Addiction to Escapism: Phuket

My body's time clock is completely off right now, but I will say this: traveling will always be worth it. In the past two and a half weeks, I've lived out of a suitcase, but when you see beaches like the ones I was fortunate to photograph in Phuket, all that jetlag just melts away. The first post from Thailand was on my stop in Bangkok; enjoying the relaxation of a beautiful resort and some city sites. Now, we head over to Phuket... 

It was impossible to not snap pictures at every juncture. Luckily, that's exactly what my photographic sponsor, Lands' End wanted! The journey is such a shared experience between myself and the brand, capturing beauty and experience just makes so much sense for us both. Well, without further ado, here is my curated selection of images from Phuket.

I couldn't believe this water. I have never seen a beach with water such a gorgeous color. This was the beach within a ten minute walk from our house - Nai Harn Beach. It's very low key, especially since we visited during Thailand's wet season.

We linked up with a couple friends to visit Kata Beach. It's a in a more populated area, with tons of tourist attractions so it wasn't as low key as Nai Harn. After several hours of swimming and accrued sunburn, we headed back home but with a stop to check out the view in the rearview. This is the Karon View Point. It looks down on Kata and another beach for which the name escapes me.  If you walk around the area, you can just stare out into and endless view of the water...it just goes on and on and the way the sunlight interacts with the surface of the water is something special.

I can't say I'm not a thankful and gracious friend. My best friend's mother owns a property near Nai Harn Beach and we were able to kick it for a week at no cost. The view is nothing but lush in all directions. I would sit out by the pool and read for hours. This is the type of peace you have to travel to find.

As I mentioned, it was rainy season so when it cooled off at night you could get away with a little more clothing. Honestly, my skin started hurting from sun exposure, so it was sort of a relief. I decided to toss on some nice flannel grey pants and I carry around my black crewneck sweater for when that AC gets a little too aggressive.  And of course, my new favorite t-shirts are the Super Pocket-T by Lands' End...It's easy to put together casual and comfortable with the Lands' End assortment.

One day, we decided to stroll by Friendship Beach but the tide was a little high and so there wasn't much beach to chill on. It was awesome though because it's cool to see boats right up on shore. I'm just dreaming of cruising around with no itinerary and not a thought in my head - lovely.

It was a little overcast when we made it over to Bangtao Beach, but the hour long drive from our place was still rewarding. Tons of kids were learning to surf, tiny baby crabs scurrying around, and coconut water straight from the coconut that is near and dear to my heart. Man, I love coconut water haha...I wish nobody would have ever told me about it. Anyway, that's a wrap on my Thailand trip...I'm already putting money to the side to go back in the near future. The Land of Smiles is literally just a good feeling place to me. Hope you enjoyed the journey vicariously!

Addiction to Escapism: Bangkok

Greetings, live from Thailand! On another adventure that has brought me half way around the world to the beautiful country of Thailand; first stop, Bangkok.  This was my first time to Asia, so I must send a warm thank you to my continual partner and sponsor Lands' End for supporting my photography and making this happen.

I'm on a journey with two friends, Laetitia and Rochelle. Together, we're embarking on a journey that has been nothing short of luxe and inspiring, among tons of other words I could have used. I'm doing my best to record some of the sights and experiences for you, not only on Instagram but on the blog as well, so follow along!

In Bangkok, we stayed at the wonderful 5-star hotel The Siam. I will say, I've never stayed at something even remotely comparable. I stayed in place they call "Connie's Cottage," a two-floor cottage complete with rainfall shower and private pool...not to mention a day bed and porch for relaxing. (I hate to mention this, but I also had a butler!) Below are some shots of the common area property for all guests.

And some shots from the cottage itself...

Photo by Rochelle Gan | Single Pleat Shorts & Pocket T by Lands' End

Photo by Rochelle Gan | Single Pleat Shorts & Pocket T by Lands' End

It can be pretty hot and humid during the rain season in Thailand, so I tried to keep it nice and light. T-shirt and shorts at all times...or T-shirt and swim trunks etc. I have this Short Sleeve Super-T with pocket in black and white but they make in all sorts of colors. Also, these are the Pleat Front Chino Shorts - the fabric is nice and breathable, you won't regret them. At night it cools off a bit and you can get away with a little more. Above is a shot in front of my friend's pool villa. Everything about The Siam read good taste and never overdone.

Photo by Laetitia Loffredo | Single Pleat Shorts & Pocket T by Lands' End | This is my compound!

Photo by Laetitia Loffredo | Single Pleat Shorts & Pocket T by Lands' End | This is my compound!

I have the worst food allergies, so I had to stay away from a lot of Thai food, but no problem. They took care of us!

When on vacation, you must lounge.  As I get older, I've started to appreciate a more modest cut swimsuit. A couple inches above the knee will do it. It also doesn't hurt that my Lands' End trunks have the added bonus of shake dry technology that'll help you get less wet much faster. I'm wearing the 5" ShakeDry Volley Shorts.

Say hello to my two buddies!

