Orlando in July

Tourists

As you might have guessed from the title of this post, I recently spent a week in Orlando with my family. A family vacation was a long time coming, and we wanted to visit my grandparents (who relocated to Orlando several years ago to escape the winters), and take advantage of being there to visit the Universal Studios Harry Potter world–both my wife and my son are big, big Harry Potter fans.

I have spent summers in Florida previously, so I was not unaware of the heat. However, my previous trips brought me to the Gulf Coast, which is considerably cooler than the interior of the state. This is a lesson I would learn in the days I spent in Orlando.

I did write a previous entry about this trip to Orlando, which I titled a “Travel Journal”…you can see the post here, and the flickr set here.

Gator-watching

The heat is oppressive. In the days we were there, the daily heat index fluctuated between 110-118 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s really hot. We went to Universal Studios the first two days of our trip, and it was enjoyable, despite the heat; the park is really well done, with a lot of attention to detail ensuring that every nook and cranny holds something that Potter-ites will point out and enjoy.¬†The HP section of Universal studios is divided into two sections: Hogshead and Diagon Alley, and you can read more about it here. I would say that if you’re into HP at all, you should go. It is hot and crowded and expensive, but you only live once, right?

Welcome to Universal Studios

HP World

Rest

Shade

At this point, you’re probably wondering if there was anyone at the park. Yes, in fact, there were plenty of people. It was incredibly crowded, but as my wife always tells me, I have a way of photographing loneliness–even where it doesn’t necessarily seem to exist. But as you can see by the cars in the parking lot, it was full of people. As a matter of fact, in the photography below there are¬†two people.

Conversation

During our time in Orlando, we also managed to see other things. We went hiking, which despite our efforts to get out early in the morning, left us pretty drained. Still, we wanted to enjoy some of the state parks that the area has to offer. And enjoy them we did, until it got too hot; then we went back inside where it’s cool. We also enjoyed some of the coast, the Kennedy Space Center, and time with family. All in all it was a great trip!

Sweaty Kid

On the camera-geek side of things, this was the final trip for my Olympus EM1. After using it as the main camera all week, I found it lacking a few times, and sold it with all my lenses upon return. I kept the Ricoh GR, which also made the trip; that camera proves time and time again how good it is at what it aims to do. I’ll be continuing with the Sony A7ii that I bought earlier this summer. Ultimately, I didn’t find a place for the EM1 next to my A7ii, GR, and X100T.

Here are some other photographs from the trip. I hope you enjoy. Feedback is always appreciated. The full set of images from the trip can be seen here.

Max

Meg

Atlantic Coast, Canaveral National Seashore

Travel Journal: Florida 2015

Having just returned from a week in Orlando, Florida, I have a lot of photographs to go through from my various cameras. However, on a few of my trips over the years I have done what I consider a travel journal. I take pictures on my phone each day and upload them to Flickr for friends and family to follow along as I navigate my trip each day.

Here is my journal¬†from Portugal in 2012 (the first time I did the travel journal concept), which you can go through if you’re so inclined.

Generally, when taking photos with my phone, I have a strong preference for the Hipstamatic app, which I have mentioned before. I find the combination of films and lenses to be a lot of fun to use, and I have always been drawn to the square format since I got my first medium format camera (an old Mamiya C220).

Below are a few more shots from the album, and the full set is here if you want to check that out.

Top 20 of 2013, Part 1

I am a week or so late, but I’ve decided to make another contribution to the endless “Top XX of 2013” lists that have been everywhere of late. I figured I’d post a set of my favorite images that I took last year. I debated on how to present this list; the nature of such a list means that the focus will be on single images. However, having them presented as a set means they won’t necessarily flow well, since they weren’t intended as a set. So I’m presenting a set that doesn’t fit together as a set, which makes it seem a bit disjointed. But try to think of them as individual images.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, and I will post the second part in the near future. I’m sure I’ve forgotten some images, but this is what is my top 20 as of today (it can change over time). I also wanted to avoid posting a set of images that only included my family and friends.

This first set isn’t in any particular order, but this is the first half of the top 20.

Wyoming, June 2013

London, January 2013

NYC, March 2013

Mount Rushmore, June 2013

London, January 2013

Annapolis, April 2013

Montana, June 2013

Delaware, March 2013

NYC, April 2013

Saint Paul, October 2013

Porto

Porto, March 2012

This is a photograph I found as I was going through my negatives trying to find things that hadn’t been scanned yet. I stumbled upon a few sheets of medium format negatives that my wife shot while we were in Portugal on my old Holga (which has since found a new home). Frankly, the Holga can be fun to play with but it wasn’t my favorite thing to use. My wife enjoyed the simplicity and playful nature of the Holga, but she isn’t really one to make photographs.

