Meet Amanda! | Portrait Project

Before we left the State's, I had taken a couple of portraits that I wanted to share on my blog. So without further adieu, meet my sister, Amanda!

 Canon 5D Mark II; 50mm f/1.4  |  f/2.2, 1/400 sec, ISO-500

Canon 5D Mark II; 50mm f/1.4  |  f/2.2, 1/400 sec, ISO-500

"The best experience I have ever had was having kids. They are so entertaining and fun to be around." Amanda told me, as I asked her about the best experience in her life. 

 My nieces and I being silly. |  Nexus 5X

My nieces and I being silly. | Nexus 5X

Amanda has two daughters, Haelee and Savannah, which are the cutest, most hilarious, and loving kids ever (yes, they are my nieces, but I most genuinely say this :). They're a joy to be around and add so much life to the room when they're present.

"Haelee says some hilarious stuff and Vannah does too. I love being a mom--it's such an honor to be the mom of these two girls." Amanda is really good with her kids, too--when you see them together, you clearly see the adoration of her two girls towards their mom.

I know my sister well, but I asked anyway about what some of her passions are and it's fun that photography runs in my family so much! She told me: "I love is photography. There is so much you can do with it. It's awesome to start off with a picture and create something beautiful out of it." 

Amanda has been photographing weddings and portraits for some time now and loves it. Our love for photography began about the same time and although we're passionate about different topics in this field, we still love to take photo walks together with our mom when I'm in town. This picture of her, actually, is from the last photo walk we took together before I left.

Thanks Amanda for letting me share your photo and parts of your life! 

If you'd like your picture taken and your story told, let me know and we can arrange that!

Thanks for stopping by!


Life Happened

I've been slightly avoiding this initial blog post after my hiatus, as I knew it had been an incredibly long period since I had written on this blog. I went from updating from 4-6 times a week to nothing for two months! What happened?!

Let me tell you--life has happened. Not only did I move across the world during this time, but visited a few places in between and have been more busy than I ever could have anticipated! Between setting up a home, getting used to living in South Asia again (which includes figuring out how to not talk in English!), and trying to get into a routine--everything else has paused whether I've liked it or not. And unfortunately I'm far from finished with the above things.

Unfortunately, I won't be able to post like I was previously for now, but I do hope to post at least a few times a week, as I have many exciting things coming up in the future in regards to photography. I'll explain those more in another blog post (believe me, super exciting)!!

For now, I just wanted to say, "I'm alive and doing well" and post some long overdue photos, which I had planned to post in July (...such as the 4th of July fireworks). Such is life.  Better late than never! :)

 Canon 5D Mark II, 24mm f/2.8  |  f/22, 1/80 sec, ISO-640  |  Koh Samui, Thailand

Canon 5D Mark II, 24mm f/2.8  |  f/22, 1/80 sec, ISO-640  |  Koh Samui, Thailand

This picture was taken last year some time on a trip to an island in Thailand. It is a beautiful place and I recommend everyone going, especially if you like to dive! I wouldn't know, because I didn't dive on that trip, but I'm told it's stunning. I'm normally drawn towards color, but I liked the change to black and white for this photo, as it accentuated the texture of the sand and the light on the water. :) 

Happy Friday!


No Words

When I woke up the other day, I was browsing through notifications on my phone and saw several posts circulating about Dallas and the tragedy that had happened there. I began to scour the internet for articles and the more I read, the more disheartened I became. Being outside the US, I had no clue about what was going on. I am just appalled and have no words! My heart and prayers go out to those families who lost their loved ones during these horrific events. 

 Canon 5D Mark II; 24 mm f/2.8  |  f/3.5, 1/25000 sec; ISO-400

Canon 5D Mark II; 24 mm f/2.8  |  f/3.5, 1/25000 sec; ISO-400

On a much lighter note, we recently traveled through Dubai on our way back overseas due to a long layover and had this amazing view from our hotel room. Dubai is an interesting place as 80% of the city is expat (foreigners). You can see about any nationality wherever you go! 

Thanks for stopping by and I hope that you find peace amidst the chaos of the world this weekend!


Never Gets Old

I love the beach.

I love the sand between my toes, the salt in the air, the rhythmic motion of the water, the color of the water and sand, and the sounds. I can sit for hours watching and listening to the water swell. When you look out over the ocean, you realize how small you really are!

Another thing I love about the ocean is that you can photograph it a million times and find another way to portray it.

 Canon 5D Mark II; 50mm f/1.4  |  f/2.8, 1/400 sec, ISO-400

Canon 5D Mark II; 50mm f/1.4  |  f/2.8, 1/400 sec, ISO-400

 Canon 5D Mark II; 50mm f/1.4  |  f/2.8, 1/640 sec, ISO-400

Canon 5D Mark II; 50mm f/1.4  |  f/2.8, 1/640 sec, ISO-400

I love that in both of these I feel like I can reach out my hand and grab the sand or feel the water. God's creation is amazing! Looking at this never gets old!

Hope that your day is awesome and that you find beauty in what you see daily!


Happy 80th Birthday, Papa!

I think this is one of the best surprise birthday party's I've ever gone to. Joshua's grandfather (whom we both call "Papa"), was turning 80 years old and his grandmother wanted to throw a big surprise birthday for him. We weren't supposed to be here for this party, yet God worked it out--what a blessing!

