Underwater Healer About Face Underwater Healer About Face

Underwater Healer on NBC Bay Area

Underwater Healer About Face, uw portrait
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Last week brain cancer survivor Maya and I were interviewed live by Robert Handa of NBC Bay Area (KNTV Channel 11) to discuss my Underwater Healer project and her transformation. It aired this past Sunday morning on Asian Pacific America and is finally online to share with you! The interview was incredibly fun and also full of surprises. When I arrived at the studio I discovered it was not a taping, but live! I was a little nervous, knowing there would be no editing if I stumbled my words, but this situation is exactly what I’ve been working towards in my public speaking practice. It was hard, but it turned out great in the end. In addition to the studio interview, NBC followed me to Maya’s underwater shoot to capture  behind-the-scenes of an underwater portrait shoot. I’m so happy I was able to share the entirety of an Underwater Healer project, from start to finish, with others. Maya was a complete pro as well - from her underwater portrait shoot to the interview on Asian Pacific America.  Thank you Maya for sharing your story and transformation with us all! I’m very thankful to Robert and NBC Bay Area for giving me the opportunity to share my Underwater Healer project with their viewers. Be sure to watch the interview below and share with your...

New Testimonial – Maya

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Last weekend was incredible! Brain cancer survivor Maya and I were interviewed live by Robert Handa of NBC Bay Area (KNTV Channel 11) to discuss my Underwater Healer project and her underwater transformation. It airs Sunday, June 12, at 5:30am on NBC Bay Area or 6pm on NBC's COZI TV! so please set your DVRs and stay tuned for the full recap next week! Until then, I am happy to share Maya’s testimonial with you! “I planned for this photoshoot by meeting with Erena first about a week before the shoot. The meeting was to get to know each other and discuss possible outfits to wear. Erena explained the types of clothes that would or wouldn't work in an underwater setting, so my chosen outfits needed to reflect those requirements. I knew I wanted to do a dress that would look beautiful under the water as it flowed through it, as well as bright color to reflect a happy emotion. The experience was amazing. It was so quiet and peaceful as if I was in my own world without any worries or problems that often come with being out in the real world. I felt so free in such a serene environment that it was almost like experiences nirvana. Erena was great with guiding me through the process and explaining how certain fabrics would act in the water. This allowed to me to base my positions in the water from her advice. Overall, it was such a relaxed shoot that took away...

Meet Survivor Maya!

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Maya, a Brain Cancer survivor I have some exciting news to share! Tomorrow I have scheduled an underwater photo shoot with cancer survivor Maya and NBC Bay Area (KNTV Channel 11) will be covering behind the scenes!

I’ll have more to share next week on the news coverage, so this week I really wanted to introduce you to Maya. She’s a very special gem and I am very excited for our portrait session tomorrow! Maya Sycip, Brain Cancer Survivor, San Francisco, 23 “The name of the tumor found in my brain was called a “Grade III Anaplastic Astrocytoma” and it was about the size of an apricot. Overall I was very healthy and played sports all throughout high school so I was very athletic. However, I did suffer from migraines, but just thought it was normal because my mom has them. I found out August 28, 2012 (the second day of my sophomore year at Loyola Marymount University) in my On-Campus housing apartments. That Tuesday morning, while I was still sleeping, I had a seizure and my roommates called 9-1-1. I was diagnosed when I was 19. (I) had emergency brain surgery the very next morning after I was diagnosed. On June 13, 2016, I will have officially been in remission for 3 years.” Why do you want to be involved in Underwater Healer About Face? “I’d like to be involved in the Underwater Healer About Face because I’ve never done anything like it before and I still have some healing to do of my own.  I’m hoping...

Celebrate Your Expected Bundle of Joy with a Unique Maternity Shoot!

