I’m – I mean, We are getting married! On to a new adventure called responsibility. I thought long and hard when Gus got down on his knee and asked me to marry him, actually, it took me 4 seconds to answer. I thought about what this new promotion in life would mean, what would I be giving up? What will I now have to do? I thought about how hard everyone says marriage is, and well, if I was going to go into battle, it would be Gus who I would want to fight along side.
I take no credit in finding Gus, and I am sure he would agree, we accidentally found each other. I was in the middle of working, and he wanted to check out the control room at church. Time stopped when we saw each other, actually I pretended like I didn’t notice him noticing me. I played it cool that day, and I am still playing it cool. Hopefully he doesn’t notice my flaws, like how I think I am the main character of this movie. He would say that he is the main character.
From a distance you may think we have it all figured out, the only thing we know, there is nothing we can’t solve together. We kept being engaged a secret for six months, why you ask? We’ll we needed time to trouble shoot all the questions – where? when? wedding? who is invited? babies? Yes, yes, yes, no, yes! haha.
I’ve always been a late bloomer, I was the last of my group of friends to kiss a boy, to move out and now to get married. Most of my friends have pre-teens, actually I’ve lost most of my friends to their husbands and children, a real shame!
My life plan was to get married ten years ago, but one problem, I needed someone great – and I wouldn’t meet him until what felt like FOREVER. Its been a journey from that moment when we first met to the ones you see on screen. There was a lot of things that hand to be discuss, fixed and worked out. For that we thank Jesus, He makes the impossible possible and helped us though the process of learning how to love with a pure love.
Wish us Luck! On our way to be married.. 4 months to go.
I’ve always wondered why people fled the city life to go hang out in the middle of no where for their vacations. Every paid vacation from work is like fine gold, every moment must be used to have the highest level of fun and inspiration. My ideal vacation is to travel thousands of miles away to a foreign land, to escape my culture and world and to have some new experiences. This summer I was invited to join Gus family on their family camping vacation.
Though this sounds like a classic plot set up for a girlfriend to be pranked on by the family who doesn’t really approve, (Parent Trap and every episode of a 90’s sitcom.) I knew I had to be open to try new things, I wanted to show I could have a good time away from the city life.
I was looking forward to learning how to fish. At first, I was bothered to kill a fish in order to eat it, but my boyfriend’s Native American roots taught me the relationship between nature and man. The fish was giving it’s life in order to sustain mine. The fish could feel everything I was feeling through the line, being relaxed and developing a connection with nature, would attract the fish to bite. The beautiful mountains and lake was office for the day.
We spent the day at the lake, fishing, catching fish, getting excited and cheering each other on. I snapped a few photos, but because I had no phone service, I was forced to put it on airplane mood and focus on getting dinner. By the end of the day I caught my first fish and Gus showed off by catching the largest fish out of all of us. I am now a fisherman!
In the evening when the normal routine is to relax and watch some television, or youtube, we were left with no options than to talk to each other. We made a fire and talked about faith, our careers, and family life. It was a nice bonding experiences to get to know Gus’ family. I saw familiar mannerisms of Gus all though out his family. It was fascinating to see parts of him in his parents and brother. This was his tribe, and I was an outsider being allowed in.
I began to wonder about the women through out history who had to leave their families in order to marry. How hard it must have been for them to serve a new family, always daydreaming about the family they left behind.
Coming home, I was thankful for the time spent away from my world, but I was also very happy to return to my family and share my adventures with them. I still find myself putting my phone on airplane mode, chances are, whatever it is.. it can wait.
I often say a day off from work is like fine gold, the value is greater than a normal weekend. Something fun must be done with the time. Staying home and relaxing would be like missing an opportunity to invest in a great stock.
In California the biggest drawback is traffic, so what ever is done has to be done early in the day otherwise you’ll get stuck in traffic as if you did go to work. Christina text me in the morning and we made the decision not to go to LA due to traffic, but she remembered a great little city on the way to LA called Claremont.
