Backlit

An ol’ country road in my hometown, Davis, CA.

Backlit, or car lights? ūüôā

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Four-Letter Word

RAIN.

California is experiencing its worst drought in history. The US Drought Monitor has ranked¬†most of California in the “Exceptional Drought” category, which is the worst possible category to be in, and the rest of the state in the “Extreme Drought” category, the second-worst. San Francisco literally had zero inches of rain in January, which has never happened since rainfall records began in the 1850’s. That is depressing, considering January is the peak¬†of rainy season in NorCal. CA¬†literally has¬†one¬†year’s supply of water left in our reservoirs.¬†Pumping water out of the ground has been our farmers’ quick-fix, which is not a sustainable practice or even a guaranteed supply of water.

I have always loved rain. I love the smell, the reflections on the street, the repetitious pattering of rain drops falling, the overall feeling it creates. I love how clean the city feels after a good rain. My parents say that I was born in a drought year. The day I was born, March 2nd, it started to rain and it did not stop for days afterward.

So please, help us Californians pray to the heavens, and send our roots rain!

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Masked

There is no shortage of street art in the East Bay. Virtually any flat, blank, public space has been converted to a canvas.

For Masked, I have been collecting photographs of my favorite trash cans and utility¬†boxes in Oakland and Berkeley… that’s right, trash cans, and power boxes. They are normally ignored and overlooked by the general public, but here, almost every single one has been converted to a¬†beautiful mural or painting. Just another quirk of living in the East Bay (see my post about gnomes)!

The first three¬†photographs have been ‘shopped, just playing around with HDR and what not, and the other 5 were shot on my iPhone 6. I love them all, because they are all so unique!

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Selfie

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This is my obligatory “Holy moly I can’t believe I’m actually at the Panama Canal one of the seven modern wonders of the world!!!” tourist selfie. ūüėÄ

The Right Place at the Right Time

Let us travel back through time and space to San Francisco. Against all odds, the Giants have just won the World Series, their third championship in five years and the city is abuzz. ¬†People travel from miles away to witness their beloved champions’ victory parade and awards ceremony.

Loyalty and love for professional sports teams run deep in the veins of my family.  My younger brother, Matt, currently lives in Santa Barbara, about a six hour drive south from SF. Unfortunately, he missed both parades in 2010 and 2012, so he was deeply determined not to miss it this time. He hopped in to his dying Honda Civic at 10pm Рimmediately after his shift ended at work Рand embarked on his journey.

Now, this car really shouldn’t be leaving¬†town any more. It is 15 years old and has manual transmission. It’s no surprise that the car broke down in Salinas. The timing belt had become loose and he could not start the car. He was forced to spend the night in a motel, where he got very little sleep and desperately wondered if he would even make it at all. He had the car towed at 9am that morning, the earliest the tow would come. The parade started right at noon¬†and the ceremony at 2:00. It took nearly 3 grueling¬†hours to replace the timing belt in the morning, but it was successfully fixed and he was off again at 12:00. He was still 2+ hours out of the bay area! I was so worried he would get there just as the ceremony ended.

But, in a mad dash of willpower and determination, channeling his unconditional pride for the team, he made it to the Bart station and jumped on a train. When he finally made it to the SF Civic Center, it was 2:15, and the ceremony was going to start in 5 minutes. He was at the right place, at the right time!

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This photograph captures his sheer joy to be in San Francisco. The adversities (and money) it took him to get there heightened this sense of ecstasy. With the Civic Center visible in the background, he was exactly where he wanted to be.

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Queen’s “We are the Champions” started to blare, and¬†he sang along from a place of bliss¬†and gratitude. The stars finally aligned for him to witness the Giants accept their trophy of glory and honor. Yes, Yes, Yes!

Fences and/or Rails

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We made our way up the narrow winding road to the top of the¬†Volc√°n Bar√ļ, an active volcano which also happens to be the tallest mountain in Panama. The fog was low which created an¬†air of mystery and wonder. There were¬†small pockets of bright light reflected on the mountainside, but mostly a cover of heavy¬†fog with the greenery of the mountain peaking through. A strong feeling¬†of tranquility and stillness is overshadowed¬†by the¬†knowledge that this was once violently spewing hot lava and could erupt again at any moment.The moss-covered posts are wired together, lining the spiraling¬†road. The fence can be seen twisting and turning into the distance, seemingly into the thick forest and into oblivion.

Simplicity

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Simplicity is…

Walking down an empty road, eating hazelnut gelato, discovering new beauty all around you!

(Simplicity is also restricting your blog post to a single sentence.)

Rocky Waterscapes

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To quote Ida, there is no shortage of rocky waterscapes in Panama! I took many, including from up high, down low, through fences, from a bridge. This is my favorite photograph of the bunch. It just came out so vividly, and I did not need to make any enhancements or adjustments or crops. In fact, I’ve had this one printed 10″x14″ and it looks even more beautiful on paper!

There is an old abandoned castle nestled behind trees off the road just outside of town. We daringly snuck in and quickly snapped some photos of the castle and the river while being stared down by a massive cow. We swear we even heard some hissing in the bushes so we got out of there pretty quick. This photo makes all that silliness worth it!

Drops of Water

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Commence rapid-fire photographs of Panama!

This is an image of a cobweb I spotted on a hike in the cloud forest in the Lost Waterfalls Nature Reserve outside of Boquete. I captured both sweeping panoramas as well as beautiful macro images on the hike. I love the forest Рso much to look at!

I posted the image both in black & white as well as highly saturated because I cannot decide what effect I prefer. I like that the black & white brings out the varying shapes of the droplets, whereas the saturated photo brings out the reflections and contrasting colors. Which one do you prefer?

Painting with Light

OK guys, I have been TERRIBLE. It has been precisely 2 months since my last post. I am picking up my major slack-age tonight! Everyone is always so supportive on these posts and I love the sense of community the photo blog creates.

My best friend from college drove up from Santa Barbara for her 26th birthday and stayed with me over the weekend. It was a glorious day in the city so we did what any savvy visitor would do: hang out at Dolores Park. For those of you not familiar, Dolores is sort of the beating heart of the hip scene in SF. It is where all walks of life gather for beautiful views of the city, drinks, games, basketball, and other recreational activities.

My friend Gaby brought some trippy glasses, and, being a professional photographer herself, suggested I put them up against the camera lens to create a filter effect. These were the results!

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For some context: These are the glasses. Trippy, no?

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I love this one because of the colors and the composition. The pink and orange are so vibrant. A vignette effect was created by the edge of the glasses frames.

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I love how this one turned out. Gaby is such a warm, beautiful soul, and her heart seems to be bursting out of her chest! I love the energy and the movement radiating from her. Also, the pattern on her dress is sweet!

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This is the birthday girl herself. I love these photos because it feels like your eyes aren’t focused and they naturally attempt to re-focus on the image. Where are her eyes? There is no point of reference!