So I Went to Niagara Falls Randomly

This has been a summer of grand adventures for me!

Last week I took an impromptu trip to Niagara Falls, Canada. Yes, that’s right, I went to the Canadian side. It’s only a few hours from where I live, and my mother and I had been planning on taking a short trip there for years, and we finally did. It was lovely AND kitschy– two of my favorite adjectives!

The thing about Niagara Falls in Canada is it’s almost like a Las Vegas, but for kids. It has really interesting buildings and lots of things to do for children, like the Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! museum and haunted houses and wax museums. I didn’t do any of those things (I did, however, go in the “Upside Down House,) but I did take pictures of the tacky, charming things along Clifton Hill.

The best part of the trip was the tour we went on, where we went behind the Horseshoe Falls, over the whirlpool on the Niagara River, and on the Hornblower boat, to go right up to the falls. Going up to the falls was the most fun, mostly because I was entertained by all of us in our red ponchos, trying to take pictures in the dense mist. I was laughing and I felt happy– everyone wants that!

 

The whirlpool was pretty insane. There is a 90 degree bend in the Niagara River, so it is impossible for the water to, y’know, just casually turn. So it whirls and whirls. Apparently at night, it rotates in the opposite direction (like counter-clockwise instead of clockwise.) We went in an aerocar suspended on cables and went right over it, and stopped.

Now, I’m okay with heights. Heights do not bother me. I’ve been repelling down cliff faces, jumped off of cliffs, and I will most likely go skydiving one day. However, I absolutely do not like being on a man-made structure over water. Like bridges. Or steel cables suspended over one of the most dangerous rivers in the world.

Even though I was internally panicking, I still managed to get a lovely shot, which is one of my favorites from my trip.

It was really hot the day we took our tour, and the sun was shining bright (which made taking good photos difficult… damn shadows.) But the sun did bless me with this: while we were all waiting to board the Hornblower, the sun was shining through our ponchos. It was like a stain glass window. A super cheap, tacky, plastic, stained glass window.

It was an awesome trip. It was certainly special, and I highly recommend going on the Canadian side. I’m sure the view is nice from the American side, but man, the Horseshoe Falls on the Canadian side are just incredible. I can’t fully explain how majestic it was, and pictures can only do so much.

10/10 Highly Recommend!

Happy Shooting!

Bonus images: my mother and I, totally drenched from the falls but still lookin’ phresh af.

My Love,

I have a confession.

When I was off adventuring across the country, gallivanting through mountains, torturing my hardly-ever-used muscles… I missed my significant other. So, like any other sensible artist, I made a piece.

Now you all know that I’m actually a huge sap.

When I travel, I’m really happy, but there is also an underlying casual sadness that permeates my bones. It’s like my entire being knows that what I am experiencing will eventually become a faded memory, even though I’m not actively thinking that way. Couple that subconscious feeling with missing my love, and you have these kinds of letters.

I missed him, and now I miss the mountains. Go figure.

I shot the images on my Fuji Instax Wide, using the Instax Wide Film.

Happy Shooting!

Memento Mori

The nice thing about road trips with friends is you can bring ridiculous awesome outfits for them to wear in national parks and ask them to change in the middle of the mountains.

Which is exactly what I did with my friends, Sean and Dana.

I was going for a kind of antiquated look, thinking about how time passes us by and how small we are in the scheme of things, how young we are in the presence of mountains.

I used Impossible Project B&W Film.

When I travel, I like to create a narrative inspired by the place I went. I’m super happy with how this little narrative turned out. Shout out to Sean and Dana who put up with feeling ridiculous when passing hikers were staring at us, for helping me carry the costumes, and for throwing themselves into it despite never posing for me before.

Happy Shooting friends!

Embarrassing America, Pt. 3: Nevada is the Actual Worst, Glacier National Park, and Some Rock Heads

Oh, Nevada. I had no idea how useless you were.

(No offense, to those who live in Nevada. At least you have Las Vegas?)

We drove and drove and drove through Nevada, looking for gas, food, civilization, anything. There was nothing. We started to play a game: Ways to Die in The Middle of Nowhere, Nevada. We were getting very creative with how to end ourselves, should we be stuck in this desert purgatory. (We came up with 36 ways to die, for the record.)

Finally we found a place to stop for gas, in a little city town village place called Middlegate, Population 18 17. The town was a gas station at the side of the road and a sketchy motel. They had newspaper clippings from the civil war framed in the bathroom. It was that kind of place. So, lemmie tell you, we were more than relieved to get to Idaho and sleep that nightmare of a state off.

When we got up the next day, we powered our way through Idaho and Montana, and after a series of stops and wrong banana peeling (I’m looking at you, Sean,) we made it to Glacier National Park.

To be honest, we really struggled the first 24 hours we had in Glacier. We came just before the start of the season, so almost everything was closed. We got in to the park in the early evening and were hungry, and couldn’t find a place to eat, save for the random fancy restaurant where the cheapest meal we could get was $25. We were too poor for that, so we ran before the waitress could even give us water. We weren’t prepared for a $25 chicken strip.

What made up for our repetitive faux-pas was Montana itself. They call it “Big Sky Country” for a reason. It’s absolutely breathtaking, and a place I could totally live… If they had more than one Starbucks in the entire state.

But they did have a rainbow, so that’s a win from me.

We also needed firewood, and a tarp, and a lantern… It was much colder in Glacier than Yosemite, so when we woke up the next morning in a puddle from the rain the previous night, we were miserable. And nothing was open. So we did a lot of driving to get what we needed, acquired firewood and a tarp, and made it all work out in the end. We finally got to go hiking after spending most of our first day there trying to get our bearings, but after that was smooth sailing (or should I say hiking?)

Also Sean is a lumberjack.

We were very excited to see snow at Glacier. Granted it was still late May/early June so it wasn’t too surprising, but still neat just the same. This was my second time in Glacier National Park, and I still loved every moment of it. My favorite was Avalanche Lake, which was a super easy hike with a super gorgeous pay off in the end. I even made a deer friend– a little prince of the forest. It was a really lovely time. 10/10 highly recommend.

After our adventures in Glacier came to an end, we headed back east to our lonely, boring lives. On the way back we stopped at Mount Rushmore, which was rad. I seriously loved it. Yes, I know, it’s just a bunch of rocks that were carved into heads and yes it may be one of the tackiest, self-important things in the country, but you know what? I too am tacky and self-important, so that’s why I loved it. I live for this kind of tasteless thing. It was really neat, and a good way to end our trip (well, we did drive 14 more hours after this, so it wasn’t really the end, but… It was a good send off.) I think my favorite part about Mount Rushmore was the older gentleman who I photographed– well, I photographed his cool backpack, that had different patches from national parks. I asked him if I could take his picture and he told me “This is my better side anyway.”

Okay, old man. You’re classy.

It’s been like a month since the end of my trip and I’m still pining away for the mountains and my friends. I miss them terribly, and I can’t wait for my next adventure. I am truly happiest when I am traveling and taking pictures, so if you need me I’ll be on pinterest updating my travel board until my next journey.

Happy Shooting!