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Strange Times

Observations
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These are weird times. Over the course of a week, things have snowballed so quickly that I haven't completely understood it. And this is just the first wave. It was 9 days ago that I ventured out of my apartment at 2am to go to a Denny's a few blocks away. I had a grand slam because it was my birthday. Today, no restaurants are open. Shops have all shuttered their doors. Groceries are precious commodity, and we have all been asked to distance from others as work halted. Yet, it's gorgeous outside. The days when we shouldn't have the freedom and mobility are filled with sunshine and freshly blossomed trees. It's the kind of sunshine that have eluded us for months until this week, the week right after COVID 19 was declared a pandemic. Of course, the looming pandemic couldn't stop people from wandering outside and gathering, the two things they should be avoiding. I'm guilty of half of that -- I go outside, but I try to steer clear of people. I walk with my headphones on and wonder how many more days of freedom I'll have before we're all forcibly locked away to prevent the illness from spreading. This has always been a theme that I wanted to tell stories of -- isolation, loneliness, a loss of purpose. We're standing at the precipice of a very dangerous cliff, yet everything feels strangely normal. Everything about this defies logic, and it seems like most people have not yet come to understand the idea of...

Into The Woods

Observations
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It's been rough. I don't feel like going into it, but it's been rough and I'm in the thick of it all. I keep wishing the turbulence can be over, but it keeps coming in waves. I hope you're all...

A Fall

Observations
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You really can't expect the unexpected. Although I guess on some level I expected it... I ate shit today. My feet kicked out from under me while I was crossing a street, I had stepped on a big ol' smooth patch of ice gracefully donated by winter. As I was being grabbed backwards by gravity, I had a Matrix moment. On my back I was carrying my camera and 7 lenses. Somehow I managed to hoist my back upright so I didn't land on my gear. Instead, my ass took one for the team. It was such exquisite pain that knocked the air out of my lungs. "You OK?" Asked a pedestrian that was not at all concerned, it probably just felt like an obligation to ask. I didn't know. I could barely get back up, but I was sure any contact with the ground was squarely on me and minimally on my camera bag. While the murder podcast still blared in my earbuds, I crawled to the sidewalk. When I tried to stand I thought all the joints in my lower body would collapse. Several hours later, grateful that none of my lenses were in pieces, I went back outside to take some pictures. Because that's what you do when you're down and wounded, but the most precious thing to you survived an event...

Advice From A Friend

Observations
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Impostor syndrome. TLDR; the fear that you're not actually competent in what you do, and that you've actually gotten there because of luck or a mistake. I have it pretty bad. Moreso, I have a deep seated belief that I'm not worth being paid for doing work related to what I love to do. And so, I always reach for the low hanging fruit: jobs that are low waged, brainless, that eat away at my sanity because of their simplicity. And when I do what I love, I don't ask for monetary compensation, even if it takes up a lot of time and attention. Today I worked on a set where someone on the camera team said he's no longer taking unpaid work. I've thought about myself putting that hard line down, but my fear was if I demand to be paid for my work, I'll never be asked to be a photographer again. I couldn't even muster up the strength to apply for a photography job that's painfully simple -- take photos of product with a white background. But last night, a friend said something profoundly wise. "So suppose that you do suck, think about how many photographers out there also suck. But they're being paid anyway. So why not be one of those?"Iya She never said I sucked. And she never tried to convince me that I didn't. Because honestly, I wouldn't have believed her. (By the way, I know she doesn't think I suck.) But that line of advice really hit...

Sunday Stroll

Video
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https://youtu.be/wS0nvD3IbdQ It's been a long time since I made a video just to make one. A few days ago, a friend asked me to work on his film as a still photographer (my actual forte,) but he said it would be ideal if I shot some behind the scenes video as well. So I thought I'd do a bit of practice. Also, it was beautiful out for once. Shot on: Fujifilm X-A3 + Canon FD 28mm f2.8 + Fotasy...
Seahorse colored with glitter gel pens

Coloring – Seahorse

Coloring
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So a while ago I started a YouTube channel in which I just colored coloring pages for fun while I bitched about life in general. After like 3 or so months, I finally finished ONE WHOLE PICTURE. And this is the show off post. Lessons learned: Gel pens do blend and are fun to color withStart coloring from left side of the page to right to avoid smearing (reversed if you're left handed!)Use a set number of colors for a more cohesive feelWait for the ink to dry before coloring nearby spaces or it will be smudge...

