Tag Archives: photography

Moving to NYC: What I’ll Miss Most About LA

the girl that never sleeps is finally moving to the city that never sleeps. certainly reminds me of one of my favorite songs by the wombats.

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how do i sum up 6 years of my life in los angeles? understandably, i’ve been putting off writing this blog by sheer intimidation but it’s probably time. in less than 3 weeks, i’ll be packing up my life in the land of palm trees and saying hello to new york city. if there’s anything i should add to my LA bucket list before i leave, let me know!

i moved to LA initially to study at UCLA and lingered afterwards for career reasons. since then, i’ve had many adventures — from interning at universal pictures and focus features, to working at UCLA’s film/tv rental office checking out equipment, to shooting hundreds of editorial projects and concerts. for some time i even gave the acting thing a shot with a commercial agent i was referred to by the makeup artist on a music video shoot. i eventually became involved with a wonderful non-profit photo organization and loved connecting with others on events and exhibits to bring photography to life. i liked working behind the scenes so much that i found myself on the project management side of a digital media agency– producing apps/games/websites for brands like l’oreal, bravo and several movie studios.

though it’s been an amazing adventure, i know this city just doesn’t suit me. the sprawled geography, the incessant traffic, lack of public transportation and seasons. it was just a ball of stress.

it’s a bit strange now because i’ve established a pretty good life here. i have a wonderful network of friends, a stable job as a producer, regular photo clients, etc. i absolutely adore my apartment and echo park– the neighborhood i live in.

echo park at sunset

however, i know that i won’t ever truly be happy with this city. i mean, you better have a pretty good reason to stay somewhere you don’t like and i’ve been fortunate enough to have accomplished most of my reasons within the past few years.

i’m a firm believer in taking action if you’re unhappy. you can come up with a slew of excuses or even legitimate barriers between going after what you want but in the end, you’re only cheating yourself. don’t stand in your own way because there will sure as hell be plenty of other obstacles to deal with. i try to tell myself that if you want something, it’s not that hard. just take actionable steps and make a plan. honestly, life is precious and you shouldn’t waste time delaying pursuit of the things that make you happy. take the time to stop and ask yourself if you’re doing what you want in life. if you’re not and don’t have a good reason why, you better get it together. one thing i’ve learned through loss is to never take anything for granted– to charge forward with purpose before it’s too late. regret never does down easy.

so with that said, i’m going after one of my life goals of living in new york. as a high school freshman, i visited new york on an orchestra trip (shh…don’t judge). even though i was only there for a week, i completely fell in love with the city and promised myself that when i “grew up,” i would live there. this is a pretty scary leap considering i’m leaving everything behind and i don’t have a job or place lined up. that’s fine though. i like a good challenge and sometimes you just have to shake things up a bit. plus, i believe i’ve outgrown LA now that i’ve accomplished my initial goals for moving here in the first place. thankfully, i do have a roommate to look for apartments with in brooklyn. my old co-worker from lucie foundation, dylan, recently moved there so we’ll hopefully find a quaint apartment together– preferably with good lighting. :]

after leaving LA, i’m driving up to the bay area where my family lives and going on a two week vacation to europe before flying out of san francisco to new york. plane tickets have been purchased and it’s a done deal. i haven’t been back in the uk since i lived in london so i’m pretty ecstatic. i’ve got a bit of wanderlust. so far, london, paris, venice, and amsterdam are on the list but perhaps i’ll squeeze in more. i’m looking at this vacation and move as an opportunity for new adventures and re-evaluation.

now that my moving plans are concrete and the countdown has commenced, i’m starting to realize there are a lot of things i’ll miss about LA. shooting FYF will probably be my last hurrah in LA and it’s strange to think that this will be my 4th year in a row shooting it. i gave notice to work and almost got a bit choked up because i really do like the company i work for and i’m so grateful for the opportunities i’ve had to learn and grow. i gave my roommates notice to find a replacement and realized how much i loved my apartment — which is why i’ve lived in the same one for the past 4 years. i mean, look at dat lightttttttt!

