I’m Not That Good, Really

It’s often painful to accept the fact that no matter how good you think you are, someone’s going to be better. Fortunately, it hasn’t been the most painful thing for me to accept, in fact I always tell myself  ‘I’m still not good enough and I’m dying to improve’ and occasionally I get so upset because once you’re used a certain pattern or method in life, it’s hard to make a break through it and accomplish something entirely new – I hit the bottleneck all the time, half wishing I didn’t have to, but I guess that’s part of figuring life out.

I’m trying to figure out where my priority lies.

The past week I’ve done two photo shoots on campus, one for a sorority group and one for a DJ. And it got me thinking about redefining my view on photography. Will I be able to see myself doing it professionally? I personally don’t know the odds of that but I do want to give it a go.

Two very different group and clearly challenging task for an amateur photographer like myself because I have only done it once before for the same sorority. But it was a great opportunity for me to practise and identify my weaknesses while highlighting my strengths, and I believe I have improved tremendously compared to my first photo shoot stint. I guess one of the toughest things about photoshoots is having the concept in your head before you start shooting – preparation is key as you need to have an idea of how many people you’re shooting, the location and a ton more to consider. One have to think of their feet to in order to cope with any special needs on set. I need to be more creative and guide my subject instead of asking them to be themselves or pose in a way they’re most comfortable with, because anyone with a camera could do that so if I want to excel as a creative photographer, I must take the leap and go crazy with the ideas..and crap I think I want to play with lights, but too bad, it’s not on my priority now. My priority now is to work on existing resources and skill sets before I pick up something new again.

I enjoy learning new skills and admittedly I learn fast, but I really would like to be very good at something specifically. I guess for the same reason I will have to drop one of my classes where I was put on the spot to play the xylophone solo. It wasn’t difficult and I knew given enough time I can master it, but do I really want to devote so much time on it? No, not really.

But really, everyday I try to outdo myself and that comes with practice, practice and more practice.

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Back To School

After three months of doing absolutely nothing, I’m back to school. it feels really weird to not have studied for the past three months because I believe the longest I’ve gone without studying was like what, a whole month. I worked full time sort of the whole summer, but I feel incomplete, as if something was missing from my life and I actually miss the idea of studying, just a wee bit.

Fortunately, school is looking great this semester. I enjoy my classes so far as it is a good balance between serious and fun, I’ve also met some really nice people and did a decent job leading my student org. I shall keep this up and hopefully, still have time for the things I love to do.

Well it sure feels good to be back! How has your summer been?

Niagara Falls: Horseshoe Falls

If you thought American Falls was intense, wait till you see the Canadian Falls a.k.a the Horseshoe Falls. Its name was derived from its horseshoe-shaped crest. It is capable of rendering a lot of mist which made viewing difficult. I tried my best to capture its beauty but due to the mist my camera lens couldn’t focus properly but I guess I’ve taken a good amount. The rest of the photos are those taken on our way back.

Horseshoe Falls

It's SO misty I could hardly see anything when we were inside the Horseshoe Falls!

The Observatory Tower

Absolutely LOVE this shot

I really love this shot, probably my favorite one from this entire trip. It captured the essence of Niagara Falls – the two famous waterfalls, Niagara River and the mist.

Still can't get over how misty the whole place is

Bunch of people eager to see the waterfalls

Rainbow Bridge

Steps leading up to the fringe of the American Falls

While we climbed our way up the stairs to the American Falls we thought we wouldn’t get wet anymore and took off our ponchos. We asked a nice lady to help us take a group picture but just as I was teaching her how to operate my camera a huge downpour showered on all of us – as if someone pressed a button that shoots water cannons at us. We got even wetter than when we were on the boat, which is ironically funny. I guess nature’s playing a prank on us for underestimating its power.

Another view of the Observatory Tower

Sunflowers

Such a great scenic view

It was my first time operating this, and failed miserably because I didn't realize I could rotate it.

I had a lot of fun visiting Niagara Falls, mainly because I’m such a big fan of nature. Its mere existence pose endless questions and wonders in my head while being there to witness its beauty is such an honor. Sometimes I feel ashamed of myself for making a big deal out of my issues, which are essentially tiny compared to the works of nature. After this trip, I told myself to have an open heart, or at least try to have a bigger room for toleration. I want to avoid animosity and be more giving, even if I have to put myself in a compromising position. Sure, you may think that you have shit of a life to deal with but when you think about it the whole world is waiting on us to explore and experience so why be upset over very little things that would deter one from moving forward?

