Wednesday, July 19, 2017


This year, I'm working on pushing myself outside of my comfort zone.  At the beginning of the year, I largely photographed friends and people I knew within the academic community.  However, as an artist and photographer with a love of portraiture, I'm always staring politely glancing at people, even in public.  When I was picking an outfit with D for a shoot, I noticed Niko working in the store so I asked him to model and he acquiesced!  (I get hard NOs or stipulations, too).

I'm always grateful when someone will model and give me their time.  Taking photos, editing, and sharing the final images is done purely out of passion.  One of my favorite parts of the photoshoot process is finding the perfect images that capture a sliver of time or a microexpression.  I don't believe in people being "photogenic"; everyone has a good angles and beauty if you are just patient enough to find it!

As I photographer, I am beginning to understand why fashion magazines look for such tall models.   Working with D and Niko has helped me see what it's like to having the skeletal structure to fill up a frame.  It has also made me realize how much focus I put on the face and upper part of the model's body.  As I've said, every shoot is a learning experience.  The next thing I want to work on are compositions with the entire body in frame!

If you want to see more, visit my Instagram page @lumiereandlens!  Let me know your thoughts?

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Sunday #52: Branching


This Sunday post opens with a self-portrait I did this week.  I went to a conservatory-type high school where they taught the Art Majors, "If you don't have a subject, you always have yourself."  Here's one of the few that worked out!


Nancy, Eena, and I live relatively close to each other in Southern California. We're always on each other's blogs and coincidentally in the same areas a lot. On Friday, we had a little meetup. It was my first time meeting anyone from the blogosphere (thank you to Nancy and Eena for setting this up)! We ate yummy food and just chatted away. We could take pictures of our food and each other without thinking it was weird. You know, #justbloggerthings! 

Something I love about the blogosphere are the voices of other women, especially those from my ethnic background, who are not often present in mainstream media.  It was just as wonderful to meet these women in real life as it is to read their writing on my screen.  There's something surreal about the instant recognition of someone after reading their blog for so long.  Has anyone else felt that?  In any case, I had a great time hanging with Nancy and Eena! 


Last week, I gave a girl my contact information after seeing her in a restaurant because I wanted to photograph her.  Meeting new models that don't attend my university means I have to put myself out there.  My last two shoots are with people I've met in Old Pasadena who I thought would be amazing models (and they were!).  I'm putting together a post about my recent shoots so stay tuned!  I have to say that photography brings so much more emotional fulfillment to my life.  Not only do I get to spend time doing what  I love, but I also make new friends and have new adventures.  No joke, I meet some of the sweetest people!  I'm not making money at the moment, but I am loving the photography I get to do!  Pursuing this is also an exercise in putting myself out there to make things happen.  


I've spent a chunk of the weekend revising some writing I am doing for lab.  I also got the chance to head out on Saturday with a friend and my boyfriend.  We finished out the week with a delicious dinner at a Japanese BBQ place.  As for right now?  I'm going to get ready for bed because my eyes are closing as I type this.  Hope you all had a good week.  Tell me about it?


•  Let's congratulate Dani on welcoming baby Harry into the world!
•  A powerful essay on grief from Michelle. 

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

In the Forests of Alaska

lumiere lens, midnight sun, alaska, golden sunset, sunset in alaska
The golden sunset on our second night in Alaska.

I had the opportunity to spend a week in Alaska with my boyfriend and our family at the end of June.  I've posted a lot of snaps on Instagram, but it's time to start sharing on Lumière & Lens!  Since I took so many photographs, I figure I'll split this up into several posts so this first one is about getting to Alaska and our location.

We stayed at the Glacier Bay Lodge in Gustavus, Alaska which is inside Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve.  In order to get there, we had to fly to Juneau, Alaska and take another plane into Gustavus.  Like the city, Gustavus airport is tiny (about the size of a house).  We were shuttled to the lodge and found that there was absolutely no cell phone service.  We had WiFi in the lobby of the lodge, but that was it!  I had a minor moment of panic before reminding myself that people don't hang out in the wilderness to stare at their phones. 

Glacier Bay Lodge (top) and the boardwalks between rooms (bottom).  

The lodge was composed of wooden buildings.  Everyone who worked there was really nice.  Come to think of it, I didn't meet a single rude person in Alaska!  The rooms had blackout curtains because of how late the sun set in Alaska (not until 11:00 PM).  I have always dreamed of living in a Scandinavian country and Alaska was as close I've gotten to it.  Coming from Southern California, it was absolute heaven to hear rain and feel cold again.  I fell asleep most nights to the sound of rain against the windows and walked under a light drizzle each morning.  How wonderful it was to breathe crisp, clean air and feel water on my skin!

Bartlett Cove viewed from the lodge.
Mountains, the dock, and beach flora.
The wooden dock on Bartlett Cove.

The lodge was situated right by Bartlett Cove so it was just a short walk to the shore and docks.  When the clouds would allow it, the mountains were visible in the distance, behind the forest of trees that lined the cove.  I walked out there as much as I could because I'm rarely near the sea in Pasadena.  The water was calm and reflected the surroundings like glass.    

Walking on the Forest Loop Trail (top), the moss that grew everywhere and Huna Tlingit carvings (bottom).

We settled into a routine of living slowly in Alaska.  We would wake up early each morning, eat breakfast, depart to the day's activity before returning for supper.  After supper, we would always freshen up and then take a walk on the Forest Loop Trail.  The forest was dense with trees, lichen, and moss that grew on everything.  Here and there, we would see carvings in the trees made by the native Huna Tlingit tribes.  The forest was peaceful; all you could hear were the sounds of yourself, the birds, rain, and other animals.  One night, we were treated to a golden sunset in the wilderness!

A sunset through the trees.

The city of Gustavus is very small.  There is no hospital, no police, and no movie theater.  They have one organic food market, a convenience store, a coffee shop, some galleries, and a pizza place that is open two nights a week.  On our second to last day there, we walked the one big road in the city into their "downtown" area (just two store fronts and a gas station).  The forest clears up as we get into town.  We could tell how close we were to town by the bars of cell service we had!  On the way, we passed by a small winding river called the Salmon River which had an abandoned boat on its shores.

Salmon River (top) and the abandoned boat (bottom).

On our last morning in Alaska, I wanted to walk along the beach so we went to the shoreline around the cove.  We walked on wet rocks in the intertidal zone where I pocketed small pebbles that were smoothed by the water.  Back in the lodge, I rinsed them off and packed them into my bag.  It made the departure from the heavenly dreamland a little easier.  Those rocks now sit on my dresser, little pieces of Alaskan shore with me in California.