Oct 31, 2011

Revisiting the self-portrait

I've been dying to shoot more portraits (I think our new Richard Avedon coffee table book is definitely contributing to my itch) but I just don't get much human interaction during the weekday when I'm working at home, so I settled for the next best thing and attempted some moodier portraits on myself, tripod set, remote in hand.

Damn, expressions are hard. I can really appreciate a good portrait now, having tried to convey different expressions and failing. I realized that generally, when I don't smile in my portraits, I come off as a smug bitch. And smiling is no bueno either, so I end up with the same half-amused barely there smirk in every shot. And these days, I just want to make everything black and white. Maybe it's because of the rapidly approaching winter...

Oct 30, 2011

A quintessential nyc engagement

Laura and John hailed all the way from Dublin for this little engagement session in the city, as engagement sessions are not really a thing over there. They wanted to hit up Central Park and Times Square, and although we New Yorkers usually avoid Times Square like the plague, it was surprisingly fun to shoot among the hoards of people. Below are some of the selects from both locations. All digital this time!

Be sure to take note of Laura's adorable tights. :)

Moseying on over to Times Square...

Oct 28, 2011

For the love of succulents

Such a cool word to say and such a great plant. This little pot from the Brooklyn Flea makes me happy. I'd like a whole sill of them. Also, I love using the close-up filters on my 50mm for shots like this. Instantly macro-fied!

There's snow in the forecast for tomorrow. Apparently we had like two days of autumn this year. Not OK. >:[

Oct 27, 2011

Just makin' an appearance

You didn't forget about me did you?


Oct 26, 2011

Some recent eats, via iphone

Sure my new 4S's camera is pretty fantastic and all, but these are obviously no substitute for nice SLR food pics! Still, it's nice to not have to carry an extra point and shoot around if I don't want to/forget. Just wanted to share some casual dinners consumed in the last week or so.

Ridiculous fatty junk food at Lou Malnati's in Chicago. I believe we had BBQ wings, cheesy bread and two types of deep dish pizza with extra buttery crust. Just looking at these pictures is clogging my arteries. We stumbled back to the hotel in a food coma daze.

And if that weren't enough, we were super hungry one night last week and went all out on the comfort food at Kitchenette. Fries + garlic mayo, two crazy indulgent shakes, chicken and biscuits for me, and fried chicken for J.

Finally, some greens in my life! At Soba-ya, some chawan mushi, spinach with sesame sauce, a giant bowl of nabeyaki udon for me, and some duck soba for J.

I suppose I could say I'm padding up for the cold winter ahead...

Oct 25, 2011

Degustation, recently

Even though I've posted meals at Degustation a countless number of times now, I can never resist sharing because we always have a great experience. It's also been our go-to standard "special occasion" (loosely defined) place, and still our whenever-the-hell-we-feel-like-it place. We went for a little day-after-birthday dinner for J after Chicago. Not a single bite I didn't completely enjoy this time (you never know what will sneak on to your plate with these ten-course tastings).

For anyone that hasn't been here yet or is planning on being in the city any time in the future, put this one on your list.

Oct 24, 2011

Gratuitous portraits, chicago edition

Considering when I met him, J barely knew what an SLR was, I'd say he's blossomed into quite the photographer. Now when we head out on photo walks or travel anywhere, he usually gets the 5D while I shoot with the Contax. It's cool that we can geek out over awesome light or backgrounds together (usually he gets more technical than I care to know!). So as I wait for my Chicago film to be ready, I can share some stuff he took (processed by me). Whee!

On an unrelated note, I was very uncomfortable in glasses until fairly recently. I suffered a pretty bad infection back after a trip to China (I was an idiot to wear contacts on the 13-hour plane ride back) and my eyes have never been quite the same - they are extremely sensitive and dry now, i.e, they get bloodshot all too easily. Of course, I rebelled a lot and wore contacts despite doctor's warnings. Thank you, Warby Parker, for letting me feel just as "pretty" and confident in this trendy pair. :P I still feel different in glasses, but in a good way. Now if someone could only make fog-proof glasses for nasty summer days and eating hot soup...

