A Weekend Trip to the Southwest with Megan

Hey guys! I hope everyone's week is going well! I'm back with another blog post of my travels. This past winter, I got a chance to explore the southwest with my good friend Megan. Although I've been to the Southwest before, I've never visited during the winter time. Originally this was going to be a group trip consisting of the 3 of us, however our other photographer friend couldn't go anymore so I got to spend a lot of time with Megan. We managed to explore 3 states: Utah, Arizona, and Nevada all in a weekend. You can read the first part of our trip here detailing our experience at the Mystic Hot Springs.

Almost exactly a year prior to this trip is when I first got a DM from Megan asking if I wanted to shoot. With work consuming most of my life at the time, it was really difficult for me to set something up. Over time I've been watching Megan grow as a model and she has improved a lot since I first saw her Instagram. I think we can proudly say that we both have grown a lot since then as artists.

After exploring Monument Valley, we headed straight to Antelope Canyon. This was my third time exploring the area but it was my first time taking portraits inside these beautiful slot canyons. It's always a bit challenging taking portraits in low light situations such as this but once you know the direction of light, it gets pretty easy exposing for the image and nailing the focus.

Our next stop was the famous Horseshoe Bend. I've been here plenty of times, but I've never taken portraits at this location. As always, Megan killed it. Horseshoe Bend has a great significance to Megan because this is where she had her first portrait shoot as a model. This is where it all started for her a year ago. The photographer found her on Instagram, messaged her, and they decided to take a roadtrip to Arizona. The shoot went so well that she decided that she wanted to keep modeling on the side. It still blows my mind how one app can connect people on so many levels. Who would of thought that we would be living in an age where we can meet people through an app where in most cases, we probably would of never met that person if it wasn't for that app.

While we were driving, the landscape around us caught my eye so we decided to pull over and snap a few pics before the sun went down.

Throughout the trip we were deciding where to go for our "retro themed diner shoot". Since nothing was on our route back home, we stopped in Las Vegas at Ruby's Diner. It definitely gave off those 80's retro vibes and the food was pretty good too! I highly recommend stopping by there if you're ever in the Vegas area.

Overall, it was an exhausting but very fun and rewarding trip. By spending a weekend away from home, me and Megan got to know each other a lot better. I think if I had to choose between instameets or a weekend getaway with a model, I would probably choose the latter. You get to know a person so much better when it's one on one and can have really deep conversations. From my experience, instameets don't really provide that chance since the time that you're with people is so short and it can get overwhelming since there's so many people. Thanks for reading this far and I hope I was able to motivate you to get out into the outdoors and adventure!

A Weekend Trip to Oregon

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I hope you guys are ready to switch gears from all of the grad and proposal blog posts to more travel feels! I've been meaning to write this blog post way earlier in the year but I've been so busy that I haven't had the chance to sit down and write about it until now. Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to go to Oregon with my friend Grace who I met through Instagram. It's crazy how Instagram tend to bring other creatives together. Me and Grace met up once, shot together, and that was it! Next thing you know we're planning out our trip to Oregon. Shoutout to her for putting up with all my derpy moments on this trip! After having visited Oregon once a couple of years ago, I've been wanting to go back since there's so many sights to see in the PNW. After we got breakfast at Screen Door (which was amazing btw), we headed out to our first stop which was Latourell Falls.

Going to the base of this waterfall was no joke. We were soaking wet in just a few seconds of standing there. After we were done taking photos at the base of the waterfall, we decided to head up. Needless to say, it was quite the incline.

Next stop was Bridal Veil Falls. Another popular waterfall in the Columbia River Gorge. Also a popular waterfall name as there's so many waterfalls in the world with that same name.

We woke up really early the next day in order to catch sunrise from Pittock Mansion. From this location you can see a really clear view of Portland with Mt. Hood in the background. As we scrambled up to the top we arrived just on time for sunrise and caught a little bit of color in the clouds.

