Spring Montana Road Trip

This has somehow become a half-yearly ritual. To go with our friend Yeej to his hometown in Missoula Montana. This time, we had a large group of Filmmakers, Photographers and Actor/ess and was able to craft and create to our heart's content. We also spent a lot of time exploring, showing the friends who haven't been there the places we visited last time.

Pachia overlooking the scenic spot that shows all of Missoula.

Pachia overlooking the scenic spot that shows all of Missoula.

I'm very thankful to the friends who helped me handle my anxiety during this time. I wasn't expecting myself to go through what I went through and I probably surprised them too. This trip was meant to allow myself to relax and create....which I kind of did. More creating than relaxing. 

Glacier National Park, Pachia to the right.

Glacier National Park, Pachia to the right.

Every time we've been to Glacier National Park, we could only see 1-2 spots....it's been super heartbreaking but that's ok! Hopefully the next time we come we'll get to see more and maybe even go camping.

So my main muse this trip is the beautiful and talented Pachia Vang. She was so incredible during this whole trip and I'm so thankful that she decided to come along with us. She is not only the model for a majority of my photos, she's also an upcoming actress who's so insanely talented!! But here are a few of the photos of her during the trip.

The first few photos of Pachia are from a pitstop that we randomly found because we really loved the sunset and wanted to capture it with the reflection. It's an nature sanctuary and if I've learned anything, I absolutely love photographing in nature sanctuaries. The second group of photos are at Yeej's parent's garden. I love greenhouses and they put one up!! So I got really excited and pretty much just made Pachia get dressed really quickly so we could shoot.

I got really lucky this round and was able to photograph the guys too. Specifically our buddy Sijhawm who I didn't realize how big of a fan he was to my work until this trip. So of course, we had our own mini session. 

Then there's also the whole gang

NYC for Tribeca Film Festival 2018

I'm a little late with this post but back in April, I spent a wonderful 4 day weekend in NYC with my sister and buddies to celebrate NICE's premiere at 2018 Tribeca Film Festival. 

NICE
Director Andrew, Writer and Actor Naomi, and Producer Carolyn at Tribeca Film Festival.

Director Andrew, Writer and Actor Naomi, and Producer Carolyn at Tribeca Film Festival.

NICE, if you haven't heard of it, is a new potential series about Teddy, a black sheep of her conservative Korean-American family dealing with the unexpected return of cancer. It’s created by and stars Naomi Ko, who made a brief but memorable appearance in 2014’s Dear White People. (Directed by Andrew Ahn; April 23) (SUMMARY FROM ETONLINE).

I was able to go behind the scenes to meet all the stars and celebrities since I had photographer's access thanks to Naomi, Andrew and Carolyn. It was such a surreal experience and I felt so noob with all the gears that the pros were using but I got the job done. I met a lot of amazing people at the after party and had lots of fun (thanks to everyone who took care of me). This was such an amazing event in which I feel so honored to be a part of. 

Of course, while in NYC, we explored and I had a few spontaneous sessions. Thanks to all the guys who allowed me to put them through the randomness that inspired me at that moment.

Mel
johnny
Yeej
Randy

Korea Trip!!

If you have been keeping track of me through my social network: IG & FB....you will know that I spent Christmas in Korea. Just so happen to be a few days after my birthday too so I re-celebrated my birthday in Korea with some friends there too. 

It took me awhile to finish this post because my hard drive (with all my photos from Korea) crashed TT_TT it was a month of mourning for me basically and going crazy with backing up all my shoots from my other hard drives too. But now that I've gone through all of that, I can go back and reflect on my beautiful trip to Korea.

Exploring Gyeongbokgung Palace Photo by Manivanh

Exploring Gyeongbokgung Palace
Photo by Manivanh

The first two nights in korea was me, being completely jetlagged and waking up at 6am to knock out at 4pm. Also, shopping drains the heck out of me and my best friend and I spent the first two days in Korea shopping. We met up with my friend Paker (teaches english in Korea, I knew her from camp menogyn back home) and her friends to celebrate my birthday - Korean style. This day was the one day I stayed up until 4am and knocked the jetlag out of my system.

Me & Paker

Me & Paker

Celebrating my 26th birthday in Korea with friends. Photo by Mina Choi

Celebrating my 26th birthday in Korea with friends.
Photo by Mina Choi

They taught us about Korean Rounds (Korean RESTAURANT ROUNDS - I was full by the first round already = fail) which we had KBBQ, it was soooo gooood. Which is how I was full by the first round already. Second round was at the Chicken and Beer restaurant (photo above) which is where they surprised me with a birthday cake and everything then took us to karaoke. We ate really good when we hung out with them making the last couple of days really sad for us.

I love street food in Korea, it is cheap and delicious and I miss it the most now that I'm back home. We mainly hung out in the touristy areas so we got through by speaking english and a little bit of Korean. Korean food is amazing, I love it. I wish we had better Korean food here in Minnesota. 

Street Food, cooking fresh seafood in front of us <3 

Street Food, cooking fresh seafood in front of us <3 

IMG_8882.jpg

Now, onwards to the biggest highlight of the trip for me. Gyeongbokgung Palace....is my favorite palace, only because it was the palace I ran around wearing a Hanbok and fulfilled the historial k-drama lover in me. I was the biggest kid there that day....and if I wasn't, I wasn't paying attention to anyone else except taking in the experience and loving every moment of it. To make matters even more interesting, I was also doing a photoshoot of Eric (Paker's friend) who was willing to model for me in exchange for being our translator and taking us around Korea to explore (though Paker was more of the GPS than Eric was, he did a great job as translator though). As I was unable to pull off self portraits, I had Paker take the photos of me instead.

SPECIAL THANKS TO MY FRIEND PAKER WHO WORKED MY CAMERA FOR ME!!!

SPECIAL THANKS TO MY FRIEND PAKER WHO WORKED MY CAMERA FOR ME!!!

Of course I wouldn't be the only one to get a photoshoot. I was also able to exchange my photo skills for some models & tour guides. Thank you to Mina & Eric for letting me photograph you two in exchange for taking us around Korea. You guys are awesome!!

Model: Eric

Model: Eric

Model: Mina Choi

Model: Mina Choi

My two amazing assistants and travel buddies: Manivanh &amp; Paker

My two amazing assistants and travel buddies: Manivanh & Paker

This was the first time I traveled without family and although I love family, I also loved being able to make my own choices and decisions. I did hesitate a lot because I wasn't sure what was the best thing to do culturally in Korea but because my bestie is the best :D she made sure to let me know if I was being weird....which is normal for me :P

Special thanks to Paker, Eric, Mina, Paul, Evee, Zero-One, Michael, and everyone else who made time to hang out with Manivanh and I during our trip to Korea!!! Thank you Manivanh for pretty much taking charge of everything cause let's be honest, I would've gotten lost in Korea without you.