Category Archives: National Parks

O Brother, Where Art Thou?

Brothers.jpg

These are my brothers.

We hang out.  We have a good time.  We look alike.  Our favorite pastime is sending awkwardly close-up selfies to each other in group texts.

The one on the left is older.  The one on the right is younger.  I’m the oldest.  The youngest just turned 21.  So they came to visit me, and we explored San Francisco and the Bay Area.

Here is what we did.

Lands End with the Brothers.  A Photo Essay.

59200034

592000355920002659200027lands-end-2lands-end-3

lands-end5920003159200030

Traveling with my brothers, while exhausting, is a rare pleasure.  They both live in Maryland still, where our parents are, and I don’t see them often.  Even though technology allows us to communicate easily and frequently, it isn’t the same as seeing them in person.  They’re both still in school (graduate and undergraduate), so traveling out to California to see me is difficult.

But when they’re in town, I love being able to show them all my favorite places– from my favorite photo opportunities to the best cafes and bars.

And it’s also good to get to know my brothers better.  I’ve known them both their entire lives, but little things that occur in day-to-day living are missed when you only see each other once in a blue moon or through the lens of a text, snapchat, or post on Instagram.  So when we’re face to face, especially after it’s been a long time, it’s like I’m hanging out with a completely new set of people.

Plus, being the older sister, I am still sometimes astonished that these younger brothers of mine, long thought of as babies, are actually thoughtful, deliberate human beings with ideas, beliefs, and opinions of their own.  It’s like they’re adults.  Or something.

We have a good time.

This is the first of a couple posts I have in mind for documenting their visit to see me in August 2016 and celebrate Baby Brother’s birthday.  We spent part of the trip in San Francisco just eating and wandering and enjoying the life of a San Francisco tourist.  This part of the trip included wandering the cold edge of San Francisco: Lands End and Sutro Baths.

For those of you who have never been to Lands End and Sutro Baths in San Francisco, you need to do it.  It’s a beautiful park, with paths to walk and beautiful views of the Pacific Ocean.  Where ocean waves create lace on the grey sands of Ocean Beach.

59200036

// All photos taken with my Canon AE-1 on 35mm film (Portra 400, if I recall correctly).

Climbing a Mountain (Figuratively)

59460014

I think it’s the 79th anniversary of Golden Gate Bridge. Happy birthday, dude.  You rock.  Keep on going.

59460012

This used to be my view every. Single. Day.

I miss it.

It probably still could be my view, if I didn’t mind paying an arm, a leg, and my firstborn (and possibly my second) in order to afford rent in San Francisco.  I have come to the conclusion that those kids living n San Francisco (they’re all kids, no matter their age) must fall into one of the following categories:

  1. Independently wealthy (from the parents or perhaps because they sold their start up for at least $500 billion)
  2. Work at one of the few places that pay enough salary to accommodate for housing prices in San Francisco
  3. Under the age of 35, childless, and relatively new to San Francisco

I do miss it.

59460011

I am flying to Hong Kong tomorrow.  It’s the eve before I fly, and I haven’t even finished packing.

Oops.  I should get started on that.

But before I do, some background about these images.  These are all photos of the Golden Gate Bridge from different vantage points. These were taken over the course of the past few months.  Look at the hills: they’re still green, which means we were still enjoying a Northern California spring at the time I took these photos.

Nowadays, those hills are yellow in hue.  We’re not called the “Golden State” for nothing.  Those hills are pure gold.

So these photos were all taken after work one day.  Some days, when I drive in to the City after work, I take a break from the traffic to seek out the Marin Headlands and the Golden Gate Bridge.

59460013

How is this not absolutely breathtaking?

When I took this photo, I had to shove a middle school kid aside and out of my way.  (Punks!)  It looked like a school field trip to the Golden Gate Bridge.  Dozens upon dozens of students getting into my shot.  So I was lucky to get a few.

59460017

It’s been a long week.  Maybe it’s time to go pack.

See you in Hong Kong.

//35mm film photos of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge taken from the Marin side.  If you look carefully, you can see Sutro Tower in the background.

Biosphere 2

BioSphere2-12.jpg

Last month, Chris and I went flew in to Tucson, Arizona to shoot my cousin’s family portraits.  Landing early Friday afternoon before my cousin and his wife had gotten off work, we tried to go to Kartchner Caverns to explore and see cool caves.  Unfortunately, I forgot to make advance reservations for tickets, and they were sold out.  Not surprisingly, I might add, because it was the same weekend as the Tucson Gem, Mineral & Fossil showcase.

Who knew that caves filled with minerals would be of interest on the VERY weekend a Mineral showcase is going on.

So instead, we dropped our stuff into the small car we had rented, and set off on an adventure to Biosphere 2.

BioSphere2-5

This is Biosphere 2.  (A regular Star Wars droid, eh?)  A massive ecological experiment, it originally housed highly publicized experiments with dreams of creating a sealed, self-sustaining environment that could be used in outer space.  Although the experiments ultimately were deemed “failures,” they provided invaluable information.  Today, Biosphere 2 is owned and operated by the University of Arizona, who gives regular tours of the facilities.

And that’s where we started.

BioSphere2-8

BioSphere2-6

We made it there just in time for the last tour of the day.

BioSphere2-2

(We made it!  We thought we wouldn’t.)

Beautiful grounds and sculptures dotted the landscape.

BioSphere2-4

BioSphere2

We explored for a bit before the tour began.

BioSphere2-3

Succulents are everywhere!

The tour began at 4:15 PM, and there were five other people on the tour with us, one of whom was a 9 -month-old baby.

