Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Morgan in Adams Morgan

Given the name of the model for this shoot being Morgan and having a photo shoot done in Adams Morgan, one might wonder if there is any relation. It's more of a coincidence.

On August 30th our little photo shoot crew ventured around the heart of Adams Morgan and attracted stares and questions from onlookers and it almost felt like we were adding to the already vibrant nightlife of this area. Those who have spent time in Adams Morgan can see that it is an area full of cultural diversity and artistic character. During the day it's wonderful to see the neighborhood consisting of 19th and early 20th-century row houses and apartment buildings. The intersection of 18th St and Columbia Road is considered the center of Adams Morgan and going along 18th Street you will find a bevy of restaurants and bars where many people flock to in the evenings.

Seeing that it was toward the end of August where many feel like the summer is close to over, it seemed fitting to capture this time and place for a photo shoot. I have an upcoming photo walk in Adams Morgan on October 2nd, where people are welcome to attend and learn more about photography while in a creative and social environment. There is also an Adams Morgan Day Festival on September 11 from Noon to 7pm. It's a global community of cultures celebrating together.

Photo Walk in Adams Morgan (10/2/11)

Adams Morgan Day Festival

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Adams Morgan DC Photo Walk - October 2nd

I'm excited to have been accepted to lead a photo walk for Scott Kelby's Worldwide Photo Walk and my group will be going through Adams Morgan in DC. I've been to Adams Morgan several times and find it to be culturally diverse, artful, interesting and raw. It reminds me a little of being in NYC and just by walking around, I feel more creative. The picture above was taken by my iPhone on a scouting jaunt in planning a route for doing a photo walk.

The details of my photo walk are on the following page that was set up today, and I'm looking forward to it:

Here's a introductory video about the Worldwide Photo Walk:

Walkers can get WWPW shirts here:

Buying a shirt benefits:

Friday, August 26, 2011

Upcoming Photo Walk and Photo Event Flashbacks

August 26, 2011 - I received an email a couple days ago saying that my Photo Walk Leader application has been approved for Scott Kelby's Worldwide Photo Walk happening on October 1st and 2nd. I just need to set up my photo walk page and choose which day (Oct 1 or Oct 2nd) and the two hour or so time frame for the walk. We'll also have a place to share a meal and pictures afterward. I'm going to be doing the photo walk in Adams Morgan in Washington, DC. This is a culturally diverse area and it has a lot of character to it. I spent some time a couple weeks ago and scouted out a possible route for a photo walk, considering it was going to be approved, which thankfully it was recently.

I wanted to check out Adams Morgan again this afternoon and add to my scouting trip of this photo walk. A couple weeks ago I found the FotoDC gallery at 1838 Columbia Rd. NW, DC, but did not go into the gallery till today. I talked to some of the staff about the upcoming photo walk I was planning and it so happened that Theo Adamstein walked in (with a DSLR on his shoulder) so it was good timing as Theo is a photographer, architect, and founder of FotoWeek DC/FotoDC.

I remembered Theo from a photo exhibit event called FLASH which was March 17-April 17. FotoDC partnered with the Crystal City Business Improvement District (BID) to put this event on. I attended a VIP opening of the FLASH exhibit event and photographed it for a magazine. I talked with the FotoDC staff about incorporating FotoDC into the Worldwide Photo Walk group I'm leading in Adams Morgan soon, and we could see the mutual benefits for everyone involved. I perused the popular library of photo books in the gallery which were available to the public during FotoWeek. The gallery currently holds the FotoSpace exhibition: Speaking to Silence. It's in partnership with The Pulitzer Center and Human Rights Watch with work by Platon, Marcus Bleasdale, and Stephanie Sinclair.

Theo Adamstein speaking at the FLASH VIP Preview event in Crystal City, VA on March 17, 2011.

