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Personal

  • Shalom + John Engaged in the Redwoods

    Just a fare warning: this is going to be longer than my normal posts… but I can’t help it, because this is one of my very best friends and it had been something in the works for almost two months.

    Back in July, John had messaged me about his upcoming proposal. He mentioned that he wanted to do it over a weekend in late August or early September and that he wanted to do it in the Redwoods in Northern California. (Shalom looovess trees.) They had picked out a ring way back in January so this girl knew it was coming any day now. How were we supposed to catch her off guard?

    I was in Vietnam at the time and I wanted to get Shalom a gift because her birthday was coming up. However because I was across the world, I couldn’t very well send her anything. I thought I’d plan a little get-away for us to spend some quality time together; it had been ages since the two of us spent more than one day together. Shalom is a work-a-holic and I knew that the only way I could force her to take time off is if I said I had booked and paid for everything. It was perfect timing. I called her on her birthday, left a voicemail and said, “Happy birthday! Get August 24-26th off because I’m taking you on a road trip.”

    Over the next several weeks, John and I continued to plan and we almost had to figure out a plan B, because Shalom was panicking about taking time off of work. (Told you, this girl loves her job.) John ended up emailing her boss and filling him in and we were set!

    Fast forward to August 24th, I picked Shalom up early in the morning and we jet off. I forgot to mention… this girl pretty much lives in her workout clothes and prior to leaving I told her that she was only allowed to wear them while we were driving and while we were at the hotel. To convince her to bring some nice clothes for the actual moment, I told her I needed some new photos for an editorial project I was working on.

    The whole trip down, she was talking about her grand plans for the wedding as well as the moments of frustration she’s had about not being engaged by now. It was all I could do to keep cool and listen. I was pretty nervous about slipping, let’s be honest. We got in late Sunday night, caught up on all the things of life, drank Rose and watched the VMA’s before slipping off to sleep. Shalom’s last night as a ‘girlfriend’.

    The next morning, we had breakfast at the hotel and then I took her to get her nails re-done (her paint was chipping and every girl knows that their nails have to look good for the moment, right?), as well as some shopping. I thought she’d like an additional outfit for the photos we’d be taking after John proposed, so as a birthday gift she picked out a few things. I was having so much fun, knowing what was about to happen in a few hours.

    We got back to the hotel and had a few hours to kill so she hit the gym and I hit the hot tub. As she was in the shower, I called John to see how he was getting along. John had flew in to Medford the night before and had driven down the same time we were. Because Shalom and John keep in touch pretty well, he did an amazing job not raising any eyebrows on Shalom’s end during the hours he was in the air. Anyway, John told me that he had found the perfect trail and gave me specific instructions as to where he’d be. I was really nervous about not finding the right place. The Redwoods are huge and I knew that once we were out there, cell reception would be unavailable.

    I had originally told Shalom that I wanted to do these photos on the beach, but as she was dressing I told her I thought we should hit the Redwoods that afternoon because we’d be way too tired on the drive back up the next day to stop to take photos. She was very nonchalant about it and responded with, “Whatever you think you need for your portfolio!”

    It took us about an hour to drive to the trailhead. As we were driving, she was telling me about her Pinterest board of the type of photos she wanted me to take when they were engaged. I was so tempted to ask her to show me them right then and there! Little did she know… I pulled in right behind John’s rental car (he had sent me a photo of it), and I knew that John was literally within a five minute walk of us.

    Shalom would be engaged in the next twenty minutes.

    John had asked me to come take photos of the proposal, but last minute I decided it’d be fun to make a video. I can’t really explain the emotions I felt when Shalom saw John for the first time, how her hands cupped her face, how she dropped to the ground. I can not imagine how these two felt- their rush of emotions. I can only speak for myself. But in that moment, the world literally froze for me. I’ve never experienced anything like that and I am so grateful that I was there for my friend- the spunky 7th grader with long blonde hair who was pumped on volleyball and loved her flute.

    I love you both. Thank you for letting me be a part of your lives. 

    Also, yes... it is true. The first thing Shalom said to John when she saw him was, "I have jerky breath..." Damn me, I shouldn't have let her have that beef jerky prior to starting the trail. HA!

    *This video is definitely an amateur's hand at work so I apologize in advance for the shakiness.

     

    Can't wait for your wedding! LET'S GET YOU MURPHIED.

  • The past month...

