Thanksgiving, then that usually means we spend Xmas at home in the Pacific Northwest.  If we travel for Christmas, then it's all turkey, all the time at home.  Generally, I dislike traveling during either of these two holidays.  The airport's busy, the train station is expensive to travel overnight, and driving by car is not advisable during this time of year because of the strong likelihood of getting stuck in the snow while driving through southern Oregon/northern California.  We ended up flying on Thanksgiving day and returning home the Monday after Thanksgiving weekend. So much cheaper.  Here's a couple of photos from our brief jaunt down to Monterey the Friday after Thanksgiving.  Sea lions are pretty neato.

sea lions sunbathing outside Fisherman's Wharf in Monterey, CaliforniaSea lions sunbathingMonterey, California cutie pie sea lionSea Lion Trying to Board Fishing BoatI think I can, I think I can...    Had lunch at Fisherman's Wharf and then strolled along the beachfront area looking for sea lions to photograph.  Relived our bike ride from our last time here.Beachcombing Fisherman's WharfMonterey, California Found beached in Monterey, CaliforniaJellyfish at Low TideLive jellyfish found at low tide in tidepool area

Clusters of monarch butterflies nest in a eucalyptus grove every year between the months of October through February.Cluster of Monarch ButterfliesPacific Grove, California

[email protected] (Bertrand Hui) Monterey Pacific Ocean nature photography sea lions travel Mon, 13 Jan 2014 07:43:11 GMT
Black Friday and Thanksgiving: A Small Rant Ho ho ho! Merry.. wait, wrong holiday.  Welcome to almost-December, though I couldn't tell with all of the pre-Black Friday sale notices I've been receiving in my e-mail inbox, on the radio, in newspaper circulars, etc.  As my wife says, it's appalling that on a day where Americans are supposed to be celebrating gratitude and being thankful for what one hasretail stores are pushing sales on consumers to highlight what they don't have and should buy.  I've been guilty of this in the past.  I've attended at least several Black Friday sales in person in my life.  I stress in-person because so many retail locations now have Internet-based Black Friday sales that even if you were going to take advantage of BF sales, you can do so from the comfort of your home instead of attending a real-worldesque WWE event.  In the spirit of always trying new things and expanding your world view, I still think that you haven't lived until you've gone to at least one BF sales event.  You'll never want to go back to another one, but at least you can say you've done it and have some stories to tell to your grandchildren!

Garfield and turkeyness.Just because.

Another year almost complete and another one to look forward to.  I've had an amazing year.  I'm happy with the level of business I've achieved with my photography and my regular day job has been going well.  I was able to take a major trip with my dad to China which for me is probably one of those once in a lifetime experiences I will not soon forget (mostly because I kept a travel journal and wrote everything down).  All my pet peeves, fears, hopes about going to China - contained between the electronic pages of an iPad and synced with the cloud.  It's been an amazing year.  Thank you to everyone in my life for staying with me on this ride.  I am deeply grateful for all of you.  November usually has that effect on me; this is the time of the year where if I slow down and think about it, I realize I live a pretty good life.  I'm in relatively good health as are my loved ones and this overwhelming feeling of gratefulness comes over me.  

People make a big deal about making new years' resolutions and I'm among them, but I usually make my resolutions around Thanksgiving time.  It's the time when I'm most reflective on my life and ask myself how I can be a better (read: happier) person moving forward into the new year.  A friend of mine shared this link the other day on Facebook about how to be miserable.  The article is obviously satire, but as I read it, I realized a lot of it was true at least for myself.  If I didn't do these things, I'd be happy all the time!  It served as a good reminder for me that life does not have to be about the rat race and more importantly, that I have the power to choose whether to take part in it or not.

Take care and happy Black Friday hunting if you are out amongst the throngs of people!



Random side note:  the Imagine Dragons video for their song Demons is good:








[email protected] (Bertrand Hui) Black Friday gratitude holidays Fri, 29 Nov 2013 14:12:33 GMT
The Mango Pudding Incident Mouth-watering morsels of dough and meat entered my mouth over the course of brunch yesterday.  Around the table, nothing but lip-smacking goodness.  Of course, I'm talking about taking a couple of co-workers out to dim sum.  My favorite place around the Portland-metro area is Wong's King Seafood.  Don't let the restaurant name fool you if you don't like seafood in general ~ they offer the dim sum standard fare and a couple of items that are unique as well.  