His grandmother somehow kept this a secret from him for probably six months--maybe longer! She called family from out of state and arranged for them all to come down and be at the party. A couple of times the surprise was almost spoiled, but the party managed to be pulled off.

We all got to the party before 4PM to make sure we were there before Papa and Gram got there. There was a lot of preparation beforehand, although in the photo above, it looks like everyone was just standing around (there was a golf game on and everyone was mesmerized).

Joshua's uncle (picture above) arrived at 9:30AM to smoke all the meat and prep for the big shindig. There was ribs, chicken legs, and sausage--yum!

While waiting for Joshua's grandparents to arrive, we snagged a quick picture of ourselves. :) I rarely am in a photo. Truth be told, I don't like having my picture taken. Ironic, isn't it?

When Joshua's grandparents arrived, Papa believed it was a party with his cruise friends. As he walked into the gate, he began to see faces of not only his cruise buddies, but friends from old. At this point, however, he had no idea that his family from out of state was there. 

Slowly, one-by-one, each family member came out of the house and it was overwhelming for everyone on the porch. Tears freely flowed, hugs abounded, and laughter was in the air. It was such a treasured moment.


I don't think there was a dry eye in the room. 

Papa kept saying, "This is unreal! I can't believe this is happening!" as he wiped away his tears and laughed with joy. 

Happy 80th Birthday, Papa! We love you dearly and are so happy to have you in our lives. 


Use of Color

 Canon 5D Mark II; 50mm f/1.4  |  f/3.2, 1/200 sec, ISO-100

Canon 5D Mark II; 50mm f/1.4  |  f/3.2, 1/200 sec, ISO-100

One thing I love about other cultures is their use of color. You can find an array of colors on buildings, cars, fences, walls, boats, buses, and so on. It's a photographer's dream! 

The people around this scene above probably thought it strange that I was photographing these old, distressed boats, but I obviously didn't care. While on a photo walk I saw them and couldn't help myself. :)

I have a few more of these photos that I'll post soon that are of different perspectives. Have a great Friday! 


What's Your Drive?

Are you utilizing your skills for your own benefit? Are you in your field for your gain? Are you sharing your story or focusing on others? 

These are some questions I've been pondering over the last couple of days due to a podcast I recently listened to. The podcast is called "Depth of Field" and is hosted by Matt Brandon, a travel and documentary photographer. The goal of the podcast is to interview other photographers for the benefit of other working photographers (or those who aspire to be a working photographer). The person being interviewed was Esther Havens, a humanitarian photographer, who has traveled the world working for NGOs, non-profits, and other organizations, to share their stories and the impact they're having on the world. She's a passionate person, who does amazing photographic work and someone who genuinely cares about the organizations she works for.

It was a challenging podcast, as it made me truly evaluate what I am doing as a photographer. Am I in this for myself? For my gain? Or am I trying to lift others up and share their stories? 

I don't know if I have a complete answer for myself--but I do know that there have been moments when I shot a picture and thought, "Oh! What a great shot to put in my portfolio!" This goes for taking pictures of people and even inanimate objects or scenery.

 Canon 5D Mark II; 50mm f/1.4  |  f/2.8, 1/800 sec, ISO-400

Canon 5D Mark II; 50mm f/1.4  |  f/2.8, 1/800 sec, ISO-400

Like this picture of the splash of ocean water--if I thought immediately how great it would be to post this on my website, I'm not praising God for His creation, but thinking about myself. How short-sighted this is!

I feel slightly ashamed realizing that (and admitting it to you!), but in the creative field, it's a hard reality to fight against. The reality that everyone is trying to be better than others in their field and will do crazy things to stand out and receive a following. I don't think I've done anything crazy, but my heart and mind have sometimes wandered to myself rather than the person I was photographing. This is something I truly want to change in myself and my work.

I think that whatever field you're in, these are good questions to ask. It's good to have a "heart check" and ask yourself if you're trying to gain praise or if you're actually making a difference in the lives you're working with. I want the latter. I want to make a difference in the people I'm photographing and the stories I'm sharing.

So, what's you're drive? What's compelling you to do what you're doing? Is it for yourself or for others? Go think about it and let me know your thoughts!

If you want to listen to the interview, click here.


Slowing Down

 5D Mark II; 50mm f/1.4  |  f/2.5, a/320 sec, ISO-1600

5D Mark II; 50mm f/1.4  |  f/2.5, a/320 sec, ISO-1600

Life for me is not slowing down, but is speeding up! Today we went through all of our belongings to keep in storage, to take with us, and to give away. We decided that it would be better for us to let go of things than try to hold onto the "what if's" and keep something for another few years in a box. It was a little hard doing--some of the things I'm giving away are things I really wanted at some point in the past, but now to keep them is pointless. I figure that someone else can enjoy and use them. And if it comes time for us to need to buy it again, we will. :) That's a lot more easier said than done though!

Soon we'll be back to shopping at places like you see above and trying to navigate life there. That's going to be fun. (I don't mean that sarcastically--I really am looking forward to it!)

So unfortunately, due to packing, saying goodbye, traveling, getting back into life in a foreign place, etc. over next 4-6 weeks, I might not post photos daily like I've grown accustomed to doing! I wish I didn't have to sleep and maybe then I could do everything I want to. Although, I'm sure I'd fill it up with many tasks and still wish I had more time! Ha!

Well, off to go pack some more! Hope you have a great day.