Every year we grow a bit older and we come to new realizations about life and what it means to us. What was once important to us may no longer be important and what was never important become important. Life's a trip isn't it? So what does that have to do with today's blog post?

My dear friend Nhu celebrated her 35th birthday last week and invited 26 of her very closest friends to a little wine and dine at Basically this little gem is a loft space where creative chefs like Stevie Cho put on meals for a small group of like minded individuals who have the same love for food and life. A wonderful space and a marvelous time we had....

That night we had a sample of Kimchi Deviled Eggs as we started to pour a nice glass of wine to celebrate the night. The table was filled with handmade details that really set the mood off. Saying hello to some old faces was a real nice treat as well.

Next was a slow roasted pork belly slider tucked in between a King's Hawaiian Bread. Inside was some sort of pickle that really gave it a contrasting flavor that really brought the whole thing together. As we toasted the birthday girl, you can see the staff putting together our meals. 

I met Nhu back in college... way back in 2001... so it has been a good minute. She's one of the most sneakiest people I know. She will try to pay a tab behind my back, sneak in some money into my wife's purse when I try to pay for something... you get the idea but over the years, we have decided to play it neutral cause she knows I will take it to the next level... lol. But my wife and I love this girl.. she's one of the most careless individuals I know. She will give anything and everything you ask of her... well that is if she loves you ;) and so capturing some genuine moments of this girl who hates being in front of the camera makes me happy. 

Stevie Cho is here prepping our main course of prime rib sided by some home mashed potatoes and corn to match. Look at the brown on the crush of this roast!

Friends on friends on friends... all enjoying this sliver of a moment before getting back to the madness of the world. Grabbed a few candids of everyone having a good time... I wish all the minutes of our lives was this great.

Knives and meats... my kind of joint. Plate me please...!

In typical Nhu fashion, she surprised one of her friend's with a surprise dessert and candle for her birthday... just sharing her moment with her girl.... and below you can see this girl who rarely smiles this large captured by yours truly. Truly a rare moment indeed lol...

So another year older, another year wiser, we take all of our experiences and mash them into what is our reality. What was once important to me has taken a backseat to all the things that have taken on a new significance in my life. Our time is definitely short in this world and this day was a reminder to me to live life like it was meant to be. 

I love you to the Muon and back my dear! Happy 35th birthday.... your smile brightens all of our days and big shoutout to Stevie and his crew for making this night quite the enjoyable evening. Cheers!


Conquer_LA, grub Little Tokyo and a walk along 6th Street Bridge in Downtown Los Angeles

A bunch of us at IE Photo Rentals decided to check out the latest meet up with the @conquer_la guys this past weekend. Leonard Holland (, who is one our interns at IE Photo Rentals has been a part of these social media meet ups for some time. 

It was a great way for me to get out there and test shoot a new lens. Today I chose to shoot the newest Tamron 15-30mm 2.8 VC on the Canon 1dx body. All of the images below were shot on it, check it out at IE Photo Rentals Website.

Tamron 15-30mm 2.8 VC

Tamron 15-30mm 2.8 VC

This recent photo meet up was not a photo walk, but more of a gather and shoot event. Since most of us haven't attended an event like this prior, it would of been nice to been apart of a moving group to get a real feel for these type of events but I guess there is always next time. 

We all met up at the Echo Park Lake, which I remember to be a very sketchy area back back back in the day but apparently it has gone thru some serious gentrification probably from the help of some very hard working hipsters. 

The park summed up Los Angeles really well. You had all types of ethnic backgrounds, people of all ages, people hustlin' toys and food, hipsters and families. Although I didn't get any shots of them, the elote (corn man) and churro lady made the day at the park so much more memorable. The fact you can enjoy a day out and experience other cultures is always a win in my book. Look at how beautiful the sun was shiny between the trees....  yea it was a glorious day. 

You can see how happy Leonard is at these type of events. His whole face just lights up! My son Calvin was just happy to have gotten a Batman ice cream which he scarfed down in a few quick minutes. Left me none :(

Here is a shot of Pro with the Sony A7s and the Sigma 50mm 1.4 Art. That lens is no joke, probably the sharpest lens I have ever used. The crowd started to grow as it got darker. 

As the sun went down, the blues in the sky were glowing beautifully. All of these were snapped hand held at 2.8. With the help of the people in the crowd, light was abundant with the help of a few different handheld light sources. 

We hung out for a good 40 mins and decided to head out to Little Tokyo for dinner. We ended up at Spitz, which has amazing fries with gyro meat but I didn't snap any inside. My bad. 

Leonard had never been to Little Tokyo so we did a little tour of the area after dinner. Instead of taking photos of all the cool Japanese decor, we all stood there taking photos of each other. In this photo everyone is photographing me cause I might have flexed my guns or something awesome. lol

Last time I photographed this building, I had my older Canon 1ds Mark II and it's low light struggles quite a bit. With the Canon 1dx, it did a much nicer job picking up the shadow details. The images did have perspective adjusted in post due to the lens having very strong distortion at 15mm. 

The image below is a shot of a popular Japanese gift store. Just thought it was interesting with all of the Marilyn Monroe decor.

Chase bank had crazy blue neon lights going so we ran inside just to snap a quick portrait. 
Across the street, stairs led into an underground parking area. I loved the color and texture of it so I snapped for you guys to enjoy. 

A week prior to my boy's 6th birthday, he contemplates the journey of his life or perhaps he was thinking of ice cream again. :)

We ended up at the 6th St bridge shortly after walking around DTLA. Some of the guys we met at the meet up were meeting up here as well. Some guys climbed up the structure to get the higher perspective but it was a bit too nerve wracking for the most of us. Got some light streaks flowing thru...

Above is a landscape of the tracks that lead to the San Bernardino and Riverside lines. I think OC/SD lines are shown as well. 

We then decided to hike down to the LA River and under the 6th St bridge. It was a bit sketchy at 12am going into a pitch black tunnel but with 8 other friends and a flashlight, it was exciting. I didn't shoot inside the tunnel cause I was probably distracted. SMH

Below you can see the landscapes I took of under the bridge. It was so vast down there and we felt so small under these huge pillars. 

I wanted to check out California Donuts after but since it was close to 1am, most of the group was exhausted and we started to head home. 

Thanks to Leonard for inviting us out. We had a great time!

Til the next
Andrew Manley
Wandering Photographer