S W E E T S H O T S

S W E E T S H O T S

F o t o g r a p h i e

June 25, 2017

Your Eyes

 

Moments of a glance that disheartened even the most strongest of will, the soft and tender smile that brings my heart to its calm but rhythmic joy.  Her presence in each and every sunrise makes my emotions ever ready to embrace the day at its utmost vigor, for I know it is in those soft and innocent tones that I dare crave to hear at a moment's sigh.  Eyes of a goddess that charmed her way into the mystique of the unordinary, the last visual wanderer, the passionate observer, the charming romantic, and yet only in my whisper does she know my darkest of secrets and may phathom the scars upon my heart.  For so long, I have thought that the forsaken have yet turn its back upon me once again, for my soul runs dry and without an opportune chance to gasp for its final breath.  But in this relief, in those adorable and heavenly eyes, I again find that piece of happiness that have somewhere along life's busiest of walks have found its way into the shadow - but now a step into the light that stands beyond.  Her innocence amazes me, her charm completes me, her tenderness loves me, and her eyes had me at hello.

 

 

June 3, 2017

Who, What, When, Where, and Why?

 

"I've loved five women.  Who I loved was a girl from college. I wasn’t exactly close to her, but with some superficial facts and a few interactions over a semester, you know, like most guys fantasizing over a girl they barely know, I filled in the blanks like a fairy tale author. And who she became in my head, was probably more than the reality. She was a third year sorority girl. Yeah and I was an infatuated freshman, sure, but the several times we got to spend together outside of class, it really allowed me to see she also had a good heart and a bright spirit. The only problem was, so did just about every other guy. And while she turned me down nicely, I swear there were times when it seemed like the cliché sorority girl may have felt something for the typical, awkward freshman.

 

What I loved was an old friend, but she was much more than just a friend. We met early in college, kept in touch through the years after. We saw each other grow and change and through multiple relationships. I saw her different boyfriends come and go. She was also there for every girlfriend and breakup of mine.  Personality, humor, taste, it was all there. Her and I were almost perfect. The only thing that wasn’t perfect was our timing. We were never single at the same time. What we loved about each other was never enough to leave who we were with. This is something we eventually had to face and accept, and we had to leave behind what we had.

 

When I loved was my first girlfriend in high school. It’s a bit unfair because she embodies the combination of both love and youth. The feeling of young love is unique and impossible to replace or replicate because we can only be that age once. High school was a time of innocence, discovery, and adventure. We shared these three elements together in things like our first kiss, late night sneaking out, and matinee movies, all of which now have become a nostalgic love, preserved in a time neither of us can touch, but know was there. Even though we were just kids, there’s not a doubt in my mind that when we were there, we were in love.

 

Where I loved was the girl I met in Los Angeles. I never intended to stay there that long. It was just a six month internship after graduating. But it all changed when I met her. Soon, a year had passed, and somehow, another year after that. I couldn’t leave the city. I couldn’t leave her. Maybe it was my desire to be on my own or prove something to everyone back at home, but she helped me accomplish it over there with a relationship reflective of the city we were in, a new energy, new experiences, that really pushed me to mature more than anyone or anywhere else. When people ask what city I love the most, I say LA. The city where I lived the most.

 

Why I loved was a close friend of mine who passed away. She told me after she was diagnosed that death was not what saddened her the most, but the fact that she never really felt like she had fallen in love. She wouldn’t get to have those emotions, good and bad, of being hurt and of being held. After she passed, those words stuck with me the most, teaching me to see that one of the great gifts we have of being alive is the ability to give and receive and even lose love. There are so many like her, whose lives end before having any of those experiences. What a waste if we don’t strive to love in our lives. She made me understand why. Why waste this life not loving?

 

You’re none of them because you’re all of them. You are who I love; the girl on the pedestal, the fantasy the make-believe things that are actually true. You are what I love; the depth, the inside jokes, the best friend. You are when I love; a new history is being started with you. We are the young lovers our older selves will someday reminisce about. You are where I love: because I’d go anywhere, just to be with you. You are why I love: because before you, I didn’t truly understand what I was looking for. Now that we found each other, you’ve given my past and future meaning. You are the sixth. You are the last."  ~W.F.

 

 

April 15, 2017

From the trenches hovering the dim lite corner of the room, my legs crossed in a frenzy like it was compressing every ounce of intelligence in my body to comprehend the compendium of notes that cast a shadow against my cup of hot ginger and a pair of double chocolate biscuits.  An ice pack rests against my left shoulder as it gives me comfort late in the night when the agony of the stress is only amplified by the aches and pains of the crepitice of the bursa that lies deep to the work and sacrifices that I have gladly made to earn the progress and fortitude of accomplishment, a job well done. To leave a cornerstone marred only by my own creation is something beyond satisfactory , it is a rectifying feeling that although the road is endlessly long, it is a road worth the effort and worth all of the unforgiving prayers.  The gallantly egotistic drama-queen that I have grown to adore, the elder man that I have fallen in love with from a morning greeting to the short conversations along the narrow walkway, the innocently passionate physician and his sharp blade that have taught us the bits and pieces of this minuscule complicated figure, to the braided champion of endearment and support.  To be this far, to be this deep, I am blessed to find the masters of my craft to be those amongst us mere mortals, whose values are not only are tailored upon their own failures but to the few successes that so meekly find its way into the feeble minded souls that reflect upon them each and every day. 

 

Never in life would I have imagined the crowd of characters that have crept their ideas of rowdy entanglement into my heart.  The moments where we all freeze and the beads of sweat condenses above our brows just to realize the confusion or lack of any credible bullshit to offer; like a heavy fist thrust deep into our gut and still bound by the echoes of empty answers.  Perhaps it is within this confusion, unfounded direction, and pure dependency amongst the shoulders of each other that we all have come to owe this small debt in life's yet lonely walk.  These characters, I, included, have wrapped their welcoming embrace to this hermit and have pushed my shutter to open upon occasion…something unexpectedly nice to reveal, probably too much and too close for comfort.

 

A sleeping guide in the rear, a pair of nauseated sirens steering the front, and the compadre that have plugged me in religiously every morning, we found the winding and narrow road to Castries a polite adventure to say the least.  A short visit to the local gentries, the local attires and crafts hung briskly against the cool breeze that have ushered us deep into the shadows. A gazebo nested three young friends gossiping of life's careless adventures. The melancholic artist that marked himself as the king of beasts (Lion King), yet his simple strokes and gliding choice of vibrant lamellae of colors found its way rolling into my pocket for the journey home.  Perhaps this short leisure break, which was most unexpected and indefinitely indifferent, was a reminder that my stay although will be meek, yet it will find the exuberance of cunning adventures that will surely add to this old man's repertoire.  So to the Pitons, I will see you again, and beyond the lens' aspect of Marlon's brief commute, I will surely find the connection to this place, if I have not yet already.

 

February 22, 2017

As fate has it, the five year curse had finally exhausted itself and I myself have nearly ran my course. Following in the belief in myself and the powerful cast that have always loved and urged me selflessly from the rear, I am eager to embark on yet another of life's adventures and its toll on the unforgivable heartaches that I hope to mend at the end of this course. A decade since this same air route on a familiar voyage across the Caribbean blue, but this time I find myself more grounded and blessed than the last. The cotton ball clouds dancing on the palate of colors across the horizon reminded me of when we had first met and the beautiful sunrise and sunset that we have shared between us in so many adventures and storybook entries.

 

Faith is a powerful reminder to how I have come to a full circle, not to repeat the same mistakes but to better myself and nourish the growth that was so necessary for me to survive and never give up on such a fragile and tender dream. Why endure it with such passion, with such vigor, with such stubbornness?  Because of all of those reasons and those I have yet conditioned myself to fully understand. From a broken man yearning for any future, I am more than elated to have this opportunity to reboot and revamp a future that I have worked so hard to recreate. What the future holds is always beyond us, but I have learned that what there is for us to control we must grasp tightly with both hands and never let it ponder, never let us second guess itself, assure it with affection and the intensity of nothing less than your utmost sincerity. Then let it breath and find life in the path that lays before you and be confidant that it isn't luck this time around but pure grunt and hard work.

 

Never would have found photography to such a deep and personal extent, never would have experienced as a scholar the endless possibilities on medicine and its array of beautiful partitions. Never would have partake in a clinical trial that will contribute to a cure that will save the millions of victims of my own potential demise.  As much as the fear of stagnancies and the feeling of being stuck in life's mucky reality, I would never have imagined the many luck that have creeped its way into this tragedy. I take it with a grain of salt, but I also will never forget the bitter sweet memories of a past that have given me so much to learn from, and now a future that I can only say was created for me, by me, and with me in its overall nature. The prayers from those that I love have placed me here in 21A window seat, it is their guiding inspiration that I must thank and without them there is no hope for moments like these…moments that breath life.  ~N.S.D.C.

 

December 25, 2016

(New York Christmas) Off the 6, the scurrying footsteps against the blurred gestures of a moving train found its solace in the few travelers that drifted down from their cozy suites just above 42nd and Park. Grand Central and her pillars lay fragile to the bolstering steel of the brawn and bold skeleton of the great Empire State. A quick pardon at the local stand for some dogs on a cob, but who can forget the delicatessen from the oriental stew and the savoring trims of our appetites' galore. The evening's laughter seeped deep into our dreams with the phantom masks that tickled our tailbones and jiggled its charm deep into our hearts. Our time here has passed its start, but love, family, and the memories will always find its way home to Gotham...where my mind is finally at peace and my heart is forever young.


September 11, 2016

Twice in the valley of Columbus, I sense the red-blooded obedience of the mighty buckeyes. A sip of durian ice cream, chicken popcorn, and a Taiwanese egg noodle to remind us of home, but lastly it was a quaint entree of hotpots to keep our bellies burning. Visiting the Northern Coast is always acquainted with a short stop to the Grandview Mercantile, where bargains like a brass scale or the manual record player are true and some Tiffany's to keep our sense of class appeasing. Kicking our feet up for the night, the picture-show played a mischievous character and his odd abortive girlfriend that guilt tripped him as he unsuccessfully pursued the more flirtatious office beauty queen. A comedic ending to an afternoon of glutinous satisfaction and the oddity of foreign films.

 

Too early for pho, but we swallowed some agonizing self pride and followed the crowd in for a bowl. Our appetite to capacity, we stumbled on some antiques and the local Buberb Pie. Boutiques that showcased elements of a time lost, ateliers of the neglected and decayed, parlours of what had transpired through these local corn fields - their style, their passion, and their simplicity. We considered many, we left empty handed, perhaps too spoiled by the sweets of life to only consider a postcard worth 35c. Perusing through the barn that housed few valuable trinkets, we stumbled to the local barbecue pit for some indulgence on a platter, stout to help the craving, and corn bread for the memories.

 

Turn left, turn right, up and down, through the bends we hunted for the Old Man's Cave. The tranquil clam shell with its adorable bridges, over passing ginkgo trees and the quaint stream whose drippings faded into a waterfall. Even pebbles that bothered us couldn't keep us away from the glowing boulder that echoed the short "haunting" stroll to Cedars Fall. Rolling out of this lost little valley of Hocking Hills was a sweet pair of Accord owners pairing themselves on the highway after dedication on a gratifying build. But before we could head home to the likes of Mitchell's and Menchies, we had to grab a #8 at the local White Castle off the 71, and some bubble tea with our initials engraved on the back wall, we stamped ourselves to many places, but few without the other. Perhaps this is what equate to the fact that "we gotta do things together", so together it is. Another adventure is here, had passed, and followed by yet another. I gasp. I ponder to the next dream that awaits with excitement and endearment. (The Hocking Hills, OH)

 

 

June 16, 2016

Raleigh & Wake Forest, NC

 

Barely skimming the hands of time as we quickly shuffled into the terminal, just to our surprise was some familiar faces of fellow colleagues: Eugene, Elbert, Pete, and Lauren. Although it was my own initial encounter with these Caveliers, they were surely warm with their greetings and open with their friendship.

 

Touchdown. But it surely wasn't the end of our journey for tonight!  It was a short and wet drive to Wake Forest, the wipers of Little Rio and his churning little engine made us remember those short trips down US1 not too long ago along the Coconut Grove. We slumbered and woke to a busy morning for interviews and a a short visit to the local barber shop.  The shop classically lined with portraits of the Commander-in-Chief of days gone by, a Southern hipster dressed to impress greeted with an acknowledging smile and a gentile conversation to go with it. Buzz and snips, all a while the talks of His Airness and the modern rivalry of the Cavs and Warriors.  The Sleeping Easy was as familiar in these walks as they are just a few invisible borders away.

 

The highlight of our trip had not been the overwhelming growth of greenery, not the delicious southern BBQ with vinegar, nor the quintessential Southern charm, but it was rather the Mendi & Sangheet and the gorgeous Indian blend matrimony between Vibhu and his bride to be that made this short trip all so worthwhile. The henna with our names and a certain round logo was a perfect treat, the endless cultural buffets, the ethnic colors and dynamic people made it a treat for any Magnum.  Although the drama always entailed life's busy walk, like any other life changing event, this one truly exemplified the tribute for love versus faith, loyalty versus blood, and what is right versus wrong…no matter if you’re of acceptance or denial of this single communion, they must all agree that love was here and true love is always in the right.

