Becoming the Photographer.

As I’m learning more and more about photography I’m beginning to put myself out there more, and learn as I go.

A few weekends ago my SO and I were invited out to photograph a dance group.  The dance group is called Mandala Danceworks and they are absolutely amazing to watch in performance.  If you ever have the opportunity to see them, I highly recommend it.  I was so excited about the opportunity that was given to us.

And these were some of the shots captured that night:

In a nutshell I was pretty happy with the shots I came back with, and was happy to share them with the dancers that partook that night.  And now I’m happy to share them with you =)


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Happy National Photographer’s Month!

April is National Photographer’s Month, and I will be sure to talk up photography as much as I can this month.  Not only will I be sharing photos from some of my readers and friends and family, but also…

Every Thursday I’ll be talking more about photography by sharing some of my favorite photographer’s, and techniques I have learned along the way.

And as promised, the pictures below were submitted a few weeks ago.  I truly hope you enjoy them! And all of the pictures are taken with cell phones only =)

This is from one of my long time childhood friends, Courtney Smith,  of her beautiful daughter Sydney.  A precious moment captured.

Su Pak from submitted this photo.  It was a picture of a macaroon from one of her favorite bakery in Claremont, CA.  Pretty creative on how she even got the name of the bakery into the photo =)

This photo was taken by Alexis from  She was hanging out in Malibu for the day and utilized the Vignette App for Android while this was taken.

Maribel Reyes from submitted this phot of Los Angeles Union Station.  This is going down one of the main segways people utilize to catch their Red Line or Gold Line or Amtrak train.

Erika Kuznia submitted this photo.  It is of beautiful Lake Michigan.  Yes, in the midwest we may not have the Ocean, but we have beautiful, beautiful lakes, and the GREAT Lakes are the most spectacular.

Melissa Reyes from submitted this photo.  These are the delicious veggies laid out at the Calabasa’s Farmer’s Market.

Heather Atkinson from submitted this photo.  She says that her cell phone has become her main camera that she utilizes.  She was bummed on this day that they forgot the other camera at home until she got home that evening and was pleased with the photos taken.  She just utilized a black and white feature with this picture.

One of my amazing friends Noelle submitted this photo of her youngest daughter which has been coined the nickname of “Bean.” =) She is getting so BIG!

Lindsey Renuard from submitted this photo.  It had just started snowing, and her son, who was 3 at the time was fascinated by it, and just wanted to pick it up.  =)

Kristi from submitted this photo.  What a great capture of her child in the background of this magnificent light.  How many of you fellow photographer’s love taking pictures of fire? =)

Beautiful flowers that were captured by Jeni Ketchum that were taken by North Fort Hood, Texas.

I hope you enjoyed these photos.  I know I truly loved looking through them as I received them in my email inbox.  Next week I’ll be showing other photos that were submitted.

Also, if you want to see your cell phone photo up on this blog next week, it’s not too late to send some photos in.  Email photos to me at:

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Great ANDROID Cell Phone Apps.

For about the past 8 months I’ve been playing around with different cell phone apps for the android. I’ve narrowed it down to 4 apps I really like and would like to share those with you.

If you don’t mind spending a little money, I highly recommend these first two apps. I believe they’re both 5.99, one is for sure, the other may be lower than that.

1) Camera 360: This app has a variety of effects from: retro, lomo, hdr, black and white, night enhancement features to back to 1839 looks. This also has tilt shift modes, color shift modes and different scenery options. This is one of my favorites to utilize.  They have both a free version, and a version that costs 5.99 that gives a little more features, mainly on the effects side.  Camera 360 seems to be the app that has all the features we look for.

2) Camera Zoom FX: This has a variety of features from overlays, vignetting, to adding props. You can do collages, and cropping. This also gives you a timer setting along with trying to stable the camera phone.

If you like FREE apps then I highly recommend these apps.

1) Photoshop Express: An easier version of photoshop at your fingertips for your phone. From getting the exposure, saturation, tint, black and white, contract and brightness right for the picture. So far I have liked the results from this app.

2) Little Photo: This has a lot of effects to play around with, and you can add more than one effect to the photo. It’s a fun little app that I’ve enjoyed playing around with, and it’s one of my favorites.

And if you like to do crazy stuff with your photos and just play around to see what you can come up.