Another flashback happened in wishing a photographer friend a Happy Birthday today, and we were reminded of a birthday party my friends tried to surprise me with at my photographer friend's place. It turns out that one of the gifts I received for my birthday was a digital photographer's handbook written by Tom Ang. I had found that book not long ago and inside the front cover is the name and date of my friend who gave me the book, and this was back in 2004.

It's been awhile and time certainly does fly. I fairly recently photographed my photographer friend's sister's engagement party in DC. It was a nice event and it reminded me of my photographer friend and the further encouragement I received back then to get more into photography which people could see that I was passionate about. The passion ensues and it's partly because of these memorable events, photos, and friends. Keep the passion alive. Keep walking.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Day & Night at Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial

On August 22, 2011, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial opened to the public and I wanted to visit it on this opening day. The dedication ceremony for the memorial will be held on Sunday August 28, 2011, which is the 48th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Site is located just beyond the Northwest corner of the Tidal Basin, by Independence Ave and West Basin Drive. It's location about midway between the Lincoln Memorial and the Jefferson Memorial which is in a relatively straight line seen from an aerial view. The location signifies part of the area in the nation's march toward freedom.

It was on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial that Dr. King delivered his first national address "Give Us the Ballot." Then Dr. King returned to the Lincoln Memorial in supporting the March on Washington in 1963, where in a defining moment in the movement for civil rights, Dr King delivered his memorable "I Have a Dream" speech before an audience of over 200, 000 people.

Dr King's speech was a reflection of his belief in the words of the Constitution of the United States and the Declaration of Independence which he referred to as that "promissory note to which every American was to fall heir."

The figure of Dr King emerges from the granite Stone of Hope which stands 28 feet 6 inches, and is the work of Master sculptor Lei Yixin. The statue is a testament to Dr King's courageous leadership in the civil rights movement, as said "I was a drum major for justice peace and righteousness." The Mountain of Despair serves as the central entrance to the memorial, with water descending from fountains on either side representing vitality and life. The Stone of Hope with Dr King's resolute figure is past the Mountain of Despair and faces the Tidal Basin and symbolizing opportunities for advancement in the future. The selected quotations on the inscription walls speak of the four main messages of Dr King which are justice, democracy, hope, and love.

Many people visited and were moved by the memorial. I visited late in the afternoon yet was drawn back to the memorial to capture it again during sunset, and so these pictures show the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial during night and day. It seems to suggest the movement from darkness to the light. How fitting that one of my favorite quotations on the inscription walls says: "Darkness cannot drive out darkness. Only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate. Only love can do that."

View the photos larger individually or in a slide show at this gallery.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Think Ink...Cosmetics

INK Cosmetics Launch Party & Fashion Industry Network Event (August 20, 2011)

It was highly anticipated evening and how exciting it is to have a launch party with much to celebrate. There was also much to do in preparing for the event and having many things come into place. A fashion show was a highlight of the evening and Ink Cosmetics had their crew there early along with staff from the W Salon. Earlier this year Ink Cosmetics started working out of the W Salon to complement one another and offer more to customers.

Celebrity Makeup Artista Anna Castillo was born in Brooklyn, NY but was raised all over the world due to her father's military service. Anna has always had a love for makeup and practiced on her friends in high school. At 19 Anna moved out on her own and entered the Air Force, and Anna continues to serve active duty in the military. Anna now resides in DC and has made a lot of press regarding her work. Launching her cosmetics line has been a dream and is now a reality, and she's done a lot of amazing work over the years to bring her to this place. The philosophy of Ink Cosmetics "is to help everyone achieve their beauty goals and to make them feel fabulous in every way."

There was a crowd waiting to get into L2 and when the doors opened at 8pm, people streamed in and the first 100 guests received "I ♥ ink...cosmetics" swag bag filled with a large size cosmetics/tools plus hair care samples and special sponsor surprises. Red Carpet Interviews were done with DC on Heels Host Markette Smith Sheppard and Emcee DC on Heels Host Vanessa Camozzi welcomed guests. One of the highlights of the evening was a performance by Grammy Nominated Recording Artist Carolyn Malachi who sang for the audience. Vanessa Camozzi got back on the mic and introduced Anna Castillo, Celebrity Makeup Artist and Owner of Ink Cosmetics. Anna introduced sponsors and thanked them and guests for being there.

