Why I Am a Photog

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“Photography is a love affair with life.”

That quote couldn’t be truer! I get asked a lot “why do you like photography?” or “what made you decide you want to be a photographer?”. I think as the years go on, my answer changes slightly because I begin to learn so much about the art of photography. Since I was a kid, I always had a camera in my face. My mom loved taking photos (she has way too many to count) and I always gravitated to the camera. When others would take photos, I found myself studying the camera and how they took the photo. By my senior year of high school, I had my Fujifilm (not my favorite camera) and was taking photography and intro to Photoshop (this is back in 2010/2011) and always taking photos.Family vacations demanded I take my camera where I began shooting everything and everyone.

In college, I began taking photo classes with Larry Lytle. He is by far one of my favorite professors of all time and has helped me in so many ways with my photography. I got my first real camera my junior year of college, a Canon EOS Rebel T5 and fell in love all over again. Once I began to understand how my camera worked, I felt unstoppable.

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We as people already see the world differently. Our experiences and personalities allow us to have different viewpoints, which can make life and what we see in it a rather unique sight. For me, looking through my lens not only gives me a different perspective but it allows me to see the beauty in my every day world. It allows me to share with others my unique perspective on how I interact with my world. A photograph can be understood by every person, no matter the race, religion, gender, or language spoken. It can be a universal language, photography.

I appreciate the craft and to this day, after 4 years of photographing, I am learning so much more. I can say once photography is in your bloodstream, it is hard to get rid of the addiction. You’ll constantly yearn to hold your camera. You crave the sound the lens make, you long to be looking through the viewfinder. Everything about it will make you want more. When I go somewhere and leave my camera at home, I instantly regret it. It has become an extension of me.

Another thing is time. Time is precious. The moments we create in our daily lives are priceless. Whether they be good or bad, they shape us and who we become. I feel joy when I can capture moments for people. Something they will look back on and smile. Photographs gives us a chance to relive those moments and share them with everyone we come across. Just like people, no two experiences are exactly the same. It is the same with photographs. Two different people with the same camera and same area will have completely different experiences. And to me, that is beautiful.

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I photograph for myself. Because I thoroughly enjoy it, it has become a huge part of my life. It is the essence of who I am. It has given me the gift to connect with others on a more personal level, and I am blessed to share my talent and craft with those around me. There is something magical about it that I have not yet been able to describe in words but for all my photogs out there, you know the exact feeling I am talking about.

“Veni. Vidi. Cepi.”

“I came. I saw. I captured.”

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Things Disnerds are Tired of Hearing

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As Disnerds, we choose to openly express our love for Disney. To us, Disney has become such a huge part in our lives that we hardly think twice when we quote a Disney movie or compare things in reality to things at the Disney Parks. But for those people in our lives who really do not understand why we love Disney, it can be a real bother. So, in honor of this, here are some things Disnerds are tired of hearing:

  1. You are going to Disneyland/Disney World…again? Yes, is that a bad thing? For those Disney fans who are annual passholders, we are seen going to the Disney Parks what may appear to be everyday. The Parks are a sanctuary from the cruel world, where we can really be a kid and not fear the being judged by non-Disney lovers. My thoughts? I paid all this money for a pass, so of course I am going to use it!
  2. Do you own anything but Disney attire? What? You don’t wear your Mickey shirt outside of Disneyland? I do own regular clothes but let’s face it, Disney clothes are way better! And who is to say that we can only wear them at a Disney location? Besides, do you know how much Disney attire costs? Pshhh it is getting worn every day of the week! Haha
  3. You have too much Disney in your room. Well yes I do. Please, enjoy the endless Disney snow globes, the mountains of Disney stuffed animals, and Disney themed posters plastered all over the walls. And that is not even the rest of it! But last time I checked, it is MY room, not yours. Therefore, I shall decorate it with what I please.
  4. Can we not listen to Disney music all day?! So you are telling me that you do not listen to Disney music just for the sake of it? I bet you do not like puppies or rainbows either. Oh wait, you do? Then hush, listen, and feel the magic! It’s good for your soul!
  5. You talk about Disney way too much. Well as true as that may be, it is something that is apart of me and my life. Being friends with me or in a relationship with me, you should know that it comes with my love for Disney. And yes that means constant quotes from Disney movies to cheer you up or comparing you to a Disney character and the need to pick outfits perfect for Disney bounding.
  6. Disney is for kids. Not even! Oh little do you know that Disney was created by grown men! Did you know Walt created Disneyland because he wanted a place for kids AND adults to play? All those animated films were created by grown men for everyone to enjoy. Adults are just big kids at hearts, and Disney helps bring that out.
  7. You need to grow up. That is exactly what Uncle Walt does not want to hear! He feared of growing up. It is okay to be a kid at heart. The trouble is, too many people grow up and lose that spirited nature that children have. When we decided to “grow up”, we lose the imagination and good spirited fun. Disney encourages that. Hence why when you go to Disney Parks, the kid in you is dying to come out, because it is created to be a happy place for the kid in you.

