**fun fact about this post: EVERY single image below was shot with Gene's 50mm 1.0 lens shot at 1.0 which i borrowed for the day. the thing is heavy and slow, but DANG, 1.0 is buttery!**

Every now and then, everyone needs to escape from something. Maybe it's from your job, your town, your friends or family, or your life in general, even if only for a few days. This past week, I took a little escape from my blog and my life as I normally live it and traveled up to Northern California with Becker. He's got back to back weddings in Carmel, and although I can't stay for both because I have my own awesome wedding this coming weekend, I escaped from the OC for a few days in favor of Carmel and a couple of days in San Francisco.

**if you've emailed me in the past couple of days, I will be responding to you late Wednesday night or sometime on Thursday. thanks for your patience!!!**

The wedding in Carmel was one of the most interesting I've ever been a part of, and I will definitely share some photos from that one later this week (but you can get the gist of it on Becker's blog). However, my favorite part of most trips that I take are the days I spend walking around wherever I am, and shooting some of the local culture that is different from what I see every day. We chose Chinatown for this photo safari, and were joined by good friends Ann Hamilton and fellow Top 10 in the World Gene Higa.

Check it out:

Chinatown really does look like what I'd imagine China to look like:

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With some American flair thrown in:

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I love neon signs. I only wish it had been dark!

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Chinatown is full of interesting patterns and textures:

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I fell in love with all the different colors of tile:

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And the old doorways:

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And windows and textures too:

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I don't know what this X is marking but it looks cool anyway:

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Yummy, delicious colors!

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I don't even know what this is, but it looks cool:

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Some of you might be familiar with my LOCK PROJECT. It's still an ongoing work in progress:

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A new favorite:

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Chinatown is full of fresh foods and delicacies:

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My cousin Steven will love all these fresh fruits & veggies:

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What are these, anyway?

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Speaking of "delicacies", there are quite a few sketchy looking items available.

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And WTF is the bottom thing on this spa/haircut menu? And why is the price in Chinese only? Does that mean that other people shouldn't bother with it? Anyone who knows what this is, please enlighten me:

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In all, this has been a very refreshing escape, but I'm ready to head home and get back to real life tomorrow night! I've got a bunch of new projects in the worth, several shoots, and the WSOP coming up in the next week or two, so I'm busy busy from here on out!

Audience participation: What do you do or where do you go to escape?