04 January 2010

a new year and retrospect

WOW! it's been quite awhile since I posted something here in the blog (as opposed to the 140 character limit microblog on the side!) so for this current posting, I really wanted to put quite a bit of thought and retrospect into this.

Looking back at 2009, I would have to say that it was a great and unpredictable year for the most part. I didn't go to Guatemala to do volunteer work as originally planned since fall of 2008! But I did have an awesome 2.5 week vacation in BC that saw me complete the Grouse Grind (oh the things I do to save money!), zip line through the rain forest and scale Mt Whistler!

After reviewing what I set myself out to do at the beginning of 2009, I think I was fairly consistent with some of those expectations: I did volunteer quite a bit more this year as well as gave a few people a chance to shoot with me for a couple of weddings for the experience.

Never did I think about moving from my condo and its ideal location, let alone buy a house in the same year. But in May, there was a tiny little spark of "maybe I'll just visit some of the nearby show homes for decor ideas" to which it inflamed to "I think the opportunity is now to upgrade from my current situation into something, bigger and better!" and so the gears in my head started moving "hmmm.. I wonder how much I can get for my place so that I can use a portion of the equity towards a new house?"

From this experience, I found the whole process of selling a property, finding a property, getting involved in multiple offers and the moving in between, quite stressful at times: why isn't my place selling? they are asking how much for their property? the seller wants more than the listing price compared to other houses in the area? what do you mean that house is already sold? why is there nothing available that meets my criteria?. Added to that, you have the mixed emotions of frustration, disbelief, anxiety, disappointment... you get the idea how taxing this process can be. Now if you include this stress to the current stresses of work (the day job), photography (photo shoots, post processing, album layouts) and life in general, it does take it's toll to the point where you just want to escape and take a breather. Unfortunately, I didn't have the luxury to do that.

Photography-wise, I will admit that I somewhat lost my passion to shoot during this period as it was really the last thing on my mind. Even after I stopped shooting in November to catch up with everything, I didn't feel the need to pick up my camera nor did I miss not shooting. The more I think about it, I don't believe I've updated my equipment (e.g., lenses, lights, accessories etc) this past year. Considering that I use photography as an escape and to have fun, I knew this wasn't the position I want to be in for long.

It wasn't until just recently when I perusing through Indigo (and it's timely 30% off hardcover books) that I came across 2 books that would rekindle that sense of wanting to shoot again and to use these books as resources and inspirations:

I just love the images in these books and I can certainly see myself referencing a couple of images from these great photographers for weddings, lifestyles and personal shoots. The images look effortless, stunning, exquisite and timeless - something that I always strive for whenever I do I shoot.

On the same note, these are some of the goals that I've set for myself for this upcoming year:

  • Always look for that sense of balance - find a way to balance my personal life and professional life in a way that's good for me and for the people I shoot for.
  • Create more senses of harmony in my environment - I will admit there were times when I was in my condo and I didn't feel motivated to work, let alone be in the office section. I did, however, felt really relaxed in my living area and didn't want to get off that oh so comfortable couch! Those that came over to my place have told me that the living room area has this inviting sense of comfort and tranquility with it's earth tone colors and decor.

    That being said, I've recently found myself reading quite a bit about Feng Shui and creating spaces where there is positive energy through placement of certain furnishings, complimented with colors and household items. I have taken those principles and applied it to my new home, little by little, room by room. I like to consider my home a place of sanctuary and a place to relax from the outside world.
  • Be more organized - For the 1st time in 2 years, I bought a day timer rather than depend on iCal. And for those that know me, also know how much I like using whiteboards so that I can see what tasks that lay before me.

    And if the moving experience taught me anything, you should not let the size of your house deceive you about the amount stuff that you have and accumulated; downsize if possible and keep the things that you really need.
  • Manage expectations - I think by having certain expectations in writing, there will be less tendency for miscommunication and disappointment. I find that this will be more practical on the photography business side of things based on the past year's experiences.
  • Once in awhile, shoot things for myself - as much as I'm asked to shoot for clientele when hired upon, it's always good to shoot things for yourself. This way, I have a chance to explore my skills and creativity, with no deadlines or unreasonable expectations. I think I found this lacking quite a bit last year, in addition to trying to find those that can me accomplish my vision as it's hard to find someone with the "je ne sais pas" qualities that make you motivated to shoot.
  • Stay on board the health train - more so than ever, I found myself getting more focused on my health in the last couple of years and being more active. Last year, I saw myself shave a good 15min off my initial 10K run. When you think about it, 15min is quite a significant amount of time. This year, as suggested by Runner's World, I plan on doing a 5K, 10K, 13K and 15K race in that order. Running the different types of lengths, will actually help me progress and improve my runs through the year as training for a 10K (which I've done for the past while) is quite different than training for a 5K or a 15K in terms of speed and stamina.

    I also plan to keep training on the best kept secrets: the TRX and the kettlebells. I've been feeling and noticing the difference ever since and I highly recommend that you look at incorporating these methods in your workout regimen.

