Snapshots of University of Texas at Austin

Moving to a new city can be tough. Relocating in the middle of a pandemic, well, that has presented its own set of challenges.

I packed up my things and moved from Salt Lake City to Austin, Texas back in March. About a week later, everything shut down due to the COVID-19 outbreak. A few months in now, and I still haven’t explored much of my new city beside the grocery stores, local park and a few restaurants via takeout.

I ventured out a little last weekend and picked up an iced Americano at Merit Coffee before heading over to the University of Texas campus for a little stroll. Here are a few select snaps from my mid-morning walk:Continue reading “Snapshots of University of Texas at Austin”

Flirting with film photography

I learned how to take photos on a film camera. In fact, in my first photography class in high school in the early 2000s, I was taught the ins and outs of developing film in a darkroom. But by the time I took a photojournalism class in college, we were learning to shoot digital and adjust pictures in Photoshop.

Recently — like many photographers I know —I’ve been flirting with film again. In an age where everyone carries around a camera in their pockets in the form of their phones, there’s something refreshing about shooting film.

My renewed interested in film was sparked when I inherited a Minolta 7000 from my friend’s mother. It’s a cool camera from the 80s with modern features, such as auto focus and program and aperture priority modes. But I wanted something more manual, something that would make me work for my photos a little harder.

I did my research and decided I wanted a Nikon FM2. These cameras were produced from 1982–2001 and were completely manual — no electronics except for a built-in light meter.

Continue reading “Flirting with film photography”

Kamauri’s portrait session

A good friend of mine was in town for the Sundance Film Festival this year. When we met up for dinner, Kamauri casually mentioned that she’d like some updated portraits and head shots done. Well, I had some time to take on the project while she was here, so we scheduled a meet up for the next morning.

Kamauri works in marketing for a sportswear company, so I wanted her photos to have a stylish urban vibe. It was overcast and cold, but we stayed warm with our coats and cups of coffee.

Here are some of the photos from the shoot:Continue reading “Kamauri’s portrait session”

Salt Lake City’s most Instagramable sandwich is at Pretty Bird

After much anticipation, Pretty Bird is now open in Salt Lake City. The downtown restaurant specializes in hot chicken, but I’m predicting the sandwich will be the social media star of the menu. Just look at it:

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Continue reading “Salt Lake City’s most Instagramable sandwich is at Pretty Bird”

Society of Professional Journalists award

This news is coming a little late, but I guess late is better than never.

Earlier this summer, I won a Society of Professional Journalists award for a Salt Lake magazine piece I did last year. I took home the second place prize in the Best Magazine Writing category for my story documenting Chinese diaspora living and running restaurants in small Utah desert towns.

Here’s a link to the Salt Lake magazine post about my win — which is actually kind of embarrassing since they copied what I posted on Facebook as my quote.

Also, here’s a link to a PDF of my story as it appeared in the magazine.

Spice Kitchen sessions

In early winter, I worked with the Spice Kitchen Incubator — a collaboration between the International Rescue Committee and Salt Lake County helping refugees and immigrants start restaurants.

These budding restauranteurs needed some food pics and portraits for marketing and I was more than happy to help. I would work with people from Bhutan, Iraq, Jamaica, Sierra Leone, Sudan and Venezuela and document cuisine from their home countries.

Before going into the photo shoots, I was warned that it might be difficult to get some of my clients to smile. There was a bit of a language barrier with some of them but I was still able to get a smile from everyone and I even caught some laugh out loud moments.

Check out some of the portraits below.Continue reading “Spice Kitchen sessions”

Portraits for my portfolio

When it comes to photography, my specialties have traditionally been food and interiors. But recently, I realized that I’ve been shooting portraits just as long as I’ve been doing the former two styles.

I take a portrait of almost everyone I interview for stories, so I’ve had a bit of practice. I guess it was just a matter of time before I added my portraiture work to my online portfolio.

Here’s a link to the new portraits page on my site.

Oh hey, Heidi

I get assigned to cover a lot of food and drink events around town and I’m often allowed to bring a plus-one. A couple of weeks ago, I brought my friend Heidi to one such event that I was asked to photograph. When I warned Heidi that she might end up in some of the pictures, she protested.

“No! I’m not photogenic,” she said.

I disagreed and decided to prove her wrong. Continue reading “Oh hey, Heidi”