Saturday, January 31, 2009

Already January's End and a Review of Last Year

I'm amazed and bewildered at how fast a year can go by. It's the end of January of this new year and this blog has been going for a month. I wanted to review the last year with Vithaya Photography. I keep an electronic record of the things I've done throughout the year. It's in the form of a basic list, but it helps me to see the things I was involved with during the year, when and where it was, and what it was basically about. It's been an amazing last year full of opportunity and here are a few highlights (right click on links to open in new window):

* NBC-4 Fitness Expo at the Washington Convention Center - I've been to this before. It's an energetic and encouraging environment to help get more health and fitness minded. Drink more water.
* Andy Zipf: Pfriends on Pfilm multimedia concert at SOTA Dzine. This concert was held in a photography and design studio. It was a great experience seeing the concert there, hearing Andy's ethereal vocals and seeing artistic imagery projected on the walls.

* Andy Zipf: Pfriends on Pfilm multimedia concert, Apple Store at Tysons Corner Center, VA. I saw this concert the month before, but this time it was actually in an Apple store! What a cool venue. I was able to take photos of the concert and roam around the "stage" area, so I could get in and take closer shots.
* Travel Photography Seminar at National Geographic Society Headquarters in Washington, D.C. - This was my first time at this place and one of their seminars. I'm glad a friend told me about it and that went to it. It was great being in such an environment and in the midst of the photography that National Geographic has shown to the world. I was amazed at the images shown from trips that the speakers Jim Richardson and Catherine Karnow experienced. I definitely left feeling inspired.

* St. Patrick's Day Celebration and Parade in Old Town Alexandria - A photographer friend and I went to Old Town to photograph this event. It's great seeing the pageantry and fun of a parade.
* Popular Photography/Sony Digital Days Workshop in Annapolis, MD - This was my first time at these photography workshops and I was glad to go to both the basic and the beyond the basics workshop over a period of two days. I felt that I knew more than the basics, but I wanted to check out both workshops, as I know that sometimes I can look over something and review can be a good thing. The basics class was good and had some practical digital photography tips. The next day was the beyond the basics class and we had guest speaker Kevin Gilbert of Blue Pixel as a guest speaker. We also had the opportunity to photograph some models that were brought in for the afternoon. It was a good two day experience.
* Jim & Jensina's wedding in Luray, VA - I was asked to spend the weekend with friends and their family to photograph a wedding. It was nice to go out of town and be a part of a special time in the lives of my friends and their family.

* Washington National Cathedral Tour & DC Photo Jaunt - A friend invited some people to go on a tour of the Washington National Cathedral and I decided to make a photo Jaunt of it by inviting other photography enthusiasts.
* Washington Humane Society Fashion For Paws Runway Show, Italian Embassy, Washington, DC - I went to this event with a couple friends and it was a great time at a very beautiful and spacious venue. In front of the embassy was a red carpet that made it feel all the more special. There were a lot of people dressed up and even their dogs were dressed up. Several vendors were there with products to offer and the fashion show part of it with people and pets going down the runway was exciting.

* Land Rover America's Polo Cup - Polo matches are good opportunities to dress up and watch a game close to the playing field. The treading of the divots on the field was a fun excursion, especially for the kids. That evening Huey Lewis and the News performed and to cap off the night there was a fireworks show.
* GI Film Festival, Carnegie Institution of Washington, DC - This was an incredible event to be a part of because it celebrates our armed forces and honors their sacrifices through the medium of film. Several celebrities were there in support and the media was there to report about it.
* Joint Service Open House and Air Show at Andrews AFB - This was my first time at this show and it was cool to be here and see all the military vehicles and aircraft.
* Spring Wine Festival and Sunset Tour, Mount Vernon, VA - An evening of wine and jazz music overlooking the Potomac River.
* Mark & Kate's Wedding in Lancaster, PA - I was the official photographer for this wedding at the beautiful Cameron Estate Inn & Restaurant. It was on Memorial Weekend, so I drove up to Lancaster and the next morning I drove to the Outer Banks of NC for a few days at the beach.