Then it was fashion show time with models showcasing designs by WELLTA, hair styled by W Salon and makeup by the different faces of ink...cosmetics. The fashion show started out with Miss Maryland USA 2011 Allyn Rose and followed by seven other models, and the guests were crowded all about the space of L2 as the models walked the perimeter of the lounge. It was wonderful to have Allyn Rose open the fashion show and she loved the dress she wore. We were also blessed to have two other beauty queens in attendance: Miss Virginia US 2011 Katie Barrie and Miss DC USA 2011 Heather Swann.

Guests admired the clothing designs, as they were a new take on the timeless and classic little black dress. Fashion designer Wellta moved to NYC in 2001 and attended FIT, graduating with a fashion design degree. In early 2011 Wellta decided to launch a collection of her label WELLTA. It's a new women's wear line that will offer unique and exclusive hand-made dresses. Wellta now resides in DC with plans to offer something unique to the area and we saw a taste of that with this fashion show.

After the show pictures were taken and interviews done, guests were invited to stay and continue networking at this industry event while DJ Neekola spun some hip tunes. It was a great evening as guests enjoyed the ambiance, mingling and even a little dancing. After all, it's a launch party. Congratulations.

View my entire Ink Cosmetics Launch Party & Fashion Industry Network Event gallery of photos from the event.

Event SPONSORED BY, W Salon VA, and L2 Lounge.

Launch Location: L2 Lounge -
Traci Allen Inc. - National Marketing, Event, and PR Firm
HAIR (and first ink...cosmetics retail location): W Salon VA -
Grammy Nominated Recording Artist: Carolyn Malachi -
MC/Host: DC on Heels - Vanessa and Markette -
Production: Triana Woodard & Vance Gamble of Purple District -
Designer: (Perfect Black Dress) WELLTA -
Stylist: (Shoes/Accessories for Launch Models) Ayanna Scott
Model Appearance: Allyn Rose - Miss Maryland USA 2011
Photographer: Naiffer Romero -
Fashion Photographer: Leonard Poteat -
Fashion Photographer: Todd Willis -
DC Life Magazine:
L2 Lounge DJ: MOOSE

Pictures in the slideshow taken by Vithaya Photography.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Product Showcase: Anji Mountain Bamboo Chairmat and Rug Co.

August 18, 2011 - Sticker shocked, but she likes it! I've got to say I'm impressed with this product that my mother bought today for the computer area downstairs at her house. At an earlier visit to an office supply store months ago we had seen this bamboo chairmat from Anji Mountain. It looked nice and it seemed like it was of great quality, but we didn't get it at that time. Yet today was the day as my mother wanted a chairmat. We didn't know the price till there was a price check on it and the look on my mother's face was priceless. She still got the product, and it was easy to roll out and put under the computer desk. Nice, solid!

It's interesting that we visited a camera store before going to the office supply store and I had a conversation with my mother about prints and the various places she could physically go to get prints. She was considering places and although other places are cheaper, I stressed the end result of quality.

I checked out the website of Anji Mountain and was pleased with the site. When I first saw the product and after visiting the website, it made me think of that movie House of Flying Daggers as there is a lot of bamboo in some scenes in that movie. It's a good reminder of how a product can bring out memories and add to our lifestyle.

