Monday, November 28, 2016

Afternoon Tea at Brasserie Les Saveurs

It’s been quiet around here. I’ve completely lost momentum on sharing my photographs. Since my last post in August, I started a new job, took a three week trip around Asia and grieved the election. Considering there’s some catching up to do, it’s only appropriate to start off by sharing photographs of our time at Brassierie Les Saveurs during afternoon tea.

If you follow me on Instagram you would’ve seen I was in Singapore, Bali, Seoul, Tokyo and Kyoto. I am still in awe about our ability to get on a plane, granted for countless hours, and travel half way across the world. I am always so thankful each and every time I am given the ability to travel, see and experience a piece of our world. From a young age, I've had an adventurous spirit. I knew I found something true to who I was when I took my very first trip as a self sufficient adult at the age of 22. I was just getting my feet wet. There's so much more to go.

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The first stop on our trip was Singapore. We took a red eye flight out of Seattle on a Thursday night after work. After 24 hours of traveling we stepped outside of the airport and instantly learned how unbearably hot and humid it was (for Seattleites in October). Starving we rushed to our hotel, checked in, freshen up and shared our first meal swallowing delicious mouth burning dumplings at Din Tai Fung. Of course that wasn’t enough food for my beau. I was quick to his rescue and found a hawker center less than a mile away that promised chicken rice. Unfortunately Google maps didn’t have a bus or train route available. We put on our brave (and drenched in sweat) faces and went for it. During our walk we were baffled by the lack of people we encountered given we were by Orchid Street, a very busy area filled with hotels and shopping centers. Later on, with full stomachs and in complete drench of our own (and maybe each other’s) sweat, we discover a train station nearby and learn about the underground world filled with people, levels of food court, clothing stores, and most importantly AC!

Those first few hours in Singapore are still clear in my mind however the following days are like a fainted dream. Maybe moments are more memorable when I am new to an environment because all my senses are heighten to adapt to the changes. My eyes are wide open with curiosity, my mind is a little scattered trying to quickly observe my surroundings and connect any commonality I can find. Honestly, I am not tired of this feeling yet. With the way we travel and our usual itinerary of switching it up every 5 to 7 days means we can’t ever get too comfortable with our surroundings. That’s one of the many lessons with traveling.

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Afternoon tea is one of my favorite past time activities when traveling. It’s not about the adorable bite size food or the champagne, although that is all lovely. Working in the corporate world throughout all of my career, I find having an afternoon free to do whatever it is that I want -being with my beau halfway across the world enjoying ourselves- is the ultimate sense of freedom. It is my definition of luxury and it is such a treat to be able to do this.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Pioneer Square

Here in Seattle I think we have some of the most perfect summers. The sun can rise at 5am and set at 10pm providing an abundance of light and making it a photographer’s dream. After a long day at the office, my beau and I love going out to eat and taking our time walking to dinner. Some of our favorite places are in our neighborhood but lately we’ve been spending more time in Pioneer Square. Here's a Friday afternoon in Pioneer Square with photographs of a few favorite places, mostly right down Occidental.

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The London Plane // OK, you know how obsessed I am of photographing this place! It's just so picturesque with it's wild flowers and clean interiors.

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The Estate Wine Room // Our latest great find! We first stumbled across this tasting room while prefunking for a Sounders game. They do tasting flights of red and white wines and champagne. They also sell decently priced wine by the bottle.

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Elm Coffee Roaster // I’ve blogged about this coffee shop before and I still stand by how much I love it. It is a little out of my way for a coffee run so whenever I am in the neighborhood I always treat myself.

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King Street Station // Someday I’m going to take the train or so I keep telling myself. It will be a hop on a train to Vancouver BC or Portland. As for right now it's just too convenient for me to jump in my car and drive.

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Clementine // During my Urban Fashion Network blogging days I attended an event at Clementine. At that time they were located in West Seattle. They've now moved to Pioneer Square next to The London Plane.

I purchased a pair of Melissa jelly sandals that reminded me so much of the ones I used to wear as little girl.

Cafe Umbria // Although I've mentioned the one in Ballard a few blog post before, this was the first Cafe Umbria I knew of. 

Waterfall Garden Park // This park closes early in the afternoon around 4pm. I had to squeeze my arms and my camera through the fence for this photograph. It's a good place to read a book or enjoy a quick bit.

The view of the city from King Street Station. 