* Wedding Assist to Garrett Hubbard - My friend Garrett Hubbard and I went to a rehearsal dinner in Charlottesville, VA and the next day we covered TJ and Heather's wedding at the Veritas Vineyard and Winery in Afton, VA.
* Washington Humane Society Black Tie Bark Ball - This event was held at the Renaissance hotel in DC. It's Washington's only Black-tie Gala for the Four-on-the-Floor Crowd. People dressed up to the nines along with their pets.
* Portrait Workshop with Manny Librodo Quebec City, Canada - I really admire the photography work of Manny Librodo and I was excited to be able to attend one of his workshops. I also wanted this to be a vacation for me and spent four days there. I really enjoyed my time in such a quaint old style city that resembles the sense of being in France.
* Kevin and Helen's wedding at the Comus Inn at Sugarloaf Mountain - I was the official photographer for this wedding and reception in Dickerson, MD. Kevin and Helen were a lot of fun and we had a beautiful setting with the backdrop of the mountain.

* Herb & Charissa's wedding in Baltimore, MD. I had the pleasure of attending this wedding at the gorgeous Tremont Grand hotel. This was one of the most exquisite and detailed weddings and receptions that I've ever attended.
* DC Photo Jaunt - A lot of people come out on the National Mall for Screen on the Green and I decided to do a photo jaunt called "National Treasure" before we saw a movie on an outdoor screen.
* Washington Kastles vs. St. Louis. World Team Tennis Season Finale - What an amazing venue to be at Kastles Stadium at CityCenterDC. Watching Tennis being played outdoors in the middle of DC was awesome and it was great to be up close court side taking photos.
* Engagement shoot for Claude and Van, Meadowlark Gardens, VA - It was a beautiful sunny day and the garden setting was dreamy. This was a great time and place for this photo session.

* Wedding Assist to Garrett Hubbard - I assisted a friend covering a wedding at the Walker Chapel United Methodist Church and the reception was at the Washington Golf and Country Club.
* Cranky Monkey Race at Wakefield Park, VA - A friend of mine was in a mountain bike race so I went there to photograph it.
* Engagement Shoot for Charlie and Farrah at Jefferson Memorial - DC is a great place to photograph couples because of the beauty and majesty of the various monuments there.
* Wedding Assist to Garrett Hubbard, Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Golf Resort, Spa and Marina, Cambridge, MD - This wedding was outdoors behind the hotel...simply beautiful.
* Legg Mason Tennis Classic finals - I enjoy playing tennis when I can, and it's also exciting to watch, especially these professionals.
* Photowalk with Jeff Revell in Old Town, Alexandria - There were nearly 8,000 people from 43 countries (44 states in the U.S.) in 241 cities that participated in Scott Kelby's first-ever worldwide Photo Walk. Jeff Revell organized our group and it was a great time of photography fun.
* Photo Jaunt at Meadowlark Gardens - This was another outing with photo enthusiasts.
* Twilight Polo at Great Meadows - I attended this polo match with a few friends and I was able to take lots of photos of the area and the match. It was more challenging photographing this match in the evening, but it was a good challenge.

* Charlie and Farrah's wedding in Oahu - At the end of September I attended a destination wedding in Oahu, which was a trip of a lifetime as I had never been to any of the Hawaiian Islands.

* Digital Days Photography Workshop, NYC - I attended the Beyond the Basics workshop. This was my third workshop with them and I learned more digital photo tips there.
* East Meets West Photography Workshop in NYC with Gene Higa and Jason Groupp - We had instruction in the morning and then took the afternoon to do a photo shoot with models outdoors, then went to Times Square to photograph a night session. It was a full day, but a rewarding one.
* DWF Platinum Party - As part of the East Meets West workshop we attended, we were also invited to the Digital Wedding Forum party in Jason Groupp's studio. It was packed in there and it was good to meet new people. We also had a photo booth set up, so that was fun to do.
* PDN Photo Plus Photography Conference and Expo - Three days of learning more about photography and seeing professionals teach and being part of a larger photography community.

