Abbot Kinney - Venice, CA

 

About a month ago, K took E and I to Abbot Kinney Boulevard, a unique street in Venice with eclectic boutiques, art galleries, vintage clothing stores, trendy restaurants and eye-popping street art. I didn’t get to do much in terms of actual shopping (it’s kind of hard with a restless toddler in a stroller), but just walking down the street and snapping photos was an experience in itself. (I’m glad I chose to bring my film camera ’cause the look and feel of film seems to go well with this place.)

Next time, I hope I have a little more time to explore a bit, capture more details on film, and get some unique clothes or vintage finds that won’t break my wallet.

But until then, these photos will have to do.

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Ginza, Tokyo, Japan

 

Ginza is an area in Tokyo that’s known for its luxury brand name stores and lavish dining experiences. It’s not overflowing with teenagers like Shibuya, and it’s not filled with pop culture like Harajuku. It’s a place for sophisticated urbanites that attracts many, many visitors all year around.

Not everything in Ginza is expensive, either. There are plenty of delicious, affordable restaurants and cafes (especially if you go at lunch) and it also has fast fashion retailers like Zara and H&M. (And an enormous Uniqlo with 12 floors! It has a nursing room too, for any moms out there.)

Anyway, when I was still in Japan, I wandered around the streets of Ginza with my tiny Rollei 35SE, one of the smallest full-frame 35mm cameras ever made. It looks and feels kind of like a toy and I had no idea how my photos would turn out. It’s all about zone focusing (or in my case, some serious guess-focusing) since there’s no rangefinder or anything to assist you when you focus. I’m not good at guessing distances so I just preset to infinity and took a few shots, hoping that they would turn out decently.

Not knowing how your photos will turn out until you get them developed is another part of film photography that I love.

The photos I took in Ginza didn’t turn out too bad.

And I found they made me a tiny bit homesick for Japan.

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Joshua Tree

 

The scenery changed for a third time as we drove through the final stretch of Joshua Tree. The large Dr. Seuss trees were replaced by smaller, strange-looking trees that made me feel as though I were scuba diving in the ocean.

There were fewer tourists around, and everything around us seemed to be slowing down, getting ready for night time.

And for a while it was just the three of us, in the middle of this beautiful desert.

No struggles.
No deadlines.
No worries.

Just us, embracing life and feeling thankful.

And slowly, quietly, the sun sank behind the mountains, leaving a lingering yellow stain across the sky.

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Before I share my last post on our trip to Joshua Tree (there’s a part one and a part two), I thought I’d share some of the shots that E took with her little point-and-shoot. I’m always pleasantly surprised when I look through the shots that my little three-year-old takes. Children have no rules of composition in their heads. No restrictions. Nothing holds them back. Sure, a lot of the shots are blurry messes, but some of them…some of them are amazing. (*I did post-process some of these, but just the colors. I didn’t crop or straighten them.)

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When I was little, we had a blueberry bush in our backyard. It was sort of great. We enjoyed it and so did the deer and birds, I assume. When my grandfather visited us from Japan, he ventured out in the yard and came back looking tired and satisfied. He proudly exclaimed that he chopped down the scraggly bush that seemed to be in the way of others.

And that was the end of our life with free fruit in the yard.

Flash forward twenty-something years and here I am living in a house with lemons, oranges, figs and avocados in the yard. Even if my grandfather was healthy enough to come visit me here, I’m pretty sure even he would realize this time around that the trees in the yard are there for a pretty good reason.

Anyway, I hope E remembers the days we spend here in California–if not all of it, at least the things that will make her smile in rough times. Like how the ocean greeted us every morning. How the sunset painted the sky in pastel colors every evening. And maybe even how we had a whole selection of fruit in our yard.

Okay. Well maybe she won’t remember much of the details.

But I do realize it’s up to me to make the most of her experience here. And just maybe, some bits and pieces will stay in her heart as the years go by.

Because time is a slippery little sucker and before you know it, you’ve got permanent wrinkles on your forehead and practically all of the Olympic champions are half your age. Seriously. (And to those of you who grew up in the nineties like me… did you know it’s been 21 years since the first Jurassic Park was released? And oh gosh, have you seen this Saved By the Bell reunion? How is it that everyone still looks exactly the same?)

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I’m not sure what it is about photography that appeals to me so much. Maybe its the fact that there are endless possibilities of how to portray a single shot. How the slightest difference in things like color, light, shadows and composition can send an entirely different message to the viewer.

It’s like a puzzle.

Or a canvas.

It’s the creative outlet that I needed at this moment in my life. It’s both an escape from reality and a way to focus on the joys of my everyday life.

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