A funny incident that happened yesterday:  everyone around the table was basically full from eating the savory portion of dim sum and were ready for desserts.  I'm not much of a dessert fan, and so the only dimsum-time dessert I know of is the "dan tat", or egg custard.  Despite all of the years of dim sum I've had, I went out on a limb and decided to try something new, even for me.  We noticed an item I've never seen before, a three-layered, jello-like dessert that looked much like what you'd find in three layered jello: a layer of a yellow jello sandwiched in between two layers of a creamy-looking jello.  We decided to try it.

After trying it, we decided it was flavored like piña colada, and my co-worker Andrew wanted to bring one back for his wife, so I flagged a waitress down and attempted to ask what it was in Cantonese.

Translated from Cantonese:

Me: What is the stuff with the white layer, yellow layer, white layer?
Waitress #1: I don't know, let me find it (brings back the dessert I'm looking for)
Me: Thanks!  What's it called?
Waitress #1:  It's like a pudding, but it's not a pudding... I don't know, let me check!
Waitress #1 to #2: Hey, what's that dessert called?
Waitress #2 to #1:  I don't know - it's like a pudding!
Waitress #1 to #2: I know it's like a pudding, but it's not a pudding!
Waitress #2 to #1: Just tell them it's a mango pudding, they won't know the difference!
Waitress #1 to #2: This guy speaks Chinese, of course they'll know the difference!

I admit, I'd be slightly offended if this happened to me in a Western restaurant but being able to understand the language made this conversation very amusing.

Then last night, on a whim, I decided to make chana masala, an Indian dish with garbanzo beans and a ton of spices that I very much enjoy.  You can find recipes all over the Internet, but the recipe I used was this one.  Unfortunately, I didn't have and couldn't find on the drop of a dime, any cumin seeds, but it turned out pretty good!  


Chana MasalaEasier to make than I thought

[email protected] (Bertrand Hui) chana masala cooking dim sum iPhone photo Mon, 18 Nov 2013 04:14:13 GMT
My Daily Commute To friends who have never been to the area before, I can relate how odd it is to hear the fact that I cross between two states every day when I head into work.  That said, a picture is worth a thousand words as the saying goes, so I've attached a Google Map of my daily route to work.  I start off in White Salmon, WA and drive into Hood River, OR.  Total driving distance one way = 3.8 miles.  It's actually a little shorter when I go home because there's a one way road headed back into White Salmon, but it's a pretty good approximation!  (and yes, that blue-grey patch in the middle of the photo is the Columbia River)

I love my short commute!  

Daily CommuteWhite Salmon, WA to Hood River, OR

[email protected] (Bertrand Hui) columbia river gorge commute hood river white salmon Thu, 14 Nov 2013 05:26:13 GMT
Yellowstone National Park ~ Booked! My wife and I have a goal of traveling to all of the national parks housed in the good ol' US of A.  We love camping and the outdoors in general, and there's certainly no lack of parks that have been deemed as great enough to be protected by the federal government.  Natural beauty is amazing to us.  We try to get out to at least one national park a year and make a road trip of it.  2014 marks the year that we were planning to head to Yellowstone National Park. My wife's never been and I've only 'sort of' been to Yellowstone. I went to Yellowstone while still a teenager and with a tour company where the feeling was that it was much more important to be able to hit a ton of destinations in a short amount of time than it was to be able to go someplace and just take it all in slowly. As it were, my first trip to Yellowstone consisted of arriving at the park, walking around for maybe 20 minutes, taking a couple of photo as Old Faithful blew her top, and back on the tour bus we went. Not terribly exciting.

When I travel with my wife, we definitely take our time and it's our time to slow down and really, to relax and take things easy.  No stress.  It's all good.  We spent a couple of hours this past weekend looking at our options for living arrangements and plan on doing a mixture of car camping and living in one of the swanky lodges in the park.  Amazingly, almost all the lodge spots were already filled - and we're planning this trip at the end of June.  We did get the spots we wanted though, so go us!  We're ecstatic about it!  

Old FaithfulCourtesy of


I've been playing around with an idea using a polling service from  I'm not revealing what that idea is yet, but I will say that it's photography-related and it's for the wintery holiday season.  If you will, take a sec to answer the poll below.  Call it a case study for something potentially bigger in a couple of weeks!

Be well!


[email protected] (Bertrand Hui) road trip travel yellowstone Wed, 13 Nov 2013 05:06:54 GMT
Uber-talented wife A little while ago, my wife asked me with some trepidation whether or not it would be ok... to paint a mural on one of our walls.  Wanting her to get back into her art more, I said, "sure! please do!".  Well, she did, and today marked the culmination of her work from concept sketch to finished product.  She's so uber talented!!