 

The Washington & Duke Inn kept the romance alive, friends surrounding the bride with their hips bumping and grinding into the shadows of the dance floor. Light conversations to keep the tempo alive and we all soon fell into the slumber of the soft raindrops and smooth rolling grumble of the Southern skies above. Fall into dreams we go and we wish the pair a lifetime of happiness and eternal glee in this life and all those that will circumambulate through the test of time.

 


 

June 2, 2016

Ann Arbor, MI

 

An eye opener this morning to the carcasses that lined the coned stripes directing its way to the theatrics of the arb and Motts. A few interesting pods kept my pedal steady on the throttle and a growl in my belly to the comforts of a latte and my usual pastries to go. While waiting for a sneeze of roses with Gerald's judgmental grin to appease, I didn't know what to think of Ann Arbor and all that was to greet me this morning. A paced flight to the valet line and I was on a whirlpool up to the three-and-a-half flight of cement lot hell. The Wolverines' mild tempered buses roamed this campus like the loyal subordinates to her nest. But a blink of a moment later, the lays of peonies filled the gardens that welcomed the cozy cottage that kept us visitors at bay, for today at least.

 

A step in one direction, two steps back, and yet a few to the side was all it took to capture those first few images. A gentleman and his lady served as the curators of these lands, and a few twinkles to keep my eyes akin and focused. But it wasn't in today's fate that kept the company of strangers in preference, but rather the powerful will and wheel of Mother Nature's grandeur and Her Majesty's magical secrets that gave my eyes and heart a rest from the everyday paces of city life. Breath. As if I had forgotten how to truly do this simple task, and step by step, I filled my lungs deep down to my soul and in those instances I found a lasting peace and serenity that have grown so foreign; and yet so familiar. The moss lined the rocks of the river's bend, the poppies that lite up the graffiti-ed stones of a century old's railway, the overgrowth that opened into an orchestral introduction to a Soprano's delight. It was her gift to me that bound my grasp, it was her thought that kept me content, and it is in her love that I see in every bloom and gesture of this grand overture of Spring.

 

Here we are embarked on yet another voyage on yet another "Frontier", mind that the dancing clouds are only a passing moment, it cannot take away the serenity that still lingers from my short stray from the path in the forest.  (Nichol's Arbortorum, University of Michigan. Ann Arbor)

 

January 12, 2016

Columbus, OH

 

As the haunting tones of Adele flaunted it's way into my dreams, I felt the casual notes that chimed my arrival into Cleveland. It seemed the chills of this place have delayed its christening and the first snowflakes are yet conceived in this chilled breeze along the Great Lake. Welcomed by the flavor of curry and naan; warmed by the brim of a cement pot, time seemed to have stood still in the few days that have lapsed, with short walks to the local markets and sprees, empty handed at the shops but always filled with warmth from those small and adorable hands that have always known its place. Adventures can be found in any small memories, even those so naïve to adorn such an idea…but it is the passion, the sweet moments, and the love from one's soulmate that commits one to the smallest adventures to be that of the greatest ones of all.

 

On the 71 southbound, we talked, laughed, quarreled as if it was that evening under that open dock so many years ago, always poised by the Leica but now no longer the centerpiece to the conversation but rather it sits benched in the rear seat. A quick stop to a desolate outlet that few will venture to close a deal. The countryside barrenness barks gave a surreal nature that Spring is only a broken promise as Winter creeps her claws further into the air. Time and space gave refuge to the feelings of happiness and the madness of content that can only come with the one you love. Just a heartbeat more.

 

The empty city welcomes us as we casually stroll into its heart. Dirty Frank and his dirty hotdog palace was both charming and flavor-filled, especially when accompanied by a stout or two. Yet it was the eager drive to the North Market that inspired us for a common bowl of pho. Surprised how the Midwest had some how devowered the ethnic tongue of those that crafted this familiar broth from the same veins that lined my own being. A short stroll down High Street and back to the glittery lights along the entrance of the market were some unique furry critters that roamed these melancholic streets. They welcomed me into their clan and for a moment my shutter was filled with their glee, inspiration, uniqueness, individuality, and utmost creativity. An amazing and unexpected meeting of characters!

 

But before we could get cozy and steal the fire's warmth, it was impeccable that we took the short walk along Columbus Commons, the sparse lights that were left from the holiday celebrations still laid across the courtyard. Pressing red and green buttons on a webbed jungle-gym kept us acquainted to this Midwestern town. We woke up to the calling of the local Deutschland to an amazing 32 rooms of the Book Loft. The German Village filled our appetites with Skillet's Andouille Sausage Gravy before homeward bound to the North Coast.

 

April 23, 2016

Fuck You, Bruce Gilden!

 

One can never forget the horrendous odor of the 110 freeway.  I’m not particularly talking about the smell of petroleum or the millions of toxins in the air but rather the pretentious and empty commuters that line this familiar jugular path into the heart of the city.  Today wasn’t like most days in my life, nor is it like any day before nor after today, today was simply my day to say, “Fuck you, Bruce Gilden!”.  But to even acknowledge such a notion, one must understand the underlying narrative, especially the characters involved.  The confused professional who denies his affiliation to the likes of Ken & Barbie in hope to find euphoria on a higher plateau, or the blonde German who triumphs her “ego” in a melancholic ballad that is not only inspiring but igniting flames all in the same. ("Toilet Shoes")  The meager youth, a flirtatious loner, a flamboyant risqué host, the whispering samurai, a historical scholar, and a gentle artist in the rear, all, were tested and all would survive.  The journey wouldn’t be the same without yet a final and, ironically, my most endearing character, the perverse chef himself.  It wasn't only in each and every one of their struggles, to find that cumbersome definition of approval but it was ALL of our collective defiance that have made us a believer in not the Bruce Gilden form of art per se, but it is in our gratitude and love for Bruce Gilden, the man.

 

(MAGNUM Photos, 2016 Photo Independent Art Festival @ Raleigh Studios, Hollywood, CA)

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

October 3, 2014

Echoing into the devout chambers of arches were the melancholic screeching that line the stations’ edges, footsteps creeping against the yellow markings full of anticipation as the calm comes to a stop.  Touch down, and I could feel my heart racing, urging, hoping, sensing, and falling into that familiar dream once again.  Her adorable hands unruffled me.  The summer air welcoming its cool successor without further “adieu”, and definitely in contrast to the hyper-corrected ado is noted.  The A-train is calm tonight, unlike the many nights I’ve shared with this same track – into my dreams I’ve yet to fall.  Passing Kingston, Nostrand, Lafayette, and Bergen, it was great to meet some old friends on this subway ride home. 

 

Strolling and rolling against the brownstones on 8th, her hair sways against my shoulder as I am touched by her charm.  The steps of “Five Seventy Three” guided me into a short alley way that hid a message, which lay secretly on a wheeled messenger’s basket for me to discover.  Step by step, the twinkling lights that lined the ceiling’s edge, the brave outcomes that hung the walls and covered the wooden planks, the nudist and her lover embellished in their own sarcastic narcissism.  These are the creatures that awake us from below, the ones that we mind, the ones that we battle, and the ones that we strike with fear.   

 

Religion not only blinds but deafens.  Lost my way into what now embodied the souls of the innocent that left us on that empty September morning.  The inverted dark falls that hummed their names across its edges, it was the stories they’d left behind and the memories instilled within us all to learn from.  In this faithless world where even God finds so much of his flock lost in the garments that shroud the evils of man and his pathetic brotherhood.  Erected above all stood the marque of freedom, towering above the skyline as it casted its shadow deep into every New Yorker, especially this one.  I feel the rambling of my nerves against my fingertips as I triggered the shutter, a familiar and sincere clasp that metamorphically can superimpose its definition into something much more morbid and unforgiving.  I was amongst my demons and in the comfort of three thousand angels.  Shutter closed.  Silence.  Deafening silence.  Prayer.  A blinded prayer that I whispered into my confession. 

 

 

 

 

July 7, 2015

Down the 2, as the sunrise caught the flagpost of the Rockefeller skyline, the clouds glistened with a soft touch against the fluttering sailboats that lined the Great Erie.  As the pairing chimneys of the Powerhouse and her amphithetre danced along the narrow peninsula off the Flats.  A short while to Ohio City's West Side Market for a quick grab of the Chevre crepes and the McNulty juice grandiose.  The market was full of bustle like that of the lower Manhattan or along the Pike.  I am always at ease as a visitor, especially in a place that yields the hearts of red-blooded Americans and the powerful soul of conviction of the human condition.

 

Here I am sitting in the courtyard at the Museum of Arts, reflecting on my day on the streets as a Cavalier.  From the Flats to the old Victorian gentrification of Ohio City, beyond the bridges that linked the foundations along the Cayahoga River.  Over-passing the Warehouse District and the barren harbor, we approached Playhouse Square, where a beautiful chandelier engrossed the Cleveland sky above our trolley.  Down Euclid Road, once known as "millionaire's row", for 250 mansions once lined this golden street; Mark Twain once said it was "the most beautiful street you will ever see", but now only four lacklustered mansions lied scattered along the urbanized road towards the Cleveland Clinic, Case Western Reserve, and the University Hospitals.

 

Around the bend was the gorgeous University Circle, with all of the grandeur and mystique that earned Garfield's home as the "city of trees".  Amelia Earhart's wings along the shore, while the cultural gardens filled the horizon with distinct tributes to the various ethnicities that make up this American quilt.  The reggae music that echoed in the middle of Rockefeller Park truly was an inspiration for a thoughtful day here in the Midwest.  I finished off by missing my best friend, without her to inspire me - all is negated...so with only cookies & coffee for company for now. 

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Cracked Rear View milking the volume out of the old sedan as we crossed Columbus and westward to Indy.  The foliage covering every narrow path and skylight view was rather refreshing and a yearning for my toes to feel the green overlays that surrounded this place.  A short stop at Yats for some creole treats and  it was off to Noblesville's finest Klipsch Music Center for a rendevouz with an old friend - Hootie-ya-love!  The trucks were in, the daisy-duke shorts on a pair of long tanned legs, crowned by those American blonde twirls and fancy gator boots, and parked red-neck'd style on the open prairie...I AM AN AMERICAN, Ya'll!!!  Beer in hand, I stepped in for some vocal memories and a few lines across the aisle with a little lady. 

 

Morning came and so did a beckoning for a stroll down Indy.  Lining the streets of Indianapolis were your usual war memorials for all of the fallen heroes that bestowed this place, The White River splits the city, while Orville Redenbacher's abandoned plant stood solace against the afternoon shadow.  The NCAA Halls with Lucus Oil Stadium, Arts Garden, Motor Speedway, and IUPUI/Perdue University to accompany were just a few stops on our quick visit.  The Canal Walk lined the short bridges that stood the financial and governmental buildings of this small metropolis.  There were gatherers from all walks of life, those off foot, some on wheels, and still others by water...a beautiful backdrop to any memory and even better to have shared it with the one you love.  Loving St. Elmo's was easy, the oozing raw flavors, the red Alexander Valley Jesus' juice, the historic dim lighting, and the romantic mood of any parlor....how can you not skip a beat!  Onward.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Amish.  Who would have thunk there were anything but English outside of Lancaster...I stand corrected.  The corn husking fields, the perfectly cleansed souls of each structure that stood upon the horizon, the gentle minds that frolicked on the arse of the dark beast by carriage, what can be more simple?   A short stop at the local shops and flea market, then it was down to Millersburg and back to Berlin, where a short stop at Queen Anne's Lace Victorian home, while Boyd & Wurthmann's fried chicken and corn-on-a-cob kept the belly stretched and content.  Some coffee and Min & Jim's Country Cupcakes to finish off the cravings, but all that festivities gave no time for the usual furniture and craft shopping that was to be expected. 

 

The drive was rough, winding roads and pouring rain across the Tappan Lake region and onto Pittsburg.  Tessaro's and its legendary smoked patties were devoured without thought and finally D.C. was just a few hundred wind-shield wipes away.  The Potamac greeted us with lobster rolls from Coastal Flats, but it was Eden's delicacies that inspired us the whole trip through.  A short visit to Gunston Hall, where George Mason's disobedience to the Constitution was replayed to a dim; although spanding of 5,500 acres would leave anyone exhausted, it left few impressions like the manor and his slaves.  Perhaps it was in his accordance or perhaps he had weaved his fate that way, as the man of Mount Vernon stood nearby with never a nod but rather a shook instead. 

