Posts Tagged ‘travel photography’

Personal Post: turning 30 and celebrating with confetti

Maybe I’ve watched too much Sex and the City but turning 30 never scared me. I didn’t associate it with growing old, or needing to achieve some unreachable level of wisdom. Instead, my milestone aligns with goals as frivolous as thinking I might figure out how to dress better and cook actual meals (like meat that roasts in the oven – can you imagine?) It’s not as though “growing up” gives us some free pass to no longer think critically and use our actions to make a difference, it’s more that our experience shows us that there is no age when all our questions are answered. As it turns out, divine wisdom doesn’t come down on our birthdays to provide the certainty to feel like we “know what we’re doing” (or if it does, I haven’t hit that birthday yet).

Keeping our eyes high above daily life would mean overlooking our small achievements and disregarding little moments of feeling at peace with where we are at. That’s not how I want to live my life – pretending I’m too [smart, serious, high-minded] to enjoy whatever silly goal I have set or accomplished. Each, deserves recognition.

For me 30 means setting intentions (big and little) but also allowing myself the freedom and forgiveness to quit things that don’t work. It means taking chances that scare me, owning up to what I want, and making time to sit quietly with myself. Big ideas begin with small actions, and sometimes that’s as simple as better sharing the love you have for the people in your life or taking a break when your mind/body says you need it.

So I might not “know what I’m doing” but I can find bliss in the questions, and triumph in the tiny fractions of answers I stumble upon. In the meantime, I will break out the confetti and champagne for the littlest of achievements and I encourage you to do the same. Cheers!

Photos above ^^ taken with Jackie and Ashley, my elementary school buds and closest friends, by Riverland Studios in Charleston, SC. If you liked this post and want to read something similar, please check out Three Years of Marriage and I Still Do and Why We Need to Stop Comparing Ourselves.

Personal Post: girls’ weekend in charleston, south carolina

Birthdays are a big deal in my family. It doesn’t matter whether you’re 3 or 30, it will be celebrated with multiple events, fancy desserts, and lots of family and friends. (Check out The Family of Over-Celebrators blog post after this!) When I thought about how I wanted to spend my 30th, a big party or gift didn’t feel right, and around fall I began thinking about a girls’ trip. I contacted my friends and we started brainstorming places that were warm and historic. When I imagined our trip, I saw long brunches, pretty views, and a little time to draw… all of which I got in our four days in Charleston.

My friends, Jackie, Ashley, and I flew to Charlotte, NC and made the drive south, stopping for high tea at Laura’s Tea Room halfway there. We stayed in a little bed and breakfast rental with a beautiful garden courtyard and felt absolutely spoiled. After an afternoon wandering the historic neighborhood, we made a picnic from goodies gathered at the local farmers market and checked out White Point Gardens. The next day was Magnolia Plantation (where we got a little sketching in) and Folly Beach where I watched my friends dive into waves with exactly the same enthusiasm we would have had in middle school.

Ashley described the trip as a “mental reset” and I think she’s exactly right. With friendships as old as ours and distances so great in between, four days together was a luxury. The more candles on my cake, the more blessed I feel to have a life that allows me to see new places, try new things, and reconnect with my favorite people.

Personal Post: fall day trips

Wisconsin-Midwestern-Adventure-Photographer-Explore-St-Louis-Crivitz-Northwoods-Vintage-Moped-Cabin-1 Wisconsin-Midwestern-Adventure-Photographer-Explore-St-Louis-Crivitz-Northwoods-Vintage-Moped-Cabin-2You know those Fridays when you are about to pack for the weekend, then realize you never unpacked from last weekend and the ten outfits you actually wear, are in the laundry? It’s the busy season scramble with work to be done, great weather to be enjoyed, and the overnight bag ready for adventure!

In this winter lull, I have a moment to organize our personal photos from the past few months, and in doing so, I realized this fall was filled with fun day trips. There was the Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame in late August, a day-long moped trip in September, an October weekend in St. Louis (with a stop at the Leinenkugel’s Brewery), and Ben’s birthday celebration at a cabin in November. On Monday we came home with full hearts (and memory cards) and by Thursday, we were already preparing for the next outing. A more practical person may be tempted to feel domestic guilt for all the weeks where our refrigerator only contained mustard and beer, but I know better. There are only so many summer days that hit 70°, and only so many fall days that hit 50°, and if I’m in the grocery store pushing around a cart and missing one of the twenty beautiful sunsets on one of the ten warm evenings, well, that just won’t do.