* Tom and Arielle's wedding - I was the official photographer for this wedding at Chesterbrook United Methodist Church in McLean with a tent-side reception at Columbia Island Marina near DC.
* Visiting Richmond, VA - After photographing a morning wedding I finished preparations to visit a friend in Richmond for the rest of the weekend. My friend took me around the area to see some monuments and later on we had dinner with his family. We spent the next day at Maymont, a 100 acre place rich in history, habitats and horticulture.
* FotoWeek DC, Torpedo Factory Art Center, Alexandria, VA - Photographer Steve Uzzell presented Open Roads; Open Minds: An Exploration of Creative Problem Solving. We saw some amazing images and his thought process behind getting those images.

* Sam and Mimi's wedding - It was great to have photographed Sam & Mimi's engagement session. Their wedding was at the Fairlington Presbyterian Church in Alexandria and the reception was also held there.
* Avedon Portraits of Power exhibit and DC Photo Jaunt - Last year I coordinated an outing to see the Annie Leibovitz and Ansel Adams photography exhibits and then went on a photo jaunt around the area. This time we saw the Richard Avedon exhibit was displayed at The Corcoran Gallery of Art.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Sugar & Champagne Affair

I've had opportunities to work with the Washington Humane Society by photographing a couple of their events. I heard about the 7th Annual Sugar & Champagne Affair event on January 28 at The Ritz Carlton in Washington D.C., and I was able to cover this event for the first time.

I arrived to the Ritz around 6pm and was excited to be there. I had my camera out and started taking pictures of some of the exterior and decor of the well recognized hotel. I checked in at the media part of registration. Not long after that I recognized someone I know, and she was about to interview Mrs. Alexandria, who had her sash on with that title. There were so many interesting people and pets milling about. It was a great opportunity to take pictures, but it's not always easy taking pictures of pets...they don't seem to stay still enough for a pose. I almost had to resort to using dog treats to get their attention.

Various vendors had their table and wares set upon them and there were many more vendors in the main room of the event. I attempted to take a picture of each table there. There were so many delicious treats offered and a lot of tables had treats for dogs. People and their pets were walking around everywhere in the room, tasting treats, having pictures taken and taking pictures, and people enjoyed letting their dogs meet other dogs and it was a great place for people to talk and meet other people.

There was an awards presentation for WHS staff given out by the WHS president. I was able to take pictures of that presentation and of the awards recipients afterward. I kept taking pictures, yet also had time to talk to the people there and partake of a few snacks. I left close to 10pm and enjoyed being there and supporting WHS.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Snow Day

In waking up this morning and listening to the radio, I heard how it was snowing outside and that schools were opening late or closing. It had been awhile since it snowed in the area where I live, and it was only about an inch. Even with the smallest amounts of snow falling or on the ground, it seems that people have a hard time getting around in the snow. The snow looked beautiful and it was a great opportunity to take some photos. It's only for a season, so I'll enjoy whatever beauty it brings.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Theme Party Photography

I was looking forward to the weekend in going out with friends, and wherever I go, I try to at least have my compact camera with me. On Friday night I went down to DC to celebrate a friend's birthday. My friends and I were to meet up at the Cork Wine Bar off 14th street. The place was small and we had a large gathering of about 20 people waiting outside for the birthday guy to show up. With all the people in our group, we actually decided to split up and eat dinner at a few different places. Crossing a street I saw this interesting crosswalk unlike the normal striped one. A few of us went around the corner and saw several nice restaurants. Four of us went to Axis Bar & Grill. I had never been there, and it was nice, having an open feeling to it. We sat up in the balcony and enjoyed the food and atmosphere. After dinner we went to a restaurant called Marvin, a classic bistro and bar which was named after Marvin Gaye. It was a cool place and they had a deck upstairs and out back with space heaters. On the outside wall of the restaurant, they had some murals on the wall and one of them especially caught people's eyes...Shepard Fairey's iconic poster of Barack Obama.