 

It was finally time, the thousands lined the Constitution Mall, hundreds were seated along the steps of the Capitol within their private concert, and we were all here for one single reason....to get muddy!  My Tom's were seeping with rain debris, but when it was time, the skies opened, the crowd appeased, and behind the Washington Monument phallus were beautiful blossoms of colors and light.  It was that moment.  The moment that only can be lived and in no other form.  The Leica stood side-lined for what a beautiful sight, in this one beautiful life.  Although my stay was brief, as any stay would be, I am completely mesmerized, realized, and exercised all of me...I am pardoned by these places, but a piece of me will always be in the heart that lives there.  Nando's, yum!

 

May 3, 2015

Images of Los Angeles

 

Shadows only exist in the presence of light.  They are the fairy dust that can magically change the dynamic of a photograph and give it the depth needed to bring life and a soul into something so tangible.  The likes of Freddie Grey and the six officers indebted to his case, was loudly and clearly contrasted in the images of black & white, Anonymous versus authority, peace versus chaos, perverse against reason, and the simplicity between right and wrong. 

 

 

May 20, 2015

Gio To Hung Vuong

To know oneself is to know your ancestry.  To relate to oneself you must relate to your community.  Although popularity and distinction are the elements to this fallacious and failing society, we often ignore and negate the value and need of our ethnic past.  Life today as we view it is just a potential predicament to our elders, but we must always give them credit for not just existing but surviving in their reality.  Spoiled, eased, reckless, iPhones, ignorance have all spooled our minds and have ravaged our existence, but do not let it consume what is left of your soul because that will be all that's left in this progenial wrath. 

                             

 

May 12, 2015

Where am I?  Why am I even here?  Who am I?  What is it that I am seeking?  The vision and questions that evoke any traveler to this place shouldn't be these simple questions, but rather, they should be minded by what their eyes reveal, what their feet can cover, what their hands may touch, and unveil the ignorance that once shrouded their ears.  The shadows casting upon the golden steps of the Bradbury gave its own meaning to the senses.  I, for one, found the limits to the space, and this place, and at this time, a hazard.  Perhaps the shutter is lacking because of a heavy heart, perhaps the gaze and pace is melancholic because of an empty heart, perhaps the crowding tear have hazed the innocent focus of what could have been a beautiful photograph.  So I excuse myself, not in shame or in hope, but rather in the selfish pain of loss and agony.  To be defeated, to be driven, to be lost is a sensation that finds no solace and no comfort...it can only exist in a short moment, but a moment that will remembered for a lifetime. 

 

I am censored.  But reborn.

 

The company of Carolin, Brian, and Greg, crawling our way through the back-lot of the Cinco de Mayo festivities and to the empty lanterns that crowned Bruce Lee's head.  We talked about light, we talked about passion, we talked about politics, we talked about history, and we talked about life.  As I dunk my roast beef further, I finally understood...the suffering of just a few lines ago, was just that, it was a moment, and moments will pass and another moment will arrive.  So we gamble.  We hope.  We plea.  That that next moment is polar to the last and a bit closer to the content of the now. 

 

                              

 

 

 

May 12, 2015

Finding myself just a few short miles from the border, home of the carne asada fries, the lonely Chargers, and the foggy walk at the Gas Lamp District, into where the cadence chimed in harmony, "orale vato!".  The lane filled with low-riders and their creators, sparkled under the haze of the soft sun lite clouds.  The intricate pieces of Lucky Strikes on the dust proof dash, the insane detail and effort by these artists and their painted masterpieces, and the powerful camaraderie of friendship, family, and ethnic loyalty, gave meaning to this short walk.  As I gazed to my right, a cloud of smoke filled with music, feathers, and a colorful tribe, hummed and drummed its way into the hearts of all those nearby.  An overwhelming lushness of vibrant colors that gave no vacancy for shadows, pushing its tones deeper and deeper into my eyes so that it can reap its roots deep into my being. 

 

A week of depression, a week of salvation, a week of exultation.  Although my mind and heart are in the depths of agony, I strive forward to find a new sense and a new longing for this life...within this confine of a moment, I once again exist as the most alert of any observer, but yet ignorant to my mortality and belligerent to my own fate.  The struggle is never far, but today it is closer than most, and so I breath and in the next, or yet, the next step, I will be free again.  Like the rolling crowd cheering against the banister of hope, the white tailored costumes and extravagant threaded dresses of these dark-skinned angels, I am that much closer to a peace of mind, and more importantly, a peace at heart.

 

As the sum of tacos filled my intestines, I can hear the screeching of Santana's guitar, hauling me, calling me, stalling me, to the tempo of his strings.  A young brunette hums her cords, as a group of ladies tickled the stage with their heals and sexy Latin charisma.  It was again in this place, so many years ago, that I was filled with her thoughts, I was introduced to her love, and I had forgotten what was bestowed upon me....these are the charms of a goddess in her golden dress that mystified, simplified, and rectified my existence and all else, passion for this lifetime. 

 

                             

 

April 28, 2014

PROJECT ELF:  25 Years of Passion

 

After a long cross-country move from Brooklyn, NY/Lancaster, PA, to Anaheim, CA, when I was a kid, I remembered my Free Spirit FS600 bike strapped to the top of the family's rusted yellow station wagon.  I learned a lot, saw a lot, and met a lot of people on that trip back in 1989.  By the time I hit sunny Southern Cali, it seemed things were completely different from the projects in Brooklyn and the cornfields of Amish America that I had become so familiar with.  But one thing never changed; how sweet life was on my 20-inch!  A few of the neighborhood kids had some nice GT's, Redline, and Gooses, but I was never the kid to follow trends.  Luckily, we moved down the street from the Schwinn Bicycle Shop (aka Anaheim Schwinn), I remembered riding my bike to that shop on those crazy hot torching Indian summers, just browsing and drooling - all over the chrome.  With a buddy of mine, we decided being ten years old and broke was NOT a means to exist, we never got a chance to join Little League, NJB, or Flag Football, and instead we became the neighborhood's youngest blue-collared members.  We did a lot of yard work, washed more cars than I could have imagined, and cleaned out some of the sickest shit you can think of (literally).  But we learned what a hard day's work was those summers and we also found out the rewards that it brought, BMX!!  Although our parents worked 7-days a week, my buddy's dad was a local truck driver and on the weekends he'd always drop us off at the local BMX race track.  Yes, you could read all of the BMX Plus magazines you want, but you can't experience BMX until you watch and do the racing yourself.  We learned a lot about bikes, some things about racing, but always tips about life. 

 

Like any red-blooded American kid, well Vietnamese American in this case, I wanted to upgrade my bike!  Sure, I couldn't fork out the full price tag on a new flagship, but I felt that my hard-earned dollar can sure go to something that will make me faster and stronger, when I'm jumping curbs at least.  So one Saturday morning, I decided to head over to Anaheim Schwinn and pay up for a $4.95 GT Single Seat post Clamp.  I can't tell you how "bling" that piece looked on my rusty black & gold FS600.  I was hooked!  A few months later, I found out that there was an unlisted "non-Yellowbook" bike shop just a few blocks from home that was owned by a really old Chinese man.  The shop was literally a tiny closet, but it had a mix of some imported junk and some really nice legit parts.  I remembered some of the local teenagers were saving up for cars, lettermen jackets, and prom, so many of them sold their bikes to the old guy for some short change.  Although the parts were salvaged and worned, I remembered that I learned a lot about repairing parts and just how it all worked from that guy.  I dropped by the shop again a few years ago, and I remembered seeing him for the last time; I heard the shop is no longer there and I know for sure that old Chinese man opened his doors 365 days, rain or shine, and I wish him the best in the next life. 

 

I remembered seeing my first issue of BMX Plus at the local Lucky's Supermarket in 1990, but at $2.95 a pop, I resisted bringing it home but I sure did like hitching a ride to the supermarket with my mom more often!  She ended up buying me my first copy a few years later, June 1992 edition to be exact.  The colored images of the AA Pros, the full page poster spreads, tons of stuff listed for sale from shops all over the country, and of course, the bike reviews.  One bike stood out from the rest, it was said to be EXTRA light, a unique double chainstay design, and it was getting built a few blocks down the street from my house.  ELF!!!  Extra-Light-Frame!!!  I couldn't believe it!  I remembered when the 6-piece Blastbars and Zipback post arrived; I just thought they were the raddest compliments to the XX frame.  But the reality was that I wasn't going to own one anytime soon.  Or was I?

 

It was 1993, Elf was at the pinnacle of BMX history, it was just named the ABA's Bike of the Year, and suddenly they were EVERYWHERE.  I remembered seeing ELF bikes all over the racing tracks, but still I never had a chance to actually sit on one and took it out for a spin.  I believe it was my 14th birthday, just a few weeks before the end of middle school, and a long awaited summer before the inevitable life at Katella High School.  My dad decided that it'll be the right time to look into getting me a new bike, I mean I've been riding  my Free Spirit for literally my whole 'adult' life already, so I requested a quick stop at the local ELF shop in Orange, CA.  We were greeted by Ken Pendergraft himself at the shop, wish I would have talked more to the man himself but I do remember him being very passionate about his products while he was showing us around his store front.  After the quick introductions, Ken asked me what I wanted my next ride to be, and I said without a doubt, the ELF Double Cross Pro XL.  Ken recommended a smaller model, but since my dad was nearly 6'0, I figured the XL model would fit me as I grow into the frame.  There was only ONE Pro XL there that day, sitting just a few bikes in from the line-up by the front door.  I pulled it out, took it into the parking lot up front, and took it for a ride that I will never forget.  It was perfect!  So while my dad and Ken Pendergraft were chatting, I was sure this one was in the bag, I am heading back home with this beautiful machine.  So after I saw my dad shook the owner's hand, I rode back towards their direction for some good news.  YES!  YES!  YES!   We will be going home WITHOUT an ELF today it seems.  Even though I was disappointed, I knew that a bicycle in that price range was ridiculous and I for one would be the first to say that because I didn't get my dream bike that day that the dream truly never died.  I ended up visiting that store many more times until they closed shop a few years later, but I never again saw a built up Pro XL to demo; just my luck I guess. 

 

I came home to celebrate my birthday with some friends and until this day I still have never heard the end of how I came home empty handed that afternoon.  Ah, boys will be boys.  Instead of getting me a new bike, my dad did something even cooler, well, it's pretty cool now that I looked back at it but not so much on that occasion; he promised he'd take me to the local auto body shop and have my FS600 dipped in chrome.  Yes, it was no ELF XX, but that was a pretty good treat.  I believe we went to the local chromer a few days later, and they billed us $25.00 for plating both frame and fork.  I still have my FS600 F&F until this day and the chrome is still perfect in every way.  By that time, I had already purchased under my arsenal the Blastbars, Zipback post, Triple Trap pedals, DK stems, ATI grips, Pitbull/Dia-Compe, and the Svelte saddle.  And boy did it look sweet in my fresh new chromed-out mini racer. 

 

By the millennium, I had ran into a Korean couple in Garden Grove, CA, who had a small bicycle repair shop, I believe I got to the shop before a lot of the collectors did and so I was able to pick up NOS the Answer Pro Forx, GT/Araya wheels, and Redline Flights to complete the components list.  Piece by piece, year by year!  I was pretty content with my build, until March 30, 2013, the day that the ELF Double Cross Pro XL found me!

 

Although I've searched every chance I got for this specific model year, obviously due to the sentimental value more than anything, I had always come up empty handed.  Often it was without the original decals, in poor condition, incorrect size, and a year or two off.  But then I got a buzz from a buddy of mine and there was guy named, Bill, who lived out in Tustin Ranch, CA, that decided to give up his beloved ELF and help me complete my dream build.  Cheers, Bill!  I rushed home that night after picking it up, swapped the parts that I have saved up all of these years onto my beautiful Double Cross frame, and now I am just in heaven!  To me this is more than just collecting something; this is a reflection of my childhood, all of the memories with family and friends.  Thanks mom for getting me my first BMX Plus issue (which is sitting right next to me) and thanks dad for getting me my first love, the Free Spirit FS600, the frame now hang high up in my bookshelf as a reminder of where I came from.  And thanks Ken Pendergraft for creating your greatest masterpiece, the 1993 ELF Double Cross Pro XL!

                                                                         

                              

 

April 20, 2015

The King.  The Master.  The Classic.

 

Not too often in a Leica photographer's lifetime will they have a chance to own their ultimate dream lens.  It took me over 15 years to truly feel like I have an understanding and control of the rangefinder.  To master its dials, its strict focus, and inherent compositions are a must, but one must also comprehend its history, image style, and lens' characteristics to truly merit this art.  It is a privilege to have the Leica as my paintbrush and with a little bit of talent I hope to make lasting images that will be an imprint of my vision on this lifetime. 

