Scenes From a KTown Night

It was a Thursday night and I was feeling tired and drained from the week but I’m so glad I went out into the night. Food. Drinks. Good memories. 

Aolani & The Colorado Street Bridge

Yesterday I had a chance to shoot in a location I've been wanting to shoot at for a very long time.  I drive past it nearly weekly so once I found a model in Pasadena, I knew immediately where to book the shoot.  It's definitely a popular spot as there were three other photo sessions that were taking place over the course of the afternoon/evening.

Aolani joined me with her mom as a chaperone and we had a very fun time on this shoot.  Her would pop in every now and then to help adjust hair/makeup and swap stories with us while we walked to a different location.  She's been at this since she was 5 years old and with her 18th birthday coming up later this year, she's excited to do some more traveling for work and see the world!

We joked and laughed throughout the shoot and she very much felt like the little sister I never had.  By the time the shoot was wrapping up, we had already begun to plan our next shoot together later in the year.  The themes and ideas she had for that one were things I haven't done yet so I'm excited to try them out!  

Ami & The Disney Concert Hall

Super excited to be shooting with Ami again this weekend so I wanted to throw back to our first shoot together at the Walt Disney Concert Hall. 

She has a great energy about her which is super infectious! I’ll definitely be needing it as we have a super early shoot time tomorrow to try and avoid the triple digit weather. 

Hope you have a great weekend!

52 Week Portrait Project - Week 26

Switching it up and throwing something new into the mix.  Had a great time shooting this set with a model who was in town.  There were a few ideas that we were kicking around but based on timing, we decided to go with a domme/sub idea that she wanted to do.  As a bonus, I was able to book time at FD Photo Studios in DTLA.  I've been wanting to shoot here for a while and it easily lived up to my expectations.  You can definitely look forward to seeing more shoots in the different studios they have set there.

For this first round, I'm only posting the domme look and a bonus post will be the sub looks that she had.  I knew from the beginning that I would have different feels to each and I love the way the black and white feel works with all these detail shots.  It really helps to set a mood and atmosphere.

During my photo shoots I love to chat and get to know my subject a little bit more. You never know what kind of common bond of thread you will find and connect with. My shoot with Allyce was no exception.  During our time together I found out her boyfriend is Cambodian (as is my wife), so we got to chatting about where to go for all the tasty Cambodian food and our relationships.  It never ceases to amaze me on how people from so far away growing up in different worlds can always find something in common.  In today’s current climate it’s definitely something to hold on to and appreciate. 

52 Week Project - The First Few Weeks

Before 2017 was over, I had found myself taking a few more portraits than I normally do.  It was fun and a little bit outside of what I would normally do.  To keep myself motivated and challenged, I figured I would engage in a portrait a week challenge for all of 2018.  I had never done something like this and I figured it would keep me moving forward and constantly try to push out work.  It's not been the easiest of challenges to be sure...but so far I've only missed one week.  

These portrait project updates will typically fall on a Wednesday on my Instagram Account.  I'll post a little story about the shoot either that same day or the following day.  The goal will be to continuously stack portrait sessions in advance so I can have everything ready to go once the day hits.  Ambitious (for me) but I'm going to try and stick to it.

Week 1 was kicked off with a selfie...because why not? Seemed easy when I first thought about it but I found out quickly I don’t like taking photos of myself. Here were the ones I considered. 

Next week I met up with my good friend Lauren for a few beers and an impromptu session at The Yardhouse. I really love the coloring from the lights inside.  She’s a huge beer fan so I think this turned out to be a perfect setting for her. A few shots we couldn’t use because the guy in the booth behind her would pop his head out or get into the frame. 

For week three I was able to connect with a lovely model who was in town. It was fun going through Chinatown and discovering some interesting light sources and backgrounds for the photos. The original plan was to use window lighting but by the time we got out there most of the shops had closed. We made do and I, but most importantly the model, were very happy with how it all turned out. 

So that's it for now!  Keeping checking back as I add in some more while I play catch up and post the other weeks.  Hopefully I can be caught up by next month there won't be a slew of new posts every week (unless you are enjoying these!).

Cheers.