If there’s one thing I learn from nature, it’s the sense of giving, persistence and tolerance. All nature did for centuries was keep giving and giving while we take all of it for granted. Sometimes they throw a tantrum or two but nothing is comparable to how much human beings have been exploiting the elements of our mother earth. I would hate to see any of these fall apart in the future..so hopefully everyone can make changes to preserve the environment, one positive attitude at a time.

Next up – exploring Syracuse!

Niagara Falls: American and Bridal Veil Falls

If you’ve not been on any of the tours offered in Niagara Falls, then you’ve not been there at all. The experience of getting up close and personal with those ferocious waterfalls is the whole reason we drove all the way here – and yes I was expecting free shower. Among the tours we went on the Maid of the Mist boat tour, which starts from the calmer side of Niagara River near the Rainbow Bridge, then takes passengers past American and Bridal Veil Falls, where you’ll see another tour called ‘Cave of the Winds’, all the way into the curve of Horseshoe Falls or better known as Canadian Falls for a dense mist of spray.

I have to be honest, I’m not a swimmer at all and I’ve never liked anything involving water but when I saw the falls all my fears seem to subside to one word – excitement. I forgot all my fears, sport those ugly blue poncho and took mad loads of photos even though my camera was soaked wet by the end of the tour. But yeah, it was mad fun! I would highly recommend this tour if you want to see the falls up close without getting too wet. From what I’ve gathered Cave of the Winds offers a full body shower because you’re standing literally, under the falls as they pour. I’m not a big fan of getting too drenched so Maid of the Mist is the way to go!

Here are some snapshots:

This is where we board the Maid of the Mist

Little Maid

Uncle Sam

Those ponchos aren't flattering

I'm on a boat!

Cave of the Winds

Sailing past American Falls

Approaching Canadian Falls

That'll be us in a moment

Power generator

Niagara Falls isn’t just a pretty face, in fact its enormous energy has long been recognized as a powerful source of power capable of supporting up to 1.92 million homes. That’s a LOT of energy. Once we’ve passed by the American and Bridal Veil Falls we went straight into the highlight of the tour – getting absolutely soaked under the grace of Horseshoe Falls.

Next up – to the Horseshoe Falls!

Niagara Falls: Prelude

After three and a half hours of car ride, we made it to Niagara Falls in New York. It was one of the most awesome scenery I’ve seen in my entire life and I realize how tiny I really am, compared to the creation of nature. A sense of tranquility hits me as I listen to the sound of the waterfalls, it’s exceptionally calming and soothing and took my mind off everything that’s been bothering me all this while. I could live like this, I thought.

First thing we saw is obviously the American Falls which is situated right next to the observatory deck, while overlooking parts of Ontario’s cityscape across from the American borders. It’s a rather odd feeling, to be looking at another country from one – we’re so near, yet so far!

Breathtaking View

Getting Closer to American Falls

I spy with my little eye

American Falls

Hello Canada!

Ontario Cityscape

Rainbow Bridge

Maid of the Mist boat tour (front), Skylon Tower (back)

Observatory Tower

After we’re done sightseeing from the top of the Observatory Tower, it was time to sit on the Maid of the Mist boat tour to get up close and personal with the gigantic waterfalls. Yup, time to get really wet!

I’m Back!

I’m back from my one and only trip to New York this entire Summer and I must say I had a great time even though Hurricane Irene had forced me to cancel my trip to the city, nonetheless I was able to witness one of the 7 natural wonders of the world – the Niagara Falls. Apart of playing tourist, I was able to spend quality time with my bestest friend in the world, got to know interesting facts about the school, made friends, walked in the shoes of an SU student and ate my heart out on Marshall St.

It was a rather dramatic trip since we’ve actually made plans to visit the city when news about the hurricane attack was widespread on the media and we had no choice but to forfeit the idea of painting NYC red since no buses were going into the city anyway. But that didn’t stop any of us from having fun because when you’re with people you genuinely love everything else just feels right effortlessly. When I look at our pictures we look very happy and satisfied. In fact I’m suffering from a withdrawal syndrome, wishing that I’d still be on vacation with two of my closest companions in the world.

O'Hare International Airport

I’m not a big travel person personally because of the long hours of commuting and not being able to do anything but either sleep or zone out but I’m glad it is often worth the wait – it’s nice to be able to explore new places and get away from your routine once in a while. On a side note, I’m often fascinated by the logistics behind airlines because it doesn’t seem easy at all coordinating these mega-sized machinery.