 

I have searched for over a decade to acquire the legendary "Three Kings" of the lens by Leitz:  the King of the Night (Noctilux "The Final 100th"), the King of Bokeh (35mm Summicron, Series IV), and the King of Portraits (90mm Summicron).  These optics need no introduction, as they are the glorified gods of all optics....they truly are the Kings!  However, as my craft grew and evolved, so must the tools that I need to express my art.  Life changes; fluctuates like a sinusoid, there are moments of madness and then peace succumbs the next.  Serenity is never good to me, I find solace as meek as a clover, but when I witness it, I am at its complete awe and surrender.  It is in these moments, an expression, or even an inspiration, will arrive so easily like a feather dancing along the crested sunlight of a window blind creeping and easing its golden rays into the corner of my eyes.  It was time.  It was time to finally accept the quesiton to the riddle of my craft and give it a solid echoing answer.  The King of Bokeh and the King of Portraits must be replaced, and in its replacement will not be Kings or gods, but legends in their own rights.  These are Leica's rarest and most prestigious offsprings, they are Walter Mandler's "favorite" and masterpieces along with their Noctilux contemporary.  These are the lenses that one can only dream of attaining within a lifetime, they are called The Master (75mm Summilux, "Wetzler Final Edition") and The Classic (35mm Summilux, "Double AA").  The "luxes" have opened an entirely new but crucial adaptation to my photography.  I truly feel that these legacy glass are the exact notes that will truly help refresh and polish my masterpieces even further.  Make no mistake, that their is always a huge learning curve at different focal lengths and aperture, but this evolution seemed much more natural as they mimick the flavor of the Noctilux. 

 

In this excitement, I am anew and I, no longer, am limited by the ordinary of kings and gods, but now my limit is only circumvented by the "lux", or light. 

 

 

February 8, 2015

After 14 years…..retired the 6th and onto the 9th!

 

After the bimmer failed me thrice on the week of finals, I knew it was time that my long and daily commute to campus for my senior year would be practically impossible.  After my brief encounter with the final incarnation with the Prelude, I knew that such a narrow cockpit and its weak powered four cylinders would not be on par for the job.  Strolling onto the dealership was a brand new 2001 Honda Accord Coupe EX V6 in Night Hawk Black Pearl with its sharp edges, NSX styled rear, a beefy engine for a mid-size, and a very modern interior.  The store manager was a family friend and the vehicle went off the lot after a short test drive down the 405.  Who would have thought 14 years went by with a blink of an eye. 

 

My dad bought his first new car in 1986, the Blade Silver Metallic Honda Accord DX sedan, and my grandfather hauled in his first car, a 1989 Charcoal Granite Honda Accord LX sedan and a 1992 Navajo Red Metallic Honda Accord EX sedan …so I guess I was genetically linked to the brand and culture of the Honda Motor Company.  Before my grandfather passed away earlier last year, I spent a lot of time in the garage putting on upgrades to the 6th in hope that I would get a chance to spot him in the passenger seat with me when it was all completed.  It never happened, but he’s always rolling shotgun next to me on every drive.  Some people slammed, souped, and bagged their rides, but I prefered to keep mine stock and OEM.  Something about keeping a car clean and feeling its performance as to how the engineers had wanted you to feel inspires me.  The 6th logged in over 210,000 miles for me, the work horse of taking me everywhere up and down the western sea board.  A lot of memories with friends and family, and a lot of memories just solo joy riding with my best friend.  I franticly panic when I have to think of the day that I have to actually send the car off…emotions are high but I know its time will come. 

 

It was clear that the 6th could no longer keep up with the mileage that was being piled on day after day, week after week, and year after year.  I was back on the market for a new steed, there was no other choice…my eye was definitely focused on the new 2014 Honda Accord Coupe Honda Factory Performance (HFP) EX-L V6 in Crystal Black Pearl.  Six hours of haggling and thrice I walked out of the dealership and thrice I returned for a new strategy in bargaining, and finally it got to where I wanted it.  After a few weeks of some upgrades and polishing, the HFP is now exactly how I have dreamt it to be.  Out of all the generations in between, the 9th is the only model that I found worthy of the upgrade from the 6th.  A much more mature car, technologically advanced, but as always the Accord Coupe V6 is a powerhouse in the mid-size coupe…ironically, now it is the only surviving coupe left in this niche market.  I am excited for the many years to come with the 9th and a dreaded farewell to the 6th, but I know they are far beyond separate feelings in somewhat the same emotion that is bound – the power of dreams! 

 

I can't tell you how hard it was to bid adieu to my 2001 Honda Accord Coupe EX-V6 today after 14 years of accompanying me on life's busy walk. I couldn't have asked for a more dependable, steadfast, and respectable "friend"! As one chapter closes, a few more are bound to open...I am sure; as I welcome in the successor.  CG2 & CT2

 

August 24, 2014

          As a photographer, you often displace a lot of your creativity, passion, and soul into the images that you capture.  Rarely do you find yourself getting an artistic relief or should I say an extraordinary treat to say the least.  Life consists of many stories, few make it beyond a decade, and only a miniscule fraction of that few will make it past a lifetime; but tonight I have a story that goes beyond even my wildest dreams. 

 

         A few days ago, my parents were invited to a dinner party, hosted by some of their mutual friends.  They had mentioned that Nick Ut, the Pulitzer-Prize Winning photographer, was included on the guest list.  As many of you know, Nick Ut is an icon in the photographic world, and a god in the world of Leica photography.  He shot one of the most controversial photographs in the history of mankind, the “napalm girl” image of Phan Thi Kim Phuc in 1973; which evidently changed the political outlook of the Vietnam War. 

 

        Although, my last brief encounter with Nick Ut was a few years ago as we covered the Westminster City Council Inauguration together, I always regretted that I didn’t get an autograph from him as a keepsake.  But my luck was about to change and so the story was relayed back to me just moments ago….

 

        My parents arrived at the dinner party late, and as they were being greeted by their friends, my father realized that it possibly was Nick Ut who had passed him briskly on the sidewalk just a few blinks ago.  He quickly mentioned his fading encounter with the Pulitzer-Prize Winner to my mother, who jolted out onto the street in a desperate attempt to find the Leica master himself.  She saw a woman, waiting curbside for her ride, and when she turned around it was Kieu Chinh, the most iconic Vietnamese actress of all time.  In conversation, my mother discovered that Ms. Kieu Chinh’s date for the evening was Mr. Nick Ut and she was patiently waiting for him to drive her home.  My mother, being the witty woman that she is, told Kieu Chinh that her son was a huge Nick Ut fan!  Kieu Chinh immediately assured my mother that she must meet Nick and share the enthusiasm face to face.  My mother also remembered that I had asked her to bring along a few items that Nick Ut might possibly autograph, one being the baseplate of my beloved Leica M2 camera and a book given to me by Lizzy many years ago that included all of the Pulitzer-Prize Winning photographs to date.  After rushing back to the car to retrieve these items, she found Nick Ut and Kieu Chinh waiting patiently for her by their vehicle.  They greeted her with warm smiles and a few friendly stories.  Nick Ut took the time out to sign both items without hesitation and that just says a lot about the man.  He also was nice enough to capture a few shots of my mom and Kieu Chinh and with himself.  Can you believe it!?!?  Nick Ut took a photograph of my mother! 

 

          My mother also told me that, as she handed him the baseplate, he immediately recognized that it had come from a Leica M2 camera.  He told her that he still shoots with his M2 and he was wondering who was the owner of this camera?  In which my mom proudly said it belonged to her son, Tuananh.  Nick Ut quickly replied that he recognized my name!  I couldn’t believe what I was hearing…Nick Ut “recognized my name”.  I am just lost for words. 

 

         So here I am, seated next to an autographed image of the “napalm girl” and the words “Nick Ut” signed across my Leica M2, but above all of these extraordinary events I realized that it is nowhere nearly as cool as my mother right now!!  Thanks mom for such an amazing story, you definitely are the best of the best!! 

 

August 14, 2014

A story I just have to share....
 
So after all of the excitement of getting the fresh refurb on my steed, I luckily got home right before sunset and took a needed test ride.  At the halfway mark, I met a pretty interesting character by the name of Gerald.  The man's hands were rough, his shoes worn down to its bare napa, and he had a stumbling gait.  He greets me with a warm smile, "how many miles did you ride today?".  I took a few steps over and we were instantly amidst in conversation.  We talked about how Gerald had walked from San Francisco to this exact spot in the last eight days; we argued about politics, religion, wars, race, poverty, and everything about anything; we met this lady that was walking her four poodles, this teenager that crashed her bicycle, kids strolling with their parents; Gerald even taught me how to "scope for hot chicks", as he would have put it.  But the best thing that Gerald taught me was to - stop!  He admits that he's a 55-year-old with nothing to his name, spent the majority of his life as a soldier, he was a drug addict and still an alcoholic, and now he's just finding his way back home to Dallas.  Sure, there were moments in our hour-long talk that I questioned his sincerity, totally diagnosed him as a schizoid, and my conscience telling me to get the hell out of there; but I listened...something that not many people do for Gerald.  He told me about the horrors of war, he told me how he grew up abused and ignored, he told me how as a Christian he knew he would make it to heaven but he believed that God gives everyone their own struggles to make their trip to that next life even more worthwhile, he told me a lot about himself....and within that I learned a lot about myself. 

If a man can walk the four corners of this continent with nothing more than the spare change in his pocket and still give you that unforgettable smile, then who are you to judge?  Are you luckier than him?  Are you inspired more?  Have you lived more?  Like I had said previously, Gerald taught me how to stop.  Not to negate life, not to ignore responsibilities, explore self worth, or fulfill one's potentials, but to really appreciate your life and to be thankful for the people you meet in the short time that you have left.  So before we parted ways, I took a snap shot of Gerald looking his best.  I hope to meet my friend again, perhaps not in this life, but I am sure we will swap stories again in the next. 
 
(After note, I took out some chump change to offer Gerald and told him to go get a beer and it was on me.  He proudly declined and said that he doesn't take money from friends but only from the people who just don't give a shit!  In my opinion, that pretty much says it all.)
 

 

May 21, 2014

As many of you know I went on my first NORBA sanctioned race today after many years.  The season opener course was beautiful when I arrived, but it got uglier and uglier it seemed.  It punished me with steep inclines, super sand traps, crazy drop offs, and the madness of multi-level racing...meaning all groups from Sport-Expert/Elite-Pro, age, and rank start literally at the same time!!  It was complete mayhem for the first 12 miles, but the peloton started separating from the masses by the mid-mark at 24 miles in.  I was beginning to get into a rhythm approaching my last lap, BUT then IT HAPPENED!!!  A beginner rider finishing his first lap ran into my rear wheel and I literally went flying head first into a tree off a ravine below.  A little dazed, I heard the race marshal ringing her cow bell and screaming up the mountain, "rider down, rider down, medic, medic!!".  I managed to crawl back up the slope and the medic and a photographer helped pull my bike out of the bushes.  Kept my composure and then I'm off!!  Chasing for lost time in the final 12-miles out of the total 48 for today.  By the time I approached the second to final climb, my asthma really started hitting, so I snatched my inhaler from my bag and puffed it....it was kinda funny because the Race Director and the crowd cheered really loud when I did that.  To me it was do it or die, but I guess to them it was kinda funny.  Irony.  I managed to get into somewhat of a rhythm again but my shoulders, left elbow and left leg was now beginning to ache from the fall, but I really, really, really wanted to podium, or at least make them have a run for their money.  Since all of the divisions were in the same loops, I had no idea who was ahead of me and who was behind me, heck I didn't even know who was in the Elite/Semi-Pro category....so I just panicked and gave it my all. 

Crossed the finish line and there were a few guys in front of me, I figured I must have lost a lot of time because of the fall and the peloton surely caught and passed me while I was down in the trench.  To my surprise, sponsors were there to greet us and I ended up getting signed for sponsorship by Sambazon, some health fruit drink company.  I was a little dazed still, the guy kept asking me what I liked to eat or drink....I was like dude, I don't know but all I could think of was ginger, so he gave me a bottle of their Kale & Ginger and had me sign their contract.  A box of their fruit drink every month that I race in and wear their logo on my jersey or number plate.  Pretty cool!  Then I went over to the judges' table to get my number plate scanned and saw on the screen that I placed #7 out of the 621 people from Expert and Elite.  I was disappointed that I didn't get a podium, but I made the top ten with a lot of shit happening....so I lucked out.  Plus, no broken bones, but I will definitely be sore as heck for the next few days.  Result from my broken Sigma cyclocomputer:  12,000 ft. total elevation, 3h:17m:19s, 2219 calories, 579 Watts, 48 miles, #7/621.  It was my first time on this race track, against guys that ride it year after year, so I am pretty pleased with the result.....but dammit, NO PODIUM!!!!!  Congrats to my buddy, Cameron, for taking the overall win in the Pro level....I can't believe his fat ass is that fast...but hats off bro!  You did your sister proud!!

Below some pictures from Blackstar, my crusty beat-up face, and 34 NORBA points for my finish today- screen shot from the judge's table.  Alright, it's time for me to DIE in my bed and let the healing begin!!!!
​

January 5, 2013

It was the bitter cold winter in the damp Chinatown sidewalks of New York City, where the local carts’ delicacy of intestines and pork blood consumed my every tastebuds’ envy, a scene of me and my best friend that have replayed today more so than any other.  My darling, Ong Ngoai, passed away early this morning.  Although he woke me up to say goodbye, it wasn’t until a moment later that I heard the troubling undertones of my father calling out to me, it was urgent and yet a calmness came over me.  As I reflect, with the tears that I hold back, I know now that it was my grandfather’s loving hand that grasped my shoulders to ease the heartache…if only enough to get me through the day. 