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I’m blessed to have been able to meet many incredible cancer survivors with my Underwater Healer projects. I love seeing their transformations and hearing how much I’ve made a difference in their healing process. But what you may not know is that my most requested portrait shoot is actually maternity! I love underwater maternity photo shoots! There is something special about seeing the joy, love and excitement on the mother-to-be’s face. A new baby is the most exciting moment in a family’s history, and it be part of the celebration and documentation is an honor. I’m lucky to see firsthand a very special connection being made under the water - a feeling of floating that reflects what the bundle of joy is experiencing within the womb. Maternity client Kris had this to say about her underwater maternity shoot on Yelp: “Erena is great to work with. She captivates chemistry with grace and turns it into art, providing you with great shots of natural movement. Very patient to work with and really down to earth. I've always wanted to be a mermaid as a little girl swimming in my own pool, which is what sparked my interest and thoughts of this underwater maternity photo.  It’s definitely an experience because its not as easy as it looks, Erena is just a great photographer." If you, or someone you know, is expecting a new bundle of joy please consider booking an underwater maternity shoot! Not only is it a very unique experience, but proceeds of the...

Ready for My Close Up?!

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It’s been a very busy week! I am thrilled and overwhelmed with all the amazing projects and opportunities that have been coming my way this year. I can’t tell you everything just yet, but I am going to tease you with some details of one upcoming project that has me extra excited! Last week I had an introductory conversation with a lovely European couple on being part of their documentary! They are soon to be documenting stories on cancer survivors and are interested in including my Underwater Healer project and one of the survivors that has had their transformation documented! With one of the filmmakers currently undergoing chemotherapy themselves, it’s an extra personal project that really touches my heart. It’s a very unique project: gathering inspiring cancer survivor stories from different cultures and countries worldwide, and I am so honored to even be having conversations in being included. However my participation might end up with this project (remember - it’s very early!), its moments like these that reminds me how far the project’s awareness has come since it’s launch. Thank you to all of the survivors’ family and friends, and my own supporters, who have championed us all. And don’t forget, I’m still looking for one Asian young adult (age 20-30) cancer survivor for a piece I’m working on with NBC Asian Pacific America with Robert Handa. If this sounds like you, or someone you know who may be interested in participating in an underwater portrait shoot for NBC, please reach out...

Valentine’s Day Special – How Deep Is Your Love?

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It’s been a crazy start to 2016.  January was a rollercoaster of laughter, sadness and accolades - just like life.  What will February bring? In honor of what I expect to be wonderful month, and because I love Love, I am announcing a Valentine’s Day promotion! Saturday, February 13th in San Jose, CA, I'm offering a mini package for $250 (that's almost 50% off the full package)!  Show that special someone how deep your love is by diving in with them for an underwater portrait shoot.  It’s perfect for Valentine’s Day, anniversaries, engagement shoots or simply just because.  So if you’ve been unsure what to get that special someone this is a perfect last minute option. But act fast, there are four spots available! Also, as an added bonus, a portion of the money will go towards funding three San Diego survivors underwater shoots in March. So not only are your sharing your love with a special someone but also spreading the love.  What a better way to spend Valentine’s Weekend than accomplishing those two things? If you, or anyone you may know, is interested, please contact me for booking.  And don’t forget, if February 13th doesn’t fit into your schedule, I am open for bookings other dates.  Please reach out and I am happy to work with your...

The Gift That Keeps On Giving

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The holiday season is officially in full swing!  I love this time of year.  Despite it being colder, I love all the lights, the smiles, how everyone makes time to get together.  It’s the season of love and giving.  Nothing is better than those two things. The season of giving means a lot of stress unfortunately as well.  Maybe you’re unsure what to give to a special loved one.  Maybe they already seem to have everything.  Or maybe you are looking for something extra special and unique.  Something that can’t be found on Amazon ;) Nothing is more precious that a photograph - it’s a never-ending memory.  It’s what your mom used to embarrass you with when dates would come to pick you up.  Or what grandma would pull out when she told you stories of her life experiences.  It’s the most precious item that most would save first in the event of a fire.  It’s a tangible expression of remembrance. If this resonates with you, please reach out and book an incredible unique memory - an underwater photography shoot!  I am now open for holiday bookings.  Or if you’re looking to put a gift under the tree, gift certificates are available.  I service The Bay Area with two pool options: one in Pacifica and the other in San Jose.  If your curious what an underwater shoot entails, you can find information here.  I would love to be a part of your special holiday season.  And as an added bonus - proceeds...

