Oh Snap: Sunset in Newport Beach

One word I’m not is camerashy.

From a young age, my step mother would show me tricks of the trade on her delectably powerful camera.  In middle school and high school, I managed to always have a disposable camera on me to eat up my surroundings. And, by the time I reached college and the post collegiate world, I managed to upgrade myself to some Canon PowerShot cameras.  And let’s face it, in this modern age even the cameras on our cell phones can far exceed what one can do with a simple point-and-shoot.  Regardless of what I have in my hand, I feel like I capture a lot of stunning moments.

Everyone could use a fun, new hobby and photography is at the top of my list. What I’ve learned about photography over time is that to capture the moment, and this goes for both the photographer and the subject, you yourself need to become part of the moment.  Whether its letting the scene take your breath away before capturing it, or making eye contact – through your eyes not the camera lens – and getting lost in the atmosphere – if you aren’t immersed in the moment, you might take an image, but you won’t get a picture.

The next best thing to taking a good picture is sharing a good picture – and that’s what my Oh Snap! segments are all about: I’ll get to share my favorite pictures, edits, tricks and tips as I go.   I currently bounce between using two different Canon PowerShot cameras, the SD1400IS and Elph 310HS, and my Droid Rezound which came with a stunning 8MP rear camera with 1080p video capture.  I have a few applications on the phone that I adore – and yes, not just Instagram (though it’s perfect for quick editing on the fly) – and with each snap I share, I’ll also let you know how I finagled it.

I spent yesterday down in Newport at a stellar boat party thrown by Harmonic Productions; after it ended, I wound up with a few friends at their hotel room – celebrating the gorgeous weather and a birthday.  As the sun went down, my interest in capturing it piqued – a good sunset can be hard to capture on camera.  I took the picture above using a Droid application called ‘HDR Camera‘ and using the Candy filter to make the pinks in the sunset pop.  Below is a picture I took within seconds of the first, instead for this I captured the picture in the Instagram application; I actually spent about five minutes trying to brighten the picture – by shooting from different camera angles and heights, I managed to make the entire picture brighter without losing the detail in the clouds. Within the app, I used the automatic brightener and the Sierra filter.

Doing it Right: HARD Summer 2012

One of the best parts about living in Los Angeles (and trust me when I say there are a lot of great things about living here), is that there is never a shortage of fun to be had – especially in the summer months.  The sun is bouncing down on the city, and the city bounces back with some crazy fun parties located anywhere and everywhere: hotel rooftops, parking garage rooftops, warehouses in the depths of downtown, and sometimes even a Tiki Boat!

Just last weekend, HARD Fest hosted HARD Summer at LA State Historic Park in downtown Los Angeles.  What’s typically a relatively quiet sanctuary in the middle of a bustling city was transformed into a menagerie of colors, glowing objects, and kandi covered ravers.   The festival lit up the downtown skyline for two days from the early evening deep into the night and boasted top notch acts in multiple genres.  A definite perk of HARDsummer was that riding the Metro was free; no one had to worry about traffic, parking or who would be tasked with driving us home.

First, let’s get real for a second, and I love getting real: the lineup for the first night was less than impressive; however it was also a lot less packed.  The crowd was easier to navigate and even though I lost my phone, I didn’t lose my friends. Secondly, let me tell those of you that have yet to attend a multi day festival: it is aggressive!  Admittedly, my exhaustion after day one was mostly due to running from stage to stage in search of a danceable beat – but there were a few DJs that made my heart happy and made faces in the crowd melt.
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