Posts tagged travel photography
Mindfulness in Manhattan: A Walk to Change Perspective

“At what point do I then stop enjoying my life for its own sake and start doing things just for attention?”

Traveling, in particular, has time and again led me to that question. Did I order that steak tartare in France just for the ‘gram or do I actually want to eat it? (Tartare makes for terrible photos but is, in fact, delicious. Next question, please.) Did I rent a car and drive through Northern Spain for a good story? (Yes, but if the primary aim was to swap amusing stories with my well-traveled grandparents then no harm done.) Did I stay up till 3am sharing my blog posts to my Instagram story while in Ireland with my family rather than resting up to enjoy another full day? (Yes, and boy could I have used that sleep.)

When Dad and I went to Manhattan for a day in July, spending our afternoon walking the 160 blocks from Penn Station to the Cloisters, I was able to take that question one step further: even in a public sphere, when is it time to put the camera away not only to be more present myself, but to allow my prospective subjects to maintain their privacy?

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In a Manhattan Minute: Runway Edition

We flew over a fluffy blanket of clouds, adding to the coziness of the picturesque scene. Every break in the clouds allowed a glance below at the city lights, the oranges and yellows delightfully contrasting with the blue sky.

Most amazingly of all was the heat lightning. The first bolt glided effortlessly across the horizon, lighting up the seemingly-dusk sky. Here again, my understanding of timing and weather failed me as each flash created its own “sunrise,” painting the horizon a pale pink and yellow.

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In a Manhattan Minute: Stories from Newark

Airports are [metaphorically] lawless places. Your flight’s delayed at 9am? Whiskey with breakfast. Get caught up in rush hour traffic en route to the airport? Cut in front of 2— people through security by only asking the travelers at the end of each row if you can move ahead of them. Sleepy on your redeye back home? Use your backpack as a pillow, jacket as a blanket and stretch out right there on the carpet.

Airports are at once the best places for people watching, and the only location where you can get away with doing whatever less-socially-accepted thing you need to do to get through your travels sanely without being critiqued too harshly. Within reason, of course; if you take up both arm rests, I will judge you.

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Travel Albums: Manhattan, NY Vacation Photos

For a decade or so, every year for Christmas I gave my dad a scrapbook of that cross country season’s shenanigans. When he retired from coaching, I worried that I’d have to find a new Christmas project, but realized I could do almost the same thing, just with our travels instead! I had to wait until March this year to give him his present since we had to postpone our annual trip until February, but I’ve always been the master of spreading out holidays.

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Travel Prints: Manhattan Film Photography

The only place I’ve photographed more than my hometown of Asheville is New York City. In the past year, after 3 trips, I’ve shot somewhere close to 15 rolls of film in Manhattan alone, which has given me the chance to practice my street photography in the city which birthed the genre.

There’s not much I can say in the way of describing each location that I haven’t said already, so instead I’ll share my aim for each type of film and why I chose to use it at that time. This is, by far, my favorite set of travel photos to date because I was finally comfortable photographing people at close range, so I captured a wide mix of photos of people going about their day, environmental portraits showing people interacting with the city background, and architectural shots.

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Maya's Old Town Alexandria, VA Portrait Session

The excellent thing about candid portraiture, particularly that which seeks to capture each subject simply as they are, is that it doesn’t require experienced models. In fact, for me, one of the greatest pleasures of running a photography business has been getting to create someone’s first ever portrait session, to give someone the gift of confidence through looking at photos of themselves that capture their essence in a beautiful way.

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Ireland Day 1 (and Only): Leave it to the Universe

We didn’t talk much on our walk. The single track trail commands visitors’ silence both because of the treacherous footing and the single-file necessity. This seemed nature’s design as I became much more aware of my surroundings as I simultaneously became lost in my own daydreams. Something about Ireland (and Scotland, too) send my already active imagination into fantasy hyperdrive.

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Spain Day 3: New Horizons

To me, the idea wasn’t complete without a little “danger” so my plan was to throw off my dress as I was running towards the water and sprint in just in my underwear. Mind you, the water was probably only 50 degrees and there were still people walking at either end of the beach as well as along the boardwalk. But it was dark, I didn’t know anyone else there, and I was ready to practice being bold. So, I took a deep breath, tossed my dress to Erin and dove under the waves. I came up breathless, shocked from the cold even though I knew it was coming. I ran back in, ready to get warm. But somehow, I still wasn’t satisfied. I hadn’t fully reveled in the feelings of discomfort and uncertainty. So, I ran back in and this time held my breath under water for a few seconds, coming up to stand in the waist deep waves while I gazed into the vast, dark expanse.

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Photo Album || Dee + Sam's Botanical Gardens Anniversary Session

The 5th anniversary gift is typically wood, so we spent Dee and Sam’s anniversary accordingly - hanging out in the woods! Dee and Sam had already planned a weekend getaway to Asheville. So, to help celebrate their beautiful milestone, Dee’s sister arranged a couple’s photoshoot with me so that they could commemorate their weekend. As we were in the middle of June, we chose the Botanical Gardens of Asheville as our backdrop to make use of the bounty of greenery highlighted by a brilliant sunny evening.