 

As I pulled my mother closer, my father stood firmly as our anchor, we greeted him softly and with all of our love and a promise to never to say goodbye.  Never to the hand that walked me to my first day in pre-school, never to the man that took me for treats along the way home from somewhere - if anywhere, never to the man that taught me how to wrench and create, never to the man that gave his life completely to his family, never to the man that was my best friend, my mentor, my living journal, and my one and only, Ong Ngoai. 

 

In this life, there are people that we meet and then there are people that we remember.  Although my grandfather is the noblest and the most humble of any man I have ever known, he would never take offence to be just another person to whom you would meet along a busy street, but if you have ever met him then I am sure he is someone you will never forget.  Perhaps it haven’t sunk in, perhaps it is still all too surreal, perhaps I have yet to accept, but for tonight I am that little kid walking side by side with my favorite person in the world along that damp Chinatown sidewalk not too long ago. 

 

 

January 30, 2013

APA's Series Medallion Award

 

Special thanks to the "Hoi Anh Nghe Viet Nam", the first and original global Vietnamese photographic arts & associated press organization. My mentors: Mr. Le Van Khoa (founder), Mr. Son Thanh Nguyen (President), Mr. Thai Dac Nha (VP), Mr. Pham Manh Tien, Mr. Kevin Thanh Tran, Mr. Nguyen Hoc Hai, Mr. Ton That Hung, Mr. Tran Tuan and Mr. Tho Ngan Kha, my gratitude for their creative direction and artistic wisdom - their internationally award-winning works continue to amaze and inspire that of my own.  

 

November 10, 2013

The Fourth Horseman

 

The fourth horseman had arrived to serve his three kings, noble and true as his predecessors before him.   This incarnation seemed to have begun as an ill-faith, one of which found rectification and redemption in its lord by a vow of virtue and obedience to its true natural existence.  One can bear witness to his legendary blades, the powerful emblem of his red shield, and his immaculate vision of the world.  Esteemed from a vintage of honorable Pulitzers, the dashing young knight is a charming reminder of a time when substance was not found through the value of a shilling, but rather the honor of an abiding handshake or the companionship of the brotherhood at arms. 

 

As the years pass and the passports of these adventurers wear through the test of time, one can only phantom what their memories have relished behind its curtains.  The beautiful glances of love, commitment, and the forever passion between two lovers; the youthful softness of those adorning smiles in the comfort of the loving arms who nurture them; the many footprints that mark the trickling steps of age with all of its bound mysteries, adventures, and creativity.  By far, the horseman of yesteryears is bound to their contemporaries, not only by the code that they live, but beyond that, the beating heart that sustains their every thought and emotion. 

 

To where do these horsemen gallantly ride towards?   A forlorn sunset, the apocalypse, into the arms of their lovers?  It is in these simple mysteries that keep the untold stories filled with so many alternatives, but for now, they are brothers confide to this lifetime and engrained to this simplified existence.  Breath. 

 

 

September 18-22, 2012

New England

 

The Fall had arrived to much of my delight.  I had partaken’d in this short journey through some familiar tunnels, many of which I have summoned from those tender dreams of long ago.  From the landing strip of The Queens to the small empty bulgogi-steamed tofu delicacy of this wretched place, I have always loved its lack of a peculiar demise like the irony of a fragile dandelion creeping through the cracks of the filthy brazened cement.  Leaving Gotham over the wired cable bridges with her by my side, it was like the many familiar adventures we have encountered on, yet a brand new route freshly prepared for our footprints to create. 

 

Passing along the changing leaves as the dotted yellow quickly paved into a solid lane, we were anti-parallel to the stream of Okasaki fragments of black and engrossed suburbans’ entourage of the future elected commander.  Obama?  Romney?  Who knows?  Who cares?  Not today.  Conversations about past, future, and our esteemed moments led to our arrival at the heart’s valley, where booze was a luxury that westerners can only fathomed their puzzled demeanor – only to be satisfied by a clerk from the orient and her youthful bar.  Wine and foie-gras waited along with a short trip to the local postal by morn. 

 

Philly was as iconic as a classic of these New England territories, where our greatest of fathers have bared their visions, ideas, and dignity for all that bore this great land.  The City of Brotherly Love!  Hand in hand along the edges of the Liberty Bell, herself, with the Independence Hall tower blurred upon her chimes.  A short narration along the hall and square was a mint of a treat.  Rushing back to find a forged letter of violation on the dash was a splint, but nothing can dampen my mood of this place.  Around the corner to the US Mint, Franklin Court, 1st US Bank, and the Todd House were all beautiful glimpses of history; where love was romanced by that for country than self.  Geno’s and Pat’s kept us company on the long road out!

 

It wasn’t the Capitol, White House, or the list of monuments that welcomed us to D.C., rather it was the German symbol of excellence that took that task to hand.  A short stroll down Pennsylvania Avenue to find the secret service car at the curb was surely surreal, someone of importance was nearby.  A flight down the metro took us to the steps of the Capitol where pictures filled my rangefinder without ease.  Capturing the last few rays at the painted symbol that headed our walk to a parade of red coats and their brass decore, serenading the tomb of the Great Abe himself.  As she sits at the steps overlooking the twinkling reflections of the mirrored icon, I turned to find that the enlightened ones also found solace in such a peaceful soul. 

 

Down Constitution’s path and across the Potanic flow was the historical survivor of that faithless September day.  A short trip back to Leica and we filled our troubled appetite at the local foundry farms.  I was at peace on that highway home, comforted by the memories that have now revisited me in this dream come true – at last. 

 

Getting the scenic front view of the greyhound-sized beast was indeed perfect; I could see every inch of landscape at my leisure.  The color more pronounced the more north we headed.  Finally, I sat foot into the city of America’s soul, where the great Revere, Adams, and a league of gods have called home.  As the great Constitution rests her sails, we wandered into the Barking Crab for some lobster rolls and the legendary chowder.  The double decker took us along the channel, even as far as those heralded leagues of Cambridge that bellows across Longfellow Bridge.  Along the path was noted the Boston Commons, Mass General, City Hall, and the iconic Charleston Bridge and its hovering Bunker Hill.  However it was the highlight of our trip to watch men dancing dirty by Faneuil Hall, and stuffing ourselves silly with chowder and rolls at the benches inside Quincy Market.  A true delight, although we missed desert it will be avenged! 

 

New York, New York, New York.  Home Sweet Home!!

 

240 Willoughby St.  #12K

Brooklyn, NY 11201

 

1261 Bergen St. #2R

Brooklyn, NY  11213

 

Brooklyn:  Marquet Patisserie, Norstrand St. (pizza), Cheng’s Chinese Food, Joya Thai, Lebanese Food,

Manhattan:  Canal St. (pizza), Waffles & Dinges, Chicken & Rice, #1 Hand Pulled Noodles, Lombardi’s

Queens/Flushings:  Cha Time, New World Mall’s “mixed bowl” 

 

~New York, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., Boston

 

 

July 26, 2013

Hills of Melody

 

The long highway that cradled the yolk of the cement jungle that lies within the convoluted mist of an ail breath.  Bend after bend, the clovers’ edges bladed with eager speed but near to a calm tempo, a pause is too often met even at the beginning of an evening stroll.  As the meter kept tap of all the accompanying companions, The Hills is but only moments away.  Piercing through the heart of the city, the endless reflections of watchful eyes from above, gazing, looking, observing - the quiver of every turn and every light.  A stop or two, I am always reminded of this place, this being, that have always harkened my heart. 

 

Weaving through the oblong corridors of Alverado, the eagerness to the acute hilltops and valleys that were so accustomed to my taste and the fresh perfume eclipsed my every sense from the nearby thorns of the great pines and his sweet and cooling lover, the Eucalyptus.  The narrow steps that led to a vignette of darkness around a blinding echo of brass cadence, the smooth oval walls that hovered a lively artery that panics to find its way towards the Sunset and Highland.  The Bowl was again alive in my heart, its flavor of the strumming harp, the powerful pipes, the soft white keys, and of course, the beautiful gestures that stroke the paintbrush of the master.  Step by step, I found myself lost in the forest’s tempting lullabies and its gentle breeze that cools the feel of my flesh as the warmth rushes to accompany my beating heart.  I close my eyes.  A whisper from the time of gallantry, smooth silk dresses keeping company with the sharp white bow tux of the leading bravado, narrated.  I opened my eyes to a wondrous backdrop of the classic view, stamped by its clamshell silhouette, adorned by the crown of the Hollywood insignia. 

 

As Rafael Fruhbeck de Burgos led his “Pines of Rome” cast into a beautiful overflow of overtures, the softest chirping of the clarinet’s intertwining voice with its reed brethrens, the crescendo that deepened the harmony of quartet and her sum, the fluid dynamic touch of  Jean-Yves Thibaudet on the grand, the melodies do not just touch the heart alone, rather it is a quarry of life from within.  The hours, days, months, have now taunted its way into years since I have a soul to seek.  But it is in this gentle calm, perhaps like the fields of Alexander that the spear will find its way through the dawn.  I am a believer that what I see, what I hear, and the softness of the touch, that these senses are meek and fading, but very, very much alive. 

 

~Hollywood Bowl, Hollywood, California

 

 

June 8, 2011

Le Concours d’Elegance

 

There was a silence within me, not that of sound but that of color. An enraged rapture epitomizes the chaos and jubilation that instills within, into which direction does the encompassing rays direct? Sitting with an arching posture, the crimson embroidery crumples upon the crest of my heart, as if a beacon of colored rainbows awaited my next move. Crossing the lot that I have familiarized my every sense through the years, I reached a slight down slope in a haven of dazzling colors, polished linings, roaring bellows, all summed as the hot rods. Le concours d’elegance seemed too extravagant of a theme for this collection, but like all things in life and all things above and below, the truth is by far a bargain of reality.

 

My eyes glared by the spectacular smooth lines as if sculpted from Olympus’ greats. The merry spirit that coasted the authors of these pieces was a sure treat for any visitor, especially this one. It was in this delight that the most darling of tales derived itself, just a literary perfection for an afternoon stroll in the park.

 

A young teen and his adoring father mutually loved a cherry red Ford roadster, imagine their glee as they cruised into the local square for some condiments and soda pops. Imagine an era where youth and naiveté’s were natural beauties that were engraved deep in every character. Where love was always passionate, friendships adorned, and country was for God. It was in this that chivalry and charm embellished itself fully. Five young friends stand in front of a classic to take a snapshot of their youthful arrogance and wondrousness. The young man places the ring on his beautiful young bride as they pack the roadster high and ventures as far West as the sea allows. As time passed, the lining on his face pardons the life that they have lived with many smiles, many dreams, and always signed with much love. Still, each day with a new dawn and with a sense of everlasting adventures, they proceeded on and on. Nearly fifty years have passed, en route to St. Louis they went, to meet some old friends, to greet some old acquaintances, and to stretch the legs on that old roadster once more. As the glass chimes, the hugs and kisses amidst, it was once again in the same frame lines that five young friends stand, and will always stand, in front of a classic.

 

~Huntington Beach, California

 

May 2, 2011

Passions

 

It all started many moons ago when I truly fell in love with the darkroom and all of its mystery and wonder. From rolling my own film through the work of processing and print, it was there that the sparks of this love affair truly took form. As I learned not only the function of the single-lens-reflex camera, but I also acquired knowledge of the mechanical beauty of the lightbox. My curiosity led me to building and repairing numerous amounts of lenses and bodies. To understand anything or anyone, I truly believe you should always start from the inside first. Through the years, I had the privilege of using a variety of both analog and digital cameras from both the Nikon and Canon lineage (FM-10, FE-2, Nikorrmat, FA, FM-2, F, F2, F3hp, F4s, F5, D1, A-1, 1n, D10, D20, 5D, 1Ds), as well as, many of the legendary prime and zoom lenses ever produced. It was through these cameras that I built my learning curve in photography, learning the balance of light and shadows, composition and motion, but above all loving every moment of it.

 

My experience as a professional photograher have been very selective, I've worked under one of the best events photographer in the Philly area. I've also collaborated with Shooting Stars Photography for various sports photography, and then going beyond that to doing many of my own private works, all of which have expanded my knowledge as a hobbyist and a professional.