On Saturday I stayed in all day to catch up on life, but then went out to a theme party called Mai Thai. With the Mai Thai drinks, dress ties, pink and black colors, and people dressed up, this was a party to remember. The photos taken throughout the night contribute to the memorability of this night. This party had a 120 yes responses to the invite and 35 maybes, so we expected it to be packed in the community room that was reserved for this event. The party was stylish and people had fun socializing and dancing. Planning ahead and attention to detail pays off. There was also a dress tie tying contest and a limbo contest (which I won). I thought it was a good party and classy one at that. The party also supported a good cause: The Children's Law Center has lawyers from all over DC doing pro bono legal work for at-risk kids and their families in DC. I enjoy theme parties, but I also enjoy being a part of parties for a good cause.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Obama Inauguration 2009

This was one of the most important days in history. I decided to bike into DC again and once again dressed in many layers as I did on Sunday. This day seemed colder and more windy than Sunday, but I felt it was worth it to be there and witness the inauguration of our 44th President. I didn't get to DC really early, but early enough to hear the inauguration. I was amazed at how many people were there, and it was the most amount on the National Mall in history. It was challenging getting around on a bike with all the people everywhere and with all the blockades. I just biked around and took it all in. I could feel the excitement, sense the hope and see the joy all around me. I could see all kinds of people coming together. Yes we can, work together to achieve a more perfect union.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

We Are One - Opening Inaugural Ceremony

With the inaugural opening ceremony today, I knew the national mall area would be packed. I had considered biking into DC in the weeks leading up to the inauguration. I've biked into DC many times for the exercise, exploring, and taking photos. I could have watched the ceremony on TV, but I felt like biking into DC to be there for such a historic day in history. It was exciting to know that so many people were converging in DC, and how fitting that the theme of the ceremony today was We Are One.

I spent some of Saturday evening to prepare for my bike ride. I charged all my camera batteries and formatted my memory cards. I looked on inauguration websites to see what I had to do to get into DC. Backpacks were not allowed so I took my Think Tank Speedbelt System to carry in my 24-70mm lens, 12-24mm lens, and 50mm lens, while I kept my 18-200mm on my camera. I brought my external flash along and some snacks and a bottle of water. I knew that I needed to keep my batteries warm so I put them in the pocket of my vest. Knowing that it was going to be a cold day of biking and being outside for a few hours, I dressed in many layers. I wore seven layers on my upper body, three layers of pants/shorts, two pairs of socks and gloves, and had my bike helmet, two face masks and shades on. All the layers helped.

It was still a bit chilly in biking, but I was alright. I parked near the Pentagon and biked across Key Bridge, through Georgetown, past the Kennedy Center, down Constitution Ave and to an entrance off Constitution. After the security check, I was free to roam around where I had room to move. There were so many people there and it was hard to move at times with people packed like sardines in certain places. I was able to make my way around well enough and take lots of photos, yet could not get very close and my zoom lens only had enough range to just get the Lincoln Memorial to fill the frame. I almost bought a 1.4x teleconverter for my 70-200mm to extend the zoom range, but I'll have to wait on that purchase. It was good to be there and experience the landmark event.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Workspace and Workflow

It was a cold day as it had been for the past several days. Even the water bottles I left in the back of my car were frozen. This was a good morning for me to sleep in. Saturdays can be very busy or relaxed for me. There are times when I have an event or project to go to on Saturdays. Some Saturdays I am content to stay home, get more sleep, catch up on housework or going through mail and other papers. In the afternoon I went to my parents house and then I drove my mother to the office supply store. On the way to the store's entrance I saw water that had flowed out of a faucet and froze. I took a photo of it to remind me just how cold it was outside...and it looked cool too.