And the beauty of Thailand clearly doesn't stop at the border of its wonderful resorts... Check out the magnificent Wat Arun Rajwararam, or "Temple of Dawn," an amazing Buddhist temple. (The photos below were taken by my friend Laetitia.)

Ok, that's just Part I...stay tuned for more images from Phuket in Part II. I'll see you next time I can get some good wifi!

Reimagined, UGG Portraits: Christina Caradona

I met Christina once outside of one of my classic turn up spots, Westway in NYC. It was the casual type of meet and greet during a cigarette break, or ironically, I call it "coming up for air." That was my first one minute interaction and that was it. And then Coachella happened.

As mentioned in my last post, I was stationed in a house with some awesome people on behalf of UGG Australia and StyleCaster, and she was one of those people. Absolutely stunning look both on and off camera, there was no way to avoid shooting her.

As part of this two part photo series, my goal was to demystify and reimagine the brand from a personal perspective. One thing humans are good at doing is judging. We have all grown up with an idea of UGG in our heads. I know I have. Although there are perks to working with brands, such as free product and at times, pay; that doesn't mean you can't elevate your thinking. I wanted this portrait series to demonstrate two things: 1) An ability to capture a new friend/subject in a way I hadn't seen on the Internet or their Instagram accounts. 2) Bring a new perspective and breathe new life into a product that has been, in recent memory, branded as the horrible boot of sorority chicks, teens and 'tweens. (You get the picture.) I think I was able to do just that.

With that, I give you the final installation of the UGG Portrait series shot in Indio, California just 10 minutes away from Coachella at a beautiful ranch style house with some of the funniest people I've ever met. Meet Christina Caradona of Trop Rouge (although, you already know her because she's way way more popular than me).

Clothing Credits: Shirt, House of Harlow | Shorts, Finders Keepers | Hat, Stetson | Sandals, UGG

Clothing Credits: Women's Sandals, UGG | Men's Sandals, UGG

Clothing Credits: Bathing Suit, 6 Shore Road | Jeans, Black Orchard Denim | Espadrilles, UGG | Men's Cap Toe Oxford, UGG

Clothing Credit: Top, Bantuwax | Shorts, Guess | Sandals, UGG

Clothing Credit: Bikini, Olaya Beach

Reimagined, UGG Portraits: Justin Livingston

UGG was kind enough to bring me and a few other bloggers to the middle of the desert for what has become my favorite music festival thus far - Coachella. I have formed an incredibly passionate and enthralling love-hate relationship with the sun. Luckily, there was a hot tub and pool to jump into the middle of any of our fights and help me cool down.

I'm not much of a personal style blogger, but since there were so many attractive and stylish people wandering the premises, I figured I should capitalize. First up, in collaboration with UGG Australia and StyleCaster, I present part one of two of a portrait series featuring Justin Livingston of Scout Sixteen.

Clothing Credits: Shirt, 21Man by Forever 21 | Suspenders, Topman | Shorts, DL1961 | Shoes, UGG | Bandana, Topman | Bicycle, Pure Fix Cycles

Street Style | Simone Marchetti

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If not apparent to you, this is obviously one of the most stylish men I've ever had the opportunity to photograph. A sweet man who really knows how to put together a diverse set of comprehensive and stunning looks. It has been too many months since I last spoke to him, so I'm incredibly thankful to be able to reconnect in Milan.

Small Discoveries Are Paramount

There's no secret I shoot street style - mostly during fashion week. I do it for three reasons... 1) It is lucrative and rent has to get paid. 2) The thrill of the hunt. 3) The challenge of connecting to an emotion without ever speaking to the subject.

I guess what I'm trying to explain is that I understand why street style is so popular. You get to see steazy people provide you with inspiration for your wardrobe, plus it's like the two times a year when there's this informal celebrity created and you get to watch it unfold live. However, how people dress is of little importance to me. I know what to look for, but that is not the interesting part. The draw is the emotion, the behavior, the sociological connectivity. The joy is in moments where the cameras are turned towards people you expect to be photographed, but just to the left there's a girl like this.

I'm a fan of the underdog. I'm a fan of the least expected. I'm excited by snapping the unposed portrait. The challenge is the battle worth working towards, that's what keeps me on the streets. Not the glamour of wardrobe, the staged walks and smiles...it's the challenge of finding the needle in the haystack. This shot is one of the few needles you'll find each fashion week.

Places | Lover's Leap

Lover's Leap at Rock City, Tennessee

Apologies for being absent for so long. Clearly fashion week is coming and the dead period should be over soon! Haha and hopefully, I'll have way more fashion shoots and happenings to share with you. But for now...how about some more nature?

I'm toying around, as I try to rack up my retouching expertise, with different editing methods. One of those techniques is super basic but something I never thought of regarding the use of RAW files and getting the most out of them...even just the most out of one RAW file processed a couple different times. This isn't a teaching blog so I'll stop there, but here's a quick sample of one shot that I just worked on. This isn't completely polished as it isn't going anywhere special. This is about a 1.5 hour job. 

I can definitely see some weaknesses as I type this but still a fun image, and since I love site-seeing, worth a share.