summer

A weekend getaway to Parker, AZ (Part 1)

Last weekend was Labor Day and as a majority of American's leave on their vacations, my family chills at home. Why you ask? Well because of the traffic, congestion and sheer number of frustrations that go on with a 3 day weekend. So we like to go vacay on an off weekend where the mood is more relaxed. We head off to Parker, AZ, where it is right on the border of the California and Arizona border, split by the Colorado River. West side of the river is California and East side is Arizona. So cool to be at two places at one time.

 

We woke up around 5:45am and started to get things ready for the trip... we did hit the snooze a handful of time but we still kept on schedule. 

We met up with the rest of the family where we switched cars and followed my bro/sis in law along with their new boat. 

The kids were so excited... you can see how tired Bishop was still.

Since we all ran out of the house this morning, no one had time for a proper breakfast. So we stopped by Yum Yum Donuts for a filler until we got to Parker. Donuts, croissants, bagels, muffins, juice.. we loaded as much as we could!

It wasn't until we got to Palm Springs where we had a more interesting landscape to photograph. In combination with the Marumi 82mm circular polarizer, the blues in the sky became rich and contrasty and made for a more dramatic scene. All the windmills were standing still so I guess there was a lack of wind that day. Did a roller of a Chevy Suburban and a boat on a trailer. The longest vehicle I ever did a roller on. Had to shoot 4 lanes over in the fast lane while they were in the slow lane. 

We made our only pit stop in Coachella Valley at this Shell Gas Station. I guess I knew I was in the hot desert when I was welcomed by these cacti. 

Now anyone who knows me knows that I am a freak for fried chicken. I love trying all types of fried chicken but still broasted chicken is still the best. They are getting harder and harder to find. Found this Chester Fried and you know I had to get a few pieces. 

Right under the heating lamp laid my snack. Now if you have been following along my blog, you would know that I started a "diet" where I eat what I want but all I do is portion my meal. I used to eat until I was full or 110% full which led to the constant stretching of my stomach. So now I try to eat only up to 70% of capacity. In the past week, I feel better and less bloated. Two dark meat with a biscuit came out to just under $5. Ain't cheap but even worse was that it wasn't anything special. Not that I was expecting much but I love it when life throws me a curve ball. 

My mother in law loves to play her chances on scratches and Lotto. Today she won $15 but only broke even cause she bought a few extra scratchers. So it was a win but not a win situation.

So as we hit the road again, we were faced with more dirt, rocks and sky. I used slow shutter speeds to give the images a bit more character. Shot them between 1/15 and 1/60th of a second. The shot of the of the road, we ended up pulling over for it but the road had a lot of peaks and valleys so it didn't end up looking like what I wanted it for and finally we got to Parker, AZ. 

Made a panoramic of the area we were staying at.

We ended up renting out a house, got our own garage and security gate as well. It was only a 100 degrees when we got there but it got hotter as the day went on.

We started to unload and walk towards the house. This was the first part of the waterfront we saw and the dock where the boat goes. It was pretty sweet alright.

The unit had three bedrooms with a secret bedroom which had another two beds. Could have invited some more people but oh well... lol... Loved the kitchen as it was spacious and allowed for all of us to have enough room to eat and move around. 

By brother in law Billy didn't waste anytime getting the boat on the water and getting ready for a test run on the Colorado. This is where his heart is and where he wants to dwell, perhaps one day brotha. We all jumped in for a quick tour of the land and water.

We eventually came back and went out again with the whole crew and in our bathing suits. We were ready to jump in the water... oh cause you know, it was burning like hell. lol... Plenty of mansion styled homes for sale. Set you back a million+ lol.

We headed up river and eventually docked by a mini market to get some goods and jumped in the Colorado. 

The water was warm but it cooled us off nicely... here is a nice snapshot of how the next hour went. My niece Jasmyn loved the shot above. It is pretty cool that exact moment, the moment where we were just happy to be...

Photos of the happy crew... minus me of course... photogaphers always get shun'd. 

We were told by sold locals to go a bit more upstream to check out the Parker Dam. So we headed out and this is what we saw. Then we decided to go for a dip in cooler waters. 

Got some fun snaps of the kids jumping in.

Once we headed we rested a bit and the kids started fishing. I loved watching the kids be with each other. The way they played, fought, searched for each other. Watching them enjoy life in it's purist form. To be one with the land and bond with each other. I pray that their bond will always be this tight. I love you kiddos.  

We brought along some baby back pork ribs and I started to smoke them ribs... here is a shot of them closer to the finished product.

It was a pleasant first day, we got to enjoy the water and had some great family moments. 

Bishop was so determined to catch a fish and an hour in, he grabbed himself a tiny Bass! Way to go buddy!

Our lives should be spent more with our loved ones building memories. Love is the master recipe to life's success. Love something, someone, God, community, family... it never fails. I know life is never easy... we are always faced with tough decisions... sometimes circumstances make us make bad decisions but when you have something to live for... the decision is always an easy one. 

I will have more on tomorrow's blog so make sure to check it out when I announce it on Instagram.

 

Newport Dunes + RV

I have been fortunate to be surrounded by so many great people in my life. Family sometimes are out of our control and you have to deal with circumstances which can make your life difficult. That's why when I look at my immediate family, I am so truly blessed to be surrounded by an amazing set of brothers and sisters. I couldn't have asked for more.... and when you combine great people with great times, for me that is the definition of the Good Life. 