Oct 21, 2011

Pretty girls and a guessing game

We couldn't have asked for better weather for this shoot in Central Park early one Sunday morning. Ashley, Jeremy, Deverie and Lizzie were so fun to shoot and made my job easy peasy. Ashley is moving out of the city by the end of this year (DAMMIT :'() and she and a few of her best friends got together for a photo hoorah.

Now here's the fun part for you - one of these pictures below is a rogue digital shot converted and processed to look like b/w film. The others were taken on Fuji Neopan 100. Can you guess which one of these is not like the other?

Now what we really need is someone to take a good photo of Ashley and me! Our last resort is ghettoly rigging it up with a tripod and remote...

Happy Friday all! I'm off to an engagement shoot this evening and one tomorrow. Should be fun. :)

Oct 20, 2011

Our reason for chicago

So the main reason we headed to the windy city for a few days was a glorious glorious reservation at Alinea, you know, the best restaurant in North America. I made the reservation on August 1st (crazy right?) and meant it to be a little birthday surprise for J. When I couldn't get through after the 298th phone call, I was convinced I'd need to resort to Plan B. I guess 300th's the charm?

There's not much I can say about this place that hasn't been said by all the serious eaters out there who know a LOT more about the place than I do. I was just there to enjoy an experience that you really can't find in NYC. I was a total wimp and skipped out on a wine pairing and requested just a few glasses that I could nurse throughout dinner. J got a petit pairing, which still turns out to be nine light-ish pours. Basically, if you get a legit pairing, it seems like you'll be drinking a good bottle and a half to two bottles of wine on your own. You would have had to roll me out of there.

Either I was having a really off day photography wise, or we were sat under the worst light in the restaurant, because these were pretty horrific before (and after) some heavy post processing. But, how could I not share one of the best meals of my life? :) Sorry for not putting more detail into this post - it would literally fast become a novel if I described how we were instructed to eat each one... and this ain't the blog for that.

This last thing was a craaazy chocolate "pinata" of sorts. Best to watch this video to get the whole gist of it.

Well, now that that's off the bucket list... Paris?

Oct 18, 2011

An nyc city hall wedding and the rain

If you remember the little teaser I posted a few weeks back, you'll remember the fun Kayla and Tiho still managed to have after their photo session got completely rained out. From the moment I saw Kayla's striking red shoes, I knew it was going to be a great shoot.

I wanted to share some pictures from their day. When the ceremony started, we all kinda cracked up because the officiant had a booming enthusiastic show-time voice. Eventually, we managed to get it together. :P

Wohoo! The day looked sunny and we started the film session with little worry for the weather. Below you can see what ensued...

Aren't they beautiful? It was an honor to shoot their wedding and I can't wait to photograph their "second wedding" in 2013!

Oct 17, 2011

Stumbling upon a new leaf

We didn't really have a set itinerary for Chicago so much of our time was spent walking around rather aimlessly. I think the best discovery of our trip was this amazing event space and floral studio, A New Leaf. The place reminded me of my favorite community garden (on 9th and C blogged about here and here) but on crack. My pictures do not do this place justice.

Also all the workers there were super friendly and nice. Especially when I was poking my head into every little corner and snapping pictures - they were so welcoming about it all. I wanted to share this place so much that I purposefully shot it all on digital so I wouldn't be waiting on my film!

I think there was a wedding scheduled there later that day. The event space, which is connected to the studio, is stunning with very cool architecture. I would kill to shoot a wedding there. :)

Oct 16, 2011

Back from the windy city

Are we sick of the obligatory autumn leaf toss pic yet? :P I couldn't help myself when I saw this field of perfect crunchy orange leaves in Millenium Park. Chicago was great. We had a pretty lazy trip overall and didn't cram too much in. Sometimes that's just the way to do it. Updates to come!

Oct 12, 2011

A little fun around madison square park

I had a great time shooting some casual portraits for Stefie and Marcus last month. I know Marcus from college and Stefie, I originally "met" through her food blog - Four Tines. This girl doesn't mess around when it comes to food writing! This session was actually the first time I got to meet Stefie in person. Ahh, worlds collide.

All shot on Kodak Portra 400 - the b/w ones were obviously converted. The Flatiron building may just be my favorite in NYC... and the afternoon involved a little run to La Maison du Macaron. What's a shoot without the clich├ęd sweets/baked goods these days? :P

I'm heading to Chicago tomorrow. Much to come on that.

