All posts filed under “lifestyle portraits

Erika-at-East-Bay-Mountain-top-Portraits-1 (2)
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inspired by fashion

I’ve become obsessed with and particularly keen on two things: First, capturing fleeting moments; Second, taking portraits in the golden light among picturesque scenery. I’m constantly longing for going out to take photos, a scene, a picture or even a song could spark my imagination for all kinds of photo projects I want to do.

Luckily, I inspired my husband interests in partnering with me on this east bay mountain top photo shoot! For this photo project, I had in my mind 3 types lighting I want to do, which is basically all I can utilize from the sun and available light condition: 1) high sun light angled front straight on me against a layered mountain range to create a contrast dramatic look; 2) low sun light from my side back against a softer backdrop to create the popular back-lit look with a little bit rim hair light; 3) even light at dusk, but preserve the sunset color in the sky as backdrop. We scout out this amazing location, I directed a little bit and jumped in the frame. I am so happy and thankful that Sean snapped these beautiful photos for me. Top off that, we ended with a gorgeous sunset after glow towards the end of the shoot and I got my sunset color in the backdrop!  He also reminded me how much I “love” being in front of the camera as well!

For this photo shoot, I was inspired by a few fashion photography work I admire, and I already have my next photo project in mind. Stay tuned!

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YiChing-Fuji 400H film scan (4)
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Portraits of Yi

Pictures have the magic power that they bring you back to the time when they are taken. These portraits are taken on rolls of Fuji 400H film in the spring early this year, but I haven’t got them developed until recently. When I picked up the photos, they brought me back the memories and times back then. It occurred to me that I come here to share some personal updates during my absence from this blog, and start to resume posting photos and words from now on. (I have so many photos to share later on…)

In the beginning of this year, I was putting so much hard work into job hunting that I needed a break. As a result, I spent a quaint weekend in Aptos beach. I picked up my camera after I had put down for two month because of job hunting, asked my friend Yi to take a walk on the beach. We chat about many things in life and encouraged each other, and then I snapped these portraits of her. It was such a lovely time together, and these photos shot on the film just made the memories even more special.

The hard work turned into a good result. I have started working full time since April and I really enjoy what I do and look forward to the future. At the same time on the side, I am busy more than ever on the weekends fulfilling my artistic dream – traveling to beautiful places to document weddings and love stories.

This is what I have been up to for now. The transition seemed so smooth that it felt like it was meant to be. I feel happy, content and grateful. Later on, I can’t wait to share so many photography works I’ve been working on. To top it off, I am excited for the Washington and Kauai trip in November and December to mark a perfect period to my wonderful 2014!

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YiChing-Fuji 400H film scan (2)

 

children look for sand crabs and play on the beach photo (12)
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Catching sand crabs

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They were teaching me how to catch sand crabs…

Bring a red bucket to a beach that’s not crowded.

Walk along the edge of the beach following the waves and look for telltale trails as sand crabs try to run back into the water.

Gently burrow into the sand to prevent them from escaping back into the water. Pick ups and place them in the bucket.

Add ocean water to the bucket so the crabs don’t turn into baked crabs in the hot sun.

Do a little side flip when you caught one.

Show and teach  friends how to catch sand crabs like you did.

Do a sand crab catching contest, the one wins get to start a sand and water fight.

Repeat the process until all of you catch as many sand crabs as you want.

In children’s world, everything is as spontaneous as catching sand crabs. A spontaneous idea becomes a project with purpose and goal. They start and finish it with diligence, collaboration, and proud. They focus on doing one thing at a time and do it with their best.

On the other hand, I sometimes find myself doing one thing while thinking of other things. I spent too much times thinking of things I haven’t finished or even started that I didn’t enjoy doing what I was working on. I don’t remember when I adapted a habit of making lists and I have been very good at making long lists. Now this list becomes a nightmare that haunts me and It won’t gave me a minute to breathe. Once I checked off one thing and started another, I started to worry about the next and next on the list. This has become a vicious circle. I got to stop it!

I am sure these kids don’t even have a clue what’s next on their list because they are so enjoying in the moment that it really doesn’t matter what’s next.

What we are actually doing in the moment is what really matters, after all.

Art Beach Retreat lifestyle portrait photo (23)
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Making art by the ocean

Santa Cruz beach house by the ocean phot

On a mild March weekend, art brought us together to a quaint beach house just 10 miles south of Santa Cruz. Painters extended their easels while I lifted my camera, all with a backdrop of beige sand, turquoise waves, and neon sunset.

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We had gorgeous sunset three evenings in a row and we made it three sunset ceremonies each time!

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Last year during a gallery reception, I was introduced by a dear friend to a women’s art group called “Artists in Action“, where we are given a year to work on art based on a given topic and we meet once a month to share stories and discuss the creating progress. My draw to the group was “to learn art outside of photography” since most of the artists’ specialty are painting and I think that if I were to study photography then I need to spend more time studying the master’s paintings.

I  honestly know, clearly, the commitment I have made and what I had put myself into. I wanted to push me hard and that usually works. I had to constantly refine the vision in the imagery, and also dive into the printing science. It is a process of self critic, rejection and discipline to not stop at the mediocre level. Joining the group has given me many struggles as well as delights. I cannot appreciate enough of the lessons and advice I had received.

I learned that doing art is touching each other’s heart and reinforce each other’s bonds, sheltering ourselves from the harsh moments of life, imploring beauty and faith in the darkest darks, renewing source of inspirations, speaking from the deepest feelings, and layering colors and lights on the canvas of life.

When I am in the thickness of all the derivatives of taking photos, I want to be reminded of the reasons why I became a photographer in the first place.

I smile when I create imagery;

I always learn things when I finish a photograph;

I am keen to see how the photographs make others feel;

Among all, I am just really happy and content making art.

P.S. Please hop over here to the complete gallery of this artsy beach gathering.

Beach house on the cliff photo

 

san francisco bay area lifestyle children portrait photo (6)
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She, with her bearemy and little violin

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Just one look, Elena completely stole my heart. Oh… the look of her eyes, don’t you just adore her? There’s no doubt that she will grow up to be a gorgeous girl.

I sometimes pre-visualize what I want to photograph and then talk and direct when I am shooting, but hey, she knows how to work the camera. I found myself holding breath, just clicking and clicking. All I have to say: Elena is seriously beautiful in every way. I don’t remember me looking like this in my early days… sigh… I really could photograph her all day! The best part – she is already very talented and have great personalities.

My heart gets deeply touched each time I put together photos of a family. I cry, gush, smile over images and images. Sometimes I even imagine their emotion and expression upon seeing the photos. I am graciously sharing these heartfelt images, the results of two-hour cooperation among Elena, her parents and me. It could have taken me forever working on these photos if I didn’t yell at myself to pause. I also want to thank her mommy and daddy, and I hope these moments will make you smile everyday.

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