Yesterday, Methuse, Calvin and I headed to Newport Dunes (http://www.newportdunes.com) for a day in the sun. My brother in law Billy and sister in law Marlene picked up a 36 foot 'Class A' RV a few months back and they have been living it up vacationing everywhere. I am getting the bug for this lifestyle and have been looking into a RV but time will tell if we eventually get one. 

I brought out my trusty and simple setup, Canon 5d Mark III and Canon 35L. The 35L has been my favorite focal length since 2004 and has never let me down. When I travel or go anywhere for that matter, I like to travel lite as bulk is never a friend of my joints. Especially at the tender age of 35... yes I said tender! lol

Since I didn't bring my 24mm TSE with me, I started to play with the idea of detaching my lens from the body to give that tilting effect. Not too bad for my first attempt.

Since I didn't bring my 24mm TSE with me, I started to play with the idea of detaching my lens from the body to give that tilting effect. Not too bad for my first attempt.

I tried these water obstacles last time... looks fun but takes a great deal of energy so this time I passed easily. lol

I tried these water obstacles last time... looks fun but takes a great deal of energy so this time I passed easily. lol

It's hard to get children to stand in front of a camera for more than 3 secs so I will chalk this one up as a win... caught them in a moment of sweet summer bliss.

It's hard to get children to stand in front of a camera for more than 3 secs so I will chalk this one up as a win... caught them in a moment of sweet summer bliss.

I have always be infatuated with trying to lock down a technique where the subject is slightly out of focus. The photo above is not a sample of this per say since I tilted the lens by unmounting it but there is a beauty in things not perfect. I will try to work on that some more in the future. 

I have always be infatuated with trying to lock down a technique where the subject is slightly out of focus. The photo above is not a sample of this per say since I tilted the lens by unmounting it but there is a beauty in things not perfect. I will try to work on that some more in the future. 

I like how people react in front of the camera... like many photographers, I also act strange when a camera is pointed in my direction and make strange faces as this young lad taking my credit card information for the kayak rental. 

I like how people react in front of the camera... like many photographers, I also act strange when a camera is pointed in my direction and make strange faces as this young lad taking my credit card information for the kayak rental. 

Racks on racks of Kayaks... must be nice. Shot this one at f/1.4 at 1/8000th ISO100.

Racks on racks of Kayaks... must be nice. Shot this one at f/1.4 at 1/8000th ISO100.

A photographer's life is tough... all my vacation photos look like my wife is a single mother... lol I know a lot of you have this same issue right?

A photographer's life is tough... all my vacation photos look like my wife is a single mother... lol I know a lot of you have this same issue right?

As each year passes, I feel myself getting marginally older but when I see the faces of these loves of mine, I know I am getting old. Grade school, middle school, high school are all around the bend. ugh

As each year passes, I feel myself getting marginally older but when I see the faces of these loves of mine, I know I am getting old. Grade school, middle school, high school are all around the bend. ugh

Another father-less capture lol... Cal is a classic example of a person who loves all things water. His love fuels my love. 

Another father-less capture lol... Cal is a classic example of a person who loves all things water. His love fuels my love. 

I believe in exercising but damn it is a lot of work isn't it? The burn is real. Finding a good rhythm is a must when multiple people are paddling. Remember that next time you go on a multiple person kayak. 

I believe in exercising but damn it is a lot of work isn't it? The burn is real. Finding a good rhythm is a must when multiple people are paddling. Remember that next time you go on a multiple person kayak. 

Jazmyn paddle boarded the entire hour like a champ. So proud of this one... the family the rows together....

Jazmyn paddle boarded the entire hour like a champ. So proud of this one... the family the rows together....

Bishop being the athlete he is also handled the waters like a champ. The smile says it all doesn't it? 

Bishop being the athlete he is also handled the waters like a champ. The smile says it all doesn't it? 

Even though it wasn't a holiday, seeing the good ole red, white and blue made this day appreciative. Thank you to all those that serve and have served. 

Even though it wasn't a holiday, seeing the good ole red, white and blue made this day appreciative. Thank you to all those that serve and have served. 

Lead the way Jaz!

Lead the way Jaz!

Now selfies I don't do often but I got tired of the father-less portraits so I had to get one that I could remember... no worries, it only took me 42 shots to nail this one. SMH

Now selfies I don't do often but I got tired of the father-less portraits so I had to get one that I could remember... no worries, it only took me 42 shots to nail this one. SMH

BBQ + Beach is always a must

BBQ + Beach is always a must

You know an Asian family is close when....

You know an Asian family is close when....

So out of nowhere, Calvin started to do backflips underwater after watching Jaz and Bishop do it a few times. His love for water is deep... I am proud of you my boy.

So out of nowhere, Calvin started to do backflips underwater after watching Jaz and Bishop do it a few times. His love for water is deep... I am proud of you my boy.

Innocent looking but a ruckus is a-coming

Innocent looking but a ruckus is a-coming

Splish splash

Splish splash

This one will bring me smiles for years to come. 

This one will bring me smiles for years to come. 

Deep into the night they run

Deep into the night they run

After the kids have settled down, we take a moment to remember the day. The fire burns with passion.

After the kids have settled down, we take a moment to remember the day. The fire burns with passion.

I hope that all of you have been taking the time to enjoy your summer. I know as we get older, the days, weeks, months, years all pass by so fast. We get caught up in the routine of life and that ultimately kills us slowly. Decades later, we wonder where the time went. Break up your routine. Do something out of the ordinary on a Tuesday because every Tuesday should feel like a Saturday shouldn't it?

Thanks for inviting us Billy, Marlene, Jaz, Bishop and Addy... We love you guys truly!

Til the next time
Andrew