Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Behind the Shoot: Lifting spirits with the USO Show Troupe

The past week has been a huge blur for me. From jetting down to NYC, to playing in my GW softball alumni game this past weekend, I've been on the go for as long as I can remember.

Luckily, being busy means I have more to share with you :)

I finally got a chance to sit down and edit my still photographs from my NYC trip for the USO. I'm actually quite pleased with these, since, really, the trip was all about shooting video. These little nuggets are just bonuses, really.

To give you an idea of what this photo essay is about, here's 30-second a debrief: The USO has its own performing group called the USO Show Troupe: Think the Andrews sisters meets modern music. Basically, the Show Troupe, which is made up of professional performers, travels all around the world entertaining troops and their families. I caught up with one of the performers, Larissa Klinger, while she was at her home base in NYC, and shot a day-in-the-life style piece. Essentially, I followed her around all day with a camera and totally invaded her personal space, but I think the end product was worth it!

These are my 20 favorite shots, although, I should be even more selective if I were to publish it.

Created with flickr slideshow.

I did a project similar to this in college about a classmate of mine, and honestly, I can see a huge difference in my evolution of photography skill. Not only has my eye improved, but my concept of lighting has, I think, drastically changed as well. Thoughts?

Created with flickr slideshow.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Why I haven't posted all week: NYC and more

Those that know me well have probably heard my opinions about New York City. While the big apple is glamorous, bustling and full of life, I would never ever want to live there -- at least not for foreseeable future, that is.

I will, however, gladly visit and hop on the train for a work gig.

This past Tuesday -- after many Amtrak delays -- I headed up to NYC to film two different stories for the USO. While I just don't have the time and the energy to talk about one of the projects tonight, I will share the other project I did, which is already completed!

Ladies and gents, I give you my video about the USO center opening at JFK:

It's crazy to think that for over ten years there wasn't a USO presence at any NYC or New Jersey airport. Maybe its because I'm an employee, or just an observant person, but I've gotten quite accostumed to hearing the "The USO lounge..." announcements in most major airports.

It's kinda comforting isn't it?

Friday, September 12, 2014

All the things I'm working on for The USO & Fiterazzi!

Hey-oh blog world! Happy Friday! Are you planning anything fun for this weekend? Mr. Boyfriend and I are planning on hitting up Union Brewery this weekend as well as seeing the O's play and watching Josh Abbot Band at 9:30 club. What can I say, we're busy folks :)

I've been busy lately for the USO & Fiterazzi, drafting up stories and videos for all to see. I just produced this awesome video of a care pack stuffing event on Capitol Hill this Wednesday. It was my first chance to practice shooting time lapses, so I was pretty impressed with the result.

I even decided to dabble in some new media and shot a hyperlapse on-scene.

I've also been busy writing a lot of cool stories for the USO, including this one about Operation C.H.A.M.P.S which is a educational program for military children. This year the program is headed to South Korea to visit kids living overseas with their families. I got to chat with the authors a little bit about all the awesome work that they do and then wrote all about it for the world to see.

Also, my first of two peices for Fiterazzi about the art of getting fitness shoes that are properly fitted ran today! I'm so proud of this piece and totally love the photographs and the awesome people at Potomac River Running who helped me make it informative and fun for the Fiterazzi community.

Enjoy :)

Thursday, September 11, 2014

An Essay: A flashback to the fifth grade and September 11, 2001

This a personal essay reflection on my memories from 9/11/2001.

I was sitting in my 5th grade classroom when my teacher started crying.

I remember that she left the classroom and returned with wet eyes. She told us to sit down and read us a story about America, not telling us why we were starting our day with a story instead of following our normal routine.

We kept asking what was wrong. She never told us what. I thought maybe a family member had died.

Down the hall, the middle schoolers weren't gossiping in the halls.

Instead, they moved like zombies from classroom to classroom, the muffled noise of newscasts buzzing in the background. They weren't allowed to tell the elementary school kids what they were spending all day watching. But we knew they weren't doing anything in their classes.

Something felt eerily wrong.

During history, Melissa's mom stood crying outside Mrs. Murat's door. She pulled Melissa into the hallway. They both returned in tears.

By lunchtime, people's parents were calling them to leave. One by one, people were called to the office. I was content coloring signs and reading a book.

