From the Upside, a lifestyle and travel blog. Explore, dreaming and discovering life from the upside.

Night Photography : San Diego

From dusk to midnight is the most challenging time to photograph pretty much anything. But from the upside, it's also the most beneficial because you can gain so much experience.

Just before dusk the biggest challenge is patience. Waiting for the 'golden hour'. And when it arrives you are faced with the challenge of speed. For anyone who photographs in manual mode, you know how frantic those minutes can be. The colors of the sky change quickly from one second to the next. Before you know it, the sunset is gone.

Part of the fun is looking back at what you've managed to create and how much you've improved.

Then, in the quiet hours of the night, you to be still, literally. The slightest movement can affect the long shutter needed to capture the beautiful streaks of light from the traffic 30 stories below.

It's so nice to find pockets of time to devote to my ever-evolving love of photography while on vacation. It's even more fun to find these long forgotten photos months later on my computer just waiting to be shared.

I've opened up the comments for photo sharing. Post one of your favorite night photos below. I'd love to see them. x

Easy Heart Shaped Cheesecake Bites

You don't have to be a Martha Stewart to bake something creative for Valentine's Day. These little heart-shaped cakes are about as easy as they come.

Gooey cherry topping, soft cheesecake and crumbly graham crackers on the bottom. Mini sized for minimal guilt.

I love bite sized desserts because they allow you to indulge without overdoing it. Heart cakes...maybe a little cheesy(cake) but a really sweet gesture for Valentine's Day, anniversary, or anti-Valentine's Day binge watching reruns of SATC.

(Easy) Heart Shaped Cheesecake Recipe


2 packages of cream cheese (room temp) : I use 1/3 Less Fat
1 C granulated sugar
1 tsp of of vanilla
2 eggs
4 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 pack graham crackers (approx. 10)
1 can of cherry or strawberry pie filling


Heart shaped muffin tin or cookie cutters (the one I used). If you don't have those, use a regular muffin pan and liners.


Heat oven to 350F (180C).

Cut room temperature cream cheese into small chunks and beat until smooth with hand mixer or standing mixer.

Add sugar, mix well. Add vanilla, mix well. Add eggs...mix well! Set aside.

Place the graham crackers in a large ziploc bag and smash them up using a rolling pin or similar item. Crush until they are small crumbs but not dust. Set aside.

Melt butter. Add crushed graham crackers. Mix well with your hands...smells heavenly at this point.

Press one spoonful of the graham cracker mixture into the bottom of each heart mold. Pre-bake the crust for 5-7 minutes. Remove from oven.

Pour cheesecake mixture into each mold and fill to approximately 1 inch below the top. Bake for 22-24 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Remove from the oven and let them cool. Small dents will form as the cake cools. That's okay. You'll use that space for your cherry or strawberry filling.

After the cakes have cooled completely, remove them from the pan by first loosening the edges with a thin butter knife. Then place a cutting board upside down over the top of the pan. Flip the pan/cutting board over and gently tap the bottom of each mold until they've all come out.

Gently pick them up and flip them over by hand. 

Spoon your pie filling into the small dent on the top of the cake and use the spoon to smear it into a heart shape. I removed the cherries from the filling to make the design easier to see but if you love cherries pile them on!

Store them in the fridge for up to 2 days and serve cold with a side of cherries and crushed graham crackers, or at room temperature.


Why Negative Feedback is Really Positive

There is one thing that many successful entrepreneurs do that few other people even consider. They solicit negative feedback. Not only do they ASK for it, they listen to it.

I watched an inspiring Ted Talk with Elon Musk, founder of Tesla, former CEO of Paypal, and pioneer the next generation of space travel...among so many other things.

When asked what made him so different from everyone else; why he was so successful at most everything he undertook, his response was this:

"Pay attention to negative feedback. Solicit it. Particularly from friends. Hardly anyone does that and its incredibly helpful."

Sometimes the most effective tools in success are the simplest and often, the most difficult. But if you can overcome your fear of the truth (good or bad), then you'll start to understand...

Why Negative Feedback is Really Positive

- It's Honest -

Usually much more so than an overabundance of positive feedback, which can be misleading.

We've all seen those hopeful candidates audition on American Idol. Pitchy. Tone Def. And in some cases, just not cut out for a career in singing. Yet they often talk about how much praise they receive for their singing abilities.

Don't get me wrong, positive feedback can be very encouraging and is certainly important, however without occasional negative feedback, it can prove counterproductive by holding you back from achieving more.  

- It Causes You to Question -

Asking questions is the fundamental cornerstone of any kind of learning. So why should introspection on the road to success be any different?

When someone gives you negative feedback, especially when it is something you've never considered, it can be worth it's weight in gold if you look at it from a positive perspective.

Only when you question your process will you find new ways to solve problems and open doors that may not have been visible to you before.

- It Motivates You -

Negative feedback is not always delivered in a kind, encouraging way. And often, it is unsolicited. However, if you can look to your friends and people you admire to solicit real, honest negative feedback, you can use that negative feedback as motivation to work harder, to prove people wrong, to achieve your dreams and go beyond what even you thought was possible.


I have a theory. I think most people don't solicit negative feedback because they are afraid to hear the truth. Fear so often gets in the way of achieving a greater level of success. 

Elon Musk's Ted Talk really inspired me to challenge myself by soliciting negative feedback more often as a way to motivate, inspire and propel me into greater and greater things.

You can watch the full episode here if you want to learn more from one of the great minds of our time.

What is your greatest goal in life? Do you solicit negative feedback about it?

PS - Just after posting this article Elon Musk posted a video of one of his Space X rockets crashing in a trial. Even the most successful entrepreneurs have setbacks and 'failures'. It's all in how you handle them. :o)