My mother wanted to get my father a small desk so he could work on his laptop on it. My father has places to work, but doesn't use them, and so his workspace isn't very traditional. We figured he didn't really need a new desk, but he just needed to use what he already has. My mother is taking a basic computer graphics course and she wanted some software that would allow her to put graphics in her documents or include them in an email. We looked at what was offered and settled on this 950,000 clip art collection which also included photos, borders, and fonts. My mother also wanted a chair for her desk where her laptop computer rests, so we got her a nice chair. Comfort is important.

We got back to my parents house and I put the chair together and installed the software. It felt good to put things together and install new software. My mother is still a novice with the computer and cyberspace, but she's trying to learn. She's good at creating a nice workspace environment to work in and she wants the same for my father. My mother showed me the Valentines Day card that I made for her last year and she wanted to be able to make cards too. I also showed her how to download photos from her camera and organize her photos by naming them and organizing them in folders. It's important to have some kind of system of photography workflow, and it should be consistent. She also wanted an email account so she can access email on the internet, so I helped her set up an internet email account. It's easy to take for granted how much some of us know about computers and the internet and how others don't know much about it.

These days it seems that most people are proficient with computers and at least the basics of using a camera and working with photos. Sometimes people miss, bypass, or overlook these basics. My mother was thankful that I helped her and she tried to write down all the things I was telling her, and I explained what I could, but there was still so much more to cover. All this showed the importance of getting training in these areas and I almost felt like I had to write a little book on these basics for my mother. There are a lot of good books and other resources out there...we just need to take the time to get it and put it to use.

The opening inaugural ceremony for President-elect Barak Obama will be at the Lincoln Memorial in DC starting at 2:30pm (EST) on Sunday January 18. The event called We Are One will have an all-star lineup. What a great photo opportunity. I hope to make it out there to physically be a part of this historical moment.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Lebanese Taverna

I was invited to attend a CEO Boardroom gathering held at Lebanese Taverna in Bethesda, Maryland. The history of the Lebanese Taverna restaurant is a story of hopes and dreams becoming reality.

This evening was for a gathering of CEO's and principals to help connect, align and raise the bar of CEO's individual vision for themselves, their organization, and their communities by aligning with each other.

I was allowed to take some photos of the restaurant and the event. I arrived a half hour before the event started and got my camera, flash, and lens ready. The lighting was dim in the room so I either used flash or took the pictures at the widest aperture with high ISO and fast (1.8/2.8) lenses. There was about 30 CEO/principals there and it was good to network with people there.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Things Learned, Things Practiced

I had been looking forward to Tuesday the 13th in seeing and hearing Steve Uzzell present again. I saw Steve present the last day of FotoWeek DC where he presented "Open Roads; Open Minds: An Exploration of Creative Problem Solving. This seminar was hosted by Blue Ridge Workshops, and this was my first seminar with them. When I arrived at the seminar early, I got a seat up front and watched all the people coming in. I think I was the youngest person there, and there was a lot of photography wisdom and experience in that room. Steve presented a seminar called "Do It Once, Do It Right." I was amazed with the photos I saw and see that there were specific things that Steve did to achieve the kind of images he came away with. With all this knowledge accumulated, it would be beneficial to put these things into practice. I've got to keep taking photos consistently, and I'm encouraged to do so.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Photographic Weekend

On Friday night I attended a birthday celebration for a friend at the Shadow Room in DC. I had not been to the Shadow Room before. Outside the door there is some red carpet to welcome guests. The interior of the club is dimly lit with alternating colors lighting the ceiling softly. The DJ was spinning tunes and people were dancing it up. Several people had their compact cameras and were taking a lot of pictures.

On Saturday afternoon I photographed a theatrical headshot session. I was trying out the Photek Softliter SL 5000 with a diameter of 46" from tip to tip of the umbrella shape. It's not a new product on the scene, but I've heard of people using it and liking it. I had this umbrella setup at about a 45 degree angle and around three feet from the subject. I had a flash set up to light up the umbrella. I also had a reflector set up on the other side with another flash shining into it. My pop-up flash on my camera was up to be able to trigger my external flashes wirelessly.

