When I went to Houston in May for my grandfather’s funeral, I brought not just my digital camera, but also my Mamiya C220. I shot an entire roll of just family time in the backyard, but this one’s my favorite.
Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category
When I first made plans to fly to Houston for my grandfather’s funeral, I had no intentions of bringing a camera. When my brother made plans to fly himself, my sister-in-law and my niece to Houston, I packed up my cameras, both digital and film.
As I previously wrote, exploring our childhood home through the eyes of my niece, then almost 20 months, was a lot of fun. Without further ado, I present pictures of the world’s most important toddler:
Earlier this month, I returned to Houston for my grandfather‘s funeral, but I was hardly the most far-flung traveler: My brother, sister-in-law and almost-20-month-old niece flew in from Italy.
Not since Christmas 2010 had my two brothers and I been together under the same roof, so while we had gathered to pay respects to our grandfather, we had fun being siblings again and exploring our childhood home through the eyes of Layla, who is now a very confident toddler.
Making pictures of a constantly/unpredictably moving target is a lot different from making pictures of a babe who is either being held or lying relatively sill, but it’s also a lot more fun. Unfortunately, editing down pictures of a toddler who is rambunctiously touring her new domain is pretty difficult. How can you say no to this face?
…Or to this face?
Layla isn’t quite ready to put nouns and verbs together to form sentences, but she is very capable of understanding directions and making pout faces. The pictures in this blog post wouldn’t have made the final cut for what I’ll ultimately share, but I take my responsibility as family photographer* very seriously and believe that not sharing these pictures would be akin to committing a serious transgression.
Obviously, there will be more Layla pictures to come.
* Apparently I was always the family photographer: While looking through photo albums for pictures to submit for my grandfather’s obituary page, my uncle Doug discovered this picture:
Uncle Doug was very proud of this discovery. I am very excited about this early evidence that I’m better behind the camera than in front of it.
Thanks to warehouses and shipping and other forces beyond my control, I won’t get to send Christmas presents to my brother, sister-in-law and niece in time for Christmas. So, Matt, Emily and Layla, here are some analog photos from Italy (and a bonus frame) as an early Christmas present to make up for the belatedness of your package!
Aaand now for a bonus frame — the last frame on the roll, which I took during one of three snowfalls we had in a week back in York:
And thus concludes my blog posts of photos I made while in Italy.
- Previously: Ciao bambina (Napoli)
- Also previously: Ciao bambina (Roma e Firenze)
- Also previously: Il Duomo di Firenze
Sunday, it snowed a few inches and then melted down a bit. Today, it snowed another six inches on top of what we already had, so after I shoveled out three cars and then some, and after Jeff helped a neighbor shovel her driveway, we took snow pictures. I might have made us wait 20 minutes for the sun to come back out so we could get this shot of me:
The snow picture pertains to my Italian vacation and Il Duomo di Firenze (Basilica of Saint Mary of the Flower, which is topped with Brunelleschi’s Dome) because there, I too waited a while for good light.
Like, an hour.
Here’s what happened. Best sister-in-law ever, aka Emily, and I left Matt and my mom in Galleria degli Uffizi so we could climb il Campanile di Giotto in time for sunset pictures of il Duomo di Firenze. The sky was pouring rain on us the whole way from Uffizi to il Campanile, and it was still coming down when, 414 steps later, we reached the top of the bell tower. But we’d come so far, so we stepped out into the rain anyway, at which point another man in the room thrust his open umbrella at us, which we obviously accepted.
This is what il Duomo and the rest of Florence looked like under heavy rain:
Emily, who has never known me to be without a camera, graciously accepted that we would be waiting at the top of the bell tower, just to wait and see if the sky would ever break up and if the light would ever improve. So we kept baby Layla occupied and checked outside every now and again. When the rain stopped, we stepped back out. The sky was definitely clearing up in the west, but I still waited. Finally, just over an hour after I’d taken the photo above, the sunset cast an amazing orange glow over the city, and quality of light was almost Rembrandt-esque.
So, here’s my best Duomo shot:
Moral of the story: Real photographers wait for good light. (Unless, of course, you have two or three other assignments to complete and can’t afford to linger.) And, the quality of light can truly make or break a photo. Just take another look at that rainy-sky Duomo photo.
