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Like I’ve mentioned before, I have quiet a few family members that live in the Northern California area so I’ve been a few times. And when I booked this trip to San Francisco, I wanted to make it a little different. I didn’t want to go to all the tourist attractions (which I did end up going to a few, but not as many as I would have before) but I just wanted to walk around the different neighborhoods and get to know the local side of San Francisco.

But the only shot that I had planned and definitely wanted to capture was this one. Up until recently, I had never seen anything like it. I love how the Bay Bridge is framed by the tall buildings and whenever I look at it, it totally reminds me of rice-a-roni, the San Francisco treat! HAHAHA. Wasn’t there a picture similar to this on the cover? or something like that. I can’t just be making it up.

So if you ever are going to be in the Bay area and want to capture something similar, here are a few tips I learned from capturing it:

  • This shot is located on California St and Stockton St (I think). I heard that going on a Sunday morning is the best time to capture it because it’s going to be far less crowded and you’ll have a better chance of getting a clear shot of a trolley. So this was taken on a Sunday morning. I didn’t actually attempt to go any other morning.
  • Be patient. The website says the trolley runs every 6-15 minutes. If you asked me, it seems like longer. I think I only saw two trolleys while I was there for an hour. Maybe I was there a little too early but still….
  • Bring a long lens. In order to capture this compressed look, a long zoom lens is ideal.
  • Hopefully when you go there will be no cars because you have to stand in the middle of the street to capture it. I’d suggest bring a friend with you so they can lookout if a car is on the way. If not, have you camera settings ready to capture this real quick.

My camera settings for this image is F4.0 at 1/400th of a second at ISO 500 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm zoom lens.

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A few weeks ago my cousin, Vincent gave me his old film camera. It came as a total surprise and I was really excited about it. It’s been forever since I shot with film but then I started getting all these questions in my head. Like, would I still remember how to use it? Where do I buy film? Where do you even get it developed? When would I even use it? Questions that I had never even thought about for at least 10 years.

In the past year or so, I’ve realized that film has kinda been making a come back. I see more and more people uploading film images onto their instagram and I never really thought anything of it. I’m not really into instagram fads so I never really considered it for myself but since I was gifted with a camera, I might as well as take advantage of it. We popped some fresh double “A” batteries in it and I opened the back to see if there was film in the camera. Oops, there was. Oh well, I figured a light leak here or there could be cool. HAHA.

I started taking pictures around their house just to test it out. After my first click, I lowered my camera to look at the back of it and immediately laughed. It was a habit that I had obviously created and never really realized. Even my nephew, Axl, asked to look at it after I took the picture. The 3 year old was confused about the fact that “it wasn’t that kind of camera”. LOL.

So I brought it peach picking with us and here are the results. Hope you enjoy.

Also, let me know if you’d be interested in seeing more film images. This was kinda fun and it definietly made me slow down and really think about what I was shooting. Considering the fact that I was limited to 24 frames (when I’m used to 1,000+), it was so different. OHHH and that film shutter sound 🙂

Its funny though. I got the roll of film developed and put onto a flashdrive. I pulled them up on my computer when I got home and the first thing that came out of Andrew’s mouth was “it looks like an instagram filter”. HAHAHA!

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This is a portrait of my friend, Albert from one of Artechouse’s installations earlier this summer. I love it because of the cool lights in the background, the color, the mood but my favorite part of this image is because it is of Albert.

I’ve known him from a few years now and have been following him on instagram even longer than that. But it hasn’t been until the past year where I have really gotten to know him. We’ve spent some beautiful mornings together taking pictures and have spent some amazing evenings together talking and laughing. We have a lot of things in common, one of the main things being photography but he just inspires me so much every time we get together. I am always amazed by his images but what I love most about him is that he is not afraid to be himself. I mean look at this!

But because of him, my interest in street photography and portraiture has grown so much. Even when I’m standing right next to him, he can see things that just pass me by. He has taught me to be more patient, not care what anyone else thinks and I appreciate him so much for that.

To be honest, I don’t think he reads my blog or will ever know that I’m writing this about him. But I just would like him to know how much he inspires me to be me and how much I value his friendship. Thank you, Pootie! Hope we can get together soon after I get back from California to catch up and take more pics <3

My camera settings for this image is F4.0 at 1/500th of a second at ISO 5000 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide angle lens. Have I mentioned how much I love this camera in low light situations?

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Wow! Remember this past winter I kept on saying that this year is the year of the fog. We had so many crazy foggy days and it was so awesome. On this day I was out with my friend, Birch and seriously walked the Mall with what seemed like hundreds of pictures. Every angle was a cool angle because the fog made everything look so different. It was difficult not to take a spooky looking picture.