    The past month... whoa, it's been non-stop-let's-do-this. Weddings, road trips, seniors, engagements and proposals, maternity and friends and family and a backpacking trip. I've stopped for a moment in the midst of this beautiful season of life and realized that if my life were to end today, I'd be so content. I've produced some of my favorite images in this last month and I can't wait to share all of the stories and all of the goodness. So many feelings and emotions. I am very happy to be alive and to document such beautiful glimpses of God's grace. Here's a preview of what's to come. 

  • 2013: A Collection of Moments

    Well this is late, but so necessary… mostly for me. By the time another year ends, work slows down and along with it, my drive to do anything creative. Looking back through another year makes me grateful and if anything, inspires me to continue do what I love. 2013 was a good one-- dreams I forgot about came true, I continued to meet more and more people who allowed me to experience more life, and I grew. All of these individual lives intwertwined with mine, the faces- the beautiful faces- I get to capture... you are incredible and your lives extraordinary.

    Thank you for giving me the means to do this. 
    PS: Play some magic while perusing these.

    A special thanks to Mary Frances, Kate Price, Tonhya Wysong, Marissa Maharaj and Jenny Boyle for allowing me to work and learn alongside you wonderful talents.

  • We Spread the Love Fundraiser!

    I've been wanting to do this for awhile, but wanted to wait until I was able to share with you words and photos of my time over in Uganda. Recently I turned 24 and this year, my biggest wish is to raise at least $240 to send to Arise and Shine Uganda to help the kids have an amazing Christmas. (You can see how they celebrated last year here.) Mary is headed there again in less than two weeks and I want to send a gift along with her. Here’s how you can help!

    I designed a newspaper for my Senior project this last Spring inspired by Mary’s new organization We Spread the Love and of course the orphanage! This is a 16-page (8 spread) piece that features Mary’s wonderful photography of the children. You can see more photos of it here, read more in-depth about the project here and learn how you can use it to spread love!

    I printed a limited amount and only five available copies. These are going for $48, which includes shipping. This will total $240 if I'm able to sell all of them! Along with newspaper, you'd also be getting two prints pictured below! 

    I've also sent up a print gallery of a few select prints. Purchase one or two as a gift for this upcoming holiday season!

    TO BUY THE NEWSPAPER, CLICK HERE.

    TO VIEW THE PRINT GALLERY, CLICK HERE.

    Thank you soo much for your support and love. Be sure to check out what Mary's up and what the orphanage is up to!

  • Uganda | March 2013

    It is difficult to believe that exactly eight months ago from yesterday, I was stepping off a plane on American soil home from an adventure that inevitably changed my heart and its desires for the better. Going to Uganda has been a longtime dream and this trip was the fruit of something planted in my heart years ago—a seed that I had long forgotten.

    On March 16th, Yvonne and I boarded a plane bound for Entebbe. My friend (and incredible photographer) Mary had been in Uganda for a few short months and the trip’s intentions were to visit her and to spend time with the children at Arise and Shine Uganda, a babies’ home and orphanage. At the time, we were all I’m sure a little frustrated at the timing of Mary being ill with malaria… but looking back, God had his hand on every portion of this trip.

    We were there for seven short but very full days. I had just finished the toughest quarter of school and my desires were simply to rest and to spend time with Yvonne and Mary. My friend Julie had just moved to Gulu two months prior and she made an eight-hour trip down to see us too—so much love for you! I met all of Mary's friends who were all so hospitable and kind. Along the way, we had many adventures and conversations that put my soul so much at ease.

    I won’t paint an unrealistic picture while I was over there. We weren’t in rough conditions or anything like that. Jinja is very much a tourist town. The greens were lush and the dirt so saturated. Uganda truly is a beautiful place. We spent afternoons at The Keep, a local restaurant with great milkshakes or The Source, a rad café that brought internet to Jinja for the first time. Yvonne and I spent many hours reading, writing or simply reflecting. It didn’t matter what we were doing really— one afternoon we spent at the doctor’s with Mary just laughing about the silliest things. We went on a boat ride in the Nile River, and ventured to Sipi Falls—a three-tier waterfall. Truly one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever experienced.

    Visiting the babies’ home made my heart so full. It’s true what they say about the kids jumping on you and wanting only to be held… which was incredible because that is the one thing I am able to do. In situations like this, I can only think of the Kingdom. It does no good to compare the conditions these children are in to the ones we are used to. I think about how much God loves these children, these humans, these lives… they are the kingdom. They embody all of the things our culture craves—authenticity and contentment. I brought my journal along and let the kids draw in some of my pages and I smile every time I open up these pages with these tiny little drawings...