 

Leica, I remembered it being referred to as having the best reputation in optics, but to actually own a Leica and witnessing its legendary performance and artistic manifestation is simply too pleasurable to be worded. I purchased this Leica M2, 35-50-90mm frames and push button rewind, from an old Chinese man who have opted out to the modern autofocus SLRs due to his aging eyes. The camera came to me after weeks of anticipation, but after a few frames, it was evident that the body needed to have some TLC and fine tuning to get it back into its ideal form. After its brief hiatus back to Wetzler, the Leica M2 arrived home after a week of minor cleaning and shutter tuning and have been a true marvel to use. At the arrival of the digital age, I had the honor of using the Leica M8 and now its descendent, the Leica M9. However, the crown jewels of the Leica is its glass, I can atest to its legend through the viewpoints of both the "King of the Night" and the "King of Bokeh", and the final addition - "King of Portraits". With Leica, there is no contemporary and no modernist approach, there is only a standard that supercedes anything and everything in the world of photography. The images produced by the Leica yields soft bokeh like a water-colored painting, supreme sharpness at its focus, and the subtle use of its shutter under the unnoticeable eyes of its subjects. These are the cameras that are crowned Pulitzers, for not just their artistic rendition and signature, but also their ability to capture the human soul.

 

~Huntington Beach, California

 

 

April 15, 2011

Standing Forward

 

Pair of weeks had nearly passed since my rendezvous with the scalpel that pierced the lining of my gut, literally. Enduring the pain seemed inevitable, but the chores of maintaining the cleansings of the wound proved to be most vital in this stage. Late into the night as warm hands comfort me, a saving needle lined the dorsum of my right hand just lateral to my snuff box, my legs churning like the cranks of a distant tour, the agony proceeds and I am the eye of the bull. Slowly the trance passes, as an overwhelming uneasiness expands my inside, a feeling I can only relate to what a helium balloon would feel as petty little hands urgently awaits its grasp. As baby steps go, I think each seem to be much larger than what was anticipated. I urged onto the consistency of the days, the same chores and tasks to care for this vessel, but some innately odd predicament I do feel that the spiritual is healing - if not yet the physical. So now I calm myself, I let time do the tolling, I allow myself to a new belief, one for the betterment and procession for a healthier and more controlled self; this time it’s for the long haul I suppose. The drawbacks are common, the adjustments a must, but prevalence is the goal. To the friends and family that have always been the spine that erects me, it is in their love and tenderness that keeps me hunched, standing, stepping, and striding. Bar none.

 

~Huntington Beach, California

 

 

April 10, 2011

This Family of Mine

 

It had always been a mystery to me. How revelations, ideas, and the fluttering imagination, not only capture our every decision, but serve as the cornerstone to what leads our lives. In conversation with my dear parents, I cherish the sacrifices and nude love that have nourished me and to realize my utter existence. It is in their youth as parents, where not only a love story that embellishes the beginning, but it is their triumphant struggle, perseverance, and unique creativity that dazzles my conscious. It is in their exuberant laughter and the tone set in moments of desperation that tickles one’s curiosity. A young schoolgirl finds her prince through his tenor tones, something as sweet as dew drops glazed upon the morning petals. As curators of the ill, the treachery they’d endure through the trials and tribulation of a country torn by shame and ignorance, bleeds the sacrifices that stains the generations to follow. It is in these moments, these blissful and ill-blessed moments that a story conjures from the ashes. A young mother carries in her womb a child yet to be due into such a forsaken world, a young father who humbly adores life and finds the courage to pervade the idols of ignorance and seek faith in liberty. As they shuffle to the edges of the vessel that will guide a fate yet pardoned, they were burdened by the open arms of a grandmother whose hands were guided by the Virgin to spare a child of yet to age in months. As the silver strands coupled his once polished demeanor, a grandfather with an ache in his heart travels at any length to find refuge for his darling child. It is in these wartime tragedies, that stems the beauty of the human heart and the passion of the human soul. It is through my veins that their beauty and passion remain and will always define me in this life and every of which to come. I honor them. I thank them. I love them. I am them.

 

~Huntington Beach, California

 

 

 

April 2, 2011, 3:38AM

Under The Knife

 

Under the knife. The irony. To feel the other side of the blade, slicing and piercing its way through the layers of complexity is inescapable. It confounds me that I am moved by something I’ve become so familiar with. My nerves reckoned that. It is too easy to foresee all those lying on the cold plank, but rather troublesome when it is someone as reflective as myself. Will I travel a long journey through the silence and darkness as a micro beam licks the smoke against my flesh? Or will the voyage stay short and bleak, to waken me in a trance to harbor the pain within? It is the transparency that of the fact that one must face to assure that the idea of the mind is coherent to now just the strength of the soul, but also the will of the heart. It is in this peace of mind, the seldom regrets, and the need to process that hovers near me during these few hours.

Fear. It can be ignored. Victory. It is not an option, but a resolution. Solace. Verse between the pitiless and the pitiful. Slowly, I can hear the ticking of every hand, as I must come to my own peace with the circumstances. It is in this place, where I will find the courage and the patience to proceed. My world believes that in such a time, neglect is not possible, but the reality of loneliness is the truth of pain. There is no escape, there is no relief, there is no demeanor, nor questions answered…

 

~Pasadena, California

 

 

March 7, 2010

Shamrock Lane

 

In the steel of the night against the opaque stained glass, luring its colors from the lanterns that line Shamrock lane, a gathering of red topped youth in a cluster of hymns from their devout choir. A young tenor strums his strings against the barrel of pine as the echoes join its diminished ensemble. As the candles of devotion line the altar’s edge, a celebration of renewed faith accompanies the many that have yet to triumph their heavenly biases. As I merged against the unforgiving pews, I am troubled by the silence of this world, it appeases me to no extent that tyranny lies beyond these rows but to the shallow grounds of the soul. Forgiveness is foolish. The arrogance that drapes the shroud coupled His thorn with grace. It is in this simple mystery that quarrels those with faith and those riding its coat tails. Perhaps it is this idea of faith that can simultaneously elevate us to a new doom. Pardoning the sinful and punishment for the sin, an irony that troubles not just the mere mortals but to those that guard the gate above and the valleys below. But in this place, there is a lasting piece of serenity that had been bestowed there since its conception. Trickling down from the past to its present, it is in these small clusters of peace that shields us from the unforgivable

 

~Pasadena, California

 

September 26, 2010

Up In The Air


Up in the air. Like a blink of an eye, my stay here has come to term and I must bid it farewell. In full circle it seems, where life seem to depart and arrive at the most accurate time and space, as if to test the validity of one’s mortality. Although eager to take the next step, there are so many things in this place that have, if not scarred, then most definitely have marked me as a man. Although cursed and pardoned by many, I find the city, my city, always welcoming me home after many months at sea and air. Perhaps it is not the meager memories set by the magnificent skyline, the glorious gardens that lined Old Cutler, short cruises down US1, or a daytrip to Key West that I will miss, but rather it is the one who accompanied me and those I’ve met along the way. It is these essence in time that have not only captured my heart, but have tightly held my soul. I am cursed by its charm. Where do I stand now in life? Where will the detours, crossroads, and the intersections of life yield my next turn? It is the commonality of these questions and the suspense that superimposes my conscience that drives me to keep my eyes opened at least sparingly for the excitement seemed too tempting at times. Foremost, I am eager to be in the arms, shoulders, and bosoms that have nutured me, love me, and have guided me into who I am today, their compassion has no equal and it is in this light that I am truly blessed. For it is with them that I find the loop most worthwhile; moreover, in that I am content in my jurisdictions. I am blessed by His forgiveness, I’ve found passion in His love, I am at peace from His grace.

Here I am, seated outside Gate D11, there is no sight in a rear mirror that no longer confronts me. My journey has already begun and there is no time to reminisce – for the moment at least. I feel the jittering down my spine as it spikes down to my toes, an anticipation I’ve yet to realize, for it now always feels like I am a visitor and far less from arriving home. Although my stay is brief, there are tasks that I must fulfill to make it complete, it is within these challenges that I live my life to endure, and from it I know my growth is impoverished without them. As family and friends welcome me back to a place I have reserved to only in my dreams, it is here that my heart remains, and it is there that I will always call home.

 

7000 SW 80th St.
Apt. 202
Miami, FL  33143

 

~Miami, Florida

 

July 20, 2008

Everglades

 

Meeting gators down the mangrove swamps of the Everglades was a definite adrenaline thrill ride. Hovering across the endless fields of saw grass, swishing and swirving, feeling the hot summer air blow across the brow of my Ray-bans and the loud blazing dual-fans of the airboat slicing through everything in its path with each passenger clinching their teeth and plugs in their ears. The dark rough skin of the reptilian inhabitants pierced through the reflection of the baby-blue sky, with its snout and jagged jaw brushing by every newly bloomed lily pad with its budding yellow petals. As the boat enters the dock, a large female sun bathing under a rocky knoll snarling at each passenger as if we may have over extended our visit for this afternoon.

Shuffling off from the hot metal casing of the airboat and onto the the wooden panels of the southern dock, each passenger marched like ants into a large plantation of alligators, all seemed not to notice the many visitors circumventing the borders of the waterholes. These beasts were truly remarkable creatures, their anatomical features showed the apex of evolution; perfection is the only word to describe these creatures in these Everglades. For a moment it felt as if we were the caged beasts on exhibit and the gators were the bored observers that found the human existance to be the most shallow and pathetic of them all.

What better way to end an epic trip to a safari park than to devour some alligator meat as a true Dundee. Tastes like chicken? No, not even close. Then again, a predator with ninety-nine percent muscle and can feast once a year to survive, it is obvious why tenderness is too le femme for such a masculine "man" that flosses iguanas after meals. Although the gator fillet, gator jerky, gator juice, all were gatorliscious, I was pleased to get some lemonade and some M&M's at the local Publix upon exiting Route 41. My introduction to the world of alligators and the Everglades were beyond memorable and have exceded all my expectations for this brief visit. If you ever have a chance to cross the Everglades, I hope your visit will be just as brave and chewy as mine.

 

~Miami, Florida

 

July 3, 2010

Disney Epcot Center

 

The Keys to the south, Naples westward, and the isles to my east, it was clear that my sails were clipped and northbound was the only option. Thunder and lightning brims across the loops of highway that side winded the path to an avenue far less traveled that to its coastal parallel. Large fields of agriculture framed by a web of short adorable fence lines and dirt paths welcomed the coming storms. Over in the distance hid the melancholic homes of distant neighbors, who tailored themselves to peace of mind and peace of soul. A blink from the past saturated my senses; it was all too familiar and mirrored my Lancaster. Signs of a hidden Lake Okeechobee greatly differed from its sight. Swept over the small crest that lined the waters, it poked at every passenger’s curiosity at no end. As the dark clouds shared its space with the crescent moon and her terrestrial sparks, large spikes of the evergreens served as a backdrop for the setting light at dusk. The fresh aroma from the green pastures filled my senses, the clasped wings of an unfortunate friend laid somewhere in the rear, and I am fortunate enough to be in her company. Through the darkness lit a bright golden dome emitting from the land of fairytales, wizardry, myths, and one’s endless imagination. Down International Drive was a multitude of colors, billboards, eateries, and a tower high bungee sling for the brave. With Checkers in my belly, it was time to cuddle and into dreams I bid.

The happiest place on earth, although I’ve been to it before, it was my introduction to the Resort. The Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow, more notably by its mnemonic, EPCOT, was truly a dream come true. With the cheering squad from Venezuela screaming their lungs through the gates around me, it oddly lifted my mood and even cradled a smile or two. Trotting my way through the worlds of EPCOT, I found that every frame in my viewfinder was a swindle from a more realistic landmark. For my eyes were fooled by the blue sapphire tiles of ancient Japan, the multitude of colors that mesh into minuscule tiles that lined the Moroccan bathhouses, a mimicking French tower, small water voyages in the land of emperors and Vikings, a hidden castle for the elves, red telephone booths greeted by Sir McCartney himself, and the Americans and her neighbors, but beyond all of this creativity I was most endeared by a gang of youngsters that tumbled, arched, and leaped their ways into my heart. Perhaps it is best that I let the images tell you my story, they seem to find the right choice in words this time around.

 

~Orlando, Florida

 

July 21, 2008

The Keys

 

Still, there are places where time seem to just stand still. Where love, serenity, and the arts seem to gather in the reefs of the Keys. Crossing Key Largo, Islamodora and to the outskirts of Marathon where the aqua reflection of sky and sea seem to be bleak and without separation. The cotton balls in the sky kept company as glimpses of the caribbean and the gulf merge to a finite point at the end, where Truman found his tranquility and Hemmingway found his masterpiece. Only without time and only can romanticism be the nourishment that stems the beauty from this place. Every frame captured a piece of my soul in that moment, from the shadows that danced across the mellow waves to the small gossip along each parlor and bar along Duval Street. Accompanied with love, the street’s gentle stroll like an ice cream cone on a hot summer afternoon, melting away slowly enough for each companion to taste its sweet, cool, softness as if to seal a kiss.

