Hello Kitty Hungry Hunt @ Zip Sushi & Izakaya [10.31.14]

Zip Sushi & Izakaya. Little Tokyo, Los Angeles, CA. Hello Kitty Hungry Hunt.

Hello Kitty Hungry Hunt partnered up with several restaurants in and around downtown Los Angeles to bring exclusive, themed meals and limited edition pins from each establishment. Here is Zip Izakaya’s contribution to the Hunt! Photos after the break…

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CicLAvia | Heart of LA – Little Tokyo Vantage Point (2nd and Central); Cyclists Take Over Downtown

CicLAvia | Heart of LAI was wondering why there weren’t any cars passing by on the streets of Little Tokyo this morning.

Metro’s CicLAvia | Heart of LA event is happening today from 9am to 4pm. This photo was taken around 11 this morning. The path, which can be viewed here, takes cyclists, skaters, and rollerbladers east-west from Echo Park to East Los Angeles Civic Center, and north-south from Chinatown to the Theater District. Based on my personal experience from attending this event only a few years ago, several Los Angeles streets are closed off from automobile and public transit access for a few hours for people to enjoy historic areas of downtown and surrounding districts. It’s fun whether hot or not, and today’s 90-degree weather just means riders need to protect themselves from the sun and hydrate more. Also, there are a variety of interesting musical pieces being played from some cyclists’ stereo systems for all to hear, ranging from 80s funk (Let it Whip sound familiar?) to today’s most interesting dubstep. Just now, I heard a drumline and looked out my window to find that there was a small band of five drummers on a wooden platform being hauled across the street.

I didn’t attend today’s festivities despite living here in downtown, mostly because I reserved this day to take care of much needed errands. However, Metro is indeed having one more even later in the year that I might attend if I get myself a road bike by then. I’ve always wanted to attend one of these events in full gear (no pun intended). If not South LA, then there would be no doubt Metro would return CicLAvia to the heart of downtown once more while I still live here.

Motivation, Levitation, Persistence, Expectation


You know that saying where you need to fall so many times before you can be successful? What if you could just levitate in the air after you get back up and never fall back down?

When I was in Vancouver back in August, I was fortunate to meet many new faces, make new friends, and have lots of fun. I was also inspired a lot. Take this photo for instance and it actually has an outwardly obvious point of inspiration; the other is something only those that were there with me would understand, which is what I’d like to reveal to you here in this post.

Outwardly, this photo is inspired by none other than Natsumi Hayashi of yowayowa camera woman diary. I’ve always wanted to try what Natsumi-san does with her photos, and I’m glad I was able to have some assistance this time around in doing so. The other point of inspiration is Linda from LindaDProductions (be sure to check out her YouTube channel as well) who was behind the camera to take this image. Thanks, Linda! I’m actually honored to have gotten to know her through the group of people I was with in a casual way. I can’t imagine how I would have reacted if I was a huge fan; speechless and stutter-y all the time, I’m sure.

Having either heard or met these individuals is something really cool and, for the most part, rare to me. They both have amazing talent, have outlets to share their creativity and passion, and do it consistently and persistently. I feel like I’ve been there, but have fallen. Again and again. Recent changes to my lifestyle have helped me get back up and get some more hang time each time around. And now here I am, filled with inspiration to continue setting a new set of expectations for what I want to evolve my skill into next.

Thanks again, everyone. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to try and kiss the sky some more.

DTLA Night Market [Preview]

DTLA Night Market-7109

Rise. Every time I’m in downtown Los Angeles, I’m reminded of some of Christopher Nolan’s Batman movies and his overarching theme for the franchise. Paralleling my own personal adventure through the past seven months of ups and downs, I find myself back on this blog and slowly coming to terms with my past; seeing opportunities for success grow stronger and farther reaching than the pitfalls I faced. Well, I’m back. Again. And here we are, at what I probably do best at with my photography. Seeing the masses, tents, and trucks lined up along the backdrop of a city I love so much and watching life pace itself naturally through the ebb and flow of time, I’m back on the streets with my camera to capture what I can.