Just like traveling in a foreign city you really don’t know what to do, there is no plan just the time to discover something new. To my surprise, my favorite coffee Augie’s, has a new location in Clermont. We grabbed a coffee and explored the bookstore next store.
I told Christian the story of Gus and I looking for a record shop and ended up at a private home studio. Of course we didn’t knock but the adventure to find this address was pretty funny. I looked up local record shops, and to my surprise there are a few in the area. It was great to learn Claremont’s downtown was becoming another cool places to hang out in.
I enjoy visiting new places to get me out of my comfort zone. It gives me a chance to see people who are different to me. I often look for the same places to visit but it’s the walk to A to B that I enjoy most, the conversation with a friend or the people watching I do along the way. The Record stores, coffee shops and bookstores are usually excuses to get out and experience what I’m looking for; life happening.
Trying to figure out the right camera to buy can be challenging. The endless research can be overwhelming. So I offer you my love story with my cameras.
The first question I’d ask you is why do you want a camera? Once you share your passion and excitement then’ll I’ll crush it by asking how much money do you have to buy it?
The point is to get the soul purpose of your desire. You might be selling yourself short if you answer about your budget first. I saved up for my DSLR for 6 months and paid for it cash. I had learn having debt for equipment can be dangerous, you can get too excited and waste money on gear you don’t need.
Why do you want a camera? I wanna have fun taking photos – Any camera can do.
Find any camera and play with its effects. Look at thrift stores or eBay. I recommend an old film camera, you’ll fall in love with photography!
I think the most fun I had with a camera was my Diana 35mm film camera I got at Urban Outfitters. It was first stressful learning how it worked because its suppose to be “easy”, which made things complicated. Once I figured out how to use the camera, I had fun trying out different effects it offered.
I wanna start learning photography. – Film cameras
You won’t like this answer – I know you wanna run out and buy an expensive camera. I recommend buying a 35mm camera with a detachable lens to teach you the fundamentals. Test the shutter to see if it works before you buy. You will bond with this camera and people will call you strange. Little kids will ask to look behind the camera wondering where their photo is. But you will learn how to frame up, expose, and capture a moment. Every exposer will cost you – $2 for each shot (development and film.) You will feel the mistakes in your wallet but you’ll also learn how to use the camera without a computer thinking for you. The photos you take will surprise you, and show you what kind of photographer you wanna be. Because those will be the picture you take most.
I want a camera to take with me while I travel. -a digital point in shoot
We all have this romantic image in our head of walking down the streets of Italy pointing and shooting our camera capturing people in the market place, beautiful architecture and of course our self in front of landmarks. But the reality is, you will leave your heavy camera in the hotel and settle for your camera phone – this my friend, you will regret. Sure you got 50 likes on FB but the day will come when you want to print the photo and there you will see the truth of how bad camera phone pictures are- they suck. The good news, because of iPhone technology advancing, they are getting better but until then, I recommend a point and shoot that cost more than $200, anything cheaper will have low pixels. I found the Nikon CoolPic 300 produces great photos! I bought it for the manual settings. Although I hardly use it because it takes too much time to set, instead I use the auto settings.
When traveling you are going place to place so fast, you only have time to frame up. Plus this camera is easy for other people to use when you ask a stranger to snap a photo of you. Its very rich in color, wide in frame and great at night.
I want to start filming/shooting professionally. – Canon or Panasonic with audio inputs
If you are starting a photography and video production business or if you are hired to film, the poplar DSLRs is what you are looking for. The quality is great without having to spend so much on a camera. The audio is bad which you’ll need a secondary recorder for that. But if you are getting B-roll type footage or plan on creating wedding montages that don’t need audio, then this camera is best to use. You will have to invest stabilizers but they aren’t too much. You do have the choice of buying a cheaper DSLR for $700 which is great for filming because they have the flip screens or go pro $2000 which would be ideal for photography. Look up tech details to see what best fits for you. I would recommend if you are starting out to start with the cheaper camera until business kicks in. The last thing you want to do is put all your money into something that you later find out you don’t really enjoy or find that the area you live in doesn’t have a market for it. Keep in mind its the LENS that really affects the quality, that is where you will need to invites your money in.
