downtown

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Before leaving to Chicago, I had no idea there were so many alleyways in the city. Now that I think about it, it makes sense though. Just never really thought about alleys. So this one time when Andrew and I were on our way to a photo location (I don’t remember exactly which one but it’s safe to say it was a parking garage), google maps actually lead us through this one as the fastest way to get to our final destination. It seemed a little sketch with the smell of super greasy food, what it looked like people taking a cigarette break in the alley, and just an overall darkness hanging above us but other than all that I saw no reason not to walk through. LOL.

So we did.

Then I saw this puddle and probably spent a good 5 minutes just standing in front of it. I was trying to find a good reflection and then patiently waited for someone to walk past. I think the smell was starting to get to me and I was tempted to just ask Andrew to walk past a few times but then at the moment I was about to give up, two people actually walked past. You can see the second person a little bit closer to the wall on the right hand side.

Because I didn’t want that second person to be so visible and I thought this image would lend itself so well to it, I decided to convert it to black and white. In the end, it was just more interesting to just reduce it down to its lines and shapes and really bringing the attention to the person in the middle and the reflection. I love the way that it turned out. It actually kinda makes me want to go back to some older images and looking at them in black and white. It’s seriously a whole totally different point of view.

My camera settings for this image is F4.5 at 1/125th sec and ISO 500 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide angle lens.

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Just another image from walking around downtown Chicago. For some reason, I ended up next to this parking garage several times. It wasn’t intentional but I thought it was such a cool wall. So the first day we were walking around, kinda close to sunset time and I noticed this row of trees. I loved the way the light was hitting it so I asked Andrew if we could stop to wait for someone to walk past. I don’t think he knew what I was talking about because he was looking around to see what I was seeing but we stopped immediately.

It wasn’t long before this lady with a red jacket walked by. It was perfect. I love that color pop and how it adds so much scale to the trees and wall. It really is scenes like this that makes me excited about street photography. It may seem so simple, but the timing seemed perfect.

As soon as I captured this, we started walking again to our final destination that night, Lou Malnati’s pizzeria. OMG so good!

On another note, I’ll be in Richmond, Virginia this weekend and I’m really looking forward to it. If you didn’t know, I graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University with a BFA a longggggg time ago and I haven’t been back to the capital city since. I know it’s changed a lot and am really looking forward to seeing all the changes. I definietly want to go check out the campus and all the apartments I used to live in just to see if any of those have changed. It’s going to be crazy and a trip down memory lane FOR SURE!

My camera settings for this image is F6.3 at 1/200th sec and ISO 1000 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm zoom lens.

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Being from the east coast, I love our annual getaways to the west. Sort of like how birds migrate to the south for winter, I like to migrate the west and soak up the California sun and surf. Plus any excuse for a fresh acai bowl, amirite?

To be honest though, San Diego is one of my favorite places to be. I love the vibe of the city, everyone is super friendly and there’s no shortage of things to do. You have the beach life but also a fun downtown area if the city is more of your scene. It’s all of that plus a super dog friendly city. Frankie loves taking his morning walks on the beach, you basically have to drag him off the sand.

This was our second year in a row visiting around the start of the new year, but I have visited many times in the past too. This will definietly not be our last time visiting so keep checking back as I update this guide.

So if you’re heading to San Diego, here are the best places to take pictures:

The Beaches

This past trip we stayed at this beautiful airbnb right at the tip of Mission Beach. It was the perfect place for us because we were able to enjoy the beach in a less crowded environment but still have views of the water.  (If you’ve never stayed at an airbnb, I highly recommend it. Especially if you’re going somewhere for an extended stay. It’s all the comforts of home while you travel.) Morning runs were peaceful on the boardwalk and Mission Bay was right behind us which made it fun to fly the drone for a satisfying perspective of land and water. But if we wanted to check out some of cool restaurants on Pacific Beach, we were just a 15 minute scooter ride away.

One of my favorite parts about Pacific Beach was standing at the end of Crystal Pier. The pier allowed for unique, overhead shots of the wave riders and definietly provided a lot of great photo opportunities. And you can usually find the bubble man around sunset. I love watching the huge bubbles fly in the air and can’t resist trying to pop some if they float in my direction. The kids love them too!

(left) view from Crystal Pier (right) bubble from the bubble man framing a palm tree

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Taken at the same time as this image. Thanks again to Scott and Kim for taking me here. It’s funny cuz I thought this sunset was pretty amazing. You got the color and the clouds. What more could you ask for? When I told Scott my impressions of the sunset he started laughing a bit. He said that he’d seen better. Guess I gotta get out a little more often. HA!

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