Modeling in San Pedro

Thanks to Patrick Manzon, PJM Photography, I was able to help out in another model shoot.  This past Saturday, we shot with the sweet, funny, and playful Danielle, Miss Long Beach.  She even brought her dog, Ozzy, along with her.  We all headed down to San Pedro and the Friendship Bell to grab some shots.  Funny side note: while in Long Beach, I asked Siri to “Take me to San Pedro” and she replies with, “Sorry Gabriel, I can’t provide maps and directions in Paraguay.”  Anyways, we eventually got there but, there was a wedding planned at the bell today so we had to snap a few frames quickly before the ceremony started.  We then headed down to park and cliff-side walkway to shoot the rest of her outfits.  We found a nice, slightly worn down structure, some picnic tables, and a giant tree as different scenes for our shots.  I was able to grab some shots of Ozzy too while Danielle was changing outfits.  After a couple more shots here and there, she wanted to take some with her puppy so of course we were able to snap some for her.  That pretty much ended our shoot for the day.  It was a really fun shoot, once again, full of jokes, laughter, making new friends and of course amazing shots!

I’ve learned a lot since my first portraits shoots so I hope the results show this growth.  Thanks to Danielle for being a great model and PJ for driving us out there and shooting too!

Photographers: Gabriel J. Almario and PJM Photography
Model: Danielle Tellez
Location: San Pedro

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Khloe’s Christening

Went down to San Diego this past Saturday to take pictures for my newest little cousin’s baptism.  We met up at her house for a few pictures before the ceremony, headed over to the parish center, then to the Cheesecake Factory afterwards.  Hope you enjoy the pictures!

Event: Khloe’s Baptism
Photographers: Gabriel J. Almario, Derriel Almario

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Old Track New Experience

For the longest time now, I’ve been asking my girl to just let me take some pictures of her.  She finally gave in and decided to do a shoot with me.  She’s never really liked taking pictures, so this was huge for me.  I knew I had to jump on the opportunity before she changed her mind.  Luckily, she had just got a couple new dresses that she wanted to try out along with her bike for the shoot.

We picked out a location where an old, abandoned railroad track lay. It is located near a residential road, so there wasn’t much traffic to deal with.  However, we did get lots of looks from all the passers by, rubbernecking to see what was going on.  This being her first shoot ever, I had some fears.  I wasn’t sure if she’d take direction well and if she’d just fool around the whole time.  Thankfully, to my surprise neither, happened.

The shoot was like others, more fun than work and that’s how I like it.  I did get the shots I wanted and she had some suggestions for shots that turned out really nice too.  We got lots of fun frames and some serious ones as well.  I even made a cameo in one of the shots; well at least my jeans and shoes did!

I’m not going to lie, I was a bit scared that working together on this would be slightly disastrous, but we didn’t have a hard time at all.  In fact, it was quite the opposite!  She was a great model to work with since I actually know her true personality and we could joke around a little more than I usually do.  She took my direction well and didn’t complain one bit even though we were out shooting for like two and a half hours out in the warm valley sun.  We managed to do two different looks in that time with and without the bike.

She says she’s a terrible model, but I disagree.  I thought she did very well for her first time ever.  The location influenced my editing process, thus the older/vintage looking processing and effects.  I am very pleased with the results, so without further ado…

Location: Chandler Rail to Trail – Victory End
Model: Nikko Manzon
Photographer: Gabriel J. Almario

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Race Tracks and Food Trucks

October 1st was Breeders’ Cup Challenge Day at the Santa Anita Park so there was already a lot to be excited about race-wise.  However, I’m not too big a fan or follower of horse races.  The real reason I came out to the tracks that Saturday was because I’m a foodie!  After catching wind of the Food Truck Festival over the radio, I immediately did some research online.  My girl had been wanting to go to a food truck meetup for the past couple weeks so what better a place to bring her than a gathering of 70 of LA’s finest food mobiles?

Neither of us had ever been to the Santa Anita Park, but were pleasantly surprised upon first entering.  The grounds are well decorated and manicured.  You can definitely tell you’re at a racetrack since the courtyard is filled with the horse-shaped bushes and lavish fountains.  I had wanted to take some pictures of the surroundings, but my stomach had other ideas.  We had skipped out on breakfast that morning so we could indulge in our gastronomic adventure.

Quickly following the signs guiding us towards the festival, we must have missed one because we found ourselves along the viewing area on the outer edge of the tracks.  But there we saw it, almost 70 food trucks littered across the infield.  We quickly asked an attendant which way to the infield and he instructed us to walk down some stairs and we’d find a tunnel that would lead us there.  It wasn’t long before we had emerged from said tunnel were greeted by another attendant with a map laying out where each food truck was.  Eager to see what was there, we grabbed a map and just started walking around.  Unfortunately, we were under some time constraints and would have to move quickly if we wanted to sample all the trucks we had in mind.