Down the northern docks lie small marine nettings where sweet little hands keep the fishes below nibbling on treats, crashing against the water crest to give an image more relative to a painting of colored water. Nesting adjacent to the lines of skippers was the local conch farm, the jumble shrimps and flavored clams reached every tastebuds’ fantasy. The sounds of reggae echoed across the marina, the melodies were calling the sun to rest her face on the warm ocean breeze. Two beauties add life to the calm docks that blended itself to the glowing backdrop, while a fraternity of friends lowered their poles for an evening adventure as they know that those moments will shortly pass as memories of boyhood charm, these are the secrets of Key West that are meekly shared only to the traveler and never the tourist.

The cool night breeze creep down every alley and every shore, the narrow streets seemed to be filled with life where strangers become friends and love seem to always find its way, and the lost pirate finally on a wind towards home. As the evening dresses meet the cabana silk shirts, the buzzing of vespas filling the intersections, the announcements under a toast, one can’t help to believe that this southern belle is a collage of dreams come true, perhaps, one never wants such a dream to end.

 

~Key West, Florida

 

July 2, 2010

Universal Studios


As the rays creep along the slight edge of the translucent curtain and angle its light onto my lashes, I awakened with a rather mellow excitement – perhaps only a fanatic would find a Wizarding World more intriguing, very much like my guide. Soon enough, I found myself standing alongside a coal-toned locomotive engine head with its “Express” trail cars hidden behind a large connecting wall lining Hogsmeade. To my left was Zonko’s, Honeyduke’s, and the Three Broomstick’s; my right Ollivander’s, Dervish & Banges, and the old Owl Post Office. Although a skeptic, it was obvious that I will soon be immersed into this fairytale and if you don’t mind me saying, a quaint believer. The city was marvelously placed on a narrow winding cobblestoned path, spiraling pointed roofs pierced into the foggy air, and the street filled with wizards and muggles with their fist mugged in Butter Beer. Onward we marched into the Dragon’s Challenge, uplifting our spirits with its velocity and loops, pairing with its roaring twin across the misty hills. Beyond the outskirts of the village laid the Forbidden Journey, a quest into Hogwarts to meet Mr. Weasley, Madame Granger, and, of course, Sir Potter himself. A magnificent castle painted into a flat background of mist and creativity, on par with the words from its maker. I couldn’t help but absorb the glee and giggles that emitted from youthful faces that surround me as we loop into the heart of the elating structure. With characters that moved within their framed walls and holograms that conversed with the ant trail that snaked around every corridor and steps. As Dumbledore greets the guests in his chamber, so do the young trio on an oddly placed balcony, up the winding steps into the dormitory, and finally face-to-face with the dementors. Mimicking the Triwizard Tournament, we join Harry in flight over the animated sky of Hogworts. The evil of Lord Voldemort’s splintered soul kept our eyes alert for any signs of his many horcruxes or family of Death Eaters, or even worse, the pathetic authorities from the Ministry of Magic. As the guests slowly trickled out, it was soon my turn to face reality. All in all, I arrived a skeptic and left somewhere along the lines of a handicapped wizard – full of ambition but with far less talents. There may be neither spark in my wand nor invisibility in my cloak, but today I was a kid again, are you so lucky?

 

~Orlando, Florida

 

August 16, 2010

The Bahamas

 

Only after a fulfilling meal of some home-made pholiciously, appetite pleasing, and belly-bulging noodle soup was I able to lug my stuffed “seahorse” lapel case with my best-friend to the nearby Metrorail. A quaint fella lies slumber behind my backrest, I counted each stop as if it were every light to my first day at a new school in my youth. The excitement of the new adventures and the many memories yet to come ironically calms me as I remember those that have welcomed me admist the Atlantic so many moons ago. Passing Vizcaya, Brickell, and a quick transfer to the “Mover”, all while circumambulating the heart of a city that rooted from its rolled cigars, colorful beaches, and the bloodline of a small road named Calle Ocho to the intermediary stop at Freedom Tower. A quick taxi over to the Port of Miami and there she was, not the grandeur or finest in her fleet, but still magnificent and charming to say the least. Her dozen stories climbed high above the afternoon glare, with my best friend in hand I stole a shutter or two of the vessel’s radiant hull and starboard side. Her shadow sets a cool overcast over the port o’call and welcomes us to her heart – the atrium.

A minute cabin with only space for the necessities welcomed us after a valiant stroll down endless corridors with hundreds of uniform colored doors. Large round windows lined the short niches the surrounded the core of the ship, here lies the host’s evening entertainment, dining halls, last minute shoppers, and a mini-bar-version on Vegas. A tuna appetizer, tender beef loin, and a disappointing blueberry cake (saved by some chocolate raspberry ice cream) prepared for an evening of Broadway magic. Wicked, Jersey Boys, Mama Mia, and a slew of old classics tapped the Stardust Theatre, although amateur at their craft, the performers were full of talents and more observant of their audience than that of more skilled counterpart.

The vibrating hull echoed along my spine as I slumber away into dreams. And there I revisited the short stroll at the rear of the craft as I saw the lights lining the beaches I had called home. Twinkling above the horizon was Venus herself and her evening lunar companion; they danced in a seemingly endless layer of blue that is shrouded by large cottons that filled the coming night.

Sometimes life rewards when one is cheap? So very true on the autobus into Port Lucaya of Freeport. The small indigenous vendors that lined the rows of towering hotels reminded me too much of my Picard. The natives with their dark Afro-Carribean flesh and slight accents of the Leeway Isles lined the vendors of the small port city. The water’s calm motion reflects the piercing sun along every crest and grain of sand, it is true that the colors of the bohemian sea does not reflect what is mortal but to the divine. Brazened by the rays on my shoulders, I stumbled across the small casino below deck to which some small gamble to freeze a smile or two. The evening ends with Mr. Greg Lupton dancing fingers fluttering across the Steinway keys to epic Elton, Paul, and John. Dirty martini to finish.

The great Atlantis lies angled to the forward and a short ferry to cross the highway arches that lines the Nassau shores. Her abundance of art, galleries, corridors with small subterranean tanks that mimic and mock the open blue were roaring columns of hidden paradise that came always with a disappointing fee. The slots that fancy the short halls of the growing structure were only reminisce of what laid hidden in the deserts of Henderson. I Jamba in the Bahama, it couldn’t have been better! A stroll across Nassau’s busy streets left me intrigued by so many of its grandeurs and bustling allies. Dressed in blue, I submersed myself in Leo’s lackluster lullabies and a few portraits framed in love. And so the swaying forward is balance by its port and starboard, all in a dance to slave the aft that honored its crew – motionless.

If the best is truly saved for last, then on this occasion I am a true believer. A short ferry over to the Great Stirrup Cay, a secluded charming isle at the tip of the series of Berry Islands, with a field of uniformed “white & blue” striped cotton fabrics lining the coastline left me initially more confused than content. With a quick dive into the clear sapphire reef, hundreds of beautifully colored fishes swept all around me, as if Poseidon had lost his leash momentarily and left the sea to do her dance as freely as she pleased. Tip-toeing across the little footstools of coral below, petite rainbow beings nibbled at my every step, I cannot help but be amazed by the imagination of the Creator. Awed. The small raindrop caresses the lining of my spine and it was a soft gesture by the cay’s goodbye. I can’t help to feel sadness, for I know it won’t be long when another farewell will be due. And so like all good things, it loops, twines, and weaves its way into your heart and bids you an end, but if lucky, we will meet again soon enough. Thank you my Bahama Mama, till we meet again.

 

September 13, 2010

As native as I think I am to the world of Leica, it comes to show that my arrogance distant me than proximate me. Splashed on my screen in bold was Leixpo. Leixpo? Could this be a curse by the German gods as a punishment to shame me for my mortal ignorance? Whether it be a store within a store, store outside a store, or a store of any store that badged the crimson red; it surely could not have passed me. Ignorance is not bliss after all. With jaw to the floor, eyes affixed, fingers guiding each written detail on the page, I was overwhelmed by its ironic proximity. Perhaps the gods have pardoned my arrogance this slight time earned through the many lifetimes of loyalty.

As I wielded through the maze of boxes that will soon take me home, I am blessed to welcome a sweet goodbye and not a bitter one. But before my departure, there is one last adventure to embark. Not some scenic rendezvous nor sweeping concoction of perfectly framed images, rather it was a homage home to meet a friend’s family of elves. How can anyone get any shuteye with the sort of excitement that fails to refrain any child of St. Nick – for once the night was too short.

With the Miami skyline in the rearview, I skipped to the beat that only Darius can set, an old friend returning to his roots. Swerving through the turnpikes, Sunpool, and “whirlpool” of defensive driving, a condition pertaining to all those non-descendants of a little island ninety miles southward, I finally rolled into the quaint village of West Palm Beach. Right. Left. Over. Back. Forward. And there I was, my feet touching the holy land itself; it was fate that had brought me on this mecca and nothing less. Giddy as school girl I stomped into the Photographic Centre with eyes wide opened, humbly rushing through the short Raymond Gehman gallery and exhibits held by local gifted servants of the lightbox, finally, I had arrived. My composure had quit somewhere between my bed and the front door, but in all humility with my piece hung proudly against my sternum, I paced into the world of black & red. Welcomed by an alluring host, I gripped the heirlooms that lied behind each glass panel with much respect. Each meticulous line and corner, the sharp but silent shutters, and the love that comes into crafting this ensemble was simply, perfection. Endearing conversations with the agents in their cloaked uniform with the slew of stories from both ends made the setting on par. With a few written words and a new outfit with a cap, it was time for a stroll around town.

With my belly grumbling up and down Clematis Street, I stumbled into a “reef” that lived a welcoming bartender. With puffer fishes as bar lamps and the week’s nightly schedule chalked onto side wall, I was ensured that my Long Island ice tea was not mistaken for some neighboring Connecticut or Jersey shorelines, but definitely from it hometown. A brief lecture from the man behind the bar led me to the nearest trolley station; there I was invited aboard a classic wooden paneled box by a white bearded conductor who “silently” narrated his way around town. From the town square to the amphitheatre that hid in the outskirts of town, I hopped off soon after then journeyed by foot to the water’s edge. Adorable swings overlaid the skyline backdrop, with short docks that extended into the narrow harbor edge. The mood was pleasant and I pushed on. In the corner of my eye stood a solid Navajo warrior, now set as a degrading bouncer for the local cigar shop. A narrow alley way with its web of wires, fencing, and steel fixtures reminded me that like any city, the glamour is only a false front to the slum that lies within. With that in mind, would you blame me for consolidating in some chocolate ice cream and a quick stop at the local convent? On my way to find Mr. Flagler’s place, I was sidetracked into a beautiful coastal niche that was lined by the soft Bermuda sand. Pressing my body against the soft sandy sheets with His Highness’ rays dancing on my flesh, I felt a moment of peace – with life, faith, and myself. It comes to show that meager short adventures come no less than the grandeur of foreign lands, for it is the treasures that lie within which will be spared in the course of a life.

 

~West Palm Beach, Florida

 

July 4, 2010

July 4th

 

The Keys to the south, Naples westward, and the isles to my east, it was clear that my sails were clipped and northbound was the only option. Thunder and lightning brims across the loops of highway that side winded the path to an avenue far less traveled that to its coastal parallel. Large fields of agriculture framed by a web of short adorable fence lines and dirt paths welcomed the coming storms. Over in the distance hid the melancholic homes of distant neighbors, who tailored themselves to peace of mind and peace of soul. A blink from the past saturated my senses; it was all too familiar and mirrored my Lancaster. Signs of a hidden Lake Okeechobee greatly differed from its sight. Swept over the small crest that lined the waters, it poked at every passenger’s curiosity at no end. As the dark clouds shared its space with the crescent moon and her terrestrial sparks, large spikes of the evergreens served as a backdrop for the setting light at dusk. The fresh aroma from the green pastures filled my senses, the clasped wings of an unfortunate friend laid somewhere in the rear, and I am fortunate enough to be in her company. Through the darkness lit a bright golden dome emitting from the land of fairytales, wizardry, myths, and one’s endless imagination. Down International Drive was a multitude of colors, billboards, eateries, and a tower high bungee sling for the brave. With Checkers in my belly, it was time to cuddle and into dreams I bid.

 

~Eola Lake, Orlando, Florida

 

January 4, 2010

Fairwell Picard

 

I want to leave a good mark to every footprint. For every crest and every valley, lies a sharp bladed line of how a man confines and confides in his passion to not just the subject he seeks, but to the shadows that overlap those markings on the gravel path. To pace and ponder the meek and eager lining of such a distinction would only fathom of what lies below nor above. For an arrow slicing through such a dimension or any likewise, with its gasping pace it can never accompany a pair. But for a man to find the prints that survives him beyond his lacklustered shadow, he should be content with the narrow path that lines the blade of neutral.

 

~Portsmouth

 

May 4, 2010

Balboa Park, Old Town, Ocean Beach & Hillcrest


Guided by an intimate friend whom have held my hand close through the years, showcasing the patterns of shadows that root the sycamore boulders. Crossing the overworks of turnpikes and avenues, lies a secret montage of culture and aromas that are native to the innocent nature of this land. To where are elegant columns play a perfect backdrop to a young goddess in her golden top and blue jeans. The gardens lined by depths of green veins that are lived by striking colors that glow against the afternoon beam. The lilies that roam afloat the small walkway path leaves a line of guests frozen in her wonders and calm. I am filled with color. I am filled with smiles. I am filled with her.

