12.17.2016

Playlist #12: Future Boom




O1. Mincha - Lovin' (SevnthWonder Remix)
O2. Ariana Grande - Into You (Sevnth Remix)
O3. Dua Lipa - New Love (Jarreau Vandal Remix)
O4. Ryan Weaver - Octahate (Tatsuro Remix)
O5. Madeon - You're On (Tatsuro Remix)
O6. Inas X - Love Is (SevnthWonder Remix)  
O7. Dirty Chocolate - Underwater Level
O8. Abby Diamond - Love To Watch You Leave
O9. Gravez - Seek
1O. Haan808 - Timeshift
11. StarRo - Milk

**********************************************************************************

It's been a while since I've made a playlist and I've been listening to a lot of good music, so naturally, I had to share a new one.
I was unsure how I wanted to put together this playlist because to be honest, I really don't know how to label all these sub-genres of music these days. I'd like to think of this particular mix as "Future-R&B" although the community has labeled a lot of these electronic artist's and their take on R&B with an electric remix as "Future Bass", but even then the label gets thrown around to different sounds. Like, what exactly makes a song "future bass"? But I digress, regardless of what we want to label this new genre of music, the vibe I was going for was like, if we were in a futuristic setting and maybe lived in outer space or something, what kind of R&B would I listen to on a night drive home? (I guess technically, it would always be night...but w/e. You get the point.)

I have some tried and true fav artists, namely Sevnth. Like he's probably legit my favorite artist when it comes to futuristically remixing R&B music from the past. I've recently really liked a lot of Tatsuro's stuff too. It's a little more fast-paced compared to Sevnth, who generally dabbles with R&B with some Trap sounds, but if you like any music like this, those are two artists I would definitely check out. I honestly think they deserve more recognition. I would say this genre of music sorta sounds like Disclosure (Deep House) mashed up with Porter Robinson (EDM) with some Aaliyah vocals. Does that even make sense? Probably not.

Anyway, I don't even know what I'm rambling on about. I just hope you guys will enjoy the mix.

Until next time-

11.26.2016

I Went To Hogwarts! (Sorta...)


Continuing on with my London adventures, one of the first things I did after purchasing my flight tickets a year in advanced, was buying these tickets for the Warner Bros. Studio Tour London where they had the making of the Harry Potter movies! All the real props and replicas from the movies were showcased here, how could I not go?

It actually started raining the day I went, which to be honest, made the atmosphere that much better but it was freezing cold. Coming from California, I took like a hoodie and small jacket. Big mistakes were made. It didn't matter though. All that mattered was that I was about to see the world of Harry Potter up close and personal. I was so damn excited. In fact, I was SO excited that I actually had no idea where the location of this place would be. Turns out, it's not exactly IN London. I mean....it is, but it's like wayyyyyy North east of London and I was in Westminster which is Central London. It was about an hour drive up there. Whoops. I literally told my friend about it the day I got there and he was like, "Great planning. Do you even know where it is?" And then, like legit the night before, I had to figure out how to get there. Yeah, when it comes to events and such, I kinda tend to just wing it. I'm an adult. Don't judge me.

THE GREAT HALL
First stop was The Great Hall! There weren't any floating candles sadly, but I did get to see the costumes that the cast members wore at Hogwarts.



THE YULE BALL



THE BOYS DORM
Harry slept here! No, you can't lay in the bed, sadly.


11.14.2016

TRAVELOGRAPHY: London Night



True story ya'll, I did it. I conquered my fear of going on airplanes alone and it was for a grueling 11 hours, but it was so worth it. I would do it all over again if I could. 

I decided to spread these posts out because trying to showcase my trip to London all in one post just doesn't seem like it would do it justice. And it's also just straight up impossible. I have way too many pictures. Anyway, just to reiterate, this was my first International trip. It was a bit of a culture shock, even though everyone there speaks English. London has always been a dream city of mine. I'm not sure how to explain it, I just love British culture and I don't mean because of Doctor Who (which I've never seen) or hot British men or hell, the cast of Game of Thrones. This fascination goes way back to my first year in college. I had a huge poster of Big Ben above my bed because I thought the architecture was just so cool. And that's the thing, the architecture is a big reason as to why I love London so much. The contrast between historical old buildings and the modern new buildings is what draws me to this city. After all, I am all about CONTRAST.