    One afternoon, Mary took us to visit the Street Child Project. (DO check out their beautiful website if you have a minute to spare.) Spending time with these young boys who used to live on the streets was the highlight of my trip. I kid you not, they were some of the most well behaved boys I’ve ever had the privilege of meeting. We played ‘futball’, Yvonne taught some of them how to play the guitar and in exchange they taught her how to play the drums… We arm-wrestled and they let me win. Time passed all too quickly as the boys passed my camera around and I, sitting in this place so humbled… 

    I have to go back.

  • A Day in Huntington Beach

    Maybe you recall my friend Chapman. Long story short, I met him while I was in Italy two years ago. About a month ago, I was in California vacationing and was able to make it down to Huntington Beach one afternoon to visit him before he headed back to Italy. Yvonne and I were able to check out his art show which was incredible, to say the least. You all should definitely check out his work here

    You guys, this day was one of my favorites of 2013 for sure. I know it's a bold statement, but Yvonne and I were just so blessed. We showed up, without any swimsuits, and Chapman had a pile of 'em to pick from. I met his whole family and some more, including his 91-year-old grandma who has energy from I-don't-know-where. We rode bikes to the beach and hung out in the ocean for a bit. Chapman's family owns the company Hamboards, which are basically long skateboards that give you the sensation of surfing (landsurfing). Over the years, they've developed other boards too. Anyway, we got to check all of those out around his neighborhood. We spent the rest of the evening hanging out, hot tubbing, eating dinner around a fire place and spending time with his fam bo bam. We were so honored to meet Emma, one of Chapman's childhood friends who is currently fighting bone cancer. She is an incredible human being and I loved having the chance to photograph her. 

    Chapman, thanks for this day.

    Hamboards was recently featured on the ABC show, Shark Tank. Check it out here!

  • Karyn and Soon-to-be Baby Petra

    While on the last leg of my three-week self-declared "vacation", I was able to visit my lovely cousin Karyn and her husband Asif.... oh I guess I musn't forget Pepper and their tortoise, Huckleberry. Karyn has a little bun in the oven that is due this coming November (the best month, if you ask me). I loved that beautiful California sunlight... (but by the time I left, I was ready for the PNW because it was hot, hot, hot).

    Karyn, I am excited to welcome baby Petra! Congrats.

  • Going on Vacation!

    Hey friends!

    Thanks for stopping by my blog and checkin' it out. This summer's been a crazy one and my head's been kinda everywhere. I've been shooting some incredible weddings, and have seen some real neat sites. Anyway, I will be out of the country for two-ish weeks on a little bit of a break, so please excuse the delay in response to emails. I will get to them as soon as I can. Until then, check out my most recent posts because I've been a blogging machine. Annndd because no blog post is complete without a photo, here's one of me in Portland a few weeks ago after a wedding.

    *If you are wondering, I am currently booking for 2014 so send your inquiries my way ladies and gents.

  • Oanh + Van | Houston, TX

    Van is the first and the longest friend I've had and since he's married now... I think I'm in the clear to say that I'm too fast approaching adulthood. Van's known that Oanh was the one since they met in high school. I learned this during his vows, which definitely made me tear up... I can't believe how much time has gone by! Their wedding day was truly a celebration of not only their love, but also one that celebrated all the people that have supported them throughout their relationship.

    I don't know if there's a better girl for Van or if there's a better guy for Oanh- these two are meant to be, without a doubt. I had such a great time hangin' out in Texas for the first time with them and new friends. In-between their ceremony and reception, we stopped at Tapioca House... where Van worked for seven years and where many of their friends are currently employed. We enjoyed some lunch and boba tea! Van even went behind and made some drinks for the crew. It was so obvious how close-knit his crew is there- his boss even closed the shop early to attend the reception. The day after their wedding, a group of 30+ of us headed to Schlitterbahn Waterpark in Galveston Island and spent the day there. Talk about community. Below are some silly disposables I took from my weekend there. Thanks for having me! Love you both.

  • Tessa

    Tessa's one of those girls that just glow. She is a one of the kindest people I've ever met and sharing a house with her this past year was so much fun. We put together a fun shoot last month with one of her old pageant dresses and had a blast. Think forest nymph ;)

  • Oregon Coast

    About a month ago, I hopped in a car with two of my best girl friends and we had a mini vacation down in a little town called Gearhart on the Oregon Coast. The weather was absolute perfection and everything was too good to be true. We rode bikes into town, ate our pastries and sipped on iced coffee, we walked on the beach in shorts and laughter, caught a beautiful sunset... we watched old movies like An Affair to Remember and French Kiss... drank real expensive champagne and did a wine tasting, took baths and read The Great Gatsby. You guys, I'm not exaggerating any of this- it was a dream and I can't wait to go back.