Giving Thanks

Underwater Healer About Face
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Before I share my wonderful news, I want to say thank you to everyone who has supported me over the past 2.5 years.  To my amazing clients, supporters, friends and family, know that I am thankful for you.  Not only this week, but forever and always. I am excited to announce that for the first time, I was interviewed by Japanese media!  On Saturday, at the World Affairs Council, Magic Bell TV of Los Angles filmed me for an upcoming segment.  I am thrilled to have spoken about my life, my Underwater Healer project and my client experiences in Japanese for the very first time!  I am humbled and appreciate how supportive the interviewer was of my project.  She said was felt very inspired and told me to keep talking to the world, which is exactly what I plan to do.  My hope is that this interview leads to more opportunities outside of the US and in Japan. I am also happy to share that after the interview, I assisted underwater photographer Ikeya Tomohide!  As you read last week, I very much admire his work and am incredibly thankful I had the opportunity to assist him and learn from such a master.  We began at 5:30 PM at Anderson’s Scuba in Pacifica and ended at 2:30 AM the next morning!  I and a second underwater assistant were responsible for setting up the background fabric, scuba gear, being a test model to check the lighting and the camera setting.  It took many...

What Inspires You?

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As the year comes to a close and the holiday season is knocking at our door, it’s easy to feel tired and lose yourself in the hustle and bustle around us.  I encourage you to take some time  to self reflect, renew yourself and concentrate on what inspires you. Possibly you find inspiration in your family and loved ones. Take the time to be with them. Maybe you find inspiration in being outdoors. Go out an enjoy a fresh snow fall, or if you’re lucky to live in a warm winter climate, enjoy the warm on your face. Or maybe you find inspiration in someone who is living your dream (or one similar). Learn from them and let them motivate you to find your own success. As an underwater photographer, I find my inspiration most in the ocean.  Since I was a child I loved water.  I would eventually grow up to love diving, beautiful underwater sea creatures and meld my passion for photography with the submerged world.  No matter how many dives or portrait sessions I do, I find inspiration in it all. I also find inspiration in others.  I am continually blow away by London-based underwater photographer Zena Holloway.  Her photos possess a beautiful dream-like quality.  It’s as if your fantasies popped into real life.  The light and beauty in each photo is breathtaking. I highly encourage you to check out her work. I also am inspired by Tomohide Ikeya, a Japanese photographer who brings light into darkness underwater.  His photos are raw with emotion; both...

Strengthening Your Self Image Through Photography

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It’s harder than ever, thanks to the media dictating unrealistic beauty standards, to not feel insecure about yourself and your looks. In fact, a reported 91% of women feel unhappy with their appearance and body. That’s an overwhelming number that is sure to include a super model or two! This often leads to a plethora of ways individuals react to their perceived bodily flaws. One of the biggest surrounds having your photo taken. There is no statistic around how many people don’t like to be photographed, but suffice it to say, it’s a lot! A common reaction to physical insecurities is to avoid having a photo taken altogether. Maybe you think you need to lose weight, or don’t like how your hair has greyed, or you feel you have a crooked smile, the reasons are endless. The old adage is true - we are our own worst critic. It’s important to remember that what we see is not what everyone else sees. Do your friends and family look at you and see your physical flaws? No, they see the person they love and who makes a difference in their life. Love yourself as much as they love you. Make it a personal challenge to have yourself photographed often and from all angles. You’ll eventually discover your flaws aren’t really flaws and find self acceptance. Another common coping method of poor self image is never taking a serious photo, but instead always doing something silly. Maybe you make a funny face, use...