Baggage

Traveler

It was late at night when we flew into New York borders and as we were flying over NYC into JFK International Airport, I couldn’t take my eyes off the view below. Here are my failed attempts at shooting aerial view of New York City without a tripod.

Spacebound New York

It’s bad, but artsy if you get my drift.

Lights

So yeah, not exactly my best shots but fascinating view nonetheless. I’ve never seen anything like this before and it does look like a cosmic universe from above which is fitting for being the city that never sleeps.

Next post will be on Niagara Falls. Stay tuned!

Kicking It Over

Kicking my bucketlist precisely. Life’s been pretty hectic recently with tonnes of things to be crossed out on my to-do list but thankfully I was able to get most of it done but sigh, it’s a long list and it’s getting on my nerves somehow. I mean, I tend to worry a lot, wondering about what would happen if I wasn’t well prepared for the new semester but really, worrying won’t help at this point.

Fingers crossed that everything will work out smoothly for the rest of Fall. School, student organizations, job..and social life. I can tell already that it isn’t going to be easy at all.

In the mean time, I need some hardcore funsies in the world’s busiest city – New York! Till we meet again in a week’s time my fellow readers! Be prepared to be bombarded with photos and snippets from my travels! I will not disappoint 🙂

I’m On A Roll

After Rolling In The Deep, I decided to Make You Feel My Love. Yeah these two song titles sounded very sick when you put them together but really I’m only talking about my Simple|Music project where I uploaded two videos in two days – a Mandapop last night and Adele’s cover of Bob Dylan’s Make You Feel My Love this afternoon. I’ve never done anything like this before but I guess it has to do with the whole sleep-through-your-work shit. Last night I decided to go without making videos for my songs in the future because I feel unattractive and it’s too much work – the whole lip-syncing and post-processing puts so much pressure on myself it’s begging for quits.

To be honest I’m impressed with those Youtube artists who managed, they either have a full time job producing music or they have more than 24 hours a day. But this morning I changed my mind, I suddenly felt like doing another video so I asked my roommate to film me. It turned out to be pretty easy and less time consuming since I don’t have to set up my tripod, test out the framing or all that self-made nonsense. Then I realize how important leverage is. I can’t do EVERYTHING by myself, just like how these artists managed, they have a team who made all those awesomeness possible. Hopefully someday I can gather enough manpower to back me up. Calling out for talents!

So here’s what I came up with eventually. Hope you enjoy it!


Work-In-Progress

Right now I’m quite tired of the same old scene. Every waking day started with one thought ‘I wish I’d done this and that yesterday’ and that really annoys me. I need a physical bucket list because obviously my brain’s too crowded with random thoughts. Maybe I need a fresh air elsewhere since I’ve been stuck here for the entire Summer, while others are paving their way to greatness in career and education. I am upset with myself somehow, wishing I’d at least took a class, volunteered at a shelter or did something worthwhile. Instead I spend my days working, shooting photos occasionally and try to make a break on Youtube. Then I realize how silly and naive I was. I got the whole thing wrong. I’d forgotten to bring Summer to myself by staying indoors most of the time. And sigh, it might be too late to regret any of that – all I can say is, I need to do something different for a change.

Yesterday I was recording until two in the morning. I trashed everything because they were sub-par. Maybe I was sub-par. It frustrates me so much. I was at the brink of giving up…then I recalled that Brooke Shaden, a young and talented Dark Art photographer once said in her interview with [FRAMED] when asked about post-processing her photos. She would use hours to edit them, sleep through it and continue to work on it the next day with fresh pair of eyes.

Perhaps I’m too ambitious, thinking I could achieve everything I wanted this Summer or more precisely, build Rome in one day. I don’t like to sleep through my projects so I sometimes chose to delay working on them instead, thinking that I might find the right time to do it at one go – I was wrong. I was being overachieving. I didn’t give myself enough time or credit for the work I’ve done. I need to stop pushing myself or I’ll end up hating what I do and that would be very unfortunate.

Today I woke up feeling fresh and decided to take things one step at a time. Everything I do begs for attention, precision and time. It’ll be unfair to deprive them any of that and I guess I’ve been trying too hard. It’s okay to have a work-in-progress list, so I’ll resist the temptation of trying to cross out everything on my list and instead give myself more space to improve. Better deliver your best than rushing through it. Remember, you only live once.