So, fellow Disnerds, do not let these comments deter you from expressing your true love for Disney. Some people have decided to grow up and well, think of it, it is up to us to keep the spirit that Uncle Walt loved and longed for his fans to love. Be merry, spread the Disney love, and sprinkle pixie dust at anyone who disagrees with your love of Disney!

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“That’s the real trouble with the world, too many people grow up.”

Walt Disney

Being the Big Sister

“My first job is Big Sister and I take that very seriously!”

For those who don’t know, I am a big sister of two little sisters, Kairah who is 17 and Ariyah who is 12. I became a big sister at the lucky age of 7 years old and again at the age of 12. While at 7 years old I was reluctant to take on the roll, as the years rolled by, I began to love my job as a big sister.

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Being a big sister to two younger sisters can be a handful at times and definitely overwhelming. But it has its moments that are completely rewarding. Girls are tricky  because they are moody and have attitudes and are complicated (don’t even get me started when it’s everyone’s time of the month). But they also understand you more than a brother would and it is easy to help them on their issues because chances are I have experienced them.

Sometimes being a big sister means I become a second mother to my little sisters. When my mom is away, I automatically step in doing the things they would rely on her for. In high school, college, and even now, I couldn’t just do things on the fly. I became responsible for them and helping out my parents with them. It isn’t easy for me to just plan things on the whim and it used to frustrate my friends and my exes. But I take my role as older sister seriously and feel it is my duty to help in any way to make sure they are taken care of.

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At times it gets frustrating for me because I wish I could just do things on the fly but I can’t. And I know my sisters miss me when I do go out, and strange enough I miss them. I do need to learn to let go (gosh, I sound like a mom LOL) and know it is okay to hang up my big sister cape and be a twenty-something year old. But I will always be the big sister. Guiding my little ones throughout life and sharing the bond that only sisters have is something I can never take back. It is challenging and they definitely keep me on my toes but I thank God everyday that I get to be a big sister to Ari and Kai.

For those who are big sisters to sisters, you know the amazing bond there is.  The love and support you get to give to them is indescribable.

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Treat Yo Self: Valentine’s Day Edition

Who said Valentine’s Day is just for cute, lovey dovey couples? It can be for YOU TOO! Girl (and Guy), Treat Yo Self!

Here comes February 14, Valentine’s Day, the day of love! For those cute couples, it is time to get all mushy gushy  and buy their significant others flowers, giant teddy bears, and go eat somewhere fancy. It is a day to romance the other and to show that love is in the air! But what about for us single folks? Well, we usually spend the day sobbing at all the sappy love posts and drinking our way into misery.

KIDDING! We don’t do that. Sure, we do see all the sappy love posts and I am sure deep down, we wish we could have some of that sweet romance but a lot of us surround ourselves with others we love as well. And for some, we use it as a day to treat ourselves, spend money on us and do something special to show we love ourselves. For the single peeps who have yet to find their fish in the vast ocean, self love becomes vital on a new level, even more so after a break up.

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So, I believe Valentine’s Day for my single people should be a day to treat yo self. Go buy you something nice. Take yourself to your favorite restaurant. Spend the evening with a glass of wine and your favorite book or movie. Make yourself feel special because you do not need someone to make you feel loved. Loving others starts with loving yourself. Self love and self care is important. It should be done every day but sometimes we just need a day where it is set in stone.

And for those in a relationship, do not hesitate to practice self love as well. Just because you have a significant other does not mean you should stop loving yourself. Also take this day to treat yourself and show yourself you love you. It just isn’t for you and your lover to show affection and love. So show yourself some loving, too!

I hope you all have a lovely Valentine’s Day! Whether you were loving it up with your lover or enjoying the single life, I hope you took a little (or a lot) of time to practice self love and to treat yo self! 😀

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Being in Your Twenties…(part 1 of many)

There’s no doubt that being in your twenties is an awkward age. For me, being  23 going on 24 means I am at a place where some of my friends are getting married and having babies while the other half are partying every weekend. Me? Well, I don’t fit in any one of those categories. And now, it feels sort of weird to not be doing any of those. I recently graduated college. I am an artist and photographer trying to run her own business, which keeps me on my toes, all while trying to keep creating art. I do not really care for partying, although I am down for some wine and relaxing. I was in a committed relationship where future plans were thought of but since the single life, eh, it hasn’t been so fruitful.

It is awkward when you don’t fit into any of these categories and you’re still trying to figure life out. Don’t get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoy seeing my friends from high school getting engaged, married, and having little ones (adorable I might add!). But with it happening so much, it does feel like I am a bit behind. Even though I am almost 24, I am relatively still young and have plenty of time to get married and have kids. I can’t help it at times but feel a step behind. Here I am single, not even remotely close to picking out rings or planning a wedding or showing off my baby bump. The closest I get is the characters I fall in love with in my books, that is the closest I have reached!

