Professional Photographer Mai Duong, the most enthusiastic photographer you will ever meet.


MaiFebruary Video Show Reel

MaiFebruary… what a fantastic month.  Birthdays, Phung and Andrew’s wedding, a trip to Cabo, and lots of sunny days.  I was given a challenge for 30 days to bring my camera around with me and film every day.  At the end, I compiled the video clips together in a show reel that I’m very happy to share.


2013 Goals

Today’s my birthday!  Hooray!  As I look back on the year, I think of the goals I was able to accomplish (run a half marathon, shoot a Cambodian wedding, work with lots of other photographers, shoot a Timbers game!!)

Here are my goals for 2013:

Shoot a wedding in Europe or back home on the east coast.

Shoot an ethnic wedding I haven’t shot before

Shoot half California and half Northwest weddings (this past year was close, but Northwest was a winner)

Make more albums.

Go in front of a camera instead of behind more often.

Pursue a monthly personal project with video.

Call my family more.

Rock climb (bouldering) twice a week.

Stay more hydrated.

Run a marathon. (There.  I said it.)

Favorites moments from the past year:

Shooting these guys:

Running with these girls:

Celebrating and photographing every one of my awesome couples:

Hanging out with these cuties:

Vancouver Half Marathon – I’m only Half crazy

Well, I did it!  I ran my first half marathon (the Vancouver Girlfriends Half Marathon to benefit breast cancer research) last week, the longest distance I’ve ever run.  I felt proud of myself, but most of all, I felt relieved.  Two weeks prior to the race, I had run 11.25 miles, my longest distance ever at the time, and injured my knee in the process.  So, the night before the race, I doubted whether I’d be able to participate or finish the race.  I slept 4 hours that night, nerves and all.

Vancouver Girls Half Marathon Medals/Necklaces

Our medals/necklaces that we received upon finishing the race!

So How Did It Go?

The half-marathon went great!  I survived the entire 13.2 miles, running the entire time.  I took some ibuprofen before the race, so the knee pain wasn’t too uncomfortable for the first half the race.  It’s a great flat course, with some nice views of the Columbia River and some not so nice views of the Fred Meyer.  Also, the crowd was awesome.  There spectators with signs and cowbells and whistles all along the course.  Annie met me a quarter mile from the finish and ran me in.  When I turned the corner to see the finish arch, I sprinted that final block to finish with a time of 2:04:31, reaching my target goal for a 9:30 minute pace!

How I kept my Energy

Well, as most of you know, I have lots of energy on my own, but while running?  Not so much.  I believe that the Gu energy gel I took at the beginning of the race, as well as the energy Shot Blok I took every two miles during the race were a huge help.  The Gu is a bit yucky and difficult to eat, so I’m glad I used the Shot Bloks while running.  Plus they’re like yummy gummy bears, just loaded with energy.

There were some points where my legs got tired and wanted to go slower, but it seemed to mostly correlate to when I was bored.  Xav has a theory when hiking that it takes 10% physical and 90% mental strength to get up the mountain.  I think that’s a bit extreme, but there is some truth to that.   How else could I have kept up 13.2 miles of running?  Besides being disciplined of course 🙂

Hot Chocolate Fried Chicken and Gravy
Hot chocolate: the best-post race energy drink ever!  Fried chicken and gravy: how I reward running.

Thoughts on the Race

I’m pretty satisfied with my performance, considering my four week fast-track training schedule.  Saturday night my hope was to get to participate, but my secret desire was to finish with a 9:30 minute pace, so I’m really happy I didn’t finish at a 9:31 minute pace!  A knee injury and an illness (two days dead on the couch) made me lose 25 miles of training runs, which was almost 30% of my training distance (I did the math).  Unfortunately, due to that hiccup, and Ben’s arbitrary challenge for me to run a half marathon in under 2 hours, I will have to sign up for another race. I guess this means more training runs followed by brunch… oh pity.