Near the end of the day someone told me there was a plane accident, or at least that's what they heard, anyway. Travis said something about a "pentagon" and Washington, D.C. ... but Melissa was from New York. Huh?

One of what anyone said --- kid or adult --- made much sense that day.

. . .

When my mum picked me up from school, she asked me if I'd heard, and I said I had, without really knowing what it was that I was saying I knew. We usually never listened to the news on the way home, but that day we did.

Slowly, it started to all make sense.

It turns out, I did know what the World Trade Center buildings were thanks to my sister's love of classic Christmas movies. In Home Alone 2, in the scene where my favorite Christmas tune is playing in the background, there's a long, panoramic shot of the two, gigantic buildings jetting from the skyline.

I never knew the "World Trade Center" is what they were called. I wondered why were they called a "center" when there were two separate buildings.

. . .

I had never watched the news much growing up. I thought it was boring and my parents thought the stories were too violent for me to regularly watch.

But that day, I remember watching that plane fly into the second tower over. And over. And over.

Graphics reading: "America under attack!"

The debris. The dust. Got bless America. Congress waved flags in the air.

By the time they started showing images of people jumping, I remember my mum tried to get me not to watch. I was just a kid. Only 10. She didn't want to make me upset.

But Jaci was watching. And so was dad. And she didn't feel like fighting. So she just let me sit there a few more minutes with everyone else.

. . .

That night I went to bed feeling antsy. It didn't seem like a good time to sleep. Why did those people do that to us? Why were all the adults so scared? Everyone seemed upset.

I didn't understand.

As the T.V. sounds clicked off and the house grew still, I listened to the sounds of the train that my parents thought was too far away for me to hear whistle in the distance.

Meanwhile, fighter pilots flew overhead, heading towards Pasadena.


My first HIIT graphic/workout is live!

Guys! Guys. Its up. Its live. Its a real thing.

The first ever fitness graphic I've made is up on the web for everyone to see, enjoy and use. How cool!

I don't mean to brag, but I'm really super proud about this. Graphics are something that I'm not naturally inclined to do, which is fun for a creative type like myself.

Not to mention, it's on Fiterazzi, which is an online magazine I totally LOVE writing for and sharing my skills with. I think its so important to support publications like this that are doing all they can to promote realistic healthy living -- not just the latest healthy crazes and quick weight loss programs. Amen.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

It's always beautiful and magestic in the Canadian Rockies

Sometimes its hard to believe that I was born so close to paradise. The Canadian Rockies are just one of those things that never, ever gets old to see when you look outside of your car window.

This morning my mum and I decided to go on a 12 km hike up to the Plain of Six Glaciers teahouse, which is near the fantastic Lake Louise ski area.

First of all, we couldn't have asked for a more gorgeous day. It was about 65 and partly sunny -- perfect hiking weather!

In all of the years that I've visited the Canadian Rockies, I'd never been able to squeeze this hike in, so image how excited I was to finally conquer it after all of these years!

The views are simply stunning. It was so hard to not stop every five minutes to take pictures. Although the hike was slightly challenging, I would say it was more than worth the trek up the mountain-- even so, the delicious tea biscuits at the teahouse up top were incentive to keep going!

Bonus picture: A nice moonscape from my backyard. Not bad, eh?

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

I might be having too much fun on vacation: Is that even possible?

Yesterday I might have gotten a little out of hand taking selfies in my fantastic new workout gear from BODYPOP. This is what happens when a workout fashionista has too much time and a beautiful setting... oh well :)

I'm still totally in love with this collection of clothes, although I am finding that I prefer the pieces for less-intense workouts, like Pilates or yoga.

I'm also in the process of reviewing headbands and tennis shoes for some of my next Fiterazzi articles, so I've been busy running, biking, hiking and testing them all out. I can't wait until these articles come out -- I've had such fun trying all these new products!

Happy vacation!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Back to my roots in the Canadian Rockies

Right now I'm on vacation with my family in Canmore, Alberta, Canada and I'm just loving it. Not only is everything beautiful here, but the weather is stunning! 65 degrees and sunny, what's not to love?

Yesterday after an awesome HIIT workout, my parents and I decided to climb up to Grassi Lakes on a hike. It was a gorgeous 2-hour hike with amazing views. As a photographer, this is absolute heaven!

I'm thinking a lovely bike run and pilates workout today! How are you enjoying your Labor Day weekend?