It also helped that I knew someone from London. He helped me learn a lot about British culture and phrases like "SWEAR DOWN FAM?" and "JOG ON MATE" and "BRUV" which is like the equivalent of "bruh". Yeah...okay, so maybe it doesn't help that he's from East London and only knows street slang but it still sorta helped. 

I'm not gonna lie, the minute I got off the plane I thought, "Wow I don't know what people are talking about with jet lag, I don't feel that shit at a--" and then bam. I literally died for the next three days. I came crawling out into the streets only at the dead of night. It was hauntingly beautiful actually, but it was sorta stupid at the same time. Therefore, I took a lot of photographs at night, and because it was late I didn't really feel like hauling my camera around. I know, what is wrong with me? I did, however, take around my handy dandy Fuji x70. Low light performance on this thing isn't its strong suit but it was pretty decent. However, I did try and capture the beauty of the night while walking around like a lost tourist at 1am and such. Actually, I probably looked more like a drunk local instead. 





Speaking of "hauntingly beautiful", Buckingham Palace is something else at 3am. I also kinda accidentally stumbled upon it because I really had no idea where I was going. Isn't yolo adventuring just the best? 



You can eat ramen until midnight on a week night!

London at night was lit fam. Can't wait to come back and try everything during daylight hours.

|| Listening To: Dornik - "Drive" ||

Stay tuned:
- Warner Bros. Studio Tour - Making of Harry Potter
- Shopping In London
- London Guide For First Timers: By an actual first timer

10.03.2016

How I Saved Enough Money To Travel



Are you one of those people who checks Facebook or Instagram and you see photos of your friends and wonder 'how the hell are you traveling AGAIN?' because that's literally my life. My friends and acquaintances and coworkers are always going somewhere and I've wondered how people can be that loaded. Here I am, 28 years old, and have never traveled anywhere outside of the continental U.S. To be honest, my excuse has always been that I was too poor to travel, but looking back on all the stupid crap I've bought over the years, I know damn well that money isn't the real factor. It's how you use your money. Anyone and I really mean ANYONE can travel the world, but it does take money and it takes some patience.

So, for the first time in my life, I will be traveling and going to London at the end of the month. I'm extremely excited to be sharing this post with you all, because I feel like a lot of people have been in my shoes and have always wanted to travel but felt like they were too broke to do it. I'm going to be extremely honest with you guys, this was--EASY to do. It just took a year to do it! So read on if you want to find out how I managed to save enough money for this trip.


THIS. RIGHT. HERE. This app is literally one of the sole reasons I was able to save up for this trip. I saved $1,300 which basically pays for every expense I need and more for my one week trip. So what is digit? Digit is an app that you link to your checking account and it saves money for you every month. Now, I know that sounds scary, and believe me I'm the most skeptical person ever and I didn't trust this thing at first, but it's actually had great reviews from very legit websites and it made sense. What the app does is it monitors the spending in your checking account and saves money every day accordingly. So if you have $100 in your checking balance, digit will squirrel away $0.50 or something small like that. If you have $1000 sitting in your checking balance, it will save a little more.

The idea is that you aren't really missing the amount of money being taken away, because you won't really notice it gone. That's what makes this app so genius. We all tend to have spending habits that are less than perfect, and sometimes it can be hard to really track all of your spending in a month, especially if you have a lot of unforeseen activities happening. So digit checks out and sees the money that is NOT being spent that month, and saves some chump change away each day without you noticing! This app is perfect for someone like me, who isn't very good with managing money and have a hard time being consistent with saving small amounts each month. There are even a lot of times where I tell myself "I have no money to save!" but believe me, you'd be surprised how much more you're spending when you absolutely do not need to. 