Special Shout Outs/Thanks:

Maddy, Chung, Preston, Aimee, and Dashiell: Thanks for coming out to celebrate my “longest” training runs with Brunch!
W. Jon and Poage: Thanks for keeping me company during a training run, because it really helped me to have company.
Milo!  My 11/11/11 nephew came along for my big 11 mile run!  Thanks for staying “calm” for those last couple of miles and being ever adorable at brunch afterwards.
Coach Ben, thanks for setting up my training schedule, even if you don’t know what you’re talking about, and all your other encouragement as well 🙂
Annie, thanks for your watch (and my watch), running with me, giving me that extra burst of energy at the finish, all your encouragement, and doing everything an awesome big sister does.
Karen!  Thanks for training with me, but most of all, thanks for signing up for the race in the first place!

My detailed trip report on the race to come.  🙂

Annie, Karen, and me. Girlfriends, we just ran 13.2 miles!

What Motivated me to Sign up For a Half-Marathon

Finding motivation to run
Three and a half weeks ago, I signed up for my longest race ever, a half marathon.  I am not a runner, actually, I hate running.  So, you might wonder, what would motivate me to sign up for a half-marathon, or even any race for that matter.

It began when a friend signed up for the Vancouver Girlfriends Half-Marathon, and in an act of solidarity, I agreed to register as well.  I wasn’t motivated at the time, but if all my girlfriends were gonna do it, sure, I’d suck it up and run a race.

Then came… nothing.  Well really, then came weddings and travel.  But, no running, no signing up.  With 6 weeks left to train for the half-marathon, I told myself, if I run three times this week,  I get to sign up for the race.  Finding motivation to run
So, I ran three times that week for a grand total of 4 miles.  I even ran in the hilly streets of San Francisco.  But, I also had a stomach bug that wouldn’t leave me alone.  So the running stopped.  And the registration was delayed.

One month left until the half-marathon, two hours before the registration costs went up $10, Annie and I found ourselves asking, are we really running a half-marathon in a month?  Well, earlier that week, we decided that if we managed to get a run in before the fee went up, we’d sign up.  So, there we were, 2 hours until deadline, and I told her I’d run that day, so I signed up.  But I hadn’t run at all.  (ha! Annie, if you’re reading this.)
Finding motivation to run

So, why did I sign up?  I could have easily opted out of the race.  After much thought and analysis (hey, there’s a lot of time to reflect when you’re running), I’ve determined the reason I signed up was for Discipline.
I lack discipline, something I’m now focused on changing.  In an effort to prove to myself that I can be disciplined and actually train for a half marathon, I signed up for a half-marathon.

So, discipline is my motivation.  Discipline is what makes me get out door and complete all my runs (even though it is soooo hard).   Many things can be inspiring (for example, your friends signing up for a race), but finding what motivates you is different.  Sometimes it’s a reward, like the feeling of satisfaction or pride, but for now, it’s my desire for discipline.  It keeps me running, and it’s what helps me stay productive with my time and with work.

Finding motivation to run

So, tell me, because I really want to know, how do you motivate yourself?

Spotted: Venus in the Sun

Venus in the Sun

Took this image this afternoon with my camera and two circular polarizers. 🙂

Family Time

For the past few weeks, I’ve had the opportunity to hang out with this boy.

That’s my nephew 🙂  My sister and her family came over to the west coast all the way from France!  On top of that, my parents also came from the east coast, so the whole family was gathered in Portland .  There was plenty of good eating, taking the kids to parks, and tennis.  Annie and Cookie played tennis every day until injury stopped (aka slowed) them down.  Meanwhile, the grandparents and I used the opportunity to spend a lot of quality time with the kids.  (Read: I hope they nap!!)

Family photos at the park


We took lots of cousins photos 🙂

Me and Yohan

It’s Pi Day!

I highly recommend everyone eat pie today, and if you’re in the Portland area, eat lunch at Crust and Common Pie Shop, located at the NW 19th and Quimby food carts.  If you eat there at the picnic tables, he serves the pies hot on a cute blue plate.  So deelish!

Crust and Common Potatoe Cheddar Pie


STOMP was showing in Portland at the Keller Auditorium, and I got to see them again.  I love the show, and I think it’s ridiculous the things they do.  No matter how hard I tried to focus, I couldn’t identify the sources of all the sounds they were making.  It looks really tiring, and really hard, but it’s nice to see that when they goof up, they laugh it off and continue on.  However, the best part of the show was the audience.  The kids were CRACKING up so much that they were half the entertainment.