As we walked around we saw a long line forming outside The Grilled Cheese Truck, so why not grab some food to grub on while we wait in that line.  So, we decided our first stop would be the @WhiteRabbitTruk where we would start the day off with some Filipino Fusion.  We grabbed a sisig burrito and some white chocolate champorado to enjoy while we stood in line for our grilled cheese sandwich.  I’ve had the burrito before and loved it, but it was Nikko’s first time for the Filipino-Mexican food combo.  She too fell hard; like me, it was love at first bite.  After quickly devouring the burrito (stopping just long enough for a quick snapshot) we decided to taste a little of our dessert.  The white chocolate champorado was creamy and delicious!  But we managed to set it aside and save it for after the grilled cheese sandwich.

It wasn’t too long after that we found ourselves at the front of the long, windy line of the @grlldcheesetruk.  We noticed the special for the day, The Trifecta Melt, and found it a fitting choice since we were at the races.  We decided on that melt and boy was it a great decision!  It was jalepeno cheese bread, stuffed with roast beef, red onions, and melty sharp cheddar!  I really wish we ordered two because we almost finished the sandwich before I even remembered to take a photo!  The roast beef and red onions married well with the sharp cheddar and each bite was as tasty as the previous one.  When we finished it I almost started eating the wrapper hoping some of the flavor soaked into it.  Surprisingly enough, it was very filling though.

Our time was running a little thin and we needed to start heading out.  Although we had thought we’d make it to more of the trucks, we just decided to grab a drink from @thebobatruck and call it a day.  She ended up getting the mango black tea and I the lychee black tea with lychee jelly.  The drinks were a perfect way to wash down all the greasy food we had consumed throughout the day.  They were reasonably priced and tasted great!

I wish we had more time to spend at the race track that day and were able to catch some of the races, but we had some other things to attend to.  I believe this is the fourth time they’ve had the food truck festival at the races and I’m sure it won’t be the last.  We’ll definitely be making our way out there again and I suggest everyone in the area do the same!

Event: Food Truck Festival
Location: Santa Anita Park

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Mel & JS 25th Wedding

A little later than I had hoped for, but I still got to it.  Time seems to be disappearing on me throughout the days and I’m struggling to find that little extra free time.  But, I digress…

Two Saturdays ago, I had the privilege of attending Mel & JS Sabino’s 25th Anniversary Wedding celebration.  I was asked to assist PJM Photography in covering the event.  This being my first wedding event, I wasn’t really sure what to expect.  However, I felt I was too passive and not assertive enough to get the shots I wanted.  Lessons learned!  Hindsight is 20/20, but I know I could have done much better.  However, I’m still glad I took on the challenge because I was able to see what to do and what not to do.  I will take the experience for what it was and will learn from it.  Thankfully, I was able to get some solid frames, please enjoy!  And congratulations again to the lovely couple!

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Shin-Sen-Gumi Little Tokyo

I’ve definitely grown an affinity for all things Japanese thanks to my girlfriend who believes she is part Japanese.  So, it’s no surprise we frequent Little Tokyo in downtown LA.

This time around, we were accompanied by our friends and decided to grab some ramen from the newly opened Hakata Ramen.  Shin-Sen-Gumi doesn’t disappoint.  Like the other two locations in Rosemead and Gardena, the place delivers amazing tasting, made to order ramen.  The Little Tokyo branch has a little more to offer though.  I noticed more add-ins, or toppings, and a few more entrees.  My girlfriend and I were happy enough that we didn’t have to drive out of our way to one of the other locations, but to know this location has a little extra is just the icing on the cake.  The staff is very welcoming and attentive.  I also enjoy the decor of this location much more than the other two, except for the fact that this one doesn’t have the “traditional” sit on the floor table like the Gardena one.  The ramen sieve/strainer chandelier was definitely a nice touch though!

After dinner, the girls did some shopping so I did some photo taking.  I didn’t come up with much though since I tried travelling light that night with camera and lens only; no accessories.  It’s very difficult to get any decent shots at night with low lights, no flash, and no tripod.  After shopping, we grabbed some dessert/tea from Four Leaf Tea and Crepes.  Here are some shots from that night…

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APLA / Walk On – Comedians, Filmmakers, and Meg&Dia Show Support

For me, September 13th, 2011 @ Flappers Comedy Club in Burbank will go down as a night to remember for several reasons.

