Hadouken-ing Third Grade Photo Project

Click an image below to view a larger slideshow.








Another grade school photo project – literally jumping on the Hadouken-ing internet meme. Featuring Mrs. Polanco’s Third Grade Class.

Last week photographer Shaun Lang and I took on my son’s third-grade class to see if we could make some fun Hadouken-ing images and teach them a little about digital advertising and photography.

Hadouken (translated from Japanese as “surge fist”), is a special punch in the game Street Fighter. Hadouken-ing began with Japanese girls in their school uniforms, posing for super hero-like frozen action shots, and is now taking place at this moment all over the planet on Twitter and on Instagram.


Our original plan was to shoot the entire class of 25 in a semi-circle that we marked within the crop of the 28 mm lens. This was way too many people, so we cut it in half. Then we divided the class in two and took a bunch of group jumping shots.

We used a tripod and two strobes to help add some light to the faces. Every kid individually got to do a “Hadouken” pose, to later be added later to one of the jumping shots. We even pulled off a few shots (like this one of Miles blasting me over the volleyball net) 100% in camera.



Finally, we shot some additional foreground and panorama so we could make it epic. This is my sixth grade school photo project, and once again, the kids really brought it. Their high energy really translates well in these shots. And it didn’t hurt at all to have some cheerleader moms to help get everyone to jump on three.


Today I visited the class to share final artwork via a big screen Keynote projection. I showed each step of the process, from concepting, casting, pre-pro, shooting, choosing film, compositing images, and final color. Each student was given an archival poster print of themselves with a “Hadouken!” graphic.


If you are looking for the rest of the images, there are several versions for you to choose from. Feel free to download and share with your friends and family. Share some with me while you’re at it.

Hadoukening Image Downloads

Did you enjoy this photo project?

Selfless Portraits


A couple of my friends did Selfless Portraits recently, and it inspired me to do the same. Very relaxing, really.

My subject’s name was Julia, and she comes from Rio. She was wearing polka dots and glasses, while looking at her mobile phone. Don’t ask me how, but her index finger can really do that position.

She looks as though she was reading a text message. Who could it be from? She certainly looks a bit serious. I translated her thoughts to Portuguese, “Oh, não. Não ele, de novo!”

Click on the image above for a series of images, including the original photo.

If you do or receive a Selfless Portrait, please send me a link!

UPDATE: I had to stalk Julia via Facebook to inform her about the artwork. Apparently Selfless Portraits didn’t notify her at all?!? Crazy, I know. Turns out she loves it. Fun.

UPDATE: Cool. After 36 hours my Selfless Portrait moved into the number one “most popular” slot. Thanks, no doubt, to all of my FB friends for liking.

Minecraft Enderman Desktop + Mobile Wallpaper PSD

Took a break from Super Bowl madness at work to play some Minecraft with my sons on their new Bukkit servers. Found myself face-to-face with a menacing Enderman character and managed to snap a screenshot. I used that to create this graphic wallpaper. In three formats: Desktop, iPhone 5 and iPod Touch (iPhone 4).

Scroll down and I’ve provided links to simplified Photoshop PSDs if you want to customize for yourself. I used the Minecraft Logo Alphabet font that you can get here, and if you play Minecraft, I suggest you try the amazing Sphax PureBDcraft texture pack.

Click images to view, or right-click and “open link in new tab or window” or “save link as…” if you want to download the image to your device.

PSD Downloads

PSDDownload Desktop Wallpaper PSD 48 mb

PSDDownload iPhone 5 Wallpaper PSD 23 mb

PSDDownload iPhone 4 iPod Touch Wallpaper PSD 20 mb

Random goodness. Here’s a pretty epic Santa MVD made while I was putting lights on the Xmas tree.

At what age should kids walk to school alone?

For several years, one of my greatest daily pleasures has been walking my kids to grade school. It is a happy routine to walk, talk and say good morning to the neighborhood kids and parents.

During that time I have become acutely aware that virtually no children walk to school by themselves. Almost every child is accompanied by an adult. In fact, those few kids who walk to school alone stand out in sharp contrast and almost seem neglected or abused.

