Yesterday I woke up feeling a little like death, but I had to pick my charger up at the San Francisco Zoo when I shot a wedding there the previous week.   Originally I planned to pick up my charger and spend the day watching animals and brunching at Java Beach cafe.  Instead, in a zombie-like trance I picked up my charger and went to the bank then went straight home.  Along the way I discovered I lost my voice which I learned is really frustrating when it seems the bank teller is so far away.  I must have repeated my account number two or three times before I resorted to writing it down for the poor guy.  Needless to say it was an experience. I felt very strange being unable to raise my voice.  So I got to wondering what'd it be like to be mute.  I'm not sure how much my life would change.  I think I could live with never talking again... and just listening and texting.  I admit it would be difficult to be a wedding or portrait photographer.  I guess I could switch to photojournalist.  I'd like that.

Anyway, here are more pictures with my iPhone using the VSCO camera.  Truthfully I think it's a great camera and app, but I don't like making it a habit of using my phone to take pictures.  I still like my big camera best.  Next time I visit the zoo, he will be my buddy.



Today was a long day. Actually it was only 4 hours. I photographed an event in the city and was in desperate need of a shower and sleep.  So I rode BART home in a bit of daze, falling in and out of sleep.  The train pulled up to my spot, and I gathered my belongings.  But as I looked over from my seat on BART, I saw this man and this light. It inspired me. I wondered what he was thinking, so serene and still.  Where was he going?  Where had he been?  I seek out these things when I photograph people.  I search for their stories in their eyes.

I love photography.

Advice to an emerging photographer.

As I develop as a photographer, I discover things I wish I had known years before when I was starting out.  One of the most important lessons I wish I learned at the beginning of my career was...

"Always shoot for yourself."

It forces me to practice my composition and technical skills.  I strongly believe anyone can be a photographer.  (Side note: I do not believe everyone  can be a professional photographer.  That's a whole other animal and blog post waiting to happen. )  To me, photography is a language.  I speak through my photographs.  I show my emotions, my perspective of the world, my ideas of love....etc.  So when I say anyone can be a photographer, I mean everyone speaks through their photographs.  (Some will speak more clearly and distinctly... i.e. the professional.)  And the way to hone photographs as your language is by practicing, practicing, practicing.  Look at your personal work and evaluate it.  Is the photograph look how you want it to look?  How can it convey your distinct point of view more clearly?  And personal work is the perfect time to explore those aspects of photography.

It keeps photography from being just my job. I've been a professional photographer for some years now.  In my early years you would absolutely never see me with my camera unless I was working.  People were constantly asking me to take pictures of them, and I quickly became burnt out and burdened by photography.  I just wanted to enjoy the moments and events.  I did not know how to rationalize photography as a job and a hobby.  When I started to take time to shoot only for myself with personal projects, I regained that balance.  I realized I had allowed my photography to be solely dictated by other people and was no longer doing it as a creative outlet.  Shooting for myself reminded me of why I love photographing friends and family and clients.  Photography brings me joy.

And, most importantly it keeps me true to myself.  I look back on my own images at the start of my career, and I am disappointed by how much I let my respect for other photographers influence my style.  I admired these photographers so much that I adjusted my style to theirs.  So often I see new photographers comparing themselves with other photographers and not investing enough time in finding themselves.  I struggled with that.  Back then my personal and commissioned projects looked as if they were shot by two different photographers.  My personal projects were wholly me, but my other projects were trying to hard to be something I wasn't.  The more personal projects I do, the more consistent I am in my style and to myself.

 .  .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .

By the way, the pictures above are of public transportation.  I love public transportation. <3

New York | Where are you headed?


It's a new year and still plenty to ruminate about. It's only 17 days into the new year, and I'm happy to report it's been a good 17 days. I wrapped up 11 wonderful days in New York with a posse of wonderful friends and a handful of lovely photography-related meetups.  I came home on a very pleasant flight where I met a nice lady.  Then went home to a nap followed by a yummy dinner prepared by my sister and brother-in-law.  With my sisters, parents and the in-law we sat around the table chatting for hours.  Nowadays I love being at home nearly as much as I love traveling.  When I'm in California I find myself wanting to stay home with my family and being a vegetable.  I rounded off the homecoming week with lots of work, new clients, meetings and plenty of quality time with giggling.

And, hey!  Did I mention I've already finished three books this year.  I'm really stoked.  I'm curious how many books I can read this month (and this year).  It will be exciting.  So I followed up my homecoming fun with dinner and a movie with one of my favorite friends.  I'm sitting here feeling like every day really has been the best day, but wondering where will this year lead me?

Where am I headed?  After filing my estimated taxes today, I realized I doubled my income in 2011 from 2010, but I also increased my expenses by about 50%.  So as I look to the future, I wonder where my hope is?  What am I depending on?  I am a super control freak.  I am a firm believer in "If you want something done right, do it yourself."  I am a borderline perfectionist and can be extremely hard on myself.  (I know. I know. I hide it so well with my wonderfully easy going demeanor. haha) But I want to start off 2012 like I lived 2011.  Focused on God, focused on me and focused on those in my life that I love.  Seems kind of funny to put myself before those I love, huh?  I realized that the more I work on improving myself the better friend, daughter, sister and lady friend I can be to others.  Took some trial and error for me to realize, but I am such a better person than when I started 2011 and that's because I wanted to take care in myself emotionally and spiritually.

I think this year is going to be great.  I turned 28 in a couple of months, and for once I'm very excited.  I asked for a bicycle with a basket.  (crossing my fingers!)  And hopefully I'll get that pedometer that's been on my wishlist for the past three years.  :)  Actually, I already think I'm 28; when people ask my age I say 28 because I forgot I'm still 27.  Exciting.  I have a good feeling about this year.

So where are you headed in 2012?