Photography drew me in because it gives me the ability to capture things. My restless side is just another urge to keep events, places, feelings, and sensations, storing them away in my memory. That way, when there are no trips on the horizon and no sun in the sky, I’ve got memories of day trips like these to keep me warm.


Photos above are film scans (Kodak Portra 35 mm) from August-October 2016.

Personal Post: paris

Paris_Photography_France_Travel_Eiffel_Tower_WanderlustI’ve been doing my best to sort through thousands of photos and think about how to share our recent travels with you. In an attempt to organize my thoughts, I am just sharing about Paris in this post, and I promise pictures from Marseille and Germany soon.

I wish there was a way I could bring with me more than the images we took – tastes, sounds, and smells too – so that I could fully describe what it was like to sit in a Parisian street cafe at night with a glass of wine people-watching.  Or maybe what it was like to walk along the Seine, espresso in hand, and be surprised by a Victory Day parade rounding the corner of Notre Dame.  There was train hopping, monument climbing, museum wandering, and lots and lots of food.

I feel like I have been waiting for Paris forever.  There was a class trip when I was 17 that was cancelled due to lack of interest (apparently my overwhelming level of interest didn’t make up for low enrollment), and a few years after that there was a holiday in England with promises of New Years celebrations in Paris (to no end).  It had evaded me, and I, like so many others, was in love with the enchanting idea of The City of Light.  When we met American expatriates in our travels, they said the same thing: they were simply drawn to Paris, lured in by the idea, in love with the reality, and decided to stay.

We rented a little apartment in the St. Germain arrond.  It was small and white with a large window that opened to a courtyard.  Outside the building, the street was lined with cafes, crepe stands, restaurants, and a short walk away was the Seine River.  I loved the museums – seeing amazing works of art that I spent so much time studying in college, and stumbling upon pieces I hadn’t seen before and adored. The symmetry of the gardens and monuments was beautiful, and nearly everything we ate was incredible.  The serenity of dinner where each part was meant to be savored (conversation included) suited us well.  We loved the hush of nearby tables chatting amongst themselves mixed with the buzz of street noise and the romance of simply having the opportunity to experience Paris.

Ben asked me what my favorite part was, and I can’t put my finger on it.  I can tell you the museum I liked best, or the dining experience that stands out most, but I can’t tell you what my favorite part of Paris was, because it was Paris. Thanks for following along with us!

Personal Post: toy cameras and liking what you like


With photography as a career and a first love, sometimes it’s hard for me to remember how to “play” at creating artwork and documenting my life.  We focus so much on getting “the shot” –  what the best lenses, lighting gear, poses would be, that there isn’t much of a chance to toy around with just plain liking something and wanting to capture it.  I think one of the best art assignments for idea-book-keepers like myself, is to make a list of things you like.  There is no pressure to love something, and no specifics as to what can or cannot be included.  The list will start with obvious things your friends could list for you: coffee, pizza, the beach; but a few pages in you start to get into stranger, more specific territory: new ballpoint pens, having someone wash my hair for me, finding things that were lost.  I think there is something to this – something about being able to just like something, to enjoy it without the need to explain or analyze.

This is what I love about my Lomography cameras.  They are film cameras, but they are created like cheap, toy cameras – plastic, no batteries, the only adjustment for exposure is sunny or cloudy.  These cameras allow me to “play” in my interaction with the world.  I don’t have to consider my lenses or gear; I don’t have to worry about how it will look in post-processing.  Each frame is a surprise.  It could be a double-exposure; it could be filed with light-leaks or vignettes.  There is a joy in not needing to know the end result, and there is a joy in not editing my actions.  I haven’t gone through the process in my head to determine that the shot will be no good and isn’t worth taking.  I follow my impulses, and I honor my likes.

All photos above were taken this summer with my Lomography Mini Diana Petit Noir camera on 35 mm film (one roll of b&w, one roll of color).