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Chanel Turner of Fou-Dré Vodka by Mark Soriano

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I had the opportunity do a photoshoot with Chanel Turner, founder of Fou-Dré Vodka. Back in 2009, Chanel became the first and only African-American Woman to own a line of vodka. Last year she put together the first annual Black Owned Wine and Spirits Festival in Washington D.C. Tickets are on sale now for this year's event taking place this Saturday September 30th at The Showroom in D.C. You can find out more information and purchase tickets here.

Sherryn and Stephen's Engagement by Mark Soriano

I had an awesome opportunity this summer to travel to New York City for an engagement shoot at the Bronx Zoo. Even though NYC is only 3 1/2 hours away from D.C. I haven't been back to the Big Apple since 2013 so I was very excited for this gig.

This was my first surprise engagement shoot, and it was a lot fun! After I photographed the proposal we walked around the zoo and continued to get awesome shots while enjoying the animals! Sherryn and Stephen are so much fun and so in love, I really wanted that to come through in the photos.

 

NOW - A Dance About Distraction by Mark Soriano

Last weekend I photographed another great piece from Contradiction Dance called NOW. I took the following description from the company's website.

Based on site-specific explorations, NOW explores the questions How am I present? and How am I distracted? NOW may or may not contain Alternative Facts and should not be taken on an empty stomach. Heavy machinery should not be operated while experiencing NOW. Featuring the choreography of Contradiction Dance company members. 


Contradiction Dance is the resident dance company at Anacostia Arts Center. NOW is the 6th production to be presented and premiered at Anacostia Arts Center by the company. Past shows at AAC: Walk a Mile, #DanceAboutDC, BOUNDARIES, Code Switch, Objects of Hope: The America Project.

Quarter+Glory 1 Year Anniversary by Mark Soriano

Quarter+Glory is an American Cocktail Bar located on the ever popular and exciting U Street corridor in Washington DC. Q+G just celebrated their first birthday live music, heavy hors d' oeuvres and a full menu of craft cocktails

I was there to photograph the VIP and Media portion of the event and before I knew it, the bar got packed really quickly.

The bartenders were working really hard all night! I have no clue how they are able to tend to everyone and do so in such a timely manner.

Q+G had a special Anniversary menu. 

The live band was fantastic!

Code Switch by Mark Soriano

Code Switching (v): The alternate use of two or more of a variety languages, especially within the same discourse.

Back in March, Contradiction Dance put together a show at the Anacostia Arts Center in Washington D.C. called Code Switch. I never knew what code switching was until my wife, who is a dancer in the company, told me what it was. I then realized that we code switch everyday. The way we speak changes with different settings and circumstances, and this show touched on troubling circumstances that are going on in our country.

The show started with Kelly King, the founder of Contradiction Dance, drawing a chalk circle in the middle of the floor which I interpreted as the earth, but quite honestly I never fully understand these modern dance performances lol. However, by the end of the show the "earth" was gone.

As you can see from the picture, the room was very dark and the lighting made photographing quite difficult. I knew I had to bump up my ISO, so all of the shots you see were taken at ISO 1600 on my Olympus E-M5 Mark II. 

The end of the show was capped off with a little groove session and the audience was invited to share the floor with the dances!

D.C. Cherry Blossoms 2016 by Mark Soriano

Every year, I have nagged my wife about going to the see the cherry blossoms in D.C.. For numerous reasons, we haven't been able to see them over the last 3 years. Well, I wasn't going to let that happen this year haha.

People from all over the world come to Washington D.C. to see the cherry blossoms, so it makes seeing them a little troublesome due to the crowds, but I didn't care. Also, what makes it a bit tricky is that the blossoms don't peak at the same time every year. Another thing is that they don't stay bloomed for a long time. You have about two weeks or so to get a glimpse of the blossoms before they start falling off the trees.

Luckily, we were able to visit the cherry blossoms on two separate occasions. Once with just my wife and I, then a week after with her cousin and his girlfriend joining us. 

On the walk over to The Tidal Basin, my wife was a good sport and posed for some pictures.

Once we got to the basin it was REALLY crowded. So I was concerned that I wouldn't be able to get any decent shots without a bunch of people in the frame. But if you're patient and wait for your shot, it is totally doable. 

Probably one of my favorite shots from the cherry blossoms was when I noticed everyone including myself,  taking pictures straight on. I was in awe of what I saw when looking in my viewfinder then looking straight up. In photography, some times looking up/down or just getting a different perspective can give you amazing shots.

I definitely had a great time taking pictures of the cherry blossoms in D.C. and I can't wait to return next year to gather more shots. I learned a lot from this experience that will hopefully produce better pictures in 2017!