sarah’s sweet 16.

A little while back, Sarah contacted me about getting her headshots done before she auditioned for a production of Les Misérables. Shortly after our headshot session, she and her mother got back in touch with me to ask if I could photograph Sarah’s Sweet 16. They told me a bit about how the event would go down, and I was hooked. It sounded so exciting, which turned out to be a serious underestimate.

I arrived in time to snap a few shots of the birthday girl getting ready, and shortly after, the guests and the party bus arrived.





After a quick headcount and itinerary check, everyone loaded onto the bus and we were off to Downtown Disney! But it wasn’t just a tedious, hour-long drive down to Anaheim. It was bright lights, glow sticks, and dance music.






As soon as we got to Downtown Disney, we headed to House of Blues for dinner.





Cake time, followed directly by a shopping spree!



The night ended with everybody back on the bus, staring at cell phones and falling asleep. I had some incriminating photos of the chaperons falling asleep too, but I seem to have misplaced them.


It was a pretty amazing and unforgettable night. I hope you had a great time, Sarah, and thanks for having me and my camera tag along!

Don’t forget to check out more from this event on my facebook page. And speaking of my facebook page, I have just recently reached 100 likes! Thank you so much for your support, everyone — I really appreciate it. Also, there’s just 30 days left of my summer session discount. Schedule now and get 10% off your shoot! Offer ends May 31st, so don’t miss out!

annie & greg – reception.

After my couple’s portrait session with Annie and Greg in Camarillo, I could not wait to photograph their reception at the Valencia Hills Clubhouse. The evening was so full of love and laughs, and I had an amazing time capturing it. It was a simple and beautiful event–flowers, candles, good food, good music, and good people.

I arrived a bit early to help set up and snap a few details.



How sweet are these baby photos of the bride and groom?

Just before the guests started to arrive, I pulled Annie and Greg aside for a few shots. They looked really incredible. What a gorgeous pair.






Cake time!



I really love these shots. Annie and Greg looked so happy dancing together, and the father-daughter dance was adorable.


As things began to wrap up, we went outside for a few more shots of just the two of them. They kept looking at each other and just smiling. What a great way to end the night.

Check out a few more images from the evening here.

erica.


While I was in Seattle, I got to meet little Erica. She had just turned two and I was getting to take her latest portraits. Her dad really wanted some photos of her that fit her personality, so I basically got to spend the day playing with her and taking candid shots. We started with the playhouse above and moved to the train set…


Erica wants Daddy to play, too!



Fairy princess Erica.


Her room has lots of Totoro stuff in it. I’m jealous.

I had so much fun playing with you, Eri-chan! Thank you for having me!
These are just a few of my favorite shots. She was such an adorable model. Make sure to check out a few more of my favorites here!

under the sea.

My mom tells this story of taking me as a little kid to see The Little Mermaid in theaters. I had watched it countless times at home and had always loved it. But for some reason, that day in the theater, I completely melted down. Ursula scared all the sense and composure out of me. To this day, none of us know why that happened. Ursula is now my favorite Disney villain, and life under the sea is totally fascinating to me. So, when the offer came to go on one final field trip as a high school student, I was thrilled; we were going to Aquarium of the Pacific.

I do still have one problem with aquatic life, and therefore aquariums. Looking at the various tanks of fish, I start recalling what I have eaten, and wondering if the things I haven’t eaten would taste good sliced up and put over rice. Seriously. Being a sushi addict in front of a tank full of Yellowtail is dangerous. Other than that, an aquarium is one of my favorite places to be.



I really love taking pictures of jellyfish. These were so tiny, I had to use the macro attachment for my Lensbaby.

My love for jellyfish pales in comparison to my love for penguins. The day of the field trip, I was wearing one of my three penguin hats. I follow Avery, one of the Aquarium penguins, on twitter. I really, really, really love penguins.



This was such a fun day. Make sure to check out the rest of my aquarium photos on my facebook page.

I am starting my last semester of high school today. I’ve got an intensely heavy workload, but I’m so excited. I got straight A’s this past semester, so I just have to stay focused and do it one more time. Also, I’m taking Advanced Digital Photography, and I plan to post my photos from the assignments. Keep an eye out!

I know I said I would get to photo editing, like, last weekend. That was before I came down with the plague.