    If you're interested in joining me during my workouts (gym or runs) feel free to drop me a line as I would more than appreciate the company and common interests.

If you've made it this far of my posting, thanks for reading along. I guess you can consider this long posting as a make up for my lack of postings near the tail end of the year. And as you can see, I do have some lofty and achievable expectations for myself during this new year. Will I be able to keep them? I guess there's only one way to find out and that's to stay tuned!

Best of luck to everyone and their resolutions in 2010!

18 October 2009

wedding: Janice + Angel

this summer, i had the honor of documenting the wedding of my friends Janice and Angel.

this wedding is memorable for me in a couple of ways: i've known Angel since he was a few months old (as i'm a year older and our dads are good compadres). so there was a bit of self-inflicted pressure to do a good job as well as shooting all 9 couples in the wedding party, one of my largest wedding parties to date thus far!

additionally, Angel's family is quite the artistic family (Angel is a choreographer for the Philippine Barangay Performing Arts Society, his dad, is quite the graphic artist and builder, his sister is a performing artist who has performed on a national and international level and his brother was a performer for the Philippine Barangay Performing Arts Society as well). so one could almost (and should) expect an energetic and entertaining wedding! and they did not disappoint!

feel free to check out some of the highlights below:

13 October 2009

wedding: Kris + Sarah

earlier this summer, I had the pleasure of shooting the wedding of young couple, Kris and Sarah. they truly looked sweet together and are totally in love.

this was one of the most unforgettable weddings that I have shot in more ways than one.

here are some highlights from their day.

23 September 2009

battle of the salons: RAW Beauty

This past weekend I attended this year's Battle of the Salons and did coverage on behalf of Raw Beauty Inc.

I think someone from the battle of the salons organizing committee has read my thoughts and opinions of last year's inaugural event on my blog as this year appeared more entertaining and well put together. The organizers got it right this time around by actually focusing on the hairstylists working under pressure and pushing their creative limits in front of their peers and audience members versus a martial arts display or showcasing some bubble gum hip hop group of the month. Not that they were a bad thing last year but it detracted the excitement away from the competition itself. And doing it this way did in fact create more excitement among the crowd.

As always, I totally have a great time covering events that deal with art and creativity, and this was no different. This time, brushes were exchanged for scissors and the canvases were on top of people's heads. Need I say more? Raw Beauty held their own again this year by coming in the top 6 overall in the professional category and top 3 in the 1st timers category. Congrats to Jenny and Heather for a job well done. I may to come in one of these days to get my hair done by one of these 2 talented hairstylists!

Below are some images I captured on behalf of Raw Beauty before, during and after the competition.

12 September 2009

wedding: Jaime + Homer

last month I attended the wedding of a Jaime (aka Precious) and Homer.

I've known Precious for a long time, ever since my age was in the single digits! yeah, that's quite awhile! so it a happy moment to see her marry Homer... Again! (they got married last year in San Francisco, which is where they will reside).

while I didn't shoot the wedding as some people would expect, that still didn't stop me from bringing the camera + 70-200mm f/2.8 so I could shoot from a fair distance from my pew. and besides, people would be asking me "ROY! where's your camera?!"

what made this day even more memorable was that Precious' brother, Bobet and his wife, Cristi, welcomed their son Jaxon Cazper into the world on the same date! No, it didn't happen right then and there, even though Cristi was having contractions during the ceremony - thought that would've made the day even more interesting to talk about. but at least this family has 2 wonderful events to remember on this day.

baby shoot: rania

not too long ago, i did a baby shoot of my co-worker's new baby daughter, rania, who was born Jun 26 of this year.

as you can probably imagine, shooting babies can be quite tricky: it's hard to make them smile on command or have them hold still when asked. on top of that, they like to go by their own eating and sleeping schedule, which may not line up to the time their scheduled to the shoot.

those that know me, i'm always down for a challenge of making it work!

it wouldn't be too long before we got rania smiling during the short period of time i was there.

29 August 2009

the shoot that didn't happen

last weekend, my friend Genette Salgado came back to Edmonton for a short while so she can show some new designs from the Salgado Spring/Summer '10 collection for a fund raising event. we thought we had everything planned out the day of the shoot, which was the same day as the fashion show. we even met up beforehand to discuss what items of clothing to shoot, location and model, but alas that wasn't the case.

even though the models show up really early to go through a run through, they can't really slip out to do some shots as hair and make up are done at random times during the day. additionally, it was pretty cloudy and windy that day, basically mother nature nixed our outdoor shoot.

so even though out planned shoot didn't happen (it'll probably be rescheduled should she be back in edmonton or if i'm in vancouver), i still had my gear with me. time to bust out the photojournalistic, behind-the-scenes, "practice for a wedding day preparation" photoshoot:

see gallery: HERE

if there's anything to be learned from this day (whether you're photographing, co-ordinating, travelling etc), it's to make the best out of any situation and be prepared for anything, no matter how much planning goes on prior to the event. being spontaneous is a great trait to have!