1) PhotoFunia is a free app in which you can add photos to billboards, wanted signs, photo booth strip, etc.

2) ColorTouch: This app allows you to add a bit of color to your photos while keeping the rest of the photo black and white.  It’s pretty neat once you can figure out how it exactly works.  And with the right photo, have fun with it.  This is another FREE app.

And good news for those that love the idea of Instagram.  Thanks to Alexis from I found out that Instagram is releasing an android version.  You can sign up to be one of the first here

I hope this is helpful advice.  If you recommend any apps feel free to share it hear so we can learn from others.

And if you still haven’t submitted your favorite cell phone photos to me to be featured in the weeks ahead, you can still do so by sending the photos to


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Around the US

On any given day, Epcot in Orlando, Florida stands proud as people walk all around.

In Minnesota, with the warmer temperatures coming around, the Lakes will be flooded with people and boats enjoying the sunshine.  Biker’s will also be out and about, along with the many roller bladers, walkers, and runners.

People will continue to flock to Washington DC to see the National Monuments that have only been seen in pictures for so long.  Visiting the monuments and the museums along the National Mall.

And lets not forget about the Glitz and Wonder of Beverly Hills, California.  A view from Iconic Rodeo Drive.

Or even the historic Hollywood sign that people love to see in person!

Or the gorgeous city skyline of Chicago with a view of Lake Michigan in front.

Or the view of The Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.  It really is an amazing sight to see in person.

The beautiful mountains of Colorado are breathtaking for anybody.

The majestic beauty of the leaves turning colors in the fall in the Minnesota North Shore.  But I long to think of the beauty of the NorthEast along Vermont to Maine.

And no matter where you look in Utah, there’s a beautiful landscape in front of you.  Just amazing when you get the right clouds surrounding them.

However, for me, nothing beats an ocean view!

*Disclosure* All the pictures above were taken by me as I travelled around the US.  This is only a small selection of what I have seen.  I hope to continue to add to this collection, and one day complete my goal of visiting all 50!


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Cell Phone Photography!

Think of the last time you were out and about, and witnessed something you wanted to grab a picture of.

What was the first thing you grabbed?

I bet for a lot of people they took to their phones.

Cell phone photography has been on the rise in recent years as the smartphones have come out, and the convenience of a camera on the go was available.

Not only that but there have been some pretty amazing apps that have come out in the process (which I’ll be talking about some of my favorite Android Phone Apps next week!)

How often do you use your cell phone?  Do you have a favorite photo you’d like to share?  If so, please email me the photo to:

Whatever gets sent, I’d love to do a tribute post of you guys showing your best cell phone photography.

And, since it’s only fair I’ll show you some of mine right now:

Easy when out and about on a trip.  You grab your camera and instant upload to facebook or twitter or even your blog to share with friends and your fellow readers!

Great for when you’re out and about around town during that beautiful sunset moment =)

Or even when it comes time for showing off new haircuts 😉 Dorks, I know!

Somethings just look better coming from a cell phone~  😉 Sunset Blvd.

And sidewalk art always looks awesome with a cell phone.  Makes for some truly great captures!  =)

And sometimes its just fun to pull out when you get bored… 😉 Animals make for some good subjects.

And sometimes just the challenge of photographing with a cell phone and nothing else makes you think in an entirely new way altogether.

I hope you all enjoyed, and please email me at

I’d love to showcase your photos.  Please let me your name, and a brief description as to where the photo was taken when you send it my way.  Lets have fun with this =)

Next week I’ll be talking about my favorite Android Cell Phone Apps =)


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What I love about HDR Photography!

HDR Photography, otherwise known as high dynamic range photography is when you take a photograph through bracketing.  You take the same photographed underexposed, overexposed, and then one of neutral setting. Then through software, such as Photomatrix, or others, you combine those photos into one.

This type of photography is suppose to bring out the best in the photo by capturing all the details between the three shots.

Some examples can be found below:


This picture was taken at Pasadena City Hall.  As you can see, an HDR photograph really brings out the color of a picture, almost giving the photograph a painter eske feel.

HDR photography is really done well with buildings, bright colors, boats, and other vehicles.  But begin to explore with all kinds of areas to find what you like best.