… okay, maybe it’s not the plague. And as a friend pointed out, I seem to think I have the plague every time I come down with something. In my defense, I never seem to just get a little bit sick. You see, I am very stubborn about being sick. I never want to admit that it’s happening, so I fight it and keep on working long past the time I should. I don’t rest and I don’t take medicine until someone is forcing me to. I know, I know… I need to stop that. I’m only perpetuating the problem and making myself sicker. I just really want to be able to get my work done! Instead, I end up down for the count with what I can only assume is something fatal, once or twice a year. It is very disruptive to my life plans, not to mention my weekend plans.

I’m slowly getting back into the swing things, and I got photos off the camera and into Lightroom. I’ll do some heavy work on all of that soon. Just glancing at what I have from the bridal expo and the aquarium, I am very, very excited to share these photos.

Looks like I’ve got a busy week ahead of me!

chris.

In July of 1997, my parents and I went to Disneyland. We went to Disneyland a lot in those days, since my dad worked for the Mouse, but this day in particular was of great importance. This day, standing in front of the Walt and Mickey statue, I met a little boy named Christopher. Our dads worked together, and since we were all new to California, it was arranged for us all to have a Disney day. Christopher and I were 2 years old, so to be frank, I don’t really remember much from that day. I do remember that there was a photo of us from our dinner that night at Goofy’s Kitchen on our fridge for 9 years. I remember several other Disneyland trips, one that included a giant dill pickle and one that made him wish he had never encouraged me to go on Tower of Terror (I love it now… just… not so much the first time). I remember us playing with Legos. I remember arguing over who got to wash their hands first. I don’t actually remember the gymnastics classes we took together, but thank god for parents and their natural instinct to document every embarrassing endeavor of your childhood. There are videos of every class and every birthday party. Photos of every Halloween costume and every ridiculous face.

No, really. We made ridiculous faces. That’s me on the left, Christopher on the right, and my aunt Maiya in the middle.

I’m fairly certain that, 15 years later, we all still make those faces. It’s just that now, Chris and I are taller than Maiya.

Christopher and I grew up together. We spent hours on Neopets and MapleStory together, stayed up late watching Harry Potter movies in the living room when we were supposed to be asleep, took my dogs for walks, made grilled cheese sandwiches, and made up insane stories about the world domination plan of gerbils everywhere. I remember when he first started going by Chris, and how hard it was for me to remember to say that instead of Christopher… it’s still a little difficult now. I was there when his siblings were born. He was there when I moved away to Minnesota.

A couple of months ago, his little sister asked me, “Are we, like, friends, or are we family?”
I’m pretty sure we’re both.

So needless to say, getting to take his senior photos meant the world to me. During the early stages of planning, we talked about a lot of elaborate shoots, including one with explosions in the background. In the end, we had a simple shoot with just him and his dog, Mindy. He turned 18 today and left for college, so it seemed about time I share his photos with you all.

It was a really fun session. Every set of shots would start out serious and end up with him making faces.


Mindy loves her boy.



Serious… happy… aaand silly. Every time.


We did a few that were a little more artsy.


But then he went back to being silly.

Really, really silly.

Still, we got a lot of nice formal shots. Y’know, to make his mom happy.


I’ll put a bunch more on my facebook page soon — we took a lot. I had so much fun with this, just as I have with every day I’ve spent with this crazy guy as my friend.

Happy birthday, Chris! Good luck in your new college digs.

nihon, daisuki.

I may have already mentioned my love for Japan… but seriously. I love Japan. 14 hours was not nearly enough time there. My dad and I woke up as soon as we could and ran out of the hotel to find some food. We made our way to Ajinoya, as was recommended we do. I have to say, it was a fantastic recommendation. I ordered for the both of us (okonomiyaki, yakisoba, and onion omelet). Japanese food is my favorite, and this place was absolutely amazing. We ate way too much and then headed back to pack up our stuff and go to the airport. It was a bittersweet farewell. I was so happy to be going home, but… Japan. I love, love, love Japan. And I cannot wait to go back.

I took as many photos as I could while I was there, and a bunch of them have been uploaded to my facebook page. Check them out, and don’t forget to hit that like button!




kafei qing.

That was really the only thing I knew how to say when I arrived in Shanghai. “Coffee please.” Well, that, and, “I’m sorry, I do not speak Mandarin.”



Now, the trip to Shanghai was very comfortable — we were able to use miles to secure seats in Business class, and those lie-flat seats make all the difference on that 12 hour flight — but there’s something very disconcerting about being somewhere new and being completely illiterate. My dad has traveled enough at this point that I think he’s gotten used to being lost. I, on the other hand, have only ever been places where I had at least a slight grasp of the language and culture, or I was just too young to care about the stress of not knowing. This time was very different and I found myself pretty shell-shocked over the first couple of days. Everything was so fast-paced and completely unfamiliar, but I gradually found a way to relax and really appreciate my surroundings. Shanghai is really interesting because there’s a lot of really modern architecture mixed in with some clearly older, more dilapidated structures.