Keep Moving Forward & Don't Stop

So one of my most recent photo sessions I got a chance to work with my buddy Ernest.  From the moment I met him he's always been working hard at becoming an actor and not letting anything get in his way.  It's been his goal and purpose and I recently found out that he booked a major supporting role in an upcoming movie with Scott Eastwood and Orlando Bloom.

HUGE AND AWESOME NEWS!

I love seeing these kinds of stories.  What's even better is that I see more and more friends with these breakthrough successes.  They have been putting in the hours and their own blood, sweat, and tears relentlessly in pursuing what they love.  It gives me hope.  It makes me take a second look at my processes and what I need to be doing to get there. 

Even though it may not be something I say directly to my friends, I want them to know how much I look up to them and admire what they do.  It helps me to look at what I'm doing and to gather focus and purpose.  Figure out where I can improve and raise myself up to match what they're putting out.  When speaking about the output I don't mean the level of creativity that they're at (I have a long way to go for that!), but more in terms of volume and regimen.  The more I keep this up, the more I can raise the personal bar I'm setting for myself.  

Taking all this into stock I just have one request.  STAY ON ME.  Don't let me stop in this journey.  If you see it's been a while since I've posted something kick my ass into shape!  Tell me I'm breaking a promise that I set out here.  Tell me that no matter what, I need to keep moving forward, and don't stop.  EVER.

Cheers. 

The other weekend I had the opportunity to shoot with my friends daughter for a senior portrait.  This was my first time shooting a senior portrait so I did come in to the shoot a bit nervous.  Luckily Taylor was easy to talk to and after some basic chit chat she really began to open up and take confidence in her poses and general attitude.  I think it really shows in how the first few pictures came out versus the ones at the end.  

As a dancer, she wanted to incorporate some of her moves into the shots and after throwing out a few ideas (and a little encouragement from her Mom & Friends!), we started getting really creative with the poses.  Again, with the confidence in place you can see how much she began to enjoy herself.  We moved to a few different locations using a few different outfits.  We really had a lot of fun knocking out some of these poses and despite the hot ground, she held it all in place like a champ while I snapped away.

Finally, Taylors little sister and best friend wanted to get involved in the shoot.  With some helpful guidance from her Mother (and my dear friend) Ryan, we were able to get in a few more fun looks.  My favorite from this set is a totally relaxed shot when she's leaning against a sign pole.  It was a totally candid moment but came out so well.  At the very end when we were getting ready to go I had her do a few more solo aerials for some nice action poses to round out the day.

The day turned out to be a very great experience for everyone involved.  Taylor and her Mom were super excited about the photos and loved them all.  I do have a few more ideas that I want to incorporate with her and her friend involving some long exposures around downtown Los Angeles and light painting.  Those will make for some great photos!

Cheers!

Warm LA Nights

Earlier this year I had the pleasure to work with a great up and coming model.  Since we last shot, she's gotten to shoot with other photographers and build up quite an impressive portfolio.  As you can tell from these early photos, she had a lot of confidence and knew how to pose.  

The backdrop of Little Tokyo suited the shoot very well.  In total we captured three great looks and here was the first of the sets.  You can check out her MM profile here and make sure to follow her on Instagram!


New Year...New Post!

I am so glad that the year is done.  2014 was not kind to me and I'm glad I survived it.  The new year holds a lot more promise however and I'm interested to see what develops.  I'm already starting off the year with a much better job than I had all last year.  This alone has put me in a much better place mentally and emotionally.

In terms of my photography, I'm trying to branch out a bit more into different styles.  I've started working with a few models which has been a great change of pace from the typical street and documentary styles that I'm usually shooting.  I met with one model named Rosie and together we did a very fun semi-boudoir and portrait session.  Being one who doesn't work big studio settings, I loved doing this in a nice room with a lot of natural light coming through the window.

She was very fun to work with and we were able to talk and joke around a lot which I think helped to ease both of us into the shoot.  I brought some donuts for us to snack on in between shots and to go over what we shot.  It turned out to be super helpful and we even included it in one of the photos!

I have a few more model shoots lined up already for the month of January to go along with the traditional street/documentary sessions.  One of my personal resolutions is to build up my site more and more so look forward to more changes and upgrades to slowly roll out and of course...more posts! 

Cheers and happy New Year!