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i’ll miss the walks around the neighborhood, the gorgeous lake that just reopened, and weekends spent in my favorite cafes making idiot faces.

the faint @ music box, los angeles 11/18/12

i’ll miss the music venues and the many music photographers that have become like a second family to me these past years while shooting countless shows. they’ve touched me with their kindness, fervor for life and incredible creativity.

really what i’ll miss the most about LA are the friends i’ve met. i can’t fully explain how grateful and lucky i feel to share laughs and struggles with you fucking amazing people. GAWD DAMN, ALL THE FEELZ RUSHING AT ME. having you in my life at all is a sort of love and gratitude that i can’t fully articulate.

so thank you. you’ve made LA home for me these past 6 years and knowing you is truly the best thing that’s happened to me here.

as for new york, here’s to hoping it’s every bit as rowdy and full of life.

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Weekend Daydream: Angeles National Forest

weekends are for unplugging and working on real tans instead of catching fluorescent office rays and the glow of computer monitors. that’s why last weekend, i went on a hike to a waterfall.

 

it was friday night– my friend, karin, and i just got turned away from the wait list for a musical improv show at upright citizens brigade so we sped down sunset boulevard blasting the “guilt mix” on my ipod. basically we were screaming a bit of this and a lot of this at midnight. we stopped at brite spot and each ordered an irresponsible amount of dessert. maybe it was the sugar rush or the disappointment of the sold out show but the urge to go on a spontaneous adventure took over. we started researching our options and it turns out, hey– there are a lot around LA.

fields, waterfalls, and forests were on the top of the list. after karin left, i passed out fully clothed googling waterfalls and wildflower fields at 2am.

first choice was antelope valley’s poppy reserve because holy crap those photos are gorgeous. however, we let out a whimper when we saw a current photo of the field. basically, it looks like a barren desert when not in season.

all good though. we ended up hiking to sturtevant falls at angeles national forest on sunday. knowing that there was water and climbing involved, i knew better than to challenge my…uh…sub-par motor skills by carrying an SLR. thus, hello average iphone photos.

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the drive only took about 20 minutes from east LA. you’d think you escaped the infuriating traffic once you’re up in the mountains but we circled the parking lot for half an hour before giving up and parking perilously on the side of the road further down on the mountain. guess it’s crowded on weekends. the park only charged $5 for a parking pass and there was no entry fee. make sure you still grab a pass though even if you park on the side of the road– we saw a lot of people with parking tickets.

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there were these cute antique cabins tucked away on the hike. apparently they were built between 1907 and 1936. interestingly, they’re now private property and available for residential sale.

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in retrospect, going on a hike mid-afternoon in the sweltering heat probably wasn’t the brightest idea but we were pleasantly surprised. with very minimal exceptions, ample trees surrounded the trail which provided much appreciated shade. once we got to the waterfall, there was even a very cooling breeze.

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the good thing about going on a hike with another photographer is that you feel less guilty when you pause to take a bunch of photos since you’re both doing it. i caught karin taking photos of the waterfall. i also tried making a video on instagram but hooray it crashed once i got back with network signal and it deleted the video.

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by the end of the hike, the trail was nearly straight uphill. i transitioned into full whine mode but i just thought about the cake i was going to reward myself with and kept going. my legs and glutes are still sore from the hike!

anyway, if you’re in southern california, you should definitely venture over to angeles national forest. i know there’s no wifi or cell phone signal in nature but the beauty of an occasional getaway is worth prying ourselves away from our social media addictions.

