hi there! i'm michelle, southern california based photographer and curator of the coco gallery.

welcome to my blog where i share my life, my latest adventures, photo projects, random nuggets and the occasional stray thoughts.

for clients: to view my portfolio just click on this link - theCOCOgallery.com. to book sessions please send me a message through theCOCOgallery.com or contact me via michelle@thecocogallery.com | 949.734.0604

Monday, October 20, 2008

first impressions

we arrived in san juan, la union after a looooooong 170+ mile drive from manila.  we left at 4 in the morning to avoid the usual traffic.  it was a sleepy 5 hour drive for curtis and i who had been up all night drinking and playing pool with my cousins. thank god for mang willie, our driver, who got us there safely and quickly.  for my cali friends and fam.. i know that 5 hours for 170+ miles sounds kinda long.  try to remember that the roads here are not as smooth, wide or accessible as the long stretches of CA freeways.  trust me when i say 5 hours was fast.

we arrived on a saturday morning and despite the beauty of it all, i am embarrassed to say that we spent the next 4 hours in bed fast asleep.  when we got up we hastily put our belongings away and started exploring the new diggs.  it's the weekend, people are in from the city ready to enjoy the scenery and get some surf lessons.  our new home is right on the beach and a few steps away from a string of surf resorts.  we sauntered over to observe the activity and get our bearings.

the series of pictures below gives you a taste of our first week here ...

a jeepney over looks the ocean like a contemplative surfer.

kids are kids no matter which side of the world they are on.  these two are new found acquiantances exploring beach life together.

to the left is a reef diver coming up for air.  on the right is a daylight shot of the moon watching over the surfers down below (taken at about 7am).  hold your surprise... yes, curtis and i have been getting up at 6 am almost every morning to get him into the water and ready to surf.  eat your heart out bobby! :D

creatures large and small, our companions in this new home.  btw... isn't that an interesting mohawk on that caterpillar?  (i'm talking about the yellow thing not curtis).  i've got a video of it too.

an ocean filled with treasures.  our collection of finds.

the beach entrance, the gateway to home.  please note that the 2 pictures below are not photoshopped at all.  the white balance setting on the camera was set to auto.  the yellow tinge on those pictures is what brought us out that afternoon with a camera.  i thought for sure that there was a fire nearby.  the last time i saw the sky this yellow was when the fires were blazing in the california mountains.  as it turns out, the only blaze was the sun setting and the clouds were reflecting all the color around us.

the view from our favorite spot, a hammock in the palapa.  it's the best place to have a nap.  the wind rocks gently and the steady sound of the crashing waves play in the background lulling you to peaceful sleep.

and as the sun begins to set we are thankful for another day and look forward to more fun tomorrow.  oh and we need to decide what's for breakfast.


  1. Hey guys! I am envious! Obviously you are having a blast. All is status quo back in the hood. Awesome photography!

    Try surfing Michelle!

    Robert H.

  2. Hi Michelle, Thanks so much for your comment. It made my day! I have enjoyed looking at your blog and getting a glimpse into your life. Looks like it is full! Enjoy the rest of your trip.
    Amanda (Jasmine* Blog Stalker) :)

  3. hi.. thanks for checking out my blog...
    you have really cool pictures here... and i was checking out your flickr stream, pretty cool too....

    you were asking about the gels, i'll send you a flickr mail of that picture where i explain a little bit about it....
    take care

  4. Hi Michelle! Thank you too for your comment! I think the picture that grabbed me the most on this post is the man with the hairy chest heheheh! Awesome photos!!

  5. it's funny how just a few words on something you spent time on can mean so much and go a long way. thanks you guys for stopping by. o and es-sense, i told haiy boy curtis that we're gonna have to take more hairy pix in the future. hahahahah!