Might start doing this more, I always have so many photos to share! This was my first time trying the Kodak Portra 400. I’ve been told this is a really fun film to shoot with, especially if you push it to 800 to get more contrasted photos. I’ve been told the color on this one is on point and replicates skin tones very accurately. I think Kodak is known for their highly saturated results and always beautiful greens/blues. I may push my film to 800 next round to see how that comes out!
05/09/2019 - 05/20/2019
Here’s a photo essay of the Istanbul and Cappadocia I explored in roughly 10 days. I went during Ramadan, thinking it would affect my trip in some way, shape or form (but it didn’t). It couldn’t have been more relaxed. I couldn’t have blended in more (I believe I could’ve been mistaken for Kazakh…). I learned a lot about Turkey’s recent political & economic scene and felt the anxiety from locals about their re-election at the end of June.
Egzi, a tattoo artist in Kadiköy, told me about the Gezi Park riots in 2013 (which I had no idea about) & the shift of bringing life from Taksim Square over to the Kadiköy area - now that’s a conversation I’ll never forget.
I will never forget the importance of the soccer (football) game on May 19, 2019, where the underdog neighborhood team won against the team funded by the government. The happiness Ekin’s boyfriend and all the new friends he made on our ferry back from Burgazada was beyond a sports fan-type happiness. This was the type one would think they’d only experience if they were watching the game in person. It was also a big screw you to the government, and the fact it happened on their Independence Day (Commemoration of Atatürk, Youth and Sports Day) was a double whammy. (Though Ekin’s boyfriend did bet on the game so he was incredibly elated to have won his bets as well). The city was on fire all night, horns honking and people cheering throughout the streets.
It’s not a trip for me unless I meet up with old friends and make new ones! I had such great conversations with the people I interacted with on this trip. For me, even if we only have the opportunity to hang out for X amount of days, I cherish those specific memories/they remain very vivid in my mind for a longer period of time.
Only when you set foot in Turkey and see it for yourself will you finally understand the fascination around cats in this country. I didn’t watch Kedi before going to Turkey and honestly, I think it was actually more beneficial for me to watch it after. I was able to pinpoint some locations and imagine myself back in the city, absorbing all the sights, sounds and smells it has to offer. But true to the documentary, I did see so, so, SO many cats. And even better, witnessing the kindness of people in the neighborhoods taking care of the returning cats made my heart swell ten sizes. I saw fearless cats watching people pass by, accepting any and all the stomach rubs and head scratches. I heard them meow for food and succeed in getting fed. I saw them laze on the couches in a hammam and befriend tourists in a hostel, being passed around from person to person. As I was walking on the streets of Istanbul with another traveler, she told me the best way to find friends is to carry cat food. She taught me how to feed cats without scaring them (although I don’t think cats in Turkey are scared of anything, if you were to ask me) and by the end of my run, I had grown used to seeing little heads pop up from every nook and cranny. That’s something I’ll miss seeing in Toronto.
We had 2 layovers in Wrocław (Warsaw) - one at the beginning of our trip, and one at the end of our trip. I had company during the first layover, and I was solo for my second. During the first layover, Monika, Michael and I stayed around downtown Warsaw, ate a lot of food (Pierogies and Pączki mission) and explored what we could within our 6 hour window. On the second layover, I did a free walking tour in the old town, met a couple other travelers and shared a lunch at Pod Barbakanem. Bar mleczny. There, I had blueberry filling pierogies and clear beetroot soup.
The walking tour around old town Warsaw was very historical and eye opening. Our guide had a lot of photos from WWII that she would show us so we could compare the difference between how the place looked today vs the damages from the past. The difference is insanely drastic, and I’m glad Warsaw was able to rebuild after such traumatic experiences. I want to go back to Poland so I can properly visit Auschwitz and other cities, such as Kraków.
Even though I am very thankful I had 2 long enough layovers in Warsaw, this experience has taught me that these opportunities barely scratch the surface of what a place has to offer. Depending on the type of traveler you are, you may be satisfied with a couple hours. I was definitely craving for more. Until next time!
My friend Aishi is an up and coming artist (singer + producer) from Toronto, ON. She reached out to me to have some portraits done, sending me some of her inspirations (which included Mac Miller and James Vickery’s current Spotify profile photos. I don’t know if Mac Miller’s will ever change (R.I.P) but the one I’m referring to for James Vickery is the one for his Until Morning album).
Aishi makes music that’s a “blend of pop, electronic, soul & R&B.” She sent me some WIPs so I could get a feel of her sound. It’s not moody to the level of the Weeknd - (re: Call Out my Name album cover) but I still tried incorporating colored gels at a level which accentuates her image appropriately and blends together with her overall sound.
I shot on my 50mm f1.8 Canon with my Sony A7R. The Sony A7R is a hand me down from my uncle, and I’ve noticed an alarming rate of battery drain- nothing like what my Canon 7D does when I shoot video. Something to look into. If anyone has experienced this before, please reach out to me because I would love to know if you’ve found any solutions.
Anyways, my coworkers lent me their studio space, a seamless white vinyl backdrop & kinoflos. I brought down red and orange gels, played around with the white balance and achieved pink/purple, pink/orange and light pink/red/purple (see photos). I used the kinoflos as foreground (1st picture and 4th picture), as well as red gels (1st, 5th & 6th picture). I also played with the intensity (100%, 50%) of the lights but preferred keeping them at 100%. As you can see here, Aishi also preferred the pink/purple opposed to the pink/orange. Pink/purple was achieved with fluorescent warm white WB, and pink/orange with incandescent WB. The touch up process wasn’t too hefty- most of the work that I did was getting rid of stray hairs on Photoshop (surface blur -> brush away on new layer mask) and touch up her skin on Lightroom with auto mask.
I visited Chicago from 08/10 to 08/13 because I missed my friends. I brought my Fujica STX-1N, f1.6 40mm along with Fuji 400H Pro film. Portraitures and food around the city seemed to be the common theme surrounding my photos!
PROS: Great timing because I managed to schedule the trip with Ivo so we could visit Daph as well. So not only did I see my Chicago friends, but also my Montreal pals too.
CONS: Austin wasn't there- he was put on a business trip after I bought my plane ticket.
Iceland is a magical place. I've been telling people that I don't really believe it exists because of how unconventional the country is. How is it that they live in total darkness for some months of the year? How is it that to this day, there still hasn't been 1 million Icelanders to roam the earth (alive/dead)? How is it that the weather/climate and environment is as random as drawing a card out of a shuffled deck, and how is it that 'busy' for Icelandic people means 15 cars on the highway!?
We traveled around Reykjavík, Snaefellsnes Peninsula, Southern Iceland and the Golden Circle. We stayed in the Hafnarfjordur and Strandakirkja area. I also dropped into a BJJ gym over in Keflavík. I met Gudmunder and David and learned new techniques with kimura grips.
I went with my friends Laura, Candice and Michael. We were there during the beginning of August, during 'high season' so everything was more expensive. But we managed to save money by cooking ourselves, to the point where we had trouble spending our remaining cash at the airport.
Everything was shot on the Fujica Stx-1N with Kodak 400 Portra and Fuji 400h Pro film, and a Canon 7D with a 24-105mm lens. Edited on Adobe Lightroom. It was hard to not immediately want to increase the contrast and vibrance on every single photo. Iceland had that kind of environment but I wasn’t trying to make everything resemble an epic fantasy movie with hints of Game of Thrones evilness.