So back to the Anji Mountain website and company, where there's a nice picture of a mountainside and a statement that says "Just what the world needs now eco-friendly natural fiber rugs." That got my attention and made me feel good to know that we're helping our environment. In reading the mission statement of the company, I can see what they're about and I like what they stand for. It's cool to see that they are a family business and again I can see a focus on quality and principles. This experience today made me think more about photography, business, service and the quality of the products delivered. Way to go Anji Mountain.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Picture Perfect Day - PUG - Friend's Birthday

August 15, 2011 - I thoroughly enjoyed being outside on such a gorgeous day, but had stopped inside of Tysons Corner Center to do just a little shopping and browsing. On my way out of the shopping center I took this picture with my iPhone. From where I was at, there was a street sign and traffic lights in the frame, but I took it anyway and rather liked how the picture turned out with those elements in it. The main focus was obviously the gorgeous clouds. It's amazing how fast summer is flying by, but I am also looking forward to Autumn.

In the evening I went to my photographer friend's house as the Pictage Users Group (PUG) in the area was having a highlight on Garrett Hubbard and his photography studio. Sarah Hodzic was the host of the PUG meeting and several photographers came out for the meeting. After a brief social with food and drink, Garrett and his wife Allison (business partner) shared about their photography studio. Garrett showed some of his favorite photos, mostly from this year and talked a little about how they capture a wedding day. Garrett also showed images from a wedding he recently photographed and where I was the second photographer/assistant. I was glad to help a brother out." Garrett's wife was also helping out at that wedding, and photographs were taken at The W Hotel and at the LongView Gallery in DC.

There was a mention about John Harrington's book "Best Business Practices for Photographers." The business side of photography is an important aspect that can seem "less important" than the photography side, but they go hand in hand. John Harrington was one of the speakers of a fairly recent NPPA Business Blitz seminar held at the USA Today building in McLean, VA.

After the studio highlight sharing time, each photographer told the group a bit about them and their photography and what works for them in getting noticed for their photography and a lot of it had to do with personality, networking and social media in addition to great images. It was an inspirational time and we're all looking forward to growing our businesses as photographers.

It was late in the evening, but I said I was going to attend a birthday celebration at Lincoln restaurant in DC, and I arrived in time to see the birthday girl with several of her friends. It was nice to have a couple cupcakes baked by love from one the friends of the birthday girl. There's something about cupcakes, even a single one, and there's something about a candle and it's flame. Light is beautiful and life is beautiful.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Flash Market - A Pop-Up Shop Extravaganza

On August 13, 2011 from 12-4pm, Hillyer Art Space hosted their first ‘Flash Market’ event which was a pop up shop extravaganza showcasing local designers and design makers, plus vintage sellers and consignment stores. ‘Flash Market’ promotes buying locally which supports the growing population of designers and design makers in the DC area. I was able to stop in and took a few pictures of the event and also did a photo shoot for ARTAYA. It was also good to see Bianca from America's Next Top Model Cycle 13 attending the event.

Participating Designers included:
Kimberly Lauren
Tenesa the Artisan
Aidah Collection
Gemini Design
Designs of Joy
Chained Charm
BluGrn Design

Participating Vintage/Consignment shops included:
La Belle Vie Vintage
Martha's Outfitters

Cupcakes provided by:
Curbside Cupcakes


Friday, August 12, 2011

Turn The Key Tour with JB & DeEtte Sallee and Lori Nordstrom

August 12, 2011 - When I heard of the Turn The Key Summer Tour was going to be coming to Arlington, VA, I knew I wanted to attend it. I usually try and attend photography seminars and workshops to learn something new, reevaluate what I'm doing, gain inspiration and try to take what I've learned and implement changes to how I'm running my photography business.

Ever since seeing JB & DeEtte Sallee speak at Imaging USA in Nashville in January 2010 I've been an admirer of them and their photography. They seemed like a fun couple and I liked their photography style and was inspired by their success. I also saw them at WPPI last year.

The Turn the Key Tour seminar made a stop at the Crystal City Hilton in Arlington, VA near Washington D.C. An hour before the seminar started there was a small trade show so attendees could see some of the speaker's favorite products and services. It was good having the vendors there as it's always good to see the latest resources.