On top of using digit, I try my best (and by "best" I mean, when I remember to...) utilize the many budgeting apps out there. The one I use is called Spendee, and tbh, the only reason I chose this particular one over the hundreds of apps out there, is because the interface is graphically minimal and beautiful. I'm just being real here. Anyway, Spendee basically is a budgeting app (like Mint, which is another very popular one) that tracks your expenses every month. I'm going to be quite frank here and admit that I do not use this app every single day, as I SHOULD. I blame my extreme A.D.D..... but still, I do try to use it a few times a month, to get an overview of what I'm spending. A spending app is highly encouraged when you're planning on traveling, because you can create your own tabs for particular things, and each month you can include it in your spending report. For example, I had factored in $50 each month for traveling purposes as extra money. I wasn't always able to save up this $50 mind you because let's be real, sometimes I needed that $50 to make it through the month! But when I could, it was a nice way for me to save up some more money for the trip. You can also create specific tabs for specific credit cards. I had 3 credit card tabs on my Spendee report: One for my monthly grocery and gas spending, another for my misc payments + car insurance, and a third one for my travel credit card. 


Here's another reason why I'm able to travel this year. I planned this a year ago! 
Do some research on your destination and find out when flights are least expensive. Try to plan your vacation/trip around non-peak times. Although, in my case, London is always 'peak' times, but I chose October / November, because it's not AS busy as Winter, Summer or Spring time. Buying your ticket in advance also allows you to get pretty cheap tickets. You should also buy your hotel tickets ahead of time also. I was able to snag a prime location hotel that's smack dab in the middle of Westminster (where Big Ben and the London Eye is) for about $800 less than if I had waited just a couple of months more! Hostels are another option since they are much cheaper, or if you're lucky, know people who live there and bum off their couch. Ain't no shame! Offer to buy them food at least. 

So sometime last year, I was talking to some friends who lived in London and I told them how I've always wanted to travel there. Seriously, London has been on my Top 5 MUST-TRAVEL-TO-BEFORE-I-DIE-Destinations list since I was in high school. What attracts me most to London is the weather there. Coming from sunny Cali, everyone here is all about the sunshine 350 days a year. Me? I HATE IT. I've always been a cold/gloomy/overcast/rainy weather type of person and London seemed like a perfect place for someone like me. I could've chosen to travel somewhere else, like Japan or Korea, but I think for my first international travel, England seemed like a really perfect pick. For one, I knew people who lived there and two, everyone there speaks English. And because I am going on this trip alone, I felt a little nervous about traveling for the first time to a foreign country, so going to a place where there won't be a language barrier does help relieve some anxiety. I'm also terrified of long plane rides so....at least U.K. is only a 10 hour plane ride, as opposed to like 14+ for Asia. 


And finally, keep on thinking about your trip during the year. Seriously, for the entire year I've been planning, looking up places I want to go to and things I want to do, and thinking about what kind of photos I want to take, what cameras to take, and what foods to eat for this trip. I'm not even exaggerating, every single day I think about my trip because it's something I could look forward to. That's the beauty of planning a trip so far ahead also, you have something to look forward to CONSTANTLY. This year went by so fast for me and there were rarely days where I was sad/moody/angry for long. How could I be sad when I'd be traveling for the first time soon? Having something to look forward to not only sets your mood for the year, it makes you legit happier. I remember when I was thinking, 'man only 6 more months and I'm flying to London!' and now it's literally like 20-something odd days away. CRAZY YA'LL. ABSOLUTELY CRAZY.

Also, constantly thinking about your trip actually does help you not to spend money. I love spending money on stupid stuff....honestly...it's like if I don't get some retail therapy once in a while, I start to lose it. But throughout this year, I've actually been quite good with not splurging too much (I say this, as I just recently bought THIS THING...SMH.) and we're all human. It's not like I've been perfect with my money either, but it does HELP. There are times where I bought something and thought, 'wait...I could use this money to shop at Skinny Dip London! F*ck this' and I end up returning it (true story). So like I said, think about your trip and find out if there's any stores you'd love to visit while you're there. 