Finished product!


And this is where it sits in our house

To see more of her work, check out her website!


[email protected] (Bertrand Hui) bert hui mural sarah hui Sat, 26 Oct 2013 05:01:22 GMT
River's a Big Boy Now! Hope everyone's had a good weekend so far!  Alicia and Rivers stopped by earlier today and it truly is amazing how much he's grown since our last shoot together at the Hood River Lavender farm!  We didn't have a shoot scheduled today, but I got a couple of shots off and edited them.  Enjoy!

Rivers ReeseLeft: Nico wondering what Rivers is! Right: Rivers!

[email protected] (Bertrand Hui) Portrait photography White Salmon columbia river gorge Sun, 20 Oct 2013 04:40:02 GMT
Leavenworth Oktoberfest It's funny when you have a bunch of friends who drink and you're basically the only person going to Oktoberfest who is remotely sober.  Thanks to my friends LJK, a group of 17 of us stayed inside this palatial cabin that had all the amenities a city-kid like me enjoys, but also all the relative peace and quiet that being in the woods can afford.  At times something like a frat party (seven straight dudes in a hot tub together drinking beer) and other times something more like a family, the weekend in Leavenworth was something that my wife and I both needed.  Interested in this place?  Check it out here.

My wife and I also broke in our new 2014 Subaru Outback, Nelle.  We just picked Nelle up the night before from the dealership and took her on our 3.5-hour road trip this weekend.  Side note: anyone looking for a good deal on a Subaru anything, you should definitely give Dick Hannah Subaru in Vancouver, WA a try first.  We had an absolutely amazing experience with them and never once felt pressured to buy anything.  I'd started a separate blog post about Nelle, but didn't actually publish it yet -- stay tuned for that.

 Lots of photos to share, but here's a couple from the palace in the woods we stayed at.  That kidney shaped thing in the middle of the main photo was the hot tub we all hung out in several nights.  Otherwise, the main pool area is what the owners called an infinity pool (wasn't really heated which led to more fun antics).  

Like German beer?  Like the outdoors?  I'd highly recommend some time in Leavenworth, Washington's Oktoberfest which runs one more weekend.  Check it out!  Here are some of my favorite photos from the trip.


A group of 20-40 somethings rented a lodge in Leavenworth Washington and had an amazing weekend.Red Roof LodgeOktoberfest Antics - Leavenworth, WA



Abstract Oktoberfest-goerFavorite photo from the trip


The Last MorningSunday morning, the fog in the background settled over the town of Leavenworth which we could see from our place.

[email protected] (Bertrand Hui) Leavenworth Oktoberfest Red Roof Lodge Mon, 14 Oct 2013 05:32:11 GMT
Anna, Jeff and Renee | White Salmon Family Portrait Photographer Last weekend, I had the pleasure and honor of photographing Jeff and Anna and their very happy daughter, Renee.  Isn't she a cutie??  I kept commenting on how whenever I have kids, I can only hope that they are as easy to handle (so far!) as Renee seemed to be.  The entire hour I was there, Renee was all smiles and despite Jeff and Anna saying that she showed some shyness around strangers, she smiled a lot for me - must be all the camera gear I brought with me.  

Thank you, Anna and Jeff (and of course Renee!) 

Here are some of my favorites from last weekend's shoot.

Decker/Stewart Family


[email protected] (Bertrand Hui) babies family portraits Wed, 02 Oct 2013 03:44:48 GMT
New Creations I can crack an egg like nobody's business.  I can mince garlic with a fury unlike anyone has ever witnessed.  Need to de-skin garlic?  I've got a technique!  I've made fried rice dozens of times in my life.  That said, usually I measure out the ingredients and the ratio of ingredients that makes up my fried rice is controlled.  Not so when you cook fried rice for dinner destined to feed your family (or a small militia) for a week AND... you have a burning desire to use whatever ingredients are in your fridge that are in danger of expiring/spoiling.

And so, a new creation began tonight. The idea of proper egg/rice/meat/condiment ratio went out the door.  It turned out pretty good, but the next time I decide to use all my about-to-expire-ingredients, I should make multiple dishes instead of the medley that is tonight's fried rice!

Cooking Asian-esque foodMinced chicken/garlic/egg/green bell pepper/mushroom fried rice. Huh.It's actually pretty good!