But the weirdest part about this day was we captured this around 11a. So weird! I don’t know about you, but I usually associate fog with early mornings and then it fades away as the sun comes up. But this was pretty much in the middle of the day so I didn’t even need a tripod. It was fantastic!

Well, I’m hoping that fog follows me to the west coast because today I’m flying out to San Francisco. I’ve always wanted to capture the fog over the Golden Gate bridge and I heard that August is probably the best time to actually witness it. So please cross your fingers for me that the fog comes rolling in. *C’mon year of the fog!* I’ve already book marked some of the places where I want to photograph to capture it all. If you have any suggestions for me while I’m in San Francisco, please let me know! Photography or food spots are appreciated 🙂 I’ll just be in the bay area for the weekend and will be meeting up with my family early next week. I’m going a few days earlier just to take pictures around the city and hopefully meet up with some photo friends along the way 🙂

My camera settings for this image is F4.5 at 1/640th of a second at ISO 320 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide angle lens.

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I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, I am so grateful for the DC creative community. I’ve learned so, so much just by meeting up with various photographers and taking pictures with them. Just seeing how they work and how they “see” things inspires me to want to create more than just my typical sunrise shots. Whether it’s street, portraits, or whatever, I am grateful for everyone being so open and willing to share their ideas.

This is definietly the case with my friend, Birch. She has always been a photographer I admired on Instagram. Her point of view is so interesting but we hadn’t connected offline until the beginning of this year. Once we finally met, I feel like we became instant friends. Not only did she have a lot of the same ideas about creativity and photography as I do but we have a lot of the same interests besides art. So since our initial meeting, we’ve been getting together to take pictures quiet often. You can find us talking about the latest audiobooks we’ve been listening to, working out, or even bucket list travel destinations.

What I love most about her photography is how simple she makes everything. For the most part, she’s only carrying her 70-200mm whenever we go out shooting which is so different than me! Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a photographer with a whole bunch of gear in her backpack but I’m usually with a wide angle lens and a zoom lens and that’s it. But with her 70-200mm telephoto zoom lens, she’s able to capture so many things that I usually would not even notice.

When we first met, I told her that I wanted to get a 100-400mm. I’ve tried it out since then and to be honest, it’s just kind of a big boy lens to be carrying around on casual photowalks. Maybe sometime in the future. But last week I purchased  the 70-200mm sony lens, inspired by Birch so that hopefully I can see things in a whole new way. Be prepared to see things a lot more close up. LOL.

This image of the row houses is also inspired by her. I loved the way she captured them in Capitol Hill so last time I was in Georgetown, I thought I’d try something similar . Thanks for being such an inspiration, Birch! If you haven’t already, definietly follow her on the gram 🙂

The settings for this image is F8 at 1/160th of a second ISO 800 with my Sony A7II and 28-70mm zoom.

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Thank you, Thank you, Thank you Focus on the Story International Photo Festival for an AMAZING festival. I felt so inspired and grateful the entire weekend. I got to see so many amazing images, watched so many great presentations and best of all hugged so many wonderful photographers. I could not be more thrilled.

Obviously my favorite part of the entire weekend was the photowalk. I am still shocked and so honored that about 70 people showed up on a Saturday morning at 5am to walk around the National Mall. Thank you so much to everyone who came out. I hope you had as much fun as I did.

And I can’t help but smile while I scroll through the #FOTSwalk18 hashtag on instagram. The weather called for partly cloudy skies and we even got a little bit of fog rolling through, it was perfect! There were so many great images and I wish I could post them all! But here are a few:

Special shout out to @chantale1 for the group shot at the beginning of our walk.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BjzsHXAA13Z/?tagged=fotswalk18

Lovely long exposure, @rodb_pics

Bennett stole the show, @eugeneksoh! Great portrait, @wvugee

I loveeee this! Thank you so much for capturing this action shot, @geoffliving

Beautiful image of @julwriter, @metroamir. I love the reflection!

Keeping watch. #FOTSwalk18 #nofilterneeded

A post shared by Crystal Borde (@cborde) on

Love the mood you captured here, @cborde

I love me me some bird shots too #herons #FOTSwalk18

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Another photowalk, Another blue heron. I’m noticing a pattern. Thanks so much for these amazing captures, @bellasoria.

Beautifully framed #fotswalk18

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GORGEOUS frame, @bellasoria. Wow

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bj0YblWHrkR/?tagged=fotswalk18

Love all repetition in this one, @heatheronthego

Thanks again to everyone who came out. I’m so grateful to have so many talented photographer friends. Be sure to check out the #FOTSwalk18 hashtag to see more images from the walk. And thanks again to Focus on the Story for putting on such an amazing photo festival! I can’t wait for the next one 🙂