The reason I wanted to write this post so badly, was because I feel like I am always held back by lack of money. I've always felt this inferiority with other people who were able to take vacations twice a year and travel and that's something I've always wanted to do but felt it would never happen. One of the other BIG reasons I want to travel besides just to see the world, is to take photographs. Ya'll know I love my photography stuff and traveling the world will let me photograph so many new and beautiful things. I know it sounds silly, but one of the most exciting things about going on this trip, to me, is knowing I'll have so much to photograph. Follow your passion people. It'll take you anywhere you want to go. 







9.10.2016

Why I'm starting to shoot film photography



So it's 2016, we're in this era where the future of technology is booming. We're seeing some incredible tech that we only thought we'd marvel at in movies and science fiction, just a decade ago. Now we have phones that are capable of shooting DSLR-like quality photos. That's insane. It's hard to really sit back and just appreciate what we already have because technology continues to expand so rapidly. This is it. This is the future. We are living in it every step of the way. We're seeing the world change into the very science fiction we used to read about. It's cool, but with all these technological upgrades, we start to lose a sense of beauty in the simplicity of how things were. We lose a sense of romance. 

Thanks to Instagram, a lot of people have been carefully trying to curate their feeds; taking photographs in a more thoughtful way and actually thinking about their subject matter. That's honestly pretty impressive. This one app kinda changed the photography game forever. The masses are starting to understand the beauty of photography and that it's not just about pointing your camera at something and taking a picture. You can legit create art. You can create personality. You can spark a conversation. That's the power of photography. Now, with that said, it's funny because people are also starting to see the beauty of photography in a more old school sense. Film is getting popular again. This is evident thanks to the popularity of VSCO CAM. If you don't know about this app, it's basically a photo-editing app that lets you put a filter on your images. So what makes it so different and popular? Well, VSCO caters to 'vintage' filters, giving your digital photographs that old school film look. VSCO filters play off of some of the most popular films back in the day, giving off a color replication that you just can't quite recreate with just any other app. It gives back a sense of nostalgia in an age where digital is everything. 


But VSCO wasn't exactly the first in the game to bring back this old school love for film. We've been seeing it for quite some time, with the popularity of INSTAX cameras. Fujifilm is one of the pioneers of film photography, being known for producing some of the best colors in photographic film. They brought back the Polaroid hype that we knew from the 90's and repackaged it in a way that would be targeted to younger people. It was quite genius, actually. The Instax Mini cameras were a hit among youth, thanks to Instagrammers showing off their super cute selfies with this new instant film. It was "new" to the younger generation, so it was interesting and different. But to the older generation (myself included), it brought back a sense of nostalgia. I remember I had an i-zone camera and literally thought it was the coolest thing ever.



To be honest, my INSTAX is what brought on this itch to get into film.
It reminded me just how beautiful film really is. My mom has all these old photographs in binders from the 70's, 80's, and 90's, and it made me really miss seeing photos in tangible form. Everything is digital now, but digital isn't that special if you think about it. We delete photos all the time when we think it's not good enough. Film photography wasn't about what photos were or weren't "good enough". It captured a moment. And when developed, it captured that moment forever. 


Going to assume this was shot with Fuji film.
This is a photo of my mom and dad, from the late 70's. It's kind of terrible quality because I took it about five years ago, on my old Sidekick phone (lol). My old man hasn't been in our lives for the last 15 years, but this photograph was just so raw. It's so real. It captured a moment so perfectly. This was two people who were in love and who were enjoying their time together. Film is romantic. There is a certain aura about an old film photograph that just can't quite be replaced by digital. It never will be the same, even if this photograph was recreated on a digital format. It just wouldn't feel right. And I just thought to myself, 'so why try to replicate it, when I can bring it back.......'

So I started this journey recently. I just felt like, digital isn't enough. There's no soul in digital photography. Don't get me wrong, digital photography produces some AMAZING imagery, and there's so much more you can do with digital than you can with analog, but it's just different. It gives a different feel, entirely. Film replicators like VSCO and Mastin Labs, try their best to replicate that film look, but at the end of the day, it's still digital. The magic isn't quite the same. But there are some pros and cons to shooting film, and I'm finding that out very quickly. 