I saw a tweet from @DiaFramps announcing that she’d be playing alongside her sister, @chandlerrobot, at a benefit show in Burbank.  Since Flappers Comedy Club is really close by, I asked my girlfriend if she wanted to go check it out.  We both like Meg & Dia and comedy shows so why not?  Went online to grab two tickets to the show and saw the flyer: Bil Dwyer, emcee;  Meg & Dia Frampton, musical guests; and Bret Ernst, headlining comedian.  It looked like a pretty good lineup so we were happy.  Little did I know, I’d meet an amazing person with an inspirational story, Joe Kibler of Walk On, and leave with a greater understanding and respect for APLA’s mission.

We got to the venue pretty early so we could get some good seats for the show.  While we were waiting, we took a look at some booths set up for the event and found ourselves drawn to the raffle table.  A very enthusiastic young man standing behind the table greeted us, explained a little about the AIDS walk and awareness, and convinced us to buy a wingspan-worth of raffle tickets.  I was pretty excited about some of the prizes, but was more so happy to just help donate to the cause.  We stuck around the table a while and were happy to see that many others were donating and purchasing some raffle tickets.  About half an hour later, they began seating people in the showroom.  We managed to get front row seats, stage right.  The rest of the crowd was made up of a few other Meg & Dia fans and several friends and family of the staff who worked on the film.  It was a decent crowd for a Tuesday night in Burbank.

Bil Dwyer, master of ceremonies, kicked the show off with a short but funny set before introducing a video.  The trailer that appeared on the screen was for an AIDS documentary entitled Walk On.  To our surprise, my girlfriend and I witnessed a familiar face throughout the scenes; a young man, born HIV+ was told he would never walk.  He was the same smiling face behind the raffle ticket booth.  Joe Kibler is raising awareness through this film and is showing everyone that even if the odds are stacked against you, it is still possible to rise above it all.  After watching the trailer, I was completely surprised to see that the person that experienced such pain and hardships is the same happy and energetic guy we saw outside.  At first glance, when I had first spoken with Joe, I would have never guessed any of these things about him!  It really was an inspirational clip and I will make every effort to go see the full film once it comes out [I believe] later this year.

The rest of the night went as expected.  Great comedic bits by the inquisitive Jimmy Brogan (Tonight Show w/ Jay Leno) and the little, cute, and very hilarious Esther Povitsky.  Then, it was the act I had been waiting for all night, Meg & Dia.  I knew they were cute, but in person they’re even prettier and there they were sitting just a couple feet away from me, up on stage.  Funny thing is, they really seem like playful goofballs too, which is an incredible plus in my book!  Carlo Gimenez, their lead guitarist, also jumped on stage and joined them for a couple songs.  I was captivated as they performed three songs before their allotted time was up.  But as they were walking off stage, the crowd and even Bil Dwyer urged them to perform one more.  They obliged and I’m glad they did because they performed a song I had not heard before, Daniel.  Meg definitely won me over with the way she could play a guitar (Dia even called her out on it once during their performance) and of course Dia’s voice is absolutely charming and amazing! (photo right)

Finally, Bret Ernst, graced the stage to end the night.  He had a great set and kept the crowd laughing hard.  Some bits may have been a little over the top and slightly vulgar, but that’s comedy right?!  Throughout most of the set he seemed to be expressing much of his “guido” side (as he put it), but at the very end really rounded back to the real reason and purpose for the night.  He shared a very personal story about his older brother and how he, himself, really makes an effort to come out to these benefit shows to help spread awareness.

After the show, I was hoping to get a picture with Joe, but he looked pretty busy.  Everyone wanted to talk to him and he was surrounded by people so I figured I’d just let him enjoy his night.  Instead, we headed to the little waiting room area where Meg & Dia were selling their latest CD, signing autographs, and taking pictures.  Even though I already bought the Cocoon CD from iTunes, I ended up purchasing a hard copy of the album so I’d have something they could sign for me.  I got up to them and just couldn’t seem to form any words;  I just handed Dia exact change for the CD and she smiled and jokingly said “Yay, no big bills!”  I smiled and asked if they could sign the CD and if I could take a picture with both of them.  They are such incredibly sweet and generous girls, friendly, and happy to support the cause.  I really wish I could have spent more time with them, but I didn’t want to hold up the line.  Nikko got to take a picture with them as well.  Here they are!

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We came to Flappers that night just looking to enjoy a night of comedy and music, but we left with much more.  We didn’t win any raffle prizes, but were rewarded knowing that our money was going to something special.  Thanks to all the people involved with this night and Flappers Burbank for hosting a great show!  The event really opened our eyes and we both hope to participate in the AIDS Walk LA this year.  Please come out and join us!  It’s all for a great cause!