It was pretty awesome inside.  There was a rainforest, a desert, an ocean . . . All surrounded by glass:

BioSphere2-10

BioSphere2-9

We had a grand old time!  Learned a lot, explored a lot!

BioSphere2-11

We played with the various plant-life that fell on us.  Like this pollen ball here.  This was the first photo, as well.

We had so much fun that our tour guide took us from a tour that was projected to end at 5:30 PM to a tour that ended near 7:00 PM.  Egads.  I love these kinds of places, but we were starting to wonder if we weren’t going to be shut up in there, as well!

BioSphere2-17

When we finally got out, the sun was setting.

BioSphere2-15

Correction: The sun had set.

And as the last people on site, it was time to capture a couple more shots:

BioSphere2-13

BioSphere2-16

BioSphere2-14

It had been an exhilarating day.  We were pooped.  Until next time, Biosphere 2!

// All photos above were taken on 35mm film (Portra 400) with my Canon AE-1 in Arizona on February 12, 2016.

 

 

Preview: BioSphere 2 in Tucson, Arizona

Preview-2

Arizona is a fascinating location.  Saguaros run rampant, and people wander in full cowboy gear.  Like, that’s their normal outfits!  Whaaat . . . !  Needless to say, I was extremely excited.

We flew in to Tucson, Arizona over President’s Day Weekend to shoot my cousin’s family portraits.  I’m still editing them, but I figured I’d leave a little teaser of our first stop in Tucson, Biosphere 2.

// 35mm film photo from the inside of Biosphere 2.  Look at those panes of glass up above!  You can check out some more photos from Arizona on my Instagram.

Rings and Things

Taiwan-4

There was great internal debate as to whether I would post about this online.  I’m not wont to share much of my personal life online, especially in highly exposed fora of arenas such as Facebook.  (I won’t go into it too much here, but I’m highly averse to the voyeuristic nature of Facebook and other social media.)

But my Blog is a different matter.  Plus, I’m rather pleased with how these photos came out, and I don’t know where else I could share these photos other than Instagram.  And sometimes, some things are too important and too special to be relegated to Facebook.

So, after the phone calls were made, after the dinners and lunches and happy hours and visits were had . . .

Taiwan-5

I’m happy to announce that I am engaged!

The questions that a person encounters as soon as her friends/family/coworkers discover that she is engaged are listed below:

  1. When’s the wedding?

. . . and that’s it.

Taiwan-2First things first: I am not going to turn this blog into a wedding blog.

Secondly: I didn’t know the answer to that question the day after I got engaged.

Thirdly: I still do not know the answer to that question, nearly two months later.

Taiwan-3

But I do like taking photos.  So while I and my new fiancé figure out what we want to do, I’m going to keep shooting.

These are 35mm film photos taken of my new, bright, and shiny engagement ring nestled among my favorite succulents.  I haven’t had an opportunity to shoot rings and jewelry before, so perfect chance, right?

Taiwan-6

If you’ve read this far, you’re probably looking for our engagement story.  Here’s the short version (email me if you want the long winded version):

We have a yearly tradition of seeing the Nutcracker every Christmastime at the S.F. Ballet. This year, he sent me a bouquet of flowers and then picked me up from work.  We stopped by the Marin Headlands despite the rain and being late to our dinner reservation because of lame traffic, and, overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge, he proposed.  (There was some debate as to whether we’d actually stop in the Marin Headlands because of the rain, but he had a semi-panicked, puppy-dog look in his eyes, and, well, let’s just say that it’s very easy to persuade me to take a detour to take photos in the Marin Headlands.)

The photo above was taken right before we engaged.

Voila!

Trailing Into Autumn: Sauntering along the Billy Goat Trail

BillyGoat-6

BillyGoat-5

How does one enjoy a free trip home in late-October courtesy of a work trip to the nation’s capital?  Go for a hike with the parentals and shoot lots of photos of the East Coast in all its fall glory, of course!

And what a glorious day it was. 

BillyGoat-7

BillyGoat-8

The sky was blue, the waters were bluer, and the film in my camera was eating it all up like candy. 

How is this even real life? 

The Billy Goat Trail is a trail that I’ve been hiking for almost my entire life.  It is part of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal and located between the C&O Canal and Potomac River near Great Falls in my hometown of Montgomery County, Maryland.  

BillyGoat-3

BillyGoat-11

While my parents and I were walking along the banks of the C&O Canal and I was reveling in the beauty of the still waters in the early morning, we heard a cacophony above us.  A flock of birds was flying by, and they were also enjoying the crisp, fall morning, singing and calling to one another as they roamed the skies above.

But in addition to the birds’ voices, there is also the roar of the falls.

What’s fantastic about this hike is that people can cut across from the canal-side to the Potomac River side and see the Great Falls.

BillyGoat-9

BillyGoat-10

It’s like a painting.  The swirls, the eddies, and the roar of water, captured in moving stillness in these photos.

BillyGoat-12

BillyGoat-4

BillyGoat-2

A walk among the trees and beside the water is perfection.  Absolute perfection.  Especially when I get to do it with my parents. 

MomDad

// 35mm film photos taken with my Canon AE-1 one bright, October morning along the Billy Goat Trail in Potomac, Maryland.

 

Star gazing

Perseids

We went stargazing last night and saw a few shooting stars from the annual Perseid meteor shower, and while we only saw a couple meteors, it was fun traipsing around the back hills of Berkeley and other parts of the East Bay (alas, Tilden Park was a bust– too much fog) in search of a clear spot to shoot some long exposures. You can still see some clouds rolling through on the left of the photo . . .

It’s crazy how many stars there are in the night sky.  Absolutely breathtaking. 

If you haven’t seen them yet, you still have time!  They’re around for another night or two!  Go check them out!!