Anyway, this is an image that I quite like the more I look at it. I spend so much time behind the lens that it’s rare to get an image of myself that isn’t terrible. Part of this stems from my selectiveness with images, and with how few are taken of me. But to get a solid portrait, in Portugal, and with the Holga…what are the odds.

So, for once, here is an image on my blog that I didn’t actually take. But it is of me, so it’s okay. Right?

Classic Road Trip

Sightseeing – Mt. Rushmore National Memorial, SD

This is the final post about the road trip I took out west this summer. I spent almost two weeks with my family seeing the sites across the western United States, driving across vast expanses of terrain and covering thousands of miles in the process.

I have written two previous posts on this trip. The first was with shots taken on my iPhone, the second was with shots taken by my Hasselblad 501CM. Since I have done two previous posts on this topic, I’m going to keep things pretty short and to the point and let the images largely speak for themselves.

All the images in this post were taken with my Leica M6 rangefinder on 35mm film.

Open Road – Badlands National Park, SD

Pathfinder – Yellowstone National Park, WY

Mammoth Landscape – Yellowstone National Park, WY

As I have mentioned before, this trip necessitated a real change in style for me. With no people around, my usual style of capturing images was hard to apply. Then again, maybe it wasn’t. I found times where I slipped into my comfort zone with crowds of people around (as in the image at the top of the page), but for the most part this was for landscapes and nature photography. Neither of these sub-disciplines of photography is particularly interesting to me, nor am I particularly good at them.

But, I suppose you work with what you’ve got at your disposal. The alternative–not to make photographs at all–is, at this stage in my life, unfathomable.

Clouds – Badlands National Park, SD

Ride – Grand Teton National Park, WY

Portrait – Yellowstone National Park, WY

Two Scoops – Yellowstone National Park, WY

15/4.5

North Dakota – June 2013

I acquired a Voigtlander 15mm f/4.5 lens before heading on our road trip out West this summer. At that point I didn’t have an external viewfinder so I was guessing about the what would be in the frame. When I got my photos back, I loved the look the lens gave me. I rarely shoot wide, but when I do, it’s nice to go wide. I had a 28mm, 25mm, and 21mm previously, but all of them weren’t quite working for me–the 21mm was closest to what I wanted. I love the 35mm focal length a lot, but when I want wide, I like the unique look that the 15mm affords; it also forces me to get really, really close to the subject.

It’s also well suited to the open spaces I found in the American West, which is why I got it before we went. I’m glad I did, and I look forward to more from this little gem.

-Trevor

 

England 12/13: Football

“Craven Cottage” – London, England

Recently, I returned from my (now annual) trip to England with my father to watch football. ¬†Over the past 6 years, this has become sort of a tradition, and I figured I’d make a blog post about one of the biggest reasons for the trips: football.

As regular readers know, my father and I have something in common in terms of the clubs we support–the borough of Fulham. ¬†My father supports Fulham FC, and I have been supporting Chelsea FC. ¬†Over the past year my loyalties have been wavering, however. ¬†The outrageous ticket prices charged at Stamford Bridge, as well as some decisions taken by the club, have turned me off a bit. ¬†The atmosphere at Craven Cottage is excellent, prices are reasonable, and the club is run with some semblance of a long-term strategy rather than the whims of a billionaire. ¬†As Simon Kuper (the author of the book Soccernomics) explains very well, clubs are no longer community-based clubs; they have virtually no connections to the local area, and we are not supporters, but rather consumers. ¬†As a consumer, I can choose to follow or unfollow any team I wish (and the author argues that this is even more the case with Americans, who have been trained to not have strong allegiances in the same way many Europeans have a history of supporting clubs).

“Away Supporters” – West Bromwich, England

Back to the matches we saw this year. ¬†As always, a Fulham-heavy schedule beckoned. This year we saw two games at Craven Cottage, one road game at the Hawthorns, and we went to Stamford Bridge to see the European champions take on the league-worst Queen’s Park Rangers. ¬†Last year, we saw an amazing string of results for the Cottagers–at home and away–and this year’s team couldn’t match it. ¬†The squad is weaker than last year’s iteration, and the games we saw bore that out.

The games were no less enjoyable. ¬†The atmosphere was as good as ever, and traveling with the away fans on the team coach was a really good experience too. ¬†Both of us agreed that this was the way we’d travel to future away games as well. ¬†It’s easy, fast, and affordable. ¬†If anyone else is interested in traveling that way, I can recommend it–at least with Fulham.

