The great American road trip in film photos

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As many of you know, I’m kind of into film photography. There’s nothing practical about it, and I’ve had my fair share of mishaps which, unfortunately, are expensive lessons to learn. I’m living on a tight budget these days, but I couldn’t wait any longer to get my film photos from the road trip developed. While you’re a lot more hard pressed to find a store dedicated solely to cameras and photo developing in other places, Los Angeles boasts plenty. I figured I’d show you a few of the highlights from the trip (already almost two months ago!), plus some pictures I’ve taken in my new city.

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Exploring abandoned houses off of Route 66:

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Yep, I use up exposures at close to a dollar a pop on things like handmade natural wood fences. Why? Combine the texture of the wood with the graininess of the film, and you’ve got a pretty cool image. Or at least a decent desktop background.

Below, explorations in Malibu, Venice, Runyon Canyon, and my very own neighborhood, Silver Lake:

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Incredibly enough, I took this last photo just a couple of streets over from my own. I love walking through these hills and checking out all the homes of people much wealthier than I am.

So why do I love film photography if it costs so much—especially if I’m paying for pictures that aren’t guaranteed to come out well? Aside from the anticipation of getting the photos back and finding a gem or two, I love how it forces me to take each shot with care. I love how it makes me consider things like texture, as mentioned above, and color. I even love it when I make a mistake (sometimes). Sometimes I’m pleasantly surprised with the results of a mishap, like with this photo I took just before we left home:

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Though costs may dictate how many film photos I take, and how often, it’s worth it for an image I’ll always be proud of. In the meantime, our walls are still pretty bare in the new place, and I’m contemplating which photos to blow up and frame. If I don’t find a job soon, I might just have to open up an Etsy shop and start selling prints. (You guys will totally buy some, right?)

Through the lens: photos from June

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Today marks my first official day as an unemployed, soon-to-be California-bound chick, and where am I spending it? On the beaches of the Outer Banks, North Carolina. Now that it’s July, I only have a couple of weeks to go until John and I head west, so I’m squeezing in one last family vacation. As anxious as I’ve been over packing and logistics, it’s nice to get away for a little while and let relaxation wash over me.

June can be summed up in a word: anticipation. For obvious reasons. But this week of vacation will be a much-needed reminder to enjoy the moment I’m in. Here’s a look back at some of my favorite moments from June:

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My youngest sister graduated from elementary school, and her friend had a graduation party at the beautiful house above. I also took her portraits:

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…and then this happened.

As I was stargazing one night, I decided to try my hand at experimenting with long exposure shots. I love how dark and moody these two came out:

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And I visited McKenzie on her farm again. The below photos weren’t taken with my usual film camera (ole Minolta!), but a Pentax K1000 my aunt gave to me along with FOUR lenses. I’m using my favorite, the wide angle lens below:

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…and there were bundles of kittens.

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And of course, more exploring Baltimore:

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So aside from this week’s vacation, I have more packing, a road trip to California, finding a place to live, and finding a job to look forward to. (And, oh yeah, can’t forget that wisdom teeth removal surgery.) What do you have going on this month? Happy July!

Through the Lens: photos from May

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How do I even sum up this crazy, hectic month? And how can I even call it that knowing it’ll be tame compared to the months ahead? Mostly the crazy has just been in my head, but soon things really will be moving at high speed. As our move to California draws nearer, I’m realizing the scope of the logistics this whole thing requires. I’m trying to take it all in stride. Soon, I’ll forget the very meaning of “boredom.”

Though I didn’t take as many pictures as I would like, May was full of photo-worthy moments. Dinners out, movie nights in, girl time with the sisters, a winning Orioles game vs. the Yankees, a baby shower, and a long weekend with my college roomie helped this month speed right on by. I’m trying to soak it all up. As much anticipation as I feel, I’m never quite sure when the last time I see an old friend or drive down a certain street will be. I don’t mean that to sound melodramatic—it’s just kind of a fact. I mean, it’s not like these things will definitely be the last time ever. At this point, I’m really not thinking too far beyond the two years of grad school I’ve committed to. But then, I can’t say for certain that these won’t be the last times I do such-and-such, either. You never know where life will take you.

