The great American road trip in film photos


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:

double exposure

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


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.


And of course, more exploring Baltimore:




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

May in photos

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?)


Mount Vernon Baltimore

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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men with dogs

men with dogs


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’.

Mount Vernon Baltimore

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.

Camden Yards

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.

Through the Lens: photos from March

through the lens outtakes

March was an interesting month. I felt like I was in a holding pattern pretty consistently throughout, just waiting for someone to tell me how the rest of the year would pan out. I spent the majority of the month toiling over the site redesign, often getting so frustrated with code that I wouldn’t touch it for a couple days in a row. Did I mention I’m not a designer? There were times when I really wanted to give up. But then, I would figure out something as simple as getting the body text justified (to the left, to the right—see those smooooth edges?) and treat it as one of my life’s greatest victories—and then go back to lamenting over Google fonts and incompatible browser issues.

But, as you see, I figured it out for the most part! I’m scrappy like that. And it wasn’t all torture. As you can tell from the photos above and below, there were some fun parts about (re)branding this here space. All the new photos of me you see around the blog were taken by John, whom I corralled into acting as my professional photographer in an afternoon conveniently scheduled after a fresh haircut. (This had to be done properly.) Of course, there were outtakes. I don’t take myself too seriously.

outtakesAnd even though March was so busy that I almost kinda forgot to actually come up with new content ahead of time—as I’ve grown accustomed to doing—I didn’t forget to take pretty pictures. Due to my obsession with the new Nikon, it had been awhile since I took out the Minolta, so I decided to mix it up and do a little bit of film and digital—the best of which are featured in this month’s photo round-up:

by the water

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girl and dogThe two photos above are of my youngest sister, Elsbeth (11), who asked me to take some shots that would go in her fifth grade graduation slideshow. I was honored to do so, and Iris was elated to make a guest appearance.

Baltimore Normal's book store

Baltimore Normal's book store Baltimore Normal's book store Baltimore Normal's book storeNormal’s book store, pictured above, is a Baltimore landmark. John traded a bunch of books for a bunch more as I contemplated buying one of those cool dinosaur reads. I was happy to see my girl Patti Smith front and center in the vinyl collection.

Out-of-character (and out of morbid curiosity), we ventured downtown on Saint Patrick’s Day and shared a few drinks with my dad. I say “morbid curiosity” because holy crap, Baltimore gets sloppy. (But what American city doesn’t on such a revered cultural holiday… I mean excuse to get drunk?) Great for people-watching, though. Plus, I made friends with some drunk girls in the bathroom, which is just a thing us girls seem to do.

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Baltimore rowhomeThe door made of plywood on that rowhome doesn’t exactly sum up Baltimore, but it is so very Baltimore. And those crazy building facades, with nothing but sky behind the windows? I guess I missed the memo on that one. But good for Fells Point for preserving the history while they fix things up. Oh, and that’s the Virgin Mary in the background of the last shot, FYI.

Even though it was cold the last couple times we ventured downtown, I so wanted to explore more of the city streets and take tons of photos. The places that I think would make for some of the most interesting compositions are also, coincidentally, often the most dangerous parts of town, so I don’t take my chances. But the architecture, the mural art, the grit, and the faces all around the city are so photogenic. I can never leave my camera at home.

As yet another month races out the door, I readily embrace April. It probably won’t be any less hectic than March, but I’m hoping it will finally bring some warm weather around. In true spring cleaning fashion, I want to get busy paring down on all the crap I own. For such a tiny (and usually tidy) above-the-garage bedroom, I sure have a lot of unnecessary stuff in it. Hopefully a less cluttered home will make for a less cluttered mind, because I’m ready to get some freelancing biz going. What do you have going on in April?

A year in photos

2012 was one of my busiest and best years yet. It was also my most photo-filled, so what better way to sum up the year than with a few of my favorite shots? Some 2012 highlights: John and I took an epic trip to southern California that even a phlegmy, hacking cough couldn’t ruin. I got bangs and then spent the rest of the year growing them out. I took on an internship (which led to a part-time gig) at Urbanite magazine on top of my other job until the magazine folded. One of my bestest friends got married, and although I couldn’t convince her to let Bill Murray (their sheep) be the ring bearer, I did get to be a bridesmaid. I attended a number of musical events—the most memorable (and painful) being Firefly Music Festival. And most importantly, I amped up this here blog by putting in more writing time, launching an interview series, and getting to know you guys better. When my hard work was recognized by the Baltimore Sun thanks to your votes, that felt pretty darn special. Thank you for that.

So while 2012 was arguably one of my best years yet, I’m prepared to say the same about 2013 a year from now. There’s a lot I have planned that I can’t wait to share with you guys, and I’m lucky to have people who care to read about my adventures. I hope your own plans and adventures are equally as thrilling—and if not, why aren’t they? There’s no better time to come up with some dreams than right now.

Oh, and psst…

Nikon D3200

I got a fancy new camera. Don’t worry, I’m not done with film photography. But I WILL be taking a lot more pictures. See you in 2013!

California coast

Highway 1 Hollywood sign Baltimore architecture Baltimore drinkery

Clipper Mill

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kitteh party time believe New York City autumn light family in Tennessee Patterson theatre Baltimore

Mobbies at Creative Alliance

Mobbies at Creative Alliance name in the sand