The long lines of the cathedral slopes high into the keen blue sky as the lowering dome that lies adjacent stands humble at his partner's gaze. Shakespeare charms the garden with his poetry of romance and passion, but never too far behind the trivial sense of tragedy and an aching heart.

A sense of history lines the grounds of giants. Although from another time, their power and mystery crowds my senses as I am in shame to be "a"-throwned by his highness. The short framed paintings of the welcoming modern era pays no gain to the glory of the patron'd walls that it hangs upon; however, like all mystery that holds in a person, it is the color not of their sleeve that mocks them rather it is the lining of their soul that tributes their existence. An empty amphitheater that keeps boys at skate accompanied; while the maestro and his apostles lay their strings to a mute. Perhaps it is like many things in this place and in life, there is and was a time for anything and many things, but it is not fate that guides you to a destination, it is a belief and heart that such a place is to exist or do so again.

I welcome the evening chills that guide four friendly sandals down the crafted columns that hover above the triton's home. A golden sunset glows upon usually darkened eyes. I seek her smile, I seek her laugh, I seek all in this place that is her, and so I find myself smiling, laughing, and falling.

As the last call goes for the glasses are empty, it is an intimate moment not shared or written that brightens a yet lonely and darkened road home.

 

~San Diego, California

 

 

 

 

September 24, 2007

Huntington Beach Pier

 

There's a time in the day when the sun seems to surrender his rays to the casting moon. She lights up, as if she understands her eternal task, never by his side, but always as his most intimate companion. The multitude of colors dancing in the horizon, the chill of the coming autumn, the soggy sanded path...it was time to surrender. Pacing myself to a radiant sunset, I saw only the reminiscence of our friendly star. To my amazement, the reward of the twilight and its ballad of colors was beyond what an image can ever entail. As I follow the lines of footprints left behind from the day, I stumbled upon a pair of surfing mates coming out to the shores of "Surf City" to tease my rangefinder as they frolic above the crest of the thundering waves. As they cycle the beach to catch another surf, they offered me a glimpse into their mystique, power, and friendship. As the melodies of the "Little Surfer Girl" whispering from the edges of my lips, I knew then why a clan of beach boys was so moved by these beautiful sirens.

As my lens turns, my shutter releases, I become lost in the moment. Every range, every angle, the images were stunning. The pillars of the pier gave spectacular details and crisp colors of the night as I stop down on the 'cron. I've seen this place so many times before and yet each time it reveals to me something that is as intimate and pleasing as a candlelight. The rows of streetlamps sparkled in the arriving fog, I can only describe it as a crafted pictore' from a dream.

As I headed home, the lasting image of Main Street sparkled like the eyes of my first love. Step by step, I lose myself to the night, to the ocean, to the lights; each calling to me for one last dance.

 

~Huntington Beach, California

 

March 21, 2009

Goodbye my Kodachrome!!


As lifelong companions, we stumble upon one of life’s less busy walks. There is nothing more genuine than to know that a stroll, a path, and a journey can only lead to one’s heart -- through her own. A short stroll down a dry dirt road that neighbors the running stream of Picard, for I’ve been here many times before, but it is only now that I will remember each step as if it were my first. Yet it surely isn’t the first or the last, but the many that we’ve taken together. With a short ride down to the empty decrepit streets of Portsmouth, I see the tanning remainders of the early morning market, a pair of lost boys fashioned no less than the clothes on their backs in search of nothing left but some petty scales from a fisherman’s profit. She stands there and her smile captures me and in these shadows I breathe again. Through the bars and running gutters that surrounded each edge of the building, it seems like we had left that small nook a little too soon and a little too late. It didn’t matter, with my best friend in hand, the world was the last thing on my mind.

Crossing the narrow sidewalk of a shallow bridged highway, I was greeted by some large bold words that reminded me of who He is and what His plans are for me. It is a future that I welcome. As the rows of small boxed-shaped, waterfront homes lined my every step, I couldn’t help but wonder what characters lay beyond each waist-lined fence. Some seemed abandoned, while others filled their gardens with every scent and every color thought to be forsaken in this land. In the distance browsed Fort Shirley and her magnificent red caps, I wonder what greeting she offers on a day like today. Now that a stroll had become a path, it was more than essential that my companion and I greet each stop as a destination. The white flashing sand at Purple Turtle and its many greeters surely was a reminder that this was a paradise to many if not a few. Along the bay were scattered ships, belonging to local fishermen or the wealthy sailors from afar. As I opened my rangefinder to the open plains of the sea, three siblings filled my viewfinder, swinging and cheering their way into my heart. Their innocence and youth was beyond endearing as some might say, but it was again a reminder of how such a time can be forgotten so easily if not acknowledged.

Our short stroll had now become a journey up into the heavens. The blue Caribbean waters with its endless reefs and explorers tempted my feet to stay a while longer. As I humbly walked towards the gate of the fort, I can only imagine the viewpoints that were yet to come. I was greeted by an older and stern local ranger, his skin naked and raw from a lifetime of sun. As I purchased a ticket or two to begin my, what was to be, an epic and dreaded journey of climbs, I was astonished by the short walk to her dungeons and quarters. As we edged the large cobblestoned walls that sheltered the oaks and pines buffering the hillside behind, the foot prints of the abore’ can be sensed all around me, but I marched on. A large beautiful and stone barked structure shadowed the corner of my eye. As I glared at it, it seemed to shun and forewarned my every move, for its branches reached high into the fog and its leaves have disappeared so many centuries ago. So many questions I would have liked to ask, but I am sure its stubbornness to answer would ruin the “aire”.

Large, coal, steel canons backtracked our journey from Moo Cow, targeting a large blooming cherry tree that filled the birth of the Picard River. Brother and sister on a date with their father, questioning the images that I have captured of them. The beautiful mango tree that centered the courtyard and the captain’s quarters gave a flashing reminder of what this place was: glory, tragedy, and romance. It was a time when revolutions were uplifted and dampened. It was a time when freedom meant more than expression. It was a time no different than now, when love was eternal and at no cause to take upon a path nor journey to find it again. It was in these moments that soldiers became men and as men they quipped their hearts to no bound. Her smile brings me back to this place and like a soldier of long ago, I am haunted by the journey.

 

~Portsmouth

 

 

 

Los Fotos Del Mexico

Los Fotos Del Mexico

 

These are a series of images taken from several locations throughout the eastern and western coastal regions showcasing the Mexican culture, landscape, and romanticism. The preliminary image of the series was taken under the cool coastal breeze of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, where a couple finds deep conversation and mingles with the setting sun, all serving as a romantic backdrop for the boughs of a sailboat. The centering image captures a mariachi band playing for a small gathering of young lovers at the edge of the La Bufadora cliffs on the shoreside of Ensenada. Large whales are seen off the coast breaching during this late Spring season, accompanied by the soothing rhythms of the stringed instruments that echos and bellows off the chambered caves of the Mexican landscape. The final image pinpoints the lustrious landscape of Ensenada from a distant hilltop behind a small hidden alley. The open corridor flushes in the fresh scents of Spring and the color renditions that flows from the red adobe roofs to the outstretching buds of greens admist the accompany fog fills the morning air. Romanticism is capture through the entire series, perhaps, it is the climatic culture of the region, perhaps it is the welcoming words of Spring; nonetheless, it is the experience that have captured these photographs and I was akin to its finesse and generosity.

~Puerta Vallarta, Mexico

 

 

June 14, 2009

The Foto Club: Legendary Underground Fotographers

 

Call it a revelation. Call it biblical. Call it any which way the sermon goes, in the end it left me speechless and with much less said than anticipated. Strolling down a narrow beaten path to meet some new friends with some old “acquaintances”, I can't help but feel a little nostalgic from my first impressions of a lightbox and its entire mystique. Although I’ve accepted the personal connection with this affair with light, it had never occurred to me that I would ever conceive the notion of finding a more intimate exchange with its guardians. Still I find myself tempted by what had always been a monogamous rendezvous to now a swine of “many-pigs-in-me”. Setting an old friend down on a dirty, white, plastic table under some mischievous coconuts above did bring back a memory or two. With the ‘lux and ‘cron hovering between the center of my chest and the lining of my back, I set out to find a few frames with a few friends.

As the small, private cult, or more publically labeled foto club had its share of schnapps here and there, it was in the spirit of Banarck that I was able to frame some moments that surely were unforgettable. The dark storm clouds had receded deep into the volcanic lairs that hid the moon’s face from her daytime companion. The shanghai breezes that coasted across the waters guided the dancing ripples to no end. With the warm rays bellowing across the ‘cron’s sharpening lens, I see clearly through my rangefinder the smile that was in every heart that was composed between the lines. Again, I couldn’t help but feel nostalgic from the raw power in creativity that surrounded me. I envied the purity of each shutter break, for I knew that their fotos will be priceless and mine have marked its time in values. And so I find myself stumbling to the edge of the deck; to my amazement, it was unfinished – so much like my journey as a photographer.

 

October 5, 2007

The Getty Villa

 

Why Leica? Simply the best. The battle between contrast and resolution has one answer, one consensus, one system with no equal. Leica. The progenitor of the 35mm and digital rangefinder, the sole supremacy of optical quality, the movement of photography away from mechanical to a personal encounter with one's artistic expression. My decision to out-grow the Nikkor system have been instigated by the luring and seductive lines of an M2, a blessing from the shores of China since its previous owner's vision had prematurely aged before the expiration date of the Summicron glass. Soon after the acquistion of the "normal", I was again haunted by the other pair of ranges that would ultimately fulfill the Leica's potentials, the Elmar and Summaron quickly handled the task. The chromatic film system had offered unbelievable pictures that were portrayed throughout the DiMAGE scans; unbelievable results and of course, the legendary "Leica glow". Its B&W reproductions were far superior to the previous Kogaku lineage, making the trade and conversion inevitable. The arrival of the digit rangefinder, the Leica M8, and its soon-to-be accompanying mate, Summilux, has been greatly anticipated and the image output a welcoming refreshment for this coming autumn.

 

~Malibu, California

 

 

 

September 7, 2008

Remembering My Renaissance

With the passing of each moment lingering within the eclipsed shadows of my persona, I isolate my insights to what the I find as an overcast to my beliefs, my "expos'e" and to my utter existence. Time has been somewhat forgiving, but to remedy its lies and its irregularities (pity that even time, like love, is a system of rolling hills that are bound to no beginning nor an end) I find myself untouched by its punishments and scars. Bound to all things that I entrust as the center of my masterpiece, I find no glory to a lasting victory, nor do I find my place in the worlds of Smith and Adams. For it seems that the gods have forsaken me and my soul as the wandering strand fragmented from its rainbow. Venturing onto the crossroads of the turnpike, to a path I dare not travel, I am knee deep into this "haven", per se a gas stop would be much more pleasurable than another step in any direction.

My previous dialogues of shutters, dribbles and the resonating essence of my past have now reverted back into my fingertips, my eyes, my bewitched heart. Where am I to find myself, when it is me that I fear to seek? Punishment. I dread the imperfections of a photograph half emptied by its lack of yield, but long for the insecurities and dull entrapment of the gray. A miniscue tick of the calendar have blinked into a cluster of years since we have last conversed in such an "ideal" quoted manner. Yet, as all things that I love, and have love to hate, will always be those that I love. So where does my "ideal"; my mystique of an "idole" or an "idol" leave my broken self? It brings me back to the same melodies, the same images, the same texture of life that I have come to ease into. The rush of a roaring literary epic or a egotistic convention have only brimmed the words that seep from the glands of my lips, so now I complexify in a simplify fever. Burning through what speaks in my mind so that it may ooze down the crest of my jugular and let it refresh me; let it bring me my renaissance.

 

August 21, 2008

Griffith Park Observatory

 

Family and friends are all you need for a wonderful evening at the observatory. Stars breaking through the crisp night sky overlooking the twinkling lights from the city of angels. The hills lined by Hollywood's brand with twisting trails down Griffith Park makes the shy paths seem inviting. Who else to better host the Griffith Observatory than Jimmy D., "the rebel" himself; a resurrected structure, but have so many memories with no needed cause.

Here I am, days away from embarking on my life's greatest adventure, and with the company I hold this evening I cannot feel more blessed. The white lining walls and smooth rails guided my feet down Colonel Griffith's intimate dream. From stars to moons, to glass and timely pendulums, watercolors on ceilings and a planetarium that sent your imagination to galaxies afar, all seem to make you quiver at God's powers.

Roscoe's an added friend to our path home down the 405. Sometimes an evening can pass with no forgiveness, but perhaps it's in that spirit that makes us cherish each moment to its end.

 

~Los Angeles, California

 

 

 

Blog Stats

  • Total posts(55)
  • Total comments(0)

Forgot your password?