To the Future and Beyond

Title: Castle in the Sky Model: Tri Nguyen

As I enter the next 8 weeks of our semester and begin my internship with White Orange productions I can’t help but feel a sense of pride of how far I’ve come since entering the program just a year ago. I’ve stepped out of my comfort zone and pushed myself in ways I didn’t know I was able to. My journey at RCC has been one of growth and gratitude for the people I’ve met and had the pleasure of learning from and learning beside.

This creative composite I made for my digital imaging class is not only a great example of how much I’ve learned in the past year but also symbolic of my journey now and how I look to the future. In a sense I am looking for my castle in the sky and I am ready to begin my journey searching for it. If it’s something I can’t find I know then I must build it myself.

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma-which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

-Steve Jobs

This quote resonates in my thoughts on a daily basis and I know that I am on the right path; my own path.




Digital Image Technology


This week we were assigned to photograph a panorama. I really wanted to photograph at golden hour but with our final portfolio coming up I didn’t have as much time to shoot this assignment as I would’ve liked.

Nonetheless, I still drove out to Winston Salem to Quarry Park for it’s stunning view which includes the city’s skyline. If you haven’t been, it’s worth the stop if you’re in the area. In fact, the park just opened on August 17, 2017. It was a five million dollar project that was approved back in 2014. The park is located at 2450 Reynolds Park Road, next to the William Roscoe Anderson Jr. Recreation Center.


Creative Composite

I’ve always been fascinated with the world of creative composite. I was first inspired by this conceptual type of work when I first viewed Erik Johansson’s work. From that moment I knew that I wanted to do similar type of photography. I love the idea of creating a different reality and using my imagination to change a perspective.

Screen Shot 2017-09-22 at 7.34.03 PM.pngScreen Shot 2017-09-22 at 7.34.50 PM.png

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Photographer: Erik Johansson

For this week, we are creating our own creative composite. These are a few images that I was inspired by and hope to use to create my final image. I love the idea of using my little nephews to create a piece that will capture their innocence and playfulness. And I also want to play with the idea of “Honey I shrunk the kids.”

Portrait/Background Composite

This week in digital imaging technology we learned how to composite subjects onto different backdrops. For our lab, we photographed several different scenery with natural light and then tried to copy that lighting in studio by shooting three different subjects with three different types of lighting.

By chance, we were also assigned a self visualization for our photographic illustration class where we had to tell a story of where we see ourselves in five years. This assignment is a visual manifestation of where we imagine ourselves in 5 years.

Having come from a business background with a degree in Finance I never imagined pursuing my love for photography. I left the safety of my family business of 12 years to start something new and though the future is unknown I know I am headed in the right direction. I hope to continue honing and perfecting my craft so that I might one day showcase my work in a prestigious fine art gallery in LA or NY. The only limitations we have is our ability to create them.

I used the skills we learned from our lab to create this composite piece:

In 5 years I am showing my work in a fine arts gallery. I used images I shot this semester to “showcase” on the wall.

To give you something to compare it to, here is the original photo I pulled from the internet:

Art Gallery.jpg


This was my first attempt and it was definitely a stretch trying to photograph myself with similar gallery style lighting while maintaining the shadows to match the mood of the original photo but I had fun doing it and I know I’ll only get better.

Advanced Portrait Retouching

For this week’s blog post assignment we were asked to photograph a client we didn’t know very well for a portraiture session. In our consultation we needed to ask how our client wanted to be portrayed and what they wanted to get from the photo session.

Meet Noah Whiting, a young vibrant spirit with a love for the mountains. I’ve gotten to know her fairly well through our meeting and she tells me that being out in the mountains is truly where she feels at home. There’s nothing quite light the fresh mountain air and the incredible views from far atop the peak. We all have a certain place we like to go to “get away” and center ourselves and I knew that I had to photograph Noah where she felt the most at peace. Naturally, we drove out to Pilot Mountain for our photo shoot. I love photographing at this location because it’s only an hour away from where I live and the views are visually stunning. I knew I wanted to shoot when the sun was setting.

Here is the Before and After of my favorite shots:


DC: Toki Underground


Red Miso – 13.5
red miso infusion, braised pork, greens, soft egg, pickled ginger
Fried Chicken Steamed Buns – 8/15 Japanese mayo, sweet chili sauce, seasonal pickles, cilantro, thai basil

I’ve always wanted to start a blog of all the restaurants I frequent on my travels. I’ve been lucky enough to have gone many places in my life and eaten so many amazing meals that I almost filled with a sense of guilt. Guilt for never having documented any of it. So many meals shared with so many amazing people and over even more interesting conversations. I guess you have to start somewhere.