  • 31 Bits + Krochet Kids International

    I wanted to share some great organizations on the blog today (all having to do with Uganda!) As many of you may know, I recently went on a trip there. 'Twas a dream come true. I was able to visit my friend Julie who is currently the Operations Director for 31 Bits. I was gifted with a beautiful necklace and wanted to show it off ;) Do yourself a favor and check out their work and support the women in northern Uganda! Their summer line launches tomorrow!

    The second organization I wanted to mention is Krochet Kids International. They work with people in Peru and Uganda, empowering them to rise above poverty. I adore this beanie I recently got from there (thanks Katie!) If you spend over $50 in the month of May, you'll receive free shipping! Annnnnd they just released their Childrens' line today. 

    Some great organizations guys, help support Uganda! It truly is a one-of-a-kind place and unmatched by anything I've experienced. I look forward to the day I'll be able to share with you some of my images from my time there.

  • Zach

    He's only been taking lessons for a few years... but you'd never know. Zach is an incredible pianist and he has quite the reputation for being one of the friendliest people you'll ever come across, which is true I've come to find out for myself. He's a stud and you can catch him on the keys May 6th at First Free Methodist Church.

  • Julie

    The first time I met Julie was was when we were planning an 18-hour road trip down to Indio, California for Coachella. Yeah, that was a good time. This girl is strong-headed, strong-willed and one of the most independent women I know. She inspires the hell out of me. I asked if I could snag a few shots of her before she moved to Uganda a few months ago. This was before I was 100% sure I was going to be able to travel over there, but guess what? I get to see her next weekend as I'm leaving for Uganda tomorrow! Happy Friday! Hope you're enjoying that sunshine; I know I am as I'm listening to JT's new album. Good stuff.

    *Last three frames taken with a Canon AE-1 using Portra 160 film.

  • Heidi + Dan

    Last Saturday, I went on an adventure day with Dan and Heidi up near the mountains. It was foggy in the city, but it was gorgeous out up there. These are dear friends of mine and these photos don't even do half the justice of the ridiculousness of the two of them in front of the camera. They laugh with each other a lot, they love each other even more, and their wedding this coming August is going to be nothing short of an adventure. It's been a long time comin' and I can't wait :) Also, is that ring not killer? Heidi may have mentioned it once, but Dan was spot on.

  • New York, New York! | Sept '12

    Well, we managed to do it all on this trip. We stayed at a hostel, a hotel, an AirBnB spot and a friend's home.... all within 5 days. Non-stop goodness. That's what this trip was. Ever since the beginning of last year, I had had an urge to go back to New York and I didn't think it would happen. But Bri called me up one night and said, "Let's just do it." So with no hesitation, we bought our tickets and were on a plane in early September for one last summer adventure. 

    I loved (almost) everything about this trip. (We had a few mishaps with plane delays and a sketchy hostel situation). I managed to see so many friends out there: Ty, who I had a met a few years earlier at Coachella through a mutual friend, happened to be out there the same time we were so we met up one evening and scootered around HIghline. Jennah and Shane... friends of mine who recently moved up to Syracuse. (You may recall their wedding here). Andrew, who I met to Brooks with a few years back... I hadn't seen him in about 3 years... and finally our friend Lyndsay who was out in New York studying creative writing for the semester.

    We walked through Central Park, we went up the Top of the Rock annnnd the Empire State building. We saw a Jimmy Fallon monologue, we drank Blue Bottle Coffee. We stopped by the Mast Brothers Chocolate store in Williamsburg. We visited the MoMA. We caught a train up to upstate New York. We saw Niagara Falls and walked over to Canada. We caught a cab and nearly missed our flight home. We had an incredible time.

  • La Push

    We got on ferry when it was still dark out. When we got off the ferry, hours later... it was dark out. It was almost as if time froze and life had continued. In reality, we had just spent the whole day swept up by the wind, watching our friend try to catch some waves, collecting beach trinkets, drinking some real good coffee and consuming soup... browsing in a bookstores and general stores in the utopias of towns... I had brought my camera along, but we stopped at a store at the beginning of the day and I decided I'd rather just carry a plastic lightweight camera instead... and then I would capture these beauties.