When it comes to filming you’ll want to record audio. Make sure there is an input to plug a mic in.
As you can see, you don’t just have to pick one camera. If you love photography, you’ll love cameras, and each one is different. I go thought many different phase just using one type of camera. When I get bored of my work, I search for a new camera that can spark up some fresh creativity inside me. You don’t have to spend thousand of dollars either, sometimes the right camera ends up finding you.
When I think about the photoshoots I’ve done in the past, the ones that were the most stressful where the ones I took getting prepared lightly. Usually this would happen after I hit a home run with a shoot, I’d just grab my camera bag with not many thoughts about preparing for the shoot. A number of problems never fail to come up during a shoot; I didn’t charge the battery, the batteries in the flash decided to give out by the third photo taken, the location agreed upon was closed, a child starts crying for no reason, all of these things happen but preparing for them is the game changer to master.
Every mistake I’ve made or failed to be ready for, I add it on my mental list of preparation.
1. Work out money and the detail before your shoot. Land on an agreement of prints, photo count, location, and so forth. What will help you with this is to pretend you are looking for a photographer in your area, research and see what the market is like. Then decided what is fair for your time and talent.
2. Charge all the batteries the night before, even if you think they are charged enough.
3. Clear all memory cards, capture any photos on it before you head out, even a few images on a card can impact your ability to get that final shot. You don’t want to stand there with your clients in front of you deleting images to make room.
4. Contact the location you are going to shoot at, get open time and ask if they don’t mind if you take photos. There have been times I failed to do this and the place was closed, and another time we had to pay $50 to take photos. That is something I could have added to the price.
5. Contact the client days before, exchanging contact mobile phone numbers, location address and time. Be prepared to show up earlier.
6. Communicate the payment for your service is due the day of the event. Many time’s I’ve said, “Don’t worry pay me later”, only to be paid months and months later, and awkward conversations of where’s my money. People forget and move on, get paid now.
7. Look up examples on line of the shoot you’re going to do. Of course you want to have your own style but chances are your clients have been on Pinterest and now have “this” idea of the photos they want. Also, this will help you with setting up your shots.
8. Gas up the car, clear your calendar. Avoid booking two photoshoots in a day. Its overwhelming and the second one will pay and be sloppy.
9. Book your appointment based on the best lightning of the season, or if the location is shaded anytime works best. The most visual mistake is shadows or harsh sunlight.
10. Do as much as you can to make the process easy for your client, do most of the work as possible. They are not only paying for photos but a service. Go beyond the agreement if it doesn’t hurt you. You want them to tell there friends about you, and you want to become their family photographer. What an honor. Or better yet, you want a photo you took to become their Facebook profile picture. That’s the greatest honor for a photographer of them all.
I’ve must have passed Santa Cruz many times while on my way to San Francisco. My Australian friend had went for a visit during her last stay and told me how awesome it was. Gus and I drove up after Santa Barbara and took in the fresh over cast morning at Pleasure Point.
Gus told me about his family growing up in Monterey and suggest we take a drive to enjoy the town the following day. But first I wanted to check out Mission Santa Cruz since we where so close. We went to the church only to discover it was very small, compared to Santa Barbara mission there wasn’t much to see. We enjoyed a walk in the garden and headed towards downtown.
Driving in to the city I noticed the Museum of Art & History, right away I wanted to check it out. I enjoy visiting art museums in new places. I never know what they will focus on and its interesting to see the different exhibits. There was a lot of interactive art displays. I joined in and created a passport about my family history. Gus was impressed at my drawing of myself. I laughed because if there is one thing I know how to draw, is the face I’ve looked at all my life.
Walking downtown was one of my favorite parts of the trip. Looking at all the old buildings and discovering new shops is so fun. We spent some time at the record store looking at all the music past generations enjoyed. I bought two albums for the road trip back but both albums end up sucking, haha. I like taking risk but thank goodness for iTunes preview!