[email protected] (Bertrand Hui) Asian-esque cooking experimenting Thu, 26 Sep 2013 03:09:46 GMT
Dualities Today marks many firsts as I feel every day should.  to save on money and to try to eat more healthily, my wife and I have been eating out a lot less, and in the process, saving a TON of money.  We got into the habit of spending a Saturday morning/afternoon making a ton of them, freezing them, and turning them into breakfast meals.  Works out great since we have a chest freezer.  It also marks the first day that Apple put out a wtf product.  The case for the iPhone 5c?  Really?  I feel like I'd be playing connect the dots from my grade school years.

connect 4 and iPhone 5c

[email protected] (Bertrand Hui) design iphone technology Thu, 12 Sep 2013 02:25:23 GMT
Before and After: 250 Feet Into Oblivion My wife and I had been talking about getting new floors for the downstairs area for years.  Literally, years.  We are finally going to replace the cheap 5-year carpet in our townhouse after living in it for a little over six years.  I call it 5-year carpet because that's about how long the installed carpet lasted before we deemed it disgusting-looking and unfit for use.  

Incidentally, if you live in the Columbia River Gorge, and you're looking to replace your floors, I'd give Swell City Carpet a look.  Their service is amazing, offer much more than just carpeting, and are very reasonably priced.

moving white salmon, photographer


And another view of the living room 


living room, floor, tile, recommendations


So that was the truly before, on Friday evening.  As of Sunday July 7, the living room looked like this:

living room, empty, tile

Note: Nico is staring at the place where the couch previously was -- he probably misses his couch.


Here he is with pleading eyes wondering when his couch will be back.

nico, forlorn, empty living room, no couch


Daphnie doesn't notice anything amiss.

daphnie, living room, shock


Monday, work began on removing the carpet, and the plywood subfloor from the living room area.  Hardiback was laid and screwed down before the tile was put in place.

hardiback on the ground


Tuesday:  Tiles have been put into place!  

tile down


[email protected] (Bertrand Hui) Moving Swell City White Salmon porcelain tile Wed, 10 Jul 2013 19:29:27 GMT
Cory + Alicia + Rivers, Hood River Lavender Farm I spent an amazing Saturday afternoon with my friends Cory and Alicia, their newborn baby son, Rivers and one set of very proud grandparents at the Hood River Lavender farm.  There's nothing more heart-warming than seeing a new family gel together as their new 10-day-old son explored his new surroundings in every sense of the word.  Even though Rivers was asleep for most of our shoot, the occasional sounds he did make while there brought smiles to everybody's faces, including other farm patrons.  Here's a couple of my favorite from the shoot.

reese family, newborn, hood river lavender farm

There was even a local Hood River dog watching and hanging out with us!

dog After the session, Cory and Alicia had my wife and I over for a BBQ (and not to shoot additional photos!) though I still ended up firing off a few shots.  Rivers was fed and felt better that evening.  He's one of the quietest babies I've ever had a chance to meet.  Congratulations, Alicia and Cory!  I can only hope that whenever I have a child, s/he will be just as easy as Rivers is!  

Rivers, newborn, "White Salmon, WA"

[email protected] (Bertrand Hui) White Salmon columbia river gorge lavender farm newborn Mon, 08 Jul 2013 00:35:53 GMT
Independence Day 2013 A belated post as there was a lot of activity during the 4th of July this year.  all in all, it was a great way to spend the day with family.  This year, July 4th had the distinction of not only spending time with family, but being witness (and impromptu photographer!) to our family expanding through my brother-in-law's proposal to his new fianceé.  There's something about the environment at my father-in-law's house that just screams romance; whether it's the trees dotting the backyard or the crawdad-laden creek that also runs through the backyard, summertime at my father-in-law's is always a good time.  No photos to share from the BBQ unfortunately ~ trying to get back into living by the motto that the best camera you have is the one you have with you.  All I had at the time was my iPhone camera, and I started to poo-poo it.  Not doing that again!


[email protected] (Bertrand Hui) 4th columbia river gorge freedom july Sat, 06 Jul 2013 07:18:48 GMT
Ed + Jen Engagement Session Several weeks ago, I had the pleasure of photographing Ed and Jen in beautiful Hood River, Oregon.  Weather forecast that day said 30% chance of rain but there wasn't a cloud in the sky... until our scheduled shoot started. Using the time of day to get the type of light I was looking for was an important part of this engagement session ~ I'm incredibly happy that despite the looming grey skies and storm clouds, there was a small break in the storm to be able to go the the location I had envisioned from the get-go as a wonderfully romantic engagement shoot. It was made even better when I realized Ed and Jen had never been up to the place I had in mind before. Here are some of my favorites from the shoot.  Congratulations Ed and Jen!

