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Friday, December 28, 2007


Speed kills

Speed limit

I know this New Hampshire sign is supposed to encourage careful driving, but to me, 15 children per hour sounds dangerously fast. At best, I can hope to mow down just one or two in that time.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007


Meaty Christmas

Meaty Christmas

Hope everyone had a merry day. Pass the A-1.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Earth needs editors

Dates subject to change (and utter inaccuracy)

SJSU duh

The SJSU website is so full of broken links and bad information, it’s hard to pick just one mistake to highlight. On this one page alone, we can see that in order to delete a class entirely, you must drop it almost three months before the class begins — in fact, you must drop it before you could possibly register.

On the other hand, if you wait 92 years to drop, you’re going to be screwed. Consider yourself warned.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Earth needs editors

High? Wasted!

American Apparel duh

Forget the lack of a hyphen. This is just a really unfortunate misspelling of high-waisted shorts in a banner ad from American Apparel. See what happens when you leave the copy editing to a bunch of unitards?

Friday, December 14, 2007

Earth needs editors

Kwanzaa conflagration

Bergen Record duh

I guess the word blaze is a judgment call, but are they really on a roof? And is that kid a firefighter? Didn’t think so.

Monday, December 10, 2007


Public health dentist


The documentary project I’ve been working on these past few months is finally finished. It was a terrific learning experience in a number of ways, and I’m a little sad to be done with it.

A dentist was kind enough to let me follow him around for hours at a time, hovering over him while he treated patients. He has a private practice in San Francisco, but I was particularly interested in the work he does at a county-operated public health clinic in the area.

Sunday, December 9, 2007


Here comes Santacon


My knowledge of Santacon and/or Santarchy in San Francisco is limited to these three facts: First, it involves lots of people dressed in Santa Claus attire. Second, it’s about to happen again, somewhere, at some time. Third, I was there last year taking pictures. Had I done a little less drinking and a little more reporting, maybe I’d be able to tell you more about it.

Was that too specific? Then try this journalism for the easily bored: A multimedia audiovisual slideshow extravaganza.

Santacon slideshow
Thursday, December 6, 2007


Low-key headset

A lot of people have commented on the good looks of the iPhone, but not much attention is paid to the matching Bluetooth headset. If you want something huge that clamps onto your ear, glows blue and makes you look like something out of Star Trek, this is not the one for you.

Apple Bluetooth headset

12-10-07 Update: In case it’s not clear, I took this photo of the headset, just as I did with the flashlight, pepper grinder, spring water and so forth. Apparently the copy I wrote to accompany the picture had some people thinking that I was doing a product review or something. On the contrary, I was just showing off a cool-looking black thing floating above a black background.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007



I wonder what makes a flashlight “tactical”? This little LED number from Innova is almost bright enough to cook with, but the red light doesn’t ruin your night vision like a regular flashlight does.

LED flashlight LED flashlight
Tuesday, December 4, 2007



To my way of thinking, this stainless steel Vic Firth pepper mill is just about the sexiest thing going, pepperwise. It has a button rather than a knob, so you work it with one hand. The fact that it comes from a manufacturer of drumsticks gives it extra cool points.

pepper mill and peppercorns
Wednesday, November 28, 2007


A chaser

Was that last one too much? A little too dark?

Then here’s something lighter to ease the pain.

Anthony loves Anthony!
Tuesday, November 27, 2007


Anthony: Portrait of a serial sculptor

When I needed a model for my portrait assignment, I thought of my friend Anthony right away. He’s got an interesting face, he’s got his own interesting props, and he’s got the patience to sit under hot lights for a couple of hours.

We did a few different setups involving two different sculptures, but it wasn’t until the very end of the session that I had the idea to involve some violent imagery, as Anthony’s sculptures sometimes do. (Did I really just say “violent imagery”? I’ve got to get out of college before I lose my mind.)

Anthony hates Anthony!

Thursday, November 15, 2007


Sell the fizz, not the water

My first real foray into product photography, these two shots each took four lights and a couple of hours.



Monday, November 12, 2007

Neither here nor there

Remember Dan Esch? He’s back! In Zippo form!

Recently I got a message from one Daniel Esch. He listed for me half a dozen people with the same name scattered around North America. That’s remarkable given the rarity of our surname in this country, and it reminded me of a little item that’s been tucked away in my closet for years.

Sometime around 1994, I was visiting Denver when I stopped to look in the window of a pawn shop. There was a big display of Zippo lighters, easily the coolest thing about a vile and filthy practice that I was addicted to at the time. One right in the middle of the tray caught my eye immediately — it had my name on it.

Don Esch Zippo

Turned out it wasn’t actually my name. It said Don Esch, but between the cursive lettering and my confirmation bias, it sure looked like Dan to me.

“The Zippo Lighter Collectors’ Guide” tells me that the lighter dates from between 1950 and 1956, and if this thing got 40 years of use, I wouldn’t be a bit surprised. The finish is worn off at the edges, the hinge is loose, and most of the black enamel that fills the engraved lines is missing. But being a Zippo, it still works perfectly.

