Quarantine life is a good opportunity to get back into practicing product photography for me, so luckily some of my Photogrpaher fiend joined the challenge and for the first day we decided on tea or coffee set up. I did a quick flat lay with everything I could fine in the house and since it was a cloudy day I had to be strategic to have my cameras and set up ready for those few moment that sun peaked through the window to shoot. That's why I ended up with two sets, the first 3 pictures are with Canon 5D Mark II + 50mm 1.4 lens and the last 2 are with Fujifilm X-T2 + Film Marco Lens.
It has been since the end of last year that the news of this Virus was released and we all knew with the mismanagement of Chinese government upon initial outbreak (threatening the Doctor that first tried to create the awareness who himself died of this disease later and the Government decision to not canceling the Luna Festival) it was only matter of time before the outbreak to reach the rest of the world. When the news of the official confirmation of patience in our city broke I was away on a 4 day business trip for training. Everyday after I got back to my hotel room I checked the news, and I could see more and more people were getting infected and the anxiety and worry of seeing it approaching our city next was very uncomfortable. Feeling helpless knowing we all are going to be exposed to this virus soon, not knowing if we are strong enough to battle this virus, specially for elderly and those with pre-existing health conditions. There was a time 4 years ago that my body's immune system was down as I was going through very stressful life events, at the same time I was on a very restrictive unhealthy diet, so my body was not receiving all the nutrients it needed. As a result I got sick with cold and flue back to back couple times that each lasted a longer than the last. Since it occurred during the Spring time not knowing if it was an allergy or a virus it led to many confusions and I still remember vividly how sick at one time I got that I was not able to stand on my own or walk, the sickness turned into an infection later in my nose and throat area with fevers that wouldn't stop, I was placed on antibiotic and forced by my medical doctor to break my diet and eat everything and slowly I got better but those days are still fresh in my mind.
This time at least we have time to prepare, I stored some basic cleaning supplies the first time I heard the disease hit the Europe, I knew then that it was matter of hours before hitting us in America. Next I bought about one month worth of food and basic necessities for when and if we need to quarantine ourselves if we get the virus to not spread the disease to others. My job has not offered a work from home option yet, but my team is very small and we are in a very small building with all of us having our own separated offices which is very helpful as we are all separated from each other. No one knows what future holds and how long it takes to take control of the situation. Now that the disease is here, I am planning to not check the news as often as I did before and control the only thing I can that is to stay relaxed, take my vitamins, eat healthy nutritious food and exercise at home, keep the house clean, take a shower and wash and sanitize my outfits I wear outside as soon as I get home, don't bring my shoes inside the house and work on tasks that I can complete at home to minimize my exposure to the outside world as much as possible.
I had one week before starting the new job so I focused to edit backed up photo sets as much as possible. Sadly I had been forced to neglect so many photo sets the past two years with the crazy work schedule I had with my previous job that I have pushed my own photos to the back burner as I desperately tried really hard to get clients and then collaboration images out first and never got a chance to edit my own travel or personal images edited out.
I shot these while we were waiting for a model to meet up at this rooftop for a photoshoot, I used Fujifilm XT2 with 50mm 1.4 lens. I am still trying to figure out a better way for the self portrait set up for this camera, the remote assist through the app is not giving me enough control, so I need to play around with it more I think.
Towards the end of December I quit my day job to look for a one that wouldn't require it to be the front and center of my life, working nightshifts, weekends and holidays ~ In fact my job has been so demanding for the past two years that I was not able to look for a new job, until I finally quit and removed myself from it completeley and mentally and physically came to peace and in a healthy space to be able to search for other opportunities. Today almost a month and a half into the job hunting I was offered a new position with an agency that I was desiring, although my income is lower than my last job and I will have a longer distance to commute, I am able to trade it off for a normal work hours and stability. Looking back through the job search experience, the interview processes were draining like always and on top of that for every single job I had leveled up I had to take some sort of a test. For example for this position, aside from the interview I took a 45 minutes long writing test, not to mention three writing samples that I brought with me to the interview. However, through this experience I learned a little bit more to trust myself, was challenged to let go more of control, any expectations and move more with the flow that life brought my way.
My new motto is a quote by a Japanese author:
Let those who want to leave to leave, those who want to come to come and those who want to stay to stay.
Below are some shots that I took on Film Camera during our trip
One of my favorite movies is this 70s French film, part of Criterion Collection an experimental movie by a 25 year old female writer/director. The movie is about 3 and half hours long and was filmed in 5 weeks, depicting the daily routine of the main character a middle-aged widow living with her teenage son in an apartment who earns her income by prostitution. This movie was filmed with all female cast and crew and is noted to be one of the masterpiece for feminist movies although the director has been reluctant to the feminist labels claims.
At the time I watched this movie I was at a somewhat judgmental mindset about people's choices in life and I credit my mental growth and metamorphism into liberation from those thought to this film. Watching the scenes I could relate with the character as she took care of her house and her child just as any respectable women would. At times the movie could feel boring as bulk of it is watching the main character performing mundane chores with details around the house day after day. Camera often times show her day dreaming without exploring what those dreams are where you are only left with the facts as they fold through the frame, she is a hardworking respectable women.
It is only towards the second half of the movie that I realized her means of income is through prostitution, meeting her client in the evenings in her bedroom (the duration of such events are never shows on the film). At that point the question is whether her being a sex worker had any change in how one would perceive her as a human being? even bigger question why would it? and that who are we to judge her and her decisions in earning an income. We know nothing of her history and past and all we are left with knowing she is caring for her son just as any other women on the planet and being a citizen respecting all the rules and regulations set by her society and not harming or stealing. This movie thought me to accept and respect people as they are and that we are equal in our process of developing to be the best version of ourselves, because we are all trying the best we can and not one of us is ahead of others in the journey of reaching enlightenment in this life.
Photo Credit: jyangphoto.com
This is the new set up for Josh's camera, he recently moved to 85mm lens and asked me to be his test subject. I absolutely love the bokeh this lens provides, how it separates the subject from the background. We shot these images in back a coffeeshop building at sunset time, surprisingly for a winter the weather has been so nice that I could be in a skirt and without a heavy jacket.
Uncommon Objects which is a well known antique shop in Austin, hosted a pop-up flea market in their backyard for Christmas bazaar, these images are from our visit. the images above is what Josh took on his film camera and the ones below are on my Fujifilm XT2 on 50mm 1.4 lens. This Christmas Josh gifted me this generous gift of this lens and I couldn't be any more grateful to him. I have been using a 50mm 1.4 Nikon lens with an adaptor with it, but it was not an auto-focus lens and made it very difficult to shoot for professional work or even out and about because the focus would be all over the place if I didn't pay extra attention which took fun out of the actual shooting process.
I absolutely love Toy Poodles, before I met them I have never cared about the pet breads. I used to think caring about a dog bread is the silliest thing, let alone to shop one, while there are many abandoned dogs waiting to be adopted at the shelters. It was not until I met these toy poodles that turned my heart and soul around. These dogs are not only hypoallergenic, won't shed, super smart, very affectionate and cuddly and they hardly ever bark. In fact I love them so much that I have been in a search for adopting more for the past 2 years at the shelter sadly I have not been successful. The only and the biggest issue I see with them is their bad teeth - poor Chien Chien is having almost rotten teeth and one is almost loose and we worry of the may have caused infection so we are in the process of making appointment to take them out. It breaks my heart because she doesn't have that many teeth left in her mouth as is, in the next month we will find out more.