Oct 11, 2011

He's the boss

Avedon has quickly gained his title as boss of the household. He'll do whatever he wants, whenever he wants, and we'll just have to deal. :P

Recent shots from an early evening on the windowsill, one of his favorite places to chill. I taped up the black window frame with white gaffer tape for photo's sake... shhhh.

Who could say no to that face?

Oct 10, 2011

An exception

For me, it's very rare that I'll order the exact same dish every time I go somewhere. Even rarer is that J and I will order the exact same dish so that we can't share and benefit from more variety. Ippudo is the exception. I've been coming here since 2008 when the wait for two on a Friday night was a gentle 20-30 mins at prime dinner time. Now, Friday night waits for two (well, first of all, I'd NEVER even attempt to go there on a Friday night now) are enough to make you look at the hostess like she had three heads and sulk out of there in search of plan B. It is NO secret that Ippudo's ramen is the best in the city. And it's not like I haven't given other ramen joints a chance!

Here's my message to all of you who haven't been here and plan on going at some point and to all of you who have been going and ordering the wrong things - I NEVER stray from this order: Hirata pork buns to start and the Akamaru Modern after that. I always always get the Akamaru Modern with the Nitamago (seasoned soft boiled egg) topping and a side of Bakudan (super spicy sauce to mix in). They've changed the sauce in the past year or so and now it's significantly spicier than it once was. It's $2 for the scoop, but I do wish I could ask for a 25 cent amount of it, which would be perfect. If you're more like J, you'll get the Akamaru Modern with the Kakuni (braised pork belly) topping. You can't go wrong with either of our choices.

Ah those first few sips are pure ramen bliss. (Never mind these less-than-ideal food photos taken at ISO 3200 with the X100.)

Now you know exactly what to order. The hard part is getting yourself in without the unbearable wait. ;) I'd recommend Sunday nights before last call - maybe 10pm or so, or Sunday mid afternoon around 3:30pm. Or of course you can show up right at opening lunch or dinner times during the week.

Happy nom-ing!

Oct 7, 2011

No start, no end

It's funny that I still use "happy friday" because now fridays are more or less meaningless to me. As a photographer (especially where weddings are involved), there really is no work week. It's all the same, and fridays probably signify the START of a heavy working weekend. I'll be second shooting on Saturday and shooting my own on Sunday. God I need a massage. I haven't blogged much "real work" lately because I'm waiting on a few shoots in film.

I think Ashley had to take this shot because she's much taller than I am, and saw me struggling to reach up as far as I could with the Contax. It's such a happy shot. I love her Chucks and the disheveled nature of my shoelaces.

Oct 5, 2011

Sleepy kitteh

Still no Internet and it appears alicegao.com is down at the moment too. GAH. So sucky.

Avedon has found his new favorite spot on the windowsill. His fur is so soft it is UNREAL. He's kinda been keeping us awake throughout the night by playing with his jingly mouse toys - I thought cats were supposed to sleep like all the time?? He also has a funny habit of not drinking from his water bowl but always drinks from our human water glasses, sticking his whole face in the cup to reach the water. Doh.

Contax 645 | Polaroid back

Oct 3, 2011


I'm blogging this entirely from my phone as my Internet has been down since early afternoon. Grrr. So please excuse the brevity. Here's a gif sneak peek of Sunday morning's shoot with Ashley (you remember the gorgeous red head that is no stranger on this blog :p) and her friends. We were lucky to have some gorgeous weather in Central Park. It was a great time. Although fighting parents with strollers for ideal park spots was a bitch. They invaded our first spot within minutes.

No better way to welcome Autumn!

Oct 2, 2011


He's here!! The wait for my "exciting news" is over. Last weekend we went to visit this charming little guy in his foster home and were totally smitten. Today his foster care brought him over and he's adjusting pretty well so far. After a few minutes of hiding under the bed and the couch, he came out to play!

So handsome, right?? We're not sure what breeds he is but we suspect he has some Russian Blue in him.

We've named him Avedon (after Richard of course). Don/Donnie for short. :)

I'll try not to overload the blog with pictures (these were shot on the x100) of him, but I can't promise that...