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Oh, wonderful San Francisco!

This is my first trip to the United States. A couple of days prior to my trip, I was running around like a headless chicken trying to sort out so much work before leaving for 3 weeks. After 19 hours of sitting on planes and waiting at airports, I arrived in Los Angeles. Early the next morning, Alex and I took a flight out to San Francisco. I understand why people fall in love with San Fran. It’s a beautiful place with lots of exciting nooks and crannies.

Well, on the first day we arrived in San Fran, I told Alex, “Wouldn’t it be cool to cycle across the Golden Gate bridge?” And so we rented bicycles…

Which, ironically, costs more than the day rental of a car. The bike was USD32 per day, or USD8 per hour.

What we didn’t expect was that we’d be cycling for 4 hours almost non-stop. The ride from the city towards the Golden Gate bridge was lovely but there were some hills to navigate. And it was just soooooo far away!

Luckily there were lots of nice things to see along the way.

By the time we reached the Golden Gate bridge, our legs were aching and butt muscles cramping!

But the bridge is really beautiful. What an architectural wonder. Unfortunately, Alex lost his sunglasses here when we stopped on the bridge to take a photo.

We noticed these signs along the bridge. It’s kind of sad to think that people choose to end their lives by jumping off bridges. Hopefully by having these phones available, it would have saved a life or two.

By the time we reached Sausalito, we were just so exhausted! I forgot to take photos then! We took a ferry back to the city from Sausalito and met Jenny Sun & her husband Ju for dinner. After dinner, it took us another hour to get back to the bike rental place because we were trying to avoid going up those steep San Francisco roads! But there was no way out of it.

Needless to say, my legs felt like rubber the next day.

From a lovely sunny day, the next day, San Fran turned gloomy and it rained. The winds were so strong that most of the people on the streets found themselves with flipped umbrellas!

In the evening, the rain cleared a little. We spent most of the day around Fisherman’s Wharf and also visiting Lombard street (the crookedest street in the US). This time, we were smarter. We took the cable car.

We noticed some men on the streets, asking for donations for ‘canabis research’. Yeeaaaah, riiiight….

Had a pretty relaxing day and we even had time to take some silly shots of ourselves!

After 2 days in San Francisco, we left with Jenny and Ju for a coastal drive down to Los Angeles. But that’s another blog post.

Ten crazy Las Vegas statistics

Since we are arriving in Las Vegas tomorrow to kick off the WPPI conference, I thought of sharing some crazy stats that I found online about the city. Some of them really make you sit back and think…

1. Number of Las Vegas citizens   500,000

2. Year first casino licensed   1931

3. Number of annual Vegas visitors   40,000,000

4. Number of hotel rooms   137,000

5. Number of pillowcases washed at MGM Grand (the hotel & casino that houses WPPI) daily   15,000

6. Annual no. toilet paper rolls used at Bally’s (it’s a 67,000 sq ft. hotel & casino with 2,800 rooms)   1 million

7. Lucky The Clown marquee sign at Circus Circus has 1,232 fluorescent bulbs, 14,498 incandescent bulbs, and 3/4 mile of neon tubing light (no wonder they’re replacing it!)

8. Average number of Vegas weddings per day   300+
9. Cost of Nevada marriage licence   $35.00
10. Average cost of filing for divorce   $450.00

(Seems getting into marriage is always the easy part, but getting out of it is sticky AND expensive! Its no wonder lawyers are richer than priests.)

Stats from: Frugally Vegas

USA, here we come!! And of course, WPPI 2010!

I absolutely love traveling. It is the first genre of photography that captured my heart. I am always excited to see new places, faces and experiencing different cultures. This 24th February, I’ll be leaving Malaysia to travel to the US for a few weeks with my husband Alex.

The main highlight of the trip is the WPPI (Wedding & Portrait Photographers International) conference in Las Vegas from the 4th till the 11th of March. I can’t wait for this conference. It is such a huge event, with thousands of photographers traveling from all over the world to listen to world-renown photographers on topics such as portraiture, lighting, posing, business, commercial work etc.

I believe in investing money for education, and year after year, the Stories team attends various workshops. In order to improve, I believe I must always have this ‘learning’ attitude, even in years to come. At the end of the day, our clients are the ones who benefit, and if they are happy, we are happy too!

If you are living in the States, I’d love to meet up and get to know you – whether it is for a drink or chat, or if you’d like to have some portraits taken.

Do send me an email through the contact us page and I’ll be in touch with you! I’ll be blogging regularly from the States, so do keep watch over this space!

My first WPPI Accolade of Excellence!

To have won a WPPI (Wedding & Portrait Photographers International) award means international recognition. It means that your work is amongst the top of the world. This quarter, over 1900 prints were sent in for judging. And I’m so proud to say that many Malaysian photographers have made their mark in the world. Amongst those who have won 1st, 2nd or 3rd prizes in various categories (in recent competitions) – Louis Pang, Jenny Sun, Kenneth Tan, Shen, Edmund Tham… gee did I miss out anyone else?

And those who have garnered Accolades of Excellence in this competition and in the past… Jon Low, Zach Chin, Paul Kong, Andy Chin… These are at the top of my head. This recent quarter was the first time I submitted prints for a competition. I usually don’t like joining competitions because I am rather afraid of failure. But recently, I learnt that doing things like this helps me better myself as a photographer. It helps me be more critical of my work and aspire to improve in the future.

And so I was quite happy to find out today that one of my prints received an Accolade of Excellence from the judges. Of the 6 submissions I entered, I thought that this photo was the strongest and my instincts was right. This was the photo that received an AE.

4 other photos of mine were each 2 points away from receiving an AE. I wish I could hear the judge’s critique on the images though. That would be a great learning curve. Anyhow, I am glad for this experience and for all industry colleagues who have made their mark internationally. I am looking forward to my trip to Las Vegas in March 2010 to attend the WPPI conference and learn from the best in the world.

Jerry Ghionis Seminar, KL

The room was packed with photographers. Of course, who would miss out on the chance to meet world renowned photographer Jerry Ghionis for only RM350? Naturally, this wasn’t a personalized workshop with Jerry, but we had the privilege of hearing him speak for a full day. Before we started, the kiasu 3 of us – Mark, Ian and myself got a photo with Jerry. I was surprised when he lifted me! Must have been easy peasy since I am really light.


Jerry shared with us his life, about how he started in the business of wedding photography, how to market ourselves, how to pose, how to look at light… etc. In a couple of hours, we absorbed as much as we could. If you sign up for his 5 day workshop, you’ll get to learn all these in detail.


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