Thursday, October 27, 2016

Falling into Fall at Grip the Mat's Vinyasa to Vino at A Baked Joint

I'm convinced there's something magical about Grip the Mat events.

I've been taking photos of their yoga social events in DC for almost two years now and each event still feels as exciting as the first (if you want to know the details of how I ended up as their go-to photographer in DC check out my past posts!).

Take this awesome Vinyasa to Vino event I captured a few weeks ago at A Baked Joint in DC:

Was this this first Vinyasa to Vino event ever? Nope. Was it even the first Vinyasa to Vino event at this location? Nuh-ugh. Was it freakin' awesome? You betcha!

I mean, yoga + wine + cool people... what's not to love?

Here's a look at some of my favorite shots from the event:

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Why I Learned Photo *After* Video & a Look at My Multimedia Journey

I have a bit of a secret. Well, okay, not a secret, but a bit of information to share that might surprise some of you readers.

Did you know I learned how to shoot a good photo long after I learned how to shoot and edit a good video? It's true! Most people learn photography first and then venture into videography, but for me, it was the opposite.

Before you say, "Well wait, Sandi. That can't be true. You surely took photos before you ever took videos!" Let me be clear: Sure, I played around with a camera and shot stills before I shot video, but I would say I became skilled at shooting and editing video before I became skilled at shooting photos. Savvy?

See, when I started my undergraduate studies at The George Washington University School of Media and Public Affairs back in 2009, video was hot, and I wanted to do what was hot. So, I enrolled in the Introduction to Digital Media class (as the only freshman in the class, mind you!) and got a crash course in video production from the awesome Chhayal Mehta.

After an awesome semester with Chhayal, I was totally in love with video production and worked really hard the following year (2010) to improve my shooting and editing skills by interning at KPRC Local 2 (Houston NBC affiliate), working for the GW Hatchet on their inaugural video team and shooting several pro-bono videos for non-profits.

Fast forward six (ugh, I'm old!) years later, and I'm doing video production professionally for the USO.

Sure, I'm not the best video shooter and editor ever -- I still have a ton to learn [for reals, it took me several years of work to go from this (shot/edited in college)...

... to this (shot/edited this year)...]

...but video production, the whole process, never seemed like a daunting task. Video production has always been a fun challenge for me!

Photography wasn't always as much fun as it is now...

I remember looking at my DSLR in college and being totally baffled at the concept of ISO, shutter speed and aperture. In video... you can kinda get a way with not understanding all of that for a while, especially if you are a strong editor. Photography? No way.

Even after I took a proper still photography class my junior year, it took me several years (read: until recently) for me to become equally confident in my still photography skills.

Now, I love both photo and video production -- for very separate reasons, they are so different-- but video was, and will always be (I think!), my first creative "love" and where I am most comfortable working as a visual storyteller.

Looking back, I'll admit, it would have been easier to learn how to shoot photos first (and, consequently learn a bit more about lighting/framing/how cameras work), but honestly, I wouldn't change a thing about my multimedia learning process.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Zumba + Yoga Shoot for Melanie Smith in a Costa Rican Oasis

Even though it's been months since I traveled to Costa Rica (El Sabanero Eco Lodge via Move Well DC via Trip Tribe!) for vacation, and I'm finding myself flipping through all the photos of our wonderful trip more and more these days.

Maybe its because I miss being in a tropical oasis, or I'm just not *fully* ready for fall to kick into high gear, but either way, I keep daydreaming about early morning yoga sessions, home cooked meals and relaxing in the canopy...

Speaking of Costa Rica, I finally edited photos from a mini session I held with my fabulous Zumba-instructor friend Melanie while I was there.

To be honest, it's basically a miracle these photos exist at all -- they're not the best shots from the shoot, but rather, what I could salvage. See, I had completely edited the session when my Lacie hard (where the files lived) drive decided to fail on me. I did everything in my power to recover the files but could only recover about 10 shots -- 10 of my outtake shots to be exact.

Ugh, technology man. I guess I learned the hard way the need to double back up everything I shoot.