But enough of me trying to sound like Ferris Bueller. Pictures! A mix of film, digital, and iPhone in this batch. (Can you tell which is which?)

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Great American Canyon BandOn the first Thursday of every month in the warm season, the local public radio station, WTMD, puts on a free outdoor concert. It typically features a mix of local bands and nationally touring acts (John performed there a couple summers ago!), and it attracts a huge crowd. Warm weather, free attendance, and outdoor drinking? Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that?

This night turned into a bit of a drunkfest (as proven by my girly fandom talking to the awesome couple of the Great American Canyon Band), but earlier that day, I had been lamenting to John that I needed to get over my shyness as a budding photographer. When I see interesting people, I want to take their pictures but am hesitant to approach them. Well, all it took on the night of this First Thursday concert was a couple of beers, and I was happily snapping away at strangers. I found kind of a theme in my photos—men with dogs:

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Yeah. Just let that sink in for a minute. Chances are, if your heart is made of ice, it just done defrosted all over da flo’.

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Mount Vernon BaltimoreEverything got kind of hazy after that.

The night the Orioles beat the Yankees was the perfect early summer night. Though it would drop down to the low 60s later in the week, this night felt like mid-July with Natty Bohs and french fries generously seasoned with Old Bay.

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Camden YardsAnd back to the theme of major life changes, scenes from a picturesque baby shower at McKenzie’s farm for our friend, Rachel:

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Finally, I wrapped up the month by taking Justine, visiting from Long Island, around to some of the best places in Baltimore. (It was a great excuse to spend a little money before I can no longer do such a thing frivolously.) I think this might be my favorite picture from the whole month:

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And with that, I leave you with wishes for a happy weekend. Now I’m off to do a little car shopping. What, you ask? Yeah. Ole Bertha was never part of the cross-country plan, but she is making it difficult to safely get around for the next few weeks. Looks like I could be taking the plunge on another car a bit earlier than I thought. This is going to be interesting. But at least I get to go on a few fun test drives.

See you in June.

Out of print

Back in February, I interviewed with Urbanite magazine for a position as an editorial intern. I was genuinely excited at the prospect, but surprisingly not nervous. I already had a part-time job, and I knew my writing samples were strong, even if I didn’t get the position. But I had a great chat with the assistant editor and was hired on the spot. Then I was nervous. I wanted to impress my editors, and that meant I’d have to step up my game. I guess I succeeded, because my unpaid internship transitioned into a second part-time job.

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My contributor bio for the June 2012 issue. I was so excited, I didn’t even care that my photo captured me awkwardly growing out my bangs.

Countless miles, a thousand checked facts, a few published articles/blurbs, and seven months later, the publisher of Urbanite sat me down and told me the magazine would be shutting down for good.

To say the least, it’s a shame that one of Baltimore’s most important publications fell victim to the dying print industry’s plight. Urbanite featured top-notch journalism on topics ranging from sustainability to education, and it had a decidedly positive (yet realistic) view of the city of Baltimore and its struggles. The free, glossy magazine didn’t just point out the city’s problems—it suggested improvements and solutions to them. I learned a hell of a lot reading the articles every month, and it was humbling to imagine ever being as good as those more established writers. So it was a very strange and sad thing to watch it come to an end just months after jumping on-board myself.

One of my favorite things about working there for the short time that I did was the beautiful space Urbanite occupied. It was set in Clipper Mill park, an historic old foundry converted into retail space, offices, and lofts that maintained its integrity and housed local artists and business owners. I took these shots (below) over the summer, possibly hoping some of the magic and creativity would rub off on me.

Despite the sad fact that Urbanite no longer graces the magazine stands on the streets, I’m not discouraged about pursuing my own career in writing. Writers will always write, no matter what the format. They just have to be willing to evolve.