Fushimi Inari Temple in Kyoto

One of our favorite spots in Kyoto is Fushimi Inari Shrine so I think it deserves its own post. Before going, I have always seen photos of the orange pillars that everyone walks through.  What I didn’t realized was that there are thousands of them, all lined up to lead you up the mountain. 


Spring is coming to Japan so the cherry blossoms are starting to bloom. And what a sight they are. 

In front of the entrance to Fushimi Inari temple. On the left you can see a lot of ppl are using the water provided to clean their hands and mouth before praying. It is a new custom we learned here. 


In Kyoto, there were lots of girls dressed up in kimonos walking everywhere. I was tempted but since I did that with my sister already in Tokyo, I passed on the opportunity. In general, it is abiut $50 to rent the kimonos and walk around for the day. There are tons of shops to rent it from.

We noticed there are these sticks that you ask questions, shake and see what answers come out. Except it was in Japanese so we couldn’t understand it. 😦  

As you head to the path up the mountain, you enter the pillars. Ideally, this is what you’d like to see: less ppl and more opportunities to take selfies. 

But in reality, there are ppl everywhere! EVERYWHERE! We went at 4pm the first day we got to Kyoto and it was jammed back with tourists.
But as you go up and up more, people start to fall off so it will become less crowded. 

And if you are persistent enough to make it to the top of the mountain, you’ll get this view of all of Kyoto.



Then on your way down, you can reward yourself with food from the street stalls right outside. Hahahah… 

Until next time,

Tra

First Night in Japan

First night in Shinjuku: 
– Custom was super smooth and easy.

– Was so confused about money conversion and thought that our uber ride was $27 but it turned out to be $263 😭😭😭. 
Oh well, just have to take the bullet since we can’t do much about it anymore. We were stranded on the plane for 3 hrs in LAX cuz of some machine problem and was so tired. (Yes, we knew about the train but in my confused state thought, “oh, that’s not so expensive for a 1.5 hr ride into the city. How can he pay for gas and toll with $27? 😜😜😜 ) Just going tothink of it as a rookie mistake. Going to eat musubi spam for the rest of the trip now. 


– Arrived at our super clean studio Airbnb. Super amazed how they can fit everything into such a tiny space. Showered cuz my hair was super flat. Went around at 9 to scout for food and decided on a charcolal grilled meat restaurant. Was so confused about portion (how much is 100 gram?) and kept changing order at the grilled meat restaurant (the poor waiter). 

–  Note: Smoking is allowed inside of the restaurant here. 


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– Laughed our butts off when they have this spray so you can get the charcoal smell off when you leave. Seriously, it is the most interesting invention ever. 


– Walked around in Shinjuku at 11pm to find what looked like Times Square. Tons of young people are out everywhere, very fashionable young ppl. 


– At the crosswalk, once the walking signal turned on, it seemed as though herds and herds of ppl rushed across the street. 

– Walked by tons of what seemed to be called “ladies bars”. Guys with laminated printout picture of different girls “available”(? Like inventory) stood outside. I’m assuming these are girls to accompany you while you chat with your other guy friends and have drinks? Like coffee shops in SoCal? Cuz some girls were standing outside too with a chalkboard with their name and what looked like “60 mins for $30?” (Why can’t I read Japanese? 😣😣😣 

That seemed cheap for anything else. 

– The funny thing is that mainly guys in suits are outside of the establishments with these signs. When girls are standing outside, they are bundled up in big poofy jackets cuz it was so chilly outside. (Def not a way to sell.😜😜😜). I told Henry he should go experience that and let me know what and how it is. Hahahah.


– I noticed that there seemed to be more guys out than girls. Like tons of guys are out in the street here. Guys here in general are really tall and slim, and they all seem to have similar haircuts.

(4:15am.. going back to sleep now.) 

Until tomorrow. I am going to attempt to write briefly everyday cuz I noticed the details are more vivid when I do so instead of waiting until I come back. 
Tra 

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Downtown Sacramento Street Photography | Part 1

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It looks like street photography is becoming a regular activity for me. I love the candidness of it all. To be honest though, taking pictures of random strangers still makes me feel really nervous, especially when I’m walking around with a DSLR and a 90mm macro lens. If you don’t know, the 90mm macro lens is really slender, long but super light weight. So when paired with a DSLR, my set up looks HUGE!

I would go, go, go THEN suddenly, I crouched super low to the ground and CLICK! The shutter would go off really loud so YES! It was pretty obvious when I was taking pictures. The zoom on the 90mm is excellent though because I can be somewhat far away and still be able to get the crop I wanted.

My goal for today was to capture the city feel, whatever that is.

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We started at 4:30PM. I thought there would be lots of people getting off work at this time but surprisingly, that is not the case. But it didn’t matter. The nice thing about street photography is that you take that you get and make the most out of it.by TwoTwentyPhotos.com

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This is probably one of my favorite captures from today. It reminds me of myself, always on the phone no matter where I go. I am very conscious of this nowadays and am trying to be better at it.
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This one of a man with a beautiful vase of purple flowers on his way home, probably preparing for Valentine’s Day tomorrow, is another favorite.
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Meeting over Happy Hour?
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After capturing this guy, I became a bit obsessed with capturing people on bikes. The focus on the 90mm is not that fast so challenge accepted!