This was another photograph taken at the Pasadena City Hall.  A regular picture will showcase the hallway, but the feel of this picture by doing HDR can give it an entirely different feel altogether.  See the below picture of the hallway without HDR below:

What a difference, right?

HDR can even work in Black and White photography.  Really, in the end, you have to play around with the photos, and find the right setting that works with the photograph.

I choose to use Photomatrix software, and have been happy with my results.  I am only really beginning to play around with all the possibilities that HDR photography offers, but it’s been a lot of fun!

For those photographers out there that utilize HDR, what have been some of you tricks?  What has worked for you?

And for those just beginning in photography, look into it because it’s a lot of fun!


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Transitioning to an SLR!

I did it! I purchased my first SLR camera this past week, and since then I’ve been utilizing the camera every day!  It’s been a transition.

Like any camera, when you first receive it, you must adapt to all the functions the camera offers, and get use to the settings.

AN SLR is an entirely new level.  F-Stops go far higher.  Shutter Speeds carry more.  And the ISO’s can even go far higher than what you may be use to with your traditional.  HOWEVER the clarity of a picture is far better quality.


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The Key to Long Exposure.

My tips when it comes to taking pictures with Long Exposure:

1) Take Many Shots

I will usually take a variety of shots with different shutter speeds until I find the speed that works the best with the picture in front of me.

The above shot was taken at 1/4 sec.  And for the entire night this was the shutter speed that worked with my camera and the lighting for that evening.

2) Have a TRIPOD

For any night shot, and any shot specifically designed with long exposure, a TRIPOD is a must.  In Los Angeles, there are certain areas of the city that do not allow tripods, so before you go out, always research the vicinity to make sure it’s okay.  Otherwise just blame dumb, and wrap up the tripod and carry it with you if security does tell you to put it away.

3) When it comes to traffic, there are no tips, but to keep shooting!

Getting that perfect traffic shot usually comes from taking many, many pictures.  You can have the perfect set up and a few of those pictures will definitely come out, but the key is to take many from a variety of angles.

The shot above was taken with a Canon Powershot SX10is.  It is a Point and Shoot camera, so yes, you can still do long exposures with a camera that isn’t SLR, however, the quality of the shot isn’t nearly as clear, as you can see.  For me, this shot would have better if the buildings in the background would have been brighter, and even the bridge in front.

4) Observe your Surroundings

As the photographer you are control of the picture you put out.  Always be aware of your surroundings, and what could make the best possible shot.  Do not be afraid to do try new things, or to push yourself to new possibilities.  That is how you continue to grow as a photographer.  Keep learning, keep looking at scenes differently.

5) Have Fun with It

Some of the best photographers are those that see a group of people, think of a way to pose them then take the shot.  When it comes to Long Exposure, take advantage of the neon lights around you.  Take advantage of people walking by, or even the cars passing by.  Those make for some fun shots.  So, have fun with it, play with your camera, and laugh along the way.

Just a few tips when it comes to Long Exposure.  I’m no expert, but I’m continuing to learn my way behind a camera =)



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Upgrading the Camera….

I remember when I first purchased my Canon Powershot SX10.  It would be my first major camera purchase.  It was 3 years ago.  I was beginning to find my love of pictures.

It was with me as I captured the Sun.  As I captured the journies of Minnesota from visiting the North Shore to the farm lands of down south.  It journied with me as I visited North Carolina, South Carolina, Rhode Island, to Florida and Washington DC.

It came with me as I spent my last summer in Minnesota trying to capture all the things I would miss including the Minnesota State Fair, The arboreteum, to the North Shore.   It was with me the last week of being in Minnesota as I captured the changing colors of the trees.

It was with me as I traveled through Iowa, Nebrask, through the Rocky mountains into Utah, Nevada, Arizona, as we finally crossed the border into California.  It was there as I began my new life in a new place not knowing anyone or anything about the area I’d be living.

It was there as I learned how to capture my sunsets over the ocean.  As I learned more and more about photography.  As I ventured out into the city of LA, and learned the streets, the people, and about photography.  It was there, and it’s been quite the journey.

But there comes a time in every Photographer’s life where the journey comes to a end, where a new camera comes to light.   And that time is soon for me.  That time is right around the corner, as I finally venture into learning to shoot photography with an SLR.

It was quite the journey, it was quite the ride, but now I must say good-bye!!



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You just need one image to help you through your day…

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