avant gardener

I don't really have any ideas for a name for this post... so I'll name it after this random song I looked up on Soundhound/shazaam

I've been taking a lot of photos... as usual.

asian wedding


double double
and everyday life stuff.

The thing is...

What is my goal in taking all of these photos?(I'm sure a lot of you are wondering that too)

I want to take... gripping photos. Photos that, when you look at them hit you right in the face, right in the feels. Photos that will make you have to double check that you're breathing.

They involve dynamic lighting, interesting subjects, beautiful locations, and either being up close and tender with a particular subject... or maticulate composition, a keen sense of prediction.


I often find myself in a position where I have all the pieces... but can't put them together. I'm up close with an amazing subject, in a great location, but I just cant put the icing on the cake.

I can do anything I want, yet I only can come up with something pretty basic and mundane. By all means the photos are technically good... sharp, "meaningful" processing, composition, but they're not there yet. They lack feeling.

Am I scared?

Am I just not prepared enough?

Did I spend too much time worrying about "being accepted" instead of pushing and developing my photography?

What can I do?

modern family

Like getting better at anything in my opinion... it's a mix of both research


and just going out and doing it.

Sometimes the best photos come from actually doing something, instead of just going out for the sake of a shoot or going out for the sake of just taking a photo. The moments that pop up randomly and spontaneously.


I went to the last day of the Magnum photo exhibit at the Harry Ransom Center the other day. It was amazing. I've never felt so electrified looking at photos before. It had glimpses of Elliot Erwitt's more tender and technical photos, which are usually more spontaneous and humorous.

The HRC still has the entire Magnum archives, so if anyone wants... a glimpse into why I admire certain photographers so much, feel free to reach out to me to go. Why wouldn't I want to share with my friends... the energy that I draw from? The source of inspiration that makes me keep taking photos?

There was one photo by Trente Park, of a girl in water with her hair and water swaying towards the camera, that really got to me. I thought to myself, "Fuck, I have to try that!" Here's the link to the series: http://www.juxtapoz.com/current/underwater-photographs-by-trent-parke (its in the series)


I also came across a couple books by JH Engstrom who takes amazingly raw street photos and candids with a Contax T2. You can check out 2 of his books at Farewell books.

-My new years resolution:

To commit more to things. To contribute and stick with it through, to not leave things hanging in limbo, like I've done with... so many things.

And already, I got myself into these things this new year:

  • A nightly programming class called coderVox.
  • A secret app that solves a huge problem in a relatively simple way.
  • Contract programming work.
  • A new collaborative photo studio
  • Editing and processing tons of wedding photos.

How will I manage all of this and still be my normal social self? Can I commit to all of these things?

Despite the overwhelming positive response to the coding class, a lot of you who know me may be skeptical of it. Actually to be honest I was skeptical as well.

The thing is... I believe truly believe codervox is going to kick some serious ass. We have 14 really smart students, who I've interviewed in person already. We have a solid lesson plan, mentors, and are getting help now from Joe, a friend who I made playing street fighter at the arcade, who's been doing video programming tutorials on youtube for a while now. (Link)

scots & sweats

Even though I've said in a previous post that I gained the ability to "focus" I think I've already lost it. You know there's moments when you know your mind is focused like a laser and gears are churning? I haven't really had a moment like that in the past few months. Yes, this is implying that I might have already fucked up my "actual" job. Maybe it wasn't meant to be.

I want to be enthusiastic, I want to put in my all. There's some really cool stuff out there. Mindblowingly beautiful art, projects that actually have had a lot of effort put in them... and I want to contribute too. I want to be able to dive in, and I know I can make an impact.

-A glimpse of Houston

Paul, Peter, and I went out for some food in Chinatown. We ran into the newly engagged Emily & Larry... friends who haven't seen since high school. They were showing some visitors Nu Cafe a place where you can get the "milky" ribbon shaved ice that you can find in Taiwan. The green tea and durian flavors were good! Give them a try. I made the fatal mistake of bringing the durian ice cream into our car on the way out... that was a mistake!

I'm going to admit here, that I had the huggest crush on Emily back in high school. This was probably the first time I've actually had a conversation with her, and it was hard to... hold composure and not revert back to my amazingly awkward high school self. BREATHE.

chris & sissy

After a long day of shooting a 17 hour new years eve wedding with Peter in Houston, I crashed at Paul and Chris' place... to wake up to this scene.

You might be wondering, where are the wedding photos? To be honest I haven't even looked through them. As much as I love Shara, I just hate weddings. I can't get excited for them.

Which is precisely why I brought Peter along. His photos are really good. And I don't say that about anyone. Here's his flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/plongno/

To answer more questions:

  • Did I get paid? Yes, and the budget was generous.
  • Am I doing weddings now? No, she asked me a YEAR ago to do them, and she's a dear friend.
  • Why not? Despite having many cameras, my gear isn't suited towards them. I don't like them. If I was starving on the streets alone with a Canon Rebel and a zoom lens... I would consider it. Getting good at wedding photography does require a ton of time in my opinion, and it's time I'd rather spend doing other things, even coding.