Thank you, best sister-in-law ever, for understanding this and being patient.
- Previously: Ciao bambina (Napoli)
- Also previously: Ciao bambina (Roma e Firenze)
- Coming eventually: Analog: Bambina
When my mom and I visited my brother and his family in Naples, Italy, Matt and Emily made sure we saw the sights. For one thing, I’m pretty allergic to cats, and Emily wanted to minimize my exposure to their cat by getting us out of the apartment as frequently as possible. For another, we were in Italy — and who knows when or if we’ll be back?
So the photos below — a mix of landscapes, food and cute baby — are largely in chronological order of our travels around southern Italy and then our four-day excursion to Rome and Florence. Enjoy!
Our first outing took us along the Amalfi Coast, where the views and seafood are ample.
Matt and Emily generally feed Layla “real people” food. She’s not allowed extremely salty things like prosciutto, but she can handle Indian food and a variety of other cuisines, and Emily always cuts up small samples of the meal for Layla to eat. So, nobody was surprised when Layla grabbed one of the lightly fried sardines that Matt left on his platter…
…but everyone — including Layla herself — was surprised when she ate the tail end of the fish:
…and we discovered that Layla, who previously hated gelato for its frigidity, is okay with it as long as she’s holding the spoon:
It’s easier to say Matt and Emily live in Naples, but they’re a bit removed from the city itself. Anyway, Emily took my mom and me into downtown Naples to check out some old churches (including Chiesa del Gesù Nuovo di Napoli and Museo Cappella Sansevero) and, of course, eat true Neapolitan pizza.
We learned that verace pizza napoletana (“true Neapolitan pizza”) is taken pretty seriously. There’s even a sort of governing body that inspects and approves pizzerias that produce verace pizza napoletana. Matt was a big fan of L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele — until he found out that that’s where Julia Roberts ate pizza in the movie Eat Pray Love. (Awful movie.) Since then, his loyalty lies with Pizzeria di Matteo (whose website includes an entire section about Bill Clinton’s visit there), where Emily took us:
It was pretty tasty.
Matt and Emily spent their fourth wedding anniversary in Rome… with their baby and the in-laws.
And then the restaurant where we ate dinner (I had carbonara) had a pretty teeny bathroom, so Emily had to change Layla’s diaper in a dark alley between parked Vespas. Typical.
Nine months ago, we all got to meet my baby niece Layla. A few months later, I was lamenting to a coworker about how fast the baby was growing, and how her living in Italy makes it hard for me to be a doting aunt. My coworker immediately chided me for not applying for my passport, booking flights and getting my butt over to Italy, because after all, Layla’s not exactly getting any younger.
So, two weeks ago, my mother and I flew to Naples, where my brother Matt and his family live, for a 10-day trip that would be my first-ever journey abroad. We explored Naples, had a four-day excursion to Rome and Florence, ate a lot and played with the baby. And I made a lot of pictures.
The pictures in this blog post (which is the first of at least three to come) show home life in Naples — or, Napoli. But first, the obligatory travel photo:
I never wanted to be that person who traveled abroad and returned home with all sorts of snooty attitudes about food, culture, etc., but let’s be real: You really cannot beat super-fresh mozzarella di bufala.
And now for some scenes at home:
So, I guess I like rubber duckies, because this happened in July:
…And this happened in October:
It was our first trip to Pittsburgh, and honestly, we went for the duck. We did do other Pittsburgh things, though. We toured the Strip District, dined in an old-person Italian restaurant in Bloomberg, saw Andrew Carnegie’s dinosaur skeletons, nixed a few sketchy hotels in sketchy areas and rode an incline:
But let’s be real: It was mostly about the duck.
Jeff was burrowing around last week and found three rolls of undeveloped 35mm film in a cookie tin. (There were several unexposed rolls in there as well.) So I took them to get developed. One is a Fuji roll he shot during our 2010 spring break trip to the Santa Fe region of New Mexico; another Fuji roll is from his Dec. 2009 visit to Houston.
The Ilford XP2 Super roll is from our Feb. 2012 trip to New York City — a trip whose digital pictures I never blogged, and whose film frames I never saw ’til now.