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Creative Productivity Tips: Pop a Gat on Procrastination

heat wave has settled in LA. as i’m typing in at this cafe in echo park, i can barely concentrate despite the a/c. something about the summer just inspires daydreaming. or maybe blaming the weather is a convenient excuse for productivity.

speaking of productivity, it seems as though i’ve neglected you, blog. sure, i’ve been busy shooting, work and eating but let’s be real — i’ve also been very busy procrastinating. ;] that hopefully should change. i stumbled across this book called “manage your day to day: build your routine, find your focus & sharpen your creative mind.” i’m not too far into it but it’s already been very helpful. i like that it’s comprised of essays from multiple creative professionals.

manage your day to day

woopz, i got some grease on my copy thanks to a delicious brie/fig sandwich. anyway, with the producer day job, regular editorial photo gigs, concert shoots, and personal projects, i end up feeling really overwhelmed and exhausted at the end of the day.

i’m trying to do the below. maybe they’ll help you optimize your time too:

  1. set aside time for creative endeavors or personal priorities at the start of your day – wake up early. complete the tasks important to you early in the day because by the end of the day, you’ve already expended your best mental energy on other tasks. this leads to more procrastination a la “i’m too tired” or “i already worked all day.”
  2. practice routine and frequency – it’s easier to keep going than it is to stop and start cold. also, when you do something often, it takes the pressure off for each task result to be the most amazing thing ever. this blog for example, the longer i put it off the more anxiety i feel about making a post that’s incredible since i haven’t blogged in a while. you start to overanalyze and that just gets in the way of actually doing anything at all. same with photography too– the more  you develop a habit of shooting, editing, and posting often– the more likely you’ll get an incredible shot. wtf, you think you’ll capture a masterpiece each time you click the shutter? c’mon. whatever you do, it doesn’t have to be perfect– just do it until you get there. anyway, i’ve been applying routine and frequency to exercising lately too– more on that in another post.
  3. break down big goals into manageable, executable tasks – figure out what you want and then list out actionable steps to get closer to the goal. it can get really intimidating when you just focus on the big picture. it makes starting an endeavor hard and procrastination becomes an excusable option. instead, take it day by day and one task at a time. those days will add up and as long as you practice routine (#2!) you’ll get there. don’t obsess over the end goal– always have it in the back of your mind but instead concentrate on the smaller tasks getting there. the project management strategies from my producer job should be applied towards the way i tackle my personal goals. on the projects i manage, there’s always a scope and defined deliverables. you don’t just charge into a project without structure– you take it piece by piece. i make a schedule that breaks down the project into clear design iterations, development rounds and then QA. breaking down steps makes the end goal achievable otherwise you don’t know where to start.
  4. don’t download the simpsons tapped out mobile game – you will spend embarrassing amounts of money on donut currency and premium items. just don’t do it.
  5. don’t procrastinate by googling “how to stop procrastinating.” you’ll just end up looking at cat memes online.

kay, maybe some of those tips are less helpful than others. i might add more later. go ahead and leave your own tips in the comments section.

on that note, gonna leave now. been at this cafe too long and my buddy has already left! we had a brunch/work hang out. i’ll leave you with a photo of our coincidental cat wallpapers.

cat friends

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Raucous Fun with Born Ruffians

if ever there was a doubt about the joys music brings people, just attend a born ruffians show. fans packed my favorite LA venue, the troubadour, at maximum capacity on monday as they sang along. i couldn’t stop smiling as i moved through the crowd.

born ruffians @ troubadour, LA 5/6/13

i was really looking forward to hearing some classics since i’ve never seen them live before but their latest album, birthmarks, is pretty damn good.

born ruffians @ troubadour, LA 5/6/13

luke’s voice in particular sounded even better live– it just rang with such clarity and an unique, soothing twang. you could tell the band enjoyed themselves that night. there’s something inherently whimsical about their music that makes me daydream for days.

after the show, i stepped out on santa monica blvd and walked to my car under the light rain and twinkling streetlights. i live for these magical moments.

born ruffians @ troubadour, LA 5/6/13

check out more photos i shot of the show up on prefix. supporting bands include moon king and avid dancer.