The day after, Peter, Jamie, and I went out for some photo fun. We got brunch at Cafe Brazil, then headed over the Menil area. We then went through St. University, and had some fun sneaking into their admissions office, which was closed that day, which had an amazing garden and pool.


We eventually ended up at the Black Labrador, for some beer and mussels. (This wasn't taken with the Leica, but with a 5D mk3 which I was borrowing for the wedding).


The trees by the Menil were still showing fall colors, so I just put jamie in the middle of an already beautiful and diffused street, and bokeh'd the hell out of the background.

(A brief side note):

I'm fustrated by the Leica. There are so many situations where I can't even take a photo with it.

  • Contrasty light - nope crappy dynamic range.
  • Low light - NOPE crappy high ISO performance.
  • Food - sorry, 0.7m closest focusing distance on all lenses!

But given the right light, it's just magic. For a brief moment, it's the dream camera that I always imagined it to be. Am I exaggerating how much I wanted to love this camera? Just watch this:

"A camera like your eye, your head, and your heart."

Hanged out with Millie some. Went to Local Foods for the first time. Really wish we had a similar place in Austin for fast, tasty, and healthy food.


We went to the Menil / HCP, which I couldn't do before since they were closed for New Years.

-Addressing an issue


There are people around me who are clearly "smart", but I've noticed that when these people are bored, they tend to start trolling, arguing, and shitting on people for fun. My speech becomes guarded, I begin to speak funny. My actions become reserved.

What point are you trying to prove?

That you're smart?

It shows me that you're bored and unfufilled actually.

We're standing in the same room. There are different means to an end.

However, I'm done being passive aggressive about it. The next time it happens. I'm going to bring it up.

-Pub crawl, bicycle edition

Went on my first longish bike ride. The ride was supposed to just be from Cedar park to Brew & brew, but a few of us who lived on the Eastside decided to bike up to cedar park, and back with the full pack. Overall I was pretty unprepared for the bike ride, my shoes had soft soles, my pants were baggy, and I was wearing boxers(big mistake). My new mustache bars became unbearably uncomfortable, even a short way through the ride. There were moments that I thought of dropping out, but managed to complete the full circle in the end.

-Random snaps


Our friend Jasper invited some of the chicon crew over for Dinner. It was fun seeing his huge balling out house in the suburbs, and getting to know his wife and his dog Oscar.


Peter, Nicolai, and I tried Gus's fried chicken downtown. Honestly I thought it was a good experience. The restaurant felt homey, and not in a fake way. The servers were hella nice and chill, and the chicken was quite good as well. Light, very crispy, and the dark meat was juicy. My advice would to be to skip out on the tenders, and to order a side of fried green tomatoes as well. Koreans will love this place.

The only downside is parking is hard and expensive, so ride your bike!


First Cut Pro had a party last weekend, celebrating their acceptance into the 500 Startups accellerator program. A lot of people showed up. Even Damon(who's having a startup talk on the 29th this month. Go, I'll be there too.).


A panda sat next to me at brew & brew.


I finally met the infamous Samson, the shop cat over at Fast Folks.

Here's probably the best instagram video ever made, featuring him:


Breakfast with Natasha at Cherrywood.


I saw Foreign Mothers at Beerland. Kana is so hard to get ahold of for pictures. I was sad that their drummer wasn't there, she makes the band complete!


Nasty's Tuesdays.

indian curry noodle soup @ thai kitchen

Indian Curry Soup @ Thai Kitchen. SO GOOD.


Fit pics, #ootd's with nicolai


I got food poisoning here again. Not fun. Never going again.

-Events on the horizon


This weekend, Sam Hill will have a blowout sale for their winter coats.

-A good movie everyone should see

Watch "Cutie and the Boxer." It's about a Japanese artist couple living in New York. They recently added it to Netflix and it's amazing.

-A familiar feeling


It's that situation again... I can do anything I want. All the pieces are here before me.

I can get my own place and have an awesome coffee table full of amazing books and magazines.

I can have plants that I can water everyday.

I can go to different art galleries.

I can have a part time job at a late night yakitori joint.

I can rent a room to start a small photo printing and framing service that includes a mini gallery.

I can cook what's on sale at the local grocery store. I wonder if brussel sprouts are on sale again...

I can go on a road trip.

I can take a dance class.

Perhaps a pottery class.

And by going through the motions... Perhaps I can find someone.

Maybe even myself.

The world is larger than just me. It's larger than the environment that I'm currently in right now. If I'm uncomfortable. I can leave. There are more things out there. There's room to grow, to stretch, and to move around.

It's time for real life to begin. The only one holding me back is me.

My wallet was found by the way.