With the last bit of energy we checked out the Boardwalk. Talk about busy! There wasn’t an empty space in the park. Gus and I were so worn out, we spent less than an hour here. I’m sure my 14-year-old self would have loved every bit of it. The rides, the crowds of young people, and all the fatty food!
The next day, we headed over to Santa Cruz Breakwater Lighthouse. My friend had told me about this cute little place to have breakfast called Aldo’s Harbor Restaurant that overlooked the dock and lighthouse.
We got in the car and headed to Monterey to check out Cannery Row and the Fisherman Wharf. We first
took a break at Starbucks which I saw this man and his dog relaxing. He chatted with me about how his dog likes to do his own thing and doesn’t listen. I smiled and laugh at his dog’s little tongue hung out. After we checked our email and social media, we headed to grab some famous clam chowder at the Fisherman Wharf.
Time flew by and back to Santa Cruz we drove. Our vacation time was ending with just a few days left. Two more missions to see on our way home. We stopped by Mission San Juan for a few shots.
We drove to our last mission only to do a drive by. We where worn out and now needed a vacation from our vacation.
I’ve lived in Southern California my whole life and never bothered to visit central California. It was a nice road trip to do with the missions as an excuses to drive and take in the location. It was interesting to visit these historic sites and appropriate a school lesson I kinda slept through in 4th grader. I’m sure Mrs. Luper would be proud!
The first thing I did when I got settled in to Santa Barbara was Google, “local crime in Santa Barbara.” The place felt peaceful and perfect which left me uneasy. Everyone in town seem to be wealthy and not afraid to walk around late at night. The only thing I read was reports of thief, so I was sure to hide anything expensive. Of course I was being silly, most people who live here are working professionals who have money to buy thing and not steal them. haha.
Since Gus had to work, I walked around downtown and discovered all the action while he was away. The best part of travel is the adventure of discovery. Downtown had a local tram that was super cheap to use. I did notice the architectural of the local buildings was very similar to the Santa Barbara mission which was beautiful.
It was nice walking around alone, I was able to spot some things I would have missed if I was with someone. Although by the end of the night, I was bored and couldn’t wait for Gus to return. So much for being an independent woman!
I’ve always wanted to see the famous missions in California myself. It was a great excuse to take my time to travel up north.
Here is Gus’ cut of Santa Barbara – keep in mind, road trips can make one go crazy. haha
Growing up my parent’s idea of a holiday is staying home. This summer because I wanted to save money, I was about to do that too.. but just couldn’t stay home for a week doing nothing! I talked Gus into doing a road trip with me but this time focus on California. We made our first stop in Hollywood to visit a church. After we went around the blvd and captured some photos and video. Gus shot and edited a travel series of our trip. I’m so happy to share the videos here along with my photos. Keep in mind, I am awkward in front of the camera! Next post – Santa Barbara!
Making the summer official by visiting Huntington Beach. I snapped photos as Gus filmed. I turned off my auto focus and decided to snap photos the old school way. Snapping as I saw something interesting without worrying where my focus points where. It was nice and liberating.
Taking photos of kids is always great practice, they move around so fast, if I’m busy looking at my settings, I can miss a moment. I noticed the photos of my nephews where extremely outdated. I love capturing memories.
I want my life back. My moments, my relationships and privacy. I no longer want the pressure to brag and show off where I am at, what I am eating and who I am with. I know you mean well, but when I instantly give these precious life moments to share, I lose them as I try to upload, tag, and write a caption.
Thanks for what you do, connecting me with people but I also need to connect with the people in front of me. I’m putting my phone down and forgetting about it when I don’t need it. When I snap a photo, I’ll look at it later. The world can wait and so can I.
Wednesday morning before work I heard an interview with the creators of Instagram. I was pulled in by their witty personalities and big dreams. I listened with closeness as I heard their heart behind Instagram. They spoke about capturing those special moments; children learning how to walk, a mom spending time with their child, graduations, weddings, birthdays and how people can share images as they happen.