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Pink Magnolias in full bloom in California State Capitol Park in Downtown Sacramento. Everyone walking by couldn’t help but snap a few photos of the beautiful flowers.
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Monday hustle: DONE!
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Saving the environment one person at a time: CHECK!
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Citizen Hotel Valet Parking Attendant hard at work. He seemed super friendly too.
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An honest day of work: DONE!
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Man in Suit on bike: CAPTURED!!!!
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Man in suit crossing a busy street: GOT IT!

I hope you enjoy the journey!
Until next time.
xoxo,

Tra

To see my wedding and portrait work, check out www.twotwentyphotosblog.com.

Rainy Night in Downtown Sacramento

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Henry and I are crazy.

It’s been raining on and off all day so we’ve been cooped up inside the whole day. Before we went to dinner, I asked if he wanted to walk around afterward, maybe to catch people walking around with their umbrellas in the rain.

Not surprisingly, he said yes!

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It was sprinkling gently when we started at the corner of 12th and J in Downtown Sacramento, right across the street from the Citizen Hotel.

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Right when we turned onto K street, it started to pour harder. Surprisingly, Jeanelle (my August Bride) was still working at Sharif Jeweler when I walked by so there I was, bundled up to my head in a red puffy jacket, right outside the clear window, both hands in the air and waving frantically at her. I thought the glass wasn’t see through so I was being extra dramatic. But now that I think about it, it was clear glass so I’m sure she saw crazy ol’ me right away. (hahahaha)

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This poor lady. She stood at the crosswalk for a while, waiting to go. 
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Finally when she decided to go, the cars started to move. She missed the walk signal, apparently. Good thing she had an umbrella to keep her dry.
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We went back to J Street because it has way more interesting colors here.
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He was the most interesting person I saw tonight. It’s dead winter here: cold, rainy and windy and he’s wearing shorts, an “I love NY” t-shirt and a puffy jacket, prepared with an umbrella. 
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I felt like a creeper for stooping down really low just so I can see his nose. 
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Henry kept looking back and calling out to me to walk faster. I was making it too obvious that I was taking pictures of people as they walked by. 

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Saving the best for last. This was probably my favorite capture of the night. 
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Good night, Sacramento! 

Forgotten Memories 


Like thin air. 

Evaporated steam. 

Forgotten memories. 

Moments that passed by without notice. 

Was it even real then since you can’t remember it, touch it or feel it?

I used to write a lot when I was younger. Keeping diaries of things that happened, boys that I was crushing on and things I that I was planning with my friends. Then life happened. Got too busy, no, too lazy, so I stopped writing as much. 

My grammar was terrible as well. Verb tenses always mess me up. But I noticed that as I write more and more, especially in college, at work and in grad school, it got better and better. 

I’ve been trying to find a purpose for this blog and I think one of them should be to write creatively. Maybe some of my travel, ootd, spontaneous exploration and maybe even attempting to write more poetries. 

Share with me. What are some fun things you’ve written about lately? 

Sunshine After The Rain

Wind in my hair.

Sunshine on my skin.

Raindrops on the windowpane.

And pretty clouds after the rain.

These are the things that make me feel the happiest.

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It feels like my life has been consumed with work lately. Ever since quitting my corporate job to be a full-time photographer, I have had a really hard time scheduling time off.  Now that Fall is in full swing, I’ve been working almost everyday and I feel physically and mentally tired. I feel like so much work is getting done but somehow there is always more work that needs to be done still.

I’ve worked really hard to build a brand and a reputation and I really want to keep it up. Yesterday, I took the wrong exit after a photoshoot and ended up chasing the sunset for half an hour. It felt so liberating to be out with no agenda and it reminded me why I fell in love with photography in the first place.

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All that clouds brought in the rain late last night. So this morning, we were blessed with the most beautiful sunshine and a blue sky full of clouds. And since my photo session ended early this morning, I took another 45 minutes of “me-time” to go around Downtown Sacramento Capital Park to snap these pretty photos.

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When I got home, the neighbor’s yard was filled with yellow leaves on the lush green lawn so I took Jixer (my dog) out for a walk just so we can snap more pictures.

clouds-over-downtown-sacramento-49clouds-over-downtown-sacramento-51clouds-over-downtown-sacramento-55As you can tell, I am a little bit obsessed with my dog. Jixer is a super mellow, 7-year old Pomeranian/Chihuahua mix. He’s been with us for 4 years now and we cannot imagine life without him. When I lived by myself, I never felt lonely because he was always there to cuddle. Coming home to him wagging his tale so excitedly is the best feeling ever!clouds-over-downtown-sacramento-59clouds-over-downtown-sacramento-61

Going forward, I am going to try to make more time for myself and more time for personal projects like these for it drives my soul and fuels that fire within. Not to mention it is a huge stress reliever.

Until next time,

Tra

To see my professional wedding & portrait work, visit www.twotwentyphotos.com.
Email: info@twotwentyphotos.com