Metro Night Ride

So my buddy Q asked me if I was interested in joining him, his girlfriend, his daughter and his cousin on a journey on the metro.  His girlfriend needed to figure out which route to take to get to her evening college classes.  It was just a simple evening ride but looking back on these photos there were so many that I love from this set.  

Over the course of the evening we met a woman proud of her beautiful earrings despite having matter hair from her hair net after a long day of work, a fight breaking out in which one man swung a metal sign at the other, and solitude at many stops.  People riding together but being alone.  

The metro was and I suppose always will be an interesting cross section of the local population.  The sights (and smells) tend to linger in your mind for a good period of time even after you reach your destination.

The Ghosts of LA

I've tried starting this blog entry several times but no matter how I try to phrase it something about it seems off.  Maybe I'm reaching too far for what I want to express.  I wanted to reference the past and how ghosts are all around us if we can keep our eyes open.

The collection of photos I have here represent what I feel to be the everyday ghosts that haunt LA.  Spectral trails of light that pass through the night while we sleep and mainly go unnoticed.  I had a great time capturing these and I really can't wait to get back out there to catch a few more ghosts.

Thankful

So recently I just posted a link on my Facebook Page about 10 National Geographic photographers who gave thanks for a photo that they took.  My aunt (who herself is a great photographer), asked "What's yours...?"

It was such a simple question but it forced me to go back through a lot of my old photos to look back at one I was thankful for.  I combed through several albums looking back at what photos stood out and what they meant to me.  It was tough to pick out a single photo from the thousands (yikes I need to post more!) I've taken.  Eventually I realized I had to go back to a very early photo.

The photo below is one of the first photos I took with my new camera.  I decided to go in on a new system from a company called Fuji.  It was part of the new wave of mirrorless camera's which were thought to be part of a fad.  As soon as I took the photo I was absolutely in love.  This small and unobtrusive camera helped me to capture a great candid moment without being noticed.  This small and seemingly random photo helped to reignite my love for photography and really steered me into the direction I was to head down.  

It may not seem like much, but this photo really is the source for all that followed.  There are more photos that I've taken along the way that I am thankful for and I'm sure I'll go over them in further detail as time goes by but for now, I wanted to start back towards the beginning.

Cheers.


Consistency

So much for that huh?  

There's been a lot going on and many changes have taken place since my last update.  I'm happy to say that they have been for the better.  The most significant change was moving from a job that caused me heartache, stress and pain to one of positivity and HAPPINESS.  I think that this change will also help fuel my drive to be more active here as I feel the fire begin to burn and inspire.  

Despite my lack of updates here, I actually have been somewhat active shooting.  Over the course of the next few weeks I will be adding in photos from recent street sessions, model sessions and random day/night documents.

For this first update, I'm moving through some street photography I shot back in August.  It was a nice cool day with a little bit of cloud cover.  It made for a nice cool day of walking around and I tried to match the tone with the feel of the day.  Overall I think it came out well and I'm very happy with the results.  

I started off the day at a nice little scenic park which overlooks downtown.  I've seen it in a few other photos and wanted to explore it myself.  Unfortunately it was a bit too crowded when I got there so I didn't spend much time.  I will definitely be heading back and would love to schedule some shoots there.  Afterwards I decided to head to Santee Alley.  It was a crowded day there but unlike the park, this was exactly what I was looking for.  I needed to get back into walking through a vibrant crowd and feel the energy of the crowd as it moved from shop to shop.  Despite having done this many times before, I still felt a bit timid as I began to weave through the crowd but as time passed, all the familiar instincts kicked in once more.

The photography day wound down as a light sprinkle began to move into the area.  With the crowd dispersing I headed back to my car and went home to edit (but not upload!) the photos.  Flash forward three months and here you go!


Explosions In The Sky - Los Angeles

It was a warm and perfect LA summer night.  People huddled together on blankets and walked around the Flat Top to see the fireworks going off in almost every direction.  Once again, LA put on one hell of a show and I fell in love with the city all over again.



Document The Night

Sometimes all you need is one night out with friends to reignite your love for photography.  With a buzz of activity around you it's great to capture the small moments that crystalize the mood of the night.  

There are those that say that taking a photograph removes you from the situation.  You're a documenter and not a participant.  This isn't always the case.  Looking back at the photos I can recall everything about the moment.  The sights, the smells, the mood and the memories.  

