Six months in the making!

6 months ago, I became a father for the first time. The feeling wasn’t what I expected, it was surreal, and I wasn’t sure if I was really a Dad yet. The experience was so overwhelming that I needed time to relish what had just became the center of my life, my darling daughter.

This little spirit that came from the stars had kept us up all night for 3 weeks. I was pushed to the limit of my sanity. It was basic training for my other full time job as a stay at home Dad. Yes, I became a Mr. Mom for my little one and she has totally consumed every waking hour of my life for the past 6 months. But don’t worry I’m still available to capture your life stories and blissful moments, just contact me.

I know that this time is short and if I don’t pay attention; it will be gone in the blink of an eye! I enjoy carrying her in my arms, tossing her up in the air and catch her landing softly into my arms; these and many other things I will not be able to do with her if I had waited.

These photos from the slide-show were taken mostly on impulse inspired by her angelic spirit as I was taking care of her during the day and when Mommy wanted to dress her up, we made a photo session out of it. She has been an incredible subject, natural, willing to play along, and always never cease to please her Daddy’s trigger happy finger.

I will leave you to enjoy these blissful moments from my life as a first time Dad.

Life, Death, Memories & Mango Lassi

Yesterday was one of those days where everything falls into place effortlessly. We picked up Yim’s Dad’s ashes and laid him to rest under the shade of a tree, in a heart shaped cremation garden in a Queens cemetery. He was 62. We will miss him greatly, especially his cooking and his loud talking. He was an avid storyteller of Chinese tales and a Qi Gong practitioner. All those things are gone with him now. He was quick to anger, but also quick to forget. He was a kind man.  I regret that our soon to be born baby will not be able to witness his showmanship and the magic tricks he does for little kids.

Time has no promises and that’s why we keep our memories alive with photographs. Tamar, a young woman whose aspiration is to become a family doctor, contacted me the day before for a family portrait session. She resides in New Orleans and came back to visit her family in Brooklyn. Tamar will be going to Cuba to study family medicine, so she can come back to New Orleans to help the people in needs. Tamar told me she will be getting a free education there; therefore she can afford to study as a general practitioner without having to worry about paying back expensive loans.

I am touched by her idealism and honesty.

Before we drove to meet up with Tamar and her family, we stopped by Dosa Hutt in Flushing to clench our thirst with the most delicious mango lassi. Yim is a food fanatic. I have never seen anyone read every menu like it was on the New York Times best sellers list, but she does and there’s no doubt that she is a foodie. I’m the kind of guy that can eat the same dish over and over again. Yim loves variety and she has really broadened my horizon when it comes to food. And her father’s cooking was the best.

I love tropical fruits and on the day Yim introduced me to mango lassi, I died and went to heaven, but I have to come back to earth for more. Like a kid I drank all mine and part of Yim’s lassi while waiting for our lunch at the Hindu Temple around the corner.

I thought, “Nothing can top today’s mango lassi from Dosa Hutt.” Well, I was wrong! After lunch Yim introduced me to mango kulfi, and the only thing I can say is that I felt like squatting on the sidewalk and eat that ice cream like a real native. Hey, we Asians can squat and it makes us happy; there’s one exception, Yim can’t squat for the life of her. She really needs to learn how to squat before she gives birth to our baby.

The only thing I can dream of that can top the mango kulfi is to dip it in the mango lassi. Now that’s ecstasy! Can’t wait to try that soon one day.

Can this day get any better? Yes, it can!

While waiting for Tamar and family in Dumbo, we sauntered into a bookstore, powerHouse Books, at the corner of Main and Water Street.

To be inspired by photographers of the past is one thing. Time has the ability to add weight to event and people from the past. Nostalgia is an important and powerful factor in influencing us to fall in love with things and people from the past; e.g., our heroes are most of the time dead and our legends are from the past. My dead heroes and legends in photography are Eugene Smith, Dorothy Lange, Henri-Cartier Bresson, and David Douglas Duncan (oops, he’s 94 and still kicking!) just to name a few.

Recently, I have been touched by the works of living breathing photographers of the present and just yesterday, I found two! Kristen Ashburn and another photographer named Boogie. I bought Kristen Ashburn’s book, “I Am Because We Are”.   Her images of the orphans from Malawi are truly an in depth study of human character. You have to love people to capture their spirit and to turn a snapshot into an image that speaks to people for generations to come.

Boogie’s work is hauntingly beautiful and breaks all rules. In an interview Boogie reaffirms a belief of mine; he said, “…inspiration and good shots are all around. It’s up to you to see all that. You can make great shots right here. It’s not about where you are. It’s not about going to crazy, f*cked up places,  it’s everywhere”.

You don’t have to go to special places to make great photos. You can make great photos where you are. Don’t wait for beautiful things to happen, the moment and place you are in has all the beauty you need. Go shoot and be one with your camera, place and time.