Regardless, while I know these aren't my best shots, or my best work, I'm surprisingly happy with them.

Maybe its because I loved the trip we took so much, or because I'm currently injured and can't shoot (long story -- see P.S. below), but looking at these photos just makes me smile.

P.S. I'm hurt right now (fell and sprained my AC joint while doing a handstand in yoga class!) and won't be shooting for a least a few weeks, which sucks. I'm getting better though -- its been almost two weeks and I'm finally out of the sling! Wa-hoo!

Friday, September 30, 2016

Murals, attacking pigeons and fun times at Union Market DC with Jennifer Fernandez of Yoga Heights

I have a confession to make. I'm a sucker for a good mural.

And I'm an even bigger sucker for yoga poses in FRONT of a good mural.

So when DC-based Yoga Heights instructor Jennifer Fernandez approached me with the desire to do a colorful, urban, funky mini-yoga session a few weeks ago, I knew EXACTLY the place to do it: Union Market on the NE side of Washington, D.C.

Union Market has always had a soft spot in my heart; I lived in the neighborhood a few years after college and really came into my own as a yoga/portrait photographer there. Its such a vibrant, urban, multicultural part of town with tons of shops, murals, industrial buildings -- it's really a hipster's photographer's paradise.

I mean, look at the murals people! Look at the textures!

While there's always been street around around this part of town, last year, artist Mr. Brainwash and his team debuted his #LetGirlsLearn heart mural on the side of Union Market (see photos above), bringing a lot of new attention into the neighborhood's street art.

Michelle Obama was there at its unveiling, so it was only *kind of* a big deal.

As awesome as the new #LetGirlsLearn mural is -- message and all -- personally, I think there's some even cooler murals within walking distance of Union Market. I mean, look at this vortex mural by Douglas Hoekzema aka HOXXOH on the side of the old Ibiza night club.

Wicked cool right? P.S. I love you, funky NE D.C. (minus the weird pigeon that attacked us during our shoot!)

Monday, September 26, 2016

Grip the Mat: Soul & Spirits (& Glowing Yoga Fun!) at Capitale

I know I've been teasing about the end of summer for the past few weeks, but today, I can officially say, both by the calendar date and the cool, dreary weather outside, fall is officially here.

So, as a final ode to the dog days of summer -- warm winds, piƱa coladas and all -- I thought I would share snaps from a mid-summer Grip the Mat Soul & Spirits event that took place at the end of August.

It feels like this event took place forever ago although its only been about a few weeks -- its funny how the seasons changing can make time pass so quickly isn't it?

For those that don't know, I shoot a ton of events (seriously a TON!) for Grip the Mat, a local DC start up that hosts pop up yoga social events that usually mix an all-levels vinyasa flow with wine, cocktails or beer.

They're a blast to shoot! I get to meet so many interesting yogis, get cool neon/technicolor snaps for my portfolio and generally have a great time.

I'll admit shooting at Capitale for this particular Soul & Spirits event was a bit challenging with the lack of light, but I think I made it work!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

¡Vamos a Costa Rica¡ Snaps from my Trip Tribe/Move Well DC Yoga Retreat Vacation

Nothing beats a good vacation.

You heard that right: Even I, a self-professed work-a-holic love a good vacation. And what better place to have a vacation that, literally, paradise itself?

Almost a month ago now, I went on a magical yoga retreat with my boyfriend to Costa Rica. My friend and client, Amy Rizzotto of Move Well DC, lead the retreat at El Sabanero Eco Lodge and organized the whole adventure with the help of Trip Tribe.

Were about 18 of us on the trip -- some people I knew ahead of time, others I did not, but we all left as friends.

Clearly, while I was there, I couldn't resist taking a few snaps of our adventures, which included a ton of yoga, visiting waterfalls, holding snakes, frolicking on the beach and just enjoying the gorgeousness of Costa Rica.

Pura vida, anyone? I will say, where we stayed, at El Sabanero, was awesome! The food, the staff -- everything was great in terms of quality and value for our money. Take me back, please?