Adventures in Thailand: Chiang Mai

If you ever go to Thailand and you want to see temples, go to Chiang Mai.

This city in northern Thailand is just an hour plane-ride from Bangkok, and is home to over 43 temples. They also have HUGE night-time weekend markets, which are full of life and fun.

My cousin and I spent 4 days in Chiang Mai, though one of those days was spent playing with elephants. The first day we were there, we checked in to our hostel and immediately got lost searching for temples to explore. Like, seriously lost, so lost that we just kinda gave up and walked in any old direction– and we found lots of cool temples in the process!

On one of our temple-exploring adventures, we got caught in a torrential downpour. A young monk invited us inside and we watched television with him– Kawpkoon-ka!

The temple we were aiming for was Wat Chedi Luang, which is a giant complex with the old temple in the center, which is ruins. It was really beautiful, and while we were there we heard chanting coming from inside one of the newer complexes– there was a ceremony happening, and we were able to sit and watch for a bit. I wish I knew more about Buddhism to tell you what it was we were watching, but I can describe it to the best of my ability and maybe some of my Buddhist followers can teach me a thing or five:

There were about five monks, all sitting and holding onto a white string, which was quite long. There was a statue, a Buddha, that someone had brought in perhaps to be blessed? After the ceremony they loaded it onto the back of a truck and sprinkled water on it, so maybe.

It was super dope to see.

Chiang Mai isn’t a huge city like Bangkok, and it is surrounded by super old walls on all 4 sides. It’s such an awesome, historical place, and my cousin and I got lost numerous times–and every time we did, we found something amazing. One evening, when we got so lost we hailed a tuk tuk to take us back to our hostel (gosh, we’re terrible,) we saw a festival going on and asked the driver to please drop us off there instead. It was a cultural festival, representing different dances, music, and performances from the different northern provinces of Thailand. Best accidental discovery ever!

There were also a LOT of pigeons hanging out by the stage.

I mentioned earlier that Chiang Mai had some delightful night markets– we went to the Saturday Night Market, and spent hours getting lost wandering around, looking at the wares. There was a combination of typical tourist trinkets, food, and some original handmade gifts. One of my favorite stalls was selling very unique and very gaudy sunglasses– think lots of rhinestones, flowers, cat ears, etc!

There was a lot to do in Chiang Mai, and I could probably write a book all about it, but I’ll leave you with this: GO TO CHIANG MAI YOU WILL NOT REGRET IT I PROMISE. Even if you don’t have a plan, go, because I can 1000% assure you that you will find something absolutely incredible.

Safe Travels and Happy Shooting!

 

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Adventures in Thailand: Bangkok Pt. 1

I’ve been in Thailand for nearly a month now, and it’s been amazing. Thailand is such a beautiful country (if scorching hot in the month of June,) and there is no shortage of sights in the capital, Bangkok.

Currently, I’m staying at an apartment I rented out for the month through AirBnB. I’m location east of the center of the city in the Phra Khanong district (are they called districts here? neighborhoods? uhm?) which is a little ways away from the Imperial Palace and the famous Reclining Buddha. However, the BTS SkyTrain is located just down the street from me, so I just hop on that to get wherever I wanna go.

My first week here was spent exploring the area where I live and the Siam area. Siam has a HUGE shopping center and the Bangkok Art and Culture Center, lots of people, and lots of interesting spaces to photograph. I especially adored the BACC, which had floors of contemporary art (my fav.)

I also went to the famous Chatchuak Weekend Market, on the city’s north side. I totally got lost… Very, very lost. It took me two hours to find my way back out, probably because I wasn’t trying too hard. The market was awesome, with all the tacky souvenirs a person could possibly want. I took lots of pictures, haggled, and just got caught up in the sights and sounds.

Bangkok is a huge place and I’ve barely scratched the surface of it. I’ll be checking out the Palace and the more famous temples later this week, so keep an eye out!

Safe travels and happy shooting!

 

New Orleans in 35mm

I went on a wonderful trip to New Orleans, Louisiana over my spring break for the national Society for Photographic Education conference. And, of course, I brought a few cameras with me, one of those being the camera I take with me everywhere, the Fuji Natura Classica.

So, here are some pictures from that wonderful 35mm film camera.

I started taking pictures in Nashville, and continued into Alabama, Mississippi, and of course, Louisiana. Getting down to New Orleans was quite the trip (because it literally was, y’know, a trip,) and I made sure to pull out my camera or my iPhone (do it for the snapchats!) whenever it was fitting.