Capturing these moments is what I love and what I will continue to do for as long as possible.

Prepping For The Show

Good evening everyone!  I really haven't forgotten about you I swear!  Things have been a bit hectic on my end and I've been taking a lot of photos recently.  One of the biggest events was the 24 Hour Photo Project that I was lucky enough to take part in.  It was a crazy and exhausting project but I can't wait to do it again next year!  I'm still going through and editing those photos but I'll be making a post and a special project page for it.

This post centers around some shots I took yesterday though.  this coming April 26th I'll be displaying my work in "The Greatest of Them All: Photography & Art Exhibit".  I'll be showing my street and landscape photography along side some of the greatest graffiti artists in Los Angeles.  It's a real honor and I can't wait to show my work!  The flyer for the show along with the collection of the pictures will be down below!

Yesterday some of the guys got together to buff (paint a solid base color) one of the walls at the exhibit.  I did some document and behind the scenes photography while two absolute LEGENDS in the graffiti world went to work on one of the walls.  It was a very cool experience and gave me just a glimpse of what was to come.  I hope you enjoy these pictures as much as I enjoyed taking them.  

Cheers.


New Look!

Wasn't too happy with the old layout so I decided to change it up (slightly).  While it's not a complete overhaul, I do feel that this is an easier to navigate layout.  Although I did like the full bleed on the last version, it did feel cluttered when bringing up the thumbnails for the gallery.  When in doubt, K.I.S.S.

To go along with the new change in the site I'm also thinking of new projects to work on.  I'm always on the hunt for commercial work (I need to pay the bills somehow!) but these would be projects I could work on over a period of several months. It all began after seeing Eric Kim's post regarding mediocrity and photography.  On a related note, I just discovered /r/picturechallenge which could help out in this regards.  I'm open to all ideas though so feel free to chime in if there are any you're working on or would like to see.

In the meantime, we just passed through a week of cold weather and rain here in Los Angeles.  Although I personally am a bit saddened (I love the rain), here are some beach photos which show a typical Los Angeles winter scene.



San Francisco

Ahhh how I love that city.  I have a blast every time I go and this last time was no exception.  Thanks to our lovely friend Cindy we always have a local to show us around and to take us to all the good spots to eat and drink.  She's a lovely guide and we can never repay her with enough booze for showing us around!  I need to get back up there for longer than a weekend.  The city looked beautiful at night and I wish I could have photographed more of it although it was BITTERLY cold (for a Los Angeleno).

One of the highlights from this latest trip was a visit to Alcatraz island.  Although I've been going to San Francisco with my friends for the past 7 years, this was actually the first time that we made the trek out to The Rock.  It was a cool and creepy place that I would have loved to wander around in the restricted areas away from all the crowds.  We did get a brief history while walking around with the audio tour but if you had full run of all the areas it could make for some great urbex photos.

Overall the weekend turned into a great way to put my newly acquired x100s through it's paces and I must say it's an absolutely wonderful camera that I will miss (more on that later).  If you are thinking about making the plunge just do it.  You won't regret it at all.  It really is a perfect street/travel camera.

Cheers until next time!

Revisiting the Familiar

I've had the idea to revisit my old neighborhood for a while.  When people typically think of street photography in Los Angeles, the one location everyone thinks of is Downtown.  It's a high traffic location with a lot of interesting background scenery to frame your images.  While it's a great location, I wanted to revisit a location that was a bit more personal. 

Eagle Rock will always hold a special place in my heart.  Some of my fondest childhood memories were formed in this small town just Northeast of DTLA.  Good food was always a few blocks away.  Each doorway seemed to hold something special behind it.  Especially when the doors were unmarked or I never had a chance to visit the business behind them.  My mind would race about the possibilities behind each of them.  Over time some were answered while others still remain a mystery.  

There was much about the town that was beautiful and amazing to me.  I think that comes with being a child though.  As I returned to the city I loved I began to take notice of the little flaws and imperfections inherent in any small town.  Abandoned buildings, trash, the homeless population, etc. etc.  Seeing these issues still doesn't change my love it though.  In a way it actually strengthens my love.  It's like seeing someone you love open up and show their vulnerable side to you.  

Flaws and all, Eagle Rock, I love you.