Then you have your super successful friends who seem to live this wonderful life full of travels, great friends, and a great job. They may be single or in a committed relationship but they just have this awesome life where they are constantly doing something. I am always wondering how are their lives so fabulous and how the heck do they afford to travel?! I can barely go into my backyard (this is a joke) without being broke LOL.  Sure I finished school so there should be so much more time for me to hang out and all but I don’t.

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And I think that is my problem. I could have all of these things. Obviously some things such as marriage and kids and my own house will come with time but I could live a better life. Not that my life is horrible, it could be a lot worse. But maybe it is an awkward transition for me. I left my college and was a part of a community where I was surrounded by like minded people and was always doing something. Once I graduated, it was like I lost all of that. In return means I left my friends and the sense of community. Majority of my friends from CI stayed closer to there or went back home. I went back home which is almost 2 hours away.

I never believed I was ordinary. I always planned to live an extraordinary life filled with wonder, fun, adventure, and happiness. And sure, it is not always going to be like that but I wanted that. I still do. So maybe instead of getting sucked into the corner of self pity were I constantly compare myself to my other twenty-something counterparts, I should actually focus on my life and do what I want to do, whatever that may be.

And I should stop drooling over social media so much. Perhaps get out of my fortress of solitude under my comfort of blankets and Netflix (no matter how great is). And get out to make more friends! I am a social butterfly and I am shocked I don’t have more people to hang out with. If I want to travel, maybe I should look up places and prices and work towards planning a trip.

I realize I spend so much of my life wishing I could have a life like my counterparts instead of using that time and energy to actively create the life I want. It’s a new chapter in my life. I am educated, single, and carefree. God knows why it is taking so long to actually go forth with it. To anyone experiencing what I am feeling, make a conscious decision to make your life what you want it. You only have 10 years to be in your twenties so make it count. They say they are supposed to be the best years of your life. Let’s make it great! 😀

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Overcoming My Car Accident

Car accidents are traumatizing. If you have ever been in one, you know exactly what I am talking about. The constant replay of the incident in your head while you try to sleep. Driving seems to be out of the question and you are suddenly fearful of everything. It is not easy overcoming an accident. In fact, many have trauma for weeks, months, and perhaps depending on the severity of the accident, years!

I was in my first car accident on November 15, 2016. I was driving on the freeway to go to work like I had been doing for the past few months. Jamming to my Disney playlist (yall know I am a Disnerd so it shouldn’t surprise you) and watching the road, as any good driver does. Then out of nowhere, BAM! Another car came and T-boned me on my side, causing me to spin. I remember trying to stop my car from hitting any other cars and from it swerving out of control. I remember calling my dad and after that, I think I blacked out because I don’t remember saying the things my dad told me I said.

It was scary. To know people who have died in car accidents, that was my fear. I was an avid driver on the freeway, considering I drove to my college (which was about an hour and 45 minute commute) and to San Diego (another 2 hour commute). The freeway was my usual way of travel, making the streets not as much fun. So to get in an accident on the freeway when I was barely 10 minutes away from home was scary to say the least.

I did not have serious injuries that needed immediate medical attention, thank God, but my tiny body frame was always a cause of concern because I felt the impact more than someone with a bigger shape. But I walked away with swelling and pain. The next day was horrible, the pain I felt was numbing because I could barely get out of the bed.

And yes, I was traumatized from ever wanting to get behind the wheel. I spent the first month after my accident in lots of pain, fear, and tears. It was hard (and still hard) to put it behind me and not be scared to get on the road. How did I do it, you may ask?

Well I have an amazing support group with my family. My parents pushed me and coaxed me into driving. First they had me driving on the streets so I could get comfortable being behind the road. It took about 3 weeks for me to feel extremely comfortable behind the wheel.  Next was the freeway and that was a nightmare. Not to mention, it was raining! Probably not the best time to drive the freeway for the first time since the accident but it made everything else easier.

After 2 months, I drove by myself on the freeway, passing the location I had the accident at. It was nerve wracking to say the least. But I kept fixated on the road and distracted myself from thoughts of the accident by singing to music.

The thoughts from an accident pop up at random times, while you’re sleeping, talking with a friend, even taking a shower. I can still hear the sounds I heard during the accident, and remember what it felt like to be hit with such force. Even almost 3 months later, I still have physical pains and mental trauma. But I am coping with it the best I know how to.

For anyone who has been in an accident, give yourself time to heal but do not allow it take complete control of your life. You need time to process it, mentally and emotionally. Allow that time, you deserve it. And then talk about it or write about it as often as you need to. Get it out your system. You are going to be frustrated at times, especially if your accident causes you to have physical issues that hinder you from daily life, like mine. Try not to let it get to you. You will get through this. You made it out alive. Some don’t. So, count your blessings and continue on with your life in a way that best suites you. And don’t lose confidence in your driving skills. Start off slow and work your way up. These things take time and rushing them is doing more harm than good.

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Have any tips for getting over car accidents or want to share your accident story? Drop it in the comments! 😀