Before this seminar I had heard of Lori Nordstrom but had never seen her speak in person, so I was looking forward to learning from her as well as Sallee Photography. Their experience combined spans 23 years in the wedding and portrait industry, and we also got to hear from local portrait artist Jeff Lubin as he opened up the tour speaking about portraiture.

In just flipping through the workbook that they gave everyone who registered, I was pleased with the amount of instruction and personal details that JB, DeEtte and Lori shared in it. Their seminar is great for new photographers as well as seasoned photographers, giving fresh ideas on how to take one's business to the next level. They shared frankly about past experiences and what has worked and is working to keep their studios growing in today's industry and market. Hearing JB and DeEtte take turns speaking was fun and it got pretty interesting with their choice of words used. :- It was rather comedic and a reflection of their charismatic personality. Lori's presentation was solid and practical. She was dressed very well too. Their tour is an insightful and helpful resource in unlocking your studios potential.

I was one of several attendees that got a shirt. I think it helped that I was sitting up front and about five feet from JB when he was about to throw the shirts into the audience. I stood up, raised my hands and yelled with excitement. He couldn't miss me. :D I'm glad I made it to see them on this tour and was able to talk to them before, during and after the seminar. I'm eager to implement what I've learned and apply it to my photography and life.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Dog Days of Summer Social with Guest of a Guest

August 10, 2011 - It's the Dog Days of Summer and the heat has been consistently beating down on the DC area, and every now and then it's good to have some reprieve. Although it's fun to do activities outside, it's always a good time for a happy hour. For this social with Guest of a Guest the venue was Co. Co. Sala in DC, a restaurant and chocolate boutique renowned for their savory food, signature cocktails and decadent desserts.

The hosts for this chocolate and bubbles social were: Bill Brewer, Ava Deylami, Robert Flock, Richard Lee, Cori Sue Morris, Chase Noyes, and Co Co Sala's Hollis Pica.

A Guest of a Guest photographer was there to snap pics of guests and I took several pics myself to tell of the evening. The last time I was here I photographed an engagement party, and this time it felt like a media event with the step and repeat banner up. Guests seemed to enjoy being photographed as they were in good spirits and company. It's safe to say, guests left feeling happy considering everything.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Proof of Life

August 10, 2011 - Six minutes and twenty-seven seconds. I hope you can take that amount of time to watch this photo short posted by RC Concepcion as a guest blogger on Scott Kelby's blog. It is one of the most moving photo shorts I've seen. It is a beautiful touching story of dreams, inspiration, passion, friendship, sacrifice and love.

I've taken pictures of people and have often said: "See, now there's proof that you were here." Yes, it was an event, experience, and moment captured and to be remembered. It's proof of life. There is a story behind the picture(s) and this photo short speaks volumes.

Okay, so it's been more than six minutes and 27 seconds by the time you've gone through all this, and I actually watched this photo short three times. This short encapsulates why I love life and photography. Life can go by so quickly and it's good to be able to pause and reflect on it, and gain insights from experiences. I want to do more than just see pictures, I want to know the story behind them, and in doing that I believe life and people will be enriched and appreciated more. Live on.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Donovan House Hotel - A Rooftop With a Circular View

August 9, 2011 - It was a gorgeous night to be on a rooftop in Washington DC and one of the best places in my opinion is the Donovan House Hotel rooftop. The openness and vibe of the rooftop along with it's furniture and decor gives it a Miami feel and appeal. Sophisticated drinks along with upbeat yet soothing tunes from the DJ and a cosmopolitan crowd keeps everything cool.

One of the nicest views around is in looking Northwest and seeing the skyline and sunset over Thomas Circle, where Massachusetts Ave, Vermont Ave, 14th Street, and M Street, N.W. intersect. The National City Christian Church makes for a beautiful addition to the backdrop with it's steeple reaching high and being prominent in many a picture for it's location. A bronze statue of General George Henry Thomas (a prominent commander during the American Civil War) on horseback is a centerpiece of the circle.