After we got done taking photos, we headed out to our next destination: Cape Kiwanda. From Portland it's approximately a 2 hour drive to the coast. I was hoping that the clouds would stay but as we got closer to the coast, the clouds started to disappear and it felt like we were back in California.

Not far from this spot was this really cool A-frame overlooking the beach.

Next stop on our trip was Ecola State Park. On the way to our destination we saw these golden rays peaking through the trees and we pulled off to the side to take photos.

The view from the top of Ecola State Park was amazing as you can see the layers of waves with the mist in the background from the photos below.

Our final destination was Cannon Beach. It's one of the most picture-esque beaches in all of the US because of that giant rock formation in the middle of the ocean called "Haystack Rock". This is also where the movie Twilight was shot.

On the last day of our trip, we woke up early and went to get some Voodoo donuts in Portland. It was pretty good but I think people hype it up way too much than it should be in my opinion. After a light breakfast we got some flowers for our shoot and headed off to our last destination on our Oregon trip. 3 hours later, we finally arrived at Boardman Tree Farm. One of the main reason why I wanted to go to Oregon during this time was to shoot these symmetrical poplar trees. Unfortunately these trees will not be here around much longer as a dairy company recently bought the land and are cutting down all the trees! So if anyone of you wants to see these trees, you should go as soon as possible!

I would definitely recommend Oregon as one of the places you should visit since there's so many beautiful sights to explore. Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more travel blog posts coming soon!

Tommy's Proposal to Rianna | Skyspace In Los Angeles, CA

About 2 months ago, I got a text from my good friend Tommy asking if I could be his photographer for his proposal to his girlfriend (now fiancĂ©) Rianna. I was really excited when I heard the news since I was wondering (as many of his friends were) when he was going to propose to Rianna. Fast forward to 2 days before the proposal, Tommy called me personally to go over the final details for the big day! It's been a long and arduous 2 month process for Tommy in preparing for the proposal. He originally wanted to do the proposal at a helipad in Downtown but eventually decided to go with Skyspace since it's pretty difficult to get a hold of the managers for these buildings that have a helipad in them. I knew of one helipad that was accessible but we would have to sneak up and didn't want to risk it in the end (maybe next time!). Skyspace holds special importance to both of them since the restaurant on the 71st floor was one of the first places that they went to for their first date. 

This was my first time at Skyspace and I have to say that the 360 degree view from the top was amazing. We had a little private section on the 69th floor all to ourselves for 30 minutes. It took a while to get to the top but luckily I arrived a little bit earlier than Tommy and Rianna in order to scout the location for a bit and set up my camera. To be honest I was a little nervous at first since a proposal is the 2nd most important thing next to weddings which means I couldn't miss a single shot. As I was nervously waiting I saw Tommy and Rianna open the door. Rianna called out my name asking what I was doing here. At this point I think she knew what was going to happen in the next few minutes... 

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I met Rianna a few years ago when I was attending Venice Santa Monica FM Church. We didn't officially meet at the time but I knew of her and I saw her in the church. I met Tommy during my freshman year of college back at UCR when we were both attending Asian American Christian Fellowship. It's been 3 years since we both graduated and we both have grown a lot since then.

I could already tell from how they both interacted with each other and the amount of chemistry that they had that Rianna was "the one" for Tommy. I will always be amazed of how God works in mysterious ways. I remember a few years ago when Tommy told me that he was going to attend PCJC Family Camp which is an annual conference for all of our FM churches in the PCJC. I was surprised that he was going since he goes to a difference church than our sister churches. At the time God was calling him to be a staff at the conference and that's when he met Rianna. And as they say "the rest is history"

I felt really honored being the official photographer and among the few (the rest were strangers) to witness my friend Tommy propose to his now fiancĂ© Rianna. Congratulations to the both of you guys and I can't wait for what God has in store as you guys start a new chapter in your lives.