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Union Station

It was the last week of July and I had the luxury of time on my side. I was in between jobs and taking a well deserve break. Most of my days I spent wandering around the city with my camera, something I absolutely love doing. I made my way to my favorite places buying things I didn’t need and lingering around for the perfect photo opportunity. Time goes by quickly when you’re enjoying yourself and before I knew it, dinner was approaching. I started making my way to meet up with my beau in Pioneer Square when I walked by Union Station. I’ve passed it a number of times always in a rush but with my luxury of time, I decided to take a peak.

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Union Station is in the middle of two busy transportation hubs: the train station, King Street Station and the transit tunnel, International District / Chinatown Station. I learned it once was a train station. Today it holds the headquarters of Sound Transit. The grand hall remains empty during the day and from playing bridesmaid, I know this place is available to host weddings. The empty space all on its own is already so beautiful, imagine it decked out.

I make my way into the building through the entrance on Jackson street. I’m quickly made aware of a couple of things. First, I noticed the quick change in temperature; the cool AC breeze on my sweaty skin. This is a great place to seek shelter from the summer heat. Second is the silence. The sound of the congested traffic and people chattering is faint. As I make my way inside the grand hall walking around and observing it all I quickly take notice of the sky light illuminating the space. The shiny mosaic tiles make a statement on their own. The old school furniture reminds me so much of grade school. People are scattered sitting on a bench or at a table, buried in what seems like a good book, reading in silence. This is definitely my kind of place.

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I had been wandering around the city all day and along the way photographing things here and there. I was on my last roll of film and had seven exposures left; I had to pick my shots wisely. During my walk around the grand hall, I was also imagining all the photographs I would take. Lately I’ve been trying to see an image the way my camera would frame it. There will be times I will look at a space mentally photographing it only to find, when my eye is in the view finder, that choice in composition doesn't really work. I just don’t know how to see the way my camera does. This is something I’ve been more mindful of.

I use my last seven exposures here and was sadden by this limitation. Each frame was carefully thought out. I took my time playing with my composition and metering for the shadows and then doing it all over again to confirm it’s accuracy before hitting the shutter. Everything was slow and purposeful. Here you have it, all seven frames.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Never Ending Love Affair with Peonies

This past spring was the forth consecutive year I’ve photographed peonies. During that time, I was greeted by darkness when I returned home from work, making it hard to squeeze time to photographing in natural light. My beau suggested we invest in studio lighting to help with my dilemma; he could also use the lighting for when he's painting and so we did.

So far artificial light is proving to be a beast (I really should look into attending a workshop on this subject). Lately, I’ve been really drawn to direct light. I love it for so many reasons but particularly for the moodiness, drama and beautiful shadows it creates. This photoshoot was inspired by the very talented Gentl and Hyers’s Botanicals found as a part their portfolio. I came across their work through Alice Gao, another amazing photographer I admire. I love the way they all use light in their photographs and I often spent time looking at their work, especially still-life, to study the lighting.

For about a week, I got to enjoy a dozen of peonies sitting in my living room. Everyday I'd watched them unfold petal by petal opening up as they do that so well in the warmth of the apartment. When they fully bloomed, I pulled them part to photograph.

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Peonies // Photography Notes

Direct light, from the source of artificial light in this case, was difficult. My challenge being the ability to balance providing sufficient light all around while trying not to blow the exposure on the areas that were in the direct light. It can be harsh shooting with direct light and my goal was to achieve the perfect balance between the two.

I also played around with diffused light and found that it added a softness to my photographs which I equally loved (image on the right) but I can't decide if that's still considered direct lighting?

All technicality aside, I am perfectly happy photographing peonies all day; they are just so beautiful!

Past Photoshoots with Peonies:

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Food Styling and Photography Workshop

Lately I've been feeling the need for connection. Connection with other creatives who share the same urge as I do when it comes to photography. To merge my love of learning and my desire for connection I decided on attending a photography workshop. Through PCNW, where I go to develop my black and white film, is how I learned of Arran Goyoaga’s Food Styling and Photography Workshop. The workshop was located at the Old Chaser Farm on Vashon Island. Here are some photographs I shot on my Pentax from that day. 

The Beautiful Space

The Details and Props

Lunch Break

The second we were released for lunch break the majority of us took our cameras out and began to shoot anything and everything we could. We just couldn't help ourselves! 

In the Kitchen 

What's For Lunch?

Blue Cheese and Grilled Asparagus Tartine  
with Cauliflower Soup 

Aran Goyoaga's blog, Cannelle et Vanille

A fall Food Styling and Photography Workshop is open for registration on PCNW