  • Greece // December 2011

    A little over a year ago, I traveled to Athens with one of my best friends, Joe. We were there for 3.5 days, but managed to do so much. I have always wanted to go to Greece, ever since seeing The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. Haha. Well, the place I was thinking of was actually Santorini... an island off in Greece. We didn't have enough time to make it out there, but I am glad we were able to explore Athens. (Also you can bet that I'll make it out to Santorini in my lifetime... along with Mykonos and Thessaloniki.)

    It was incredible to see the Acropolis... and to have seen the pieces from it in the British Musuem only a few months before. It was rad to have read Acts the morning before we climbed up Mars Hill where Paul preached the gospel. Authentic Greek food is amazing-- so much better than in the States. We saw the reddest sun setting I have yet to see in my life. We got a ride on a bike with a local, we drank a lot of Coke and we had a grand old time. We made a Coldplay music video (no shame), we played cards, we lived it up. It was also so nice to get away from the cold weather in Italy and be in jeans, a t-shirt and my Birks.

    This is the last installment of blog posts from my European travels from August to December 2011. For those of you have only been recently following me, I was out there studying abroad in Florence, Italy for four months. On the weekends, we would travel... and travel we did!

    During my time out there, I went to a total of 11 countries and over 25 cities. I would recommend doing this to anyone. It was an adventure of a lifetime. You can see my blog posts of Istanbul, Venice, Paris, Rome, and Prague/Vienna by clicking on the links. 

    Before Joe and I left, we had thought it would be fun to do a video series of our travels. They were entitled The European Experience... I helped with a little filming here and there, but Joe was the man when it came to putting them together. You can check 'em out here. You'll notice that I was playing the super touristy role and Joe played the know-it-all. One of our friends Mandie was able to join for the first 2 weeks of our travels and you'll notice her in the beginning videos.

    I am so so so thankful for my time over there and would do it again in a heartbeat.

  • Two Thousand and Twelve

    2012.

    What a year. 

    The people in these photographs are pretty dang amazing. I'm thankful for them. My goal this year was to photograph 10 weddings. 10 weddings I photographed. Can you believe that I came into this year with nothing on the books? Yeah... neither can I. I did so much this year, met so many incredible people, traveled, and completed 23 years of life. 

    I could say so much more, there is much I want to say... but I don't quite know how to put it into words. But you guys, 2013 is gonna be somethin' big. I can feel it in my bones.

    A shoutout to the following talents (in no particular order) who I was privileged to meet, work and play with, and also who have shown me incredible amounts of support and encouragement. Any encounter with other creatives always inspires me... (and we always laugh a whole bunch). Kate Price, Karen Obrist, Stephanie Dolen, Sarah + Chris Rhoads, Marissa Maharaj, Jenny Linquist, Karen Wang, Mandie Sodoma, Yee Feng, Shelby PayneTim Dolen, Cara Robbins, Matt Wier, Andrew Roque, Willie Kessel, Julia Pulliam, Ty FergMatti Schumacher, Nick Hartigan, Brad LeachLauren Belknap, John Robert Woods, Alex Herbig, Phil Chester, Chantal Andrea, Tonhya Kae, Jeff Marsh and Kristen Marie.

  • To the Coast!

    To the Coast | The Roaming Tree from Dorothy Huynh on Vimeo.

    It was time to get out of the city, to turn off the phone, to adventure with some friends and get some quiet. Together with my friends Matt and Matti, we spent last Friday at the coast. We literally just drove around, took photos, and had hearty conversations. Matt started a community Facebook page a bit ago called The Roaming Tree, which encourages people to have adventures every day. I think that many of us believe we don't have the ability to get out and have this particular life that we see on social media platforms (like Tumblr or Instagram), but the reality is... it's definitely feasible. You just have to go out and do it. Go spend time outside... even if you can't gather friends. Often it is more difficult to spend time with yourself than it is to spend time with a bunch of people. There were moments this day where none of us talked to one another... we were in our own spaces, lost in our own thoughts and that's totally okay.

    I hadn't taken personal photos in a long time, because I knew that if I did I wouldn't have time to edit them... so it was lovely to pick it up again and take photos for the hell of it. I decided to also expand my horizons a bit and film some clips from our day in the video above. There really isn't a narrative, just moments. I loved this day.

    "And God, let me enjoy this. Life isn’t just a sequence of things waiting to be done..." - Ze Frank