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“There is so much I want to do. I’m brimming with thoughts of things I want to create… I chase after every image that flies out. I catch them, battle them, and consume them after sampling each flavor. I name and return them to where they ought to be [over and over]. It requires so much time.

I want to open all these boxes, but a mortal life span is too short to do such a thing. A single lifetime limits how many boxes you can open.”

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This Is Our Space

This is Myspace [Cory and Ronnie] - 2 of 3

Ever since I changed day jobs over to what is arguably still one of the most well-known social network companies in the world, I have seen an increasing amount of opportunities to be surrounded by many things involving photography, whether they were times behind my own camera or working with and next to those with the equipment. Care to guess which social network that is?

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A Melancholic Forty Days; Cake

8-31-13 JFD-6033

Prayers help to spread love and peace across the planes of life and death. After forty days of a passing of an individual, he or she is finally able to ascend from any pain and suffering felt up to and through his or her passing. So why the gathering only now? Well, for some, power in numbers always helps in these difficult times. Whether one is Catholic or religious to any degree, coping helps when you have the strength of those close to you to carry the burden of loss. On the 31st of August of this year, we celebrated the fortieth day of my sister Johannah’s passing with friends and family, through song and prayer, and through laughter and love.

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In Memoriam – Johannah Marie Rivera Rafanan

Johannah Marie Rivera Rafanan - In Memoriam, 1 of 16

Memorial services are never an easy event to cover as a photographer, especially if they are for someone within your own family. My sister Johannah fought her cancer bravely for three solid months. And yet it seemed to be over so quickly. She seemed so strong all through the end. These three days of services seemed so out of place that it didn’t feel right to be meeting relatives and family friends under such circumstances after so long in such a quick time frame. None of this made any sense.

This collection of photos are the only sixteen of the nearly four hundred I took across three days of services for my sister that I and, I’m sure, my family feel most comfortable with sharing to the world; images of a place seemingly frozen in time where loved ones do not want the passage of time to commence – a sort of limbo from the outside world where the most precious of memories of our own lost loved one linger around the halls of the chapel and the green lawns of the mortuary. And while most of them only show the backs of my relatives and our family friends, I can only hope that these photos do justice to show that my sister was well loved and nurtured, even beyond her life on this earth.

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Reflection: Progress

Light At The End Of The Tunnel

It has been a month since I traversed Maui’s lava tubes and reflected on my previous journeys through dark caves with close friends. Many personal things have taken place, some good and some bad; some exciting and some devastating. The light at the end of today’s tunnel is not the same kind of light I found back then, nor will it ever feel the same again in future travels. If there is one thing my poetically mind has taught me, it is that in these periods of intense self reflection is where I usually wind up seeing my most darkest moments turn into blinding bouts of realization and perseverance. I am at a stage in my life and career where I am beginning to plan great things in the midst of running into seemingly overwhelming challenges. Where the next thirty days will lead me is something I can only hope to be at least less rocky than the last thirty. Deadlines have past and are now overdue, projects are behind and have yet to be restarted, and opportunities for learning and growth are now being compounded to the point where late night hours spent studying are now becoming a necessity. What is this, college all over again?

I definitely feel a sense of complacency in my drive and direction for success. Perhaps I am overwhelmed with the amount of opportunity bestowed upon me; or perhaps the great burden I could be facing soon. All I can really say right now is that despite the giant side steps I’ve had to take in the past few weeks, I know that I’m still closer today than I was yesterday to climbing out of that tunnel and being on the surface once again. And once I catch that warm sun, feel the perspiration of my efforts, and reap the rewards of trusting the unknown, I will be able to mold myself back into something greater than yesterday’s premonitions.

Thanks again to everyone’s support the past couple of weeks. I look forward to releasing more content again for everyone, including myself, to enjoy.