I think some of the best places to take pictures are antique shops. We stopped at a few in Alabama (our butts were hurting from the driving, so we needed to walk it off and go on a treasure hunt in the process,) and man, you can find the coolest and weirdest stuff. I found a flashgun for my Polaroid Automatic 100 at one, so I’m looking forward to trying that out.

Actually, the southern United States are interesting in general. You should go if you’ve never been, and the rest stops are wayy nicer than they are in the north. They have security and everything, if you can imagine that.

Because rest stop areas are obviously the most important thing on any journey.

At least they are when you live in Michigan, and most of the rest areas look like a place where Freddy is hiding in the forest… Can’t really rest at those rest stops without sleeping with one eye open.

Well, that’s all for this installment of my trip to NOLA. Keep an eye out for some medium format prints, digital photos, and snapchats!

Happy Shooting!

February’s Photos

February was a crazy month for me. I started hearing back from graduate programs and traveled for interviews, and I spent a total of 50 hours on a bus. I was sick for a week, and just generally really, really tired. I may be looking at grad school, but I’m still in undergrad making work. It’s a little rough.

BUT ART IS SUFFERING. YOLO.

But my adventures in February were awesome. I went to Columbus, Ohio and Boston, Massachusetts.

I didn’t get to take many pictures in Boston, mostly because I was super sick, and when I got to my hostel I went straight to bed, as an attempt to feel better for my interview. And I did end up feeling better, so shout out to my friends Mucinex, Halls, and Kleenex. I don’t know where I would be today without their trusted companionship.

My adventures continue right now, actually. I’m on my way to New Orleans, so keep an eye out for photos!

Happy Shooting!

January’s Photos, Year Two

Last January, I decided enough was enough and started to carry a camera with me wherever I went. It seems like that would be common sense, considering my passion for photography, but too many times I had missed a picture perfect opportunity because I didn’t have a camera with me. So, for the past year, I’ve been carrying my Fuji Natura Classica around, mostly searching for instances of beautiful light.

I’m going for round two, since I rather enjoyed this minor project. Some photographer somewhere said that photography teaches you how to see without a camera. Let’s go with that. So yeah. That’s what’s going on.

I’m not going to say anything about my life this past month and let my photos relay a story about how my life is more awesome than it actually is. Just piece them together. I’m really really cool– I mean, I have a lava lamp, that must mean I’m rad.

Happy Shooting!

December’s Photos

My project has finally come full circle. I successfully carried a camera around with me everywhere for the past year and filled up one roll of film a month since January, excluding when I was abroad (and was filling up many cameras with many rolls.)

The prognosis?

I’m doing this for another year.

December felt very long and very short all at the same time.

Shoot, 2014 felt very long and very short all at the same time.

So these are my December adventures. And yes, those are Pizza Rolls and pierogies, and that was my New Year’s feast, while watching the Ball drop in Time Square from my warm living room.

Happy Shooting!

November’s Photos (or, honestly, NYC Photos)

There’s only one month left of my carrying a camera everywhere/ one roll a month project, and the month of November was pretty rad. See for yourself:

I apologize for the dust marks and weird blue lines. I had to use my Kodak Easy Scan, since I am away from my flatbed. C’EST LA VIE, AS PER USUAL. Also, the scanner auto-cropped some of my images. Jerk.

I spent a weekend in Chicago and then half a week in NYC, and a majority of the roll was shot there. My friend, Patrick, lives and goes to school there, so he showed me around. We went to Central Park, some place where there was a good pizza place nearby, the new World Trade Center, some place where there the most delicious cheesecake ever was nearby, and yeah. I’m super specific, I know. Oh and we went shopping at Forever 21 at 1AM sorry not sorry.

There’s only a month left of my project, but not really. I’m going to keep doing this, as it keeps me looking for good opportunities and those moments when I think, “Oh! This would be a great photo!” I will actually have a camera to take said photo. What a concept.

My Fuji Natura Classica, I feel, was made for night time city photography, because those photos turned out so nicely and are my favorites. I’m already itching to go back to take some more (and maybe go to grad school I mean is that too much to ask?)

So, yeah. If you’re ever in NYC, I recommend Magnolia Bakery’s Red Velvet Cheesecake. I would move there for that alone.

Happy Shooting!