Personal · Moody Yosemite

Made a quick little trip to Yosemite National Park with Rolo, Jullian, Xavier, and Donmiguel, and stayed in the newly-named Half Dome Village (previously known as Curry Village) for the night.

Thanks to El Niño, which led to intermittent snow-warnings for every part of Yosemite that wasn't the lower valley, our plans to drive up Glacier Point Road to stop by Taft Point and Glacier Point during the day, as well as on photograph the stars later on in the evening, unfortunately didn't fall through. This was Jullian's first time at Yosemite, and Xavier's first time since he was a child (technically speaking, then, this would count as his first time as he had little to no recollection of when he went). Rolo and Donmiguel were with me last December, and since that was during the winter season, we weren't able to drive up Glacier Point Road (snowed out) or photograph the stars either. 

The good that came out of this, however, was the insanely moody weather that we were surrounded with during the entire time we were in the park. Waking up early during any low-fog event certainly has its perks, and this was no different. The morning after staying overnight at the Half Dome Village canvas rent we rented, we were greeted with beautiful low fog throughout the valley, along with some rain. Simply taking nature in for what it is and standing, in awe of the beauty before us, justified the entire trip for me. Of course, the wonderful company contributed to how great this short trip was, along with tons of laughter throughout, but that was already a given. I'm already looking forward to our next time back here - albeit with less-cloudy weather - hopefully with the same awesome group of guys!

Travel · Southern Utah · April 2016

... & a little bit of Page, AZ!

When a friend hands you a voucher for Alaska Airlines, allowing you to get half-off on round-trip flights to certain airports (from SFO) on certain days, you most definitely don't want to take that voucher for granted. I was fortunate enough to find a round-trip to SLC for less than $90, and as soon as I found out that my good friend Braden (@imbradenolsen) was able to take work off on the days I had selected, I immediately hopped on the opportunity and booked my flight.

It's always fun and exciting to explore new states, but the deserts of Southern Utah were definitely something else. As a Chemistry student (USF c/o '15, represent!), I often found myself geeking out at the orange/red colors of the desert thanks to the manganese, iron oxide, etc. that was so abundant in the rock formations throughout. Having been only exposed to the shiny, golden deserts of Southern California, this was surely a treat. In just 4 days, Braden & I were able to drive through and explore Zion National Park, Monument Valley, Horseshoe Bend & Upper Antelope Canyon (which are both located in Page, AZ -- pretty much along the border of Utah and Arizona), Arches National Park, and Canyonlands National Park. We were also able to meet up with our good buddy, Zac (@seahola), on our first day in Zion, and upon heading back to SLC when all was said and done, meet up with Kyle, Zack, and Jacki (who I had the pleasure of meeting last week at Big Sur).

Despite the rain and insane amount of cloud coverage we had during the entire trip (the only time we really saw sun was when we left and came back to Salt Lake City, as well as during some brief moments in Zion National Park), which made for some truly moody captures, Southern Utah did not disappoint. This gives me a reason to come back however, albeit soon, and experience these things over again -- hopefully next time, with more sunshine! There's nothing like catching the sun as it rises over Mesa Arch or Monument Valley, and likewise with watching the sun set of Horseshoe Bend... And let's not forget about the noon light shafts that you can only catch at Upper Antelope Canyon. Nevertheless, I'd like to give Braden a huge thanks for the hospitality, good laughs and conversations, and for simply being down to hang out and show me all of these beautiful places that Southern Utah has to offer. If you told me a year and a half ago that I'd have the opportunity to visit most of the photo-relevant spots of Southern Utah, I'd think you were crazy -- merely because I was so ignorant and uninformed of the beauty it contained. This weekend was a brilliant reminder of how nature can humble us all in ways unexplainable, and has left me nothing shy of inspired for what's to come.

Personal · Salt Lake City Visits Big Sur

If you've been keeping up with my blog posts, it would be apparent at most of my out-of-town photographer/instagrammer friends (whom do not live in the SF Bay Area) always seem to want to link up at Big Sur, whenever they take a trip to Northern California. Well, if you've ever been there, you'd understand why: photos don't ever do it any justice. The place never gets old, no matter how often you go, for there's always something amazing happening, waiting to humble you and render you speechless.

On a cloudy Friday afternoon, I found myself headed down highway 1 alongside Donmiguel & Viet. We were bound for Big Sur, where a couple of friends from Salt Lake City, UT were headed to for a quick little weekend getaway to the California Coast. It was awesome reconnecting with a few old friends, as well as making a couple more new ones. It's always an absolute trip whenever I think about it, realizing that if it weren't for Instagram, none of this would have ever happened. A big thanks to Braden, Garin, Zack, TJ, Kyle, Jacki, Sam, Susan, Donmiguel, Viet, and the rest of the squad for a great day. The laughs, good vibes, and jokes shared definitely made every moment worthwhile.

Travel · Washington State · March 2016

Just a few days after arriving back to San Francisco from Chicago, I soon found myself back on a plane bound for Seattle, WA, this time with my cousin Donmiguel (@donmiguelluis).

Just like the last trip to Washington State that Donmiguel & I took together, we seemed to have had brought the warm and sunny California weather along with us. Because of clear blue skies during the day, the only truly optimal times for us to photograph were either early morning sunrise or late evening sunset. Because we both wanted to take back a number of great images to share with you all this time around, we made it a priority to wake up early for sunrise for three of the five days we were in Washington State. The 4:30 AM wake up times were definitely not what either of us had anticipated for this trip, but the beautiful views made the loss of sleep well worth it. We knew that we had to make a trip back up to the North Cascades again, as well as his up Snoqualmie Falls. One of the coolest parts to me, though, was when we decided to drive east to Lake Wenatchee, Tye Haus, and the Foss River Train Trestle to witness all three for the first time -- definitely have to go back when we get some nice, moody (and hopefully foggy) weather!

In between sunrise and sunset, we did the usual touristy things that every local would most likely be sick of by now, and also opted to hang out with our very good friends around Seattle practically every day. Special thanks to Vinnie, Herod, Darrell, Henderson, Vickie, Henry, Justin, Long, Brian, Malissa, and Sam, who made this an unforgettable short trip. I can't remember the last time I laughed so much in such a short span of days, and it's trips like these that make me feel most alive. Definitely planning to be back here before 2016 ends!