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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untitled

 

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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Joshua Tree National Park

 

So here’s part two of my photos from Joshua Tree. The first few shots have basically the same feel as part one but the last few (plus the first photo) show a totally different side of the park. Since we have a toddler, there was no serious hiking in our schedule but it was still fascinating to drive through the park and see the landscape change in just a couple of hours.

E seemed to enjoy the view as well, and she took some incredible shots with her little camera. I gave her my old point-and-shoot as part of her birthday present. It’s small and light–perfect for her tiny hands. I’ll have to share her photos later too. (I know I’m totally biased because I’m her mom, but seriously, she’s got a great eye.)

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It’s been about five years since our last road trip so I was ecstatic when we suddenly decided to take our first road trip as a family this past weekend. The destination–Joshua Tree National Park. (For those of you who’ve never heard of it, it’s a fascinating desert with Dr. Seuss-like trees and gorgeous sunsets that’s less than a three-hour drive from LA.)

Sure, driving for hours with a freshly potty-trained toddler who insists on listening to nothing but the Frozen soundtrack was gonna be tough, but we decided to go anyway because, well, why not? The weather was great and our crazy week of birthdays (K was born on the 19th, E on the 22nd and me the 23rd) was coming up so we figured it’d be a great way to make Birthday Week 2015 stand out among others.

It was my first time there, but I know it won’t be my last.

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