Analysis Paralysis

Observations
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It's in my head, but it's also real. I don't now how many other people experience this, because we all go about our lives differently, and think about things differently. But the biggest thing that hampers me is how I can't get out of my never ending loop of thoughts sometimes. I get the tingle to want to do something creative/fun/productive, but it's never as simple as that. As soon as an idea starts to form in my head, I immediately go into mental plotting mode, brain firing exhaustively at all the possible steps to take to put something in motion, all the contingency plans if any steps should fail, and contingency plans for contingency plans. It's automatic, and it's tiring, and I can't shut it down. Ultimately, it makes me so fatigued that I don't end up starting anything at all. I have trouble implement action because I tire myself out before any idea ever reaches maturation. And so, this is where I'm at, with time on my hands, the very kind of time I wish I had when I was working entirely too much. How does someone just do something? The idea is wild to me. I think this also explains why I never seem to stick out this blog and update regularly. I think about it too much. As much as I want to fill it to the brim with cool projects, I lag. 2020 is 3 days away. Here's a little thing I'm going to try to do for the coming...

Thank You For Forgetting

Explore
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The coolest part of my job is that sometimes I get to go to locations that I would never get the chance to see otherwise. This week I was at an abandoned juvenile correctional center, in the middle of a city yet it doesn't exist on Google maps. It's like some kind of best kept secret right under our noses that's standing strong yet looks like it's on the verge of falling apart. I tried to look up the history of it, but couldn't come up with much. Who were the people kept here? What were their lives like? When I walked through the halls I felt like the memories of its residents were all around, but are muted and erased. I tried to read the notes that have been left between window panes, but the writing were faded and illegible. I tried to look for clues in the names scratched into the railings, but at the end of the day, they were just names with no faces and no story. And that's the depressing part of all of this. Not just that they were kept in tiny cells, but that after all this time, no one is there to...

On Minimalism

Observations
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I assisted a lifestyle photoshoot today, and the aesthetic is minimalism. It makes me wonder what it is about empty spaces that's so appealing. What is it about the absence of things that screams wealth? It almost seems like an oxymoron -- the more you have in your bank account, the less you have in your possession. Having just spent 8 hours in a 2 million dollar condo garnished with furniture, rugs, bowls all imported from Scandinavia, I felt like the dissonance in my brain was screaming, 'I don't get it!' What I did get was how pleasing it all looked -- in person and in photos, and it reeked of luxury... or the lack thereof, which ridiculously high lighted just how luxurious it all was. How does anyone feasibly live a minimalist catalog life? First, throw out 90% of your things. Only keep stuff that adhere to a strict 12 shade beige palette. Sparsely sprinkle your wardrobe with a maximum of 3 clothes. Have books, but only if they're Phaidon and the covers have no color. Do not keep things that indicate you have human hygiene needs. -- toothbrushes, toilet paper, shampoo, laundry detergent, throw those out. But fear not, you are allowed to keep lotion as long as they come in scents like leather, fir, or nightfall. Have only one pair of shoes, but miraculously show up to events and work with an array of soles that you throw out as soon as you get home. You...

Pure Morning

Observations
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There are hardly ever days when I wake up and think to myself, Oh happiness and joy to this wonderful world! Today I woke up to gorgeous orange gold light peeping through my window, illuminating the hard geometric patterns of the building being birthed next door, pooling my apartment in a quiet dream like, romantic state. And I still didn't think to myself, Oh happiness and joy and wonders of the universe! Instead, if I hadn't sneezed myself awake, I would have gone back to sleep immediately, ruing the 8am awakening on a day I didn't have to work. But alas, being a sucker for light, I rolled off the couch and grabbed the camera that was closest to me -- my Canon Rebel XTi, circa 2007 and still kicking. This is the kind of light that inspires me to wax poetic. Some days it's pretty cool to wake up early. Taken with: Canon Rebel XTi, 50mm f1.8...