photography

3 Days Home, 27 Away and What I Learned

April was a whirlwind of a month! I was anywhere but home, but if you were to ask me if I would live it again, I would say yes in a heartbeat!

Waukegan:
It all started in a town North of Chicago. My last trip for work before I was to take my week long vacation to Japan and Coachella. I was burnt out tired and ready for a break but had my last bit of business to handle before getting my break. The night I arrived I handled some work and then stepped out into a small bar I thought looked good for dinner.

At the table there was a group of people all clowning around with each other. There was a joke about the “typical male response” and I took this opportunity to join in agreeing with the males at the table. I did not know then but that was my in with them. We ended up joking there for about an hour or so then I got invited by the group to hangout at one of their places with the group. At that point I decided why not! I have nothing to lose.

I went and had a blast. It reminded me of hanging out with my fraternity brothers way back in college. We played spades and sat around making jokes. We laughed and I got to know the group better. They had a dynamic that made me fit right in. It was exactly the refresher I needed before my break. I ended up making new friends that I wouldn’t of made otherwise.

Lesson: Whenever you have a chance to meet new people take it! It opens your life up to amazing opportunities!

Japan:
After a day at home to pack, I quickly went to Japan. My first overseas trip ever! When I landed I was amazed by how beautiful everything looked. It was a sky clearer than I had seen before. Everyone did not look like me and that was a sudo-first. Basically I stood out like a sore thumb and not just because my ethnicity but the way I dressed.

The second day I was there, as I walked the street in my ripped jeans and t-shirt. A flood of black and blue suits filled the streets. It was fascinating, I saw few people with differences. I was shocked to see everyone in almost unison. If I wasn’t sure I was in another country I was now. I explored the culture that day searching for cherry blossoms. I was able to find a beautiful grove where everyone stopped to take photos. I took one too of course!

That evening I experienced their nightlife and it did not disappoint. I ended up at a place called Harlem. There I got introduced to one group with listening to house and rock music. Later in the night I went down to the bottom floor and was surrounded by those listening to hip hop. That was a complete culture blend. There were people from Canada, Switzerland, Japan (of course) and me from the US. We all just enjoyed the same music, meaning music is universal!

Lesson: Explore other cultures you’d be surprised at what you will see as similarities and difference.

Coachella:
My first Coachella…even though I went to UCR. Anyway I got to catch up with my high school friends and listen to some amazing artist. It was a plethora of chill people. I met some people from London, photographers, and a variety of cool people. On top of that I got to see great performers. Ladies don’t hate me for this but I hate Beyonce…blame single ladies and a high school ex. But I will admit she put on a extremely good performance! Probably one of my favorites but seeing The Weekend, Miguel, and even Chance grace the stage took the cake for me. I felt like my best self out there. It was amazing to be around so many just living and enjoying life!

Lesson: Your never to old to try something new! Life is for living and only by trying new things can you truly know what you like!

Sacramento and San Ramon:
My hometown! After rushing to the airport to make that flight. I got there and I ended up seeing all of the changes they made. It was like a different downtown from when I grew up. It was so artsy now…but unfortunately I forgot my camera. I did snap a cool pic on my phone though. It was good to be home and to walk about like the teen I used to be. Plus I got to get in a few workouts. There’s no where like home.

That Friday night I drove out to San Ramon to help with NSBE. When I got there I was quickly invited to an event in Oakland. I headed out there and got to hear a phenomenal list of guest speakers… I’ve got about 30 minutes on my phone. They all looked like me. Quote of the night, “We (black culture) spend so much on Henny! Why isn’t there a Henny University!” Basically why do we spend so much on going out when we can invest in ourselves and our community!

Lesson: When you open your ears you hear opportunities! I got a chance to hangout with the even planner who if he’s not a millionaire he’s at least an thousandaire. He was a normal guy just with a hard work ethic. He just listened to the world, wrote about it, and made things to improve it.

Houston:
Every time I come to Texas, I am reminded how much I love the state. If you guys fixed your weather, I would probably stay here. Definitely kidding. It was my first 2 week trip for work and I had the opportunity to meet a lot of cool people. I learned Houston is one of the most diverse cities. Heard it twice so I’m counting that as validated. I love towns that I could sit down and just have a conversation with random people. It’s not like that everywhere but Houston you guys got it!

I also caught up with an old friend. That taught me a lot, while I did enjoy myself and felt great meeting with them over the weekend, I realized how much I’ve grown. I picked up on habits I dislike. It reminded me in the last 4 months I have grown and I know what things I like versus dislike in the people around me.

The thing that made my trip is in the airport I came across an old friend from high school! We caught up and she’s a recruiter for exactly what I do! It’s funny how the universe has a way of connecting people. It was great just catching up and learning about her line of work. As I write this boarding my flight, I can only be grateful for my time away. I am looking forward to my bed though.

Lesson: While you can take longer trips by yourself. The reason why is it forces you to learn what you like and enjoy. It reminded me going forward that life is a learning process, sometimes you’ll fail to learn.

Photos from my travels!

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The Photoshoot

This blog will be a little different. It’s about doing something I love and didn’t realize until this year. It’s one of my photo shoots in which I asked someone to model. 

Now selfies and nature are easy. You just need the right lighting and scenery, but shooting a person you want to bring out the best in them. There’s qualities of the person you want to showcase and highlight. 

For Senait, I definitely wanted to showcase her. She’s been an amazing friend and person. 

So how do you bring out the best in someone? Do you try to get them to see what you see? Or do you let them do them?

That answer I had to learn. I had my idea in mind but the best photos came from when she was in control. She is powerful, funny, and smart in every way. 

In her element she is easy to shoot. She made it easy as a friend to get really good photos. Her energy allowed me to be at my best that day.

While she would be my first official photo shoot she will not be my last. She reminded me why I picked up the camera… to bring out the best in people and society.