On Sunday I attended the National Geographic Versatile Traveler Seminar at the National Geographic headquarters in Washington DC. We had a full day which went from 9am to 4pm, but we also had a few breaks. I enjoyed hearing from Ralph Lee Hopkins and Bob Krist. I've seen Bob Krist on some training DVDs and I got to meet him. The guy has such a friendly disposition in the DVD and in person. It was an inspiring day and I picked up some things I can use in my photography.

Friday, January 9, 2009

International Flair

I attended a birthday celebration for a friend Thursday night at Gua Rapo's in Arlington. I thought the sign out front looked good with the colored wall. I always try to take an informational photo that describes the event or venue that I'm visiting. It's a frame of reference, and it's especially helpful in taking photos of signs with information on it. Walking through the front door I saw an interesting lamp and neon sign atop a staircase. Friends of the birthday girl just kept arriving and we had about 16 or so in our group. This place has an upstairs lounge and dance floor, but it was closed that the time we were there. The restaurant part on the entry level has an international flair. The dim lighting and high-volume music is inescapable. The live Latin band and hookah (pipes with flavored tobacco) are a couple main attractions there. I didn't smoke anything, but sure enough, there was enough second-hand smoke floating around. You may feel a bit crowded there, and the atmosphere lends itself to loud, close talking and sharing of tapas and other not so ordinary but delicious food offerings. It's quite an experience, and when you step back outside and the smoke clears, you may find yourself feeling like you were in another country and are on your way home.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Wedding Guides and Inspiration

I got an email this afternoon telling me that the REAL SIMPLE wedding guide is available at Crate&Barrel. I went to take a look at the guide and it looks similar to the one that came out last year. It's got a fresh, clean look and feel to the guide and it's meant to help plan a beautiful and stress free wedding celebration. There is a section in the guide which talks about 10 things to know in hiring a photographer/videographer. From time to time I look at guides such as this one to learn more about the wedding couple's side of things. I want to know what the couple's expectations are and provide them with the best service possible and even go beyond their expectations. It's also inspirational to view these kind of guides and the photos in them. One of my favorite publications for wedding inspiration is the Grace Ormonde Wedding Style magazine. What a beautiful and classy magazine. Stay inspired.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Lucky Strike Lanes Bowling and "Lucky" Shots

On Monday evening I was pleased to drive into DC without any traffic to contend with, yet there was enough once I got into DC. It wasn't too bad getting around and I was glad to get to the Lucky Strike Lanes in good time. Lucky Strike Lanes is one of the classiest and coolest bowling joints around (that I've experienced). Several of us had dinner there and then bowled a few games, and it was also the birthday of one of my friends. It's great to be able to have my compact "pocket" camera to capture special moments and the fun whenever it happens. I found that the Night Snapshot setting on my camera was best for the lighting situation, because it fills the background with more light from the flash (longer exposure). You need to keep the camera very still though, unless you want to try to add some motion in your shots. Here a few photos from the night. Keep a camera handy...and you might just get a "lucky" shot.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Knowing Photography > Doing Photography

I'm looking forward to The Versatile Travel Photographer Seminar at the National Geographic Society in Washington, D.C. on Sunday, January 11. National Geographic Traveler photographers Ralph Lee Hopkins and Bob Krist will be presenting. Last year I attended a seminar by Jim Richardson and Catherine Karnow at the National Geographic headquarters in DC. I came away with some tips and inspiration to continue photography with passion.

On Tuesday January 13, I'm going to attend a lecture called "Do It Once, Do It Right" by Steve Uzzell. Last year, I went to a lecture that Steve presented in Old Town Alexandria on the last day of FotoWeek DC. I was greatly impressed and inspired by his approach to photography and his work.