There is a sense of time slowing down when upon the rooftop and watching the sunset and the people and cars below go their own ways. To those on the Donovan House Hotel rooftop, they've arrived and are relaxing in a little rooftop paradise.

Monday, August 8, 2011

The W Salon - West Meets East

August 8, 2011 - Having photographed many fashion events in the DC area, I've come to know some salons who have supported these shows with hair and makeup services. One such salon which I found a great connection with is "The W Salon" or just "W Salon." This salon is sometimes mistaken for being a part of or in The W Hotel in Washington DC. The hotel doesn't have a salon, but the W Salon opened for business in February 2010 and it's seen a lot of growth since then.

The W Salon gets it's name from it's owner Souny West who is from Laos and she's been in the USA since age two, and eventually she moved to VA at age sixteen. The W Salon has made waves in the DC area, getting buzz from clients and the media. With the W Salon being in Burke, VA it has done rather well in Fairfax County and beyond, attracting clients from all over. The W Salon and the experience there can be described as clean, modern, colorful and comfortable. I believe their signature green splash of color theme accentuates the freshness and vitality of the salon. To provide a total service experience, Anna Castillo, Celebrity Makeup Artist and owner of Ink Cosmetics, LLC was added to the salon's space bringing professional makeup styles seen on fashion runways from across the world to the W Salon.

Souny wanted me to come out and photograph her and her staff at the salon, as their staff has grown in numbers and needed updated images reflecting their staff and the salon's growth. I'm not a stranger to salons, having grown up with a mother who was a hair stylist for many years. It was good to visit The W Salon and meet the staff who were very friendly and hospitable. Having photographed portrait shots and group shots I could see their unique personality. Even with an array of diversity with the staff, they all seemed like a family.

In talking with Souny she desires for her salon to be a place of community and to have that coffeehouse feel, as well as being fun and youthful. The events that the salon has put on has become the talk of the town so to speak, especially when it's hard for people to leave because they enjoy them so much. Souny loves her staff and the staff gets along well and even brings in dishes for each other.

Check out The W Salon's website for more information about them and upcoming related events, such as complimentary cupcakes for clients on August 13th and the INK Cosmetics Launch Party & Fashion Industry Network Event on August 20th at L2 in Georgetown.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Andy Zipf: Jealous Hands Tour - Arlington, VA

August 4th, 2011 - When Andy Zipf is set to perform at a venue, I try to be there and I've attended and photographed several of his shows, even one in an Apple store...yes, an Apple store (in a big shopping mall). When I heard about Andy performing at IOTA Club & Cafe in Arlington VA, I wanted to go, but I also had a lot (and still do) of work to catch up on. After a meetup with photographers earlier this evening, I went home, but then something drew me back out. It must have been the lingering echo of Andy's ethereal vocals and memories of his superb live performances that got me packing sufficient camera gear and then back on the road again to IOTA.

On the way to IOTA, I recalled how photographer Zack Arias enjoys Zipf's music after first hearing it on one of Andy's tours. Zack knows of the talent in Andy Zipf and how his words and music are pervasive and engaging. Knowing this, Zack requested Andy Zipf to come and perform along with Meghan Arias at Zack's OneLight Mixer on July 1st 2010 at BOSSA in Adams Morgan, which was the mixer before his OneLight Workshop in DC.

It was the Jealous Hands Release Show at IOTA and several other musicians also performed earlier in the evening there (Kirsten Thien, The Riverbreaks, Justin Trawick, and Bobbie Bare Jr). I arrived just before Andy and the band were to perform. I had my Nikon D7000 camera with a 35mm and 50mm lens and I know I didn't want to use any flash (and it wasn't allowed anyway).

The concert started and Andy and the band played a fantastic set of songs that I believe reached deeply into heart and soul. It's the nature of Andy's words and music to capture one's attention. A quote from Paste Magazine on Andy's website says "Jealous Hands shows off his capacity to produce one great hook after another." Check out more of Andy Zipf on his website and hopefully in a venue near you.