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stab at design: header & watermark

look, i’m a design noob.

if you were to sit me down in illustrator, i would probably glare at you with confusion and ask for a custard donut instead. i’m a photoshop/lightroom kinda gal.

with that said, mad respect for designers. i’ve just spent the past few hours scouring custom fonts and messing around in illustrator. working with designers for over a year at my agency job inspired me though so i figured i’d give designing a new website header and watermark a stab. i ended up going with #2 below for the header. originally, i just had plain italic text which is the iteration shown in the bottom window. i can’t believe the time that goes into design even for the simplest item.

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also played around with watermarks. i’ve developed an affinity towards brackets. i guess that’s fitting since i bracket almost way too much when shooting. here’s a photo of janelle monae at coachella last weekend with the new watermark.

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besides the novice design frenzy, there’s a lot to catch up on this blog. since my last post, i’ve shot both phoenix and postal service in pomona (separate dates). also covered coachella weekend two for brooklynvegan.

since getting back on monday from coachella, i’ve been really sick with a fever and respiratory infection. thankfully, the fever is gone now but i’m still feeling pretty rough. the doc took swabs of my throat but since it’s viral, basically it was like, “sorry girl, deal with it. antibiotics won’t do anything unless it’s a bacterial infection.” okay, maybe my doctor didn’t say that exactly but i was feeling pretty desperate to speed up the recovery process considering the mounds of work to be done. let’s just say that the recipe for being miserable would probably contain working on multiple deadlines with a fever. i was also annoyed with wasting 2 hours at urgent care to find out my body is stupid and will just have to tough it out. whatever, virus. you’re the worst. no, actually — whoever played that obnoxious game on their phone with the sound on in the hospital waiting room is probably the worst. seriously, are you that clueless? put that shit on mute, man.

on that note, going to grab some sleep before a full day tomorrow. my inbox terrifies me.

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Food Porn: Eat Well LA Shoot

i had so much fun shooting these food photos of eat well LA recently for gilt city. i’m pretty happy with how they turned out. i mean, i was basically drooling. if you live in LA, this meal delivery service is worth checking out. for a busy person, this is far healthier than picking up fast food or microwaving a frozen burrito. or, if you’re like me and fail at cooking pasta (nobody told me linguine has a longer cooking time than spaghetti), this is a cheaper option than eating out every day.

eat well LA

eat well LA

eat well LA

eat well LA

the salad was one of the freshest and tastiest i’ve had. the beats added a nice texture and sweetness.

eat well LA

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darwin deez @ the echo

FACT: it’s impossible to attend a darwin deez show without cracking a smile.

could be those mid-set dance routines and those quirky but sweet lyrics– they’re just what you need on a friday night after a looooonnng week.

usually i walk to the echo since it’s in my neighborhood but *le gasp* it was raining in los angeles that night. when i got there, it was clear that the show was definitely sold out. the entry line at the echo stretched out to the bridge.

darwin deez @ the echo, LA 3/8/13

thankfully, i was the first person in the guest list line so i got a proper spot near the stage. check out the full gallery up on prefix.

darwin deez @ the echo, LA 3/8/13

darwin deez @ the echo, LA 3/8/13

darwin deez @ the echo, LA 3/8/13

darwin deez @ the echo, LA 3/8/13

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Cold War Kids @ KCRW’s Berkeley Street Studio

KCRW puts on these private, intimate studio sessions at Apogee Berkeley Street Studio. I nearly bursted with joy when I covered Local Natives back in December in the small space. A few days ago, Cold War Kids dropped by the studio to preview tracks off their upcoming album, Dear Miss Lonelyhearts. Like everyone and their mom, I’ve been in love with them since hearing the dangerous rattling of maracas at the start of “We Used To Vacation” and those oh so soulful vocals.

Check out my photos and recap of the night over at Prefix Magazine. :]

Cold War Kids @ KCRW's Berkeley Street Studio, Santa Monica

I can’t get their latest single, “Miracle Mile” out of my head. It’s so hopeful and wild.