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Spain Day 2: The Road to San Sebastian

Over the last year or so that I’ve dedicated my film practice to improving my street photography, I’ve had to work a lot on my shyness. Sometimes, I’ll see the perfect shot yet will be too nervous of what this stranger will think of me capturing the moment: will they be uncomfortable with the invasion of privacy, will they get mad, will they say something to me? No one has ever actually approached me so, as of yet, these fears are unfounded. In fact, one of my very favorite photographic moments from the day came about as we walked through the quiet, cobbled streets of Parte Vieja (Old Town.) At the other end of the alley we were walking through, I saw a group of men congregating, which always immediately sets me on my guard. However, when we got close and they saw my camera, they grinned and made a clicking motion while pointing to themselves. They must have heard us speaking English because they didn’t try to make conversation, yet “can you take our photo?” seems to be universally understood. Looking back, I wish I’d taken even more photos of them, perhaps a close-up portrait of each, but I’m still happy with the experience which will hopefully embolden me further.

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Wedding Photo Album || Katie + Mario's Raspberry Plain Manor Wedding

I love Katie and Mario’s approach to their album: while we had over 1,000 photos to choose from they managed to narrow it all the way down to 100 (an impressive feat!) so that they could have as many large full-spread images as possible. They wanted to keep it simple, to let the emotional photos to speak for themselves, so we kept the text to a minimum as well, only including one Bible verse layered perfectly over a silhouette I made during their ceremony. I certainly keep the album in mind while photographing each wedding (in fact, I specifically shoot with the flower & layout of each album in my head) but sometimes things work out even better than I’d planned. Being able to pair the quotation “this is a profound mystery” with a silhouette is one of those moments!

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Santander, Spain Day 1: Going with the Flow

We didn’t plan too much for this trip. We knew we wanted to have one day to just bum around Santander, one day to see the sunrise and enjoy a beach picnic, and one day trip to somewhere else close by. As it was pouring rain on our first morning there, we decided to take the cue from the weather and enjoy a quiet first day. In planning, Erin was in charge of the activities and I the restaurants, particularly as I spoke the better Spanish of the two of us. When I ordered our breakfast, I hadn’t quite plucked up the courage to engage in a full on Spanish conversation, so I was feeling a little embarrassed about my speaking skills as we waited for our food. But just at that moment, a small, scarf-clad and white haired woman walked by our table, said something to us conspiratorially, winked, and walked out the door. After that, I knew that the act of at least trying to speak the language might make up for my errors.

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Phoenix, Arizona: Friends All Around the World

I spent the majority of my second day in Arizona hanging out with amazing women. That’s really my biggest takeaway from this trip - just how many incredible women there are out there and how lucky I am to be building my own community of them all across the country. Particularly as all of these women are themselves traveling around the world, creating our own global tribe.

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Vacation Photography: Dad's Ireland Photo Album

Since somewhere around 2005, I made my dad a scrapbook of that cross country season every year for Christmas. Every single year, my mom would collect all of the newspaper clippings (because that was a thing) and I’d collect photos from teammates so that by the end of each season, I could put everything together to highlight that year’s triumphs and shenanigans. As you can see, I’ve always been all about curating memories into storytelling albums.

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2019 Goals: Dream Big

After everything I learned last year (read more here), I realized that it’s the “helping others” part that I want to focus on most in the coming year(s). This is the first year that my goals will look quite different than they did in the past; traditionally mine have read something like: “more weddings”, “more family photoshoots”, etc. Not that there was anything wrong with that approach, I did need to augment my bookings for my business to be sustainable. However, its the experiences I’m creating through those photoshoots that I want to focus on most.

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2018 Reflection: The Building Year

I like to use the changing of the calendar year as a start- and end-point to evaluate my metrics and to reevaluate my goals. This is the first time that I ended the year with a very different sense of achievement than I began: I entered hoping to bolster my bookings and set my goals accordingly. But I ended having learned the true “why” behind my drive to do each of these types of photoshoots. In essence, my work has become not just about the end product (typically a storybook photo album) but the entire experience of the session, and by extension an enjoyment of life.

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Travel Prints || Portland, Oregon Film Photography

In the span of my first three trips to Portland, I shot five rolls of film. On this past trip, I shot five rolls of film.

Street photography has become meditative for me. Since I’m shooting only for myself, it allows me space to try new things while developing my style, to continually train my eye to find the story. It’s also a time for me to “unwind,” to let everything else on my mind melt away for a couple hours while I focus solely on the sights around me.

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Cannon Beach Roadtrip: Making Friends as I Go

I talk about that a lot - not having a plan. That’s become rather important to me this year. I mean, obviously it’s useful to have some sort of game plan for a lot of things (I know several routes I’d like to explore in my business next, for example), but the key is to not get hung up on one objective, not fixate on one goal. So, when I organized the trip, all I said was that I wanted to go to the coast and I wanted to take photos, and that if we added in a winery visit I would not complain.

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