Along the lines of an earlier post about how I had a bad habit of wasting film, I was pretty disenchanted with the frames on that black-and-white roll: Too many frames where I shot something just for the sake of depressing that shutter button and advancing the film. Like I wrote before, I’m working now to make pictures, with film, that mean something to me, which typically means they need to be of people I care about. That roll from New York City is a good reminder of what I as a photographer should never do again.
But here’re two frames that I do like from that roll. Obviously, I shot one and Jeff shot the other. Can you tell who shot which?
Earlier this month, I finally bought my dream camera, and I’m going to use it to cure myself.
. . .
For seven months now, I’ve been dealing with a struggle.
It’s not a daily gloom, nor is it definitive, long-term or easily explained. Additionally, “dealing with” is the best way I can characterize what I’ve been doing — largely because I can neither face it head-on nor avoid it, largely because I don’t know what it is.
It’s not a rut or cabin fever. I’m still passionate about what I do as a photojournalist, and I’m proud of some of the recent work I’ve done.
It’s probably related somehow to my experiences in Newtown, but I’m not sure how or why.
It’s not impacting my ability to function as a human or as a photojournalist, although I’m sure that my boyfriend would appreciate it if I helped out more with chores, as I once did.
I can’t diagnose it because I don’t know what it is, where it came from or why it’s affecting me, but I’ve recently decided that the best prescription is to care a little harder.
. . .
I think, in this age of Instagram, Facebook and quick-and-easy photo-taking/-sharing, we don’t care as much about the pictures we make. We snap a shot, share it, move on. By the end of the week, we’ve shared two or a dozen more photos, and we don’t even remember what we photographed two weeks ago.
On a related note: I love my job. We are trained to transmit photos almost as soon as we make them, in certain cases (mostly breaking news and sports). It’s fun and fast-paced, and I think it’s a neat step forward that we’re able to do. But because I work for a daily newspaper, I can have anywhere from one to four assignments in a day, which adds up to a lot after any given period of time. People ask me what I did this week, and I have to explain to them that I honestly can’t remember because every day has blurred into an indistinguishable continuum.
So, I have recently found myself pretty anxious to take a very large, deliberate step back from the immediacy that everyone else supplies and demands. (At least, for personal work.) Therefore, I’m returning to my roots, which means film. I first learned real photography at a summer job in New Mexico, where a hippie named Grant put a 6-pound, medium-format Pentax in my hands and taught me the entire process. To make frames on such a tank of a camera — and to develop the film, use enlargers and make prints, all in the same day — was incredibly empowering, and magical. I fell in love.
Last month, I went to Santa Fe to see Grant again and spend time with him. (I don’t think he ever believed that I made the trip just for him, but it’s true, Grant.) It was only a three-day trip, but it was peaceful, and in my heart, New Mexico is home. As I used my Mamiya (no Pentax yet) to make a picture of Grant and his Charlotte in their backyard, I knew I’d found a cure, or at least a relief, for my struggle.
I’m going to return to film, and make pictures that mean something to me. I can’t tell you how many rolls I’ve wasted on shots “just because,” and how many of those frames are just languishing in my binder because they ultimately are of no value to me. So I’m going to care harder about my personal photography, and it’s going to be film, and it’s going to be something that I will treasure 20, 30, 40 years down the road.
I’m starting now, with a few frames from a few rolls I got developed after my New Mexico trip. These were all taken with the Mamiya, but expect to see a lot of work coming from the Pentax from now on.
Every single one of these frames means something to me.
Is that something any given person can say about any given photo they’ve taken recently?
But it’s something I want to be able to say, honestly, about all of my personal work from now on.
Everybody, meet Layla. She’s the five-month-old daughter of my brother Matt and his wife Emily, and as the first member of my family’s newest generation, she’s a big deal.
Jeff and I flew down to Houston last weekend for Chinese New Year, and Matt and Emily brought the baby for everyone to meet.
In case you were wondering — yes, I have a lot of photos from the five days we spent in Houston. Like I’ve said, Layla is kind of a big deal. Plus, this is the first, last and only time I’ll have had with her as a baby. Because an ocean separates Matt’s family from me, the next time I see Layla, she’ll be crawling if not walking, probably talking and definitely showing more personality.