We spent a little bit of time at the Shanghai Zoo, but not a lot — it was WAY too hot!


We ate a ridiculous amount of food throughout the whole trip.





I did a lot of sight-seeing in Changzhou, Nanjing, and Shanghai.





I always find it interesting to just watch people and photograph them as they go about their business, hopefully without them noticing that I’m doing so. Maybe it’s all of the theatre stuff I’ve done, but I just can’t help but think about what their story is and try to figure out as much as I can about them before they’re out of sight.
Well, apparently in China, people were finding it interesting to watch me. In Shanghai and Nanjing, I encountered this less, but in Changzhou, people would just stare at me as I walked by. The difference being that Shanghai and Nanjing are far more accustomed to tourists than Changzhou, which is primarily businesses and families, and a lot of relatively new developments. The watchful eye of the locals was definitely off-putting at times, but never as startling as in one particular instance…

I was wandering around a park in Changzhou with my dad and his business partner, Steven, when this guy came up behind us. He said something in Chinese to Steven, who replied, and after some (completely incomprehensible) banter, Steven turned to me and said, “He wants to take your picture.” Apparently he had been following us for a bit and watching me take photos before deciding to actually approach us. Now, when he did, he didn’t actually have a camera in-hand. I assumed he would pull out a cell phone or a small camera, take a quick shot, and be on his way. Instead, he pulled that monstrous Canon out of his bag and started ushering me about the park, posing me, and taking rapid-fire shots until Steven finally told him we had to leave. For the life of me, I could not figure out his story, but I asked to take a few photos of him before we left. It was a strange moment, and definitely a story I’ll remember for a while.

All in all, the China trip was a success. Lots of memories, photos, and food was my goal, and I definitely achieved that. I wish I hadn’t been sick the entire time, but I still tried to make the best of it. Hopefully someday, I’ll make it back there, maybe when it isn’t so unbelievably warm. And maybe I’ll have expanded my vocabulary to be able to order tea as well as coffee.

The photos here are a mere fraction of the number I took during the trip. I will be uploading many more to my brand new facebook page! That’s right, now you can press a little ‘Like’ button as well as add me as a friend. Keep an eye on that page for more China photos and other updates!

summer days, drifting away.

So, school has been out for a while. Why is it that I haven’t posted since late May?

I have been taking photos. I have been wanting to post them. I just haven’t done it. School really took it out of me this year, and I guess I’ve needed some time to recuperate and breathe. But let’s be honest — two months is more than enough. So here I go. Let’s make a post.

As I mentioned, school was really rather hectic this year, but I made it and I am extremely proud to say that I got A’s on all of my finals and maintained my 4.0 GPA throughout the year. I even did well at my new Japanese school — aced that final, and got third place in the speech contest. With all of that hard work done, I’m actually really excited to be going into my senior year. A little apprehensive still, I suppose, but definitely excited. Time to go out with a bang.

But enough about school. What have I been doing this summer? Let’s see…

I went to Katy’s graduation party…


I took Noel’s headshots in Griffith Park…

I’ve hung out with my friends in the valley…

Wandered around Little Tokyo with Emily…

Went to the beach…

Practiced using studio lighting…

Drove up to Big Bear with my mom, Chris’s family, and the dogs…


On the 4th of July, Kira texted me and said she’d be visiting from Minnesota for a grand total of 48 hours, so I met up with her in West Hollywood the next day…

And now? Now I’m in Shanghai!


I still can’t really believe I’m here. I fly back to California the second week of August, but until then, I’ll be exploring China, taking lots of photos and eating tons of food. Once I’m home, I’ll be scheduling shoots and getting back to my regular posting. To help me get back into the habit of blogging, I’ll be posting trip updates and photos throughout the next couple of weeks, so keep an eye out!

Hope you all are having a lovely summer! Zàijiàn!

chris – sneak peek.

I so badly would like to put up my full posts, but this is better than nothing. And hey, school is almost over, which means lots more time to take care of these things! Even with school and finals going, I thought I’d take a minute between taking chemistry notes and writing a poem based on The Pit and the Pendulum to give you all a sneak peek of my awesome senior portrait session with Chris (and his dog, Mindy!).

I have a fairly long story to go with this photoshoot, but that will come later. I hope you enjoy this little preview!