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I did it. I went back to the sunflower fields again. But this time, I went with IGDC. I was a little reluctant to go last weekend because it was just so hot and humid out but I’m so glad I did.

It was so great to see so many of my friends and going out and taking pictures with them. It made the whole experience so different. I felt like I was able to see the sunflowers in a different light. Instead of just concentrating on the blooms, I was more interested in the interactions of my friends with the sunflowers. While some people brought ladders and drones, others had props like picture frames and colorful umbrellas. It was pretty interesting to see the kind of shots everyone was trying to take.

At one point, I was asked to go out into the middle of the field with the umbrella to pose for some images. I agreed and my friend, Birch said that she would go in the middle with me. After my job as “model” was done, Birch and I took some time to just stay in the middle of the field to take some pictures of our own. Luckily, we brought out this ladder so we had an elevated view of the field.

But when it was Birch’s turn on the ladder, I thought it would be interesting to see if I could get a sun flair or something coming from her shoulder. I got some shots but then I ducked down a little bit and loved the way this super tall sunflower was framing her. I love how you’re able to get the sunflower petals on top of the image but also see sunflowers in the distance. A shot I probably would have never gotten if I kept on going to the sunflowers by myself 🙂

My camera settings for this image is F22 and 1/60th of a sec and ISO 200 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide-angle lens.

PS: click here to see this image on the Washingtonian

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I just got back from my second trip to Chicago but my first real time visiting with a camera in my hand. I booked this trip with the intention to scout out photo locations for our upcoming photo workshop in Chicago. I wanted to get a feel for the city and the logicistics of getting around. So if you’re interested in joining me for a week in Chicago, click here.

In general, I loved visiting the city. Compared to New York City or even Washington DC, it’s a lot quieter as far as car noises and even people walking around. It’s so photogenic, meaning everywhere you turned could be a great new image. With the so many different elevated views, it was difficult to take a bad picture. I especially liked being among the skyscrapers. Even during the middle of the day, you can find some very interesting shadow play. Overall you can’t go wrong with a photo adventure in Chicago – even if it’s just for a few days.

Side note, they don’t call it the “windy city’ for nothing. Even on a nice, sunshining day, it can get really cold with the wind. I highly suggest packing at least gloves and a hat in your camera bag for those just in case moments. You don’t want to let being too cold be the reason why you don’t capture your shot. I was there at the very end of March and I wore my gloves everyday.

So we had a good 72 hours in Chicago packed full of photography. Here’s what we did:

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Happy Monday! Hope you had a great weekend! Mine was amazing. Probably one of the best in a while because of all these beautiful people in this image. Thanks so much to everyone who came out to the IGDC Anacostia Photo Walk this past weekend. I had a blast and hope you did too.

In case you missed it, my friend, Austin organized this really cool photo walk around his neighborhood, Anacostia. Prior to the walk I had not spent much time there and I’m so grateful for this opportunity to change that. I’m honored that Austin even asked me to be a part of it as I tried my best to give photos tips along the way. Anacostia is way more beautiful and interesting than I originally thought. One of the best parts was listening to his friend, John speak. He grew up in the area and knows so much about the history. Just listening to him speak so passionately about the culture and history was fascinating.

Obviously, I had to highlight some of the amazing creatives that were on the walk with us. Here are just a few of the awesomeness.

Proud to say I was standing next to Anu while she was taking this. LOL. I was totally in my own world when she stopped to capture this. Love how it came out.

A very common sight to see on our photowalks but loved the candidness of it and the beautiful tree at the Frederick Douglass House.

Beautiful framing of the clouds by this lighthouse in Anacostia.

Love this view from the Frederick Douglass house!

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bpuw1JpBo5X/

The photowalk just happened to land on the perfect weekend for fall foliage. This image is so fun and I love all the color.

Finally here’s an image of Austin and I. LOL I love it, Andy!

washington dc, anacosita, photowalk, instagram, instameet, igdc, austin graff, fall, anacostia river,

Thanks again to Austin for organizing it and for being a friend, IGDC for the amazing community that you are and John for all your knowledge. If you weren’t able to make the photo walk, I highly encourage you to check out Anacostia for yourself. You may be surprised!

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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?