“Laugh” – West Bromwich, England

For the second year in a row we saw a series of successive games with Fulham. ¬†Last year we both enjoyed seeing several games in a row–this gave us a better view into the first eleven, the squad rotation, team tactics, etc. ¬†After doing it this way last year, we opted to do it again and were both glad to have done so.

The big star of this year was the new addition Dimitar Berbatov. ¬†By any standard of measure, he has been Fulham’s central player this season, and it showed on the field. ¬†He is pure class, although also incredibly frustrating for fans. ¬†It’s not hard to see sometimes how previous clubs’ fans might have tired of him, however. ¬†He can be aloof and can wear on the fans’ patience at times. He gets easily frustrated with his teammates–sadly, it’s often easy to see why.

“Closing Time” – London, England

Another year, and another great set of matches.  The final tally was:

26 Dec 12: Fulham 1-1 Southampton

29 Dec 12: Fulham 1-2 Swansea City

01 Jan 13: West Brom 1-2 Fulham

02 Jan 13: Chelsea 0-1 QPR

Next year, we can only hope that the trip and the matches are as good as they were this year. ¬†One thing is for sure–the company never disappoints.

Alaska, Part Two: Monochrome

"Empty Lot"  -  Anchorage, AK

“Empty Lot” – Anchorage, AK

In the summer of 2012 I took a trip to Alaska and published an initial post on my reactions to it. Titled I Went To Alaska and All I Got Was This Lousy Feeling, it described how I had gone from sad to sadder during my stay in Alaska; granted, I was only there for 4 days, but it was enough to get what I felt to be a real sense of the place. Desolate, remote, and depressing. That post was accompanied with shots taken with my phone, and I promised to post some of the images I had captured with a camera at a later date.

Well, (I’m afraid to say) that date has arrived.

“Left” ¬†– ¬†Anchorage, AK

Like I generally do, I put the photos away and did not look at them for several months. This is habitual and intentional; it helps me when I’m editing photographs to have some emotional distance from the actual images, so that I can evaluate them more objectively. Anyway, I pulled out the files and went over them again over the past few days. I have to say–looking at them now, my impression of the place hasn’t improved much. I still have a pretty sad view of Alaska based on the time I spent there.

In this part of the series on Alaska, I have a set of black and white images to share of the city of Anchorage, and in the final post yet to come there will be a set of color street shots from Anchorage.

“Grimace” – Anchorage, Alaska

Anchorage, as far as I went, felt very empty. There were abandoned buildings, empty lots, and a lot of spots that looked worse for wear. I think that the tourists might not see this part of the city, or of the state of Alaska, since it’s a bit off the beaten track. But if you really want to get a sense of a place–if you really want to¬†know¬†a place instead of just visiting it–then you have to go where the people are. That’s what I did in Anchorage.

Alaska International Airport – Anchorage, Alaska

After walking through the tourist areas downtown I set off in the direction of the mountains, opposite of the water. I found neighborhoods that were pretty desolate. Buildings abandoned and left standing alone. Homes that are dilapidated, streets that need paving, broken-down cars and trash littering yards and roads and sidewalks indiscriminately. People wandered around, without apparently having anywhere to be or anywhere to go, spilling out of bars at all times of the day in various levels of consciousness.

Aside from the depressing reality on the ground, there was another thing that caught my eye–and my lens–consistently. It was the sky above Alaska. Not only large, but foreboding, gloomy, and almost alive. It seemed, at times, to have a personality all its own. I didn’t see the sun the entire time I was in the largest state in the union, but the clouds had a way of talking to me and conveying the emotion of the place as I strode through the town, trying to see all I could.

“Toyota” – Anchorage, Alaska

In the end, these are some of the photographs I took that really evoke the memories and feelings I felt when I was there, staring up at the sky and attempting to soak up the feelings of the place. That sky seemed to go on forever.

The next set from Alaska will feature a different mood and a different set of images, which are closer to what I am used to posting. Perhaps they will give a different feeling than this set, and the last set I posted from my phone.

“Big Sky” – Anchorage, Alaska

If you have any questions or comments, I’d love to hear them. Do you have any experience in Alaska to confirm or contradict mine? By no means am I the ultimate authority on the place, and I don’t pretend to be, and I can only present my view of the place as I experienced it over the four days that I spent there last summer. Perhaps a return trip is necessary to form a more nuanced view of the place. Then again, the cruise ship-hopping tourists won’t have gotten the slightly more full view that I had access to and likely won’t have hiked into the interior of the city, and into the neighborhoods that I found.