July 19, 2011

Sneak Peek of First Look

When this lovely bride told me she wanted to have their "First Look" before the ceremony, I was thrilled. What I love about this is the special moment is captured when bride and groom first see each other in a more intimate setting instead of it being in front of all the guests. It also gives for a much less stressful timeline to get wedding formals finished especially when the sun is setting. We kept the groom's back turned until he knew he could turn around and see his bride. This was beautiful, private, and romantic.

I'd like to thank my second shooter, Holly, for capturing the last two beautiful, and memorable shots.

July 18, 2011

Sedona, How I Love Thee

I was not ready to leave. My first time visiting Sedona and I can see why it's called one of the most uniquely beautiful sites on Earth. I absolutely loved it.

I'm not sure of many places where two environments are so contrasting, yet both spectacular. Sedona has Red Rock Country and Oak Creek Canyon. The moment Domi and I drove into Sedona from Phoenix, and got a glimpse of the Red Rocks, I was spellbound. My photos don't do this place justice, whatsoever. The magnitude of the landscape here is simply, incredible. And there's the metaphysical and spirtual side filled with vortexes. How can I not fall in love with this place?

Then to discover Oak Creek, which extends northward from Sedona, is probably one of the most beautiful drives I have been on. The canyon is almost, junglelike, and I can only imagine how incredible it looks during Autumn.

I think the next time I'm in Sedona, we'll stay in Oak Creek to have more time to explore its space. The hiking there is fantastic.


Arizona is not just desert (silly me!). We headed north alongside Oak Creek and were surprised by deep lush canyon scenery where we hiked West Fork. We started our 6 mile hike at 8:00am and enjoyed the serenity.






Bracken Ferns flood the grounds

west fork collage

tree collage



Topped our trip off with Jeeping through the Red Rock trails. I am very proud of my offroading skills!







rock collage






Sacred Moments

"People say that what we're all seeking is a meaning for life, I think that what we're seeking is an experience of being alive, so that our life experiences...will have resonance within our own innermost being and reality, so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive."

-Joseph Campbell, The Power of Myth

July 07, 2011

Chasing Sunsets

I wanted a classic blood-red Arizona sunset. A shot that gave me a surge of adrenaline such as this one I had captured (practically on accident), but this time, of a desert sunset. I researched every point I wanted to be beforehand, lugged my family of 5 with me for the first half (and then Domi the second half), and each evening, I plotted myself down approximately 90 minutes before the 7:49 p.m. sunset, and I then realized, the sky was bare--no clouds. 5 out of the 6 days I was there. I wasn't going to get the dramatic red desert sunset with whirling clouds I had envisioned and dreamed about for weeks before this trip. If only I had been there during monsoon season (which is starting as I type this blog).

How arrogant of me to think I could speed across Arizona to capture its magic on my preconceived schedule. Landscape photography is different from anything I've shot before. Unlike photographing people, children, sporting events, and weddings, landscape photography is a slow, and contemplative process. A process that can't always be planned out, especially with mother nature (and also with clusters of sightseers in the middle of summer). Another challenge was metering and exposure. Bright skies and dark canyons, which filled with shadows much earlier than I anticipated, was not easy to photograph because what I saw with my eyes, wasn't the same image I captured with my camera. The clear desert days presented serious contrast problems.

I've learned a fundamental lesson and that is, I simply cannot charge into the natural world and impose my schedule on it. It will happen, when it happens. Even though I didn't get the sunset shot I was coveting, or visit all the spaces I wanted to (that would take weeks), during my time in Arizona, I came across such grand landscapes, and although I didn't capture it all with my camera, I experienced it with my eyes.

I cannot wait to get back there again. There is so much left for me to see.












While taking photos at the South Rim, I realized, I didn't want to be up there. It wasn't enough. I wanted to penetrate deeper in the canyon. I was only 14 when I rafted the Grand Canyon with my father, and I'll never forget those intense 18 days. There is magic down in the canyon and along the Colorado River. I remember seeing things which the majority of Grand Canyon visitors never see because they're at the rim. One of my biggest wishes is that I'll be able to take my own children rafting here one of these days.

Sedona, will be next...