Anthony Bourdain is my life’s guru. Seeing what he does on his many travels and experiences; you can’t help but wonder what it would be like to fill his shoes. It is a dream of mine to travel the world and eat amazing diverse foods while completely submerged in the rich cultures that reach near and far.

One can only dream.

Though I may not be as an articulate writer or a world renowned bad ass as Anthony Bourdain, it sure as hell ain’t gonna stop me from trying.

Over the summer break, I took a few days to travel around DC. About 5 and a half hour drive from where I live here in Greensboro,NC. First stop was this little ramen shop called Toki Underground. A fusion of Taiwanese and Japanese flavors combined into a bowl of ramen; I had to give it a try.

The red miso ramen was packed with umami. The broth layered with depths of flavors topped with fresh greens with tender braised pork.

The fried chicken steamed buns were crispy and filled with spicy punches of flavor but the Ramen was definitely the star.

Though I’ve had better ramen ,even in Cary,NC, this was definitely a contender. The small shop is reminiscent of those that might mimic Japan’s busy cities. Though I haven’t traveled to Japan it’s definitely on the top of my list; and when I do, I definitely will be sharing every meal good and bad.

Can’t wait to share more of my favorite meals from my travels and hopefully



Basic Portrait Retouching

This week in our Digital Image technology class we went over a few basic retouching tools in Photoshop. We photographed three of our fellow classmates in hot lights, LED, and strobes and had to retouch and color correct each photo according to the lighting setup.

Photoshop really is a photographer’s tool that helps us to create stunning images. As photographers we want to ensure that the quality of each photo is a testament to its subject. We don’t want to alter the true qualities of the subject but rather highlight their best ones.

Photography is a constant evolving art technologically. We have to keep up with new technology and push ourselves to improve and learn everyday. I am excited to play and learn more and to continue improving my craft and love for photography.


Small Product: Barbasol Shaving Cream

Photographic illustration: 

I decided to shoot shaving cream. I spray painted the “mountain” of razors orange to compliment the blue and incorporated aloe plants to mimic a forest and of course to emphasize the “soothing aloe” labeled on the can. I Suspended little clouds made from shaving cream and used dry ice to give the photo some movement.

I’ve become obsessed with conceptual photography and really want to fine tune my photoshop abilities to really bring my ideas to life. In the meantime, I am enjoying the journey in photo school and want to soak up as much knowledge as I can. I’m surrounded by inspiration and I know I’m on the right path.


Behind the scene setup


The Great American Eclipse 2017

August 21, 2017

The last total eclipse in the continental U.S. was 38 years ago on Feb. 26, 1979. Even then, it only touched 5 states in the north west.

I knew I needed to be in the path of totality so I traveled down to Lexington, SC with a few friends hoping to capture the astronomical phenomena in a few photographs. We had a speaker come out to talk about how to photograph totality in our summer course and mentioned purchasing safety glasses and most importantly solar filters (about 16 stops difference in light) . Honestly, I felt in over my head but I was determined to  make it work.

After watching several youtube videos I nervously held my makeshift solar filter and placed it onto my 200mm lens. Luckily I was using my crop sensor so in actuality it was more like a 300mm. I bracketed my shots (5 fps at 1/3 stops) and used a chart to determine my exposure. I believe I was at ISO 100 f/8 @ 1/200 before totality and ISO100 f/8 @ 1/100 during totality with solar filter off of course. I shot these mainly between the first and third stages but was really bummed I missed the exposure to capture the “diamond ring”. The above image is a composite of the different stages I was able to capture.

It was worth the three hour drive down and yes even the 6 hour traffic induced drive back home. I believe they estimated 500,000 to a million people driving into South Carolina alone. We set up our picnic at Lake Murray and the crowd wasn’t as bad as I imagined. Huge clouds weaved in and out between the sun and it was extremely hot but we were lucky enough to see totality without any obstruction. It was just as amazing as you’d imagine and more. The light changed quickly and the glow from the solar eclipse was nothing I’ve ever seen. The temperature dropped and the crickets and cicadas started to chirp and sing thinking it was night. The total length of totality was about 2 minutes and 40 seconds. Can’t wait for the next eclipse here in the states on April 8 ,2024!



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