Edward Lee Jen VanCleave, Hood River engagement Edward Lee Jen VanCleave, Hood River engagement Edward Lee Jen VanCleave, Hood River engagement



[email protected] (Bertrand Hui) Hood River columbia river gorge engagement photography Tue, 02 Jul 2013 03:20:27 GMT
Trip to China In a couple of weeks, I'll be going to China for the first time in my life with my dad and a buddy of his.  I visited Hong Kong when I was about 4 years old, but this will be my first time on the mainland.  Acquiring a Chinese visa was somewhat adventurous.  I have my most recent United States passport, but the person who was handling our visa applications also requested my most recently expired passport to ensure that I have not been a Chinese citizen in the past.  That in itself was rather odd.  Luckily, my dad kept copies of my other expired passports through the years ever since I was a toddler.  

I spent the better part of this week getting vaccinations and finding out about travel clinics and insurance billing and health coverage.  A lot to take in within a very short period of time.  It's been exciting.  As far as destinations go, we've been kind of playing it by ear.  We have several destinations in mind and we'll probably do some light exploring and use each of those destinations as a base from which we travel.  Works for me because that's the way my wife and I love to travel.  

Questions abound as to what kind of gear I should be packing for a travel photography trip and so, I've bene reading up a lot on aspects of travel photography that I may not have considered.  

[email protected] (Bertrand Hui) China landscape travel photography Wed, 20 Mar 2013 22:52:45 GMT
The Maternity Session Several months ago, I had the pleasure of being asked by Anna and Jeff to help them photograph themselves and their four-legged child Charlie in goofy, off-the-wall poses in preparation for their new baby.  On a typically overcast February day, Anna, Jeff (and Charlie!) braved the chill outdoors and indoors to help me create some of the most memorable photos in my life.  I had a great time and look forward to helping with more family sessions in the near future.

Anna and Jeff, thank you for a wonderful shoot and congratulations on your family expansion!  

jeff decker, anna stewart, maternity session

[email protected] (Bertrand Hui) bertrand hui columbia river gorge maternity photography" Thu, 28 Feb 2013 03:51:48 GMT
The Hui Matriarch My paternal grandmother is the oldest living relative I have.  Growing up, all of the family gatherings we'd ever had were orchestrated by her.  She's currently 85(ish) years old and still pretty spry, both mentally and physically.  Admittedly, my immediate family living in the suburbs of San Francisco, did not often go into the city and visit with my grandmother that often.  I sometimes regret that but I can't change the past.  Taking a cue from Richard, Sarah's stepdad, who is an old tv broadcast program coordinator (I think that's his title - he did tv stuff) and who currently does a lot of video editing work for Clackamas County in Oregon, always said that he wished he had the technology and the time to record snippets from the past of his parents and how that's probably one of his biggets regrets.  I certainly have the interest and the skill set to do that for my grandmother, and really, for the rest of my family.  My cousins, brother and I all got together this past Frday night to come up with interview questions for my grandmother.  They ranged from the extremely funny and inappripriate, to much more serious matters -- and we didn't know what kinds of dark memories we were really opening up at the time.  

Yesterday, we had our family get-together/potluck and our interview session.  My cousin Nick was instrumental in setting everything up and providing the proper interview equipment (like a boom mic) and a good time was had by all.  It went off the way I was hoping it would go -- I'd ask a question, and got a lot of family involvement as a result of my grandmother's answers.  I think the best feeling int he world was when I asked a question about the war, and the adults of my dad's generation learned a lot about their mom that they never knew.  Keeping all those tidbets of short stories/vignette's about this woman's life for future generations to have was my goal.  Taping's complete now -- just like foreign films, the end production will have subtitles over the course of the interview.  Video's still in progress, and Nick's going to be the one who puts it together, but it feels good to have finally kicked off a project that required a ot of planning/orchestrating.



