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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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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As I mentioned in a previous post (and a couple of times on Instagram), I’ve been practicing shooting film with an ancient camera that was given to me by my grandfather. Not only is it fully manual, but it’s a rangefinder with a dual viewfinder, which makes the process of taking photos completely different from what I’m used to with my DSLR. (And I’m not even close to mastering my DSLR.)

But since I want to reach the point where I can prove to my grandfather that his gift hasn’t gone to waste, I’ve been doing the best I can, practicing here and there. E isn’t particularly fond of this old camera though, since she can’t check pictures of herself after each shot. (She insists on checking how she looks whenever I take a shot of her.)

And although I still have a long way to go before I can be happy with all of the shots that I get, I’ve finally been able to get a few shots that came out the way I wanted.

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So… I think I completely jinxed myself the other day when I wrote about how E is finally waking up at 5:00 am. Because today she woke up at 3:58. And yesterday, 4:02. And the day before that–well, you get the idea. Amazingly though, I’d been pretty healthy despite my lack of sleep until E graciously coughed in my face and gave me her cold sometime last week. It was a glorious gift that had me shaking with a high fever and sounding like a duck that spent the entire night singing karaoke at a smoke-filled bar. Meanwhile, E was like a walking, talking, leaky faucet that somehow managed to be her funny little self throughout her relationship with our shared cold.

Yes, it was a beautiful week at our house.

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