IMPERIAL SAND DUNES

Playing and posing in one giant sandbox

Taking photos has got to be one of my favorite things to do in the world. I know, that's a pretty bold statement for such a generalized topic but it truly is. You can even read about my passion for photography

here

if you want to know more about me. Suffice to say, the moment I first heard the term "photoadventure," it was like a dream come true. Having friends who share the same love for such an

expensive

hobby makes it all the more merrier and has also allowed me to hone in on my skills and test out my creativity. 

My friend Kevin and I decided to plan our next photoadventure and chose the

Imperial Sand Dunes

 as the destination. Kevin had already visited the place before so I had full faith that the trip was going to be an awesome one. Just by looking at the photos of the place online I was pumped: Jakku-esque (for all you Star Wars fans) with breathtaking landscapes...what more could I want! After rallying up a few of our friends, we hit the road for our highly anticipated adventure.

Some tips and tricks on preparing for the sand dunes:

-

CHECK THE WEATHER

: you want to be dressed appropriately! Take a jacket in case your trip lasts till nightfall and wear shoes/sandals you won't feel annoyed walking in the sand with.

-

SUNSET/SUNRISE:

 Whichever time of the day you choose, check what time the sun is up and goes down. I prefer sunset (only b/c I can't wake up at some ungodly hour). Golden hour here is

amazing

and the moments after that small gap of time are worth staying for! 

-

MAKE A PLAYLIST:

From San Diego, this place is about a 2 hours drive aka

pretty far

. There's really not much to see along the way besides rocks and farms so create an awesome playlist with plenty of sing-along songs for you and your buddies to have fun with. 

-

SNACK IT UP:

You're going to a desert so it's a good idea to bring water and a few snacks such as granola bars, fruit gummies, and chips. Our group discussed that next time we go, we'd take some

kimbap

with us lol. 

-

TAKE A CAMERA:

 If you're a person like me and can't resist snapping away, take a digital camera. We tried taking some photos on our iPhones but the quality on the smartphone really didn't do the scenery much justice. (Of course, if you're visiting to just take in the view with your eyes, that's cool too!) I used my

Canon Rebel T3i

with the

Canon 10-22mm

lens borrowed from a friend to get the shots above. For landscape shots, it's better to go for a lens that can capture wide angles (but a 50mm lens will look great for closeups as well!)

-

WATCH THE ROAD:

 Once the sun sets, it's pretty much one road in the middle of nowhere on the drive back. Don't fall asleep at the wheel and be aware of the speed limit! Cops could be hiding out in who-knows-where. 

Hope you enjoyed the photos and let me know if you ever get to visit or have any questions about my experience! Stay tuned for a short and funny vlog about our trip that will be on my

YouTube

 channel~

Yours, 

Rachel

GOODBYE LA, CIAO ITALY


I could (not) get used to this...






























Currently still in awe that I am going to be living in the amazing city of Rome for the next 4 months. From the best gelato I've ever eaten (s/o to Giolitti) to the incredibly ancient yet equally inspiring columns of the Vatican, Rome has been everything I could have imagined it to be and more. I still pinch myself as a reminder that this isn't simply a dream or a summer getaway--it's home for me (at least for the rest of the year). 

Stay tuned for more blog posts including reviews, photo archives and more! Oh, I've also got a vlog series starting with one episode already uploaded on YouTube. Check out the video below and make sure to SUBSCRIBE & THUMBS UP if you enjoyed. 

Keep up with my INSTAGRAM for more on-the-go updates of my stay here as well!

Arrivederci, 

Rachel 


HELLO PASADENA


In the city of roses...
























Last week, my friends and I decided to have a photo adventure in the wonderful city of Pasadena! Our friend Lydia had the whole day planned for us tourists and we had opportunities to discover the many delicious foods and beautiful scenery/architecture scattered about the town. 3/4 of us had our cameras ready so lots of photos were taken--many of which the photogenic Lydia was the main subject of (at least for mine anyway). 

Here's the list of places we visited:
-Dog Haus (known for their dogs, but their burgers are amazing)
-The Pie Hole (the early grey is a MUST try)
-City Hall (where Parks & Rec was filmed!)

Pasadena is filled with a diverse rich culture and I can guarantee you will have a great time whether you go with friends, family or simply by yourself! Comment below if you've ever been to Pasadena and let me know if there's any place I missed on my last trip!

Stay cool, 

Rachel