I began to think about all the big events in my life to my everyday routine. I thought to myself, “Those are mine, I don’t want to give them away by snapping a photo, writing a caption and uploading it.” I’ve learned through the years about the sacrifice a photo can cost. Live life or take a photo of it? I have to make a decision between enjoy what is taking place or pulling out my camera and capturing it. And now because of instant publishing more time is lost to experience life.
The question is how do I solve this dilemma? If I’m not careful, I can end up experiencing life though a screen, missing out on the beauty that no camera can capture.
This 4th of July weekend I did an experiment. Take a photo and look at it later. I was anxious to share immediately but instead told myself to enjoy my time with the people I love most.
Looking back on the photos, I can appreciate them even more because I got to live them.
The problem with creativity is it takes time to develop. We take it for granted that it will always be there inside our brains and souls whenever we need it. During the busy seasons at work and life I find myself searching in an empty room. It seems I used up all the items in my creative storage.
Thinking is the most important element when it comes to creativity. If you live on deadlines like me, you will discover there is no time to sit and daydream. When this happens, the best advice I give to you is to run away. Run away from every distraction that is haunting you down, find a place, sit and breath. You will surprise yourself at what ideas come in to your mind. Life flows though your mind like a dream, remembering and connecting different thoughts together.
When you hear stories of the great creative thinkers and inventors one thing they have in common is they took daily walks. When you look at your list of things to do, you will see that it can wait.
For even my phone needs time to charge, so my brain needs time to process thoughts. I have found its hard to be still but those who have discovered it discover some of life’s greatest secrets. Nature its self holds answers to questions we fail to answer on our own.
Life can happen so fast, that even a 2,000 camera can miss it. The past few months I’ve been enjoying my camera phone. When I was 8 years old I use to say, “I wish I could take as many photos as I wanted, to have unlimited film!” Now many years later, I am living that reality, minus the film. The camera phone isn’t the best quality to print but I can’t deny the joy of being able to capture the simple moments of life and sharing them right away.
Maybe this is my way of rediscovering my childhood love of photo taking. If anything this will help me see how beautiful life is and be thankful for all I have.
Its so interesting when you notice change. Most of the times things seem to stay at a moderate pace. When we are in the mist of life, a part of us expects things to always remain the same; the good and the bad. The friends that surround us, family, pop culture, even the strangers that walk by, we think time won’t change anything. Suddenly you stop and look back. You realize you are in a whole new world, a new time, a new season.
A part of me wants to miss the past. It wants to miss the friends that I was closest to. When I look at old photos, it makes me wish to go back. But I know that world no longer exists, even if I did go back, no one would be there. And even if I stayed at that spot of life forever, I would miss out on the future. I would never get the chance to extend my love and add a new person in to my heart.
The lives of my friends are changing, new songs are being written, new stories are being told, and what seems to stay the same is the love I have in my heart for the Creator. Even though my world is busy, I still think about what I can do for Him. Its been a desire of my heart since I was a naive youth. Now that I’m older I realize what God wants to do in my life is deeper than I imaged.
When I was 16 and wanted to change the world, I didn’t understand that the miracle God wanted to do was inside me. Only now do I see its about character, the way I respond to things, if I’m compassionate, if I’m kind, patient. I have heard the word “meek” all my life but for the first time I looked it up and began to study it. Meek isn’t a character attribute that I can, “work on” but its the state of a heart. I can work on being kind but being meek.. I can’t help the way my heart reacts sometimes.
Change is never easy, no matter how much you prepare for it. Its the beginning of a new season that is the hardest to get use to. A part of me always misses the winter when spring comes, and misses spring when summer comes but eventually I learn to enjoy the moment I am in. Its the challenge of looking myself in the mirror and noticing the change that matters, is what happens inside my heart. Even though I miss the past life, I have confidence that better days are up ahead.
So things are changing, the question is, What are you going to do about it? Sit and miss the past? Or stand up and dare to overcome the new challenges that you face.