Don Esch Heating and Sheet Metal doesn’t seem to have endured as well, however. I wonder if it was all the cigarettes.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


Still working on a project

More previews from the new documentary project.



Friday, October 19, 2007


Working on a project


I’m working on a new documentary project. I don’t want to go into detail about it yet, but it revolves around dentistry. Here are a couple of preview shots.


Wednesday, October 10, 2007


Riedel me this

wine glasses

I’ll say this for studio lighting: It’s amazing what you can do when you have complete control over the scene.

Monday, July 16, 2007


Driving in New Hampshire

the Kank

Joel Fleischman sightings: 0

stupid stickers

This is wrong for so many reasons, I don’t know where to begin.

Saturday, July 14, 2007


Boating in New Hampshire


Boats are cool.

wooden boat

Old wooden boats are especially cool.


It would be fun to have a boat like this.

Lake Winnipesaukee

Oh, I am totally getting one of these.

gas pump

There is no way I am ever buying a boat.

Saturday, March 10, 2007


By hyphen the hyphen sea


Capitola by-the-Sea, California

Wednesday, March 7, 2007


Night shots: Airplanes

airplane over San Jose airplane over San Jose

Monday, March 5, 2007


Another view ruined by a telephone pole

Bay Bridge

Bay Bridge from Potrero Hill

Thursday, February 15, 2007


Enough container. Give me some content.

My colleague Daniel Sato, I think it’s fair to say, is a man of few words.

When he speaks up, then, it’s usually for good reason.

He wrote an entry today about multimedia photojournalism presentations, and I thought he was right on the money. I agree with him 100 percent, but I’m almost too angry about the whole thing to add anything constructive right now.

The key quote: “The thing is, technology and the way we present our work is always going to change.” Amen. God willing, I’ll still be learning new technology long after all my professors are dead. Teach me the things that don’t change.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007


This year, say it with discount merchandise

Happy Valentines. Now buy some shit.

The assignment was to depict Valentine’s Day in a photo without using cliches like hearts or cupids. I went with the obvious.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Photo 120

Change of plans

After being shut out at first, I managed to get into Photo 112 (color) and 121 (lighting), so which spares me from taking 120, and spares you from looking at me any longer. Mostly. At any rate, this spells the end of this blog category.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Site news

So, um, yeah, about the site

Wow, that sure was a big lapse. No posts at all in either October or November. Looking at the archives, I notice that I took the same months off in 2005 and took November off in 2003. So you know what? From now on, danesch.com is taking November and December off. Unless it isn’t. You can never tell, really.

Anyway, now that I’m done being photo editor for the Spartan Daily, I’m back among the living, academically speaking. I’m taking a full load of courses, and two of them (so far) require me to keep regular journals. One is daily and must include a photo of me; the other is weekly and may end up having to be in blog form anyway. It only makes sense, then, to do both of them right here.

The first is Photo 120, Image and Idea, for which I must snap a self-portrait every day. Second is Journalism 145, which calls for a weekly “visual journal”but it’s not really supposed to have pictures. Initially, I tried to have these under their own invisible categories, which would make the journals available to anyone requesting them, but not show them to casual visitors. I haven’t been able to work that out yet, but I might still try.

Photo 120

Famous? I? Oui, it is true.

Really? Non. Not really. But I can use ze flash and ze rim light to make me look like I am.

I haven’t been this well lit since the last wedding I went to. Hi-yo!

The tripod with the D70 and its built-in flash were on a a foot and a half to my right, and I held the SB600 speedlight with Stofen diffuser about a foot to my left.

I’m struggling for project ideas, but here’s one: Create a couple of portrait styles, and really flesh them out with 2 or 3 shots of 5 or 6 people, give or take a few of either. These people would ideally form a group of some kind, like a team or a band. There could be an action shot for each member, along with two studio portraits, one very straight and one very stylized.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Photo 120

Feeling kinda High Fidelity

I started out trying to get a reflection of my CD collection in my glasses, and it proved both challenging and underwhelming in the end. I’ll have to return to this one.

Consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, including mine.

Today’s Brilliant Project Idea: QTVR portraits. Put my people on a turntable, spin them slowly and shoot a 360 of their heads. The result would be an interactive cranial experience.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Photo 120

The Daniel Show! Starring … Daniel!

So I’ve got to keep a daily journal, and it must include a self portrait each time. No problem. I can think of any number of kooky art-school ways to do that.

On second thought, screw that. I want to shoot people pictures, so here’s my chance.

Here’s the thing: I want to work on portraits, both in an immediate sense and in a long-term, big-picture sense. It stands to reason, then, that I should take this opportunity to use myself as a patient model for different lighting setups and so forth.

Oh, yes, I love doing self-portraits. I love it with a fiery intensity.

For this one, the D70 and its built-in flash were on a tripod about 4 feet in front of me, while an SB600 speedlight with a Stofen diffuser sat about 2 feet to my right. It was a lot harder than using my cell phone would have been.