I've enjoyed going to various seminars, lectures, and gatherings surrounding the topic of photography, but I'm also reminded of the need to just get out and take photos. It's good to have a vision in mind and explore the world. I want to experiment and see things from new perspectives. It's good to be part of a community of photography enthusiasts who can help you learn and grow as a photographer. The interaction, sharing, and encouragement are helpful. To me, photography is more than just about a photo telling a story, but it's also about relationships. I want to continually be reminded to not just see, but really see a situation for what it is and capture it. I also believe that a photo is more than just about it's technical quality, but it's also about emotion and heart. The definition of photography being that of drawing or writing with light is fascinating, and so I'm going to be learning a lot more about light this year and how to use it to try and make beautiful photos. Shine on.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Exercising Photography

It's only the third day of the new year and time is just flying by like last year. I'm not necessarily making resolutions this year, but I do want to continue learning more about photography and doing it. That's why I've invested a lot into it and I've also been able to share the joy of photography with others by taking people on what I call "Photo Jaunts." We did a photo jaunt in December to see the Richard Avedon exhibit Portraits of Power at the Corcoran in DC, and then went to see and photograph people ice skating in the outdoor rink of the Sculpture Garden.

Although I have a couple Canon cameras, I currently use Nikon DSLR's. I like and respect both of those brands, but for the DSLR's I prefer using Nikon. There are many factors for choosing a DSLR camera, but when it all came down to it, I went with Nikon as my personal choice.

I picked up this new DVD on New Years Day at the camera store called "Nikon School - A Hands-on Guide to Creative Lighting." It features pro photographers Bob Krist and Joe McNally and they break down the techniques for making light work for you and using Nikon's Creative Lighting System (CLS).

I went biking with a friend this morning even though it was only about 40 degrees outside. With the new year upon us, it sounded good to get back into exercise. It'll take some sacrifice, but it's worth it, especially if it's consistent exercise and healthy eating. I think it's important for photographers to maintain a healthy lifestyle which includes both physical and mental aspects. It's amazing what you can see when you're not going so fast (i.e. driving). I'm able to observe more things and see more details, and I feel more a part of the environment. Something about exercise helps to both clear my mind and get creative thoughts and ideas flowing. An appreciation for what we've been given is important too, and may we use what we have to the best of our ability. I hope you'll add physical exercise to your weekly regimen. After all, I don't want to sit behind a computer all day and night. I want to get out there and explore life!

This afternoon a talented photographer friend held an informal lesson on the basics of photography to help a lady who is traveling abroad soon. This lady just got a Nikon D90 to be able to document her travels with both photography and video. He invited me and a few others. After seeing his email, I called him about it and I emailed about 15 or so photographer enthusiasts, some of whom who just got their DSLRs. No matter what the skill level, it's important to go over the basics and the seasoned photographers can also contribute to instructing. It benefits everyone. We had twelve people present and we took close to three hours in going over photography basics. It was a good experience and we hope to have more lessons in the future.

Later in the evening I went to a birthday party and took some photos there with my compact camera. It was an enjoyable time of food, drinks, conversations and games. One of the best moments was in presenting the cake with the lit candle, the singing and the expressions in blowing the candle out. It's a reminder of the gift of relationships we've been given and wishing one another good things in life.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

New Year, New Blog

It's the first day of a new year and it seems like a great time to start a blog for Vithaya Photography. I'm an emerging photographer and desire to travel the world, meet people, capture life, share in it, learn to see in new ways, and maintain a sense of wonder in living life.

Last year afforded me more opportunities to travel and grow Vithaya Photography. I was able to visit Quebec City, Oahu, New York City, and Richmond, VA. I attended several seminars and workshops this year considering it an investment in my future and they were fun trips too! Vithaya Photography is a venture coined after my first name and the kind of photography that I have been able to take and share to tell a story. The name Vithaya means "knowledge," and I want to continue to learn and grow as a photographer and share my experiences.

This morning I worked on some photos I took at a New Year's Eve party and shared them in the afternoon to many of the people who were at the party. Here's one photo from the party with a bunch of people wagging their glow sticks while on the dance floor. Later on in the afternoon, I dropped by the camera store and book store, visited my parents, and then went to a dinner gathering at a friend's house. It was a full day and I'm looking forward to so much more in 2009.