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I LOVE EDITING

like so much you can’t even handle it yes i’m in my pj’s. is this sarcasm? are you a smart cookie? shush shush shush. oh gawd, someone give me a cookie.

Photo on 3-6-13 at 11.54 PM

photobooth, y u make it so easy to procrastinate? no but really, tonight’s cold war kids performance at kcrw was stunning. photos and review will be up on prefix tomorrow. no sleep for wei.

Photo on 3-7-13 at 12.01 AM #3

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How February Tried to Destroy Me + Gordon Ramsay Food Porn

february – you wild beast, you’ve tried to maul me but i’ve cracked my whip, hustled and tamed you. unless you have some secret attack saved for the remaining days of your reign, i’d say i’ve won this round.

phew. ok, this month has definitely been busy. between shoots, breaking up with an asshole days before valentine’s day, and working ridiculous hours at the producer job, i’ve been going slightly crazy. thankfully, le tigre’s discography helped me shred through everything in my path. despite the obstacles, it’s been a very good month and i’ve set plans in motion to tick a few items off my bucket list. for one, i finally signed up for upright citizens brigade improv/sketch comedy classes! after the two month class, there will be a graduation show so i hope you guys can come out and see me make a fool of myself. the performance is on sunday, april 21 at 1:30pm at upright citizens brigade theatre. if you’re going to the second weekend of coachella, you will sadly miss me being idiotic on stage. that’s alright, i’m sure if we’re friends you get plenty of that on a regular basis. >:3

oh, and in other news, i licensed one of my music photos for apple outdoor ads in the UK and japan! can’t go into too much detail but i’m very stoked about that.

of the features i’ve shot this month for gilt city, gordon ramsay’s restaurant at the grove, fat cow, was one of my favorites. executive chef, mathew woolf prepared stunning dishes including grilled shrimp with bacon habanero marmalade, root beer glazed short rib, and malt chocolate pot au crème. oh my gawd. voilà, some obligatory food porn:

fat cow

fat cow
i absolutely love shooting food but it can be challenging. for interior/exterior shots, i typically bring a tripod and remote to shoot with a low shutter speed. that way i can capture the vibrant activity of the space in a low light, nighttime setting. also, the slow shutter speed means any type of movement will be blurred which is perfect for masking diner’s faces. after all, you don’t ever want to feature someone without a release form or disturb a patron.

fat cow

i was slightly intimidated shooting this particular restaurant since it was in a very crowded space and i knew curious eyes watched as i worked. the grove is a busy outdoor shopping center. though i’m a pretty shy person in some situations, when it comes to work and photography, you just have to zone out all the distractions and focus on the task at hand. usually i get so excited about the food (chefs are fucking genius artists) and creating a good image that i naturally lose consciousness of anything else.

food porn aside, another gilt shoot i really enjoyed this month was xtend barre. i can already sense my asian metabolism betraying me these days so if i ever get myself to exercise on a regular basis, i think i’d do barre classes. i mean, what girl doesn’t want to pretend they’re a ballerina while getting fit? the people that run xtend barre on melrose were extremely friendly and nice so i’d definitely recommend them if you’re in the area.

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besides these shoots for gilt, i’m now the house photographer for a monthly comedy series in los angeles called super serious show. i’ll write another post for that because man, it’s just a little too silly to follow up behind barre and food photos.

work at the digital media agency has been grueling because we’re in the final stretch of launching a redesigned app for a major hair product line on multiple mobile platforms. there have been late nights and countless spreadsheets. generally though, it’s been a busy but incredible month.

so yeah, K.O. february. you’ve swung some punches out of left field but you’re a fool if you think you can take me down. whenever i’m stressed or presented challenges, i think of these lyrics by le tigre:

and if you ever wanna try your hand at forcing my suicide just know i’ve only begun
and if you ever wanna try your hand at forcing my suicide come on and try to kill me off!

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