Tamar tried very hard to get everyone (14 people) to show up on time in Dumbo. It was not an easy task. We were half an hour late from our appointed time, but no big deal. We cope with what we have at that moment in time. And what we had was a wonderful mix of 3 generations (toddlers, parents, and grandma). Tamar’s Dad was called away on an emergency and couldn’t join us.

We shot quickly and furiously before the sun sets. Only available natural light was used for this family portrait session. Nothing captures the soul naturally like nature’s own light.

To reward Yim and our little bun for being such a great help, we went to one of Yim’s favorite Taiwanese restaurant in Elmhurst. We ordered dried radish omelet and a very spicy shrimp dish (I felt the effect this morning).

We ended the day with 3 scoops of home made mango and green tea ice cream from a street vendor we stumbled upon after the delicious dinner. I was walking with 50 pounds of camera gear, but it was so worth it and most importantly, Yim was no longer cranky, but totally happy. You don’t want to cross a pregnant lady when she’s hungry after all; she has 2 mouths to feed.

Portrait of a Modern Lifestyle Family Portrait Photographer

Portrait of a Modern Lifestyle Photographer

 

A few of weekends ago; we met a little girl while shooting a Modern Lifestyle Family Portrait session.  By the end of the session Willi and the preschooler became buddies. 

Children are very observant and it’s amazing to see a child’s reaction to the new things and new events happening around them.  We told her to carry on as usual as if we were not in her home.  She was not at all shy with us nor was she shy in front of our cameras.

At the end of the session while we were putting away our cameras and equipment she quickly drew a picture of Willi.  She insisted on walking us out to the elevator.  When the elevator came she surprised us with the picture.

She drew a very handsome Willi with his camera on his hand.  She even noticed the way Willi has to wink his eye when he looks through the viewfinder.

I am very touched by the little girl and her drawing. It brings tears to my eyes each time I look at the beautiful hand-crafted Thank You note.  This is by far one of the best Thank You notes that Willi have received.

We want to take this opportunity to thank this little preschooler for making the Modern Lifestyle Family Portrait session so special for us.   We were there to capture the moments in her life, but in the end she captured our hearts.  I am sure that she made a greater impression on us than we had on her.  

Click here for expert advice from a modern lifestyle portrait photographer on getting the best photos from your family portrait session.

Lo & Co. {Makeup Artist}

A private eye in stilettos? No, it’s  makeup artist extraordinaire Laura Nadeau.

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It should be common sense for people in wedding industry to be dedicated to the well being and happiness of their clients. If one cannot provide this most basic service, one should consider a profession in another industry. After all it’s a service industry and you are here to make people feel fantastic and comfortable on their big day!

This past weekend, I had the unfortunate encounter of a limousine driver who made the groom felt so bad on the way to the church that everyone got off the limo and walked to the church! And I must say this is the first for me in New York. Few years ago, I encountered something like that in Boston and was totally shocked by the experience.

Of course these are extreme cases and people in our industry in general are service oriented people, but there are few that stand above and beyond the norm!  Laura Nadeau is one of those who go above and beyond her duty to help and make her clients feel terrific on their big day! Not only is she a consummate artist who makes her brides look beautiful; she is out to help them by providing one of the most informative and inspiring website filled with expert advices from the pros in the wedding industry. This is something you rarely see.

I had the fortunate experience of working with Laura and she made my job much easier by handing over a gorgeous bride on time; so I did not have to rush.

I challenged Laura, and asked her to make herself look beautiful by doing her own makeup. We did a glamour editorial session last week in Soho.

Modern brides don’t forget to listen to an impromptu interview with Laura.  Please keep in mind that I am a professional photographer and do not have the eloquence of Barbara Walters.

Laura Nadeau of Lo & Co. Play

Without further adieu…the gorgeous Laura Nadeau’s Modern Lifestlye Fashion Photography Shoot.

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Triple Happiness

dh.JPGFew days ago, while channel surfing, I heard a female voice in Mandarin asking, “What did you get me for our anniversary?”.

“That’s my commercial!”, I screamed out to my friends.

About two years ago, I was approached by Kim Wang of Digital Art Video to submit a concept sales pitch for a Chase commercial. To my surprise it was selected and made into a commercial.

If you have dined in a Chinese restaurant or attended a Chinese wedding, you have probably seen the double happiness symbol. This Chinese character “Double Happiness” is a very important symbol in Chinese culture.  Since the commercial is to target the Chinese community, I kept to theme of Double Happiness.

The commercial shows a young couple celebrating their wedding anniversary. The wife gives her husband a handbook for first time fathers, letting him know she is pregnant. He gives her a set of keys to their new home — financed with a mortgage from Chase.

Digital Art Video did a phenomenal job with the filming and editing of the commercial. Just imagine what they can do for your wedding, birthday party and other celebrations.

I was told that the commercial debuted last year on the Chinese cable channels of New York and Los Angeles. Maybe it is time that I get a TV and subscribe to cable.