See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland. Is. 43.19
Leeah has an amazing story. Last year on her way home from a friend’s house she was hit by a motorcycle that left her in a coma for weeks. Her family wasn’t sure she was going to make it however they prayed and asked God for a miracle.
Fast forward a year, she is out of her coma and is re-learn everything from walking to talking. Every week it seems as though she is getting better and better. Since her recovery, we’ve become great friends on instagram. I asked her if she would like to do a photoshoot with me. I wanted to capture her beauty that she often hides. She isn’t one to enjoy the center of attention but I knew my camera could help capture her unique style and display how pretty she is. It’s interesting to see that even being in a coma a part of her mind remembered her style and personality.
With every shot, the camera was pulling out a small part of who she is. At times I was directing her to pose but its when I left her alone did I finally find the mood I was looking for.
Before every shoot I usually have some idea of what I am going to capture. I thought I would try to get the girly side of Leeah, I brought some make up and hoped maybe she would let me put some on her, but as I moved passed my ideas and just captured what was true I saw that who she is was more interesting than what I had plan. What good is a portrait if it doesn’t portray your subject.
We went to Kats Alley Record shop to take our final shots. I knew Leeah would feel right at home in this place. We walked around the shop together, laughing and talking about music.
By the end of the photoshoot Leeah had turned the tables and started taking photos of me. Photography allows us to connect with people, thats why its so enjoyable.
Last weekend, Gus and I took a drive to the mountains. When we stop for a rest, we were able to see our city. Suddenly the world looked so peaceful. I joked and said, “So this is God’s point of view huh.” As I said that I was reminded He is not far but living with me, experiencing everything I am.
“I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
“I lift up my eyes to the mountains- where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.” Psalms 121:1
For some reason, our culture treats the word, “Christmas” like its a bad word, covering it with a generic, “Happy Holidays” greeting. I find it strange since they advertise aggressively all of November and December for the day they aren’t even allowed to say. And maybe that’s okay, since they don’t know the meaning of Christmas anyway.
Regardless what one’s feeling is about Christmas, whether you believe in Christ or not, the gift of family and love is freely given to those who open their hearts to it. To forgive, to mend, to welcome and to share a beautiful holiday where we remember the greatest gift of all that was given to humanity. A baby born in Bethlehem. Emmanuel. God with us.
I must admit, the more expensive my camera gets with its fancy lens the more I leave it at home. On a day off, the last thing I want to do is carry a big heavy camera. Gus and I went for a walk in the Claremont Botanical Garden near town, once I got in to the garden I regretted leaving my camera at home, lucky I had my point and shoot in my purse.
There is something therapeutic about taking photos. It makes you notice the details you would other wise pass. I was noticing color and the way light was hitting the different plants. Being an editor, it was nice getting out side and watching the ants and bees work hard.
When I was in Paris I couldn’t help but fall in love with their little cars. In fact, I was surprise when I read the make of their cars, I thought, “What! Why doesn’t Nissan sale these in America?”
I began to notice little cars everywhere I went!
Back in 2007 my parents went with me to pick out a car. As always they talked me in to buying a car I didn’t really like. It was a black Nissan Maxima, the kind car a man drives. Though it was nice, I began to hate driving. I mean hate it. When I would introduce my car to someone they would say, “This is yours?”
I began to have car problems. I kept hearing two voices, “Pay it off, be debt free!” and “Pay off a car you really love.” So Saturday morning I got ready and went to the car dealership. I went in saw what I wanted, test drove it and in two hours I bought my dream car.
The point of my story isn’t to brag, its to tell you – Go after what you REALLY want. Don’t just do something because EVERYONE is telling you to do it. At the end of the day I was the one who had to drive that big man car for seven years and pay 8% interest. Finally, its out of my sight and everyday I smile when I start up my Mini Coop.
Now I love driving, I enjoy my mornings going to work, and everyone I introduce my car to they say, “This car is totally you.” Yes, I’m going to have to work harder to pay it off but now its worth it to me.