305. My Field Trip

2014-8-29 Solo Field Trip-0067For this month’s Field Trip I planned a Field Trip for myself. I essentially created an easter egg hunt for myself that included things to do, eat, visit, find, listen to, etc.

First thing on my list was to rise before dawn to watch the sunrise. Now that I will be spending a whole lot more time in and around Salem I wanted to spend some time getting to know it. I found a good vantage point to watch on this bridge in Derby Wharf.

2014-8-29 Solo Field Trip-00642014-8-29 Solo Field Trip-00962014-8-29 Solo Field Trip-0142Next on my list was to get breakfast at A&J King in Salem. They’re amazing and it’s my favorite place in town so far. I was the fourth person waiting outside the door before they opened at 7. I chose the sticky bun and a latte.

2014-8-29 Solo Field Trip-0213I found an open park bench in Salem Common and found a note on the bench next to me.

2014-8-29 Solo Field Trip-0216I happened to be wearing my “Positive Is Better” t-shirt at the time so I took this as a good omen. More on omens later.

The next big thing on my list was to ride my bike. A lot. Like a whole lot. I rode to Lighthouse Point in Marblehead first.

2014-8-29 Solo Field Trip-0249I have a lot of positive memories growing up and coming to this spot. My grandfather used to take my sister and I here all the time. We would climb down the rocks to skip stones in the ocean. In college I brought Kara here for our first picnic. Recently my niece Lily was christened here. You get the picture.

Speaking of pictures, I wanted to take some time to do an illustration because I love to draw and paint when I take time for it, but it’s just not something I do if it’s not scheduled. I’m always rustier than I want to be and I rush through the end of the drawing every time but one day I’ll have the patience to get really good. Maybe in 10 years.

Lighthouse Point Drawing - 8-29-14It’s basically a new version of an illustration I had done as a gift for my sister and brother-in-law. I still feel weird every time I see it hanging in their home. Not because I don’t want them to have it, it just reminds me of a time where I couldn’t really afford a decent gift and I felt like that was my best option. I don’t like giving art as gifts in general – unless it’s a photo – because it feels like pressuring someone to have the same taste as you do. Anyway, I’m getting off the point.

2014-8-29 Solo Field Trip-Panorama 01

After that I did a whole lot more biking but I don’t have a goPro so I don’t have much to show for that portion. Next stop in the afternoon was the little public beach in Beverly next to Misselwood, where I got married.

2014-8-29 Solo Field Trip-0332One of my big goals for the day was to spend some time thinking about where I am at right now and the path that led me here. I am one week from officially breaking away from the only job I’ve had since college. Now I’m putting all of my energy into my photography and I started my own company. 10 years ago I would have never imagined that I would own my own business.

I brought with me a couple of old notebooks and journals I’ve held onto over the years. The oldest one I have starts in 2005 right after I left Union College and it’s amazing what things have changed in me and what hasn’t. First, it starts like all of my journals seem to – “I always wanted to keep a journal but I never find the time to do it.” Second, I wrote every journal to an invisible audience, introducing different parts of my life. I’m surprised I didn’t find blogging sooner. Turns out it’s the perfect medium for me, I always wanted to have a blog even when I didn’t know what it was.

The things that have changed: I was very frustrated and confused, I resented my parents a whole lot, I was angry at everyone, everything and most of all myself, I was afraid of ending up out of college, out of a job, out of everything life has to offer.

The things that haven’t changed. I am in love with Kara, I love art, I wish I had time to do all of the fun and interesting ideas in my head, I never feel like I’ve done enough, I’m can be cocky at times, I make lots of mistakes, I admire people that are kind and generous. Also I still don’t take enough time to think about where I’m at or what I’ve accomplished. That was the biggest thing for my solo Field Trip. I still don’t feel like I’m proud enough of what I’ve accomplished.

2014-8-29 Solo Field Trip-0333This next one is harder to explain. I’ve been looking for two stones for about 3 months now. It’s all about a book I’ve mentioned in the past on this blog. It’s called The Alchemist. I was actually listening to the audiobook when I was doing the lighthouse illustration. In the book the boy gets two stones from a king and they are meant to help guide him on his journey. You ask a yes or no question and pull one of the stones from the bag. Black=yes and White=no. They are called Urim and Thummim and they’re apparently in the Bible somewhere but I am not interested in that. I just wanted to find two small stones that represent what the story has become to mean for me.

That’s also what the “omen” reference was earlier in this post. The book has all kinds of omens and philosophy. Every time I listen to the audiobook I feel like I understand another message that I didn’t catch the first time. Also, it’s only a 4 hour audiobook so it’s easy to digest it in a single day. The phrase that stuck in my mind on this listen was “Personal Legend.” I want one of those.

After that I read some more journals and realized just how much life has happened in 10 years. Marriages, deaths, babies, job changes,

For the afternoon I wanted to take Kara out to dinner to celebrate. We chose a place in Salem that reminded me of our honeymoon in Santorini. Also, in 2005 I lamented the fact that Kara was in Italy and I thought I’d never go – suck it old me.

Then we hopped on a ferry (another on my list) into the city for dessert.2014-8-29 Solo Field Trip-0354

We headed to the North End for either gelato or cannoli but Hanover Street was mobbed so we headed down a side street and into the middle of what looked like a carnival. We walked right into one of the last things on my list “do something unexpected.” Apparently it was St. Anthony’s Feast and hundreds of pushcarts lined the streets. We finally got some fried dough (we had been looking for it since the 4th of July) and watched some band play Sweet Caroline. Unfortunately for me that’s my own kind of bad omen so we headed down one of the streets with hundreds of people, food and games. It was crazy!

2014-8-29 Solo Field Trip-0377And awesome. That was a great exclamation point to the night. But before calling it quits, I had to crack the bottle of Vin Santo I had been saving since our trip to Italy. I told Kara on our way home that I wouldn’t drink it until I left my job.

2014-8-29 Solo Field Trip-0389It was delicious.

Tonight’s song is Chicago by Sufjan Stevens. Because I’ve made a lot of mistakes too.



302. Stuck In Customs

When I saw this photo I immediately thought of Trey Ratcliffe. It was taken in the New York Public Library a couple years ago and the long hallway was perfect for an HDR composite. It really helps bring out the brilliant detailing on the ceilings and those chandeliers look amazing.

I found Trey’s work many years ago at this point and he was a huge influence on why I became a photographer. He has a fantastic website at StuckInCustoms.com where he lays out all the gear you need to start putting together HDR photos as well as a ton of teaching material. I bought my first DSLR based on his recommendations and that’s what I was using when I took this photo.

NYC Stock Photos - 20120628 - 0055_6_7_tonemappedIt’s funny how things seem to come full circle. I hadn’t been doing any HDR photos in years and now it seems like every other post I’m doing in HDR.

Tonight’s song is In The Meantime by Spacehog. Every time I hear this song, I am twelve years old again. I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of listening to it.