My 2010 Favorites: Travel

Finally! I’m caught up with year 2010 blogposts!! As a treat (and part of my new years resolution), for the next few posts I’ll be featuring my favorite photos! We’re going to start with my 2010 favorite Travel photos.

1. Mt. Adams from the top of Mt. St. Helens. I lugged my D700 up this mountain, with the sand and dust blowing harshly at me. That camera isn’t making it to the top of anymore mountains, unless it carries itself up in it’s own sand and dust proof bag.

My Top Ten Travel Photos

2. Resurrection Bay from the shores of Seward, Alaska.

My Top Ten Travel Photos

3. Shadows waving from the top of Mt. Tumalo. This was the trip where I experimented with Eric’s super fattie: the 14-24mm lens.

My Top Ten Travel Photos

4. Walking along the shoulder of the Spit in Homer, Alaska, I found the urge to go with negative space.

My Top Ten Travel Photos

5. Tern Lake, Alaska. I really liked how the sun was lighting up these blades, so I went with artistic.

My Top Ten Travel Photos

6. Skilak Lake, Alaska. Driving and driving around looking for an access point to Skilak Lake for a sunset pic, we finally gave up until we came across a campground with a boat ramp access. The sun was pretty much all but gone, but I loved the blue tint everything was taking.

My Top Ten Travel Photos

7. Crater Lake, Oregon. A girl dressed as a hotdog is jumping into the lake. No joke.

My Top Ten Travel Photos

8. Sunset at Crater Lake, Oregon. The wind had picked up, so there was no reflection in the water, leaving the color to the sky.

My Top Ten Travel Photos

9. Red Sky in a Crater Lake sunset. Thanks to Ben, I now know that this effect is called Virga.

My Top Ten Travel Photos

10. My new favorite flower. Why is this travel? Well, this was from my trip to the Butchart Gardens in Victoria, BC. I don’t normally take pictures of flowers, but I think this flower is the prettiest thing ever.

My Top Ten Travel Photos

Holidays with my Family

My family is pretty spectacular during Christmas time. We get pretty gung ho with the gift giving. It started out reasonable, but as the kids got older, we starting getting gifts for our parents. Then each other. Then there were husbands thrown into the mix. And now (the best) a third generation, a baby boy. Throw in multiple presents, because of course we can’t just get one present for each other. And, Yohan has to have the most presents.

Christmas Photos Christmas Photos

As far as Christmas traditions go, our family is pretty predictable. My dad and Cookie ask to open presents right away while Annie insists on waiting “at least until Christmas Eve!” We used to open presents Christmas morning, but then we started opening “one” on Christmas Eve. But eventually, “one” on Christmas Eve wasn’t enough.  Soon we started during the day, and then, the morning of Christmas Eve.  I wonder when we’ll end up opening presents on my Mom’s birthday, the 20th.

Christmas Photos

My dad tries to figure out what the presents are so he can give hints or clues to the recipients. In response, Cookie gets upset if he’s too obvious.  Annie likes to find creative ways to wrap clothing. My mom gets all three daughters at least one gift that’s the same. We like slippers, but the year we all got winter coats was pretty cute.  I decorate the tree the same every year, except this year we had to avoid decorating the bottom of the tree with fragile ball ornaments seeing how my nephew likes to see if all round things bounce when dropped or thrown.

Christmas Photos Christmas Photos

My favorite part of Christmas is my family.  Their excitement is the best. My dad tears into the wrapping paper the moment you hand him a gift and whatever he gets he opens immediately, or tries on. My mom makes a point to notice the nice wrapping job (we always make a point to wrap hers the nicest). Cookie makes the best expressions when she opens gifts, where every gift (no matter how crappy mine may be) is always well received. Annie gets just as excited and tries on whatever clothes she gets.  Kimmy refuses to let me reign terror on the wrapping jobs, and insists every present be decorated with some sort of ribbon or bow.  Sylvain and Ben try to keep up with the insanity that is our family. And lastly, Yohan, age almost 21 months, plays with whatever is placed in front of him, despite his parents dressing him in his new clothes.

Speaking of which, I guess that means I have an excuse to post some more photos of my nephew!

Christmas Photos Christmas Photos

Christmas Photos