So yes, I made a lot of pictures, and this post reflects a few of my favorite moments from our trip.
When the paper sent Lauren and me to State College two Fridays ago, it wasn’t just to cover the candlelight vigil and the season’s last home game/first game without Joe Paterno.
Lauren is a business reporter, so as soon as we arrived in State College, we started working on a biz story: (How) have the Sandusky case and Paterno’s firing affected the Penn State brand?
The first store we walked into was Lions Pride. When the clerk fetched the store manager for us, he (the manager) scratched his head and said he wasn’t giving interviews because he knew what we wanted to talk about. He’d been turning down CNN, a few big-name papers and other outlets all week.
But then he started talking anyway. And then he agreed to let us quote him, and take photos in his store. And, once I was done making photos, we approached him to thank him and give him our business cards — right as he was turning down another national media outlet on the phone.
Lauren and I went to several other stores afterward. No one else would talk to us.
Here’s Lauren’s story.
The next morning, before the game, we set out again — this time, in the vicinity of Beaver Stadium. I made sure at one point to stop by the Joe Paterno statue, but it was so swarmed by fans and media that I almost left because I felt like I couldn’t get a genuine photo. Then, as I turned to my right, I saw a different kind of picture to make…
…so I made the picture.
The quote on the wall reads as follows:
“They ask me what I’d like written about me when I’m gone. I hope they write I made Penn State a better place, not just that I was a good football coach.”
(For those who may be unfamiliar with the layout of the Paterno statue area, check out this photo.)
Erin and Scott are two nerds who got hitched in Erin’s parents’ backyard in mid-September.
Jeff, a few Missouri photojournalism alumnae and I attended. Naturally, we all brought our cameras. Naturally, I brought my Mamiya.
It was a small, lovely wedding.
Thanks for sharing your lovely day with me, Erin and Scott!
A decent hour-long, winding drive from my apartment, Hanover is home to Snyder’s of Hanover and the Hanover Chili Cookoff.
(It’s home to other things, too… like news editor Kate. Not to be confused with photographer Kate.)
News editor Kate, photographer Kate and I met at the 16th annual Hanover Chili Cookoff last month for chili, beer and more chili. It was a pretty gross, hot, humid day, which limited how much chili and beer I could consume, but it was still nice to get out of the office with folks from the office.
We also met up with some Hanover Evening Sun folks (journalists always seem to gravitate to each other, what can I say)… including Clare!
Clare began her graduate courses at Missouri right around when I began my photojournalism sequence. Getting to see another Mizzou photographer — in Hanover, Pa., of all places — was pretty neat.
Next up from this roll of film: My first game at Penn State!
This is the last of the New York City blog posts (from my three-day trip in July), and boy, it was a long time coming.
I’d shot Times Square at f/1.4, then switched back to a more functional aperture, then switched back to f/1.4 for a few more shots in Chinatown. Here they are.
If you know anything about me, you know that I love a good Chinatown. Strangely, so does my mom. I guess it runs in the family.
My Uncle Doug is a living, breathing Urbanspoon, so we always refer to him when we want to know where we should eat for various types of cuisine in New York City. A few hours before I left New York, he led us through the crowded sidewalks of Manhattan’s Chinatown and to an excellent Chinese restaurant, where I was too hungry and
greedy eager to bother taking food photos. Sorry, y’all.
I also may or may not have had my camera pressed up against my face as we walked off to find a Chinese bakery.
Just a couple of more New York City entries before I’m done blogging about this trip!
I’m not sure why, but when we were in Times Square on Tuesday morning, I decided to open my lens up all the way. f/1.4, baby.
Unfortunately — and I did already know this — the Canon 50/1.4 lens is not sharp at f/1.4. I usually shoot it at f/2.8, at which the sharpness is usually great. But I guess that morning in Times Square, I didn’t give a damn and decided to try shooting at f/1.4. Sure enough, the photos aren’t quite sharp, but I don’t mind. The narrow depth of field and lack of absolute sharpness make Times Square seem almost dreamy.
I continued shooting at f/1.4 for most of the rest of that last day in the city. You’ll see a few of those shots soon.
The night of Monday, July 25, was the best. I have wonderful friends.
New York can be very colorful.