At first I thought this was a big city thing. I grew up in a small town, and everyone I knew walked to grade school by themselves. But after speaking with a lot of adults from places like New York, L.A., Chicago, and Boston, I discovered that they, too, walked or took public transportation to school by themselves. In fact, most of the grade school parents I see on a daily basis also walked to school alone or with friends.

Sometimes, on the way home from school in the morning, I see kids walking alone that I know from my son’s class. I say hello to them by name, and tell them they could still make the bell if I think they are running late. They usually give me a general acknowledgement with a slightly fearful look and hustle on without speaking. Those kids are brave to walk by themselves.

What it must be like to walk alone everyday, amongst a sea of their classmates who are being prodded along – often smothered with hugs and kisses by overly protective parents. I imagine these lone children have parents whose work schedules don’t allow them to walk their kids to school. Or perhaps their parents are just unreliable. I’ve never had the heart to ask any of them why they walk alone. But they do it bravely, and they seem to be fine.

I started thinking that it might be a good thing to get my son a buddy, and have the two of them walk to and from school alone occasionally to bolster their independence and responsibility. I asked one of the neighbors with a boy the same age.

“You know, I was thinking that maybe one day a week, my son and yours could walk to school together – alone – without parents. What do you think?”

The reply is thoughtful and slightly hesitant. “No. I could never forgive myself if something happened.”

I counter, “At what age do you think they could walk together alone?” We are talking about 5 blocks here. No major streets or intersections. I get the same answer from every parent.


Saddest of all is that the parents in this neighborhood are not exactly worried about their kids getting hit by a car, or even stabbed or shot by some gang banger. Sure, it’s a concern. Their real fear is that their child will get kidnapped by some sadistic pedophile – never to be seen again.

And who is to blame them? You only have to look on the L.A. Times crime map to see where all of the sex offenders live in your own neighborhood. Or watch the nightly news with its terrifying stories that parents share along with other gossip every morning after the second bell sends the kids off to class.

So I continue to walk my boys to school, as I work on my own unwarranted fear. When the time is right, I want them to discover their own independence, responsibility and street smarts. The real question is – will I be ready to give up my greatest daily pleasure?

Tell me this. At what age would you let your child walk to school alone or with a buddy?

Kia Soul Hamsters Animated GIFs

Here are some leftover GIFs from the Kia Soul In My Mind Music Video Challenge.

And a few wallpapers to brighten your day. Right-click and open in new window to save to your computer. Thanks to kickass creatives Sarah & Sean at DNG.


Pink & Blue Drum Wallpaper Variations

I just bought a new subscription to Photoshop CS6, opened a couple of my old wallpaper files – combined them – and created these festive, abstract pink and blue drum images. They are varying degrees of contrast and grunge so you have options to choose from.

If you wish to download the image to use as wallpaper, just right-click and open into a new window. 2560×1440 images are 2-4 mb each, so please be patient for them to load.

Radial Zoom Blur Abstract Wallpaper

I created these eighteen abstract 2560px x 1440px wallpapers with Adobe Photoshop’s radial zoom blur. You can create your own abstract wallpaper from any photo or graphic easily by downloading and installing this Photoshop Action nelsdrums radial blur.atn

Right-click the links below and choose “save link as…” to download full resolution images to use as wallpaper. They also look great zoomed in on smart phones and tablets.

Flame Painter Abstract Wallpaper

I created these fifteen colorful abstract 2560px x 1440px wallpapers with Flame Painter. Right-click the links below and choose “save link as…” to download full resolution images.

I also created nine nelsdrums custom flamepainter brushes that you can download and place into ~Username/Library/FlamePainter/Brushes I realize they just appear to be regular PNG images, but they contain all of the brush and gradient settings.

Download Flamepainter Brushes

Adriana Lima Rotating Kaleidoscope Video HD

Just having a little fun with the 5 hours of Adriana Lima video. Using Apple’s Quartz Composer and Adobe After Effects, I’ve created this surreal kaleidoscope video for the monitors in our lobby at work. The most amazing parts are when the checkered flag comes into view. The checkers and the kaleidoscope effect make for some stunning imagery.

The overall effect helps to confirm that Adriana Lima is indeed an extra terrestrial from another planet.

View in fullscreen HD.