Pros of shooting film: You get the authentic look of film's color reproduction and quality. You can develop film and keep negatives, so that you're pretty much able to preserve that photograph in a tangible form. You can shoot manually, without batteries. Most cameras from this era use mechanical shutters, meaning you can take a photograph on the camera without needing batteries. In fact, if the camera does require batteries, it's mostly just for the electronic light meters that give better and more accurate exposures. Everything else is manual, including the lens. Film cameras are often found in thrift stores and flea markets for practically nothing. It's way cheaper than a digital camera.

Cons of shooting film: Everything is manual. It's a pro and a con, in some ways. If you're not used to shooting manual, then it's going to feel like way more work than you're used to. All the lenses are manually focused, so you won't just be able to walk around and point and shoot. You have to buy actual film. Purchasing film isn't difficult or anything, but it does get expensive over time, whereas if you just shoot digital, you'll have infinite amount of photos you can shoot, as long as your memory card allows. You also have to go and get the photos developed, after you're done shooting. And considering that film labs aren't as popular as they used to be, finding a local one, might be a drive for some. 


I also want to be honest about something. I really, really, really wanted the Sony A7, which is a full-frame camera (35mm equivalent) in a compact package. It was like, what, $1500? No big deal, right? Yeah. But no really....I was crying because I knew I wouldn't be able to afford it, not to mention I didn't even want the kit lens. But with the lens I wanted, it would've been the price of a used car. Honestly, that's a bit ridiculous for my budget. One of the things I often get asked about camera stuff is PRICING. If it seems like photography is an expensive ass hobby, it's because it is. But that doesn't mean you can't get into it. See, that's another thing that appealed to me about these analog cameras. They are 35mm cameras and are compact. I mean, yeah, you have to buy the film, but the cameras themselves are quite cheap, and you can take some spectacular quality photos with them. You have to put in a little more work of course, but that just that just makes your photograph mean something more. Also, another somewhat "pro" of film photograph, is that because you have to buy rolls of film each time, you become more thoughtful of what you're shooting. It makes each and every photograph count.

That's just the short overview of the pros and cons. Of course, there's a lot more to it than that, but I'm just learning all of this stuff myself. I wanted to introduce it on my blog because if ya'll know me, I love sharing my photographic adventures with the world. So whether you're interested in shooting film yourself, or can just appreciate the aesthetics of a vintage shooter, join me on my next photo quest, which will be periodically updated on this blog: ANALOG DIARIES. 


Thanks for reading. Until next time folks~



PS, in case you missed it. Yes, my blog named did change (again...). Read my post to learn all about the new name.

8.24.2016

Welcome to C X N T R A S T.



DBH is dead. Well, sorta. 
I decided to let go of the URL 'deadbeathustler' for my blog today. I want to say this decision came from some profound reasoning as to why I didn't feel the name would be fitting anymore, but in reality, I forgot to renew my domain name. Like, I legit can't get it back without paying a shit ton of money so......yeah. 

But I digress, even though this is the honest truth of why my URL is changing YET AGAIN....I did want to overhaul the identity of this blog and myself as a creative individual, for a long time. I just wasn't sure what that overhaul would entail. For those of you who may remember the blog's first URL (caffeineplz), I had decided about a year ago that it was no longer fitting to what I wanted to represent. I had used the online handle 'DBH' aka 'DEADBEATHUSTLER' for quite some time on other social platforms and thought it only made sense if this blog used that name. But as time went on, I realized DBH wasn't the identity of THIS BLOG. My Tumblr, maybe, but this blog was definitely not 'DBH' and what that identity represented. DBH is a persona. It's a part of me that wants to express my mind, but that's not exactly what this blog was trying to be. This blog was to represent the passionate side of my life: design, photography, and all things creative. Therefore, the name change no longer made sense to me. But not all hope is lost. 

They say third time's the charm, right? Yeah, it's kinda bullshit but whatever. I created this space to put my creative side out there but still retain my personality, and trying to find that balance has been nothing short of a struggle. But that's the beauty of our individuality. We have the freedom to create ourselves. And so, with all that said, I want to re-introduce to you all a REFRESH. I welcome you to CXNTRAST (contrast).