[email protected] (Bertrand Hui) Mon, 11 Jun 2012 14:43:34 GMT
Parking Within the Lines OK, parking lots are one of those aspects of life I get kind of annoyed about.  Not so much the existence of a parking lot, but rather how people use them.  Case in point is this individual with the fancy blue Camaro at the right edge of the frame below.  My car is parked at frame left, equidistant between the two lines that split my parking space from the ones on either side.  It's not like the Camaro was super wide or anything... it more seemed like the driver just didn't care whether or not (s)he gave a rat's ass inconvenienced other drivers or not via the taught-in-grade-school-color-between-the-lines job this individual did.  End rant.  Actually, one more.  People who drive expensive cars who park right over the line and take up two parking spaces - I oftentimes want to key their car, but I don't.

learn to park!

[email protected] (Bertrand Hui) camaro parking pet peeve Tue, 24 Apr 2012 18:41:56 GMT
Horsing Around Town I've found it's important to just let go sometime and not completely focus on photography as an art form and a passion.  What I mean is that in the past, I've been afraid to show work because I've felt that it was less than stellar.  A pixel here or a pixel there that was out of place would make me cringe.  I became obsessed with perfection down to the pixel level.  It made me too focused on photography at such a small scale that I had to really take a step back and take a good look at why I got into photography in the first place.

Enter my friends Rich and Courtney.  Rich has recently picked up a new camera which I'm fairly envious of.  We took it out for a spin around our small town and got some good images out of it.  It was a lot of tun just shooting, and getting back into shooting for the sake of shooting and figuring out the buttons on the new camera, enjoying friendship and horsing around.  I have to keep in mind that at the end of the day, I photograph for people; whether that is for myself or for others, the people come first.

rich, courtney,bert, white salmon, 2012 spring


[email protected] (Bertrand Hui) bertrand hui photography gorge horseplay sunset Mon, 09 Apr 2012 07:17:51 GMT
Gamestorm 14 I mentioned how last weekend, I attended Gamestorm 14, Portland's massive, four-day gaming extravaganza -- I took some photos for the event and posted them here.  It was a rather quiet midmorning in the Collectible Card Game room, but was entertaining nonetheless.



[email protected] (Bertrand Hui) CCGs Gaming Fri, 30 Mar 2012 08:36:42 GMT
Jack of All Trades I love to learn and I love to experience many facets that life has to offer.  Yesterday, I took the day off to demo games at Portland's annual gaming conference, Gamestorm.  Another segment of society that I have one foot in, I embraced the nerd-dom and thought it was one of the most awesome things anyone's ever setup.  If you're a gamer of any sort, Gamestorm is the place to be.  It's four days of collectible card games like World of Warcraft: TCG, board games like Agricola, and LAN games like Modern Warfare.  (can you tell I don't LAN much these days?)  It's a gamer's paradise and I was part of it.  

Tonight, I'm going to a hip-hop concert featuring Lupe Fiasco.  Two almost seemingly different avenues of adventure on two adjacent nights.  I can have my pie and my cake, but I don't really like cake that much, so I guess the analogy's broken.

[email protected] (Bertrand Hui) Fri, 23 Mar 2012 23:32:47 GMT
Network Out At my day job, my reliance on technology is unbelievable.  Don't get me wrong -- I love technology and everything associated with it, but I do wonder whether or not I rely too heavily on it when I'm outside of work.  Take today for example.  The building where I work lost network connection today.  1:30PM, bam!  Nothing.  As I wait for the IT department to troubleshoot, I sit in my cube and watch as others heads slowly poke up and over their cube walls.  I felt like I was in a game of wack-a-mole.  This eventually turned into all kinds of employees milling about and chatting and not really doing anything classically productive.  My job relies almost completely on my ability to have a network connection, so I was dead in the water as well.

The next best thing I could do was play ping pong, so I did.  

I also took the time to come up with some interesting imagery from my iPhone.  Made using the Diptic app for collaging, and a combination of Camera+ and Snapseed for the individual images.

Bored Bathroom Tryptic

[email protected] (Bertrand Hui) IT network photography technology Thu, 23 Feb 2012 01:23:43 GMT
First Blog Post - *new site* Earlier this week, I mentioned on my old blog host that my current web host has finally created an integrated blogging platform.  Consider this the very first post ever made on this new blogging platform.  I have the option of starting from scratch or importing any old blog posts from the previous site, but I thought I would start clean and see where the wind took me.  So far, I like the layout possibilities with my new blog.  Still working on designing the aesthetics of the blog, but it's coming along!

First image for the new blog is one taken while my wife and I were on our cruise vacation through the southern Caribbean.  Pictured is a part of Belize City, Belize:

Belize City, Belize

[email protected] (Bertrand Hui) blog first time writing Wed, 22 Feb 2012 09:14:33 GMT