7.02.2016

Fauxto Spotlight: Melrose

I've been native to L.A. for the last ten years and to be honest, I've never really been to Melrose. I mean, I did once but I was drunk and the only thing I remember was being annoyed at how long it took to walk from the car to wherever the hell we were trying get to. It's a very hip / expensive kind of place filled with tons of brick and mortar shops and unique merchandising. I wouldn't call it touristy by any means, although you probably won't pass by without seeing a handful of tourists. It's more of a 'hot spot' kind of place in Los Angeles that most of the natives are familiar with. I'm going to be honest, it's really not my 'scene' (because you know, my scene is being in my room watching F.R.I.E.N.D.S. re-runs on a Saturday......) but it's a unique little place nestled in the heart of West L.A. that you'll definitely appreciate checking out. Oh yeah, and there's TONS of street art. It's practically at every corner and that makes my camera very happy.












{{ L I S T E N: }}

6.11.2016

INSTA-TIP: How To Instafy Your Crappy Pics!

I looove Instagram. What I love most about Instagram is that everything is so convenient because all the apps you need are on your phone. Take a picture. Edit it through your favorite photo apps. Upload. Done! And trying to get my feed to look really aesthetically pleasing has been nothing short of a challenge, but I welcome the challenge. The magic of Instagram is that all the photos are viewed small so you don't really need a high quality camera to get nice photos. Here are some of my favorite tips for creating that Insta-worthy pic.

Saturation: Let me tell you, almost all of my original photos are kind of ugly. Yes, you can think about the subject and composition and all that before you take a photo but sometimes you just have to take a damn photo without too much thought. This was taken at a Target parking lot, shortly after work. The sun was almost completely set so I didn't have much time to form some amazing composition. I just snapped a photo and was done with it.

Honestly, all I did here was pick a filter I liked, bring up the saturation and vibrancy so the colors of the sunset would be much more vibrant, cropped to a 1:1 aspect ratio and bam. Instafied!


Composition: Now, let's talk about objects. When it comes to a single object, it's kind of rather difficult to try and make it look interesting if it isn't already an interesting object by itself. In this case, this sort of is already an interesting object. The design of the can is visually interesting on its own, but the original composition is a bit lackluster. I took my coworker's plant and used it as a foreground image to bring out a little 'oomph' in the can of Perrier. Using the rule of thirds, I positioned the subject slightly out of center. Edit accordingly with your fav apps and voila!


Mood: These were taken on my drive to work. It was a particularly foggy morning so I thought it would be a cool photo. The original photo was clearly taken from inside of my car, as you can tell from the bottom of the photo. But visually, the original photo doesn't say much. It's a foggy day and well, that's it. But fog is cool because it brings out a mood. I think of Halloween or something dark and scary. Editing the colors can bring out that 'mood' in a photograph, which is what I tried to do here. You don't have to be dramatic about it (unless you want to be!), just subtle tweaks of saturation and highlights can do the trick. Also, cropping out the front of my car cleans up the image more and gives it a less amateur look.



Lighting: Obviously natural light is the way to go if you want your photographs to always look really crisp and clean but we can't always have that. This was a simple photo. I really didn't have much thought behind it beyond wanting to take a photo of my pretty baby. The original makes it a rather bland photo, but even if it looks bland, lighting can make it look 1000x's better! The original was taken indoors at like 9pm. In this case, I cleaned it up in VSCO and softened the saturation so that the lighting wouldn't look so harsh. The end result? Looks like I took the photo in natural light. 

People always ask me about taking photos for instagram but the funny thing is, you really can just take ANY photo any way you want to. It doesn't have to always be about some crazy thought provoking composition. It's just Instagram. It's YOUR Instagram. It should be filled with the things that reflect YOU and your life or the things you love. Make it your own. Apps are there to really bring out these images so they look visually a little more appealing. I love Instagram because you're allowed to be creative and do whatever you want. There are no real rules. Have fun with it. 

My apps of choice: VSCO, A COLOR STORY, INSTAGRAM, TADAA SLR (used in this post!)